March 23-29, 2012

By Dr Robert Goldman

Longevity News and Review provides readers with the latest information in breakthroughs pertaining to the extension of the healthy human lifespan. These news summaries are compiled by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M; www.worldhealth.net), a non-profit medical society composed of 24,000 physician and scientist members from 110 nations, united in a mission to advance biomedical technologies to detect, prevent and treat aging related disease and to promote research into methods to retard and optimise the human aging process. Dr Robert Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., D.O., FAASP, A4M Chairman, and Dr Ronald Klatz, M.D., D.O., A4M President, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distil these headlines and provide their commentary.

Friendships Offset Negative Experiences
Previously, studies have shown that friendships can protect against adjustment difficulties later in life. William M. Bukowski, from Concordia University (Canada), and colleagues have pinpointed the biological basis by which a good friend beneficially impacts a person’s physiological and psychological health. The team studied 55 boys and 48 girls, enrolled in fifth and sixth elementary school grades. The subjects kept journals on their feelings and experiences over the course of four days, while the researchers measured levels of cortisol – the hormone produced naturally by the adrenal gland in direct response to stress – in the children’s saliva. The team found that feelings of self-worth, as well as the levels of cortisol, were largely dependent on the social context of a negative experience. The study authors conclude that: “When a best friend was present, there was less change in cortisol and global self-worth due to the negativity of the experience.”

Dr. Klatz observes: The biological basis by which a good friend beneficially impacts a person’s physiological and psychological health is elucidated in this research, and the findings have important implications regarding the role of an individual’s social network.

Burn Calories, Banish Burnout
Adding to the numerous health benefits of regular physical activity, researchers from Tel Aviv University report that employees who find the time for routine physical activity are less likely to experience work-related burnout and depression. Sharon Toker and colleagues studied 1,632 healthy private and public sector workers, monitoring for their personal, occupational and psychological states, via questionnaires and checkups, for a period of nine years. The team found that an increase in depression predicted an increase in job burnout over time, and vice versa. Importantly, the researchers determined that workers who exercised for four hours or more per week were half as likely to experience deterioration in their mental state, compared to those who did no physical activity. The study authors suggest that physical activity in leisure time may be an effective stress management tool.

Remarks Dr. Goldman: In finding that regular gym workouts associate with fewer symptoms of on-the-job burnout and depression, this data adds to the ever-growing body of evidence supporting the physical and mental health benefits of regular physical activity.”

Potatoes Push Down Blood Pressure
Purple-skinned potatoes contain high levels of antioxidant compounds, including phenolic acids, anthocyanins and carotenoids. Joe A. Vinson, from the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania), and colleagues enrolled 18 men and women, most of whom were overweight and hypertensive, in a study in which the subjects consumed 6-8 small microwaved purple potatoes twice a day, or no potatoes, for four weeks; then switch to the opposite regimen for another four weeks. The researchers observed that diastolic blood pressure dropped by an average of 4.3 percent, while systolic blood pressure decreased by an average of 3.5 percent. None of the study participants gained weight during the study period. The study authors conclude that “purple potatoes are an effective hypotensive agent and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke in hypertensive subjects without weight gain.”

Comments Dr. Klatz: Reporting that antioxidant-rich purple-skinned potatoes help to lower blood pressure, among obese men and women, these researchers reveal an important functional health role for a widely available food staple.

Anti-aging medicine is the fastest-growing medical specialty throughout the world and is founded on the application of advanced scientific and medical technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases. It is a healthcare model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans. As such, anti-aging medicine is based on solid scientific principles of responsible medical care that are consistent with those applied in other preventive health specialties. The goal of anti-aging medicine is not to merely prolong the total years of an individual’s life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion.
Visit the A4M’s World Health Network website, at www.worldhealth.net, to learn more about the A4M and its educational endeavours and to sign-up for your free subscription to Longevity Magazine™ e-Journal.

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