April 6-12, 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.
How Yoga Eases Stress
Previous studies have suggested that yoga helps to improve stress-related nervous system imbalances. Chris Streeter, from Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues submit a neurophysiological theory of how yoga affects the nervous system. It is hypothesised that stress causes an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system (parasympathetic under-activity and sympathetic over-activity) as well as under-activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA). Low GABA activity occurs in anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, epilepsy, and chronic pain. The team advances a theory, based on neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, to understand how yoga may be effective in treating patients with stress-related psychological and medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and cardiac disease. Submitting that: “the decreased [parasympathetic nervous system] and GABAergic activity that underlies stress-related disorders can be corrected by yoga practices resulting in amelioration of disease symptoms,” the study authors conclude that: “This has far-reaching implications for the integration of yoga-based practices in the treatment of a broad array of disorders exacerbated by stress.”
Dr Klatz observes: Providing new insights in to the biological pathway by which yoga may be effective for stress-related medical conditions, these researchers reveal potentially innovative therapeutic targets for depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and cardiac disease.
Sedentary Lifestyle May Prompt Diabetes
An emerging factor for chronic disease, sedentary behavior – marked by an obvious lack of routine physical activity, may prompt the onset of type-2 diabetes among women. Thomas Yates, from the University of Leicester (United Kingdom), and colleagues assessed 585 men and women, ages 40 and over, for the amount of time they spend sitting during the course of the week. Additionally, the team collected blood samples to identify markers linked to diabetes and metabolic dysfunction. The researchers found that women who spent the longest time sitting have higher levels of insulin, as well as elevated levels of leptin (a chemical released by fatty tissue in the abdomen), and higher amounts of inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. These correlations were not found in the male study subjects. Urging that women need to engage in 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise a day, the study authors conclude that: ” Total self-reported weekday sitting time was associated with biomarkers linked to chronic low-grade inflammation and poor metabolic health in women … independent of physical activity.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: Revealing that women who remain seated for long periods of time every day are at increased risks of developing type-2 diabetes, this data is an important reminder as to the lifelong health benefits of routine physical activity.
Chocolate as Brain Booster
Flavanol is a potent type of antioxidant, a compound that is associated with the capacity to scavenge free radicals and consequently modulate oxidative stress. David Camfield, from Swinburne University (Australia), and colleagues engaged 63 subjects, ages 40 to 65 years, to drink a daily chocolate beverage over a 30-day study period. All participants received the chocolate drink, but in differing cocoa flavanol concentrations: the first group consumed 10 g of dark high-flavanol chocolate (corresponding to 500 mg cocoa flavanols), the second group received 10 g of conventional dark chocolate (250 mg of cocoa flavanols), and the third group received 10 g of dark chocolate (containing only a few cocoa flavanols). The researchers asked the subjects to perform spatial working memory tasks, during which concurrent computer tomography brain scans were conducted. Whereas no differences were found between the groups regarding the accuracy or reaction times in performing the memory tasks, the team did observed via the brain scans that subjects who consumed the chocolate beverage containing either the medium or high proportion of cocoa flavanols were less strained by performing the tasks, as compared to those in the control group. Positive that these findings suggest that higher flavanol chocolate lowers stress levels in the brain, thereby allowing those subjects to achieve the same performance with lower resource usage, the study authors submit that their data provides ” evidence of increased neural efficiency in spatial working memory function associated with chronic cocoa flavanol consumption.”
Comments Dr. Klatz Consumption of chocolate rich in flavanol may help to promote brain performance, by boosting the efficiency of specific aspects of memory. These findings add to the growing body of evidence suggesting a functional health role for this food.
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.