April 13-19, 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.
Safety of Vitamins Confirmed
It is estimated that approximately half of the US adult population takes dietary supplements. Alvin C. Bronstein, from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (Virginia), and colleagues analyzed reports of poison-related encounters by 2.3 million Americans. Whereas analgesics were involved in 11.5 percent of human exposures, and sedatives (including sleeping pills and antipsychotic drugs) were involved in 6 percent of cases, the researchers report that zero deaths were linked to the consumption of vitamins. In particular, the team notes zero deaths from any B vitamins, zero deaths from vitamin D, and zero deaths from the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.
Dr Klatz observes: Researchers report zero deaths linked to consumption of a variety of vitamins, reaffirming the safety of supplemental nutrients that help to promote health and vitality.
Berries Enhance Brain Signalling
Emerging research has identified neurological benefits associated with the consumption of berry fruits, which as a food group are high in antioxidants – compounds that may help to combat cellular oxidative stress. Researchers from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (Massachusetts) have completed a literature review which reports that consumption of berry fruits has direct effects on the brain. Specifically, the team explains that the ingestion of berries may help to prevent age-related neurodegeneration and resulting changes in cognitive and motor function. The researchers explain that in cell and animal models, berry fruits mediate signaling pathways involved in inflammation and cell survival in addition to enhancing neuroplasticity, neurotransmission, and calcium buffering, all of which lead to attenuation of age- and pathology-related deficits in behavior.
Remarks Dr Goldman: Reporting that the consumption of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries influence how neurons communicate, these scientists reveal a potential dietary avenue to prevent inflammation in the brain.
Memory-Training Techniques Help Re-Engage Brain
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition in which people have difficulty forming new memories, but are still able to complete tasks of daily living in the independent fashion. However, many people with MCI subsequently develop Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine and Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Georgia) have found that MCI patients who engaged in memory-training strategies re-engage the hippocampus– a brain region critical for memory formation. The study focused on how well participants could remember the locations of common household objects. The memory-building strategy involves three steps. First, participants focused on a feature of the room that stood out and was close to the object, then they learned a short explanation for why the object was in that location. Finally, they created a mental picture to tie the information together. In several sessions, study participants were shown household objects one at a time, each object followed by its location in a computer-simulated room. An hour later, they were asked to identify the location of each object from among three choices. After the first visit, participants returned to the laboratory for three training sessions. On a fifth visit two weeks later, they were evaluated on how well they could remember the objects’ locations. A control group received the same amount of exposure to the objects and their locations, but was not given explicit training. As expected, at the start of the study MCI patients had more difficulty remembering where objects were and showed less brain activity in the hippocampus (measured through functional magnetic resonance imaging) when compared with healthy people. Both people with MCI and healthy controls benefitted significantly more from using memory strategies than from mere exposure. In addition, MCI patients in the memory strategy-training group showed increased activity in the hippocampus as they learned and remembered the location of the objects. Participants in the training group showed increases in hippocampal activity, even when trying to remember the locations of new objects. Reporting the capacity of mnemonic strategy training to facilitate hippocampal functioning, the study authors conclude that: “cognitive rehabilitation techniques may help mitigate hippocampal dysfunction in [mild cognitive impairment] patients.”
Comments Dr Klatz: Identifying strategies to train the memory that may help to re-engage the hippocampus, a brain region critical for memory formation, these researchers elucidate potentially important non-drug approach to effectively address mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
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.
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