June 15-22, 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.

Berries Help to Preserve Memory
Berries such as blueberries and strawberries are high in anthocyanidins, a type of flavonoid antioxidant, which has been shown in previous studies to improve cognition. Elizabeth E. Devore, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Massachusetts, US), and colleagues analyzed data collected in the Nurses’ Health Study—involving 121,700 female, registered nurses between the ages of 30 and 55 years —who completed health and lifestyle questionnaires beginning in 1976. Since 1980, participants were surveyed every four years regarding their frequency of food consumption. Between 1995 and 2001, memory was measured in 16,010 subjects over the age of 70 years, at 2-year intervals. Women included in the present study had a mean age of 74 years and mean body mass index of 26. The team found that women who consumed 2 or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week experienced a slower rate of memory decline, as compared to subjects who consumed the least berries weekly. Further, a greater intake of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids associated with reduced memory decline. The study authors conclude that: “berry intake appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.”

Dr Klatz observes: In that antioxidant-rich blueberries and strawberries may delay memory decline in older women by 2.5 years, this data further expands the emerging science suggesting effective food-based interventions to help ward off cognitive decline.

Weight Training Helps Improve Memory
In that both aerobic and resistance training have been shown to improve cognitive performance and functional plasticity in healthy seniors living in the community as well as those with mild cognitive impairment, exercise may be considered a potentially vital way to combat cognitive decline. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, from the University of British Columbia (Canada), and colleagues enrolled 86 community-dwelling women, ages 70 to 80 years, with subjective memory complaints and a score lower than 26 out of 30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. Each subject was randomly allocated to twice-weekly sessions of resistance, aerobic, or balance and tone training. Those in the resistance group used machines and free weights, while those in the aerobic group undertook an outdoor walking program. The balance and tone sessions consisted of stretching, range of motion and balance exercises, and relaxation techniques; the patients in this last group served as controls. The researchers found that women who lifted weights had significant improvements in memory tasks after 6 months, compared with women in a control group who worked on balance and stretching. As well, the women who worked on aerobic training saw their fitness improve but achieved no cognitive benefit, as compared with the control group.

Remarks Dr Goldman: Reporting that folder women who lifted weights demonstrated significant improvements in memory tasks after 6 months, these researchers add to the growing body of evidence suggesting the role of weight training to benefit cognitive faculties.

Urban Residents at Greater Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Air pollution is a common source of respiratory ailments, and Danish researchers suggest that it may be an underestimated factor in cardiovascular disease risk. Jess Lambrechtsen, from Svendborg Hospital (Denmark), and colleagues interviewed 1,225 men and women, ages 50 and 60 years, including 251 people who lived in the centers of major Danish cities. Air pollution levels were extracted from a national surveillance source. This showed that rates were approximately three times higher in city centers than other urban areas and seven times higher than in rural areas. The researchers found that coronary artery calcification was more common in people living in city centers, rather than urban or rural areas – in men (69% v 56%), women (42% v 30%), 50 year-olds (48% v 32%) and 60 year-olds (61% v 53%). When the researchers looked at the odds ratio, this showed that people living in city centers were 80% more likely to develop coronary artery calcification than those living in urban or rural areas. Further, men were more than three times as likely as women to develop coronary artery calcification, with a 220% higher odds risk. And, 60 year-olds were approximately twice as likely to develop coronary artery calcification as 50 year-olds (120% higher) as were smokers than non-smokers (90% higher) and people with diabetes when compared with those without diabetes (100% higher). The study authors conclude that: “Both conventional risk factors for [cardiovascular disease] and living in a city centre are independently associated with the presence of [coronary artery calcification] in asymptomatic middle-aged subjects.”

Comments Dr Klatz: Finding that people who live in city centers are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery calcification, this team identifies an underrecognised contributor that may prompt the onset of heart disease.

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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