August 3-9, 2012
By Dr Robert Goldman & Dr Ronald Klatz
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.
To Multitask Best, Meditate First
The next time you are about to undertake major multitasking, meditation training beforehand could make the work smoother and less stressful, suggest University of Washington researchers. David Levy and colleagues recruited three groups of 12-15 human resource managers for the study. One group received eight weeks of mindfulness-based meditation training; another received eight weeks of body relaxation training. Members of the third, a control group, received no training at first, then after eight weeks were given the same training as the first group. Before and after each eight-week period, the participants were given a stressful test of their multitasking abilities, requiring them to use email, calendars, instant-messaging, telephone and word-processing tools to perform common office tasks. Researchers measured the participants’ speed, accuracy and the extent to which they switched tasks. The participants’ self-reported levels of stress and memory while performing the tasks were also noted. The meditation group reported lower levels of stress during the multitasking test while those in the control group or who received only relaxation training did not. The meditation training seemed to help participants concentrate longer without their attention being diverted. Those who meditated beforehand spent more time on tasks and switched tasks less often, but took no longer to complete the overall job than the others. After training, both the meditators and those trained in relaxation techniques showed improved memory for the tasks they were performing.
Dr Klatz observes: Meditation training can help people working with information stay on tasks longer, while improving memory and reducing stress. This is an important discovery for completing mentally challenging tasks regardless of age.
Tai Chi Improves Memory & Thinking Skills
Tai Chi is a Chinese wellness practice that has been previously associated with a variety of physical and mental health benefits. James Mortimer, from the University of South Florida, with colleagues from Fudan University (China), completed an 8-month randomised controlled trial comparing 120 Chinese seniors who practiced Tai Chi three times a week to a group who did not. The researchers observed that the subjects who practiced Tai Chi experienced increases in brain volume and improvements on tests of memory and thinking, as compared to a group that participated in lively discussions three times per week over the same time period (control group). Further, the control group displayed brain shrinkage over the study period, consistent with what generally has been observed for persons in their 60s and 70s. The study authors report that these findings “show increases in brain volume and improvements in cognition with a largely non-aerobic exercise (Tai Chi).”
Remarks Dr Goldman: Finding that Chinese seniors who practiced Tai Chi three times a week exhibited increases in brain volume and improvements on cognitive assessments, this team reveals a potentially important lifestyle intervention that may help to deter cognitive decline.
Omega-3s Help Lower Heart Failure Risk
Previously, a number of studies suggested a broad range of health effects for omega-3 fatty acids. A large-scale meta-analysis, involving seven prospective studies which provided data on 176,441 participants and 5480 incident cases of heart failure, reports that for every 15 g per day increase in fish consumption, the risk of heart failure reduced by 5%. Further, study participants with the highest intakes of fish were at a 15% reduction in heart failure risk. In addition, for every 125 mg per day increase in EPA and DHA, the associated risk of heart failure was decreased by 3%. Subjects with the highest circulating levels of EPA and DHA were at a 14% lower risk of heart failure, as compared to those with the lowest levels.
Comments Dr Klatz: Reporting that an increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may markedly decrease the risk of heart failure, these researchers add to the ever-growing body of evidence suggesting an essential role for EPA and DHA in the maintenance of proper heart functioning.
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.