August 10-16, 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.
Opting to Walk Reduces Death Rate
The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Strategy on Diet Physical Activity and Health urges that people engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week. Walking is considered a moderate physical activity and meets these exercise recommendations. Catherine Pérez, from the Barcelona Public Health Agency, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study based on Catalonia’s Mobility Survey performed by the Generalitat and the Metropolitan Transport Agency in 2006 which documents the journeys of more than 100,000 people. Then, 80,552 individuals over 17 years of age who did at least one journey were selected and researchers calculated the number of men and women who did not meet daily physical exercise recommendations but travelled by car or motorbike for journeys up to five minutes long. In order to calculate the annual economic benefits, the Health Economic Evaluation Tool (HEAT) was used. It was designed by the WHO and estimates the benefits of reduced mortality by increasing physical exercise. The calculations revealed that 77.2% of men and 67.7% of women in Catalonia do not reach recommended daily amounts of physical exercise when walking. However, 15.6% and 13.9% respectively would reach recommendations if they were to substitute at least one short, 5 minute vehicle journey. When applied to the population of Catalonia, this would mean that 326,557 men and 252,509 women would meet recommendations. According to the estimations made using HEAT, this new form of physical activity would avoid 108.4 deaths in men and 79.2 in women. In turn, this would bring about savings of 124,216,000 euros and 84,927,000 euros respectively. Writing that: “This study demonstrates the potential of trips on foot as a source of physical activity,” the study authors submit that: “It also points out that both benefits for the health of the population and a huge economic benefit could have been gained through active transportation interventions.”
Dr Klatz observes: Reporting that the simple substitution for short journeys on foot rather than taking the car or motorbike may potentially save significant numbers of lives, these researchers reaffirm the life-extending role of everyday, routine physical activity.”
Exercise Essential to Combat Alzheimer’s
A number of previous studies suggest that some dietary patterns, specifically a high-fat diet, increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Consequently, scientists are exploring interventions that target the metabolic dysfunctions resulting from diets high in fat. Researchers from the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine have previously shown that a high-fat diet worsens cognitive function, in a lab animal model of Alzheimer’s Disiease; further, the team observed that exercise ameliorated high-fat diet induced memory impairment and beta-amyloid formation, a defining characteristic of Alzheimer’s Disease, Ayae Kinoshita and colleagues expanded on this work, comparing the effects of 1) diet control, 2) voluntary exercise and 3) diet control plus exercise, in their Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. The results showed that exercise was more beneficial than diet control in reducing beta-amyloid formation, as well as restoring memory loss induced by a high-fat diet. Attributing the positive effects of exercise to increased degradation of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain, the study authors urge that: “Exercise has the highest priority in the prevention of [Alzheimer’s Disease].”
Remarks Dr Goldman: It will be both intriguing and exciting to see whether this finding that asserts that exercise appears to be effective in reducing beta-amyloid formation, holds true for human studies of non-drug approaches to preventing and/or intervening in Alzheimer’s Disease.
Green Tea Improves Cardiovascular Profile
Green tea contains between 30 and 40% polyphenols, potent antioxidant compounds; specifically, green tea is abundant in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Pawel Bogdanski, from Poznan University of Medical Sciences (Poland), and colleagues enrolled 56 obese, hypertensive men and women and assigned each to consume either 379 mg per day of green tea extract (providing 208 mg of EGCG), or placebo, for a three-month period. The team observed that green tea extract consumption was associated with an average decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 4.9 and 4.7 mmHg, respectively; compared to 0.8 and 0.6 mmHg decreases, respectively, among the placebo group. Additionally, LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, as well as insulin and blood sugar levels, were beneficially improved among the participants receiving the green tea extract. C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, decrease by 0.9 mg/L among the green tea extract supplemented group, whereas it increased by 0.11 mg/L in the placebo group. The study authors conclude that: “daily supplementation [of green tea extract] favorably influences blood pressure, insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress, and lipid profile in patients with obesity-related hypertension.”
Comments Dr Klatz: This team adds evidence to support the role of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in cardiovascular health. Their data reaffirms that this antioxidant compound helps to improve blood pressure, blood sugar levels and markers of inflammation.
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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