October 5-11, 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 optimize the human aging process. Dr. Ronald Klatz, M.D., D.O., A4M President, and Dr. Robert Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., D.O., FAASP, A4M Chairman, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distill these headlines and provide their insightful commentary.
Cup of Cocoa Combats Cognitive Decline
A number of previous studies suggest that dietary intake of antioxidant compounds from plant-based foods, can exert cardiovascular benefits. Flavanols are a type of antioxidant that are found abundantly in cocoa products. Giovambattista Desideri, from the University of L’Aquila (Italy), and colleagues enrolled 90 older men and women affected by mild cognitive impairment (MCI), in a study in which each subject was randomized to drink varying levels of a dairy-based cocoa containing flavanols per day, for eight weeks: 990 mg, 520 mg, or 45 mg. The subjects who consumed either 520 or 990 mg of cocoa flavanols for two months demonstrated significant improvements on cognitive evaluations – specifically, verbal fluency and Trail making, as compared to those who drank 45 mg. As well, the team observed that systolic blood pressure was reduced by 10 mmHg, and diastolic by 8.2 mmHg, among those who consumed 520 mg of cocoa, as compared to 45 mg. Plasma glucose fell a mean of 0.6 mmol/L among the 990 mg group, and 0.5 mmol/L among the 520 mg group, with no differences for the 45 mg group. The study authors conclude that: “regular consumption of cocoa flavanols might be effective in improving cognitive function in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment. This effect appears mediated in part by an improvement in insulin sensitivity.”
Dr. Klatz observes: “Rich in flavanols, cocoa consumption lowers insulin resistance and blood pressure, while boosting cognitive functions.”
Long-Term Fitness Commitment Benefits the Heart
The biological process of inflammation is suspected to be an underlying mechanism of cardiovascular disease. A number of previous studies suggest that physical activity can help to reduce the inflammatory process. Mark Hamer, from University College (United Kingdom), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 4289 men and women, mean age 49.2 years, enrolled in the Whitehall II cohort study. At the baseline assessment in 1991-1993, the team analyzed two key inflammatory markers, C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Researchers again assessed physical activity and inflammatory markers in 1997-99 and about 11 years later. Subjects reported the duration and frequency of their leisure-time physical activities such as brisk walking, vigorous gardening, cycling, sports, housework and home maintenance. The team found that leisure-time activities represent moderate intensity exercise that is important to health, and that middle-aged adults who regularly engage in leisure-time physical activity for more than a decade may reduce inflammation and thereby enhance their heart health. Vigorous exercise and sports may play a less important role among middle-age and older adults. The study authors conclude that: “Regular physical activity is associated with lower markers of inflammation over 10 years of follow-up and thus may be important in preventing the pro-inflammatory state seen with ageing.”
Remarks Dr. Goldman: “Middle-aged adults who regularly engage in leisure-time physical activity for more than a decade may enhance their heart health.”
Mediterranean Diet May Prevent Osteoporosis
José Manuel Fernández-Real, MD, PhD, of Hospital Dr. Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain, and colleagues studied data from 127 men aged 55 to 80 years to investigate the effect of diet on bone health. Participants were randomly assigned to three intervention groups: Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts, Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil, or a low-fat diet. Osteocalcin, glucose, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides were established at baseline and after 2-year follow-up. Results revealed a significant increase in concentrations of total osteocalcin and other bone formation markers among the men in the Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil intervention group. Furthermore, no significant changes in serum calcium where observed in participants in the olive oil group whereas serum calcium decreased significantly in the other two groups. Together these results suggest that long-term consumption of a Mediterranean diet combined with olive oil may offer protection against age-related bone loss. “The intake of olive oil has been related to the prevention of osteoporosis in experimental and in vitro models,” said Dr Fernández-Real. “This is the first randomized study which demonstrates that olive oil preserves bone, at least as inferred by circulating bone markers, in humans.”
Comments Dr. Klatz: “Eating a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil may offer protection against age-related bone loss.”
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 endeavors and to sign-up for your free subscription o Longevity Magazine™ e-Journal.