October 4-10, 2013

By Dr. Ronald Klatz and 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 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.

Exercise Helps to Lessen Alzheimer’s Effects
J. Carson Smith, from the University of Maryland (Maryland, USA), and colleagues studied two groups of physically inactive older adults (ages 60 to 88 years), who were put on a 12-week exercise program that focused on regular treadmill walking and was guided by a personal trainer, meeting the WHO Guidelines of a weekly total of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise.  Both groups – one which included adults with MCI and the other with healthy brain function – improved their cardiovascular fitness by about 10% at the end of the intervention. More notably, both groups also improved their memory performance and showed enhanced neural efficiency while engaged in memory retrieval tasks. Further, the team administered cognitive tests and conducted brain imaging before and after the 12-week exercise intervention. Brain scans taken after the exercise intervention showed a significant decrease in the intensity of brain activation in eleven brain regions while participants correctly identified famous names. The brain regions with improved efficiency corresponded to those involved in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, including the precuneus region, the temporal lobe, and the parahippocampal gyrus.  The exercise intervention was found to be effective in improving word recall. The study authors conclude that: “These findings suggest exercise may improve neural efficiency during semantic memory retrieval in [mild cognitive impairment] and cognitively intact older adults, and may lead to improvement in cognitive function.”

Dr. Klatz observes:  “While some memory loss is normal and to be expected as we age, a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) signals more substantial memory loss and a greater risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.  These researchers observe that exercise may improve cognitive function in those at-risk for Alzheimer’s Disease, by improving the efficiency of brain activity associated with memory.”

Walking to Work Reduces Risk of Diabetes, High Blood Pressure
Anthony A. Laverty, from Imperial College London (United Kingdom), and colleagues studied how various health indicators correlated to how people get to work.  Utilizing data from the Understanding Society survey, involving over 20,000 residents of the United Kingdom., the team found that cycling, walking, and using public transport were all associated with lower risk of being overweight than driving or taking a taxi. People who walk to work are 40% less likely to have diabetes, and also 17% less likely to have high blood pressure. Cyclists were around half as likely to have diabetes as drivers.  The study authors urge that: “The protective association between active travel and cardiovascular risk demonstrated in this nationally representative study adds to growing evidence that concerted policy focus in this area may benefit population health.”

Remarks Dr. Goldman: “In that physical inactivity is a growing public health threat in modernized countries, modes of “active commuting” are gaining popularity.  People who walk to work are 40% less likely to have diabetes, and 17% less likely to have high blood pressure, as compared to those who commute via driving or taking a taxi.”

Lack of Sleep Leads to Unhealthy Food Choices
Matthew P. Walker, from the University of California/Berkeley (California, USA), and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of 23 healthy young adults, first after a normal night’s sleep and next, after a sleepless night. They found impaired activity in the sleep-deprived brain’s frontal lobe, which governs complex decision-making, but increased activity in deeper brain centers that respond to rewards. Moreover, the participants favored unhealthy snack and junk foods when they were sleep deprived.  Writing that: “These findings provide an explanatory brain mechanism by which insufficient sleep may lead to the development/maintenance of obesity through diminished activity in higher-order cortical evaluation regions, combined with excess subcortical limbic responsivity,” the study authors submit that lack of sleep: “[results] in the selection of foods most capable of triggering weight-gain.”

Comments Dr. Klatz: “This team warns that a sleepless night makes us more likely to reach for doughnuts or pizza than for whole grains and leafy green vegetables.”

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.

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