March 14-20, 2014
By Dr. Ronald Klatz & 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.
Big Health Benefits of A Little Sun
Martin Feelisch, from the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), and colleagues completed a study that suggests that sunlight alters levels of the small messenger molecule, nitric oxide (NO) in the skin and blood, reducing blood pressure. The researchers exposed the skin of 24 healthy individuals to ultraviolet (UVA) light from tanning lamps for two sessions of 20 minutes each. In one session, the volunteers were exposed to both the UVA rays and the heat of the lamps. In another, the UV rays were blocked so that only the heat of the lamps affected the skin. The results suggest that UVA exposure dilates blood vessels, significantly lowers blood pressure, and alters NO metabolite levels in the circulation, without changing vitamin D levels. Further experiments indicate that pre-formed stores of NO in the upper skin layers are involved in mediating these effects. The study authors write that: “our data provide mechanistic insights into an important function of the skin in modulating systemic [nitric oxide] bioavailability which may account for the latitudinal and seasonal variations of [blood pressure] and cardiovascular disease.”
Dr. Klatz observes: “A number of studies observe that the incidence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease correlates with latitude and rises in winter, and this UK team reports that exposing skin to sunlight may help to reduce blood pressure and thus may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.”
Caffeine Enhances Memory
Michael Yassa, from Johns Hopkins University (Maryland, USA), and colleagues explored the effect of caffeine to strengthen memories to reduce forgetting over a 24-hour period. The researchers conducted a double-blind trial; participants who did not regularly eat or drink caffeinated products received either a placebo or a 200-milligram caffeine tablet five minutes after studying a series of images. Salivary samples were taken from the participants before they took the tablets to measure their caffeine levels. Samples were taken again one, three and 24 hours afterwards. The next day, both groups were tested on their ability to recognize images from the previous day’s study session. On the test, some of the visuals were the same as from the day before, some were new additions and some were similar but not the same as the items previously viewed. More members of the caffeine group were able to correctly identify the new images as “similar” to previously viewed images versus erroneously citing them as the same. The team submits that the brain’s ability to recognize the difference between two similar but not identical items, called pattern separation, reflects a deeper level of memory retention. Observing that: “Caffeine enhanced performance 24 h after administration,” the study authors: “conclude that caffeine enhanced consolidation of long-term memories in humans.”
Remarks Dr. Goldman: “Whether present in coffee or tea, a number of previous studies have reported cognitive-enhancing effects of caffeine. These researchers extend these observations by finding that caffeine exerts a positive effect on long-term memory.”
More Fish May Lower Diabetes Risk
Jyrki K. Virtanen, from the University of Eastern Finland (Finland), and colleagues analyzed data collected in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), determining the serum omega-3 fatty acid concentrations of 2,212 men, ages 42 to 60 years age at the onset of the study, in 1984–1989. During a follow-up of 19.3 years, 422 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The team found that men in the highest serum omega-3 fatty acid concentration quarter were at 33% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as compared to those men in the lowest quarter. The study authors report that: “Serum long-chain omega-3 [fatty acid] concentration, an objective biomarker for fish intake, was associated with long-term lower risk of type 2 diabetes.”
Comments Dr. Klatz: “Previous studies posit that overweight is a significant risk factor for type-2 diabetes, thus diet and other lifestyle factors may have potential as interventive approaches to reduce risk. Salmon, herring, and sardines are among good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, that these Finnish researchers suggest may help to reduce the risk of Type-2 diabetes.”
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.