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 20,000 physician and scientist members from 90 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, A4M President, and Dr. Robert Goldman, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distill these headlines and provide their commentary.
Obesity and Disease Risks Increase After Menopause
Nearly two-thirds of American women are overweight or obese. Postmenopausal women thus are a particularly vulnerable population, facing the health consequences of excess weight and the multitude of health problems with which it is associated. Postmenopausal women are at increased risk of obesity and its associated chronic health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, cancer, osteoarthritis and mental health problems.
Dr. Klatz observes: “Women are at greater risk for being overweight/obese as compared to men, and women tend to experience age-related weight gain. As a result, they increase their risk of developing a host of physical diseases, many of which ultimately may significantly and negatively impact quality of life.”
In Women, Slowing Metabolism Associated with Increased Disease
Two recent studies demonstrate the role of diet and weight and the onset of disease in aging women. An unwitting contributor to this relationship is the role of slowing metabolism, which triggers unwanted weight gain î º as well as the associated medical problems (see preceding news summary). A National Cancer Institute (Bethesda) study involving more than 99,000 women tracked weight and body measurements at ages 18, 35 and 50. The women also reported any diagnosis of breast cancer. Women who were not overweight/obese at age 18 but were considered overweight at age 35 and 50 had almost 1.5-times the risk of developing breast cancer (as compared to women who maintained a steady normal weight). New analysis of data from The Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification (DM) Randomized Controlled Trial found that women eating a lower-fat diet was 40 percent less likely to develop ovarian cancer (as compared to women eating a regular diet). In addition, the women who started with the highest fat intake and changed to the lower-fat diet had the greatest reduction in ovarian and breast cancer risk.
Remarks Dr. Goldman: “Substantial health benefits occur with regular physical activity that is aerobic in nature (such as 30-60 minutes of brisk walking, five or more days of the week). Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity, but even small amounts of activity are healthier than a sedentary lifestyle. Regular exercise in middle age can help men and women their healthspan and lifespan.”
Alzheimer’s-Herpes Virus Link
In lab tests, Ruth Itzhaki of Manchester University (United Kingdom), and colleagues, found that brains infected with the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1, also had elevated levels of the beta amyloid protein characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Previous research has found that HSV-1 is found in the brains of up to 70 percent of people afflicted with AD. Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York found the HSV-1 virus is more likely to cause a problem in people who carry a mutant version of the ApoE4 gene, which is carried by the vast majority of AD patients.
Comments Dr. Klatz: “Currently, about 2.4 million Americans, or about 10 percent of the population age 71 and up, has AD. The discovery of the link between HSV-1 and AD heralds a significant new research opportunity for a vaccine to protect against a possible viral cause of Alzheimer’s.”