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.
Lifelong Language Skills Help to Maintain Cognitive Acuity
Brian T. Gold, from the University of Kentucky (Kentucky, USA), and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare the brain activity of healthy bilingual seniors (ages 60-68 years) with that of healthy monolingual seniors as they completed a task that tested their cognitive flexibility. The researchers found that both groups performed the task accurately. However, bilingual seniors were faster at completing the task than their monolingual peers despite expending less energy in the frontal cortex – an area known to be involved in task switching. The study authors conclude that: “These results suggest that lifelong bilingualism offsets age-related declines in the neural efficiency for cognitive control processes.”
Dr. Klatz observes: “Previous behavioral data have shown that lifelong bilingualism (the ability to speak two languages fluently) can help to preserve youthful cognitive control abilities in aging. These researchers report that seniors who have spoken two languages since childhood are faster than single-language speakers at switching from one task to another.”
Exercise Strategy When Short on Time
Leslie H. Willis, from Duke University Medical Center (North Carolina, USA), and colleagues enrolled 234 previously sedentary overweight or obese men and women, ages 18 to 70 years, in one of three eight-month supervised protocols: aerobic training (AT), resistance training (RT), or a combination (AT/RT). Of the total, 119 participants completed the trials and had complete data for the variables of interest in the article. Those assigned to aerobic training exercised vigorously, at about 70-85% of maximum heart rate. They exercise approximately 45 minutes three days per week throughout the study period. Individuals assigned to resistance training also exercised three days a week, completing three sets of 8-12 reps on eight resistance machines that targeted all major muscle groups. Resistance was increased throughout the study to maintain a steady level of challenge as the participants gained strength. Individuals who were assigned to AT/RT performed all the exercises assigned to both AT and RT groups. At the end of study each enrollee was assessed for weight, body composition, waist circumference, cardiopulmonary fitness and strength compared to their baseline. The researchers found that the groups assigned to aerobic training and aerobic plus resistance training lost more weight than those that did resistance training only. In fact, those who did resistance training only actually gained weight due to an increase in lean body mass. Fat mass and waist circumference significantly decreased in the AT and AT/RT groups, but were not altered in RT. However, measures of lean body mass significantly increased in RT and AT/RT, but not in AT. The findings suggest that aerobic exercise is more effective in reducing these measures. Writing that: “[To balance] time commitments against health benefits, it appears that [aerobic training] is the optimal mode of exercise for reducing fat mass and body mass, while a program including [resistance training] is needed for increasing lean mass in middle-aged, overweight/obese individuals.”
Remarks Dr. Goldman: “Resistance training is an established method to increase muscle mass and strength, but for Americans who are short on time aerobic exercise may be a more strategic option. When short on time, aerobic training is better than resistance training, in that reducing fat and achieving healthy weight associate with cardiovascular health benefits.”
Life Expectancy Lost Due to Bad Behaviors
David Spiegelhalter, from the University of Cambridge, has coined the concept of a “microlife,” defined as 30 minutes of life expectancy – as a practical substitution for the statistical concept of the hazard ratio. He computed that a million half hours – or 57 years – roughly corresponds to a lifetime of adult exposure to any given hazard. Further, he noted that at current mortality rates in the UK, a 35-year-old can expect to live another 55 years or 481,000 hours or very nearly a million microlives. Spiegelhalter has calculated that people may lose 30 minutes of life expectancy for every two cigarettes they smoke, for being 11 pounds overweight, and for eating an extra portion of red meat daily. Dr Spiegelhalter submits that this approach “allows a general, non-academic audience to make rough but fair comparisons between the sizes of chronic risks, and is based on a metaphor of ‘speed of ageing.’”
Comments Dr. Klatz: “People may lose 30 minutes of life expectancy for every two cigarettes they smoke, for being 11 pounds overweight, and for eating an extra portion of red meat daily. These tradeoffs clearly advocate in favor of the anti-aging lifestyle.”
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.
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