By Robert Goldman
For The Bali Times
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, A4M chairman, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distill these headlines and provide their commentary
Dark Chocolate Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
Dark chocolate contains high concentrations of flavonoids, a potent antioxidant compound. In a group of 5,000 study participants in generally good health and spanning the period of one year, Romina di Giuseppe, from the Laboratory of Genetic and Environmental Epidemiology at Catholic University (Campobasso, Italy), and colleagues evaluated the anti-inflammatory properties of dark chocolate. The collected the subjects’ dietary habits via food surveys and measured serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a blood marker of inflammation. The team found CRP levels were 17 percent lower in the study subjects who consumed dark chocolate (as compared to those who did not consume any at all). Specifically, the researchers found that: “Consumers of up to 1 serving (20 g) of dark chocolate every three days had serum CRP concentrations that were significantly lower than nonconsumers or higher consumers. Our findings suggest that regular consumption of small doses of dark chocolate may reduce inflammation.” According to the team, these reductions in CRP translate into a 33-percent risk reduction of cardiovascular disease in women and 26- percent reduction in men.
Dr Klatz remarks: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease, which includes the specific diseases of heart attacks, heart failure and high blood pressure (hypertension), account for 30 percent of deaths worldwide. While the consumption of chocolate has been previously associated with improved heart health, this study is the first to document the effects of dark chocolate on CRP.
Active Social Life May Reduce Men’s Alzheimer’s Risk
Cognitive and social activity in midlife may significantly reduce men’s risk of dementia. Michelle Carlson, from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues completed a study that followed 147 male twin pairs for 28 years. Among the twins, higher cognitive activity scores predicted a 26-percent reduction in the risk for developing dementia first. Further, the team found that dementia risk was most reduced as a result of participation in social activities at home, visiting with family and friends and engaging in club activities and hobbies.
Dr Goldman observes: Earlier this year, the Alzheimer’s Association projected that 14 million, or 18 percent, of the American Baby Boomer population (numbering 79 million in total) will develop Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) or dementia in their lifetime. The disease not only costs lives but is a tremendous burden on caregivers and loved ones. As this study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that increased social activity and can reduce dementia risk, it identifies an important factor that may be among the simplest, cost-effective preventive approaches that may effectively ward off the onset of AD in the general population.
Older Adults at Risk for Depression When Sleep Compromised
In the elderly who have suffered from depression in the past, poor sleep may be the first sign that a new bout of depression is about to start. Michael Irwin, from the University of California/Los Angeles, and colleagues, studied a group of 351 men and women, ages 60+. Of those subjects with prior depression, 23 had a relapse, as compared to only one person in the group without depressive symptoms. In those who relapsed into depression, the team was able to predict depression recurrence based on sleep disturbance. State the researchers: “This study shows that sleep disturbance is often related to depressive disorders in late life, which carry further considerable risks for morbidity and mortality.”
Dr Klatz remarks: Nearly 60 percent of the elderly in the United States have trouble sleeping. This study identifies a new risk for older Americans with sleep issues who are living with depression. Fortunately, sleep disturbance can be beneficially modified, and it’s important for patients to work with their physicians to address poor or insufficient sleep as part of their overall health program.