By 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 optimise the human aging process. Dr Robert Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., D.O., FAASP, A4M Chairman, and Dr Ronald Klatz, M.D., D.O., A4M President, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distil these headlines and provide their commentary.
Volunteering Promotes Longevity
Studies have shown that volunteering exerts benefits not just to the people receiving help but also to those who give their time and energy. Sara Konrath, from the University of Michigan, and colleagues report that the motivation for volunteering influences the benefits to the giver. The team analysed data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which followed a random sample of Wisconsin high school students who graduated in 1957. The data used in the analysis included 3,376 men and women who were about 65 years old in 2004. Overall, 57 percent of those surveyed reported doing at least some volunteer work in the past 10 years. Participants were contacted again four years later, when researchers found that just 2.3 percent of the volunteers had died compared to 4.3 percent of non-volunteers. Further, the researchers observed that how much people volunteered mattered as well- only 1.8 percent of regular volunteers were deceased compared with 2.5 percent of occasional volunteers. Death risk was reduced even more for each hour older adults volunteered per month. Importantly, the team found that motives for volunteering have a profound effect on mortality. People who volunteer because they want to help others live longer than people who don’t volunteer at all, whereas those who volunteer mainly for some sort of personal benefit live no longer than non-volunteers, on average.
Dr Klatz observes: In finding that not only do people who give, live longer – but that the motivation for volunteering counts, these researchers underscore the life-extending benefits of having a charitable and philanthropic attitude.
Walnuts May Boost Reasoning Skills
Walnuts are rich in vitamin E, folate, and the omega-3 linolenic acid. Several previous studies have linked antioxidant-rich walnuts with heart health, as the food beneficially impacts blood vessel function. Peter Pribis, from Andrews University in Michigan, and colleagues enrolled 64 university students in an eight-week study. Each subject consumed banana bread daily, with one group receiving bread that contained ground walnuts (1/2 cup per day) as well. The subjects performed a number of cognitive tests, including assessments that required inferential reasoning skills. Those subjects who consumed the walnut-recipe bread showed significant improvement in inference, which the researchers point out is necessary for critical thinking and decision-making.
Remarks Dr Goldman: Finding that inferential reasoning, a skill necessary for critical thinking and decision-making, may be affected by adding walnuts to the diet, this team’s data suggests an intriguing potential functional health role for this food.
Apples May Reduce Stroke Risk
In that certain previous studies have suggested a role for certain fruits and vegetables to combat the risk of stroke, Linda M. Oude Griep, from Wageningen University in The Netherlands, and colleagues followed 20,069 Dutch men and women, average age 41 years, all of whom were free of heart disease at the study’s start, for a 10-year period during which the incidence of stroke was documented. The team found that those subjects with the highest daily intake of white flesh fruits and vegetables – such as apples, pears, bananas, cauliflower and cucumber — experienced a 52-percent lower incidence of stroke compared to those who ate the least of such foods. Specifically, each 25 g per day increase in consumption of white flesh fruits and vegetables associated with a 9-percent lower risk of stroke, whereas no association was found for green, orange and yellow, or red and purple fruits and vegetables. The team concludes that: “High intake of white fruits and vegetables may protect against stroke.”
Comments Dr Klatz: Reporting that apples and other fruits with white flesh, can reduce the risk of stroke, these researchers add to the ever-growing body of evidence suggesting that food choices can indeed have a profound impact on disease risk.
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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