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.
Optimism Minimises Stroke Risk
In that previous studies have reported that higher optimism associates with a variety of positive health outcomes, researchers from the University of Michigan investigated the potential for a correlation between optimism and incidence of stroke. Eric S. Kim and colleagues analysed data collected on over 6,000 older Americans enrolled in the US Health and Retirement Study. The team found that for each unit increase in a standardised optimism assessment, the relative risk of stroke decreased significantly. As well, optimism appeared to blunt the impact of negative psychological factors – such as anxiety, depression, negative affect, and neuroticism – as a risk factor for stroke. Reporting that: “The effect of optimism remained significant even after fully adjusting for a comprehensive set of sociodemographic, behavioural, biological, and psychological stroke risk factors,” the researchers conclude that: “Optimism may play an important role in protecting against stroke among older adults.”
Dr Klatz observes: Reporting that each increment in score in a standardized optimism assessment decreases the stroke risk in older men and women significantly, these researchers identify a key modifiable behavioral factor that is within our conscious control.
Physical Activity Promotes Cognitive Health
Previous research has suggested that physical activity is associated with reduced rates of cognitive impairment in older adults. Marie-Noel Vercambre, Ph.D., from the Foundation of Public Health, Mutuelle Generale de l’Education Nationale in France, and colleagues examined data from the Women’s Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study, which included women who had either prevalent vascular disease or three or more coronary risk factors. The researchers determined patients’ physical activity levels at baseline (1995 to 1996) and every two years thereafter. Between 1998 and 2000, they conducted telephone interviews with 2,809 women; the calls included tests of cognition, memory and category fluency, and followed up the tests three more times over the succeeding 5.4 years. The researchers analysed data to correlate cognitive score changes with total physical activity and energy expenditure from walking. As participants’ energy expenditure increased, the rate of cognitive decline decreased. The amount of exercise equivalent to a brisk, 30-minute walk every day was associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment. The team reported that: “Regular physical activity, including walking, was associated with better preservation of cognitive function in older women with vascular disease or risk factors.”
Remarks Dr Goldman: Engaging in regular physical activity is associated with less decline in cognitive function in older adults. This finding serves as an important reaffirmation of the wide-ranging benefits of fitness.
Omega-3s May Reduce Diabetes Risk
Affecting over 220 million people globally, diabetes and its related conditions are currently responsible for 3.4 million deaths annually. Luc Djousse, from Harvard Medical School, and colleagues studied data collected on 3,000 older men and women enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study, and found that both marine and plant sourced omega-3s were associated with a lower risk of diabetes. Specifically, the association was observed for blood levels of alpha-linolenic acid (the vegetable oil omega-3 fatty acid), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The team concludes that: “Individuals with the highest concentrations of both [omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid] had lower risk of diabetes.”
Comments Dr Klatz: In finding that increased blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids associate with reduced risk of type-2 diabetes, this team expands the eve-growing body of evidence supporting an interventive role for omega-3s in disease.
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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