March-2012 > Anti-aging Discoveries > Anti-aging Developments - March 2012

Omega 3 May Prevent Sight Loss is Over 50s

The Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish may help to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of sight loss in those over 50. A recent study shows that women who eat oily fish weekly are less likely to develop AMD.

In her most recent newsletter, Dr. Marilyn Glenville, a women's health expert and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine (UK), reports on more evidence linking the consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids to the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The researchers followed approximately 38,000 female health professionals in the US for an average of ten years.

The research shows that eating fish such as salmon, tuna and mackeral several times a week increased protection from the disease by 44% over those who eat these fish less than once a month.

(Source: Dr. Marilyn Glenville Newsletter)

Studies Link Apnea to Stroke Survival

Two more studies linking sleep apnea to strokes were presented at the American Stroke Associations International Stroke Conference in February. Although the two conditions have already been linked, this is new compelling evidence of the connection between the two. One of the studies links apnea to what are known as silent strokes where there is tissue death in the brain without symptoms. The second, found that rapid memory loss before a stroke boosts the risk of the stroke being fatal.

In one relatively small study, led by Dr. Jessica Kepplinger, a fellow at the University of Technology in Dresden, Germany, 91 percent of silent stroke victims where found to have sleep apnea. The higher the severity of the apnea, the more likely these silent strokes were found on brain scans and the less favorable the outcome when the patient was discharged. The patients were, on average, 67 years old, and just over half of them were women, the study authors noted. While the study found an association between sleep apnea and stroke, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

In the second study, Qianyi Wang, a graduate student at the Harvard University School of Public Health, and colleagues evaluated nearly 12,000 men and women over 50, enrolled in the U.S. Health and Retirement Study. The study, which was funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging and the American Heart Association, compared how memory changes over the long-term before and after stroke onset, with individuals who have not had a stroke.

Participants, who were all stroke-free at the start of the research project, were given memory tests every two years for up to 10 years. Over time, 1,820 strokes were reported, including 364 that were fatal. The remaining participants were stroke-free for the entire follow-up period.

Stroke survivors "had memory decline that is nearly twice as fast as stroke-free individuals, even before their stroke," Wang said.

Commenting on the studies, Dr. Ralph Sacco, chair of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and past president of the American Heart Association, said that the connection between sleep apnea and stroke had been mainly shown in small studies, but that this new research goes further by linking sleep apnea with the milder "silent" strokes.

The memory-loss study shows that people with memory loss have a higher risk of stroke and a greater death rate when strokes occur. He said that taking care of our brains can help us survive stroke but cautioned that the data and conclusions of both studies should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.(Source: HealthDay Website)

Breakthrough in Spine Disease Research

Researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome have come a step closer to finding a cure for back problems which are one of the leading causes of disability and lost working hours in adults. According to Medical News Today and a report published in the journal "Spine", the Italian scientists have found “an important molecular mechanism responsible for low back pain and other acute vertebral problems like cervical axial pain, all due to aging and degeneration of the vertebral column”.

The study led by Dr. Luigi Aurelio Nasto and Enrico Pola was carried out in collaboration with a team from the University of Pittsburgh research team led by Paul Robbins, James Kang and Nam Vo.

They have also developed a drug to inhibit this degenerative mechanism, by blocking the molecule, "NF-kB" and initial tests on mice have been successful.

Nasto and Pola found that high concentration of NF-kB causes the degeneration of intervertebral discs (the structures that separate and damp the vertebrae), a degenerative process that could affect also young adults, as young as 30, especially if they adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Their experiments on mice that are genetically programmed to age rapidly, perfectly mimicked the spine degeneration that occur in old people and young adults who suffer from low back pain.

According to Dr. Nasto "Drugs that turn off or even only partially inactivate NF-kB could be used to prevent the degeneration of intervertebral discs in patients"

Drugs that has already been successfully tested by a US team to slow the course of muscular dystrophy in animals, will soon be used in a clinical trials to study their therapeutic effects on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. These drugs could soon be used to counteract the aging of the vertebral column and cure low back pain. "We hope to develop other selective inhibitors of NF-kB to slow the degeneration of inter-vertebral discs", Pola concludes.

Sugar Blamed for a Rise in Chronic Disease

Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), started a controversy when they published a paper on February 29 blaming the global epidemic-like increase of obesity and chronic diseases like diabetes, on the increase in sugar consumption.

They believe that sugar is as addictive and dangerous to health as tobacco and alcohol and that it should be as highly regulated and taxed. This is the only way of protecting the public in countries where sugar consumption is so heavily entrenched in the culture that education campaigns alone will not be enough to curtail it, they argue. Advertisement laws and even age-restricted sales might be necessary say the scientists. However, the food and beverage industry are quick to defend their point of view that sugar alone can not be held responsible for the increase in obesity and chronic diseases.

It's going to require public policy that gently guides people toward healthier choices and uses brute force to remove sugar from so many of the processed foods we eat every day, according to Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF.

"Everyone talks about personal responsibility, and that won't work here, as it won't for any addictive substance. These are things that have to be done at a governmental level, and government has to get off its ass."

The only method for dealing with this is a public health intervention, he said.

In response to the study, the food and beverage industries said that comparing sugar to alcohol and tobacco is "simply without scientific merit" insisting that there is "no evidence that focusing solely on reducing sugar intake would have any meaningful public health impact."

This news item has been widely reported in the world press.

(Sources: San Francisco Chronicle)

Could Aspirin Cause Sight Loss?

An observational study out at the end of last year shows that participants taking a baby aspirin once a day to protect their hearts were twice as likely to have age-related wet macular degeneration than those in the study who didn't.

While the numbers in the study were quite large, the control group taking the aspirin were relatively small - only about 850 people. Therefore, doctors are insisting that this is only an observational study and does not prove that the aspirin caused the wet macular degeneration.

The authors (from Holland) did not recommend that patients stop aspirin therapy. Im the following news report about this issue, doctors discussing the study insist that you should not stop taking aspirin if you are doing so for your heart, only that you should have your eyes checked regularly if you are taking aspirin every day.

Fox News Report about Asprin and Sight Loss > Anti-aging Discoveries > Anti-aging Developments - March 2012

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