In its February 22/February 29 issue, Time magazine includes a number of articles in its “Longevity Issue.” It notes that diet, exercise and stress reduction are three key factors in slowing biological aging. The report notes that “diet is the most powerful intervention to delay aging and age-related diseases.” Restricting total calories does a lot to lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Exercise is also important: “Scientists have shown that sedentary behavior, like sitting all day, is a risk factor for earlier death.” 57% of Americans aged 65 to 74 spend more than seven hours sedentary each day. The report also said that having a negative outlook, especially as we age can contribute to a less healthy brain and an increased risk of Alzheimers Disease.
Regarding Alzheimers, the cover title was “The Alzheimers Pill.” The pill being tested is designed not to defeat the plaque that builds up and causes Alzheimers but to keep brain cells healthier. “The answer to extend healthy life spans lies not in how we break down at age 70 but in how we keep functioning at age 50,” it quoted Brian Kennedy, president and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. A new focus of treatment is to realize that aging is a leading risk factor for cancer, heart disease and Alzheimers and that medications that fight aging and the breakdown of cells might be a new and better way rather than only developing medicines to address each disease.
Another pill being tested for its anti-aging qualities is not actually a new drug but a current one called Metformin, most often used to treat diabetes. A major study is underway called TAME or Targeting Aging with Metformin run by the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “A 2014 study found that people with Type 2 diabetes who took Metformin lived longer than healthy people without diabetes who weren’t taking it,” the magazine reported. The drug controls blood sugar levels and responds to insulin better and may help the body slow down aging. The study will involve 3000 people at 14 sites from ages 65 to 80 at risk for cancer, heart disease or dementia.
Maybe the studies will shed light on why so many more people are living into the late 80s and 90s and beyond.