Category Archives: Longevity

Red Meat Not Quite as Deadly as Imagined

From New York Times:

Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

Whew…What a relief! Dodged that bullet.

Click for Gina Kolata’s article.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Click pic to purchase book at Amazon.com. E-book versions available at Smashwords.com.

Raman May Increase Risk of Fatal Stroke

…at least if you’re Japanese. I rarely eat ramen, but understand it’s fairly popular among young adults in the U.S, particularly among college students, because it’s cheap, quick, and tasty.

Click for details of the study in Nutrition Journal. Some background from the article:

Ramen is one of the most popular foods in Japan, despite being of Chinese origin [11]. Since its original introduction in Japan, ramen has been adapted and now consists of wheat noodles served in broth topped with sliced pork, seaweed, or menma (a Japanese condiment made from lacto-fermented bamboo shoots; Additional file 1). Being tasty and inexpensive, ramen became a popular food that was available from street food stands in Japan after World War ΙΙ. Although the number of ramen stands has decreased markedly, ramen remains highly popular in Japan. High dietary sodium content was recently reported to be a risk factor for stroke [12]; ramen has a high sodium content. However, the relationship between stroke and ramen consumption remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the association between the number of ramen restaurants in each Japanese prefecture and stroke mortality in that prefecture.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Click pic to purchase book at Amazon.com. E-book versions available at Smashwords.com.

Tighter Blood Pressure Control Benefits Folks With Diabetes

Not bad

For decades, physicians thought a blood pressure of under 140/90 was adequate for preventing heart attacks, strokes, and premature death. Not so.

From Diabetes Self-Management:

The new study evaluated roughly 11,000 people with type 2 diabetes in 20 countries over four years, finding that those who received the blood pressure drugs perindopril and indapamide to keep their blood pressure levels at or below 130/80 had fewer heart attacks, strokes and other complications than those receiving placebo (inactive treatment). They also had a “lower overall risk of dying from any cause.”

Source: Tight Blood Pressure Control Benefits Type 2 Diabetes: Study – Diabetes Self-Management

You may think the aforementioned health benefits stem from use of perindopril and/or indapamide. It’s either that, or simply the result of BP lowering. I suspect it’s the latter while admitting that not all BP drugs are created equal. As a hospitalist in Scottsdale, AZ, I rarely run across patients taking perindopril, and only occasionally folks on indapamide. The popularity of various drugs often depends on which part of the country you’re in and the attractiveness of the drug reps visiting the prescribers. We need to be more scientific than that.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Losing excess weight and exercise are two ways to lower blood pressure without the expense and side effects of drugs.

Click pic to purchase book at Amazon.com

Soft Drink Consumption Linked to Premature Death

The study at hand involved Europeans. It’s the first time I’ve seem artificially-sweetened soft drinks linked to premature death.

From JAMA Network:

This study found that consumption of total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drinks was positively associated with all-cause deaths in this large European cohort; the results are supportive of public health campaigns aimed at limiting the consumption of soft drinks.

Source: Association Between Soft Drink Consumption and Mortality in 10 European Countries | Cardiology | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

Click pic to purchase book at Amazon.com

Paleolithic diet is associated with lower resistant starch intake, different gut microbiota composition and increased serum TMAO concentrations

Doomed to premature death?

Ever heard of TMAO? Click that link and you’ll find that “In humans, a positive correlation between elevated plasma levels of TMAO and an increased risk for major adverse cardiovascular events and death is reported.” Uh-oh!

From European Journal of Nutrition:

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Paleolithic diet is promoted worldwide for improved gut health. However, there is little evidence available to support these claims, with existing literature examining anthropometric and cardiometabolic outcomes.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the association between dietary intake, markers of colonic health, microbiota, and serum trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a gut-derived metabolite associated with cardiovascular disease.DESIGN:In a cross-sectional design, long-term (n = 44, > 1 year) self-reported followers of a Paleolithic diet (PD) and controls (n = 47) consuming a diet typical of national recommendations were recruited. Diets were assessed via 3-day weighed diet records; 48-h stool for short chain fatty acids using GC/MS, microbial composition via 16S rRNA sequencing of the V4 region using Illumina MiSeq. TMAO was quantified using LC-MS/MS.

RESULTS:

Participants were grouped according to PD adherence; namely excluding grains and dairy products. Strict Paleolithic (SP) (n = 22) and Pseudo-Paleolithic (PP) (n = 22) groups were formed. General linear modelling with age, gender, energy intake and body fat percentage as covariates assessed differences between groups. Intake of resistant starch was lower in both Paleolithic groups, compared to controls [2.62, 1.26 vs 4.48 g/day (P < 0.05)]; PERMANOVA analysis showed differences in microbiota composition (P < 0.05), with higher abundance of TMA-producer Hungatella in both Paleolithic groups (P < 0.001). TMAO was higher in SP compared to PP and control (P < 0.01), and inversely associated with whole grain intake (r = - 0.34, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the PD is promoted for improved gut health, results indicate long-term adherence is associated with different gut microbiota and increased TMAO. A variety of fiber components, including whole grain sources may be required to maintain gut and cardiovascular health.

Source: Long-term Paleolithic diet is associated with lower resistant starch intake, different gut microbiota composition and increased serum TMAO concentr… – PubMed – NCBI

Click pic to purchase book at Amazon.com

If You Want to Live Long, It Helps If You Have a Purpose

She’s got purpose…

From JAMA Network:

Question:

Does an association exist between life purpose and all-cause or cause-specific mortality among people older than 50 years participating in the US Health and Retirement Study?

Findings:

This cohort study of 6985 adults showed that life purpose was significantly associated with all-cause mortality.

Meaning:

Life purpose is a modifiable risk factor and as such the role of interventions to improve life purpose should be evaluated for health outcomes, including mortality.

Source: Association Between Life Purpose and Mortality Among US Adults Older Than 50 Years | Cardiology | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network

Eating right and exercise also improve longevity.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Click pic to purchase book at Amazon.com

Older Women Gain Longevity Benefit With Just 4,400 Steps a Day

Among older women [average age 72], as few as approximately 4400 steps/d was significantly related to lower mortality rates compared with approximately 2700 steps/d. With more steps per day, mortality rates progressively decreased before leveling at approximately 7500 steps/d. Stepping intensity was not clearly related to lower mortality rates after accounting for total steps per day.

Source: Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women | Geriatrics | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

10,000 steps is about five miles, depending on stride length. 6,000 steps would be about three miles. Walking at two miles per hour, a leisurely stroll, it would take 90 minutes to walk three miles.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Click pic to purchase book at Amazon in the U.S.

Sugary Beverage Consumption Linked to Higher Risk of Death

From JAMA Network:

Question:  Is the consumption of sugary beverages (ie, sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices) associated with an increased mortality risk?

Findings:  In this cohort study of 13 440 black and white adults 45 years and older observed for a mean of 6.0 years, each additional 12-oz serving/d of sugary beverages was associated with an 11% higher all-cause mortality risk, and each additional 12-oz serving/d of fruit juice was associated with a 24% higher all-cause mortality risk. Similar associations were not observed for sugary beverage consumption and coronary heart disease mortality.

Meaning:  These results suggest higher consumption of sugary beverages, including fruit juice, is associated with increased mortality.

Source: Association of Sugary Beverage Consumption With Mortality Risk in US Adults: A Secondary Analysis of Data From the REGARDS Study | Cardiology | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network

Click pic to purchase book at Amazon in the U.S.

Sitting is the new smoking? No, it’s worse than that.

exercise for weight loss and management, dumbbells

At least he’s trying…

I’ve long advocated that life-and health-insurance companies base their premiums on results of individual treadmill exercise tests or similar. Here’s why.

From CNN:

We’ve all heard exercise helps you live longer. But a new study goes one step further, finding that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Wael Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic and senior author of the study, called the results “extremely surprising.”

“Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker,” Jaber told CNN. “We’ve never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this.”

Source: Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease – CNN

Most folks can improve their fitness by exercising regularly. But what about nonresponders?

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: All of my weight-loss books recommend and teach you how to improve your level of fitness.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Have No Effect on Cardiovascular Disease After All

Salmon, a cold-water fatty fish, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids

That headline is the conclusion of a Cochrane systematic review of the evidence. As you read the summary below, be aware that the main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-lenolinic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

From Cochrane Library:

Increasing EPA and DHA has little or no effect on all‐cause deaths and cardiovascular events (high‐quality evidence) and probably makes little or no difference to cardiovascular death, coronary deaths or events, stroke, or heart irregularities (moderate‐quality evidence, coronary events are illnesses of the arteries which supply the heart). EPA and DHA slightly reduce serum triglycerides and raise HDL (high‐quality evidence).

Eating more ALA (for example, by increasing walnuts or enriched margarine) probably makes little or no difference to all‐cause or cardiovascular deaths or coronary events but probably slightly reduce cardiovascular events, coronary mortality and heart irregularities (moderate/low‐quality evidence). Effects of ALA on stroke are unclear as the evidence was of very low quality.

There is evidence that taking omega‐3 capsules does not reduce heart disease, stroke or death. There is little evidence of effects of eating fish. Although EPA and DHA reduce triglycerides, supplementary omega‐3 fats are probably not useful for preventing or treating heart and circulatory diseases. However, increasing plant‐based ALA may be slightly protective for some heart and circulatory diseases.

Source: Omega‐3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease – Abdelhamid, AS – 2018 | Cochrane Library