Archive for the ‘Life Extension News’ Category

Asbestos and Malignant Mesthelioma

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

Many people are wondering about the risks of asbestos exposure and getting malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer on the pleura, or lining of the lungs. It can lead fluid in the lungs, difficulty breathing, and eventually death. When it comes to how our bodies age and handle illness, 65% depends on the environment, like the things we feed, expose, and do to our bodies. The remaining 35% is due to genetics, that wonderful nuclear and mitochondrial DNA that we got from ours parents and mothers, respectively.

When we think about environment, consider the following study. A 35-year period evaluation of workers in an asbestos factory in Poland revealed that increased rates of lung cancers, pleural mesothelioma, and all malignant cancers were higher in these workers than in the general population. Of the 4,187 subjects studied (2805 men and 1382 women), five died from pleural mesothelioma. Also, the risk for these types of illness did not differ between those that had a preceeding documented diagnosis of lung asbestosis and those that did not. So, where people work, and the polutants they are exposed to, clearly influence disease risks.

Now with genomics laboratories, investigation of disease risk is taken to a new level. A recent study in Northwest Italy evaluated single nucleotide DNA polymorphisms in 4 genes responsible for DNA repair. Polymorphisms are like typos in the DNA language. The assumption was that sloppy DNA repair increased the risk for this cancer when a gene-damaging substance like asbestos was thrown into the picture. It’s like trying to fix an important system with an entire chapter ripped out of the repair manual. So seven different variations of these 4 genes were studied in 81 malignant mesothelioma patients and 110 of their age-matched and sex-matched controls. All subjects were residents of Casale Monferrato, a town polluted with asbestos. The results showed that with one type of polymorphism (or DNA typo) a 2.147 oddds ratio existed for this disease, another variant (or DNA typo) had a 4.09 odds risk ratio. These genetic variations can certainly put people at an increased risk of developing the cancer. This is valuable information because the residents of this town can now look at their family genetics and give more consideration about whether or not they should move out of there!

Environment and genetics…we are getting more options now than ever before to learn about our risks of getting cancers, like malignant mesothelioma. If you have any concerns about a history of personal asbestos exposure, I encourage you to explore with your physician or health care provider what diagnostic tools are available for further evaluation.

Dianzani I, et al. Polymorphisms in DNA repair genes as risk factors for asbestos-related malignat mesothelioma in a general population study. Mutant Res. 2006 Marc 23; (epub ahead of print)
Wilezynska U, Szymezak W, Szeszenia-Dabrowska N. Mortality from malignant neoplasms among workers of an asbestos processing plant in Poland: results of prolonged observation. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2005; 18(4):313-26.

Book Review: The Edge Effect

Monday, January 9th, 2006

The Edge Effect is a helpful healthy aging guide by Dr. Eric Braverman, a specialist in “neuropause,” or the slowing of the brain’s function. His book helps people identify their strengths and weaknesses in the four main neurotransmitter systems: serotonin, gama amino butyric acid, dopamine, and acetylcholine. It is a chemical exploration into one’s mind. He offers useful hormone, amino acid, and dietary recommendations to help optimize each of these neurotransmitters and bring balance to the brain.

I encourage anyone who wants to improve their “edge” to read this book. It is easy to understand, and can provide a path to a better functioning brain!

Natalie Kather, MD
diplomate of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine
and diplomate of the Amercian Board of Family Medicine

Vermont is named healthiest state

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

Vermont is named healthiest state. Mississippi and Louisiana are at the bottom of the list. More here.

“waist-to-hip ratio” is a better predictor of heart attacks

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario recently found “waist-to-hip ratio” is a better predictor of heart attacks than BMI or weight. More here

Moderate Alcohol Use May Thin Blood

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

CNN has a story running on the netscape portal about how
Moderate Alcohol Use May Thin Blood.

Scientists may have found an antiaging hormone in mice

Monday, September 5th, 2005

The hormone is a protein naturally made by the mice. In lab tests, researchers found that mice that make a lot of that protein lived about 20% longer than normal mice.

More information is available on

Hugging helps you live longer

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

Scientists have confirmed the wisdom of mothers down the ages – a real hug does you good:

New England Centenarian Study

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

New England Centenarian Study:

The NECS has gone on to enroll centenarians from throughout the United States and other countries and has grown to be the largest comprehensive study of centenarians in the world. There are currently 1,500 subjects to-date, including centenarians, their siblings and children (in their 70s and 80s) and younger controls.

Okinawans tend to live longer than the rest of the world

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

Elderly Okinawans have among the lowest mortality rates in the world from a multitude of chronic diseases of aging and as a result enjoy not only what may be the world’s longest life expectancy but the world’s longest health expectancy. Read more at

A diet rich in antioxidants alone may not be enough

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

A recent study suggests that a diet rich in antioxidants alone may not be enough. Apparently, other factors are at work too. The BBC article on the study is a little confusing. The researchers agree that oxidants damage cell DNA – and that cells die off when their DNA is damaged(which is a good thing: no one wants errant cells running amok and reproducing). The BBC article teaser contends that an aging theory has been proven wrong, but the body of the article – and comments by the researchers – do not seem to agree. Anyone have comments? What do you think?