E nutritional issues play such a key role in a wide

E nutritional issues play such a key role in a wide range of age-associated diseases and contribute so much to morbidity, disability and mortality as we age, the potential for better nutritional habits to improve health outcomes in older populations is a largely untapped (yet urgently needed) measure. Although some dietary patterns are well known to be associated with the prevention of chronic age-associated diseases, such as the traditional Mediterranean diet, the focus of this manuscript will be to explore other, less well known, dietary patterns that have also been linked to decreased risk for chronic age-associated diseases, such as the Okinawan Diet. Okinawan elders, many of whom still eat a very healthy diet, represent one of the healthiest populations of seniors on the planet.Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author ManuscriptAchieving Healthy Aging: The Art of the PossibleWhat can we realistically achieve in terms of healthy human aging? There is ongoing debate that seems to swing between two poles. Some scientists optimistically argue that technological order Resiquimod breakthroughs may soon extend human lifespan to a thousand or more years (de Grey et al. 2002). Others argue that we may have already “hit the wall” in terms of the potential for growth in human life expectancy and we might even witness declines in the 21st century due to obesity and the re-emergence of infectious disease threats (Olshansky et al. 2005).Mech Ageing Dev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2017 April 24.Willcox et al.PageCaloric restriction is among the most robust interventions in model organisms of aging for extending lifespan (Masoro, 2005). With the plethora of recent studies of primates, including humans, some argue that dietary interventions such as caloric restriction have the potential to significantly extend human lifespan–as they have in invertebrate and animal models (Anderson Weindruch 2012; Mercken et al. 2012). Although the evidence for dietary restriction effects in primates (including humans) is promising, and there are individuals who follow such a regimen, it is not practical as a public health policy. Nor are mechanistic studies of model organisms always applicable to humans thus caution must be used when extrapolating such findings to human populations. On a more practical level, substantial population health gains may be possible in the future if we can delay the onset of common age-related diseases by currently available risk factor modification (Willcox B et al, 2006; de la Torre, 2012; Yaffe et al., 2012; Willcox et al, 2013). In order to further quantify the potentially achievable GS-5816 web population-wide benefits of such an approach, public health scientists Olshansky and colleagues (2007) estimated that delaying typical age-related morbidity in Americans by just seven years would decrease the age-specific risk of disability and death by 50 , allowing a substantial improvement in both lifespan and more importantly, in healthspan. The authors label this the “longevity dividend”. Combining what we already know about modifying risk factors for chronic disease with a better understanding of the genetics of healthy aging may help optimize future targets for intervention. For example, a review by Cluett and Melzer (2009) of over 50 GWAS studies of four major aging-related phenotypes found that cell cycle, regrowth and tissue repair were the most common biological pathways across these aging-related phenotypes, and may represent g.E nutritional issues play such a key role in a wide range of age-associated diseases and contribute so much to morbidity, disability and mortality as we age, the potential for better nutritional habits to improve health outcomes in older populations is a largely untapped (yet urgently needed) measure. Although some dietary patterns are well known to be associated with the prevention of chronic age-associated diseases, such as the traditional Mediterranean diet, the focus of this manuscript will be to explore other, less well known, dietary patterns that have also been linked to decreased risk for chronic age-associated diseases, such as the Okinawan Diet. Okinawan elders, many of whom still eat a very healthy diet, represent one of the healthiest populations of seniors on the planet.Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author ManuscriptAchieving Healthy Aging: The Art of the PossibleWhat can we realistically achieve in terms of healthy human aging? There is ongoing debate that seems to swing between two poles. Some scientists optimistically argue that technological breakthroughs may soon extend human lifespan to a thousand or more years (de Grey et al. 2002). Others argue that we may have already “hit the wall” in terms of the potential for growth in human life expectancy and we might even witness declines in the 21st century due to obesity and the re-emergence of infectious disease threats (Olshansky et al. 2005).Mech Ageing Dev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2017 April 24.Willcox et al.PageCaloric restriction is among the most robust interventions in model organisms of aging for extending lifespan (Masoro, 2005). With the plethora of recent studies of primates, including humans, some argue that dietary interventions such as caloric restriction have the potential to significantly extend human lifespan–as they have in invertebrate and animal models (Anderson Weindruch 2012; Mercken et al. 2012). Although the evidence for dietary restriction effects in primates (including humans) is promising, and there are individuals who follow such a regimen, it is not practical as a public health policy. Nor are mechanistic studies of model organisms always applicable to humans thus caution must be used when extrapolating such findings to human populations. On a more practical level, substantial population health gains may be possible in the future if we can delay the onset of common age-related diseases by currently available risk factor modification (Willcox B et al, 2006; de la Torre, 2012; Yaffe et al., 2012; Willcox et al, 2013). In order to further quantify the potentially achievable population-wide benefits of such an approach, public health scientists Olshansky and colleagues (2007) estimated that delaying typical age-related morbidity in Americans by just seven years would decrease the age-specific risk of disability and death by 50 , allowing a substantial improvement in both lifespan and more importantly, in healthspan. The authors label this the “longevity dividend”. Combining what we already know about modifying risk factors for chronic disease with a better understanding of the genetics of healthy aging may help optimize future targets for intervention. For example, a review by Cluett and Melzer (2009) of over 50 GWAS studies of four major aging-related phenotypes found that cell cycle, regrowth and tissue repair were the most common biological pathways across these aging-related phenotypes, and may represent g.

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