Aging: Slowing Down the Process (cont.)

Speaker_Schneider Yes. There is some ample evidence from many specialists in age and research that shows that some naturally age more slowly than others. ... and this is again the point of usual or average aging which most people show with declines in mental and physical health. A minority of the population shows greater mental functioning and emotional well being and physical health in later years, and these have been called successful agers, because their different in many ways. This shows the potential for greater well being, greater efficiency and greater health as the years go on, but until now there ahs been a lack of systematic approach to developing successful aging. ... although some spontaneously show it. What is very exciting from the latest research is that several modalities of natural medicine we've discussed, example stress reduction, etc., has shown that older people can improve cognitive functioning.

A study at Harvard compared TM to other approaches in the elderly showed improve cognitive flexibility, improved memory, less depression, improved mental health, as well as lower blood pressure and less heart disease and death from heart attacks, strokes, and cancer, for many years. This is compared to controls, and there are other modalities like proper diet and nutritional supplements which seem to supplement that technology to age successfully, if you will.

Mature_Years_Mod Today's guest is Dr. Robert Schneider, Professor of Physiology ad Maharishi Ayur-Veda and Director of the Center for Health and Aging Studies. Today we're discussing slowing down the aging process. If you would like to submit a question please type in /ask skip a space and then enter your question followed by hitting the return key

Mature_Years_Mod Tell us more about your NIH sponsored Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention...

Speaker_Schneider This center was awarded this past Oct and is the culmination of 10 years of research, much sponsored by NIH. AT our university in collaboration with major medical centers around the country, on approaches of natural med that could be useful in prevention of diseases in the aging population. Based on that preliminary work, the NIH's National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine funded us as 1 of 9 centers of excellence in the country, with an 8 million dollar grant, to do several things in this center. One is to evaluate with scientific methods the most promising natural medicine technologies for this age group and second, to train future researchers in the field of natural medicine, because there is a shortage of well trained scientists who can evaluate the unique approaches of natural medicine. Third, the mission is to develop new domains which have not been previously explored in terms of innovative methodologies for effectiveness, as well as safety, and cost effectiveness. The latter is important because the Medicare budget may be bankrupt in the not to distant future, so we really need cost effective methods or preventing ill health in the aging population, both from a societal perspective as well as individual, because everyone wants to live longer, of course, but also with sustained high quality off life.

Mature_Years_Mod What are some of the most promising naturals medicines out there?

Speaker_Schneider One approach that's very interesting is anti-oxidants. Of course, there have been many studies on individual ones like Vitamin C or E, and many are taking them for their effects hopefully on preventing cancer or heart disease, and even slowing down the aging process. But I think the best info to emerge is that combinations of antioxidants found naturally such as in the diet or in plants like herbal products seem to be more effective than the isolated active ingredient alone, like isolated such as Vit C or E. For that reason, our center is following up research done at Ohio State U and others on herbal preparations from this ancient system of vedic medicine, which so far seems highly promising for their effects in preventing free radical related disorders such as heart disease, perhaps cancer, and other disorders associated with advancing age.

These studies are currently beginning in our center in clinical trials, in follow-up lab and animal studies which suggests these effects. Other approaches of Maharishi Vedic Med which are under study and appear useful for clinical use include vedic sound therapy which uses particular sounds from the vedic literature which have been proposed to correspond or effect different parts of the body. Example, sound therapy, or a newer one with vibration which can -- which appears can effect balance in corresponding parts of the body such as the digestive system or the joints, skin, or even mental health, and this seems to be a useful complimentary approach for many chronic disorders which are difficult to treat. ... by modern medicine, which is why they're called chronic in the first place.

Finally, another one is techniques for physiological purification which seems to remove toxins from the body which research suggests has an effect on improving health with aging. Another new area is -- or rediscovered -- is the effects of the environment on health, such as architecture, the building, or even design of one's home, etc., has an effect on mood and other aspects of well being. There's a system of natural architecture which is part of this which actually recommends appropriate home and office designs to maximize the health of inhabitants. Finally, even there's knowledge from this natural medical system of how even the cycles of the sun and the moon and other stars and planets relate to our cycles of health, etc., and this is very new but very exciting knowledge that contributes to a holistic understanding of health and the aging process and even provides methodologies for minimizing the negative impact of those effects of the environment and maximizing the positive potential.