OBJECTIVE: To determine the use of alternative diets and other alternative treatments in 2002 compared to 1999. DESIGN: Descriptive, questionnaire. METHOD: During the period 13-26 May 2002 a survey was held among all patients visiting the outpatient clinic of the Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Patients were asked about their current and past use of alternative therapies, their reasons for using these therapies, the way they were informed about these therapies and the expenses involved.
Nothing has been demonstrated to slow or reverse the primary aging process in humans; instead, the factors that are known to affect longevity do so by their influence on disease development, which is part of secondary aging. Preventive strategies against secondary aging are aimed at maintaining health and functional capacity and rectangularizing, rather than extending, the survival curve. Interventions for preventive geriatrics and successful aging include a low-fat, low-energy diet with a high content of fruits and vegetables; exercise; and hormone replacement.
Aging can be slowed in laboratory rodents by low-calorie diets, and changes in single genes can extend mouse life span by 40 percent or more. Therefore, despite its surface complexity and effects on multiple cells and intercellular systems, aging in mammals might also be retarded by both genetic and nongenetic means. If human aging could be slowed pharmacologically to the extent now possible in rodents, the effect on healthy life expectancy would exceed that of abolishing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and adult-onset diabetes.
Breast and prostate cancer share similar intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors. Based on laboratory, ecologic/international comparison, and case-control studies, the impact of dietary fat or other fat subtypes has been suggested as a potential route to reduce risk. Recent large-scale prospective studies have failed to find an association between fat and breast cancer risk. These studies may provide some insight for researchers examining the relation between fat and prostate cancer.
Obesity is increasing in epidemic proportions world-wide. Even mild degrees of obesity have adverse health effects and are associated with diminished longevity. For this reason aggressive dietary intervention is recommended. Patients with body mass indices exceeding 40 have medically significant obesity in which the risk of serious health consequences is substantial, with concomitant significant reductions in life expectancy. For these patients, sustained weight loss rarely occurs with dietary intervention. For the appropriately selected patients, surgery is beneficial.
A considerable amount of evidence is consistent with the proposition that systemic IGF-I activity acts as pacesetter in the aging process. A reduction in IGF-I activity is the common characteristic of rodents whose maximal lifespan has been increased by a wide range of genetic or dietary measures, including caloric restriction. The lifespans of breeds of dogs and strains of rats tend to be inversely proportional to their mature weight and IGF-I levels.
The Pritikin Program (Aventura, FL) involves the use of a very-low-fat, low-sodium, high-fiber diet and exercise to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). This study evaluated the effect of short-term Pritikin therapy on the metabolic risk factors for CHD in patients with the metabolic syndrome. Sixty-seven subjects who had the metabolic syndrome and attended the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa for 12-15 days were studied.