Optimal living for 120 and beyond is now on the horizon. While the exact number of years may be uncertain, the outcome is clear, more than ever we can now position ourselves for getting the most out of life. Follow this blog to see how it can be done! This is not so much about a long life, it's about healthy, meaningful, vigorous living.
An Invitation to my 120th Birthday Celebration.
Having taught 39 years, my last words to my students on the final day of my career were: "You're all invited to my 120th Birthday.
Celebrate it by skiing with me."
I think it was Sara who shot up her hand saying: "Wait, wait." (pausing for a quick calculation) "I'll be 77 years old!"
"Don't worry." says I, "I'll slow down for you!"
During the 40 years I've studied Anatomy and Physiology and brain research, much has been published about slowing or eliminating the negative aspects of aging. In the next few years you'll begin to hear more frequently, medical discussions about living a high quality life to 120 and beyond. Personally, I plan to squeeze up every savory drop along the way, and this be the log of that journey.
The journey: At 44 I had a mild heart attack, like a two by four, reminding me to take better care of my body. I instructed my cardiologist to: "be more aggressive with me than any patient in his history." He immediately ordered me into a program of cardio work outs 5-6 days a week.
At 59, I learned I needed to correct a Kyphosis, an over-curvature of the upper back probably from a combination of slouching and aging. Here was my first lesson about the critical importance of our backs for continuing health and well being. In 2006 I realized that I'd need to engineer a comprehensive plan to optimize the quality of my life to 120. "Never limit yourself." was a central lesson for my students.
Up until 2001, my students heard me say: "My plan is to happily and vigorously live to 120. Then I realized I'd been limiting myself so I changed the mantra to 120 AND BEYOND.
Monday, January 13, 2014
I believe everyone should have at least one mentor, someone wiser, or more expert in the habits of who we are planning to become.
I'm about to take on a second mentor to guide me along this path. . .
Increasing low back pain over a year led to a "9 TO 10 on the Zero to 10 PAIN SCALE". Something had to be done. I'll tell you that story in a moment, but first . . .
What's the point of living a long life if we can not luxuriate in the pleasures, no matter how great or small, all along our journey.
No one ever said from their death bed: "I wish I'd spent more time at work." So let's do something fun, something pleasurable, something to treasure, every day. Try a new recipe, do something novel for your hungry brain. If we don't, then who will?
"It's not time for the 'S' word. SURGERY IS THE LAST OPTION" --Willian Dillin, M.D.
I started with William Dillin, M.D. who completed the Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Spinal Surgery Fellowship at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia in July 1985. His practice is devoted exclusively to spine surgery.
His first recommendation was physical therapy, saying surgery would only be the last option, but the condition remained progressive over a year of PT. When my pain reach 9-10, surgery became the last option. I asked my family doctor for referrals and consulted with his top three recommendations asking them about their surgical success rates. Dr. Dillin had the highest surgical success rate.
Dr. Dillin, explained that this X-ray shows 7mm of anterior (forward) displacement and misaligned lumbar vertebrae that should be positioned one directly above the other. That vertebral displacement was now putting pressure on my L-5 spinal nerve and causing inflammation, pain, and possible neurologic loss. It was now time for surgery.
The day I was to call to schedule that surgery, a friend recommended Dr. McCowin, D.C. and Corrective Care for back problems. I scheduled a consult at her clinic (now the OC Medical and Disc Institute in Irvine) where she practices Non-surgical treatment designed to identify and correct the underlying problems which cause pain and suffering.
There, I learned Dr. McCowin employs the Pettibon System, Corrective Care, which concentrates on muscle memory to retrain the body to hold the spine where it should be to promote lasting correction and pain relief.
PROGNOSIS: Dr. McCowin, examined my X-rays and determined that "Corrective Care" could have me back skiing by the end of December! Treatment would proceed in two phases.
I learned that I'd been holding my head 31 mm. too far forward, a position that had flattened the natural cervical neck curve. Over the years that has caused a cascading effect that has contributed to my severe lower back pain and spondylolisthesis.
TREATMENT: Phase one, physical therapy to train my brain to hold my head in the proper position and use muscle memory to keep it there. Decompression treatments would help restore intervertebral disks. Adjustments by Dr. Dunkley would physically manipulate the vertebrae and move them back toward an optimal position. Additional elements of the treatment will be added shortly.
The xray below shows my flattened cervical curve before treatment.
This corrective treatment is based upon the key principles of the Pettibon system:
~Gravity is an absolute environment to which the upright spine and posture of humans must develop and relate.
~There is an absolute optimal position for the upright spine and posture.
~Consider the skull as a vertebra. The only vertebra that knows its neurologically optimal position and has the ability to establish and maintain that posture.
~Posture is controlled neurologically. Righting reflexes and the cerebellum regulate the skull's upright position—keeping the skull upright even at the expense of displacing the lower spine. http://120andbeyond.blogspot.com/
After 20 Pettibon System visits and treatments, visible improvement can be seen in the xray below, showing a 31 mm to 18 mm. correction of the cervical curve with the ideal being 0 mm or my head positioned exactly above the vertebral column.
Comparing the two xrays illustrates more of a cervical curve in the lower photo, half way home!
My skeptical brain questions the numbers but the absence of pain tells me that the Pettibon approach is working.
July 28, 2011, I've been exercising the muscles that position the spine and using muscle memory to correct the misalignment and relieve 90% of the pain. As of January, 2012 it appears that surgical intervention is unnecessary. Great news considering:
68% SURGICAL FAILURE RATE: In a comprehensive set of studies carried out by the University of Washington School of Medicine, it was determined that the outcome of lumbar fusion performed on injured workers was worse than reported in most published case series. They found 68% of lumbar fusion patients still unable to return to work two years after surgery.
Source: Outcome of Lumbar Fusion in Washington State Workers' Compensation
Franklin, Gary M. MD, MPH; Haug, Joanna MSc; Heyer, Nicholas J. PhD; McKeefrey, S. P. MN; Picciano, Joseph F. BA
In December, I elevated my computer screen six inches (photos soon) to position the center of the screen at the same level as my eyes and places my head in an optimal position.
For those of us spending hours on a computer, sitting up straight is an critically important habit for Optimal Living to 120 and Beyond.
AVOIDING SURGERY: Optimal quality of life is part maintaining optimal physiological levels and part informed decision making. Avoiding surgery for example had benefits that were two fold:
1. a significant percentage of surgical patients do not experience reduced back pain and need follow up surgery within 5 years.
2. There are risks of permanent neurologic loss associated with anesthesia that would diminish cognitive function and negatively impact my goal of enjoying life to the maximum. Carpe diem!
“IF THERE WAS ONE PIECE OF EQUIPMENT, I’D SAY EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A FOAM ROLL.”
The core, (center of gravity) is where all body movement originates. This cylindrical group of muscles** should be on at low levels all the time in preparation for action and motion from simply picking up a pencil to swinging a golf club.
Using a foam roll to stabilize your core will improve your posture and protect you from low back pain and sports injuries.Come back next week for a foam roll video that life long will maximize your quality of life, especially if you spend time in front of a computer screen.
As for 120 and Beyond,
it's my way of shattering the old paradigm pairing infirmity and aging.
Instead, let's take care of our bodies for a high quality of life for the remainder of our days. Carpe diem, Seize the day, every day.
If you've been sitting at your computer for a while,
notice the tilt of your head, the position of your back.
Remember our mother's admonition?
"Sit up straight."
If you sit up straight, notice the delta, between where you were and sitting up straight. Over a lifetime, that small difference in posture leads to that all too common back pain as we get older.
Laying with your spine on a foam roll 5 minutes a day, allows gravity to return our upper back to a more optimal posture, countering the way we round our backs as we work or sit.
We should hold our bodies as do
the Maasai, standing, sitting tall.
Little things, optimal life.
** Core muscles: transversus abdomnis, multifidus, diaphragm, and pelvic floor.
Keeping your heart healthy may slow down brain aging.
Cardiac index, a measure of heart health, is linked to diminishing brain volume, a sign of brain aging.
Brains may age faster in people whose hearts pump less blood.
IN ANOTHER STUDY: Researchers say that that aerobic and resistance trainingexercise is a promising strategy for combating cognitive decline and that this been shown to enhance mental performance in people as they age.
Think of the oldest person you've ever seen. Zoom in on that image. Now dissolve that old school image because a very high quality of life is now available to you, one that will allow you to hike, dance the tango, ski or engage in other physical activities on your 120th birthday and beyond while enjoying a high quality of life along the way.
Here is a prime example of Grey's point of view.
Kevin Stone treats joint injury using the new developments in bio-medicine: reconstructing damaged tissue or replacing whole joint parts, with lab-grown ligaments and cartilage, hereby ushering in the transition from hardware prosthetics like an artificial knee to FDA approved bio replacement using your own stem cells. These developments will prevent arthritis from immobilizing millions of active people.
As you follow this blog, you'll pick up clues that will position you for a lifetime where every day is better than the last. In the clip below, Daniel Kraft, pediatric cancer doctor, introduces the idea of banking your younger, healthier stems cells for use in the future.
My exercise and spin instructors and physical therapist are teaching me how to enhance my physiology for 120 and beyond. Long known is the value of cardio exercise, but another important key is using our medical history as a navigator telling us where to go next to insure a continual high quality life style. Each time a visit my doctors, I learn from them what I need to do for 120 and Beyond. Since each day is better than the last, I want to see how far this can go!
For a clue, see 1st ELEMENT.
Information is credible if published through the NIH. When it comes to health and medicine, the NIH, National Institutes of Health, is a most reliable source of information.
Like this abstract on prospects for brain rebuilding using integrated management.
In the future look for more in the area of:
"oxygen free radical species that may place the ultimate limit on lifespan."
Altern Med Rev. 2005 Dec;10(4):268-93.
Neurodegeneration from mitochondrial insufficiency: nutrients, stem cells, growth factors, and prospects for brain rebuilding using integrative management.
University of California, Berkeley, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Degenerative brain disorders (neurodegeneration) can be frustrating for both conventional and alternative practitioners. A more comprehensive, integrative approach is urgently needed. One emerging focus for intervention is brain energetics. Specifically, mitochondrial insufficiency contributes to the etiopathology of many such disorders. Electron leakages inherent to mitochondrial energetics generate reactive oxygen free radical species that may place the ultimate limit on lifespan. Exogenous toxins, such as mercury and other environmental contaminants, exacerbate mitochondrial electron leakage, hastening their demise and that of their host cells. Studies of the brain in Alzheimer's and other dementias, Down syndrome, stroke, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's disease, Friedreich's ataxia, aging, and constitutive disorders demonstrate impairments of the mitochondrial citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) enzymes. Imaging or metabolic assays frequently reveal energetic insufficiency and depleted energy reserve in brain tissue in situ. Orthomolecular nutrients involved in mitochondrial metabolism provide clinical benefit. Among these are the essential minerals and the B vitamin group; vitamins E and K; and the antioxidant and energetic cofactors alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10; CoQ10), and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, reduced (NADH). Recent advances in the area of stem cells and growth factors encourage optimism regarding brain regeneration. The trophic nutrients acetyl L-carnitine (ALCAR), glycerophosphocholine (GPC), and phosphatidylserine (PS) provide mitochondrial support and conserve growth factor receptors; all three improved cognition in double-blind trials. The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is enzymatically combined with GPC and PS to form membrane phospholipids for nerve cell expansion. Practical recommendations are presented for integrating these safe and well-tolerated orthomolecular nutrients into a comprehensive dietary supplementation program for brain vitality and productive lifespan.
PMID: 16366737 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]Free Article
In another study: "The researchers say that exercise is a promising strategy for combating cognitive decline and that aerobic and resistance training have been shown to enhance mental performance both in healthy people as they age."