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‘RealAge’ matters for breast cancer risk

The oldest woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal is Lida Peyton Pollock. She earned it as a member of an archery team in 1904 when she was 63 years and 333 days old. Clearly, her RealAge was much younger than her chronological age. That was apparent long before anyone knew DNA existed or before Dr. Mike and his team devised their RealAge test to help you determine your health and hardiness and set a path to sustained youthfulness.

Since then, more and more evidence of the important difference between chronological age and biological age has emerged.

The latest comes from researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Their study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, shows that a woman’s biologic age — determined by analyzing the degree of her DNA methylation, a chemical modification to DNA that’s part of the normal aging process — can predict her risk for breast cancer. They found that for every five years a woman’s biologic age was older than her chronologic age, her risk of developing breast cancer went up 15%!

You can roll back your RealAge by five to 15 years — really, it’s doable for most people! Start today: Enjoy nine servings daily of fruits, veggies and 100% whole grains; ditch red and processed meats; get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity five or more days a week; sleep seven to eight hours nightly; love your friends and family; and laugh a lot. Guys, this works for you, too!

GET FIT TO DETERMINE NEED OF COLONOSCOPY

It’s not everyone’s idea of a good time, but funnymen Steve Martin, Martin Short and Tom Hanks get together every other year to prepare for their colonoscopies. Anyone who has had this test knows that the day before is less than enjoyable, but the trio makes it fun. They eat Jell-O, play poker and take their turns in the bathroom.

Smart. Research affirms that routine screening (using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy — the gold standard) beginning at age 50 can prevent or catch early colorectal cancer. Screening should begin sooner if you’ve got a family history of the disease.

We would never suggest less quality time with friends, but there may be a way to get fewer colonoscopies. It’s now possible to screen a person with average colorectal cancer risk using a noninvasive fecal immunochemical test, or FIT, that can detect malignant cells in the stool. You collect a stool sample at home and send it into a lab.

A comprehensive analysis in Annals of Internal Medicine looked at 31 studies and found FIT to be a good way to ID if a person at average risk for colon cancer needs to have a colonoscopy.

If FIT detects any abnormalities, then absolutely YES. (About a third of folks with a positive FIT turn out to have advanced precancerous polyps or colon cancer.)

But if no abnormalities are spotted, FIT will buy you some time before your next essential colonoscopy.

WHEN SHOULD YOU EXERCISE?

Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston and The Rock all get up in the wee hours to do their daily exercise routine. While plenty of research supports the added benefits of rising with or before the sun to sweat (it may lower blood pressure, and it definitely provides an endorphin boost that puts you in the right mood for the day), research suggests short, intense bursts of evening exercise is also beneficial.

A small study published in Experimental Physiology tracked 11 middle-aged men who tried a 30-minute routine of six one-minute, high-intensity cycling sprints with four-minute periods of rest. They completed these exercises in the morning (6-7 a.m.), afternoon (2-4 p.m.) and evening (7-9 p.m.).

The researchers wanted to see how the timing of exercise could impact sleep and appetite, so they measured these variables through hormone levels in blood and various sleep tests.

Turns out high-intensity evening exercise didn’t disrupt participants’ sleep, and it reduced their hunger, measured by the level of ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone. So if you’re only able to find time late in the day to workout, you might try this kind of high-intensity interval-training.

Remember to get at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week for cardiovascular benefits.


Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email questions to youdocsdaily@sharecare.com.


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