‘Every doctor should be a longevity doctor’

Longevity Docs founder wants to build a global network of longevity doctors to democratize evidence-based longevity medicine.

Next month in New York will play host to a physician-only conference focused on precision and evidence-based longevity medicine. The Longevity Docs Mastermind event is exclusively for medical doctors with an interest in learning about the latest developments in longevity medicine and sharing experiences with like-minded practitioners from around the world.

This is the first event associated with Longevity Docs, a growing global network of physicians with a common goal: to democratize longevity medicine and improve human healthspan.

Longevity.Technology: Longevity Docs started out as a WhatsApp group comprising a handful of doctors with an interest in longevity. It has since evolved into a global decentralized platform for knowledge sharing and discussion around evidence-based longevity medicine. The organization was founded by Dr David Luu, a trained cardiac surgeon with a passion for longevity. We caught up with Luu to learn more about the origins of Longevity Docs, and what it hopes to accomplish.

‘Every doctor should be a longevity doctor’
Dr David Luu

The basic concepts of prevention and longevity medicine are simple. So simple, in fact, that one wonders why it’s taken so long for the world to start coming around to them.

“I guess we call it ‘longevity medicine’ now, but I think all medicine should be longevity medicine,” he says. “In addition to treating you when you’re sick, all medicine should be focused on predicting and preventing disease and educating you on how to live a longer and healthier life.”

Cutting through the longevity ‘noise’

In his work as a pediatric heart surgeon, Luu realized quite early on the power of prevention. In 2001, he founded The Heart Fund, a non-profit organization democratizing cardiac care in developing nations – a significant part of which involved setting up preventative clinics.

“As a surgeon, you only have two hands, and you quickly realize that the real power is in the hands of the local doctors – they are the ones treating patients every single day,” he says. “When I started working in the villages of Africa, I discovered the power of preventive education and bringing people together – communities of doctors, nurses, healthcare workers – to help prevent disease.”

When Luu moved to New York in 2014, he realized the same issues were just as prevalent in high-income countries as they were in developing countries.

“Everyone in the medical space was mostly focusing on treating the disease – there was no preventative approach to speak of,” he says.

But things soon started to change. A couple of years ago, Luu attended a large “antiaging” conference and realized just how much.

“To be honest, I was a little bit lost,” he recalls. “There were so many presentations, papers, vendors, practitioners, and thousands of people. It was amazing, but also quite difficult to get your head around the latest research, therapies, and what really works for patients, while being bombarded with so much information and noise.”

‘Every doctor should be a longevity doctor’

A longevity platform for doctors

On the back of that conference, Luu started a small WhatsApp group with a few like-minded doctors – physicians who believed in the power of longevity and prevention, but also felt overwhelmed by the volume of information available. What started as an informal conversation group soon morphed into something more.

“We started to add other doctors to the group and quickly realized we were all looking for the same thing – a trusted community where we could discuss the latest longevity research with our peers, without bias,” says Luu. “A place where we could openly discuss the treatments, testing regimes, diets, and supplements, with colleagues all around world.”

This realization was the genesis of the Longevity Docs platform, which launched earlier this year and comprises a small, but growing, community of doctors. And interest is growing.

“What we’re seeing is that this longevity revolution is everywhere – not only in the wealthiest parts of the world,” he says. “All over the world, we’re hearing from interested doctors, not in longevity medicine, which doesn’t really exist, but simply in good precision, evidence-based medicine, and how to put practices around it.”

The global aspect of Longevity Docs is something that Luu feels is hugely important.

“By combining the data from thousands of doctors around the globe, my vision is to become the largest longevity medicine database in the world – to try and understand the biological system of each individual, each nation differently,” he says. “Just because something works in Paris or in New York doesn’t mean it will work on the other side of the planet. Wherever you go in the world, there are different patients, with different cultures, different diets, different beliefs, and even different biology. We want to understand all that.”

Decentralizing longevity medicine

While Luu says the lack of current guidelines and protocols for longevity medicine is a challenge, it also presents an opportunity for Longevity Docs.

“The world is really changing fast – everything is becoming decentralized, virtual, data-driven, and powered by technology,” he says. “The technology exists today to provide clinical decision support tools to allow doctors all over the world to make better, more informed decisions based on proven science. We want to start by creating the first registry of evidence-based longevity practices around the globe.”

This, and other subjects will be the focus of next month’s Mastermind event in New York, which already boasts an impressive speaker list of more than 20 longevity doctors, including the likes of Professor Zahi Fayad, Dr Frank Lipman, Dr Amy Killen, Dr Florence Comite, and Dr David Barzilai.

“Every doctor should be a longevity doctor – we should all be trying to help our patients live longer and healthier for the longest period of time,” says Luu. “The primary outcome is really the health and lifespan of the individual, and the question really is how you can monitor and improve that by leveraging good data.”