New report explores the paradigm shift in longevity and how people can start working on improving their healthspan today.
A new report entitled The Way Forward for Longevity was published today, covering the building blocks of longevity and its potential to improve the lives of everyone on the planet. From exploring the interventions that can already make a positive difference to our healthspan, to concepts such as measuring your biological age and the need for personalisation, the report calls for action to ensure that longevity is for all, and not just the few.
Longevity.Technology: The benefit of maintaining and even improving our health as we age cannot be underestimated, and today’s report shines a spotlight on the concept of longevity – what it means and what you can do about it. The report was developed in collaboration with the founders of Humanity, the app designed to enable you to monitor your rate of aging and guide you to slow it down. We spoke with Humanity co-founder Michael Geer at Longevity Summit Dublin to learn more.
When it comes to what excites him about the future of longevity technology, Geer is quick to say that it’s what we already know today that really motivates him.
“Just yesterday I was watching a presentation from Loughborough University’s Alexandra Stolzing about a new method she is developing for identifying and simply filtering out senescent cells from our blood stream,” he says. “Senescent cells cause inflammation in the body and very possibly other negative signalling that makes us age faster. Her method is such a great example of combining years of basic longevity science and existing clinical methodologies widely in practice today to create something that has the potential to change lives.
“We need to find ways to speed the testing and application of these ostensibly safe practices in a first group of humans and then to everyone.”
Longevity must be for all
While there is sometimes a perception from those outside the field that breakthroughs in longevity research will only help the few, Geer feels that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“From what I’ve experienced, the longevity sector is probably the biggest proponent of making sure breakthroughs and interventions are low cost,” he says. “Take the drug discovery part of longevity – there is a major focus on common compounds and drugs that are already available for pennies or dollars in generic form.
“I do understand the concern though and think each of us in the space need to keep ourselves accountable to making sure the interventions we push forward have at least a clear path to low-cost delivery, even if the first prototypes may be expensive.”
When it comes to technological developments that are allowing people to start taking care of their longevity today, Geer points to the now ubiquitous smartphone as one of the most significant.
“Having this powerful machine in our pocket that both can track different digital biomarkers and deliver feedback to us directly and immediately, has been a game changer,” he says. “Also, we need to give a nod to the ubiquity and increasing power of machine learning (ML) that is allowing us to find answers in data that we never could before. This has enabled a small startup like Humanity to do something very powerful like know exactly what actions you should take to slow down your rate of aging.”
Weekly Added Years
The “WAY” in the title of the new report is a nod to a concept Humanity is championing called Weekly Added Years, which, Geer explains, speaks to the importance of measurement when trying to influence something like longevity.
READ MORE: The way forward for longevity
“We, along with others, are trying to standardize the way we speak about longevity interventions,” he says. “The goal of these actions and interventions is to add healthy years to your life, so we think quantifying that with how many healthy years an intervention is adding each week is a great way to make sure it is delivering on its promise. It also is a great way to quickly communicate how relatively impactful one intervention is compared to another.”
Humanity recently passed 130,000 users of its app, and Geer says that those users are achieving “sustained behaviour change and adding healthy years to their lives.”
“Now that we have access to so much health data, we are starting to really personalize the guidance further, which will increase the impact the app will have on each user’s healthspan. With all these proof points, we’re going to raise our Series A soon and scale to millions of users. We also are continually looking for ways to raise all ships in the longevity space, so would love to hear from any mission-aligned folks that want to partner.”