“Age is just a number. Life and aging are the greatest gifts that we could possibly ever have.” (Cicely Tyson)
“The latest longevity research suggests there is no reason that people born today can’t live to at least 120 years old... perhaps even to 150 and beyond,” said Peter Diamandis in one of his articles about the longevity mindset. While trying to think about this statement, he asked “how would you change your life if you could live to 120 years old and remain healthy?” and “what would you do differently today?.”
A new article series is going to explore the topic of health longevity with the goal of promoting awareness and a proactive attitude toward aging and health. Here’s a preview of what this series on health longevity will include:
- We’ll discuss one of the most debated topics on the global underpopulation “catastrophe” characterized by a demographic shift toward aging.
- We will look at what is aging and how it differs from longevity.
- Methods to “diagnose” aging from transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, to epigenomics will be presented, including a method, developed by Caswell and van Daalen.
- The importance of considering women’s health and reproductivity on lifespan.
- A glimpse into longevity medicine and how to reverse aging through technologies and healthy habits, giving you a bright and optimistic perspective of what we should expect in the next years of our life.
- The longevity industry and the evolution from 1.0 to 2.0.
- The importance of evolving a “longevity mindset” to promote health and an optimistic perspective against the threat of aging and mortality.
- The future of longevity, reporting innovative research on genes and drugs as novel treatments against age-related diseases.
This article is a preview of what you’ll expect in the coming weeks.
The underpopulation catastrophe: age reversal is the cure
Research by Vollset et al., (2020) , published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, projected that the global population will peak at 9.7 billion by 2064 with a dramatic decline to 8.8 billion by 2100. Indeed, understanding the possible change in population size and age patterns is essential due to their impact on economic, social, and political influence in the world. Thus, anticipating these demographic changes would be useful when planning future needs concerning healthcare, environmental, and economic resources. Therefore, the study has developed an innovative method to predict mortality, fertility, migration, and population, besides the evaluation of economic and geopolitical effects on the global population . The framework was aimed at shaping and forecasting the future population based on reference and alternative scenarios about fertility, migration, and mortality rates. Moreover, statistical models were developed based on completed cohort fertility at age of 50 (CCF50); a measure more reliable and stable than the total fertility rate (TFR) typically used. In addition, the CCF50 was also adapted with education levels, use of contraceptives, and age-specific fertility rates. Age-specific mortality to 2100 was modeled as a function of mortality risk factors, whereas net migration rate was a function of the socio-demographic index, population growth rate, and deaths from war or natural disasters.
Results showed that in the reference scenario, the forecasted TFR would be 1.66 in 2100, with a global population peak of 9.73 billion in 2064, although the rate is also estimated to decline by 8.79 billion in 2100. This is a dramatic result considering that the average population replacement rate should be 2.1, for each generation. Moreover, these projections were estimated for the five largest countries such as India, Nigeria, China, the USA, and Pakistan. This event would also be followed by a worldwide age shift with 2.37 billion individuals older than 65 years and just 1.70 billion younger than 20 years. Regarding the TFR, by 2050 in 151 countries a decrease in fertility rate is estimated (< 2.1), whereas by 2100 in 183 countries the TFR will be even lower than the replacement need. Besides, a population decline greater than 50% is predicted in 23 countries including Japan, Thailand, and Spain by 2100. Lastly, based on the alternative scenario and to the Sustainable Development Goals targets for education and contraceptive meet need, the global population would be projected to be around 9.29 billion in 2100 .
Hence, the authors concluded that the increased level of education and contraception possibilities in females will contribute to the decline of the fertility rate, and consequently population growth. This event will even affect bigger countries such as China and India, where the fertility rate will become even lower than the needed replacement level. Thus, an impact on the global economy, politics, and healthcare needs should be considered as a fact going to happen in the coming decades .
Video above includes Elon Musk talking about population decline, possible AI threats, and declining birth rate.
Underpopulation: trick or treat?
Facing the reality of a global underpopulation event, already projected for the coming decades, the need to increase our productive and healthy lifespan is worth it. The reason is most economical, indeed research from Harvard, Oxford, and London Business School has shown how the increase of healthy lifespan is worth in dollars. Hence, slowing the aging rate by just one year benefits the global economy with more than $38 trillion. Thinking in this manner, focusing on enhancing lifespan with well-being and health is going to benefit the societal and economic values already by 10-20 years from now .
Advances in medicine and technologies brought a great advantage in boosting this process. Improved diagnostic tools to detect early diseases onset, gene therapies to treat so far incurable diseases, or even organ regeneration would have a tremendous effect on promoting a healthy lifespan to cope with the dramatic decrease in population and shift toward an aged population . Hence 100 years old will be the new 60!
Is Your Biological Clock Your Age?
In particular, the focus will be on distinguishing aging from longevity, discussing which variables, behaviors, and habits may influence our lifespan. Nutrition and genetics will be highlighted as determinant factors due to their interplay with aging and longevity. Moreover, methods to “diagnose” aging from transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, to epigenomics will be presented. In addition, the importance of considering women’s health and reproductivity on lifespan will follow. Lastly, I will present a method, developed by Caswell and van Daalen (2021)  to measure health longevity.
Gaining health to your years: science tells you how to live longer and healthier
Besides innovative technologies brought by Insudtry 4.0 in diagnostic and disease treatment, in this article, I will introduce the novel branch of medicine called “longevity medicine” while discussing its importance in the context of aging and health. Moreover, a few tips on recommended behaviors and habits to boost health longevity will be given, with a focus on the latest discoveries in diet restriction and the impact of positive emotions on health. I will also introduce the “Healthy Longevity Global Challenge”, a global movement founded by the U.S National Academy of Medicine to improve health and wellbeing. Lastly, I will close the article discussing the importance of evolving a “longevity mindset” to promote health and an optimistic perspective against the threat of aging and mortality.
Exponential medicine: the longevity industry 2.0
The article on the longevity industry will be the last of the health longevity series. Thus, due to the increasing evolution of longevity medicine, I will discuss the growth of the longevity industry, and what characterizes its development from 1.0 to 2.0. Indeed, I will discuss how this industry aims at providing solutions to reverse aging, but also to transform the concept of aging from being a “disease” into an opportunity to extend healthy years to life. Therefore, outbreaking research focused on preventive medicine and disruptive medical technologies are the key to reducing the burden on the global economy and healthcare system. Moreover, a few reasons to invest in the longevity industry will be given, while covering the latest discoveries in the field of regenerative medicine and outstanding methods to rejuvenation. Lastly, I will discuss the future of longevity, reporting innovative research on genes and drugs as novel treatments against age-related diseases. In conclusion to this article series, My final thought and take-home messages will follow.
“Our population is headed for a stable plateau, which means an aging population.” (Emanuel Celler)
- Vollset, S. E. et al. (2020). Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. The Lancet, Global Health Metrics. 396: 1285–306. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/ S0140-6736(20)30677-2
- Diamandis, P.H. (2021). How age reversal solves global population. Available at: https://www.diamandis.com/blog/how-age-reversal-solves-underpopulation [Accessed on January 03, 2022]Caswell, H. and van Daalen, S. (2021). Healthy longevity from incidence-based models: More kinds of health than stars in the sky. Demographic Research, 45, 13, 397-452. DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2021.45.13
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