By A. S. Deller | 2 July 2021
It doesn’t help that there are many terms for what is essentially the same thing: anti-aging, rejuvenation, life extension, and longevity. And then some terms are often conflated with the meanings of those words, such as “immortality,” but which have very different meanings.
Despite a growing catalog of legitimate R&D accomplishments, the field of human longevity technology hasn’t reached the point yet where it’s a regular topic around multi-generational Sunday dinner tables.
As scientific discovery in the field of human longevity continues to gather momentum, the continuing lack of understanding and general knowledge about life extension will become a significant hurdle to building the markets needed to support further advances.
Most people, in general, just don’t “get” the science and importance behind longevity studies. But it isn’t the fault of the majority that this is so. It’s up to the people who understand the world-altering power of human longevity technology to ensure this knowledge is carried across the wide gap that currently exists.
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) November 28, 2022
A study published in April 2021 by a team of researchers from the University of Texas at Tyler and UT Southwestern Medical Center examined the results of a survey conducted of 900 adults in the United States across two age groups: 18–29 and 60+. The survey was simple, though very telling. It involved just a handful of questions:
Would you be willing to take a life extension treatment?
What would the oldest age, as well as the youngest age that you would be willing to halt aging and continue to live forever?
Both age groups were split even when it came to the first question, with nearly half willing to take the treatment or unsure if they would, while the other half stated they would not use it. This result speaks to the lack of proper understanding of what life extension might mean among most people.
When someone isn’t aware of the research and breadth of human longevity technology, they will assume such therapies would merely extend their lifespan in a way that adds years (or decades) of old age. Here are two opposing factors at play: The societal stigma against “old age” and the average individual’s limited knowledge of longevity treatment vectors and what they do. While the most pressing aim of researchers is to increase the healthspan — or length of time someone is physically and mentally capable of living a productive life — the consensus is that a life extension treatment would simply tack on years of infirmity.
There was a marked difference in the second question, in which the younger group chose younger ages to stop aging while the older group chose more advanced ages to prevent aging. There is a plausible explanation for their answers. The younger population’s ignorance of the advantages of aging to a point (perhaps to the mid-thirties to mid-forties range). The older population has far more data points on which to base their choice and a level of wisdom that a younger population can only achieve with time.
An expert on how and why we age.
"Our genetic material is modified over time – chemicals can be attached that change which genes are switched on or off." https://t.co/Jh52fnxIlT
— The Conversation (@ConversationUK) January 23, 2022
While the timing of age-stopping is interesting, the most significant concern is the first question and many participants’ refusal to use a life extension treatment or be uncertain about using one. The option was presented as a hypothetical life extension treatment that unequivocally works, having gone through clinical trials and proven effective and safe. Despite this qualification, half of the survey participants would choose not to use it. It seems that the fear of death was outweighed by the fear of either taking such a treatment and/or the prospect of living many extra years in a state of old age.
Ultimately, this gap points to a deep need for more significant evangelism and advocacy around human longevity and life extension technology: “LongEvangelism,” if you will.
Even though we live in a time when news and research on these topics are readily accessible via the internet, and on dozens of television shows every year, life extension is a specific field that makes up only a small percentage of content — and research budgets. Interested people often already have some basis in the field’s ideas, whether through involvement in biological and medical sciences or exposure to the concepts in science fiction.
Some groups make it their mission to help spread life extension knowledge, such as Lifespan.io and OpenLongevity.org, and they do an admirable job. However, such organizations are relatively sparse and are fighting against a popular misconception of longevity tech as part of “fringe science.” This misconception is mainly due to the prevalence of such concepts in science fiction content — a double-edged sword that sparks interest in many whiles, causing far more people to dismiss the ideas presented as far more fiction than science.
SCOOP: An insanely well-funded company called Altos Labs is going after "rejuvenation" technology.
Yamanaka factors. Epigenetic clocks. CRISPR.
Offering academics $1 million salaries and more.
Investor rumor mill: Milner, Bezos, ARCH. Musk?https://t.co/VMxxtA0fMO
— Antonio Regalado (@antonioregalado) September 4, 2021
Human longevity needs a hero. Space tech has Elon Musk, and though a controversial figure, no one can argue that he hasn’t brought much attention to space tech or encouraged many to learn more about it. Several strong personalities champion longevity work, but none have broken out into the realm of pop culture. To get there, it will likely require the emergence of life extension’s first actual “killer app”: a proven treatment, accessible to a majority of people, that has a demonstrable and positive effect on healthspans AND lifespans.
Such a breakthrough could be right around the corner. There is a wealth of influential research happening right now, around the world, with great potential. But this vertical will need strong, continued support from investors and the public to keep up such solid progress. SP8CEVC, a new venture capital firm founded by Capt. Franz Almeida and Junaid Mian RPh, recognize the need to keep pushing forward in both space tech and human longevity tech and are one of only a few firms to advocate conscientiously on behalf of life extension startups and their work. They are true “LongEvangelists,” and it’s time more of us joined them.
Reprinted with permission from the author.
Can We Live 200 Years? The Science of Aging & Longevity
The Quest to Slow, Stop and Even Reverse Aging | Future You | NPR
How The Ultra Rich Are Trying To Live Forever – CNBC News
More life – Decoding the secret of aging | DW Documentary
Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook