Do you want to live forever?

Longevity. Do you want to live forever? Here we tell you how to make the first steps into this direction.

Longevity is one of the hottest new topics, it just came up recently when Elon Musk… No, it has definitely not come up recently. Before Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other modern emperors of technology and commerce the Chinese Emperors of the Ming & Qing Dynasties were firm believers of Daoist longevity theories. Some even poisoned themselves to death ingesting elixirs brewed by alchemists in order to prolong their life span. (Source: Havard).

History often teaches us a lesson. And didn’t Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather)  make it to the “biblical age” of nearly a thousand years probably without the help of the pharmaceutical industry? So why that recent buzz about “eternal life”?

 

Big Money flows down the river of longevity research

 

What is fairly new is the fact that big investment funds, sometimes backed by acknowledged investors collect millions, maybe soon billions of dollars to be invested in research and production of medicine or technology that could potentially prolong the lives of the ones who can afford this (Source: longevity.vc) As a side note: Some funds are already invested in companies that extend the life extension scheme also to our “furry friends” and best companion, the dog. Cats soon to follow I hope. (Source: celevity)

 

In which fields is all this money invested?

 

The main fields of research and investment are (ranked by priority):

  • Drug discovery (majority of initiatives)
  • Gene Therapy
  • Immunotherapy and related

This means that most investors believe that a “cure for aging” has to come from outside the body to cure a process within the body. For all cineasts there are a couple of books and subsequently movies that iterate this theme from many different angles, most of them involving castles in Eastern European rural areas (From Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, 1897 to “A Cure for Well-Ness”, 2016 and many others). But is this necessarily so? Before I try to answer this question, first let’s ask ourselves some more fundamental questions.

 

The biological clock ticks, doesn’t it?

 

Is there a biological rational towards a “given life span”? Yes, there probably is and the secret probably lies in our chromosomes as always “it’s the genes, stupid”. (Source: Oeseburg et al). At the two ends of our chromosomes (the macroscopic structure made of proteins and DNA, the latter holding our genetic information) we find “caps” of highly repetitive sequences, called “telomeres” (Greek for “end part”) that do not code for anything, but seem to protect the genetic information farther within the chromosome from damage. 

During our life we need to renew our cells, so cells divide and propagate and it seems that with every cell division we lose some “layer of protection” from the telomeric region. Our genetic information thus becomes more and more vulnerable to accidental loss or change of genetic material. This seems inevitable.

A telomere is the end of a chromosome.
Illustration of the telomere regions of a chromose
What can we do about it to live longer and healthier?

Studies have shown that the “wear” to our telomeric regions (end of our chromosomes) can potentially be reversed or delayed if regular sports activities are maintained through-out our life. Especially “endurance running” seems to be a good natural antidote to cellular aging as well as other athletic activities. (Source: Oncotarget) Apart from that regular athletic activity seems to be great to delay the on-set of diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, might even prevent arthritis if done in a healthy and proper way. (Source: Compr Physiol) This is why we at Motesque have developed a “running analysis” based on IoT sensors, biomechanics and AI. It helps you develop a healthy running style, so that you avoid damaging your joints during a longer endurance run and build up the right muscles to protect your skeleton (remember the first runner did not survive the first Marathon). If you want you can check out the run-analysis at our MLab in Cologne or use the technology to find your perfect running shoe from ASICS (they partly use our technology in their European flag-ship stores).

MLab in Cologne
MLab in Cologne

Technology, especially if equipped sensors (think of wearables like smart-watches etc.) can help to measure our activities. AI powered apps might give us the right advice and even “coaching on the fly” to perform sports in a healthy way.

 

Summary

  • Longevity research is going on for many centuries already
  • Big investment funds “pump” money into this market, many into “drug discovery”
  • Our life-span may be limited by the number of cell-cycles and the “wear” to our chromosomes
  • Athletic activity seems to reverse the effect aging has on chromosomes
  • Especially running – in a healthy way – has been shown to have positive effects on leading a long healthy life.

My personal resume is that we do not always have to look for a “magic pill”, elixir or tonic to cure or prevent ill-ness. Instead let’s increase our wellness by joining a well balanced and individually designed work-out or athletic scheme. We all come from hunting and gathering in fresh air by the way.

Author

Dietmar Hagen Horn

Dietmar Hagen Horn

Diplom Biologist and CSO of Motesque

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