We are cordially inviting you to the online seminar Biohacking as a way to prolong lifespan in good health? by Dr. Reginald Deschepper. Longevity+ seminar series are organized by the CLEA Longevity Plus Research Group: a transdisciplinary approach to wellbeing. The group aims to integrate and elaborate scientific approaches towards a long and happy life.
Biohacking as a way to prolong lifespan in good health?
by Dr. Reginald Deschepper
Tuesday 5 Oct 2021
17:00 - 18:30 CET
Zoom Meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/96271638735?pwd=cS95NjJhekVoZDlET2NyYTlYc25QQT09
Meeting ID: 962 7163 8735
Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/1U2Fc2gP6
In recent centuries, life expectancy has increased dramatically. This good news is overshadowed by the fact that we are now spending a relatively larger portion of our lives in sickness. Moreover, life expectancy of certain populations in the US has begun to decline due to unhealthy lifestyle.
Two paradigm shifts in biomedicine give us hope to further "squaring the curve" by not only living longer but also living more years without disease: lifestyle medicine and juvenology (the science of how to stay young). To these can be added other pivotal disciplines such as epigenetics and psychoneuroimmunology. These scientific (r)evolutions offer us great opportunities to live not only longer but also healthier. As with all paradigm shifts, there is a long road from initial ideas and findings to implementation in daily (clinical) practice.
Lifestyle medicine emerged more than 30 years ago. If there were a pill with the same effect, it would have been a huge success. However, despite the existing evidence, lifestyle medicine is put into practice only very slowly. Several obstacles are delaying its implementation. For example, a healthy lifestyle does not immediately generate patents, so little is invested in expensive clinical trials.
More recently, insights into the mechanisms of aging have given rise to a new discipline known as juvenology. Currently, we are in the phase where scientific experiments can gradually be used to slow down or even reverse ageing. But here too, there are many practical obstacles, such as the view that ‘ageing is not a disease’.
Biohacking may provide some principles that are useful for moving things forward faster. First, it attempts to "hack" our biology by modifying known mechanisms so that they do what we want them to do, which is to prevent aging. This can range from will-known ancient techniques such as fasting and meditation to techniques that are still in an experimental phase such as gene editing and stem cell therapy.
A second principle of biohacking is the search for shortcuts to shorten the very long process between discovery and implementation. This is not always without risk, but a biohacker also looks at the risk of not doing something.
Conclusion. The scientific developments in the field of lifestyle medicine and juvenology, combined with principles of biohacking, provide unprecedented opportunities to extend healthspan.
About the speaker:
Reginald Deschepper is a medical anthropologist affiliated with the VUB, Mental Health and Wellbeing Research Group and the Longevity Plus Research Group. He has conducted multidisciplinary research on antibiotic use, end-of-life care, awareness and pain during palliative sedation. For several years he has focused on lifestyle medicine and more recently on the science of aging. He is chairman of the non-profit organization LifeMe (Lifestyle as medicine) and author of the book Your Lifestyle as Medicine (in Dutch: Je levensstijl als Medicijn, Lannoo, 2019). Furthermore, he is author of more than 70 peer-reviewed articles.
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