LONGEVITY MEDICINE

Longevity medicine is advanced personalised preventive medicine powered by deep biomarkers of aging and longevity.

12/31/20233 min read

Longevity medicine represents an advanced form of personalized preventive healthcare, driven by in-depth biomarkers associated with aging and longevity. It is a rapidly emerging field that encompasses the evolving domains of biogerontology, geroscience, as well as precision, preventive, and functional medicine.

In the era of modern advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, biomarker research and drug development have yielded a multitude of tools for early diagnostics and prevention of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. However, these advancements largely remain unfamiliar to the global medical community. The lack of awareness stems from the absence of well-structured, pedagogically-concepted educational resources tailored for specific audiences, predominantly comprising physicians, biotechnologists, and public health professionals. The emerging emphasis on longevity and healthy aging as a major healthcare priority is poised to significantly influence primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. Consequently, it becomes imperative to provide practicing doctors with access to comprehensive education through a reputable curriculum in longevity medicine.

The advancement of longevity-focused medical practices is contingent upon bridging the divide between healthcare providers and interdisciplinary experts, including academic biogerontologists, artificial intelligence specialists, computer scientists, and informaticians. Customized courses are essential for healthcare providers to stay abreast of the latest developments in longevity medicine and to understand how this knowledge can be effectively integrated into clinical practice.

Currently, patients face challenges in accessing healthcare providers well-versed in longevity medicine who can approach patient management from a longevity standpoint. A robust longevity education, coupled with practical application, holds the potential to enhance healthcare systems globally and reduce the incidence of diseases by empowering healthcare providers to address the prominent and influential contributor to diseases—unhealthy aging.

Longevity medicine incorporates best practices from diverse disciplines and leverages cutting-edge innovations, including deep learning and artificial intelligence, to assess a patient's biological age over the course of their life. Longevity physicians are actively exploring strategies to narrow the gap between current parameters (biological age) and the benchmarks for optimal physical performance (ideal biological age predicted by deep learning).

Aging is a intricate, multifaceted process that results in functional decline, rendering individuals more susceptible to various diseases. Numerous genetic and epigenetic changes associated with aging and longevity have been identified in model organisms, and although their mechanisms in human aging are not entirely elucidated, many of these changes are linked to non-communicable, predominantly chronic diseases in humans.

The unprecedented rise in the proportion of individuals aged over 65 globally, coupled with the escalating burden of illness, social challenges, and economic implications associated with aging, necessitates well-informed physicians. These physicians should possess knowledge encompassing the diverse facets of healthy longevity, beginning with the fundamentals of biogerontology and extending to the application of artificial intelligence-based technologies in personalized patient care.

Structured curricula focusing on aging and longevity biotechnology, elucidating the intricacies of these fields, serve as a fundamental basis to distinguish the evolving field of longevity medicine from mere anti-aging and life-prolonging endeavors. Equipping healthcare providers with the tools to acquire and utilize individualized precision datasets for each patient not only diminishes the risk of disease development but also enables the mitigation or elimination of diseases, allowing for the customization of optimal preventive and therapeutic approaches.

The swift implementation and advancement of artificial intelligence-based medicine necessitate a collective response from global interdisciplinary consortia to formulate longevity medicine curricula. There has been a notable surge in interest in aging research within the medical and drug discovery community.

Several universities have implemented extracurricular webinar series focusing on longevity medicine. These courses aim to provide physicians with an interest in both the theoretical and practical aspects of longevity with fundamental knowledge in the field. Topics covered include theories of aging, biomarkers of aging, molecular mechanisms, and geroprotector regimens. Such courses play a crucial role in addressing the knowledge gap and offering insights into the clinical applications of recent advances in aging research. Participants gain skills to assess the validity of biomarkers of aging and other biological age testing systems, along with knowledge of available longevity therapies to address diseases related to senescence-related processes in organisms.

These courses facilitate the integration of biogerontology, machine learning, differential diagnosis, omics, geroprotective interventions, drug design, and healthcare organizations. They inform about advances in these research areas while providing examples of their implementation into clinical practice.

Aging stands as the primary risk factor for the majority of acute and chronic diseases. Recent decades have indicated that we are at the verge of potentially intervening in the aging process, presenting an opportunity to reduce overall mortality and morbidity rates among the elderly. While significant progress has been made at the academic level, there is an imminent need to extend this knowledge into the domain of clinical practice. Through this commentary, we aim to advocate for the imperative transition towards the implementation of longevity education for healthcare providers on a global scale.

Phuong B. Le, MD