Some of Jason Hartman’s guests on The Longevity & Biohacking Show are more impressive than others. His guest on episode #45, Laura Deming, might be the most impressive of all. While some readers interested in longevity are familiar with her connection to The Longevity Fund or the Age of Aging series on National Geographic, those two projects just skim the surface of what this young lady has accomplished.
Laura Deming’s Background
Deming is a New Zealander who was homeschooled. She taught herself calculus, probability, statistics, and French literature and history. At the ripe old age of eight she became interested in the biology of aging. Accepted into MIT at 14, she dropped out to accept a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship and started a venture capital fund which would come to be known as The Longevity Fund. Forbes Magazine named her one of the “30 Under 30.”
The Longevity Fund
The premise of The Longevity Fund is that science will eventually be able to create biological immortality for the human race. Deming’s frustration with the slow pace of academia, where therapies might languish in labs for decades while scientists chase funding, sent her out into the private sector in search of better, faster solutions. As a venture capital fund, The Longevity Fund looks for promising companies to invest in. According to Deming, the end of aging is a lot closer than most people might think. The fund focuses resources on companies that are working on drugs in the preclinical phase.
Aging is a Disease
Deming believes that people are starting to look at aging as a disease rather than a fact of life, and as such, like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, arthritis, or cancer, there exists the possibility that a “cure” can be found. If you examine the problem of aging from a biological perspective, as with other chronic diseases, it stands to reason that it is simply an underlying biological malfunction which we will eventually be able to treat. Try thinking about aging as a disease for a while. It might change you fundamentally. After all, wouldn’t it be kind of cool to live forever?
Health Span vs. Life Span
Like several previous guests on The Longevity & Biohacking Show, Ms. Deming makes the point that life span for its own sake is not much of a goal to shoot for. Her fund has the goal of increasing the portion of life over which we enjoy good health. How much fun would it be to live to 100 but suffer from a variety of debilitating chronic diseases the last 25 years? Most of us would probably answer, “not so much.” So increasing health span is the current goal. It’s not too much of a leap in logic to think that life span will automatically increase as we make progress in health span.
The Field of Longevity
If it seems to you that the field of longevity is fairly new, you would be right. In fact, Deming points out that it began in earnest in 1994 with the discovery of gene mutations. She also mentions that, coincidentally, the birth of longevity study happens to match her own age of 21. The takeaway point is that we are very early in the game when it comes to extending the quality and quantity of life. Expect the next 15 years to bring mind-blowing advancements. Just look at a few of the killer diseases we cured in the 20th century: chicken pox, malaria, diphtheria, measles, polio, smallpox to name a few.
We’re Already Making Progress
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, life expectancy at the beginning of the 20th century was 47 years. Skip forward a century and American life expectancy at the beginning of the 21st century stood at almost 78 years. That’s an increase of 30 years! Looking at the issue from that perspective, one could say we’ve been working on increasing life span for a while already and making darn good progress. It’s not too much of a leap in logic to say there’s a good chance centenarians will be all over the place at the dawn of the 22nd century.
What Can You Do Right Now to Live Longer?
A natural question is what can you do right now in order to live a longer, healthier life? After all, therapies and remedies are everywhere. How do you know what’s worth paying attention to and what is a waste of valuable resources? Deming says that your best bet right now is to eat a diet based on diabetic principles. Low fat and low sugar are excellent anti-aging defenses. Some of the companies that The Longevity Fund targets for investment are those focused on diabetes research,
Find Out More About Laura Deming
If you’re interested in learning more about this topic or Laura’s fascinating (to date) life, there are a few places in the media you can search her out. National Geographic recently put together a documentary called the “Age of Aging.” It just so happened to feature Deming as one of the movers and shakers in the longevity field. Additionally, you can watch her presentation on the popular website Ted Talks. And if you have a wad of investment cash and want to plow it into the field of anti-aging research, check out The Longevity Fund website at www.longevity.vc. (Image: Flickr | RDECOM)
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The Longevity Show Team