At Home Care Assistance, our mission is to change the way the world ages. One of the ways we fulfill this mission is by staying on top of the latest updates in the aging and wellness literature. Recently, The Atlantic published a widely-read article entitled “What Happens When We All Live to 100?” which addressed advancements in longevity research and increased healthspan.
The article featured The Buck Institute for Research on Aging, which is the first private, independent research facility focused solely on increasing lifespan. The institution has succeeded in identifying over 100 compounds that extend life in invertebrates, and hope to find 5 to 10 life-extending molecules in mice before moving on to testing in human trials. A drug that appears closest to testing on humans is rapamycin, which is often used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs. It has shown success in studies with mice, extending their lifespans and improving their long-term health.
The Buck Institute is not alone in their quest to improve human health and extend longevity. Another institution, The California Life Company, known as Calico, was founded in 2013 by Google. Calico’s Dr. Cynthia Kenyon experienced a breakthrough when she found daf-16, a gene in worms that can double lifespan and increase healthspan. By manipulating similar genes in cancerous mice, Dr. Kenyon was able to improve their quality and length of life. The foxo3 gene in humans, which is similar to the daf-16 gene in worms, could provide the next step in Dr. Kenyon’s research for increasing human healthspan and lifespan. Incidentally, Dr. Cynthia Kenyon was the recipient of the 2014 Home Care Assistance Achievement in Healthy Longevity Award for her pioneering work in the study of genetics of aging. We have no doubt that Dr. Kenyon’s work will change the way the world ages in our lifetimes.
Outside of manipulated genes and life-extending drugs, there are a number of behaviors that have been linked with not only increased lifespan but also healthspan. Home Care Assistance’s exclusive Balanced Care Method™ captures some of these lifestyle behaviors, promoting healthy mind, body and spirit through healthy eating, physical activity, cognitive stimulation, and social connectedness. The promise of living longer means that our later years matter, and programs like the Balanced Care Method help enhance quality of life as we age.