The focus of this piece is to provide a break-down of the concept of a longevity profile and what it means to the future of your health.
With advancing information technology we have seen rapid improvements in the health sciences. Collectively, it includes such areas as wearables and health tracking, advances in biotechnology and increasingly sophisticated AI.
As we collect more and more health data we’re learning to a finer degree not only what constitutes good health, but what is good health for each individual.
We’re moving away from a treatment-based one-size-fit all approach towards increasingly personalized processes focused on a prevention first strategy.
Prevention means understanding the causes of ill health and intervening before they manifest. Taking the often used analogy of maintaining a vintage car, if we understand what maintenance is required, then the body can be kept in good health rather than fix it when it breaks down.
Following the historical trajectory of improving life expectancy; thanks to medical advances better health maintenance will lead to both improved life expectancy as well as more time spent in good health.
We’re all being empowered with the tools to track and monitor the biomarkers of aging so that we can maintain an ‘optimal’ state of health.
The longevity profile is this concept of an ‘optimal’ health state.
What does this mean in practice?
Imagine a not too distant future where you have a full suite of wearables tracking all sorts of health metrics. This could also include devices circulating in the blood.
They will be supported by a large number of sensors that will exist both in personal and public spaces.
Every three to twelve months, depending on the current science, budget, enthusiasm, you will undergo a comprehensive physical and biochemical work-up. You will go to your G.P or possibly a longevity center and will have tests ranging from element and metabolite profiles, microbiome health, miRNA/\rRNA profile(s) and a wide range of other biomarkers found in blood and tissue samples.
AI will integrate the wide and varying data sets from all of the above into an ongoing picture of your current health while also mining our collective data sets for insights.
When deviations from the ‘optimum’ are identified, interventional micro adjustment ranging from behavioural recommendations, drug microdosing or even sophisticated regenerative therapies will be applied.
A wide range of health professionals will be plugged into this data stream and will be brought in before an underlying pathology develops into a disease. As noted by The Deep Knowledge Group, ‘failure will be when patients are forced to get doctor’s involved’.
Who decides what is optimum?
In short, it is data that will decide.
The aforementioned future is obviously not with us yet but we are certainly moving towards it. The cornerstone of this progress will be the increasing advancements in AI.
As various data sets are further integrated into a single picture we will build a more systems approach. This will allow us to continually fine tune the various interventions and develop health responses much earlier.
We will briefly note the risk of algorithmic discrimination. This is where the data collected contains discriminatory bias inherited from its designer(s) e.g. making assumptions about an ethnic minorities' health particulars using data based on a wider majority.
This is a risk that is now starting to be appreciated by both the academic community as well as industry. Health is influenced by a wide range of complex contributing factors including demographic, socioeconomic, environmental and regional factors. The key is understanding the risks and continuing to improve what will always be imperfect models.
At what age will this be applicable to me?
Preventative medicine should begin from the day you’re born to your final day.
Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor
This means that you, as the patient, are going to have to take a much larger initial role in your health tracking then what will be the norm in the future.
This challenge is further compounded by the fact that the medical industry is still very much at the early stages of this transition, not just scientifically, but also operationally. Most doctor’s are not yet ready for patients empowered by data who may be attempting to self diagnose.
How will I protect my health data?
This is an in-depth topic that requires its own separate piece.
In terms of managing your information, many of the tracking tools currently available do take ownership of the data away from the patient. You need to decide what information you’re comfortable for a company to have just as you need to consider what information you give to social networks or e-commerce companies.
Is this only going to be for those who can afford it?
There will always be the bleeding edge of development that will begin as the sole province of the wealthy.
What is going to be needed is for a segmentation of services along a gradient of impact vs cost. Packages that are both affordable and capture the most effective treatments/interventions at that price level.
Thanks to the enormous market size and resulting demand for longevity products and services, there will be a significant downward pressure on price.
We can see this already happening in many Western markets with aging populations.
As these technologies demonstrate their effectiveness there could also be a societal pressure for national governments to subsidize or partly subsidize certain technologies in a similar way to how expensive drugs are in many countries of the world today.
This sounds too complex for me!
Honestly, that is understandable. It’s a complex topic that has long been the sole domain of health professionals.
The whole purpose of Augment is to help break this complex topic down. Check out our case study section where we provide practical actionable information.
You don’t need to rush into it. Consider what goals you have for your health and collect the information directly relevant to that.
We caution that if you have any health concerns, your first point of contact should always be a qualified health professional.
This future, while complex, will be one of incredible opportunities. Longevity will be the largest market in human history and this market will be built on the longevity profile.
While sophisticated products and services powered by AI will move much of the complexity into the background, the onus will still be on us to manage the various services available as well as take action when new technologies arise.
If we are willing to embrace data’s potential, we may enjoy profound improvements in both quality of life and life expectancy.
We live in exciting times!
Hi, my name is jimy and I’m the founder of Augment Hub.
This piece and its collective series is going to be focused on the practical implementation of tracking health data based on my own experiences.
I want this to be accessible for all those who don’t know where to begin or may be daunted by the many tools and services currently available.
In 2019, it is estimated that 1 in 10 now regularly use a wearable in the US. Those numbers are probably even lower elsewhere around the world.
That means while there is a lot of you who are already tracking your data, there are many more who aren’t.
We’re going to start from the most basic tools and analysis and work our way up. Together we will determine what works and doesn’t.
Any product or tool I mention will be the ones I’m actually using. If it becomes obsolete I will ditch it. If it is rubbish or is difficult to use you will know about it!
I’m excited about what discoveries we make, and I hope that you find this helpful.
Where to Start
I wanted to start with the most basic data possible, so I started with the following:
I am collecting this data in a Google sheet (Excell would work) and using the graphing function to create simple linear graphs (where applicable).
I have decided on a ‘Frequency’ that I will collect data at e.g. Weigh myself weekly, and I have set targets for each category. Currently they are pretty arbitrary based mainly on what I feel I would like the values to be.
I clearly need more data on what is ‘good vs bad’!
I figure this is as easy as it gets. I weigh myself weekly and have set a weight target.
Accompanying my weekly weight measurement I’m also going to track my waist using a tape measure. I don’t know what is good or bad currently so I will get back to you on this.
I’m tracking my calories consumed with the MyFitnessPal app. The app lets you enter the food and drinks you have during the day and it has a sophisticated database of all the various brands so you can be pretty accurate with your calculations.
My Fitness Pal (Just an example. Not my data!)
You can also enter your daily exercise and it will estimate the calories burned.
I have set a daily calorie goal and will track it in conjunction with my weight. I’m currently just transferring the information directly to my Google Sheet, though they do have a number of export options etc.
While I think it is useful, my only concern with it is that it can be a hassle to regularly enter the data. I think manually entering data long term is unrealistic, so I’m going to check out if there are easier options like a voice command.
Steps and Exercises
I have started with the Google Fit app on my smartphone. It can track the minutes you were moving, number of steps and it applies ‘Heart Points’ which seems like a simple gamification system.
Google Fit (Just example. Not my data!)
The app integrates with MyFitnessPal but I’m also directly entering my exercises and time into the spreadsheet as well.
My main complaint with the app is that I need to bring my smartphone along. My phone is pretty large and bulky so it is very inconvenient.
I think I need to upgrade to a fitness tracker asap!
There are a number of things I want to explore next. I will likely cover each topic separately. Next steps will include:
While I am starting to collect information, I’m also wondering what it all means in the context of my health. Is it good or bad? With who would I compare it with? These thoughts have given me the idea of the first tool to put on the site. I will elaborate more once it’s complete.
The MyFitnessPal free version is presenting a pretty simple collection of information. I would like a more comprehensive listing of the nutrients I’m getting and whether I’m hitting the amount I need daily. Going to check out the premium version and other options on the market.
Fitness and Sleep Tracker
Considering how basic the data I’m getting from Google Fit is and also how annoying it is to lug my phone around, the next device is definitely going to have to be a fitness tracker.
While the Apple smart watch series seem to be a much better product, I’m not a fan of closed ecosystems so I’m going to go with the latest Fitbit Versa. I note that it doesn’t have GPS, but I don’t think I need route data etc. at this point in time as I think that would be more relevant to fitness training.
A fitness tracker will also allow me to track my sleep data, which I’m really curious at having a look at. Another product that I have read that could be good for sleep is the Oura ring wearable. It does fitness tracking as well, but it appears its primary focus is sleep.
I’m keen to try out a posture device. I spend far too much time at my computer, and no doubt I have terrible habits. Reviewing what’s on the market, it appears that the best option is currently the Upright Go.
Looking at the currently available tests it surprised me how many varying tests I can get at relatively cheap prices. I can check thyroid function, test my microbiome, nutritional levels, hormone levels, adrenal stress tests, fatty acid tests and the list goes on.
Each of those test categories can have anywhere between a few tests to dozens in terms of data points. For example an Omega Fatty Acid Profile could include Omega 3 Index, Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio an AA to EPA Ratio (no idea what that means) and a Trans Fat Index.
Will start with some simple (affordable) options and prioritise tests that can provide more insight into the other data I’m collecting at the moment i.e nutrient profiling coupled with my food data.
I’m curious to see what there is available. I’m pretty dubious on how effective these tools would currently be so this will be low on my priority list for now.