News & Media

Expanding the Longevity Definition to More than Added Years

Merriam-Webster defines longevity as “a long duration of individual life,” or “length of life.”

That’s true, but it’s limiting.

The field of longevity science is all about extending the healthy human lifespan. However, consider the complexity of that issue and everything that must be accounted for as we work toward that goal.

Through simple things like sanitation, clean water and a relatively stable food supply, the human lifespan was extended from 30 years, before the Victorian era, to 50 years. Antibiotics and the elimination of infectious disease by the middle of the 20th century pushed life expectancy to 70 years.

Now, we live longer than our evolutionary past. Natural selection has done little to affect the later part of the human lifespan. Genetic material becomes damaged, organs begin to fail and we become more susceptible to diseases. We won’t live past 80 without some help.

The help, however, must be more than biological. Other factors to consider include the availability of resources, political considerations, ethical, economic, etc. Given this, longevity takes on a new meaning.

We view it as an emerging multidisciplinary field driven by the rapid convergence of biotechnology, medicine, engineering, big data, and artificial intelligence. The focus is to extend the healthy lifespan, prevent age-associated diseases, and improve the performance of humans and animals. It is a field that unites medicine, science, economics, health care, global health, governance, and education.

It should not be seen as just a mechanical life extension. The longevity field focuses on prolonging a healthy lifespan by adopting, wherever possible, an individual and precision-driven approach to each patient, which can be repeatable and translatable for people everywhere.

How do YOU define longevity?

Be part of the future of longevity by donating to the LSF today.