Science of Aging Well: Want to Live to a Healthy 100?

We are in the middle of a global demographic shift due to increasing longevity and low birth rates. We need to shift our focus to ensure that we are aging well, to enjoy the gift of more time. Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner joined an expert panel at the Milken Global Conference 2018 to discuss what progress has been made with longevity research, precision medicine, digital tools, and genetic research. The panel, moderated by Paul Irving (Chairman of the Center for the Future of Aging), also included Nobel Laureate and famed scientist Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, Arianna Huffington, and Laura Deming of The Longevity Fund.

Talking Points

On using science to improve population health:

“I’m much more into precision prevention myself. Precision medicine is a bit 20th century.”—Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn

On the role of environment in determining health:

“We tend to think exercise is such an important component to longevity but exercise has been an unmitigated public health failure. The average American burns about 100 calories a day on ‘exercise.’ Living in a place that is walkable or bikeable will give you a lot more physical activity than if you join a gym.”—Dan Buettner

On the need for prioritizing our wellbeing:

“We are enthralled with machines. The goal of machines is to minimize downtime. The goal of software is to minimize downtime. But in the human operating system, downtime is not a bug, it’s a feature.”—Arianna Huffington

On the gap between science and behavior change:

“From a longevity perspective, it’s really a paradox. Science has done its part and social science and institutions have in many respects failed. We’ve created these longer lives but we don’t know really know what to do with them.”—Paul Irving

On the future of healthy aging:

“Ignorance is a form of coercion. Obviously, we’re working on the science part of it. But the education part of it is very important.”—Laura Deming

The Milken Global Conference 2018, “Navigating a World in Transition,” tackled some of the most pressing issues of today. It showcased big ideas, big problems, and the revolution of technology, innovation, and science.  More video panels from the conference.

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