weekly blog--one for the ages
Some noteworthy age-tech companies to keep an eye on from www.gerontechnologiest.com...
Founded in 2017, Papa initially was an online platform that connected college students to older adults who needed transportation, house help, technology lessons, companionship, and other services. Since then, they have adapted to market demands and added more services that are available in 17 states.
Since 2015, Intuition Robotics has sold a social robot named ElliQ. The company has expanded its product line to include tools for creating digital companion agents without code, automotive solutions and more.
Founded in 2019, Bold has developed an online program that helps older adults build and maintain muscle mass, and try different types of exercise to prevent accidental falls.
Founded in 2015, The Helper Bees (THB) partner with insurance companies and families directly to deliver the best quality care and the right tools to improve the home care experience. The company licenses its mobile app to insurance carriers so they can know when interventions are needed.
Founded in 2013, CareAcademy provides skills training and upskilling for caregivers. Approximately 400,000 classes have been completed to date.
The Most Exciting Age Tech Startups For 2021 | TheGerontechnologist
If you add it all up, of the 150,000 deaths that happen every day on Earth, over 100,000 of them are caused by aging. Deaths from problems like heart disease are preceded by years of physical decline, loss of independence, and so on. Below (from a BBC article) are the top 10 breakthroughs that prove this idea isn’t science fiction – from the discoveries of the past, to the cutting-edge science of the present day.
Researchers are working on ‘dietary restriction mimetic’ drugs, like rapamycin or metformin, which could mimic the effects of eating less, but without the constant hunger pangs.
With the appropriate incentives, evolution can equip organisms with mechanisms to repair broken cells and molecules, and get rid of and replace the unfixable. There’s no reason to think that science couldn’t eventually make it possible for humans too.
The hallmarks of aging
After decades of theories and counter-theories, there’s finally some scientific agreement about what causes ageing, and that means, if we can learn to slow, stop or reverse these hallmarks, we can do the same to the ageing process overall.
Inside our cells, our DNA is split into 46 lengths known as chromosomes. At each of these chromosomes’ two ends is a protective region known as a telomere. Your telomeres get shorter over your lifetime, and people with shorter telomeres for their age are at increased risk of diseases of old age and die sooner than people with longer ones.
Rejuvenating the thymus
Just behind your breastbone and in front of your heart is a small organ called your thymus, responsible for production of immune cells. The decline of the thymus is one of the reasons we get more susceptible to infection with age, as shown by older people dying more often from flu, and coronavirus. The good news is, we have multiple ideas to reverse the decline of the thymus, from gene therapies and stem cells to hormones and drugs.
Induced pluripotent stem cells
These cells are made by taking normal body cells and using a cocktail of four different genes to allow them to turn into any kind of cell researchers can dream up – or, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, any kind of cell a doctor needs to replenish cells lost due to accident, injury, or the aging process.
The Amish gene
In the mid-1980s, a girl in the Old Order Amish community in Indiana was rushed to hospital after a minor head injury wouldn’t stop bleeding. She survived, and started a chain of genetic detective work that eventually led to one of the most startling discoveries in the genetics of longevity. Having just one mutated copy doesn’t seem to cause them any blood-clotting issues. However, ongoing back through the Old Order Amish family tree, the researchers discovered something remarkable: people with one copy of mutated SERPINE1 had better heart health, less diabetes, and lived a full 10 years longer than those without.
Epigenetics is the collective name for a set of chemical flags stuck to our DNA. This is a hot topic of research and has been studied for decades, but what came as a huge surprise to scientists was that observing how your epigenetics change can give us incredibly precise estimates of how old you are.
An unexpected side-effect of iPSC research is that those same four genes that can allow a cell to turn into any other kind of cell also turn back its epigenetic clock. The process, known as cellular reprogramming, seems to make cells biologically younger.
Probably the most exciting breakthrough in aging biology is ‘senolytic’ drugs – drugs that kill aged ‘senescent’ cells. We all accumulate these cells throughout our lives: they’re cells that have divided too many times, accrued unacceptable levels of damage to their DNA, or are just under too high a level of stress. And so, to be on the safe side, these cells stop dividing.
The race to stop ageing: 10 breakthroughs that will help us grow old healthily - BBC Science Focus Magazine
It would be an understatement to say that we live in stressful times given CoVid, impeachment, and aging. But look on the bright side…religious people facing life crises rely on emotion-regulation strategies that psychologists also use. A new study concludes that both look for positive ways of thinking about hardship, a practice known to psychologists as “cognitive reappraisal.” They also tend to have confidence in their ability to cope with difficulty, a trait called “coping self-efficacy.”
Running out of money in retirement is also a common stress point, however, knowing that you have enough cash on hand to get through a severe stock market downturn can help. So how do you figure out your Withdrawal War Chest? Here’s a simple calculation courtesy of a recent article in Kiplinger: Add your total cash reserves and total cash and bonds in your portfolios, then divide your total by your monthly retirement withdrawal. The withdrawal should reflect your living expenses.
Study: Religion, psychology share methods for reducing distress - ScienceBlog.com
Are You Going to Be OK in Retirement? 1 Easy Calculation Can Provide the Answer | Kiplinger
Moving past yesterday’s chaotic scene on the steps of our nation’s capitol…Viktor Frankl, Austrian psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor, hypothesized that higher purpose gives people a will to stay alive. Americans dream of living long. In a survey by Stanford Center on Longevity, 77 percent said they’d like to make it to 100. Research reveals that people who believe their existence has meaning have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and more favorable gene expression related to inflammation.
For example, if a 90-year-old with a clear purpose in life develops Alzheimer’s disease, that person will probably keep functioning relatively well despite real pathological changes in the brain, one study found. Another meta-analysis of 10 studies involving more than 136,000 people found that having purpose in life can lower your mortality risk by about 17 percent--about as much as following the famed Mediterranean diet.
Separately, in case you were wondering…Which Members of Congress Objected to Certifying Biden’s Victory? - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Boosting our sense of meaning in life is an often overlooked longevity ingredient - The Washington Post
Positive/Successful Aging - confronting aging, a world in transition