Longevity Month is upon us once more, and this year it finds that the MouseAge crowfunding project has been running for a few weeks at Lifespan.io. The MouseAge developers are building a visual aging biomarker system, akin to past work on the assessment of human age from facial photographs, but carried out for mice instead of people. Such a system could in principle greatly reduce the cost of many kinds of exploratory study in mice, enabling rapid first passes at evaluating the effects of potential rejuvenation therapies. Currently this sort of work is an expensive and lengthy process of wait and see: a range of low-cost methods of immediate assessment of biological age are definitely needed to speed up progress towards therapies capable of treating the causes of aging, and the visual assessment approach is an intriguing one. With the start of Longevity Month, the Lifespan.io volunteers have announced a matching fund for donations to the project - donate this month, and your contribution is doubled.
What is Longevity Month? Advocates for longevity science, those who call for faster progress and more investment into the development of working rejuvenation therapies, have settled upon October as a month for fundraising and outreach activities. This started a few years ago with the European volunteers of the International Longevity Alliance and Heales, as the United Nations designates October 1st as the International Day of Older Persons, and the European community has tended to hold events at this time of year, such as last year's Eurosymposium on Healthy Aging. Advocates mark October 1st as Longevity Day and the month of October as Longevity Month. Small beginnings and simple ideas like this can help to produce meaningful change as they grow and spread - consider the originally humble origins of many of the now widely known and celebrated theme days, commercial and otherwise. Someone thought that he or she would give it a try, and it worked. It never hurts to try, and it is certainly the case that advocacy for any cause is a matter of trying all of the plausible options until you find the one that works, the one that everyone will later tell you was strikingly obvious, and ask why you didn't just try that first of all? Successful strategies are always obvious in the hindsight of others, but sadly only there.
To coincide with our initiatives for Longevity Month, we are happy to announce some exciting updates for the MouseAge campaign to create a visual biomarker for mouse aging and speed the pace of longevity-focused mouse trials. The A.I. engineers on the team , with the support of Youth Laboratories, have decided to volunteer their assistance, pledging to donate their time in developing the machine learning algorithm and software engineering components of this project. This will effectively allow all goals on the crowdfunding campaign to be reduced by $15,000, and the initial goal will now stand at $15,000.
Together with a coalition of generous supporters LEAF has built up a pool of matching funds to support the campaign. This means that all donations will be doubled up until the new initial goal of $15,000 is reached. $1,000 in matching funds will be released for every $1,000 donated, so together we can move very quickly to support this important project!
Over the past few years there has been a tradition of longevity researchers and activists around the world organizing events on or around October 1 - the UN International Day of Older Persons, or Longevity Day. This year we want to continue this tradition by doing something special, making a video to showcase you, our community, as it is only with your outstanding help that we have been able to accomplish so much in such a short period of time. So now it is your turn to tell us your story, and let the world know why you care about research to end the diseases of aging. We will be accepting videos all through the month of October, Longevity Month, and we are also extending the MouseAge campaign to match this timeline. With these videos we will create a compilation to be unveiled on Giving Tuesday , November 28, 2017.