A Taxonomy of Degree of Effort in Undertaking Interventions to Slow or Reverse Aging

The urge to create taxonomies is very human, almost reflexive. We make lists, divide things up into buckets and categories. I'm not entirely convinced that there is yet the need to do this when it comes to personal efforts to slow or reverse aging, but that opinion certainly isn't going to stop people from publishing their thoughts on the matter. Today's open access paper is an example, in which a few arbitrary lines in the sand are drawn, and the spectrum of present day efforts to live longer is divided into five broad categories.

The one point that makes it, I think, hard to take any given taxonomy seriously is that we do not yet know how well the various options presently on the table perform in humans. There is reasonable support for the supposition that anything to do with stress response upregulation, such calorie restriction mimetic therapies, may be beneficial. Even if robustly so, however, as a strategy it is likely not going to be much better than good lifestyle choices. Some of those calorie restriction mimetics are unimpressive even given that caveat, such as aspirin and metformin. Similarly there is reasonable support for senolytics that clear senescent cells to be a very desirable medical technology, capable of much more than lifestyle choices can achieve.

It will be years yet before any of these suppositions are validated in human trials to the satisfaction of conservative minds, however, and years more before researchers can put actual numbers to the effects on human life span, given our length of life. Thus any taxonomy that takes into account efficacy might be premature. Still, we have to make decisions about which strategies to pursue in some way.

The intervention on aging system: A classification model, the requirement for five novel categories

The longevity industry has now entered a new era, where various longevity technologies are being used by a growing cohort of subjects worldwide. As humanity enters this new era, subjects and their healthcare advisors, even employers such as military or insurance companies may require a classification system to assist in understanding what therapies should be implemented (or avoided) at what time during life. A simplistic classification system with five classes enables the public to easily see where they sit on a mortality scale and may provide motivation to change their lifestyle. This system is inversely proportional to mortality: the higher your class, the more probable you are to develop disease or undergo loss of life.

Type V - The Type 5 category perform rudimentary functions to maintain life, such as washing hands and using seatbelts in cars; however, their diet includes fast food and occasional healthy food, these subjects may hold excessive weight, and overall, they do very little to extend their life or health span. Mortality Risk - Probable.

Type IV - The Type 4 demographic exercise and eat relatively healthy and may use health supplements. Type 4's attempt to navigate away from toxins such as cigarettes, perform weight management, and may restrict or abstain from alcohol though do not implement any emerging or significant longevity technologies or regimes such as fasting or clean plant-based diets. Mortality Risk - Moderate.

Type III - The Type 3 class is proactive in using anti-aging technologies, they actively seek and study longevity for increased awareness, they use nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide precursors to maintain cellular metabolism and foods specifically known for their anti-aging properties, they possibly practice fasting, use fasting mimetics, exercise and are lean or muscular, target a more epigenetic diet, and steer clear of any biological insults. Mortality Risk - Unlikely.

Type II - The Type 2 cohort implement a strict longevity lifestyle that is very similar to Type 3's; however, Type 2's also implement early disease prevention strategies such as whole genome sequencing, whole exome sequencing, gene panel, single gene testing, and methylation analysis to garner data on their disease predisposition and penetrance. Other testing such as glycomic testing, blood plasma, and proteomic testing and other biomarkers that can assist in predicting and in some cases preventing disease are also used. Mortality Risk - Low.

Type I - Type 1's encompass everything that Type 2's perform; however, Type 1's have achieved a status of disease prevention and developed strategies to prevent further biological decay through various lifestyle decisions, including full spectrum diagnostic services, gene editing, and tissue reprogramming, and immune system or thymic rejuvenation to ensure high resistance to disease and dysfunction.

The scale shown here clearly demonstrates that there are various stages to longevity management that are completely distinguishable between one another. A classification system such as this also paves the way for governments to set goals and targets for their aging populations. Even though Type I status is not yet achievable, the scale intentionally includes this category, not only for future use, but as a symbol for humanity's scientific vision and quest to deliver a disease-free and much healthier society.

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