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‘I was tired, irritable and anxious’ – how to recognise a thyroid issue – Independent.ie

'I was tired, irritable and anxious' - how to recognise a thyroid issue

Independent.ie

'Around 3pc to 5pc of the population will experience an issue with the thyroid, usually meaning that the hormone level has gone high or low," says Dr Carla Moran, consultant endocrinologist at the Beacon Hospital.

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'Around 3pc to 5pc of the population will experience an issue with the thyroid, usually meaning that the hormone level has gone high or low," says Dr Carla Moran, consultant endocrinologist at the Beacon Hospital.

She's talking about the small butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck that secretes several hormones, collectively called thyroid hormones. The main hormone is thyroxine, also called T4, and these hormones act throughout the body, influencing metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature.

"Nodules within the gland is a separate problem and is even more common - that could be up to 50pc of the population, but 90pc of those are benign and most people don't even know they have them."

Low hormone levels indicate hypothyroidism. "That is where the gland isn't making enough hormone and we can pick that up quite easily through a blood test," says Dr Moran. "GPs would be very familiar with checking for that. The most common cause for hypothyroidism is an auto-immune condition called Hashimoto's thyroiditis, whereby the body has recognised part of the thyroid gland as a foreign object, and mounts an immune response to it that, in time, destroys the cells that make the thyroid hormone."

It's a condition that is more common in women, at a ratio of about 8:1, and can happen at any stage, but is more common in the 20s and 30s.

This can be detected by a simple blood test - "we pick up that thyroid hormone levels have gone low, and we can also often pick up a protein called thyroid auto anti-body, a tiny little protein that the body has made against part of the thyroid gland." The causes, she says, are unknown, "although it's probably a combination of genetics and an environmental trigger, sometimes related to stress, sometimes after pregnancy, sometimes after a viral infection."

The symptoms people describe when their hormone levels go low are a constellation, and include fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, hair loss, loss of hair at outer edge of eyebrows, constipation, and feeling cold.

"It's like your metabolism slows down," says Dr Moran. "And it's usually quite insidious. Often, it has been going on for quite a while before people realise they don't feel right. Hypothyroidism is easily picked up by a GP, and the patient will be put onto replacement thyroxine, taken daily. In most cases where the gland has failed, this is irreversible, so they stay on the replacement for life. But, it is very safe to take, doesn't have side effects if given in the right doses, is safe in pregnancy and safe for children. And it's effective - generally, patients feel much better."

Be warned though, ignoring symptoms is dangerous. Hormone levels will get lower and lower and, in really extreme circumstances, people can go into a coma, although "we hardly ever see that any more," says Dr Moran.

Then there's the opposite - hyperthyroidism - where the thyroid makes too much hormone. "This is less common than hypothyroidism, and can come on more suddenly. People will notice over the course of a few weeks to a month that everything speeds up. They lose weight, they feel too warm, they can feel tremulous, they can have palpitations - heart racing - they have poor sleep, they feel on edge and irritable. Sometimes the gland itself gets bigger - visible as a swelling in front part of the neck, a goitre."

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves' disease, named for the Irish doctor who first described it, where the body manufactures an anti-body directed against the thyroid gland that tells it to keep making thyroid hormone.

This too usually affects women, in theirs 20s, 30s and 40s, and can also be detected by a blood test. Here, patients need medication to lower their hormone levels: anti-thyroid drugs. "Usually, they will go on a course for about 18 months. Hormone levels will come down to normal within some weeks, but they need to stay on the drugs for about 18 months to make the condition go away. At that stage, about 50pc will have normal thyroid function into the future. The other 50pc, where the condition comes back - which usually happens within the first year - go back on the drugs but we would think about treatment that is more permanent, because it is likely to keep coming back through their lifetime. More permanent treatments are radioactive iodine, given as a pill, or surgery to remove the gland."

Dr Moran points out that, although iodine deficiency is the number one cause of an under-active thyroid gland globally, in countries like Ireland, it is very rare. "We get iodine from dairy products, and fish products. Most people meet their requirement through dairy." She also highlights that, "although I would recommend a healthy lifestyle, in terms of good diet and exercise, I wouldn't recommend supplements containing iodine, as some have too much. Too little iodine is bad but too much is also bad."

There is, she says, some controversy around hormone replacement. "Mostly, we use thyroxine which is pure T4, which is then converted in cells to T3, the active form of thyroid hormone. But the gland also makes a small amount of T3.

"The controversy is whether people should be replaced with both T4 and T3. A small number of patients who go onto T4 replacement therapy still report feeling very tired, and some of those have reported feeling better on thyroxine and T3 combined. However, T4 works for the vast majority of people.

"Before considering T3 in such a case, I would first make sure they are taking thyroxin correctly and are on the right dose. Then, look for other causes in case we had missed something, another auto-immune condition. Only then would I consider the addition of T3."

Case study: Gemma O'Halloran

Everything was going well," says 36-year-old Gemma O'Halloran. "I was enjoying my new home in Gorey, running my business and celebrating the arrival of my gorgeous new niece. With hindsight, I did feel a bit tired and listless in the weeks before the main symptoms showed themselves, but nothing out of the ordinary. A thyroid problem was the last thing on my mind, even when some hives - a previous health issue - reappeared."

Gemma continued on "until one day I was in the supermarket and I knelt down to get something from the lowest shelf. I found I couldn't get back up again. I was stuck and simply didn't have the strength to rise. I had to sit on the floor and get up one leg at a time."

Within days, Gemma visited her GP. By then, "my hands were shaking, I was short of breath, my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest, I had no strength in my legs, I had some difficulty swallowing. As I spoke to the GP, I started connecting other dots and knew that something was really wrong."

The GP immediately suspected a thyroid problem, and scheduled a blood test. "She specifically mentioned hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid, and if that was the case, I would need to see an endocrinologist."

"I immediately began researching," Gemma says with a laugh. "That's me, I'm an event manager, I like to get things done. There are times to be patient, and there are times to act." By the time her blood results came back - now clearly indicating that she needed urgent attention - Gemma had found Dr Moran at the Beacon Hospital, who carried out further blood tests and diagnosed Graves' disease.

Gemma's GP had already put her on medication to slow her heart-rate and stop the shaking of her hands - "it took me six attempts to get the tablet pack open that first day, because they trembled so much," she vividly recalls - and Dr Moran prescribed additional medication to bring her actual hormone levels down.

"It takes a while for the medication to kick in," Gemma says. "It takes weeks, not days. And in the meantime, I still had all these symptoms. As well as the physical symptoms including tiredness, weakness, hives, weight loss - I lost 9lb even though my appetite was massive - and an enlarged thyroid gland, or goitre that made swallowing difficult, I had emotional and cognitive symptoms too.

"Some of my key strengths are strategic thinking and planning. I found my thinking was a lot slower. I was forgetful. My concentration and focus were impacted too. Emotionally, I experienced anxiety brought on by the hormone imbalances, I felt irritable, and regularly had to take deep breaths to stay calm. I was still working, but I did scale it back for a while. Throughout all this I had amazing support from my family, friends, doctors, colleagues and clients and I thank all of them for it."

Gemma tried to be as present and pro-active in her own treatment as possible, engaging in the process alongside her doctors. Within three weeks, blood tests showed that her hormone levels were moving in the right direction, and by five weeks she was back in the normal range.

"Once that happened, the treatment changed and focused on maintaining the new levels and ensuring that hypothyroidism didn't develop.

"I have a blood test every few months, and that will continue for a couple of years, but I feel better now. It shows in every aspect of my life. My strength has returned, my brain is clear, my emotions are back on an even keel. I'm back to myself. The silver lining has been a new perspective, something I think anyone who has been ill and recovers, gains. I'm more aware now of the people in my life, what I mean to them and them to me, and that is something I'm very grateful for."

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How to lose weight like this guy who lost 42 kgs by implementing these changes in his life instead of dieting – GQ India – What a man’s got to do

The tricks to lose weight are aplenty but only a few are sustainable and long-term in nature. Aditya Chaubey, a student by profession and self-proclaimed fitness freak by choice tells us that there is no one rule that fits all when it comes to weight loss. However, there is one cardinal sin that many people (including me) indulge in while trying to lose weight and that is dieting.

You see, dieting, at its core means restriction. And no human being enjoys being placed under restrictions. Moreover, no diet is sustainable in the long run, he says. One should strive to adopt healthier eating habits and not a diet, he adds. A healthy lifestyle does demand certain sacrifices, but it is worth it in the long run! I used to feel ashamed of how I looked (at his heaviest he weighed 110 kgs or as his father would say Quinton and 10) and as a result, I was afraid to even step inside a gym, he adds.

Add to that the fact that my father is an army officer, well, I think you can understand my discomfort. So, I took up running, he explains before revealing his step-by-step approach to weight loss by making small changes in his daily life instead of resorting to a diet plan an approach that helped him shed 42 kgs and trim from 110 kgs to 68 kgs.

Running is the best form of free physical exercise, which actually burns more calories than any other form of cardio workout as it requires many different muscles to work together. It also helps burn belly fat and preserve lean body muscle.

Says Aditya, my goal was simple to be able to run a 5K in under 20 minutes. But, when I started, I could barely get run 100 metres before I was left gasping for breath. However, I was encouraged by many people to carry on, no matter what. Honestly, this was perhaps one of the best motivational bouts during those tough initial months.

QUICK READ: How running a little bit every day for two months changed my life

Make no mistake, it didn't get any easier, I just got used to it and within 2 months I ran a full 5 Km without stopping in about 45 minutes. Granted, it was not what I wanted, but it was a start. And, now, I was ready to join a gym! During this phase, my college started and I had to leave my beautiful support system behind."

"I joined my college gym but still continued going on runs. It is the best form of exercise, it builds cardio-vascular strength, and one can do it anywhere, anytime. Below, Aditya breaks down his new weight loss workout routine.

QUICK READ: How "mindful running" can help you run faster, farther, and more peacefully

The key is to train hard, day in and day out, each workout should demand a better you. For me, it was running on alternate days with a continuous attempt to increase the distance with each progressive day and then at the end of the week (usually Sunday) go for a long run (10 km). I used to hit the gym 5 days a week. I targeted 2 muscle groups in each session doing 4 exercises of each muscle group. Apart from this, there was my one complete rest day. No gym, no running, nothing!

QUICK READ: How to run faster without ever touching a treadmill

I followed the principles outlined in this brilliant book, titled, "Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight" by Dr. Rujuta Diwekar. It helped me develop healthier habits. To give you a gist:

- The key to weight loss is to consume small meals spread over the course of the whole day instead of binging and making conscious healthy choices even when you are forced to dine out. For example: I eat tandoori roti instead of butter naan, tandoori chicken instead of a rich chicken curry and pasta instead of pizza. I also make sure that the food I am consuming is not calorie-rich but is rather rich in nutrients.

- Don't leave your staple food. As far as our varied cuisine choices are concerned one should think global but eat local. In essence eat the local cuisine, dosa and Idli for Southern India, momos and Chinese in hilly areas, etc.

- Even during weight loss, it's important to meet your body's basic nutrient and energy needs. Over time, not eating enough can lead to nutrient deficiency and serious health problems. We are looking to improve our health, not sabotage it. Use a calorie tracker app to guide you through this, I personally recommend MyFitnessPal or Samsung Health.

I also followed this adage - eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper to emphasise portion control.

QUICK READ: How many calories should you eat every day to lose weight?

I have been able to maintain my weight by regularly running and gymming. Although I have dialled back the frequency and intensity of my workouts, I still make sure that I indulge in at least three workout sessions and one long run every week.

I also monitor my calorie intake and check my weight daily. I didn't come this far just to gain it all back. One has to be consistent and relentless when it comes to weight loss.

Here are a few pointers which I gleaned through my journey:

1. Always be truthful to yourself. Only when you are honest with yourself about your body, will you strive to be able to change it.

2. Be consistent. If you want it bad enough you'll find a way and you'll also find the time otherwise you'll find an excuse.

3. The weighing machine is your best friend and the mirror is your most brutal critique. Check your weight weekly and at the same time, don't forget to glance in the mirror to see how your body is transforming.

4. Keep taking pictures of yourself throughout the journey, and when you feel demotivated or those extra kilos refuse to drop; look at your pictures. They will re-energise you.

5. Keep varying your exercise regime to break the monotony of the routine. Following the same pattern takes a toll on our mental state as we start getting bored with it. As a consequence, we don't put in as much effort as we can and the weight stagnates leading to immense frustration. Each workout should stimulate both your mind and body.

6. The most important step - keep a track of everything and not just calories what you eat, how much youve exercised today, how much ran...you get the gist. The devil is in the details, and it's these details that will ultimately help you analyse the ways to make your routine better. Losing weight is simple mathematics, burn more than you eat. Everyone burns some calories even while resting. This is known as Basal Metabolic Rate. There are online calculators to find one's BMR. After determining your BMR, aim to maintain a deficit of 150 calories and whatever happens, do not exceed 300 calories.

Notably, Aditya informs that during his weight loss journey, he also fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a certified mountaineer from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Our instructors were some of the most elite climbers that the country has to offer and many of them were from Special forces. As you can imagine my physical fitness and weight loss increased dramatically during this phase. This coupled with the above strict routine helped me get in shape.

Disclaimer: The diet and workout routines shared by the respondents may or may not be approved by diet and fitness experts. GQ India doesn't encourage or endorse the weight loss tips & tricks shared by the person in the article. Please consult an authorised medical professional before following any specific diet or workout routine mentioned above.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Have a healthy holiday season – The News

NEW GLASGOW, N.S.

Tis the season of family, celebration and lots of food! Temptation seems to be everywhere chocolates at the office, your moms favourite pie on the counter, and so many holiday buffets!How do you stick to your diabetes meal plan while everyone around you seems to be indulging? By following some of our tips below you can enjoy some holiday offerings and also keep your blood sugars in check!

Balance your plate, balance your blood sugarsCreating a healthy plate for your meals is the foundation for controlling blood sugars, especially during the holidays. Fill half your plate with veggies, with protein and with whole grains. This helps balance fibre, healthy fats and protein which are important in slowing down digestion and the release of sugar into your blood. During the holidays, try to eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If youre eating later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.

Navigate the holiday food table Look at the whole buffet table before deciding what to put on your plate. Did you know when you put healthy foods on your plate first, it can improve overall meal selection? Give it a try! Pick one or two appetizers and then move away from the party table. Facing the buffet table can actually lead to more trips to fill your plate. Use a smaller plate. You can enjoy smaller portions of food and still be satisfied because the plate looks full. Load up on vegetables. Eat them first to take the edge off hunger and make sure they fill half your plate. Fit in your favourites. Remember, all foods can fit. Be sure to slow down, savour every bite and make sure to count them in your meal plan. If you have a sweet treat, be sure to cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread, stuffing) during the meal. Lead by example. Bring a vegetable or fruit tray to your next holiday potluck, and watch it disappear. Short on time this month? Order a tray from your Sobeys produce department.

Stay activeIts all about balance. Have you found yourself indulging a little too often? Balance your extra intake by burning some calories. There are so many fun holiday activities you can enjoy with family and friends ... or on your own if you are in need of some peace and quiet. Walk around your neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights and decorations. Celebrate winter with activities that you cant do any other time of year. Skating, skiing and snowshoeing are all great choices. Go sledding or build a snowman with the kids in your life. Walk a little more while you are Christmas shopping. Park farther away, take a few extra laps around the mall or stroll through the downtown streets.Most of all, enjoy everything the festive season has to offer!

Nutrition Events:Join Teresa for her Secrets to Better Blood Sugars class. Learn practical ways to better manage your blood sugar and follow a healthy lifestyle.Thursday, December 5th from 11-12:30pm at Sobeys AberdeenTuesday, December 10th from 5:30-7pm at Sobeys WestsideContact Teresa to register at (902)-755-3645 or email Teresa.flynn@sobeys.com.

Teresa Flynn is a dietician at Sobeys in New Glasgow. Hungry for more? Like @SobeysDietitian on Facebook and Twitter for more tasty tips & recipes or receive our schedule of events and Healthy Bits & Bites Newsletter directly to your inbox! Register at http://www.sobeyspharmacy.com/newsletter.

Zucchini Loaf with Walnuts & Pumpkin SeedsPrep time: 15 minutesTotal time: 1 hour 35 minutesMakes: 1 loafIngredients:1 cup 250 mL Whole-wheat flour1 cup 250 mL All-purpose flour1 tbsp 15 mL Baking powder1 tsp 5 mL Ground cinnamon tsp 2 mL Salt2 Eggs cup 175 mL Plain 2% yogourt cup 125 mL Firmly packed brown sugar cup 125 mL Canola oil1 tsp 5 mL Vanilla extract2 cups 500 mL Grated zucchini (approx. 1 large zucchini) cup 125 mL Pumpkin seeds cup 125 mL Walnut pieces1 tbsp 15 mL Ground flaxseedsDirections:1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease 9 x 5-in. (1.9 L) loaf pan. In large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.2. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, yogourt, brown sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla. Pour over flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in zucchini, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and flaxseeds.3. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan, smoothing top. Bake in centre of oven 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until top of loaf is golden brown and skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack to cool completely......Nutrition Information per Serving (1/12th of loaf):Calories 280, Fat 17 grams, Saturated Fat 2 grams, Carbohydrate 27 grams, Fibre 3 grams,Protein 7 grams, Sodium 210 milligramsDietitian Tip: Nuts and seeds in this loaf give healthy fats and fibre with a great crunch.

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Why AI Will Be the Best Tool for Extending Our Longevity – Singularity Hub

Dmitry Kaminskiy speaks as though he were trying to unload everything he knows about the science and economics of longevityfrom senolytics research that seeks to stop aging cells from spewing inflammatory proteins and other molecules to the trillion-dollar life extension industry that he and his colleagues are trying to fosterin one sitting.

At the heart of the discussion with Singularity Hub is the idea that artificial intelligence will be the engine that drives breakthroughs in how we approach healthcare and healthy aginga concept with little traction even just five years ago.

At that time, it was considered too futuristic that artificial intelligence and data science might be more accurate compared to any hypothesis of human doctors, said Kaminskiy, co-founder and managing partner at Deep Knowledge Ventures, an investment firm that is betting big on AI and longevity.

How times have changed. Artificial intelligence in healthcare is attracting more investments and deals than just about any sector of the economy, according to data research firm CB Insights. In the most recent third quarter, AI healthcare startups raised nearly $1.6 billion, buoyed by a $550 million mega-round from London-based Babylon Health, which uses AI to collect data from patients, analyze the information, find comparable matches, then make recommendations.

Even without the big bump from Babylon Health, AI healthcare startups raised more than $1 billion last quarter, including two companies focused on longevity therapeutics: Juvenescence and Insilico Medicine.

The latter has risen to prominence for its novel use of reinforcement learning and general adversarial networks (GANs) to accelerate the drug discovery process. Insilico Medicine recently published a seminal paper that demonstrated how such an AI system could generate a drug candidate in just 46 days. Co-founder and CEO Alex Zhavoronkov said he believes there is no greater goal in healthcare todayor, really, any venturethan extending the healthy years of the human lifespan.

I dont think that there is anything more important than that, he told Singularity Hub, explaining that an unhealthy society is detrimental to a healthy economy. I think that its very, very important to extend healthy, productive lifespan just to fix the economy.

The surge of interest in longevity is coming at a time when life expectancy in the US is actually dropping, despite the fact that we spend more money on healthcare than any other nation.

A new paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that after six decades of gains, life expectancy for Americans has decreased since 2014, particularly among young and middle-aged adults. While some of the causes are societal, such as drug overdoses and suicide, others are health-related.

While average life expectancy in the US is 78, Kaminskiy noted that healthy life expectancy is about ten years less.

To Zhavoronkovs point about the economy (a topic of great interest to Kaminskiy as well), the US spent $1.1 trillion on chronic diseases in 2016, according to a report from the Milken Institute, with diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and Alzheimers among the most costly expenses to the healthcare system. When the indirect costs of lost economic productivity are included, the total price tag of chronic diseases in the US is $3.7 trillion, nearly 20 percent of GDP.

So this is the major negative feedback on the national economy and creating a lot of negative social [and] financial issues, Kaminskiy said.

That has convinced Kaminskiy that an economy focused on extending healthy human lifespansincluding the financial instruments and institutions required to support a long-lived populationis the best way forward.

He has co-authored a book on the topic with Margaretta Colangelo, another managing partner at Deep Knowledge Ventures, which has launched a specialized investment fund, Longevity.Capital, focused on the longevity industry. Kaminskiy estimates that there are now about 20 such investment funds dedicated to funding life extension companies.

In November at the inaugural AI for Longevity Summit in London, he and his collaborators also introduced the Longevity AI Consortium, an academic-industry initiative at Kings College London. Eventually, the research center will include an AI Longevity Accelerator program to serve as a bridge between startups and UK investors.

Deep Knowledge Ventures has committed about 7 million ($9 million) over the next three years to the accelerator program, as well as establishing similar consortiums in other regions of the world, according to Franco Cortese, a partner at Longevity.Capital and director of the Aging Analytics Agency, which has produced a series of reports on longevity.

One of the most recent is an overview of Biomarkers for Longevity. A biomarker, in the case of longevity, is a measurable component of health that can indicate a disease state or a more general decline in health associated with aging. Examples range from something as simple as BMI as an indicator of obesity, which is associated with a number of chronic diseases, to sophisticated measurements of telomeres, the protective ends of chromosomes that shorten as we age.

While some researchers are working on moonshot therapies to reverse or slow agingwith a few even arguing we could expand human life on the order of centuriesKaminskiy said he believes understanding biomarkers of aging could make more radical interventions unnecessary.

In this vision of healthcare, people would be able to monitor their health 24-7, with sensors attuned to various biomarkers that could indicate the onset of everything from the flu to diabetes. AI would be instrumental in not just ingesting the billions of data points required to develop such a system, but also what therapies, treatments, or micro-doses of a drug or supplement would be required to maintain homeostasis.

Consider it like Tesla with many, many detectors, analyzing the behavior of the car in real time, and a cloud computing system monitoring those signals in real time with high frequency, Kaminskiy explained. So the same shall be applied for humans.

And only sophisticated algorithms, Kaminskiy argued, can make longevity healthcare work on a mass scale but at the individual level. Precision medicine becomes preventive medicine. Healthcare truly becomes a system to support health rather than a way to fight disease.

Image Credit: Photo byh heyerleinonUnsplash

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AI Will Drive The Multi-Trillion Dollar Longevity Economy – Forbes

World Longevity Economy Size Projections, current USD

AI for Longevity has more potential to increase healthy Longevity in the short term than any other sector. The application of AI for Longevity will bring the greatest real-world benefits and will be the main driver of progress in the widespread extension of healthy Longevity. The global spending power of people aged 60 and over is anticipated to reach $15 trillion annually by 2020. The Longevity industry will dwarf all other industries in both size and market capitalization, reshape the globalfinancial system, and disrupt the business modelsof pension funds, insurance companies, investment banks, and entire national economies.

Longevity has become a recurring topic in analytical reports from leading financial institutions such as CitiBank, UBS Group, Julius Baer, and Barclays. At the recent AI for Longevity Summit in London, top executives from Prudential, HSBC, AXA Insurance, NVIDIA, Microsoft, Babylon Health, Insilico Medicine, Longevity.Capital, Longevity Vision Fund, Juvenescence, and Deep Knowledge Ventures came together to discuss the Longevity Industry. International policymakers and senior corporate executives shared learnings from Japan, Israel, Switzerland, the US, and the UK, and exchanged ideas on beginning to work together in a new social contract to enhance global prosperity equitably.

The 7th Continent - 1 Billion People in Retirement Globally

Switzerland is one of the most longevity progressive countries in the world with both high investment in biotechnology and the capacity to integrate AI into its economic, financial, and healthcare systems. Switzerland has the potential to be a world leader in both the Global Longevity Industry and the 4th Industrial Revolution. There are currently 100 companies, 80 investors, 50 financial companies, 35 research labs, 20 precision medicine clinics, 15 nonprofits, and 10 governmental organizations in the Swiss Longevity Industry. Switzerland is in an excellent position to retain its leading position by focusing on the optimal assembly of its existing resources to transform the challenge of demographic aging into a national asset.

Switzerland has a large aging population and Swiss investment banks are acutely aware of the oncoming demographic challenge. Switzerland is one of the most efficiently regulated and supervised financial centers in the world and has been leading transformative developments emerging from the digitalization of its banking and financial sector. Longevity-progressive countries typically have large aging populations, and aging populations have two longevity-progressive benefits: voting power and spending power.

Longevity Industry in Switzerland 2019

The digitization of finance, and novel financial systems which treat Longevity as a dividend, will play an integral role in the Longevity economy. According to a recent report by Aging Analytics Agency, Switzerland has the elements necessary to become a leading Longevity financial hub, including factors such as a lean political system that facilitates rapid implementation of integrated government programs, a strong research environment for geroscience, a strong research and business environment for digital health, and most importantly, international financial prowess.

Switzerland has the ability to develop several Longevity specific programs over the next several years. One program is a Longevity progressive pension system and insurance company ecosystem that accounts for both population aging (which threatens to destabilize the current business models of insurance companies and pension funds) and the potential for widespread healthspan extension. Another program is a national strategy for intensively developing Geroscience and FinTech to a state so advanced that it propels Switzerland into a central role in the international Longevity business ecosystem and a global leader in Longevity Finance. Switzerland is leading the digitization of financial markets and establishing itself as a catalyst for financial innovation on a global level. According to Aging Analytics Agency, 10% of all European FinTech enterprises are located in Switzerland.

Switzerland has a strong and productive geroscience community and has gained prominence among investors as a global biotech hub and hotbed of innovation. The Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics has recently identified large numbers of genetic markers directly linked to human life expectancy. Switzerland is also home to the prestigious Vontobel Prize for Aging Research.

The Convergence of 5 Mega Trends

BioValley

Switzerland is situated at one end of the BioValley - one of the leading life science clusters in Europe. This cluster is unique in that it spans across three countries, Switzerland, Germany and France, and includes Basel, a global life science hub. BioValley brings together important ingredients for a successful biotech cluster including a concentration of companies, rich availability of skills, experience within Life Sciences, and a world class research base. The cluster in Switzerland has in excess of 50,000 people working in the life sciences field including 15,000 scientists. There are 600 companies in the cluster developing therapeutic, diagnostic or medical devices to address a wide range of diseases in multiple therapeutic classes. There are 100,000 students enrolled in 10 universities and research institutions including University of Basel, Max Planck Institute, and Freiburg University. The cluster has produced a number of spin-out companies supported by a financial network including both public and private financing initiatives as well as traditional venture capital and private equity. The entire process of drug development is covered in the region, from research through to clinical and drug development, and manufacturing.

Longevity AI Consortium Expands to Switzerland

Longevity AI Consortium King's College London

In November 2019, Europes firstLongevity AI Consortium(LAIC)launched at King's College London. LAIC is currently developing collaborative research projects withDynamics of Healthy Ageing (DynAge)and theDigital Society Initiative (DSI)at the University of Zurich. The research will utilize AI technologies to predict the future cognitive ability of individuals using multimodal neuroimaging and risk factor data. Academics in Zurich will work in collaboration with colleagues at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King's College London. LAIC plans to establish several collaborative projects with the University of Zurich in 2020. The joint R&D between Ageing Research at Kings and University of Zurich forms the first phase of the global Longevity AI Consortium that will eventually be extended to Israel, Singapore, Japan and the US.

The Longevity Industry

AgeTech

FinTech banks are redefining the banking industry by connecting with a new generation of mobile-first consumers. However, FinTech banks are focusing on consumers who are middle-age and younger, not on the 1 billion people in retirement and the $15 trillion dollar market opportunity. As the share of the population over 60 increases, Swiss banks are lagging behind in finding solutions for this age group. Traditional banks, as opposed to challenger banks, are taking their first steps in AgeTech and adapting their infrastructure for people over 60.

WealthTech

The WealthTech Industry refers to a new generation of financial technology companies that create digital solutions to transform the investment and asset management industry. New companies have arrived on the scene offering advice based on AI and big data, micro-investment platforms, and trading solutions based on social networks. A growing aging population is one of the main drivers of innovation in WealthTech. Financial services innovators have an opportunity to enhance the financial lives of individuals over 60 by designing new solutions and adapting existing products and services for them. This is an opportunity to implement innovations that address financial health challenges head on.

Financial Wellness

As a core component of its mission to develop Switzerland into a leading international Longevity Financial Industry hub, Longevity Swiss Foundation plans on roadmapping the development of AI Centers for Financial Wellness. Whereas the proposed AI Centers for Longevity would focus on optimizing health, these centers would focus on the application of AI to the creation of methods and technologies to promote wellness in other areas including financial wellness, continuing education, psychological well being, neuroplasticity, and active social involvement. The planned development of AI Centers for Financial Wellness will enable financial stability over extended periods of healthy Longevity for Swiss citizens.

Switzerland could become the center of the Longevity Financial Industry. Given its geographic size and its reliance on international cooperation, its function in the Longevity Industry will be as a small but important node. Due to its status as an international BioTech epicenter and its reputation as one of the most progressive countries in terms of its financial industry, the prospects for Switzerland to lead the world in the development of its Longevity Financial Industry are strong.

Today, change occurs at the intersection of two or more scientific and technological domains. We are at the beginning of a trend where the degree of complexity and the number of convergence points will increase exponentially. The convergence of AI, advanced data science, and Longevity research will accelerate important medical breakthroughs that will benefit all humans. In the next decade, the Longevity Industry will impact many areas of our lives. Longevity policies enacted by governments and changes in the global financial industry will transform society. Achieving small but practical results in Longevity distributed at scale will have enormous and multiplicative effects on society. Extending the functional lifespan of humans by just one year will decrease suffering for tens of millions of people and will improve the quality of life for billions of people.

Click the box below to preview a new book that I co-authored with my colleague Dmitry Kaminskiy entitled Longevity Industry 1.0 - Defining the Biggest and Most Complex Industry in Human History.

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AI Will Drive The Multi-Trillion Dollar Longevity Economy - Forbes

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Purdue is looking for your dog to participate in a national scientific study. Here’s how. – Journal & Courier

Purdue is looking for dogs to participate in a national study on the health and wellness of dogs.(Photo: provided by Purdue)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue is looking for dogs. More specifically, your dog to volunteer as a participant in a national study that will be looking at the general health and wellness of dogs.

The Dog Aging Project is a collaboration between more than 40 scientists and researchers across the U.S. and will be looking at dogs of all breeds, mixes and ages. At Purdue, Audrey Ruple, an assistant professor of One Health Epidemiology in the College of Health and Human Sciences, is one the researchers leading the study and is hoping to recruit dogs from across Indiana.

Ruple, who is a veterinary epidemiologist specializing in dogs as a model of human health, said the goal of the study is to examine factors that maximize the health and longevity of dogs, which can be linked to the health and longevity of humans.

Humans and dogs have more in common than we might think sharing 650 million base pairs of genetic information with the canines which Ruple said makes the animals useful to study human disease processes. Dogs also have a sophisticated health care system, comparable to the human health care system.

Dogs are unique because they share our environment, Ruple said. They live in our homes, drink our water and sometimes eat our human food. We both have similarities, and we see a lot of similar diseases and health issues.

The Dog Aging Project will follow participating dogs to watch how different environmental and biological factors can affect longevity for the next 10 years, although the schedule could extend beyond that time. The research hopes to look at specifics that could affect longevity, including an individuals genome, proteome, microbiome, demographics and environmental factors.

Owners who nominate their dogs to participate in the study will complete a 200-question health and lifestyle survey as well as submit electronic medial records, likely through the dogs veterinarian. The study isnt limiting the types of dogs participating eitherdogs of all breeds, mixes and sizes are encouraged to participate.

Neither the dogs nor owners will be compensated for the research, butthere is no cost to participate. Researchers will be working closely with the primary care veterinarians of the dogs, who will be expected to visit for their regular annual examination.

Ruple said the study is a citizen scientist project, meaning the owners of participating dogs are considered to be research partners in the study.

The study is funded by a five-year grant from the National Institute of Aging, which is part of the National Institute of Health, as well as private donations.

The Dog Aging Project hopes to enroll tens of thousands of dogs to research by the end of 2020.

People can take a part in the scientific process, whether its for human health or dog health, Ruple said. Through this study, we can learn to not only be better stewards of their existence, but also for our own.

TO APPLY:For more information on the Dog Aging Project or to nominate your dog, visithttps://dogagingproject.org/

Emily DeLetter is a news reporter for the Journal & Courier. Contact her at (765) 420-5205 or via email at edeletter@jconline.com. Follow her on Twitter at @EmilyDeLetter.

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Purdue is looking for your dog to participate in a national scientific study. Here's how. - Journal & Courier

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Retirement planning needs to include keeping in touch with your communities – Minneapolis Star Tribune

The underlying message from the recent report released by the Senate Joint Economic Committee is clear from its title, An Invisible Tsunami: Aging Alone and Its Effect on Older Americans, Families, and Taxpayers. The report looks at the worrisome trend toward increasing social isolation among older Americans.

The report examines trends of social support among adults ages 61 to 63 from 1994 to 2014 by several measures think children living within 10 miles, married or cohabiting, and good friends in the neighborhood. Each trend line is down over the 20-year period. The report argues that older Americans in the future are unlikely to have the level of support from caregivers that they enjoyed in the past.

There are some countervailing trends that suggest the value of community is being rediscovered by aging Americans in recent years. For example, the number of retirees who say they moved within five years after retirement has fallen from a high of 23% in 1980 to 15% in 2015. When retirees pick up stakes, theyre most likely to move within the same county.

The urbanized retired population is likely choosing to stay near friends, family, and the cultural attractions, like sporting teams and theaters, that they have come to know well, write Matt Fellowes and Lincoln Plews in The State of Retirees.

The reports emphasize different data but agree that human connections are critical. Healthy social connections contribute to meaningful longevity.

One reason I focus so much on staying employed during the traditional retirement years is partly for the money. The other factor is that the workplace is a community.

The strength and depth of connections and social support is also critical when it comes to deciding where you will you live in your later years.

Most people want to stay in their current residence for as long as possible. Aging-in-place is an attractive idea. But you should investigate not only what it could be like to age in your home but also, more importantly, to age in your community. You dont want to be lonely.

Joseph Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab, recommends thinking through these three questions in planning for a good quality of life with age: Who will change my light bulbs? How will I get an ice cream cone? Who will I have lunch with? Your answers should help you plan for aging in a home and community with strong connections and community support.

Chris Farrell is a senior economics contributor for Marketplace and a commentator for Minnesota Public Radio.

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Retirement planning needs to include keeping in touch with your communities - Minneapolis Star Tribune

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Battling the Blues Part 2: Nurture the spirit – Steamboat Pilot & Today

Editors note: This is part two in a series of four articles exploring the causes of and ways to combat winter blues. The focus of the series is on mental health and strategies for improving your state of mind through physical activity, spirituality, diet and community and connections.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS Wherever you find your spirituality, research shows that finding that connection that meaning can provide a buffer against depression.

For whatever struggles or loss someone might be facing, the holidays can be an especially difficult time, said Dr. Jo Ann Grace the spiritual health care coordinator and bereavement counselor for Northwest Colorado Healths hospice program. People may inside feel really sad but are caught between everyone being joyful its a paradox of emotions that can happen at the same time.

Whether or not you worship a god or take part in an organized religion, Grace said, Its about connections, relationships, spirituality and how you are finding meaning in the midst of the holiday season.

For some, especially living in a place surrounded by spectacular natural beauty, that connection to something larger or sense of deep gratitude, awe and peace can be found on a mountaintop or at the edge of a pristine lake.

Nature is one of the most underutilized treasures in life. It has the power to unburden hearts and reconnect to that inner place of peace, wrote Dr. Janice Anderson and Kiersten Anderson in their book Off Beat Enlightenment, which focuses on different ways to find inner peace, health and happiness.

The quest for spirituality and meaning can be one that is ever-evolving, ever-growing and change throughout a persons life.

Where do you look for this hope that you know is there? Bob Dylan queried in his poem, Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie. You can either go to the church of your choice/ Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital.

That spiritual quest and search for meaning gets at thinking about what it means to be human, said Grace. And connection where you can make those connections that allows you to be most fully yourself.

Grace is also a neuroscientist, helping people in her private practice to understand the connections between the brain, body and spirit.

In her work, Grace has found that when people are in a period of grief, they can find relief by focusing on what they most value and where they feel free and fully engaged whether that be worshipping a god, practicing yoga, digging in the garden or riding a horse.

And in addition to the individual component, theres also a communal component, she said. Our brain needs to connect to a tribe.

In the study of the Blue Zones, the locations across the globe with the highest percentage of centenarians, several of the top keys to longevity are finding a sense of purpose, belonging to a community and the nurturing of ones religion or spirituality.

The Blue Zone research attributed physical and mental benefits to spirituality.

People who pay attention to their spiritual side have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, depression, stress and suicide, and their immune systems seem to work better. To a certain extent, adherence to a religion allows them to relinquish the stresses of everyday life to a higher power, said Dan Buettner, Blue Zones founder.

Religiosity and spirituality have been shown to cause changes in the brain, such as increasing serotonin.

There is also an increasing amount of research on the benefits of the practice of meditation and mindfulness being fully aware of the moment to both physical and mental health and combatting the blues.

Meditation trains the brain to achieve sustained focus and to return to that focus when negative thinking, emotions and physical sensations intrude which happens a lot when you feel stressed and anxious, according to Dr. John W. Denninger, director of research at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine.

On Thursday, Dec. 12, Grace is co-facilitating the Blue Christmas service at 6 p.m. at St Pauls Episcopal Church in Steamboat Springs.

It is a nondenominational service to support individuals who are grieving or feeling down this holiday season.

The service is a chance for people to gather together, write a name or message on a star and hang it on a tree, light a candle and honor a person or honor the self and recognize the transition you are going through, Grace said. And recognize you are not by yourself other people are going through similar experiences.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.

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Fascinating Study Finds That Stressed Out Baby Worms Tend to Live Longer – ScienceAlert

Scientists researching a key aspect of biochemistry in living creatures have been taking a very close look at the tiny Caenorhabditis elegans roundworm. Their latest results show that when these nematodes get put under more biochemical stress early in their lives, they somehow tend to live longer.

This type of stress, called oxidative stress - an imbalance of oxygen-containing molecules that can result in cellular and tissue damage - seems to better prepare the worms for the strains of later life, along the same lines as the old adage that whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

You might think that worm lifespans have no bearing on human life. And surely, until we have loads more research done in this field, it would be a big leap to say the same principles of prolonging one's lifespan might hold true for human beings.

But there's good reason to put C. elegans through the paces. This model organism has proven immensely helpful for researchers trying to better understand key biological functions present in worm and human alike - and oxidative stress is one such function.

The little wriggly creatures are known to have significant variations in their lifespan even when the whole population is genetically identical and grows up in the exact same conditions. So the team went looking for other factors that affect C. elegans' longevity.

"The general idea that early life events have such profound, positive effects later in life is truly fascinating," says biochemist Ursula Jakob from the University of Michigan.

Jakob and her colleagues sorted thousands of C. elegans larvae based on the oxidative stress levels they experienced during development this stress arises when cells produce more oxidants and free radicals than they can handle. It's a normal part of the ageing process, but it's also triggered by exercise and a limited food supply.

One way to measure this stress is by the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) molecules an organism produces - simply put, this measurement indicates the biochemical stress an organism is under. In the case of these roundworms, the more ROS were produced during development, the longer their lifespans turned out to be.

(University of Michigan)

To explain how this effect of ROS might come about, the researchers went looking for changes in the worms' genetic regulation, specifically those genes that are known to be involved in dealing with oxidative stress.

While doing so, they detected a key difference - the nematodes exposed to more ROS during development appeared to have undergone an epigenetic change (a gene expression switch that can happen due to environmental influences) thatincreased the oxidative stress resistance of their body's cells.

There are still a lot of questions to answer, but the researchers think their results identify one of the stochastic or random influences on the lifespan of organisms; it's something that has been hypothesised in the field of the genetics of ageing. And down the line, it may turn out to be relevant for ageing humans, too.

"This study provides a foundation for future work in mammals, in which very early and transient metabolic events in life seem to have equally profound impacts on lifespan," the researchers conclude.

The study has been published in Nature.

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AgeX Therapeutics Issues Year-End Letter to Shareholders – BioSpace

The letter follows.

Dear AgeX Stockholders,

In this, our first year as a public company, we have built a foundation for a revolutionary company in the fields of cell therapy and tissue regeneration. To date, conventional pharmaceutical approaches to the chronic degenerative conditions associated with aging have provided little benefit, often only offering relief from the symptoms of disease, rather than targeting underlying disease processes. Our belief is that this is about to change through harnessing the power of new cellular and molecular technologies. We aim to lead this coming revolution with our pioneering technologies which could generate and deliver new cells to patients through our cell therapy focus, and which may reverse the age of cells already in the body through our iTR platform. We believe that our new technologies will lead to true cell regeneration and replacement to potentially cure degenerative diseases by targeting aged or damaged cells, tissues and organs.

Over the last year, we have worked hard to achieve certain goals to set the fundamental basis to create shareholder value going forward:

To optimize shareholder value, we have undertaken a strategic review of our business opportunities, and we have four key take-away messages for the coming year and beyond:

UniverCyte would potentially be game-changing for the whole cell therapy industry by allowing the transplantation of non-self, donor cells into all patients without the need for powerful immunosuppressant drugs, which are associated with serious side effects, including infections and cancers, as well as kidney and liver toxicity. The UniverCyte platform aims to utilize a proprietary, novel, modified form of the powerful immunomodulatory molecule HLA-G, which in nature seems to be a dominant player in protecting a baby from destruction by the mother's immune system during pregnancy, the only known physiological state of immune tolerance toward foreign tissue in humans.

On the other hand, our pluripotent stem cell-based PureStem platform could potentially overcome numerous industry barriers. PureStem cells would have eight potential advantages compared to other adult stem cell- or pluripotent stem cell-based therapies, including lower manufacturing costs, industrial scalability, off-the-shelf usage, high purity, non-tumorgenicity, young age (so they are not prone to the disadvantages associated with older cells), aptitude for permanent cell engraftment, and potential to manufacture any human cell type.

We have two in-house product candidates, both targeting highly prevalent diseases of old age, with a high unmet medical need, and which are for multi-billion-dollar markets. Our lead internal program going forward will be AgeX-BAT1, which is brown fat cells for the treatment of type II diabetes. The last year has seen significant investment in cell therapy product candidates for diabetes by investors and large biotech. Earlier this year, we published a paper, Clonal Derivation of White and Brown Adipocyte Progenitor Cell Lines from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells, in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy, which showed that our PureStem platform generated highly pure, identifiable and scalable brown adipose cells, expressing active adipokines. Our second internal program will be AgeX-VASC1, composed of vascular endothelial progenitor cells for tissue ischemia, such as peripheral vascular disease and potentially cardiac and CNS ischaemia. Once we have a UniverCyte-modified pluripotent stem cell cGMP master cell bank, we will re-derive universal versions of AgeX-BAT1 and AgeX-VASC1 and then work to establish proof-of-concept in animal models.

We care deeply about our mission and the needs of our stockholders. We appreciate your support and the dedication of our scientists and employees as we forge a new future for medicine. We invite you to join us for the Annual Meeting of Stockholders on Monday, December 30, 2019. For those of you who cannot attend in person, our corporate update from that meeting will be webcast for your convenience.

Sincerely,

Michael D. West, Ph.D.

Gregory Bailey, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Chairman of the Board

About AgeX Therapeutics

AgeX Therapeutics, Inc. (NYSE American: AGE) is focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics for human aging. Its PureStem and UniverCyte manufacturing and immunotolerance technologies are designed to work together to generate highly-defined, universal, allogeneic, off-the-shelf pluripotent stem cell-derived young cells of any type for application in a variety of diseases with a high unmet medical need. AgeX has two preclinical cell therapy programs: AGEX-VASC1 (vascular progenitor cells) for tissue ischemia and AGEX-BAT1 (brown fat cells) for Type II diabetes. AgeXs revolutionary longevity platform induced Tissue Regeneration (iTR) aims to unlock cellular immortality and regenerative capacity to reverse age-related changes within tissues. AGEX-iTR1547 is an iTR-based formulation in preclinical development. HyStem is AgeXs delivery technology to stably engraft PureStem cell therapies in the body. AgeX is developing its core product pipeline for use in the clinic to extend human healthspan and is seeking opportunities to establish licensing and collaboration agreements around its broad IP estate and proprietary technology platforms.

For more information, please visit http://www.agexinc.com or connect with the company on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements that are not historical fact including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as will, believes, plans, anticipates, expects, estimates should also be considered forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the business of AgeX Therapeutics, Inc. and its subsidiaries, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in more detail in the Risk Factors section of AgeXs Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commissions (copies of which may be obtained at http://www.sec.gov). Subsequent events and developments may cause these forward-looking statements to change. AgeX specifically disclaims any obligation or intention to update or revise these forward-looking statements as a result of changed events or circumstances that occur after the date of this release, except as required by applicable law.

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AgeX Therapeutics Issues Year-End Letter to Shareholders - BioSpace

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