Follow the link and let me know your thoughts. Once the Teams group is working we could actually have this in multiple places.
This video was recorded on Saturday March 21st, and is our first effort.
Follow the link and let me know your thoughts. Once the Teams group is working we could actually have this in multiple places.
This video was recorded on Saturday March 21st, and is our first effort.
David Sinclair wrote a masterful book that covers so much ground it is amazing. I wanted to share just a couple of the reviews both from the book cover and from Amazon.
September 17, 2019
“What do I do?” David Sinclair’s daily plan-
More funding for the kind of research happening in my lab and others like it could bring about these advancements even sooner. But because of a lack of funding, people over the age of 60 may not live long enough to be helped. If you and your family members end up the last of humanity to live a life that ends all to early with decay and decrepitude, or our children never see the benefits of this research, you can thank those bioethicists. Pg 301
So where are we going????
I love how David opens this section of the book with how younger people in his lab are continually pushing him to think. think about impact, the future, global health care, will ‘aging’ ever be considered a “Dis-Ease”???? Is aging going to be considered in itself a medical condition????
If you read just one piece of this section of the blog read ‘The Long Race’ section. If what Dr. Sinclair writes does not get you thinking hard about hard things, then step back and chill.
Or, jump to, “A Path Forward”, for some super cool thinking.
Personally I am all in on his philosophies!!!
Chapter 8- The shape of things to come
But the people that push me to think even harder are the younger people I teach at Harvard and other universities, and often even younger people I hear from via email and social media nearly every day. They push me to think about how my work will impact the future workforce, global health care, and the very fabric of our moral universe—and to better understand the changes that must take place if we are to meet a world of significantly prolonged human health spans and lifespans with equity, equality, and human decency. Pg 217
The 100 years warning. Pg 220
The 100 year politician. Pg 225
Social Insecurity Pg 227
What divides us grows greater Pg 231
Unless aging is designated a medical condition, initially only the wealthy will be able to afford many of these advances. Pg 232
Indeed, unless we act to ensure equality, we stand at the precipice of a world in which the uber-rich could ensure that their children, and even their companion animals, live far longer than some poor people’s children do. Pg 233
I remain optimistic about the potential of this revolution to change the world for the better. We’ve been here before, after all. Pg 234
To wend our way. Pg 234
Far more than any other lifestyle change or medical intervention, clean water and working sanitation systems have led to longer and healthier lives the world over. Pg 237
The problem wasn’t how many people lived in the city (London) but how they lived in the city.//But today, we can plainly see that the city is flourishing not in spite of its population but because of it, such that the capital and most populous city in the United Kingdom is home to a myriad of museums, restaurants, clubs and culture. Pg 238
But there is another way of seeing our future—one in which prolonged vitality and increasing populations are every bit as inevitable but not damning to our world. In this future, the coming changes are our salvation. But, please: don’t just take my word for it. Pg 239
A species with no limits. Pg 239
Positive views about the future aren’t as popular as negative ones. In rejecting well-meaning but imperfect estimates and arguing that there is no scientifically foreseeable limit to the number of people the planet can sustain, the environmental scientist Erle C. Ellis at the University of Maryland has taken a lot of heat. That, of course, is what happens when scientists challenge entrenched ideas. But Ellis has stood firm, even penning an op-ed for the New York Times in which he called the very notion that we might be able to identify a global carrying capacity, “nonsense”.
“The idea that humans must live within the natural environmental limits of our planet denies the realities of our entire history, and most likely the future,” he wrote. “….Our planets human-carrying capacity emerges from the capabilities of our social systems and our technologies more than from any environmental limit.” Pg 241
“Humans are niche creators,” Ellis stated. “We transform ecosystems to sustain ourselves. This is what we do and have always done”. Pg 242
People, People, Glorious People Pg 244
Pessimism, it turns out, is often indicative of exceptional privilege. Pg 248
Why do we live better even though there are more of us and more of us living longer lives? There are a great many factors, including the good that comes from networks of human capital of all ages. But if I had to explain it in just one word that word would be: “elders.”
The Long Race
“Every aspect of job performance gets better as we age,” Peter Cappelli, the director of the Wharton Center for Human Resources, reported after he began to investigate the stereotypes that often surround older workers. “I thought the picture might be more mixed, but it isn’t. The juxtaposition between the superior performance of older workers and the discrimination against them in the workplace just really makes no sense.” Pg 251
When we extend healthy lives, we exponentialize this investment. The longer people stay in the workforce, the better our return.//A lot of people worry about young workers will be ‘crowded out’ of jobs in no one retires. I don’t. Countries stagnate because they don’t innovate and don’t utilize their human capital, not because there aren’t enough jobs. Pg 253
The option to work at any age—if and when work is wanted and needed—will offer a sort of freedom that would have been unfathomable just a few years ago. The risk of spending one’s savings on fulfilling a dream, innovating, starting a business, or going on a new educational journey will not be such a risk at all; it will simply be an investment in a long and fulfilling life.//But ‘what if’ older people could work longer? ‘What if’ they were to use fewer health care resources? ‘What if’ they were able to conitune to give back to society through volunteering, mentorship, and other forms of service? Perhaps—just perhaps—the value of those extra healthy years would lessen the economic blow? Pg 256
Evidence suggests that if aging is delayed, all fatal and disabling disease risks would be lowered simultaneously.//Over 50 years, Goldman (Dana, USC Economist) estimated, the potential economic benefits of delayed aging would add up to more than $7Trillion in the US alone. Pg 257
With active people over 70 still in the workforce, imagine the experiences that could be shared, the institutional knowledge that could be relied upon, and the wizened leadership leadership would emerge. Problems that seemed insurmountable today will look very different when met by the tremendous economic and intellectual resources offered by prolonged human vitalitiy. That could be especially true if we’re all engaging in our world with the best version of ourselves. Pg 259
The Greatest of These
Chapter 9- A Path Forward
Aging is a disease, and it is not only a disease, but it is the mother of all diseases, the one we all suffer from. Pg 268
There are several ways to speed innovation to find and develop medicines and technologies that prolong healthy lifespan, but the easiest is also the simplest: define aging as a disease.// The first nations to define aging as a disease, both in custom and on paper, will change the course of the future. Pg 269
When a doctor looks at a 50-year old person right now, his or her goal is to keep the patient “less sick,” not to ensure that he or she will be healthy and happy for decades to come.//There are two things that guide medical treatments more than anything else: age and economics.///Indeed our medical system is built on ‘Ageism’.//// The quality of medical care should not be predicated on age or income. A 90 year old and a 30 year old should be treated with the same enthusiasm and support.//// Everyone should be entitled to treatments and therapies that improve quality of life, no matter what the date on his or her birth certificate is. Pg 272
In 2018, Australia ranked seventh on the global human capital index, a measure of the knowledge, skills, and health that people in a nation accumulate over their lives, just behind Singapore, Korea Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, and Ireland. The United States ranked 24th. China ranked 25th. Pg 275
As the Australian example proves, when everyone is living longer and healthier, everyone does better. Pg 277
Open- Like most people, I don’t want unlimited years, just ones filled with less sickness and more love. And for those I know who are engaged in this work, the fight against aging isn’t about ending death; it’s about prolonging healthy life and giving more people the chance to meet death on far better terms—indeed, on their own terms. Quickly and painlessly. When they are ready. Pg 282
We Must Address Consumption with Innovation
We must invest in research that allows us to grow more healthy food and transport it more effectively. And please make no mistake: that includes accepting genetically modified crops, those engineered to include a trait in the plant that doesn’t occur in its wild form, such as resistance to insects, tolerance to drought, greater Vitamin A production, or more efficient use of sunlight to convert CO2 to sugar-as an absolutely necessary part of our food future. With more efficient plants, we could feed up to 200 million additional people, just from plants grown in the US Midwest. Pg 285
Longer, healthier lives will do us little good if we consume ourselves into oblivion. The imperative is clear: whether or not we increase human longevity, our survival depends on consuming less, innovating more, and bringing balance to our relationship with the bounty of our natural world. Pg 288
Going backward or even staying put is not a viable solution to the current crisis. The only path forward is one in which we embrace human capital and ingenuity. Pg 289
We Need to Rethink the Way we Work
The idea of connecting retirement to a person’s chronological age will be an anachronism soon enough. And just like Social Security, the structures that support labor pensions will need to be reevaluated. Skillbatacticals, which might take the shape of a government-supported paid year off for every ten worked, might ultimately become cultural and even legal requisites, just as many of the labor innovations of the twentieth century have. Meanwhile, those who believe they are happy and secure in their careers can enjoy what has come to be know as “a miniretirement”—a year off to travel, learn a language or musical instrument, volunteer, or refresh and reconsider the ways in which they are spending their lives. Pg 291
We Need to Get Ready To Meet Our Great-Great-Grandkids
This is what I want to change—more than anything else in the world. I want everyone to expect that they will meet not only their grandchildren but their great- grandchildren and their great-great-grandchildren. Generations upon generations living together, working together, and making decisions together. We will be ‘accountable’—in this life—for the decisions we made in the past that will impact the future. We will have to look our family members, friends, and neighbors in the eye and account for the way we lived before they came along.// We’re going to have to be more empathetic, more compassionate, more forgiving, and more just.
My friends, we’re going to have to be more human. Pg 293
What we are learning, hmmm, depends on what you are reading, let me tell you there is PLENTY to learn if you choose to! Since I have been a massive fan of what I call ‘sciencey’ reading this section of David’s book lines up a lot. DNA, genomics, epigenetics, when you start reading and boiling this stuff down it is really interesting and fun, that is if you are making the effort to pay attention.
Chapter seven, “The Age of Innovation”, probably had THE most notes of any chapter, certainly so far.
“Intentional Asceticism” But fasting—allowing our bodies to exist in a state of want, more often than most of us allow in our privileged world of plenty—is unquestionably good for our health and longevity. Pg 90
Levels of IGF-1 have been closely linked to longevity. The impact is so strong, in fact, that in some cases it can be used to predict—with great accuracy—how long someone will live. Pg 96
Some people are simply winners in the genetic lottery. The rest of us have some extra work to do. But the good news is that the epigenome is malleable. Pg 97
When researchers studied the telomeres in the blood cells of thousands of adults with all sorts of exercise habits, they saw a striking correlation: those who exercised more had longer telomeres. Pg 102
Exercise, by definition, is the application of stress to our bodies. It raises NAD levels, which in turn activates the survival network, which turns up energy production and forces muscles to grow extra oxygen-carrying capillaries. Pg 103
There is a difference between a leisurely walk and a brisk run, however. To engage our longevity genes fully, intensity does matter. Mayo Clinic researchers studying the effects of different types of exercise on different age groups found that although many forms of exercise have positive health effects, it’s high-intensity interval training (HIIT)-the sort that significantly raises your heart and respiration rates—that engages the greatest number of health-promoting genes, and more of them in older exercisers. Pg 104
Cryotherapy- being cold is hot right now. Pg 110
We teachers have done society a great disservice by making cool science boring. Textbooks and scientific papers depict biology as astatic, two-dimensional world. Once you understand how cells actually work, they are the most amazing things. The problem with conveying this wonder in a classroom is that cells exist in four dimensions and buzz around with speeds and on scales we humans cannot perceive or even conceive. To us, the second and the millimeter are short divisions of time and space, but to an enzyme about 10 nanometers across and vibrating every quadrillionth of a second, a millimeter is the size of a continent and a second is more than a year. Pg 118
Sehgal named that compound rapamycin. Pg 120
Recent results indicate high blood sugar can also speed up the epigenetic clock. Pg 123
Metformin, What place does a diabetes medication have in a conversation about prolonging vitality? Pg 124
SIRT1-Activating compound, or STAC. Pg 128
Resveratrol pg 130
The first paper on resveratrols effects on aging went on to be one of the most highly cited papers of 2006 and was widely circulated in the mainstream media. Pg 133
NAD was discovered in the early 20th century as a alcoholic fermentation enhancer. We began to realize in the 1990’s that NAD wasn’t just keeping things running; it was a central regulator of many biological processes, including aging and disease. That’s because Shinichiro Imai and Lenny Guarente showed that NAD acts as fuel for sirtuins. Without sufficient NAD, the sirtuins don’t work efficiently: they can’t remove the acetyl groups from histones, they can’t silence genes, and they can’t extend lifespan. Pg 134
Meanwhile, on a parallel path, researchers, including us, were homing on a chemical called nicotinamide mononucleotide, or NMN, a compound made by our cells and found in such foods such as avocado, broccoli, and cabbage. Pg 135
Researchers in my lab at Harvard showed we could make the mitochondria in old mice function just like mitochondria in young mice after one week of NMN injections. Pg 136
My father has always been a skeptic. But he is insatiably curious and was fascinated by what he heard from me about what was happening to the mice in my lab. NMN isn’t a regulated substance; it’s available as a supplement. So he tried it out starting with small doses. He knew quite well, though, that there were very big differences between mice and humans. At first he would say to me and to anyone else who asked, “Nothing has changed. How would I know?” So the statement that came about six months into his NMN tryout was telling. “I don’t want to get carried away,” he said, “but something is happening”. Pg 142
Dad used to say he wasn’t looking forward to getting old. He isn’t outgoing or optimistic by nature; more like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. He expected to have a decent ten years of retirement, then go into a nursing home. The future was clear. He had seen what had happened to his mother, He had watched helplessly as her health had declined in her 70’s and 80’s and she suffered from pain and dementia in the final decade of her life.//With all of that fresh in mind, the idea of living much past his 70’s wasn’t very interesting to him. In fact, it was pretty scary. But he’s pretty happy with how it’s turning out and wakes up every morning with a deep-seated desire to fill his life with new, exciting experiences. To that end, he faithfully takes his metformin and NMN (Sandy and I are now both testing this, stay tuned) each morning and gets nervous when they start to get low. The turnaround in his energy, enjoyment of life, and perspective on growing old has been remarkable. Pg 143
I remain very proud of my father, an average guy who grabbed life by the horns in his late 70’s to start his life anew—a shining example of what life can be like if we don’t accept aging as “just the way it goes”. Pg 144
Once you recognize that there are universal regulators of aging in everything from yeast to roundworms to mice to humans….and once you understand that those regulators can be changed with a molecule such as NMN or a few hours of vigorous exercise or a few less meals…and once you realize that it’s all just one disease…it all becomes clear: Aging is going to be remarkably easy to tackle. //Once we understood what the problem was, it was and easy problem to solve. Pg 148
You might recall that one of the key hallmarks of aging is the accumulation of senescent cells. Pg 149
Senescent cells are often referred to as “zombie cells,” because even though they should be dead, they refuse to die.// And that’s scary, because when we have lots of these senescent cells in our bodies, it’s a clear sign that aging is getting a strong grip on us.// Inflammation is also a driving force in heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. It is central to the development of age-related diseases that scientists often refer to the process as “inflammaging”. Pg 150
We’re plagued by senescent cells, which might as well be radioactive waste. // A class of pharmaceuticals called senolytics may be the zombie killers we need to fight the battle against aging on this front. Pg 153
I have little doubt that cellular reprogramming is the next frontier in aging research. One day it might be possible to reprogram cells via pills that stimulate the activity of the OSK factors or the TETs. Pg 172
And if we can help children live longer, healthier lives, do we have a moral obligation to do so? Pg 173
Dr. Mark Boguski has spent a long time thinking about people such as Lawan (patient mentioned in previous paragraph) and about how modern medicine has long failed so many people like her, especially later in life.// “ In the most common manner of medical thinking, Lawan was getting the right care,” he told me one day. “Her doctors in Thailand were top notch. But that’s the thing about how we do medicine.” Pg 176
Most doctors, he said, still rely on early- twentieth-century technology to diagnose and treat life-threatening diseases. Take a swab and grow it in a petri dish. Bang the knee and wait for a kick. Breathe in, breathe out. Look to the left and cough.
When it comes to cancer, doctors note where a tumor is growing and cut out a tissue sample. Then they send it to a lab, where it is put into wax, cut into thin slices, stained with red and blue dyes, and looked at under the microscope. That works—sometimes. Sometimes the correct medicine is given.
But sometimes it isn’t. ( I interrupt my notes from David’s book here to emphasize the importance of understanding what is coming, this science, tech, and knowledge gleaned, in this ‘hyper-personalized’ world is all about stepping up our games and being our own best advocates) That’s why, the way I see it, looking at a tumor in this way is the equivalent of a mechanic trying to diagnose a car’s faulty engine without plugging into the vehicle’s computer. It’s an educated guess.
“What we call ‘good medicine’ is doing what works for most of the people most of the time, “ Boguski told me. “But not everyone is most people.
He coined the term precision medicine (I have used “hyper personalized” on the radio show/podcast for a long time, if the shoe fits, put it on and train) to describe the promise of next-generation health monitoring, genome sequencing, and analytics for treating patients based on personal data, not diagnostic manuals. We’re moving into a world in which treatment decisions no longer have to be based on what is best for most people most of the time. Pg 177-8
Immuno-oncology// There are hundreds of immune-oncology clinical trials underway. Pg 179
They had simply done what doctors all over the world do, follow the empirical process of diagnoses and intervention that leads to positive outcome in most people most of the time.//We can prevent a lot of unnecessary deaths by giving medical staff more information, just as Lawan’s doctors were able to get her onto a new treatment regimen once they better understood what they were dealing with.// There is hope for all of us. We know that humans , both male and female, are capable of living past the age of 115. It has been done, and it can be done again. Even for those who reach only their 100th year, their 80’s and 90’s could be among their best.
Helping more people reach that potential is a matter of bringing costs down and using emerging treatments, therapies, and technologies in a way that truly puts individuals at the center of their own care. Pg 180 (If there is one sentence, one thought, the previous sentence is in the top three things to keep in mind in my opinion)
Since the new millennium, we’ve been told that “knowing our genes” will help us understand what diseases we are most susceptible to later in life and give us information we need to take preventive actions to live longer. That is true, but it is only a small part of the DNA-sequencing revolution that is under way./// Increasingly, it can also tell you what foods to eat, what microbiomes to cultivate in your gut and on your skin, and what therapies will work best to ensure that you reach your maximum potential lifespan. And it can give you guidance for how to treat your body as the unique machine it is. //It is common knowledge that we don’t all respond to drugs in the same way. Pg181
Some mutations sensitize people to particular foods. If you’re a G6PD carrier, for example fava beans can kill you. And while gluten is usually a harmless protein that comes in food rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals we need, for those with celiac disease, it’s a poison.// The same is true of medical interventions: our genes can tell us which are better for us and which could do more harm than good. That’s changing the game for many breast cancer patients.// Ever since female mice have been regularly included in lifespan experiments, thanks largely to NIH stipulations, large gender differences in the effects of longevity genes and molecules have been seen. Treatments that work through insulin or mTOR signaling typically favor females, whereas chemical therapies typically favor males, and no one really knows why. Pg 182-3
One of the most promising uses of genomics is predicting how drugs will be metabolized.// In the future, a patients epigenetic age will also be determined and used to predict drug responses, a new field called pharmacoepigenetics. Pg 183
We cannot keep prescribing medicines as though we all respond to them the same way, because we don’t. Pg 184
And vitally, with genomic information aiding our doctors decisions, we won’t have to wait to become sick to know what treatments will work best to prevent those diseases from developing in the first place. As Julie Johnson, the Director of the University of Florida’s Personalized Medicine Program, has pointed out, we are about to enter a world in which our genomes will be sequenced, stored and already red-lighted for treatments that have been demonstrated to have adverse effects on people with similar gen types and combinations we have. Likewise, we will be green-lighted for treatments that are known to work for people with similar genes, even if those treatments don’t work for most other people most of the time. Pg 184-5
Right now, when people fall ill, especially older people, they often wait to see if things just “work themselves out” before making an appointment to see a doctor.// The problem isn’t how we pay for care; the problem is that we’ve set up doctors as the only conduits to diagnosis and often, in the case of primary care physicians, as the only people who can refer a patient to a specialist. Pg 185
The backlog could clear soon, thanks to technologies that give doctors the ability to conduct video home visits. Within a decade, using a device the size of a package of gum and possibly disposable, it will be technically feasible to collect the samples your doctor needs at home, plug the device into your computer, and look together at a readout of your metabolites and your genes.// All of this means we’re on the way to a fundamental shift in the way we search for, diagnose, and treat disease. Our flawed, symptom-first approach to medicine is about to change. We’re going to get ahead of symptoms. Way ahead. We’re even going to get ahead of “feeling bad.” Many diseases, after all , are genetically detectable long before they are symptomatic. In the very near future, proactive personal DNA scanning is going to be as routine as brushing our teeth. Pg 186
Your biometric vitals will be the bellwether for your body. Pg 189
The most critical daily decisions that affect how long we live are centered around the foods we eat.//Biometrics and analytics already tell us when and how much to exercise, but increasingly they will also help us monitor the effects of our exercise—or lack thereof. And our levels of stress. And even how the fluids we drink and air we’re breathing are impacting our body’s chemistry and functionality. Increasingly, our devices will offer recommendations on what to do to mitigate suboptimal blood biomarkers: to take a walk, meditate, drink a green tea, or change the filter on the air conditioner. This will help us make better decisions about our bodies and lifestyles. Pg 190
Biotracking will also help us stop acute and traumatic preventable deaths—by the millions. Pg 191
It won’t be long before medics routinely ask for a download of your most recent biotracking data to aid them in making what could be life-and-death decisions. Pg 193
Each new discovery creates new potential. Each minute saved in the quest for faster and more accurate gene sequencing can help save lives. Even if it doesn’t move the needle much on the maximum number of years we live, this age of innovation will ensure that we stay much healthier much longer. Not many of us, but all of us. Pg 209
a book written by Dr. David Sinclair with Matthew D. LaPlante
Published by Atria books
First I want to thank David Sinclair for all of the effort he has put into his career and community outreach. Secondly I want to thank David for appearing on the radio show/podcast, (airing across our syndicated network December 14th, 2019-podcasted after airing on radio), busy people make time, he did and I appreciate that. And lastly, I want to thank David for writing this book, it is worth the investments of time and money. My hope is that this blog post will enlighten you all enough to listen to the podcast, buy the book and glean some very valuable information. Thank you David for giving us permission to share my notes of your book.
Aging is not a complicated as you think, that is, once you read this book!
As some of you may know, when I find books that I absolutely fall for I go back through the book and type out my cribbed highlights. Yes this is time consuming, but I do this for two reasons. First, if I ever want to write an article or attribute a passage to anything I write I want to cite the source, so it is an investment in my own writing. Plus it helps me learn the material for an interview. Secondly, and more importantly, it makes a very quick read af a badass book. If you like it go buy it!
For this blog I am linking back to the sections of the book. In some of my past ‘cribbed’ note blog these turned into a gigantic word doc that was kinda hard to sort through. So I am trying a different tack here, please let me know if you find this easier to digest. Each of the sections will link you directly to the chapters and cribbed notes. I also include a short take from my perspective on why I thought these specific highlights were meaningful.
I also would like to thank Joe Rogan for inspiring so many people through his podcast. I had reached out to David in 2011 to ask him to be on the show and talk about mitochondria and resveratrol, having been a fan of his since reading articles in various magazines. It was not until I heard David with Joe on a recent podcast that I remembered I had tried recruiting him then. Funny how things work out!
This book, ‘Lifespan’ is broken into three parts-
What we know is minor compared to what we are going to know. That being said having a slice of a historical perspective is always a great way to start a story, so David did what he does, sharing his passion and depth of knowledge.
Immunotherapies pg 10 //Why we age, the unified explanation pg13//The single cause of aging, the ‘multiple hallmarks’ (there isn’t one)
Aging–>the loss of information//if the genome were a computer, the epigenome would be the software
The information Theory of Aging–>the ‘longevity genes’ –>’vitality genes’ (sirtuins) pg 24
The defense systems–>the important point: there are plenty of stressors that will activate longevity genes without damaging the cell, including certain types of exercise, intermittent fasting, low-protein diets, exposure to hot and cold temperatures–>’Hormesis’ pg 26
Analogy—One of the best ways to visualize this is to think of our genome as a grand piano. Each gene is a key. Each key produces a note. And from instrument to instrument, depending on the maker, the materials, and the circumstances of manufacturing, each will sound a bit different, even if played exactly the same way. These are our genes. We have about 20,000 of them, give or take a few thousand. //The pianist that makes this happen (music) is the epigenome Pg 36
The epigenome uses our genome to make the music of our lives.//Our DNA is not our destiny! Pg37
Epigenomic noise (the demented pianist) was a likely catalyst to human aging pg43-44
(Analogy) I’ve come to think of sirtuins as the directors of a multifaceted disaster response corps, sending out a variety of specialized emergency teams to address DNA stability, DNA repair, cell survivability, metabolism, and cell to cell communication. Pg 45
If the information theory is correct—that aging is caused by overworked epigenetic signalers responding to cellular insult and damage—it doesn’t so much matter WHERE the damage occurs. What matters is that it is being damaged and the sirtuins are rushing all over the place to address that damage, leaving their typical responsibilities and sometimes returning to other places along the genome where they are silencing genes that aren’t supposed to be silenced. This is the cellular equivalent of distracting the cellular pianist. Pg 48
All of the symptoms of aging—the conditions that push mice, like humans, farther toward the precipice of death—were being caused not by mutation but by the epigenetic changes that come as a result of DNA damage signals. Pg 52
What allows a whale to keep the survival circuit on without disrupting the epigenetic symphony? If the piano player’s skills are lost, how is it possible for a jellyfish to restore her ability? Pg 57 (question during interview)
Most of our modern medical culture has been built to address medical problems one by one-a segregation that owes itself in no small part to our obsession with classifying the specific pathologies leading to death. Pg 76
Surviving cancer or heart disease doesn’t substantially increase the average human lifespan, it just decreases the odds of dying of cancer or heart disease. Pg 76
Aging is a risk factor for all of them. (individual diseases) pg 79
I believe that aging is a disease. I believe it is treatable. I believe we can treat it within our lifetimes. And in doing so, I believe, everything we know about human health will be fundamentally changed. Pg 81
When we stay healthy and vibrant, as long as we feel young physically and mentally, our age doesn’t matter. That’s true whether you are 32, 52, or 92. Most middle-aged and older adults in the United States report feeling ten to twenty years younger than their age, because they feel healthy. And feeling younger than your age predicts lower mortality and better cognitive abilities later in life. Pg 83
The ’Information Theory of Aging’ and the “new science of aging”. Pg 84
Every now and then I find a book that leads me into the land of complete wonder and admiration. This book ‘Hacking Darwin- Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity’ is just such a book. Yes these are detailed and yes this is a long post, but if you want some great foods for thought before you buy your own version, or listen to our interview, then here you go.
Thank you to Jamie Metzl for giving me permission to share these notes with you,,,,enjoy!!!
Chapter one-Where Darwin Meets Mendel
The order of the trains (DNA), the sequences of the DNA we call ‘Genes’, creates a unique set of instructions that are delivered by messengers called Ribonucleic Acid, or RNA, to the cells for making proteins. /Our human genes are then normally packaged together into twenty-three pairs of DNA strands in our cells—our Chromosomes—with each chromosome directing a specific set of functions in our bodies. Humans have about 21,000 genes and 3.2 billion base pairs.// The genes that impact us the most are those providing instructions to our cells to create proteins, but nearly 99 percent of the total DNA does not code for proteins at all. These non-coding genes used to be called ‘junk’ DNA because scientists thought they had no significant biological function. Today we can think of non-coding genes like football players standing on the sideline giving encouragement, tips, and direction to their teammates on the field. These non-coding genes play an important role directing creation of certain RNA molecules that carry instructions from our genes outside the nucleus and in regulating how the protein coding genes are expressed./// Each of our cells that has a nucleus contains the blueprint for our whole body, but the result would be chaos if every cell were trying to create the whole person. Instead, our genetic DNA is regulated by a process called ‘epigenetics’ for determining which genes are expressed.//// In our football team analogy, each player has the entire game plan but only needs to fulfill his or her particular function when instructed to do so. Pg13
Cystic Fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Sickle cell disease, and Tay-Sachs are all examples of ‘single-gene mutation diseases, also known as ‘Mendelian diseases’ because they clearly follow Mendel’s rules of heredity. Some of these disorders are called ‘dominant’ because a child will need to inherit just one copy of a mutation from a single parent to have the disease. For recessive disorders, like Tay-Sachs, a child would need to inherit the mutation from both parents to be at risk./ Today treatments exist only for around 5 percent of these. Pg 17
In light of the proven benefits of genetic screening for Tay-Sachs, some researchers and policymakers are now calling for what they call ‘expanded carrier testing’ to assess whether other categories of prospective parents have the potential to pass Mendelian diseases and disease risks to their children. Pg 19
Genome sequencing and biochemical enzyme level measurement were monumental breakthroughs that began to help prevent the transmission of relatively simple genetic diseases, but genetic analysis alone couldn’t transform the way humans make babies unless paired with new options for applying that knowledge. The paired revolutions of in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and embryo screening created the mechanism through which genetic analysis could fundamentally transform human baby-making. Pg 19-20
The screening process became known as ‘preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD./ A parallel and related process called ‘preimplantation genetic screening’ or PGS, was also developed to screen embryos without a known disease risk to assess their chances of thriving. PGD and PGS have more recently been grouped together semantically under the broader umbrella label of ‘preimplantation genetic testing’, or PGT. Pg 22
Vaccinations have saved millions of live since the first smallpox vaccine was introduced in nineteenth-century England. Repeated studies around the world have clearly proven the safety and overwhelming individual and communal benefits of vaccination./ This type of conflict between groups of parents taking action to harness or reject as unnatural scientific advances will play out in embryo screening.// As the number of single-gene-mutation diseases that can be screened for during IVF and PGT continues to rise, the cost goes down, and the safety of IVF and PGT improves, the value of screening and selecting embryos in the laboratory prior to implantation will increase. Pg 24
Babies with Down syndrome are born with an extra copy of a chromosome 21, which can lead to heart defects, developmental and cognitive impairments, increased cancer and mortality risk, and other challenges./ With its raging, religion-infused abortion debate, the United States is in many ways an outlier among developed countries. Pg 25
Around 4 million children are born in the United States each year. Assuming that two percent of them are born with genetic diseases, that would mean eighty thousand children. If each of these children had a genetic disease equivalent in cost to the additional roughly $600,000 spent for lifetime care for a person cystic fibrosis, that would mean spending an additional $48billion over the next thirty-seven years. If we created an embryo-screening bond to bring forward this future expenditure to apply it today, we’d have about $16,500 to spend on IVF and PGT for each American woman wanting to have a child. If we included in our calculations the costs of many other genetic and partially genetic diseases that show up later in life—like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers—the $16,500 figure would go up farther. Pg29
The intersection of inexpensive and ubiquitous genome sequencing, IVF, embryo selection, and shifting cultural attitudes and financing models will propel more of us to make babies in the future very differently than how we have to date. Pg 30
Chapter 2- Climbing the Complexity Ladder
Reliably linking single gene mutations to specific genetic diseases represents decades of hard-won progress. But this story is more complicated that it first seems. Because many of the genes linked to particular genetic diseases have been found in people showing symptoms of these diseases, researchers don’t know as much as they should about other types of people who might carry similar genetic mutations but who don’t get the particular diseases for one reason or another, perhaps because they have some other gene protecting them. Pg 31
The more we move from looking at how a single genetic mutation causes a disease or trait to how a complex pattern of genes and other systems creates a certain outcome, the less possible it becomes to establish causality using our limited human brains alone. That’s why the intersection between the genetics and biotechnology revolutions on the one hand and the artificial intelligence (AI) and big-data analytics revolutions on the other are so critical to our story. Pg 35
Today, it is quite clear that AI technology is not supplanting us; it is enhancing us. Pg 36
Companies around the world are racing to accelerate this process. The innovative Canadian company Deep Genomics, for example, is bringing together AI and genomics to uncover patterns in how diseases work because, in its words, “the future of medicine will rely on artificial intelligence, because biology is to complex for humans to understand.”/ As the genomic data set expands, scientists will use AI tools to better understand how complex genetic patterns can lead to specific outcomes.// “The worlds most valuable resource,” The Economist wrote in 2017, “is no longer oil, but data.” Pg 38
In an ideal world, everyone would have their full genome sequenced and all personal and medical data recorded accurately in a standardized electronic medical record shareable with researchers in an open network. Pg 39
After years of delays, in spring 2018, the U.S. National Institute of Health began recruiting a targeted million Americans from all socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial groups to submit their sequenced genomes, health records, regular blood samples, and other personal information to the All of Us Research Program. Congress has authorized a $1.45 billion ten-year budget for this program, and enrollment sites are being set up across the United States. Pg 40
Creative private-sector models are also emerging that try to balance the societal interest of accessible, big-data pools of genetic information with the interest of many individuals to maintain some level of control over their genetic data. LunaDNA, a young San Diego-based company created by Illumina alumni, is seeking to bring the many small and disparate genetic daya sets held by multiple companies and clinics together into a searchable collective by rewarding the individuals willing to share their genetic information with cryptocurrency. This type of approach makes particular sense because peoples sequenced genomes, just like their internet search history, will soon have a vey significant commercial value whose benefits deserve to be shared with consumers./ As a result of all these types of efforts around the world, it is estimated that up to two-billion human genomes might be sequenced within the coming decade. Pg 41
Most everyone who is born through IVF and embryo selection or visits a doctors office or hospital at any point in their life will be sequenced as standard procedure-the way people routinely get their pulse tested today—in our collective shift from our system of generalized medicine to the new world of personalized, a.k.a. precision, medicine./ Our current medical world is based largely on averages.// Generalized medicine was our only way to do things when our understanding of how each individual human being works was low. In the coming world of personalized medicine, this approach will seem the equivalent of leeches. Instead of just seeing a doctor, you will see a doctor paired with an AI agent. Your treatment for ailments from headaches to cancers will be chosen based on how well they work for a person like you. Every persons individual biology-including your gender and age, the status of your microbiome, your metabolic indicators, and your genes—will be the foundation of your medical record and care. Pg42
What if, figuring out the right dose of medicine was as simple as taking our temperature?/ For the patients, finding potential future dangers can be useful and potentially lifesaving. For the health system, sequencing patients potentially enables better care and could even lead to higher revenue from additional services provided in the short term and could provide savings down the line form preventing more serious conditions. On a societal level, identifying genetic abnormalities early has the potential to make the overall population healthier and reduce the downstream costs of care. Pg 43
To grasp the genetics of cognitive decline, for example, we’ll need to understand the genetics of intelligence. To assess the genetics of premature aging, we’ll need to understand the broader genetic mechanisms of aging itself. Pg44Seeking to understand genetic abnormalities and climbing the ladder of better understanding of our genetic complexity will, in other words, force us to understand the genetics of being. Pg45
Chapter 3-Decoding Identity
Fixing our genetic diseases and potentially selecting genetic traits requires that we first figure the extent to which we and each of our disorders or traits are determined by our genes. The process of assessing where biology ends and the environment begins is just another way of describing our age-old debate on the balance between nature and nurture. Pg55
Using big-data analytics to better pinpoint the balance between genetic and environmental influences, they confirmed that all of the measured human traits are at least partly heritable, but some more than others. At the high end, the measured neurological, heart, personality, ophthalmological, cognitive, and ear-nose-and-throat disorders were found to be mostly genetic. Across all traits, the authors found that the overall average heritability of all of the measured traits was 49%./ Plato and Aristotle were both correct. Pg 56
Perhaps an even more complicated human trait to understand and quantify is personality style./ A leading theory of personality dating from the 1950’s divides human personality styles into five major categories: extroversion, neuroticism, openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness.// Per usual, the twins studies also have a lot to say about personality style. “On multiple measures of personality and temperament, occupational and leisure-time interests, and social attitudes,” the Minnesota Twin researchers remarkably found, “monozygotic (identical) twins reared apart are about as similar as the monozygotic twins reared together,,,the effect of being reared in the same home is negligible for many psychological traits.” Pg 84
When they compared the sequenced genomes of people who described themselves as having similar personality types, the researchers identified six genetic markers that were significantly associated with personality traits. Extraversion was associated with variants in genes WSD2 and PCDH15, and neuroticism with variants in the L3MBTL2 gene./ But there is a high likelihood—a certainty even—that more genetic underpinnings of personality will be identified in the coming years.// Even if we don’t fully uncover the genetics underpinning these traits for many decades, we won’t need such a complete understanding to deploy our limited but growing knowledge of genetics in both our health care and reproduction with increasing confidence. We will shift gradually from our generalized health care based on population averages to precision health care on responding proactively to our genetic predispositions. Perhaps even more significantly, we will begin to integrate these genetic predictions into our reproductive decision-making. Pg 65
Chapter 4- The End of Sex
The point here is that biology is significantly more susceptible to hacking than initially meets the eye. Pg 81
Chapter 5- Divine Sparks and Pixie Dust
This tango between our coevolving tools and ideas is also forever shifting our sense of ourselves as a species. [Emergence & Creativity] pg 89
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/ A CRISPR is like an Old West most-wanted poster of virus that a bacterium stores in its own genetic code after initial exposure. The bacteria archives fragments of the viral DNA from these past exposures into the bacteria’s own genetic code to create a series of genetic “mug shots of bad guy viruses. If the virus rolls into cellular town, the bacteria sends an RNA probe to search for code in the virus’s DNA that matches the stored genetic CRISPR target list. When it finds one, the bacteria uses an enzyme to bind to the virus’s matching code and cut apart the viral DNA just at the site where the bacterial and viral codes match. When this works, the viral attackers are cut to pieces, the bacteria survive the attack, the piano starts up again, and the saloon customers go back to their card games./ If we had to summarize CRISPR into a single sentence, it would be this: CRISPR systems deploy the same tiny scissors bacteria use to cut up attacking viruses to snip any genetic code in a targeted place and potentially insert new genetic code. Pg 92-3
Rather than an equivalent to scissors, the CRISPR system is now looking more like a versatile Swiss Army knife able to record changes within a cell over time, identify specific virus strains, test for infections, spatially reorganize the genome, and perform a host of other functions./ Epigenetic editing is on verge of reprogramming gene expression at will. Pg 95
Instead of the more traditional methods of treating diseases and surgery or drugs, gene therapies seek to use genes to treat or prevent disease by knocking out or tuning off a mutated gene, replacing a mutated gene with a healthy copy of the same gene, and/ or adding a new gene to help the body fight a particular disease. Pg. 98
There is no doubt removing, editing and reintroducing genes will play a greater role in fighting cancer and other diseases going forward. Pg 99
These new companies, Wired noted in May 2018, are betting that “biology will be the next great computing platform, DNA will be the code that runs it and CRISPR will be the programming language. Pg 100
Gene therapy will become a mainstay in treating and maybe curing, many of our most devasting and intractable diseases, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb presciently declared in 2018. Pg 101
Chapter 6- Rebuilding the Living World
David Altschuler, for example, while a researcher at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, recruited a cohort of elderly and overweight people who were statistically at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes but hadn’t. After sequencing the members of the group, to see how they might be genetically different from other people with the disease who were equally old and overweight, he came to believe that a single mutation in the SLC30A8 gene made his cohort 65 percent better able to regulate their insulin levels and less likely to get diabetes. Pg 111
Our biology is about as complex as it has been for millions of years but the sophistication and capacity of our tools is now advancing at exponential rates. [Moores Law]/ Each technological revolution enables the next, and the time between each revolution becomes shorter and the impact bigger. Futurist Ray Kurzweil called this process the “Law of Accelerating Returns. Pg 120
As AI capacities grow, a future form of superintelligence may become more sophisticated than all humans put together, and new possibilities for remaking our world to emerge./ collectively as a species, we are today moving along the spectrum, from laying the technological foundation for the human genetic engineering to finding preliminary applications to imagining what might be possible in the future to making that imagined future real.// Chimera pg 121
Nearly a hundred years ago, insulin removed from cows was firs used to treat diabetes. Extracted dog, pig, and cow insulin made it possible for humans to live with diabetes and saved countless lives for decades until E.coli bacteria could be genetically modified to produce human insulin at scale. Pg 122
As of August 2017, there were more than 114,000 people waiting on organ-transplant lists across the United States. Twenty people die every day while waiting for a transplant. Pg 123
Clinical trials for transplanting gene-edited pig kidneys and pancreases to humans are likely to begin soon, potentially saving thousands of human lives per year./ Growing human organs in other species will not happen tomorrow, but if it becomes possible for an individual person to have an organ grown inside an animal using his or her own genetics, people needing replacement parts because of illness or the ravages of age will quickly overcome any squeamishness they may have about crossing the human-animal barrier. Pg 124
Integrating whole genetic systems like those that give dogs special hearing abilities, eagles amazing vision, or dolphins sonar would be a lot more complicated and not possible any time soon. But the transition of biology into yet another domain for human engineering will, over time, blur our sense of where science fiction ends and science begins./ The exploding field of ‘synthetic biology’.//Some of the early applications include current efforts to culture meat in a lab, engineer oil-secreting bacteria, manufacture yeast with spider DNA to make ultra-light silk stronger than steel, or induce bovine collagen to make nonanimal leather. Synthetic biology is being used to create renewable microbes to produce acrylics for paints and custom engineer inexpensive synthetic sugars for biofuel. Pg 125
The commercial implications fo this revolution are massive, It is estimated that the global synthetic-biology market will grow from around $3 billion in 2013 to about $40 billion in 2020./ According to leading biologist Richard Kitney, synthetic biology has “all the potential to produce a new major industrial revolution.” Pg 126
Recent leaps in the biosciences, combined with big data analysis, have led us to the cusp of a revolution in medicine./ as the Chinese proverb goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Pg127
The computing, machine learning, AI, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and genetics revolution all have different names today, but these different technologies are currents converging into one mega revolutionary tidal wave, washing over what it means to be a human being. If we ride this wave, the only limit for how far we can go is, perhaps, our collective imagination. Pg 128
The spaceship of our genetic revolution is already loading at the dock./ It’s also why that baby, if we feed and nurture her, will also very likely live significantly longer than any of us do today. Pg 129
Chapter 7- Stealing Immortality from the Gods
We all know people who are chronologically young but still seem or look old. We also know people who are old but seem young. At least superficially, that’s the difference between chronological and biological age. While Chronological age measures the number of years since our birth, biological age seeks to assess the many genetic and environmental factors that make us age differently./ How relatively young you are. Pg 136
Studies have suggested that epigenetic markers measured in blood, the length of ‘genetic caps’ at the end of chromosomes called telomeres, walking speed, observable facial aging, and many other factors are preliminary biomarkers of aging that could, in the future, come together to help us solve the riddle of biological aging. Pg137
Elders are and have always been incredibly useful and important carriers of traditions and critical life lessons—and some smaller proportion of elders were likely needed to look after children while mothers were out foraging for food—but evolution was largely unaffected by whether most lived forty, fifty or eighty years. Pg 138
Scores of studies have shown repeatedly and for decades that calorie restriction, or CR, extends the life of yeast, flies, worms, mice, rats and other organisms./ A U.S. national institutes of Health-funded study called the ‘Comprehensive Assessment of Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy’, or CALERIE, convinced thirty-four people to reduce their overall calorie intake by 15% for two years.// Based on all of this input, the researchers concluded that the 15% decrease in calorie intake translated into 10% lower metabolism, they concluded that lower metabolism led to a “decreased rate of living,” or less wear and tear on the cells, and possibility of longer and healthier lives for the human equivalent to the macaque monkeys. Pg 139
They say if you’d like to live to ninety, eat well, relax, sleep and exercise. If you want to live past 100, choose your parents wisely./ We all know that no matter what our genetic predisposition, we can live longer and healthier lives if we make smart lifestyle choices often feel like a separate category from genetics, they are not. Our lifestyle choices significantly impact the epigenetic instructions orchestrating how our genes work. Pg 142
Blue Zone 9 point list-
When reading a book about science, the last thing most people want is yet another reminder to get off their duffs. But the hard science of longevity makes abundantly clear that smart lifestyle choices are the best first way to hack our own epigenetic signals./ Repeated studies have shown that these types of behavior changes also can lengthen our telomeres, the stretches of DNA at the end of our chromosomes.// Although it is not entirely clear whether shortened telomeres are a cause or an effect of aging, shorter telomeres are associated with faster aging and higher risks of age-related disease./// Out lifestyle choices help realize the POTENTIAL of our biology. Pg 148
Intermittent fasting once in a while or for blocks of time each day might seem a more palatable way for people to get at least some of the potential benefits of calorie restriction without feeling miserable all of the time. Pg 149
A recent comprehensive study followed more than 650,000 people for an average of 10 years and analyzed nearly 100,000 death records in an attempt to quantify the input versus output benefits of exercise. The study found that 75 minutes a week of moderate exercise, like a brisk walk, led to almost 2 years of added life expectancy compared to sitting on your couch. The benefits went up form there. Adding 2.5 to 5 hours of exercise a week added 3.5 years. An hour a day, or 450 minutes a week , added 4.5 years to life expectancy. Pg 150
Another drug that shifts the balance of cellular activity from growth to repair mode is the seeming wonder drug Metformin. Pg 151
To answer the question of whether Metformin might be a systematic drug that helps enhance healthy life spans among nondiabetic populations, Nir Barzilai and his collaborators are now exploring how Metformin might delay the onset of multiple age-related diseases and stem decline in older people’s physical performance, cognitive clarity, and quality of life./ Another drug that’s proven to extend the life of animals tested in studies around the world is the miraculous drug Rapamycin. Pg152
Rapamycin’s natural ability to slow the proliferation and growth of targeted cells made in an ideal immunosuppressant, perfect for preventing people’s immune systems from rejecting transplanted organs./ The named the protein targeted in this process mTor. Pg 153
The race is now on to develop and test a new class of drugs called Senolytics, designed to prune senescent cells to treat specific diseases of aging and potentially expand both health span and life span./ A related potential approach to countering aging involves manipulating the way our cells recycle their own biomass to extract energy and remove harmful proteins, a process scientists call Autophagy. Pg 155
All of this work to expand the human health span will be sped up significantly if we as a global community invest more, and more smartly, in understanding aging and countering its more pernicious effects. In 2017, for example, the U.S. National Institutes of Health only spent $183.1 million of its overall $32 billion budget, one-third of one percent, on aging biology, far less than the many billions it spent on cancer, arthritis, diabetes and hypertension. Even within this small base, the National Institute on Aging spends over half of its budget on Alzheimer’s disease. Cancer, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s are all terrible conditions that must be addressed, but eliminating any one of them entirely won’t extend most of our health spans by all that much because they are all correlated with age. The older we are, the more likely we are to get all of them. That’s why the return on investment for the overall population would be significantly greater if we invest relatively more than we are today in understanding and treating aging itself, rather than in each of its many cruel manifestations. Pg 160
Based on their 2013 study, intervening to slow the aging process and push back the onset of the multiple diseases of aging by 2.2 years across the U.S. population would result in a whopping $7.1 trillion in savings over a 50 year period. Put another way, if extending health span across the population proves as possible as it now appears, the anticipated savings coculd not only pay for a Manhattan Project that targets aging but also cover repairing all of America’s decaying infrastructure, provide universal preschool for every American child, and provide clean water to virtually everyone on Earth. Pg 161
Perhaps the best investment we can make in our immortality is to have a child, write a book, help save the environment, or contribute positively to our communities and cultures. Pg 162
Chapter 8- the Ethics of Engineering Ourselves
To realize the greatest upside of the genetic revolution we will have to articulate, celebrate, and affirm in our individual and collective choices the value of diversity in the coming genetic age in a far more profound manner than we do today. Pg 183
There are no easy answers, but it’s fair to ask whether preventing the first adopters from genetically enhancing their children would be the same as preventing the early adopters of smartphones and supercomputers from leveraging the advantages those technologies provided. / I could well be that some of us will want the coming decades and centuries, for our children to have enhanced abilities and traits. (Choice) Pg 185
The entire history of human existence has been marked by our incessant struggle to increase our chances of survival by becoming better at securing calories, protecting ourselves from the elements, and procreating./ If genetic technologies help us live healthier and longer, retain knowledge, and do many other things better, or even just make us feel we have the capacity to fight back against the caprice of our own biology, the magnetic pull of using these technologies will prove collectively irresistible. Use this as part of open!!! Pg 189
Chapter 9- We Contain Multitudes
The Chinese government classified “enhanced agriculture” as a strategic emerging industry in the governments most recent ‘Five-Year Plan’. Pg 197
Study after study over decades has repeatedly shown genetically modified crops are as safe as conventional ones. Pg 198
Reviewing more than twenty years of data from multiple studies around the world, the authors concluded that genetic modification actually increased yields and reduced carcinogenic toxins in corn. / GM is a tool with huge upside and a potential downside that requires thoughtful regulation. Pg 199
Because genetic data will be so critical to both personalized health care of individuals and the deciphering of human genetics more generally and also susceptible to misuse by others, societies will have good reason to safeguard the genetic information of its citizens. Pg 218
For most people, the idea of a government or company tracking every aspect of our lives is frightening. / Whoever gets the biggest and best data sets will be best poised to lead the genetic revolution with all the wealth, prestige, power, and influence it will bring. Pg 219
Chapter 10- The Arms Race of the Human Race
In 2014, Uzbekistan became the first nation to announce it was integrating genetic testing into ins national sports program. In conjunction with its national Olympic Committee and several sports federations, Uzbekistan’s Academy of Sciences said it would test children for fifty genes believed to impact athletic potential to help identify possible future stars. In August 2018, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology announced that Chinese athletes aspiring to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics would be required to have their genome sequence and profiled for “speed, endurance, and explosive force” as one factor in an official selection process guided by “genetic markers.” This type of testing today has a low probability of success because we still know relatively little about what genes do and because athletic success is such a complex mix of biological and environmental factors. Pg 229
The genetics of sports analogy isn’t just about sports. It’s about life. Pg 230
Those parents who opt-in for full genetic optimization might, to give one example, ensure their children don’t get certain diseases, live healthier longer, and have greater chances of excelling at a given task. If opt-in benefits are great enough, we can imagine an accelerating curve of advantages. A generation of enhanced people could gain the advantages necessary to ensure that their children have greater access to the next generation of enhancements, and so on down the line.pg 235
“Increasingly , the U.S.-China relationship will not be defined by the ownership of 20th century manufacturing industries but by a race in genetic and computing innovation that will drive the economy of the future. Pg 240
Already, American companies like IBM and new Chinese companies like iCarbonX are positioning themselves to assume this mantle./ Founded by former BGI CEO Wang Jun in October 2015, iCarbonX seeks to “build an ecosystem of digital life based on a combination of an individual’s biological, behavioral and psychological data, the Internet and artificial intelligence”. By combining comprehensive biological, patient-generated data with AI technology, it plans to help consumers better understand the medical, behavioral, and environmental factors in their lives to optimize their health and to help companies use genetic data to optimize their products and services. Wang Jun’s plan is to ultimately build a “predictive digital avatar” of hundreds of millions of customers, allowing them to pass from sequencing to fully digitizing themselves. “ We can digitize everyone’s life information,” Wang Jun says, “interpret the data, find more valuable law of life, and thus enhance the quality of people’s lives.” With Tencent and the private equity behemoth Sequoia capital as early investors, by 2017 iCarbonX quickly shot up to a $1 billion valuation, becoming China’s first biotechnology unicorn. pg 242
Chapter 11- The Future of Humanity
Like the nuclear arms race, an international competition in the field of genetics—a genetic arms race—has enormous potential to either improve people’s lives or do them harm. Pg 250
A first, immediate step in this direction is to help every country develop its own national public-education program, bioethics commission, and regulatory framework for human genetic engineering that applies its own traditions, values, and interests./ Each of us must take individual responsibility for ensuring we are educating ourselves about what’s coming and bringing as many of our fellow humans as possible into the conversation.
We must each play a role in jump-starting a species-wide conversation on the future of human genetic engineering before it’s too late. Pg 263
Become more active participants in the decision-making process about our common future./ Humans must and will embrace the genetic revolution, but will be far better off if we do it together. Pg 267
Figuring out how to deploy genetic technologies in ways that enhance our dignity and respect for each other will require us to draw on the best of our humanist values and double down on our embrace of, respect for, and investment in our diversity, equality, and common humanity. While the genetic engineering technologies are new, the values and philosophies we will need to use them wisely are very old./ Deploying our best values at this transitional moment for our species demands that we all understand what is happening now, what is coming, what’s at stake, and the role we each must paly in building a technologically enhanced future that works for all of us.//It will be a difficult, painful, and conflict ridden process, but we have no alternative. We all need to participate. We don’t have a moment to lose in getting started.
Fellow humans, let us together begin the conversation. Pg 268
Quest to 60 update-
Last month I started the monthly update till 60, and frankly I still feel kinda funky about pics, however the points are these-
1. No matter how old, young, female, male, I pray for you to find your thing-thing. Activities that promote movement that are fun. Find yours, do more of it.
2. Go lighter! Heavy is not the answer, lighter, more focused, great form and rythm, find YOUR sweet spot. Staying healthy and injury free is key.
3. I have been encouraged to write about getting motivated, so I hope in essence if the “Quest to 60” monthly pics (just made that up) gets you thinking, great. You can always email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, listen to the radio show, read Healthy&Fit. I am easy to find and here to help.
4. Loud music, today VanHalen got some love, seriously though Motown crushes.
5. ESPM- I do nothing nutso, just follow the ESPM protocol and you got a shot. What is ESPM? See number 6
6. Eat, Sleep, Poop, Move, simple. Any of these doggin you, well puppy you just figured out where to begin.
7. Mix it up, I have been determined to fly around the gym and do whatever, there is no set anything. Except for the #21DayFix warmup, (Sorry Ash) the 30 minute workouts are a great intro to a full workout. And the 10 minute abs workout, yeah. Get it, #BeachBody
8. The MyZone heart rate monitor and app get full credit, its awesome and I love it.
9. Training partners, find one,
10. Lastly, Jump Rope, absolutely the bomb
May 30th, 2019 60, damn. What a great life I have.
Love you all,
1. Frankly the closer I get to 60 the better I feel physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Everything is moving in the right direction. I am still struggling with the anxiety and insecurity of these pics, I am just focusing on the end game and the people who write me.2. This month it’s all about the back, the posterior chain, you know the thing no one works except for a few elite smarty pants.
3. In our ‘Mirror Facing’ culture these muscles get very little attention and love. We gotta put time into the back gang.
4. I have learned that if you don’t want to walk around all bent over like the HunchBack of Notre Dame than you should do this, at least think about these movements. One set of push (chest) two sets of pull (back). There are enough Silver Back gorillas in tbe jungle, we don’t need more in the weight room.
5. I like what I call “Reverse Pushups”, one of my close pals, who will remain nameless for now at least, corrected me (for the n_th time) that this move is actually called an ‘Inverted Row’ what the frick ever, utilizing the Smith Machine. Look it up, practice it, get good at it, you will know when you have arrived grasshopper.
6.Functional fitness, picking up a kid, a laundry basket, grocery bag full of whole foods, yes begins with back strength. Core strength ain’t shitte without a strong back, period.
7. Look slimmer, V shaped torso, great posture, less walking canes and injuries, perfect pecs, look up rhomboids.
8. A great balanced beutifully healthy body is a lot like a burrito, a good burrito. You don’t need to see all the spicy goodness to know its hot, a great back leads to walking around with confidence, game and presence. To own the party, walk in like a confident badass, seriously who wants to be a wimpy wanna be?
9. How muscles look from the front is one dimensional and weak, simple minded. Be focused on back strength you elite althlete and avoid low back pain.
10. Lastly, sitting is the new smoking of the 21st century. Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Love you all!
Quest to 60, 2 months to go! Getting Lean
This month I wanted to share my journey of getting leaner, and let’s be clear here I NEVER use the word diet! Think nutrition or eating plan or clean whatever you decide, just not diet. Way to beginning and end for me and with diets they always do, that is end.
1. After work prep- I am always packing my gear, lunch, computer, briefcase the night before. The routine is massively important.
2. Metrics- I was 202lbs on 4/7/17, today I average 175 (180 is my demarcation point) keep in mind that I virtually eliminated my chronic knee pain cutting the weight. I love my #MyZone HRM
3. Legs- I must give credit to @anasthma Sam Medved for getting in my head about my leg work, getting lean you must have strong legs. Honestly, I was resistant, dang near hostile when she coached me up. I was wrong, she was right. Great tip, she is an excellent coach and fitness instructor, email email@example.com
5. Have fun- I think of the gym as a playground for big people, 545AM, up at 4AM, you want to get it done, live long and prosper, get up early.
6. Eats- No sugar, bread, very little dairy, red meat, eating much more plant whole food based. You can NEVER out train a bad food plan, EVER! I still graze through the day and crush the raw broccoli, celery, protein bar, grapes post workout.
7. Intermittent fasting- Overnight 12 hours is the bomb, and occasionally longer. It’s ok getting used to feeling hungry, kinda edgy. Hungry at night? Brush yo dang teeth!
8. Healthy fats- ACV concoction(interested in recipe email me) supplements, wheat grass every morning.
9. Flexibility-Too much muscle mass has become problematic, hip mobility was the worst (see number 3, email Samantha) it’s a slow process. Seriously, getting a coach like I did makes a huge difference
10. Gratefullness- Being alive, healthy, killing the workouts is awesome. Been in the worst mental spaces ever, fitness and therapy are the way.
Thank you for reading
Quest to 60, 25 days to go!
Secord Strong and fighting Cancer.
This month I wanted to dedicate this post to all of those who have and or are struggling with any issues in their lives. People who know me, or see me regularly know I proudly wear rubber bracelets with causes that are meaningful to me. My ‘Secord Strong’ bracelets are the best.
1. Loving yourself is like a bucket, it can be as full as you decide. Mike decided to do all he could to fight his Cancer, he fills his bucket daily. You can too.
2. Being in the best shape, spiritually, emotionally, nutritionally, physically, financially, is a constant work in progress. Embrace the work, because no one is going to do it for you.
3. Think about the effort, because that is what matters.
4. Be grateful for your life, your friends, your families and your relationships. It truly does make a difference.
5. Embrace the power of ‘Synchronicity’ never run away from gut feelings. If it feels good, great, if it feels wrong it probably is.
6. Having Mike on the radio program twice, and having him share an essay in our ‘Generation Us’ anthology book proves he is no quitter. I specifically put this chapter ‘Be Strong-Be Powerful’ next to last just before our youngest contributor, Samantha Medved’s ‘Be Respectful’. 7. Take control of your nutrition, Mikey did! When we last saw Mike and Liza he looked like a new man, he attributed it to getting his ‘eats’ right. Amazing is an understatement.
8. Stay connected to something, anything! Just as long as it moves the needle of life in a positive direction. We all know that poor choices lead to potentially bad results. Find good, do more of it, find good people, do more with them.
9. Get your rest and relaxation, it matters, A LOT!
10. Istay in shape because for a long time I was a slacker. Now I am convinced that to be the best husband, dad, Papa, friend, colleague, contributor to society, talk show host, author, speaker, trainer and coach I must!
Love you all, and especially my friends Mike and Liza Secord
Quest to 60-Touchdown!
Well low and behold I made it to 60! First and foremost I wanted to share with you all that making it this far into my life was never a given. I have been a very fortunate guy, with many, many things to be grateful for. Just being alive is huge!
To be preoccupied with thoughts of things that I don’t have, of things that I have not accomplished, of things that others may have done frankly makes no sense to me, not at this point in my life. Becoming appreciative and grateful for everything I have and everything I have received is the key. Once I stopped for a moment, looked around, I realized I would find endless things to be exceedingly grateful for.
I am a very fortunate man.
To my family I owe you thanks for putting up with my ‘pinball-machine’ like brain, yes it is challenging.
To my friends I owe you thanks for sticking with me, through the dark days and now the light some have gone and some have arrived, thank you to all who are loyal.
If I can… so can you!
Sharpening the personal saw is on me, no one else.
I am supremely grateful for the love and support from Sandy. You have no idea how hard it must be to stick with it and me for 18 years. Thank you Blondie!
I am supremely grateful for Ashley and Matt, and the blessings of Harpie and BamBam, they are what truly inspire me to do what I can to improve the world in my own small way.
I am supremely grateful for LoLo, a person who I love so much and admire for her beauty and strength, even if I cannot understand what you say half the time I get you!
I am supremely grateful for my extended family, all great people, caring and true blue!
I am exceedingly grateful for my MSU family of colleagues and student collaborators, some of the best of the best, smartest of the smart and caring for the sake of friendship. I thank you, I owe you, I will be there for you!
I am exceedingly grateful for all of my mentors and friends who gave me advice freely and always encouraged me to improve. Through it all, you made me better and inspired me to want to help others. That is huge.
Here are a few images, they show hope and they show that when you put the time in, effort is everything.
Love you all so much, thanks again, here is to the next 40!
@ Holt, Michigan
June 7th, 2019
The first pic is April 2010, on the surface bodybuildinging is a amazing goal, but it is not real and totally unsustainable, I have learned ALOT since then.
Now, a week after my 60th birthday the rest of the images are of a guy who is in a much better place. Not only physically but emotionally, nutritionally, spiritually, emotionally. My body is healthy, my mind is healthy, my relationships are healthy. I have found balance.
I live to live and am ready! Ready to take on all of what the beauty that is life has to offer.
Where are you?
Dreading your 30th, 40th, 50th and on, why?
Fill your bucket with all of the positive attributes that will enable your growth, people, activities, food, children, hobbies, find your compelling WHY.
Only through the light can you defeat darkness, I can help you and am willing to assist.
Thank you all for the birthday wishes, and for supporting yesterdays newspaper article.
Yep it’s a journey, take it on, I did!
I love all of you!
April 27th, 2019
Today I had the opportunity to take part in something I had wanted to do for a long time but for some reason it never happened, a Boot Camp gym experience. Thanks to my friend and coach Samantha Medved (Michigan State University, Kinesiology)this finally occurred.
If I could give a facility and their fitness courses more than 5-Stars I would. Total Body Boot Camp is the bomb!
Owned by a family team consisting of the Nelsons’s Dave (dad) Jakob (son) and their newest coach, the dynamic Samantha Medved this trifecta of knowledgeable caring people WILL MAKE a difference in their clients lives.
The facility is located on the west side of Lansing, 8741 West Saginaw, 48917, (Face Book page) this hybrid-gym has a model that is ready to rock the local fitness industry. The Nelson family team decided to make this dream of owning a fitness facility a reality, Total Body Boot Camp has arrived.
What a great Kick Boxing ? crew today! ? If your looking for great trainers and facilities look no further than Total Body Boot Camp! www.totalbodybc.com Free 3 Class Trial.
Posted by Total Body Boot Camp on Saturday, April 27, 2019
With the crowded spaces that is the workout/gym/exercise world of facilities finding a niche like atmosphere that is effective is tough. In my opinion family is everything, and results happen when a group comes together in a belief and sense of connectedness. When you find a gym that makes you feel welcome, has inviting people, is supremely clean (this is a huge factor in the fitness facility industry) and has young knowledgeable staff like Jakob Nelson and Samantha Medved the right mix for success in your fitness goals can be achieved.
Generation Us is all about working with, listening to and learning from our young talent! Any growing older, ‘MiddleLiving’ person, woman or man should never diminish the ability of the younger coaches to make a difference. Take it from me, I know this personally!
Owner Dave Nelson puts this message out there that explains his beliefs.
“I can’t wait to be a part of something larger than myself, including assistance in weight loss and helping those to strive to meet their fitness goals. Dream of mine is to hear one of our members thank me for starting Total Body Boot camp!” Dave also says, “I love getting to know members on a more personal aspect, earn their respect and work hard to keep facility looking and functioning at peak performance.”
Dave Nelson Owner and Founder of ‘Total Body Bootcamp’.
Partner and son Jakob Nelson has tremendous energy. This young man has this true look in his eyes of caring and energy, education and a desire to fulfill the whole package of fitness and nutrition. This guy is the real deal and a winner. Everyone made me feel welcome and part of the family!
“Fitness has been a huge part of my life since I could remember. I was a 3 sport athlete in high school, and carried 1 of those sports into college. While in college at GVSU (Grand Valley State University) I was a health and fitness exercise science major. I took what I learned and ran with it. Currently I am a ISSA certified personal trainer, I have trained countless of clients and enjoyed every second of it! Having the ability to change someone life for the better is something I hope to be able to bring to the Grand Ledge area! I look forward to working hard and to being apart of the community!”
There are several reasons you should look to niche hybrid facilities like Total Body Boot Camp if you are considering stepping up your fitness and quality of life. Group fitness is the way, here are five reasons-
Can you say “ ROPE WARRIORS”? ??? Come get some at Total Body Boot Camp! www.totalbodybc.com FREE 3 Class Trial…..DO IT!
Posted by Total Body Boot Camp on Thursday, April 25, 2019
Between the two classes I just attended, the ‘Cardio Kickboxing’ (never done before, super fun and challenging) led by Jakob and demonstrated by Samantha, and the ‘Butts & Guts’ class (led by Samantha, which smoked my hip flexors) in one hour I crushed almost 1,000 calories. I keep track of this stuff gang, that is the truth!
Thanks again to my pal and coach Samantha Medved for suggesting this morning workout. I enjoyed the heck out of it, needed to experience something different and was not disappointed. You won’t be either, give em a look at their website for more information.
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”
Dr. Brene Brown
Happy New Year everyone!
To open 2019 I wanted to bring in the New Year with something a little different, give us all the opportunity to choose from a new list, choices.
A huge thank you to my friend Samantha Medved, a soon to be graduating Senior from MSU in Kinesiology, through her I learned of the ‘Personal Bill of Rights’. I was completely unaware of this list and when I read through these thought what a perfect way to start 2019, choosing one or more of these items as a kickoff for the New Year.
With twenty-five choices this list contains flexibility. The idea is that we all have rights as human beings. We either forget or we do not appreciate that we have these rights, hey everyone is different. Perhaps we were unaware of these rights as children growing up, or like me lacked awareness or knowledge as an adult. Becoming aware, educated and embracing these rights, learning to exercise them, we then can build a more assertive attitude. Building a positive life and become more resilient in our day-to-day living.
When we choose to respect ourselves enough to be conscious of our basic human rights, flourishing and hope blossom. Education, sympathy, empathy and compassion, all of these attributes work in combination. Fuel for our 2019 journey!
Beginning to understand how vital each of these rights are to the human condition, leading to living a quality of life that all of us desire is important to understand. You all know me, I am all about QOL.
Social anxiety is so deeply connected with our self-esteem and how we value our self, that to not understand the depth of insecurities is to deny true happiness. Gotta build awareness, become educated, sympathize-empathize-rationalize building the compassion muscle.
Fear and worry leads to self-doubt, confidence is never established and darkness of the ‘Negative Energy Tornado’ can rule a person’s life. The ‘Personal Bill of Rights’ hold power to change.
It has taken me years to accept who I am; my personal struggles with alcohol and drug abuse is well documented. Self-medicating, hiding and lying were inextricably tied to my behavioral issues. Counseling and therapy undoubtedly saved my life. Embracing my inadequacies, self-esteem issues, insecurities, and owning my vulnerabilities made me a better, stronger person. I am much more aware of how important these twenty-five rights are to rock solid confidence and determination. Failure and poor choices, yep, gotta own all of it.
I was never going to have a solid relationship with anyone until I had a better relationship with myself.
Everyone is entitled to each of these Twenty-Five rights. We should be aware, sympathetic, empathetic and compassionate to those who may be suffering, have suffered and or experienced trauma in their lives. It is not shame that should drive us to suffer silently, but prideful awareness and respect which will liberate and enhance our quality of life, living a well-balanced and fulfilled existence .
Bring good people into your life by loving yourself more, I know, I believe! Frankly it is amazing.
As we change and grow into the ‘Newer & Better ME’, family or friends may question the bolder, more assertive person you have become, expect it. People do not like change, and your new confidence and self-esteem may indeed put stress on a relationship. If it does than that is a clear signal that the person who is not embracing your rights needs to get a clue, and perhaps be kicked to the curb, it happens! If a friend or family member does not like the more confident version of you, are they a friend worth having? In time those that are worthy of your friendship, and or love will come to admire your efforts.
Being assertive you will gain self-respect, and with that respect you will increase your own sense of worth, value and integrity. Being assertive is not being rude. Being confident and comfortable in your own skin is a good thing. Only through confidence can sympathetic, empathic and compassionate feelings grow.
“If we want to cultivate hopefulness, we have to be willing to be flexible and demonstrate perseverance.”
Dr. Brene Brown
Thank you to my young friend Samatha for sharing this list with me. You see everyone, it takes a tribe to build a village, it takes cooperation and collaboration to change a culture and its values. It takes love, education, sympathy, empathy, and compassion to bring us together as a community.
Let us all thrive together in 2019.
Much love to you all,
“The future ain’t what it used to be”.
In the 21st century we, the people of what I call the Four Phases, ‘Youth’, ‘Young Adults’, ‘MiddleLiving’ and ‘SuperiorSeniors’ have a dichotomy of sorts. Our two most valuable resources are needed to play the game of life correctly and maximizing their effectiveness takes skill.
These resources are ‘time’ and ‘information’.
Information is at its most abundant time ever in man’s history. Lucky for all of us, especially the younger generations, that we ‘MiddleLiving’ boomers invented the information age and this new-fangled thing called the Internet.
There are 1440 minutes per day…that means there are approximately:
– 294 BILLION emails sent every day!
– 6 BILLION Google Searches each day!
– 3.5 BILLION Facebook messages posted daily!
– 40 Million Tweets shared each day!1
That is a staggering amount of information, and it is growing!
Now consider that I plan on living to 100. Currently I am 59 so I have 41 years to go. Every day I use 86,400 seconds, my time is finite and it is shrinking. As we grow older our mortality becomes clearer, our parents’ age and we eventually will lose them. Our friends will grow older and we will lose them as well.
Our most precious resources are moving in opposite directions, time is finite and information seems infinite.
I believe in the power of knowledge and utilizing it to empower my well-being. Using information to grow wiser, healthier and happier. I can do this by making better use of my time by staying engaged in the game of life, and employing the abundant information to its fullest. I have a new equation to illustrate this-
The amount of change is directly proportional to the level of the challenge, you choose! If the challenge is, well challenging, then the level of change will be large. If the level of challenge is say ‘soft-weak-lazy-poor’ well then what do you think! Again it is all about “YOUR” choice.
Ok everyone it is getting close to the time for a New Year’s resolution brain shift. I personally am going to change my outlook on a few things and I wanted to share them with you. I hope these resonate with you, will inspire you to think a little bit differently.
First if your number one New Year’s Resolution for 2019 is to lose weight, toss that one is out the window! Think BIGGER, think-
When we start to ‘Believe in Amazing’ weight loss is not our primary goal. And since only 8% of people are actually successful at their resolutions, we need a paradigm shift anyway. Now we focus on our how we feel, so to ‘Believe in Amazing’ for 2019 the goal is to focus on ‘ESPM’, keeping it all simple.
I love the mindset of ‘Well-Being’. Wellness is great, but in our live presentations I have the ‘Well-Being Paradigm’ and the ‘Fantastic Five’ components, which include-
Our goals are to just feel great and do the small things that will help us get there. 47% of people make a resolution with self improvement and or educational related resolutions. I love this and its fabulous!
Will you be one of the 47%?
With our new emphasis on ‘Believing in Amazing’ and incremental change, (smaller goals are achievable goals) we are going to change the way we think about the New Year and the new you and me.
I love the thought of ‘Incremental Self-Improvement’ and ‘Educational’ resolutions!
A large number of people, 38%, make weight related resolutions. Hey don’t get me wrong about this goal, I embrace and encourage everyone to think positive. Just reframe our resolution goals to ‘Believe Amazing’ and weight loss becomes the lead into feeling better, living longer and just enjoying your hard earned achievements.
I had always thought that a ‘Midlife Crisis’ was a time around fifty years old. Mine hit me like a sledgehammer when I was thirty-seven. I have always been an outlier, so expecting anything different, well, probably not happening. Psychology today defines Midlife as- “the central period of a person’s life, spanning from approximately age 40 to age 65”. Where “adults may take on new job responsibilities and therefore often feel a need to reassess their professional standing and make changes while they feel they still have time.” [i]
In my case the re-assessment was not due to a work situation, not even close, it was time to get off the 20 year long party bus. Been through a terrible marriage, lived in my own self-pity party and used the “woe is me” excuse for self-medicating and blaming everything and everyone else for my problems. Little did I know that the emptiness that had become my life was my own lack of accountability for my own problems. When accountability arrives, you can start to love yourself a little more. This small step was the beginning of a new life.
In the 1965 article “Death and the Midlife Crisis” psychologist Elliot Jaques coined the term “Midlife Crisis,” referring to a time when adults reckon with their own mortality and their remaining years of productive life. Midlife can be a tense time, and many people feel unhappy and edgy as they fight with the thought of growing older, our mortality, and our sense of purpose in life.[ii]
When I decided to get sober and go into therapy, I had just turned 38 years old. Up until then life was a carousel of routines and habits, which for the most part were mostly bad. Routines that included being a single dad and a person who avoided loving interpersonal romantic relationships. Daily after work self-indulgence, what I called “going into the garage” led to a pattern and habit that needed to end.
The steps to self-improvement would begin through counseling I received; the kindness of a psychologist who actually did not see patients but took me on as a favor to my physician that would begin the journey of accountability and reflection. You see owning your issues; facing the emptiness and loneliness that is problem drinking and drugging can actually be very liberating. Taking buried feelings, some from my childhood, and facing my identity was the key to lifting myself out of a dysfunctional and morally wrong lifestyle.
What I needed to do was grow up. This perpetual 20 something lifestyle that haphazardly fell into my 30’s was a train wreck waiting to happen. I needed to know ‘who I was, and what was my purpose in life’, ‘where was I going and why am I doing all of this?’ At some point, I had to realize that unresolved issues, like dropping out of college in my 20’s, and my failed marriage were my own fault. Sometimes you just gotta grow a pair, you know what I mean?
In my work, I have come to the realization that life is a set of phases, that growth and maturity happen at different times for people, but we all really do live in these four phases. For me it started with youth (birth-18), young adulthood (19-39), MiddleLiving, the sweet spot and biggest of my phases (40-85), and the glorious time of becoming a ‘Superior Senior’ (86+). Yours may be slightly different, everyone matures differently but I think you see the point. If we embrace the phases for what they are, opportunities for experiential growth and learning, we never enter into the ‘crisis’ mode.
Crisis is defined as, “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. A time when a difficult or important decision must be made”.[iii] A Midlife Crisis can start as a small or irritating doubts which may encourage a series of intense irrational events potentially leading to thoughts of doubt which ultimately can lead to great change. A person experiencing challenges with midlife may ask herself “Is this all there is”? Or “am I a failure”? It will be at this time that those who can see past the cloudy doom or getting old and embrace the thought and excitement of ‘growing older’ that the experiential lifestyle takes on new meaning. Searching for happiness is not the answer, because the more we search, the more confounding and unhappy we become. Buying ‘things’ a new car, the latest computer, smart phone won’t work. Abandoning or even betraying relationships, as dreadful as some may seem, potentially could be better served by investing some soul, some energy, and some effort. Statistics point out that those with connections, friends, outlets and hobbies live longer and lead a more fulfilling life.
Quitters never win and winners never quit!
The universe possesses and is made up of energy, so are we. Attracting like souls, building new friendships, exploring new opportunities is at a new place in our human existence. The Internet has completely changed everything. Barriers to entry are shattered, the ‘Creative Destruction’ (new ways of doing things which in essence lead to positive changes) was described by Economist Joseph Schumpeter and called ‘Schumpeter’s Gale’ by some was coined in the 1940’s. Today ‘Creative Destruction’, carries even more weight, responsibility and opportunity. It is how we choose, when we choose, or if we choose to live with love and open hearts attracting the positive energy that is so abundant in the Universe, leveraging the potential of positive change through Schumpeter’s, ‘Creative Destruction’.
I have a new model that I am using for the rest of my life, I call this “The Four Pillars”! I would love to inspire and encourage everyone to think about this as we all mature and stay relevant in our lives. What are your pillars? My pillars are-
By allowing your pillars to support your life you will find meaning. It will be through finding meaning that happiness finds you. The pillars support the catalyst, the catalyst opens the adjacent possibles. My personal journey has been a continual building of the future. The darkness when understood, gives foundational strength and opportunity to embrace personal pillars. Cornerstones give strength to a strong castle that is life.
I love the words ‘Lynchpin’ and ‘Serendipity’; those two words are what have helped me to embrace my growing older with grace and excitement. If we all can remember that life is a gift, which we can only control what happens within our own minds and then lead to fulfillment and success.
Use another acronym that I love, ‘I-Squared-Inspire & Influence’ when you live with joy, with grace, with compassion and with empathy you never get old, you survive all crisis’s, you reach as Abraham Maslow taught us in his hierarchy of needs, the pinnacle of life, ‘self-actualization’.
We all need to become ok in our own skin, sometimes it takes longer to really understand how important it is to love oneself. Believe me, it took me a while, hardships, poor decisions, morally corrupt behavior to grasp what is truly good. When you do finally realize that as the Universal energy is always surrounding us, accepting how important it is to live with grace and purpose begins with love, laughing and sharing, I now love my life so much it is crazy. At some point, together we all can reach this level, I want to help, I owe the Universe because it took care of me when I did not love myself very much, and for that I am very grateful.
Thank you to my young friend Hannah Messing for giving me some advice and editorial feedback on this article. Her input on many of our generational objectives is appreciated. ‘Be Grateful’
Sometimes we make the critical mistake of dwelling on something that has happened in the past. Personally it took me quite some time to come to grips with my demons of alcohol and drug abuse, however once I accepted my choices moving on became the new-new me.
Having history hold you back is very common and can be a major limiting belief, an albatross. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar-
We may subconsciously feel that if I am miserable long enough, eventually I will forgive myself. I know I was guilty of this, are you?
The fear of moving forward, and of future successes, may be holding firmly in the past. We can overcome, and together we can become liberated and free. All dwelling on the past does is cloud our minds of the brightness that can be the future new-new you!
Romanticizing on the “glory-days” is simply an escape from reality, a major distraction, and frankly a waste of time. Being stuck in the past can interfere with the future. It does not solve anything and can lead to darkness and depression.
Let’s think about these-
“For me, fitness is not just about hitting the gym; it is also about an inner happiness and an overall well-being.”
Rakul Preet Singh
I am a believer that ‘Wellbeing’ is a key to growing older with zest and pizazz. I have used the term in a speech that I deliver called the ‘Well Being Paradigm’ with the paradigm consisting of five components. I label these the “Fantastic-Five”, which are-
Each of these components has its own depth. One of the fun parts of discussing the journey and mission of living and flourishing is talking about these. For example in my world, ‘Wellness’ is the leadoff hitter. The ‘WBP’ (wellbeing paradigm) has eight levels which are-
Identifying your strength and relative weakness in any of these subcategories can help us grow. This is a key to Generativity. Psychologist Eric Erickson is attributed with this concept and I was introduced to it by my friend and guest on our radio program Psychologist Dr. Debbie Heiser. Framed by giving back to society through raising our children, being productive at work and becoming involved in community activities and organizations, Generativity helps us develop a sense of being a part of the larger life picture.
Being in the ‘MiddleLiving’ phase of life (40-85) gives all of us ample opportunity to make amends, shape our future and give back. I like to say that the “Bling-Bling doesn’t have the same Ring-Ring” it once did. Understanding and working within the ‘Fantastic-Five’ can enable our continued development and growth.
Generativity is the rocket fuel that can launch us into a fulfilled life. Growth does not stop at a certain age, and it actually can be enhanced as we grow into the next chapters. It is up to each of us to determine the robustness, think about this-
We raise our children to be pillars of society, those stalwarts that stand the test of time. Like Luke Cage we hope for the best as Mike Colter shares in this excerpt from Emma Brown’s article–
“Luke is one of the more redeeming characters that I’ve played,” explains actor Mike Colter, star of Netflix’s new superhero drama Luke Cage. “He has his issues, but for the most part he’s a no-B.S. kind of character. He’s a straightforward kind of guy, and he doesn’t take a lot of nonsense, doesn’t suffer fools,” he continues. “I think there’s a lot of places we can go with him and I hope to develop him even more.”
As we grew up, and believe me we watched a ton of television, (remember way pre Internet) we had Adam West as the “Wham-Bop-Crunch” man of almost steel-
Or going way back in the day we had George Reeves as the television ‘Man of Steel’ (black and white version) Superman-
We had of all people Bill Bixby-
Seriously, Bill portrayed Bruce Banner playing the Incredible Hulk on the television series from 1977-82 (yep five years) national television.
Well of course everyone remembers that Bill somehow transformed himself into Lou Ferrigno-
Lastly we have Wonder Woman and that first honor actually belongs to a truly awful 1967 TV show starring Ellie Wood Walker that was taken in a campy sitcomy direction. Thankfully, things were destined to get better seven years later—but not by much!
No comparison to my favorite (even though Gal Gadot does a pretty solid job) Lynda Carter was the total bomb-
Our latest Super Hero, and this one is a ‘Man’s Man’ is, drum roll please Tyler, ‘Mr. America’ Swedburg,
Lord help me!
“If you don’t squat, you ain’t squat.”
The squat is the single most important exercise we do in the gym. Why? Because life demands that we do it numerous times each day, standing up, sitting down, getting out of a car, you get the picture. So it’s vital to establish a good foundation for this movement pattern.
My squat has been described as “the worst thing ever” by my own daughter! I am determined to fix this and make my squat better.
I worked with a student at MSU to determine my problem doing a deadlift. He quickly saw that my squat was horrible.Déjà vu;dang heard this before!
Open the hips, increase hip flexor mobility and I have it. Well maybe, it turns out I had other imbalances that were also inhibiting the squat move. My erector spinae, the long back muscles next to the spine needed work as well.
If I was ever to be decent and maybe good at a lift like a deadlift, my squat must improve and my back must become stronger. Bad form such as leaning forward while squatting is a back injury waiting to happen.
Look up “Butt Wink”!
Like any exercise, it’s important to make the squat work for you. No pain, no gain is not in this equation. Stretching and strengthening your hips and large back muscles is a slow process, and it all revolves around great form.
“If our patterns are off, we become limited in our range of motion or get weaker in the muscles we need to stand up and sit down safely,” says fitness expert David Jack. “We’ll begin to compensate and use other muscles we shouldn’t in order to do everyday movements.”
Bad habits creep up on us. Work on these, slowly!
The following essay is a chapter from our latest book titled ‘Generation Us, Living-Loving-Learning, Building Benevolent Togetherness‘.
‘Colin Jackson (Be Empathetic) is one of the most talented and humble young men I know, he is the most self-effacing gentleman ever. I thought it interesting and cool to have the dual perspectives of a younger man/millennial.
Thank you, Colin, for this submission, it made me tear up, truthfully!’
Humans have always struggled with empathy. As self-focused beings, we sometimes can’t understand others’ feelings. To get where someone else comes from takes time and effort. Most of the time, it’s much easier to center on our viewpoint instead of placing ourselves in another person’s shoes. If we’re right, we can comfort ourselves. We don’t ask if it matters as much as being compassionate and empathetic. Empathy means being “the bigger person”. We seldom follow through in a genuine attempt and that’s a problem. Frustration comes naturally when someone falls short. Almost everyone’s trying their best already—it’s our job to help make each other’s best better.
Empathy is hard. It appears easy but it’s not. The easiest way to describe empathy is “feeling with”. Without wearing someone’s shoes, it’s difficult to tell someone’s journey let alone imagine what that person’s feeling. I went to school with a kid that overdosed on heroin. I didn’t know him. I don’t believe I ever said more than an awkward “hey” to him when I walked past him in the hallway if our eyes met. As far as I know, he dropped out. After I graduated, news came out that he OD’d. I was video chatting with my friend shortly after and his death came up. She mentioned that his passing put things in perspective. It may have felt like a bad day. But someone nearby had the worst day of his life every day.
That story isn’t to say my empathy as a stranger could have saved his life. It’s not my place to make that claim or assumption. Instead, it demonstrates a type of thinking for when conflict arises. We gain nothing from judging one another for how we carry ourselves. Judgment minus reflection avoids dealing with problems head on. To simply conclude “this is bad” or “this is good” without looking at the surrounding circumstances would be lazy. Doing so would serve as an excuse not to take the time to understand where someone is coming from or why one feels the way one does. We choose to take the easy road for our own sake in those moments.
Growth requires choosing the harder path. Literature, religion, and proverbs point to this. Being understanding can mean fighting a natural reaction. Going down the road less taken sounds scary because it is, though no less important. Actor Michael K. Williams hosts a television show called Black Market. In its trailers, he speaks of wanting to show a window “to understanding why people do things they do—where that desperation comes from”. For him, that meant spending time with gun smugglers, poker house operators, drug addicts, carjackers and others that society deems criminal.
Views of the humans behind what easily seems like inhumane behavior made the show important. It’s not always apparent why someone feels the need to steal a car and it’s certainly easy to label anyone who does as a bad human being. A simple label though doesn’t do anything to curb the desire to steal cars. Sneering doesn’t help people move toward a better life than that of a drug-addicted shoplifter. Ignoring someone’s potential because of their mistakes and current situation ends up costing everyone. People fall. They find themselves in bad places and do bad things. Recognizing when to help people in those spots and make their best better advances society.
It’s important to treat each other as humans first instead of adversaries or objects. Chance the Rapper demonstrates this perfectly in the second half of his two-part tale “Pusha Man/Paranoia” from 2013’s Acid Rap. In it, he laments on life inside Chicago, a city reporters and outsiders dubbed “Chiraq” based upon the amount of violent deaths. Commonly, outsiders complain about the violence and deem those that live in the thick of it as savages. Chance offers a different perspective on this central to the idea of empathy. “I know you scared / You should ask us if we scared too / If you was there / Then we’d just knew you cared too,” Chance calls out to anyone listening. His hometown didn’t need condemnation and fear, it needed love.
Society doesn’t improve when we our initial response to disagreement is to fight. When we disagree, or perceive something as completely wrong, empathizing and trying to learn why others feel that way brings us closer. There’s no way for us to know if the person that seemed rude over the phone or behaved curtly is having a worse day than us or dealing with more than us. We can find out, though, if there’s anything we can do to help them find a better mood. Once we can see how they came to those results, maybe our own perspectives can shift. If we still hold the way we feel and their perspective doesn’t change, we at least know we tried and hopefully have more respect for each other.
Social media helped expose social lack of empathy. Less practiced, empathy thrives on immersion into opposing views and experiences. Tailored content on our social media feeds fixes it so that we rarely see anything we disagree with. Many liken it to an echo chamber. Challenges are necessary to grow. In a world where we only see what we agree with, we don’t have those same challenges. Thus, when confronted, it’s a natural reaction to go into attack mode instead of listen mode. People choose to listen to talk back rather than listen to understand. None of this leads anywhere. All this lacks compassion.
Occasionally hashtags poking fun at millennials trend on Twitter. They point out the usual stereotypes about my generation like us being lazy, addicted to our phones, unfocused and unable to carry a conversation, etc. Many of these are true and, at the end of the day, they are mostly jokes. Roles almost always reverse when millennials return the favor by teasing older generations for using a young people’s platform to rag on them. Young people respond by adding the fact that older generations built the world that shaped millennials’ habits.
This exchange misses the reasons each side feels the way they do. It also misses the parts each generation can offer. My generation earned the nickname, the participation medal generation. Mainly members of previous generations call us soft and complain about participation awards. They don’t try to see why inclusion has value to us. The world can seem like an unforgiving place stacked against success. By solely labeling millennials as soft or lazy, older generations miss just how hard and competitive our world is and how impossible it really is for a young person to be lazy and successful. Again, ignoring potential. If my generation ignores the wisdom other ones have gained, we lose that knowledge in favor of being hard-headed.
Identity has caused major problems between generations. Gender and sexual identity seems to rank among the worst. A debate over a concept that is more complicated than society gives credit doesn’t feel right here. Instead, I will take the approach that people can self-identify as whatever gender or sexual identity fits them best. It’s not my place nor anyone else’s to place a value judgment on another person’s experience so I won’t. Seeing see how hard things are for people because they’re themselves is enough for me to recognize I am not them.
Many find fluid gender and sexual identities hard to understand or swallow. Acceptance can come down to empathy. Life is tough for people that aren’t considered “normal”. For many transgendered individuals, life can be impossible as they often face violence, higher rates of homelessness and a social stigma among other hardships. Rather than judge a group in these situations, we can put ourselves in their shoes and imagine what life would be like facing those same hardships because of something about ourselves we can’t change.
Parents can have a hard time dealing when a child reveals their true self. My friend stayed closeted to his family until recently. His immediate family took it hard. From the outside, it seemed like his parents centered on their own point of view. In his words, “they are trying to get over it and ignore it”. Instead, they could have focused on trying to understand what their son was feeling and trying to get how hard it must have been for him to be himself. Once he posted a Facebook status announcing his orientation, I scrolled through comments. In the small sample, I saw family members of his that seemed supportive and willing to learn though maybe not entire sure of how to react. That’s the type of attitude more people need to have.
Choosing empathy means asking “what are they feeling” instead of “why don’t they see it my way?” It also entails taking the hard path. It requires using every bit of patience. At the end, it means working towards growth rather than to be right. It can come naturally when we see someone upset because they lost out on a job or a promotion. Moments that frustrated us the most, are the times we need to exercise empathy the most. It does us no good to exert our anger on someone else because of a disagreement. It does us much better to understand someone else’s position and work together for a better solution.