Extending the Healthy Human Life Span
For millennia, humans have dreamed about extending their lives. Today, medical assessments are available that can impact longevity, identify risks for disease, and provide early diagnosis for serious diseases, including insights into critical areas such as coronary artery disease, neurovascular disease, dementia, cancer, and metabolic disease.
Looking at the past 30 years’ medical practice, we can see that the physician is the integrator of data: He takes a family history and performs a physical exam and basic blood work to make an assessment of the patient’s health. The tools are familiar: blood pressure cuff, thermometer, and otoscope (checking ears and nose).
The next generation of medicine has machine learning and artificial intelligence as the integrators of data alongside the physician. Inputs involve more detailed information to analyze current health status, including whole-genome sequencing, whole-body and brain MRI (imaging), and advanced bloodwork, all to reveal a precision, personalized, and integrated look at potential risks as well as immediate issues.
Measure What Matters
If we compare how we measure and monitor our cars, finances, social media, and a myriad of other aspects of our lives to how often and detailed we measure our health status, we might see where preventive measures might help extend our lives.
Craig Venter co-founded Human Longevity Inc. in 2013 and established the Health Nucleus in 2015, a serene and sophisticated research and discovery center based in La Jolla, Calif. By implementing whole-genome sequencing with whole-body and brain imaging and a full and complete set of blood tests, the health assessment these companies offer is truly data driven. That is, unlike more recreational DNA kits, we believe that the code should be assessed with all 6B base pairs. It’s not a superficial exam, but rather a deep assessment integrating all results to achieve one of the most precise and personalized assessments available.
An example of our work may be seen in a recent study soon to be published that reviewed 1,190 healthy clients who visited the Health Nucleus. Many received the peace of mind that they are on track with their health: exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutritious foods, and finding balance in their lives. We also found that a significant portion actually had findings that required medical attention.
1.7% confirmed cancers otherwise not previously known
2.5% brain and aortic aneurysms, several of which required follow-up interventions
7% with moderate to severe cardiovascular risk with significant calcified plaque in the coronary arteries
16% with aberrant cardiac structure or function findings
29% with elevated liver fat, which may indicate a risk for developing type 2 diabetes
86% genetic carriers for recessive diseases
17% have a rare genetic mutation
No longer a dream, assessing one’s health in these critical areas is not only extremely pertinent to most people but is especially important for addressing chronic, age-related diseases, many of which may be positively impacted by behavior changes, including changes in diet and lifestyle.
On staff at Health Nucleus as chief medical officer is Thomas Caskey, MD, FACP, FACMG, FRSC. A world-renowned expert in clinical genetics, he is part of the team that reviews genetic data and offers advice to our clients through our genetic counselors and medical team. Dr. David Karow serves as president and chief innovation officer and has published numerous papers on early prostate cancer detection through noninvasive, advanced MRI. More recently, he has focused on integrating imaging and genomic biomarkers for identifying disease risk long before disease onset. Recommendations from functional medicine physicians, especially when it comes to taking “next steps” in improving health, are also important future attributes for the Health Nucleus assessment.
The next generation of medicine has machine learning and artificial intelligence as the integrators of data alongside the physician.
As a cardiologist, my practice Atelier Health is based in Beverly Hills and I have adopted the Health Nucleus protocol with my patients. Using the same testing, I access MRI technology locally, and the Health Nucleus provides the blood, genetic, and image integration to produce a Health Intelligence Report, which I deliver to my patients approximately six weeks after the initial assessment, during a return-of-results session in my office. One of the reasons I am looking forward to providing this assessment to my clients is found in reviewing past client experiences at the Health Nucleus facility. Three in particular show the benefits of how this early assessment provides benefits from peace of mind, from revealing genetic predisposition to early diagnosis of cancer.
One client, Nick B. credits forward-thinking technologists, medical professionals, and scientists who are creating a 21st century approach to healthcare. “Human Longevity, through their Health Nucleus assessment, gave me access to the technologies required to detect and prevent diseases of all forms. What followed on from this visit was a complete transformation in my approach to my own health and wellness—from the way I eat to my exercise routine, the supplements I take, and how I interact with my own GP doctor back at home.”
Bill F. was looking to live a long life, but more importantly a long, healthy life. Instead of just seeking health insurance, he sought health assurance and declared that he “wanted to be active and productive until 100.” After the experience, Bill noted, “Thankfully they found no problems with [my] brain, cholesterol, or balance, although I learned I needed to lose weight and build muscle mass, and I saw I was susceptible to deep vein thrombosis.”
Joe N., a Health Nucleus client, recalled how the Health Nucleus discovered a 2.8cm tumor on his left kidney, only four months after he went through his annual physical. He reports, “Because the cancer was caught early, I was fortunately able to have the tumor quickly removed through an outpatient ablation procedure, thus avoiding inevitable chemo and radiation treatments. I now have new baseline metrics for my whole genome, brain health, internal organs, and cardiovascular system that empower me to be even more proactive in managing my health.”
The goal of Atelier Health is to deliver the highest-quality medical care by focusing on technology designed to optimize the “health span.” With the understanding that the root causes of many diseases are based on both genetic and lifestyle factors, the Atelier Health/Health Nucleus partnership is a unique one. The practice also offers traditional “concierge” medical care. The initial evaluation process generally involves an extensive history and physical followed by a thorough battery of tests. This process may take one or two days, depending on the extent of testing.
The integration of genetic analysis, advanced imaging, and biomarkers in a multispecialty platform allows for comprehensive care in both health and disease states. This 360-degree view of the patient creates meaningful discussion centered around cutting-edge therapeutics, nutrition, and fitness.