Longevity Week in London: Reflections on Quantum Healthy Longevity

Marking The Longevity Forum 5th anniversary, during Longevity Week in London Nov.14-18, there was one Virtual session I did manage to attend titled Quantum Healthy Longevity: Blueprint for a Healthy Longevity Innovation Mission, which was formed to “look at how we can take a quantum leap forward to accelerate healthy people, planet and growth, exploring the economics, the politics and the technologies that can unlock innovation and impact at scale”.

Rather lofty sounding at first read, this new joint initiative of the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing and Collider Health is really a call to action for researchers, policy makers, businesses and investor groups in the technology, finance, healthcare, and life sciences sectors to join up with governments and boldly accelerate our investment responses, financially, and I would say, talent development, to improve systems for healthy longevity for everyone now and in the future.

While a UK initiative, it is easily applicable in Canada and other parts of the developed world that have the capacity to correct course; for as it can be said about the UK – the promise of longevity is being challenged by poor health in both the working population and older populations who may or may not be at work in some way. For instance, poor health can limit the contributions of unpaid carers and other community volunteers we have so depended upon as part of our economy.

Time for quantum leap in levelling up the health of the nation

For those of us outside the UK, it’s worth noting that at the start of this session, reference was made to one target in the 2019 government policy paper Levelling Up the United Kingdom“By 2030, the gap in healthy life expectancy (HLE) between local areas where it is highest and lowest will have narrowed, and by 2035 HLE will rise by five years.”

Also of note, keynote speaker Lord James Bethell, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Technology, Innovation and Life Sciences referenced the 2020 report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Longevity, The Health of the Nation: A Strategy for Healthier Longer Lives. Knowing the public health consequences from the pandemic that came after these two documents, it helps to understand now why a quantum leap towards healthy longevity is urgent.

Not suggesting the need to reinvent the narrative, returning to these two UK documents is a good start to move from “innovate to accelerate” as the Quantum Healthy Longevity Blueprint proposes. This is the document that offers the direction to the future if the UK wants to capitalize on the connection to levelling up the health of the nation.

So many great insights from the speakers at this Quantum session but I want to make room for one topic area here. Lynne Corner, Director of VOICE, National Innovation Centre for Ageing spoke to the need to invest in brain capital which includes our brain skills (e.g. our ability to adapt), and the prevention of brain illnesses; and of course as Corner stated, this contributes a high cost to society in terms of lost productivity and caregiving.

Investment in brain health is fundamental to everyone including employers who need resilient people, said Corner, “to deal with the future shocks that come” – we have enormous data on brain health but “we’re wasting the data”. VOICE, is a citizen-led “cross generation conversation” and from this Corner has learned and submits that with so much frustration “voters are ready… we’re in a brilliant place to unlock that potential for science innovation for healthy longevity.”

Click video Quantum Healthy Longevity Innovation Mission Launch for a full viewing of the multi-layered dialogue of this Longevity Week session. For added understanding of the groundwork for all of this, you can read the accompanying Nov.13, 2022 article from The LancetQuantum Healthy Longevity for healthy people, planet, and growth.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *