Season 5, Post 38: How to “outlive”
If death is one of the only certainties in life, then surely it is logical to want to delay it for as long as possible? The quest for eternal life has been a perennial one, recorded in myths since antiquity. Science has thrown billions of Dollars at the challenge. We first wrote on the topic in 2016. “The Economist” featured the subject on its cover recently. However, perhaps the most worthwhile thing many readers can do is obtain a copy of “Outlive.”
Published in March this year and written by Dr Peter Attia, a Canadian physician, “Outlive” (which was recently gifted to your author by a generous colleague) provides a framework for how to live longer. At the heart of the work is the concept of what Dr Attia calls ‘Medicine 3.0.’ In contrast to current approaches to healthcare, under Attia’s framework, the most significant emphasis is placed on prevention rather than treatment. There is also a clear recognition of each person as an individual and a robust assessment of risk. Such a world view is consistent with the thesis we have had since 2012 about the personalisation of healthcare and a shift in the paradigm from reactive to pre-emptive healthcare.
Part of the appeal of “Outlive” is that much of its advice can be seen as common sense. Attia makes the case for how individuals should include exercise regimes (particularly focusing on improving stability) and better eating habits into their lifestyles. The latter point has been addressed significantly in our own work since at least 2014. Attia also highlights the importance of sleep and devotes the final chapter of the work to why mental health matters as much as physical.
It is hard to disagree with Attia’s assertions, albeit that they appear to be written from the perspective of someone who can afford to make better lifestyle choices. Not everyone has such (financial) ability. Governments, in our view, should play a more proactive role in education and the taxation of certain food stuffs could also be helpful. Optimists will also hope that scientific progress will advance. The well-documented success of anti-obesity drugs such as Wegovy suggest one way forward. Ultimately, evolution may be our biggest headwind. All human bodies contain trillions of cells in need of constant rejuvenation.
10 October 2023
The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.
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Alex Gunz, Fund Manager
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