The Quest for Eternal Youth: Discovering Keys to Longevity and Vitality


The Door into Summer — My Vital Lifespan Journey

Michael Shaun Conaway
Publishing Editor
March 30, 2022

My chronic back issues led me to regenerative medicine and the longevity research that is driving it. Aging and age related degeneration have long been considered the way it goes, but promising new treatments and longevity research is changing the way we understand aging and what our lives will look like over the coming decade.

When peering down the long corridor of time, we don’t often look for long at the promise of our demise.

We are temporal beings, bounded by time with a beginning and an inevitable end. From the moment as children that understand mortality we are fundamentally uneasy with life. How is it that we are so fragile that our own continued being is uncertain from one moment to the next?

As we age this uneasy feeling is amplified by our degeneration, in my case by the lumbar spine. It feels like the beginning of a long decline before death. But does it have to be that way, or can we live a longer, more vital life? I first started reading about longevity research in the 1980’s in Omni Magazine, a must read for a future futurist. Omni published widely about longevity, even creating a spin-off magazine eponymously called Omni Longevity. Reading these pages as a teenager, I was filled with the certainty that my generation might be the first to push death off forever.

Robert Heinlein wrote a curious novel in 1956 called, The Door into Summer. (It was made into a feature film in Japan in 2021.) In the story an inventor of an intelligent robot is cheated out of his invention by his girlfriend and business partner. They put him into a cryogenic chamber to get him out of the way. He awakes thirty years later to find a world transformed by his robotic invention. The world had exponentially changed.

When applied to longevity, exponential change quickly leads to the possibility of longevity escape velocity (LEV), a hypothetical situation in your remaining life expectancy, say 30 years is longer than the time needed to extend that life expectancy to 50 years. As your remaining life expectancy is always greater than the time needed to produce further innovation you reach escape velocity.

That brings me back to The Door into Summer. At the start of the story our narrator shares that he has a cat that, in the winter months, makes him go from door to door of his house checking to see if it is indeed winter outside. The cat, it seems, is searching for the door into summer. When at last the final door is opened, the cat concedes that summer will not be found and goes out into the winter cold. Increasing our lifespan enough that we have no upper limit in terms of years of life is a search for the door into summer. Summer is the time of life when everything is good, when you are healthy and happy, perhaps when life is simple and easy. And even if you have never found summer in your life, it seems as if you could have or should have.

Longevity has matured with the data from 40 years of research since I first read about it in Omni. Now longevity researchers like Dr. David Sinclair, author of the best seller Lifespan, do not believe that we can extend our lifespan beyond the 130 years that is our known upper limit, rather they focus on vitality for our remaining years of life.

Skiing the French Alps at 120? I’ll take that and maybe more.

Many of you may not find it appealing to live long. I’ve lived with the aspiration to have a long life since being a teen,so I can’t imagine not doing everything I can to make it happen. For years I have kept myself lean, eaten a healthy mediterranean diet, and exercised daily. I’ve done all the things. And yet I am still aging. The hair at my temples is going gray, not bad for a soon to be 57 year old but still. And I have had my first episode of age related degeneration. I have been an athlete most of my life and have suffered a number of injuries that have required hardware. Compounding that with being 1.97m / 6’5”, it’s probably not a surprise that about a decade ago my back issues started. I managed the symptoms with regular chiropractic and massage care up until last year, when I began to have chronic lower back pain — spasms so fierce that I was afraid to stand after sitting at my desk for an hour.

My father spent the last 30+ years of his life battling back pain most often with narcotics, which left him mentally and socially debilitated, ultimately leading to his death at 69. So I had and have a clear idea of a dark future with chronic back pain. As a Generative Futurist, I knew that I had to create a different future for myself, a future with a healthy back and continuing athletic lifestyle. To do that I needed to know what the problems were. An MRI revealed compression at L1/L2 and L4/L5 with stenosis on the right lateral nerve. L4/L5 also showed inflammation indicative of an injury. Standard of care for these issues is usually rest and pain management. I took a different approach.

After a great deal of research and conversations with both doctors and others with similar back issues I decided that I wanted to try three different novel approaches to my spinal health. One of them was a mesenchymal stem cell treatment that is not available in the Netherlands or the US. I was introduced to Dr. Cesar Fonseca from Guadalajara by a patient who had successfully worked with him and his clinic.

I successfully had a treatment of O2 disc therapy, nerve ablation and 150 million stem cells in March of 2022. Due to the nerve ablation, my pain was reduced by 60% right after the procedure. The stem cells did their work more slowly with every month decreasing my pain and increasing my mobility. Within 6 months the chronic pain was gone. And 6 months from now, I’d say I’m 95% healed. I have a daily strengthening and stretching regime, that I will likely need to maintain for the rest of my life, but am delighted by my progress and the healthy back future I generated.

My sadness is that my father didn’t have access to these kinds of treatments or to have the mindset of a generative futurist.

Looking back, his suffering is intolerable to me. I can’t imagine living with the pain he lived with, and living without hope of relief. Perhaps this is our Door into Summer, to be able to heal ourselves of the things that burdened our ancestors. While I hope, and take action, to live a long and healthy life, I don’t know what is to be. That will reside in the domain of the future.

In the meantime I am living a vital life. If and when I have another health challenge, I’ll look to regenerative medicine first to see what is emerging and take ownership for my healing. This is my hope for you and for all of humanity as we move into a new era of health and vitality that longevity research has brought us.

In the meantime, we’ll be looking for PROOF of a thriving future for humanity.

The Generative Futurist
Editor PROOF

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Proof 41 – The Quest for Eternal Youth: Discovering Keys to Longevity and Vitality:

PROOF in ACTION – The Ultimate Guide to Longevity: How 10 Groundbreaking Treatments and 10 Proven Practices Are Shaping the Future of Healthy Aging

This week we are looking at some of the things you can do to promote longevity and vitality. Over the past twenty years researchers into longevity have made significant strides in understanding the biology of aging and developing novel treatments to combat its effects. In addition to these groundbreaking therapies, many time-tested strategies have been shown to improve overall health and promote longevity.

Recent research has uncovered a variety of novel treatments that show potential for extending the human lifespan. While these treatments are still experimental, they are worth investigating if you are interested in longevity or extended vitality.

  1. Senolytics: Senolytics are drugs that target senescent cells, which are cells that have stopped dividing and are associated with aging and age-related diseases.
  2. Metformin: Metformin is a drug that is commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes.
  3. NAD+ precursors: NAD+ precursors are compounds that can increase the levels of NAD+ in the body. NAD+ is a molecule that is involved in many cellular processes and has been shown to decline with age.
  4. Autophagy enhancers: Autophagy is a cellular process that helps remove damaged components and maintain cellular health. Enhancing autophagy through fasting, exercise, or pharmacological interventions may promote longevity.
  5. Caloric restriction: Caloric restriction is a dietary intervention that involves reducing calorie intake without causing malnutrition.
  6. Gene therapy: Gene therapy is a technique that involves modifying genes to treat or prevent disease.
  7. Stem cell therapy: Stem cell therapy is a technique that involves using stem cells to treat or prevent disease.
  8. Telomerase activators: Telomerase activators are compounds that can activate telomerase, an enzyme that is involved in maintaining the length of telomeres, which are the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes.
  9. Mitochondrial-targeted antioxidants: Mitochondrial-targeted antioxidants are compounds that can target antioxidants to the mitochondria, which are the energy-producing organelles in cells.
  10. Epigenetic reprogramming: This approach aims to reset the epigenetic marks on cells, which can change with age, potentially restoring cells to a more youthful state.

While these treatments hold promise for the future, it’s important not to forget the tried-and-true practices that contribute to longer, healthier lives. Incorporating these ten longevity hacks into your daily routine can greatly improve your overall health:

  1. Intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that involves alternating periods of fasting and eating.
  2. Reduce inflammation: Chronic inflammation can have negative effects on your health. Eating a healthy diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help you reduce inflammation.
  3. Reduce stress: Chronic stress can have negative effects on your health. Finding ways to reduce stress, such as meditation or yoga, can help you improve your overall health.
  4. Get enough sleep: Aim for 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Good sleep hygiene includes creating a sleep-conducive environment, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, and avoiding stimulants and screens before bedtime.
  5. Exercise regularly: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
  6. Stay socially connected: Humans are social animals so social isolation can have negative effects on your health and mental health.
  7. Don’t smoke: Smoking is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases and can significantly reduce your lifespan.
  8. Limit alcohol consumption: Moderate alcohol intake is considered to be one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to numerous health problems.
  9. Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of chronic diseases and reduce your lifespan.
  10. Get regular check-ups: Regular check-ups with your doctor can help you detect and treat health problems early, which can improve your health and increase your lifespan.

The practices are good health, good life practices which collectively can extend your vital life. Being healthy longer will also have you be able to benefit from the wave of oncoming advances in longevity research. Combining the novel treatments with these proven practices could also potentially unlock the secret to a longer, more vital lifespan.

Note that it is essential to approach these treatments with caution, as many are still in the experimental phase, and their long-term safety and efficacy remain unproven. Consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial before considering any new treatments or interventions for longevity.

May this information inspire you to generate a thriving future for humanity and a thriving life for yourself. For more resources please check out our Podcast and Youtube channel.

-The Now Team

BOLD.LY NOW is a movement of co-creative up-levelers who have a burning desire to step free of our collapsing world & take the most daring leap forward to a thriving world.

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PROOF is a digital magazine published by NOW and the Generative Futures Initiative.  The mission of the magazine is to shine a light on people, organisations and ideas that stand as Proof of a Thriving Future.