What originally brought you to Human Longevity?
My story with Human Longevity begins 60 years ago with my then high school classmate, now Dr. J. Craig Venter. While our paths separated after High School, we reconnected after Craig had sequenced the first human genome and co-founded Human Longevity, Inc. and the Human Longevity. This new company intrigued me, and I asked Craig a million questions. Ultimately, he suggested that if I were to go through the Human Longevity process, all my questions would be answered. So, in September of 2017 my wife and I flew to La Jolla, CA for our first 100+ experience.
Can you describe the experience of visiting the first time?
Visiting Human Longevity for the first time was very exciting and I was eager to better understand this new medical concept. The staff was very professional, and the state-of-the art facility offered a unique blend of a relaxing spa combined with a cutting-edge medical facility. I received a detailed schedule for each component of 100+. My personal suite with a couch, bathroom and assortment of healthy snacks was my “home base” between the different tests.
The experience was akin to being a pioneer of personalized medicine. My whole genome would be sequenced. A state-of-the-art 3 Tesla MRI would be producing high-resolution images of both my brain and the major organs in my body – without radiation. The results of those tests would be integrated into a personalized early warning system to proactively identify any medical problems that might exist, even before symptoms appear. I was eager to participate in this transformational approach to health.
Did you find your 100+ Results valuable?
Yes, without a doubt. Going into my 100+ experience, I considered myself healthy. After all, I live at 8,000 ft. elevation in the Rocky Mountains, I founded a mogul skiing program in Aspen and ski 100+ days per year. My wife and I hike, bike and fly fish during the summer.
My results were not at all what I expected but I consider myself one lucky guy. Here are 3 examples of how my 100+ results have been incredibly valuable: (I am waiving all my HIPAA rights because I hope this is a story that everyone can benefit from):
The most significant result was that the MRI discovered a 2.8cm tumor on my left kidney (renal cell carcinoma). Finding this cancer early was a life-saving discovery for me. 100+ connected me with Dr. Steven Raman, a world-class interventional radiologist and expert in tumor ablation, at the UCLA Medical Center. Because the cancer was caught early, I was able to have the tumor removed without traditional surgery in a same-day, outpatient ablation procedure without the need for chemo and radiation. During this experience I learned that kidney cancer has no symptoms until it metastasizes, and kidney tumors tend to metastasize around 5cm. I can’t thank the Human Longevity medical team enough for catching my kidney cancer early when it could be easily treated.
I also discovered that I had an elevated liver fat of 10.8%, an early warning sign I was on a trajectory to develop type 2 diabetes. At no time in my long history of annual physicals had anyone ever measured, or even mentioned, the topic of liver fat. 100+challenged me to reduce my liver fat to 4% or less and I exceeded that goal by following their recommendation to reduce processed carbohydrates, increase cardio exercise and move to a more plant-based diet. A side benefit – I also lost about 20 pounds. This is another example of how a health risk can be identified and resolved early before a major health problem develops.
A third finding I want to mention is related to “peace of mind”. Both my mother and her sister died from Alzheimer’s. For a long time, I had been concerned that I might have a genetic pre-disposition to contracting this disease. My genetic analysis did not identify any high-risk genetic variants for dementia. There are also two predictors of Alzheimer’s that can be detected via MRI imaging: atrophy of your hippocampus and increasing amounts of white matter lesions in the brain. I received positive news about both. The volume of my hippocampus is statistically larger than 76 percent of the people who are my age and gender. And, my brain has no detectable amount of white matter lesions. All of these results eased my concerns. Importantly, metrics like these are just not available in a typical annual physical exam.
What were your thoughts after receiving your 100+ findings?
Five months before my first Human Longevity visit, I received my normal annual physical. At the end of that exam I was given the all-clear sign and that I was “good to go” for another year. So, after I received my 100+ results, I began ask, “What’s wrong with this picture?”
Thinking through that question I had an aha! moment.
I realized that the US health care system is upside down. It is reactive rather than proactive. You are healthy until you are not. The health care ecosystem is primarily designed to respond to symptoms. Treatment starts after a symptom appears. But, sometimes that can be too late: the disease requires serious treatment or has progressed beyond treatment. Or, tragically, an individual suddenly dies from an undiagnosed underlying medical problem. I’ve personally experienced more friends than I can count on one hand who unexpectedly died too young from a heart attack, stroke or discovery of late stage cancer.
What brings you back to 100+ for return visits?
Well, if you haven’t guessed it already, I’ve become a rabid believer in the value of proactive medical care. As of 2021 I have completed four consecutive annual 100+ assessments. Each year I receive personalized metrics that enable me to answer the question: “How do I REALLY know that I am healthy?
What would you say to people who don’t understand how they could benefit from visiting Human Longevity?
I would say that 100+ offers the best logical, practical and systematic strategy available today to proactively manage your health and increase your odds of living a long, healthy and active life. And, don’t confuse looking like you are in good shape with being healthy. Just because you look healthy from the outside doesn’t mean that you are healthy on the inside.
Anything else you would like to mention?
When people have a conversation about health care, I’ve noticed that the discussion either becomes political or turns to the rising cost of health care. We have been trained to think about health care as an expense, rather than an investment. It’s interesting, however, that most of us likely have a financial advisor who proactively manages our assets for retirement. If your retirement account was valued at half a million dollars you would typically pay 1% of the value of your portfolio, or $5,000 per year, for someone to proactively manage your assets. Most people don’t think twice about that expense. That begs two important questions: Who is proactively managing your health? And, might proactively managing your personal health even be more important than managing your finances? I’ve made my choice, but I’ll leave everyone with those two questions to ponder.