The future of human longevity: medical advances - Conference report available
30 Aug 2012
All over the world, people are living longer. That fact has far-reaching implications for local and global economies, and for society as a whole. A one-day conference entitled “The future of human longevity: medical advances, lifestyle adjustments,” held at the Harvard School of Public Health, co-organiser of the event, in Boston on 31 May 2012, provided a broad range of insight into the causes and consequences of human longevity.
The conference, sponsored by Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest re/insurers, in collaboration with swissnex Boston, one of five Swiss science and technology consulates worldwide, gathered leading experts in medicine and public health to discuss the latest epidemiological research, medical innovation in disease management, and advances in research – all with an eye to the future of longevity and health.
As the presentations given throughout the day made clear, health and longevity are determined by a complex array of factors. The genes we inherit, the medical care we receive, the air we breathe, our diet, the societies we live in – all shape our risk of disease and ultimately how long we live. Getting a full picture of longevity, then, requires the efforts of experts working in diverse fields – genetics, environmental health, medicine, epidemiology, and others – and from both industry and academia. The takeaway word is ‘partnership’. While humans are living longer than ever before, there are still significant health challenges that face populations. Looking towards the future, collaborative efforts will be needed to create interventions and technologies that help people reach their full potential of health.
Swiss Re plays an active role in this dialogue, seeking to improve our base of actuarial and underwriting knowledge through intensive interaction with others who also take direct or indirect interest in how long we live. Pooling this disparate knowledge can help us better understand and forecast human longevity. This conference is one example of a number of events the Life & Health Research & Development team are organising across the world to help us better understand the dynamics of longevity change.