Prevention with 2020 Foresight: Surviving and Thriving Beyond the Pandemic

October 20th, 2020

Preston Estep, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Director of the Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative (RaDVaC) and author of “The Mindspan Diet”), facilitated by Ronnie S. Stangler, M.D., discussed “Prevention with 2020 Foresight: Surviving and Thriving Beyond the Pandemic” at Aspen Brain Institute’s Expert Series 2.0..


Part I: Iron – The Single Most Important Genetically-Related Determinant of Accelerated Aging

  • Lifespan vs Mindspan:
    Lifespan (i.e. the length of time one lives) isn’t necessarily the best measure of healthy living. Mindspan (i.e. lifespan with a high performance mind) means you are more likely to fully experience and enjoy your life.

  • The Ingredients for Longevity:
    We know from many studies that the majority of longevity is determined by a combination of genetics (our DNA) and epigenetics (lifestyle and environment). Today, we can control our longevity by controlling factors in our environment.

  • Diet is Key:
    There are many possible epigenetic/environmental factors that contribute to mindspan. Multiple studies over decades tell us that diet is by far the single most important proven environmental control over longevity of both body and mind.

  • The Mindspan Elite:
    Japanese women lead in virtually every longevity category. This cohort not only lives several years longer than other people, they have minimal cognitive decline and low rates of dementia. They live more than an extra decade of high quality life.

  • Keep Iron Sufficient But Low:
    Iron is necessary for life but it is the most abundant and powerful pro-oxidant in the body. Low iron = long life and low disease risk. High iron = short life and high disease risk. Mindspan Risk countries like the United States traditionally enrich foods with iron

  • The Latest Research:
    A 2020 study of over 1 million people found an intriguing link between iron levels, lifespan and particular genes (i.e. APOE4; hemachromatosis). Too much iron in conjunction with these genes - present in 50% of the population - is linked to increased risk of dying earlier – strengthening the link between high red meat consumption, high iron, and accelerated aging.

  • Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods:
    Both of these meat-alternatives are high in iron. Eat sparingly (if at all).

  • Longevity Diet Keys:
    Test your iron (including your serum ferritin); keep sufficient but low iron; keep sufficient but low protein (especially animal protein); and consume substantial amounts of good carbohydrates (that aren’t enriched with iron - check labels!)

Part II: Testing and Vaccines – Staying Alive and Well Through 2020

  • COVID-19:
    The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has become the greatest global public health crisis in a century. Experts say a vaccine is our best hope for ending the pandemic, but a commercial vaccine won’t arrive until late 2020 or early 2021, if all goes well.

  • The mission of the Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative [RaDVaC] is rapid development, testing, and public sharing of vaccine research and protocols that are simple enough to be produced and self-administered by individual scientists and qualified healthcare professionals anywhere in the world.

  • The Vaccine Trolley Problem:
    A useful metaphorical tool to better conceptualize ethical decision-making with respect to the deployment of a trial COVID vaccine.

  • Nasal Vaccines are preferable for respiratory viruses to prevent infection at points of entry into the body like the nose or the lungs.

  • What Do We Need to be Better Prepared for the Next Pandemic?
    Rapid-response vaccine infrastructure (including large-scale volunteer trialing of experimental vaccines) and robust and rapid response pathogen testing (including confirmatory testing of vaccinated people). This is essential to save lives (1M+), preserve health (tens of millions) and save global economies (trillions of dollars).

  • Q&A with Dr. Ronnie Stangler:
    Influenza vaccines typically have an efficacy of 50% or less. We need great and safe COVID vaccines with optimal population efficacy, but we also need to know if they work for any given individual. There are huge opportunities for personalized/precision medicine within this space in the future. What responsibilities do we have as citizen scientists and more broadly as an informed citizenry of compassion and hope?

Click here to watch the session.

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