Running as an independent UK MEP candidate advancing health and longevity

The East of England region of the UK has now an underdog, cross-border, science nerd candidate for the upcoming EU Elections to stand for prioritising health and longevity. Yes, that’s me and am going to be the only truly independent one as well.

Coming out of the Chelmsford City Council after I handed in my nomination package to stand as a candidate for the upcoming EU elections.

Let me tell you something about the past, the present and the future.

Something about the past, results so far: During the last 200 years life expectancy has doubled in developed countries, the global increase in life expectancy between 2000-15 was 5 years, out of which 4.6 years count as healthy longevity.

Something about the present, problems by far:

What is the biological problem: I think by now most people understand and experience that biological aging is responsible for the majority of chronic diseases and deaths these days due to age-associated diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.

What is the political problem: Mainstream political actors don’t actually care about individual health and healthy longevity as top political goals, because it won’t get them more votes.

Time is not working for us and current political times are seemingly working against us.

Something about the future, not too far: We can fix both!

I’m a biologist/philosopher by training, bioinformatician, longevity startup founder by trade.

As a philosopher I think that living longer & healthier would lead to a more democratic, more egalitarian, more liberal, more diverse, more eco-friendly and more peaceful world. I’m working on the arguments.

As a biologist I know, that there’s been a breakthrough reached in the last decades in terms of understanding the major molecular and cellular processes behind biological aging and now we know the major hallmarks of aging. I’m trying to contribute to the science.

Treatments/interventions are currently under development to counteract these separate processes, one by one, or even combined to act on multiple processes at the same time. 

What this means is that we should be on our way to increase our healthy longevity period to harness the longevity dividend.

But.

I feel like we live in an alternative reality in the last couple of years where some bad events happened that should not have happened in the original one. This affects some of the most venerable democracies.

Somehow time is out of joint, for instance, in the UK, instead of the projected and expected life expectancy increase, life expectancy actually dropped, bulk of the decline had been for older adults, aged 65+. The majority of people over 65 have already multiple chronic conditions. Not only do these people die earlier but they live a more compromised life due to ill-health.

What can we do in the European Union to compromise this middle- and late life compromise, affecting everybody due to biological aging?

Or positively framed, which is my preference: 

What can we do in the European Union to advance healthy longevity for all?

First of all, we need to put this topic in the limelight, where it belongs. This means political innovation to quickly speed up ongoing scientific and technological innovation in biomedicine and associated fields. Form international political alliances to advance this cause, to let this new voice heard and new focus highlighted. Here am happy to report that I am not alone, in Germany there’s an actual single-issue political party, called the Party for Health Research, and they are running candidates for the EU elections to develop effective medicines for age-associated diseases. Please see my interview with Felix Werth. We have already aligned the main program point, on top of the wish list :

Second, Provide additional 30 billion euros, yearly for the cause of healthy longevity research, out of the EU budget. This would cover setting up new institutions (see next point), new consortium projects, additional education, all resources channeled into the part of biomedical and associated technological (IT, AI) research focusing on developing new therapies preventing or counteracting aging associated diseases. For comparison, the yearly EU budget was 160 billion euros in 2018 and the yearly budget for the US NIH is ~33 billion euros in 2018. And the US has ~200 million less people than the EU combined.

Third, set up a coordinated European Institute for Healthy Longevity Research, present in every member countries and ready to be active part of the relevant international projects.

Fourth, accessible education programmes for everybody, outside academia, reaching all ages to learn about biological aging and the advances towards healthy longevity.

That’s it, by now, refinements later. Oh, yes, about those arguments, mentioned above, why would we want to have extra healthy decades added to our life? What would our society look like?

More democratic: more healthy, functional time to live is more time to reach real, careful consent on matters that matter. More time to be flexible and take away anti-democratic pressures, say 1 time political deadlines, think referendums.

More liberal: more healthy, functional time to live is more time is more individual freedom to flourish, more chances to self-correct life plans.

More egalitarian: more healthy, functional time to live is more opportunity to equalise choices for people to flourish.

More diverse: more healthy, functional time to live is more age- and experience diversity, and much less ageist discrimination.

More eco-friendly: more healthy, functional time to live is ecolongevity, being more responsible for the nurturing ecosystem, being able to see more consequences of your doing. Sustaining human bodies is a great analogy of sustaining all kinds of complex ecosystems, including Planet Earth. More life.

More peaceful: Working on the tools of healthy mass longevity is burying all the weapons of mass destruction. More life.

To be honest, you should ask yourself, do you really need to hear these arguments in order to be already convinced of the strength of this cause. Or the answer is already a firm yes in the back of your mind and in your everyday practices, and just needs a little political push to come out. Like this one?

Come with me, put your democratic weight behind this program, via your votes.

Time is not working for us and current political times are seemingly working against us.

We can fix both!

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6 Comments

      1. Kedves Attila,
        We are absolutely agree with your plans and vision.
        Not the extra borders but the healthy, sensible and well planned society must be the main aim of the 21th century.
        Yes, good luck !
        Anna & Mike Dun

        1. Dear Anna and Mike, thanks for your support and understanding the need for political innovation to advance healthy longevity for all. Best, Attila

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