Life expectancy worldwide has more than doubled since the year 1900. Thanks to remarkable scientific breakthroughs, people today are living longer, healthier lives than any other point in history.
But what if we could push that longevity even further? How could we care for our bodies so that we live past today’s life expectancy of 70 or 80 years to 100 years? What about 200?
Seattle-area entrepreneur T.A. McCann is asking those questions in a new podcast, How to Live to 200, which explores all the “geeky science things” behind human performance and longevity, McCann told GeekWire.
McCann, currently the managing director of Seattle startup incubator Pioneer Square Labs, has something of a professional background in the space. He formerly co-founded startup Senosis Health, which was sold to Google last year, and also spent time at Seattle healthcare system Providence St. Joseph Health as an entrepreneur in residence.
But his inspiration for How to Live to 200 is personal: McCann said his interest in human performance comes from his background as a college swimmer and professional sailor.
“As I turned 50 — I’m now 52 — [I started] thinking about not winning races as much but winning for the long run, and thinking more about longevity and how I’m going to be healthy for a long period of time,” McCann said.
The idea for How to Live to 200 came when McCann teamed up with three recent University of Washington MBA grads: Lauren Krainski (now the associate director of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence’s startup incubator), Troy Strandquist and Sam Mattera.
“Sam actually came up with the title,” McCann said. He said the title and the idea behind it resonated with the community of biohackers and performance enthusiasts that the show targets. “It’s an arbitrarily long period of time which is slightly provocative.”
The group teamed up with entrepreneur Kevin Kirkpatrick and started rolling, with McCann hosting interviews of leading biohackers and health innovators
The focus of the show is the bleeding edge of science that experiments with human performance, from next-gen health gadgets to personalized wellness treatments based on the microorganisms in your gut.
“People who are thinking about this stuff are way far out from what is the ‘normal’ healthcare delivery system, and will be for a long time,” McCann said. But some of the things the podcast explores are extensions of technology that is common today, like blood glucose testing.
McCan said he wants listeners to walk away with the empowerment they need to figure out their own health and wellness journey, and understand that the topic is highly personal and varies from one person to the next.
“So therapy X or food Y or exercise Z won’t necessarily apply the same to you as it will to me. The concept of your own level of personal experimentation and personal exploration is important,” McCann said.
RELATED: Health Tech Podcast: This innovator is turning smartphones into the ultimate medical device
He also wants to get the word out about companies, particularly startups, that are making headway in this area. One of the project’s goals is “exposing people to a variety of different things that they might not even know existed, period, let alone that were productized today.”
But beyond spreading awareness of the technology itself, McCann said, the show will also tackle philosophical and ethical questions in the space.
“There’s a variety of different ethical sub-categories,” McCann said, the most obvious being safety. But there’s also the question of access and affordability.
“The vast majority of the things we’re talking about today are privileged, wealthy people taking advantage of this,” McCann said. “How do we, as privileged and wealthy people taking advantage of this and exposing it — Can we make it more accessible to a broader population?”
There’s also an almost sci-fi component to the show, given how drastically the world will change as humans start living longer and longer lives.
“What happens on the Earth if we start living a lot longer?” McCann asked, raising concerns about resource use and other issues. “What happens if we start living to 100, or even longer, and what does that do to the Earth itself?”
The show has published two episodes so far, one on the microbiome with PersonalScience.com Founder Richard Sprague and one on biomarker tracking with InsideTracker CEO Gil Blander. Listen to the show at livingto200.com or wherever podcasts are found.