Nobel Week Dialogue: science meets society (with fictional fun)

Nobel Week Dialogue: science meets society (with fictional fun)
Stockholm City Conference Centre opened its doors for the Nobel Week Dialogue on December 9th. NFGL member Diana Imamgaiazova has summarized her impressions of the Nobel Dialogue - in a fun, easy-to-understand way.

NFGL member Diana Imamgaiazova attended the Nobel Week Dialogue about science. Seen by some perhaps as one of the less-interesting topics. Diana noticed an interesting trend and took a humorous approach – indeed, the discussions about ageing and the quest for eternal youth reminded her of a certain wizard!

The 7 secrets of longevity the Dark Lord was not aware of

The problems of ageing and longevity have bothered scientists and the artists throughout the centuries. The Nobel Week Dialogue used the intersectional approach examining the issue from the standpoint of science, economics of an ageing society and the innovations brought to the everyday life of elder people. The only missing piece of the puzzle must be the one showing how to apply the new knowledge about the ageing to life of the younger.

Youngsters are getting more and more occupied by the issues of ageing. Even modern fictional characters do so. Since he turned 16, Tom Riddle tried by all means to prolong his life, but failed to pick the right measures. The Dark Lord tried to live forever but died at the age of 71, so to say 10 years earlier than an average Swede.

What measures we could apply in order to do better than Tom Riddle (in addition to ‘do not use the dark magic’)? The speakers at the Nobel Week Dialogue provided some useful insights on longevity.

1.    The power of love

Both professor Dumbledore and your mom would agree that it’s necessary to have your nearest and dearest by your side to live longer and happier.

This common wisdom has found some scientific proof. The recent studies of Professor Carstensen from Stanford University confirm that the antitoxin hormone is related to longevity. The antitoxin (also called ‘the hug-hormone’) is produced in situations of close contact with loved ones: when a parent hugs a child or when pet-lover strokes his/her cat.

Learn more: ‘The Emotional Side of Ageing’ by Laura Cartensen

2.    Drink pumpkin juice

Most speakers at the Dialogue agreed that the right choice of diet can save you many healthy life years. The panelists noticed that treatment for the most common geriatric diseases (cardiovascular diseases, dementia, and cancer) is very different while the prevention measures are the same: a healthy diet and some physical activities.

The panel discussion on ‘Diseases of Ageing’ (panelists: Linda Partridge, Miia Kivipelto, Ingmar Skoog, Eric Kandel, Aaron Ciechanover)

3.    ‘The Nobel sport’

When 85-years-old Nobel Prize winner Erik Candel claims that he usually swims on the weekdays and plays tennis on the weekends, you simply cannot find more excuses for yourself!

The young men is testing AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System): the costume that imitates a physical abilities of an elder people

4.    Take part in tournament

If you don’t feel like fighting a dragon to get the prize, still try to compete for recognition in some other field. Both Nobel Prize winners and Oscar winners are confirmed centenarians. Being competitive can be healthy! 

Learn more: ‘Do Nobel Laureates live longer?’

5.    Learn a foreign language

The brain cells are very vulnerable and the current biotechnology cannot easily replace or fix them on the cellular level, said professor Larrson,  the director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing. So, there is no back up copy, and we need to take care of the current set of the brain cells.

The study of foreign languages is one of the proved methods to support the healthy brain activity. Linda Partridge, the director of University College London Institute of Healthy Ageing, admitted that she uses this method herself by learning German.

6.    Stand for the better environment

The environmental factors are strongly connected with the ageing and disease. It turns out that the influence of lifestyle and the environment is much more significant than the genetic factors.

Learn more: ‘Why we age’ by Tom Kirwood

The guests are using the application to get an ‘aged selfie’

7.    Visit the doctor before you get ill

The speakers of the Science section at Nobel Week Dialogue agreed that the future progress of the medicine and public health care is associated not with the improvement of treatment, but with the earlier recognition and prevention of disease.

Personally, I already experienced this new approach to public health used here in Sweden. I was invited to take the test identifying the risk factors for cancer on the cellular level. Despite the fact that this type of cancer mainly strikes elderly people (60+), doctors can recognize the risk factors already in the age of 25-30. In other words, soon it might become more common to visit the doctor to prevent the illness.

These were the facts that Diana found useful for herself. What new knowledge have you found during the Nobel Week Dialogue?


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