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Freezing the aging process
Dmitry Kaminskiy: Investor, author
BY PETER BOWES | LOS ANGELES | AUGUST 18, 2021 | 0740 PT
What if we all had a personal, digital avatar to guide and nurture our lives, as we pursue a long healthspan? The concept, in a world of personalized medicine, could become a reality, according to future-thinker and longevity entrepreneur Dmitry Kaminskiy. The London-based investor and co founder of the UK All Party Parliamentary group for Longevity focuses on the intersection of artificial intelligence and the aging process. His latest book, Biomarkers of Longevity, he explores the way technological advances in longevity have exploded in recent years and how breakthroughs in the science of aging will enhance our lives in the decades come. In this LLAMA podcast conversation Dmitry explains his vision of the future and why he believes there will soon come a time when we can “freeze” the aging process.
Recorded: June 29, 2021 | Read a transcript
In this episode we cover:
- Separating reality from the sci-fi image of extreme life extension
- Scientific breakthroughs since 2017 and the explosion in interest in human longevity
- Defining the pursuit of realistic healthspan over radical life extension
- Measuring the bio markers of aging in the pursuit of an extra ten years
- Dmitry’s early life and upbringing in Moldova.
- Offering a prize of $1m to the first person to reach the age of 123
- A viral idea to draw attention to the importance of investing in longevity
- Planning for financial longevity and wellness
- What does it mean to freeze the aging process?
- Filtering out hype in the longevity space, especially the extrapolation of finding in mice to humans.
- The intersection between space medicine and longevity research
- The future role of ‘real time’ digital avatars in managing our health and crucial bio markers
- Using technology to adjust health-focused lifestyles based on geographic location
- Dmitry’s technology-focused lifestyle designed to enhance his longevity.
- The value of walking ten thousand steps per day.
The Live Long and Master Aging podcast, a HealthSpan Media LLC production, shares ideas but does not offer medical advice. If you have health concerns of any kind, or you are considering adopting a new diet or exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.
Really sophisticated, really advanced digital avatars for people who analyze their health. People actually will be able in real time or close to real time to understand what is beneficial for their health and for their actual longevity.Dmitry Kaminskiy
Transcribed using AI. Please check against audio recording for absolute accuracy.
Peter Bowes: [00:00:22] Hello again and welcome to LLAMA, the Live Long and Master Aging podcast. I’m Peter Bowes. This is where we explore the science, tell the stories and meet some of the field’s most influential characters, experts from around the world, all with the common goal of helping us live longer, healthier lives. My guest today, well, talks just about all of those boxes. Dmitry Kaminskiy is an entrepreneur, investor, author. His particular area of interest lies in the intersection of artificial intelligence and longevity, which is the subject of his latest book, Biomarkers of Longevity. He’s also a co-founder of the U.K. All Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity, which I think is particularly interesting, reflecting as it does the surge in interest in longevity and why it should be on the political agenda. Dmitry, welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast.
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:01:18] Hello, Peter. Hello, everybody. Great pleasure to be here today with you.
Peter Bowes: [00:01:22] Good to talk to you, too. And I’m aware that I’ve touched on only a few of your roles in the longevity space. You’re a very busy man. I’d like to really start by going back to the beginning for you. What is your background? What fueled your fascination with longevity?
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:01:38] Initially, I was in a key software business. Personally in 2013, I met several scientists. I also met several transhumanists and they were speaking about radical life extension. But for me it was, you know, sounding too much sci fi, maybe futuristic, not realistic, not close to practice. However, after meeting with several scientists actually realized that the science of actually, you know, aging resources and the actual life extension might be much more closer to reality than this was shown, let’s say, in the sci fi movies and afters after, you know, I attended several scientific conferences and when I started actually to understand more and more, what does it mean, this research. So eventually I realized that it might be more the issue of administrating and engineering this challenge rather than just scientific part, because the breakthroughs in the science, you know, starting around 2014, for me became clear. The breakthroughs in science will come to the life on the question, when? so it was, you know, just the question, what happened in three years and five years and then years. And by the time many people were even real activists and optimists of aging research, they were predicting that even the best, even initial results in aging research in the best case scenario, will come into life in 10 years. But the time that was in all expected to happen no earlier than in 2025, as you can see in reality, of a lot of actual, you know, breakthrough, actual innovation, actual, even some practical applications. They already started to happen around 2017, 2018 around 2019. A lot of this longevity agenda and even longevity industry became to be like actual life from many, many angles, including investors, financiers, scientists, of course, entrepreneurs and even politicians. Whereas I would say that 2020 and especially 2021, that actually became the years of real like multiple activities on multiple fronts. And first of all, general public and media started to accept these ideas. Sounding normal, Sounding you know tangible. Whereas, for example, when I was starting to be in the field back in 2013, 14, in those times this idea was yet a little bit fringe and little bit, you know, out of major trend. Yeah. So this is let’s say this my story.
Developing an interest in longevity
Peter Bowes: [00:04:30] That’s fascinating. You should frame it like that because I often wonder whether those in the the longevity space, if we can call it that, that focus mostly on the the immortal side of the science, the possibility of living forever, which you’ve touched on, does that pursual of life that doesn’t end. Does that pursuit of that ideal or that idea in some ways perhaps harm the motivations and the science of those who are more focused on just a good healthspan and getting to the age of 80, 90 or 100 and living well and then dying, in other words, perhaps you could say a more realistic framework.
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:05:10] Yeah, this is indeed quite a big question and quite a big challenge and issue for, you know, global longevity industry. And because in my first book, Longevity Industry 1.0, defining the biggest the most complex industry, the biggest issue was indeed with this defining, what does it mean, longevity industry? You what components it actually takes in because it will speak with people, let’s say in Silicon Valley. They all speak about radical life extension, a hacking, aging, you know, immortal lives, maybe mind uploading and so on and so forth. So it’s like in all this angle, if you will, speak with people, let’s say in Zurich, in Switzerland, you know, its financiers, bankers and their health care insurance, big health care insurance companies. So they will say that they are actual longevity, like they’re the most powerful people in the industry because health care insurance, big health care insurance comes this is the longevity industry. As you know, if you speak with doctors or wellness coaches, they will say that their actual longevity in organic practitioners and they’re the actual people with actual longevity, maybe not radical, but very tangible. So this is a quite complex. But nevertheless, I would say that some of the more, let’s say, more committed science that will work on something more significant, like actual reverse of aging, what could be construed as more radical applications, it probably will be related to, you know, advanced stem cells diagnosed with advanced gene therapies for, you know, hack aging and reverse it. But there are already now on the market a lot of technologies which are not so much radical, but nevertheless, they are providing very, very tangible results which are measurable. And you can measure them with biomarkers of aging. And these technologies can really and in actually a very practical way to extend healthy period of life for, let’s say, for 10 years. Within this 10 years, within the next ten years, there will be so many new technologies, so many breakthroughs in science. For now, it makes sense, especially for investors, financiers practitioners, in a sense like interpreters, to do a bit more focus on what is already a market right now. And you can have access already now to is already now in, you know, pragmatic, tangible way to extend the healthy, productive life for at least an additional ten years. Would that it is very clear that in five to ten years from now, we’ll have access to a much more advanced technologies which will be able, you know, already by the time most likely, at least not even slow down aging. But I would say freeze aging. And maybe in 15 years from now, they will be able ready to reverse aging.
Peter Bowes: [00:08:16] Well, that’s what I would like to delve into with you and talk a little bit more about the biomarkers of longevity. Let’s just go for a little tangent. At the moment, we obviously note your accent. I’m curious about where you were born, where you were brought up, what kind of childhood you had and whether the aging process made a mark on you early in your life.
The world’s oldest people
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:08:36] So I was born in Moldova. It’s a very small country in Eastern Europe. Last five years I’m living in London. In regards to aging process. I think there’s one very interesting example. Again, in 2015 when the idea of actual life extension was yet, a little bit, let’s say unusual or out of the major trend. So I announced price. It will actually be a birthday gift for the first person who will celebrate his or hers one twenty third birthday because the previous life record belongs to Jeanne Calment, who died at the age of 122 years and six months, and it was back in 1997. So you can imagine that since time during the last 24 years, the breakthroughs in biomedicine were quite significant. Apparently, Jeanne herself has very significant genetic predisposition for extra long living. But the point is that if she would leave now, nowadays, apparently the biomedicine will be capable, extend his life at least for another six months, most likely for another several years. So my point is that nowadays for people who are, let’s say comparatively, let’s say four people, middle aged people who are comparatively young, comparatively healthy. With already current existing technology, they should expect to live, at least for they shall plan to live at least for 100 years. If they are reasonable people they really will be committed to living longer. They understand that this is doable to live up to around 23 years. So my plan to celebrate at least my personal 130rd birthday – the normal life expectancy now should be considered at least as 100 years. By the way, there’s a big Swiss bank, UBS, who one of the biggest private world banks in the world. So they made survey two years ago among their clients with the question whether their clients are expecting or planning to live up to 100 years. And, you know, in different countries, the answer are a little bit different. But the point is that most of the cases, a majority of their clients actually answer that they are planning to live up to 100 years and they are now designing new financial products with extra maturity, a timeline in the sense that those financial products are designed for the people who are planning to live very long life. Because, you know, if you’re going to live up to 100 years or more with up to 120, 123 years so you need to plan your financial longevity also, according to your, you know, actual like health, longevity, and to plan your financial wellness accordingly.
Peter Bowes: [00:11:37] So when you offered a million dollars to the first person who reaches 123, what was your main motivation to do that? Clearly, it attracted a lot of attention. The idea, the concept went viral immediately. Was it to, more broadly speaking, draw attention to longevity as an issue and perhaps the importance of investing in longevity?
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:11:58] Yes, exactly. Because people should be aware that, you know, there were a lot of people who super-centenarians who actually lived beyond 100 years. There are several hundreds of people who lived beyond the current 110 years. And there was at least one person who lived 122 years and six months old. So this is not sci fi. This is real, there are a lot of studies, you know, trying to understand what is actually the underlying cause of that extra long living. We also supported the work of Gerontology Research Group which actually validating there was super-centenarians and Aging Analytics Agency made a special report on the case. They profiled super-centenarians who lived the longest lives and also who are now alive, and also among them who are 20 of the most socially physically active.
Life expectancy today
Peter Bowes: [00:12:53] Just to inject perhaps a little bit of modern day reality into this conversation, it was recently revealed just in the last few weeks that the average lifespan of Americans has actually dropped by two years and the Covid pandemic is being blamed for that. I mean, a dramatic impact on the life expectancy of Americans coming down from about 79, 80 to more like 76, 77 for the average person. Now, do you think that is going to be a short term blip or do you think it’ll be a longer term effect in particular?
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:13:30] The United States is quite complex, I would say region, because there’s a lot of fluctuations, including a lot of immigrants and a lot of, you know, other issues related to some very significant disproportion in society and the incomes, you know, in access to high quality health care. So that’s why, you know, if you are talking about the United States, the United States in general, however, it’s much more doable to speak about, particular regions or districts, for example, you know, if you speak about Miami or New York or Los Angeles, it will be more doable to provide some forecasting. On the other hand, you know, if you are speaking about such particular cities or countries as Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, you know, forecasting is much more could be much more tangible for Hong Kong currently the town the city with highest life expectancy. Singapore is the best country best city, in the world, smart city with highest health life expectancy, which is probably more important for this particular conversation, because we shall talk probably not about, you know, like actual life extension, but the actual health life extension, which is, you know, much more, let’s say, beneficial. Japan, now their average life expectancy and health life life expectancy is quite significant. And that would say, you know, that this is in their case, this very predictable, very forecastable. So those statistics notes could be considered for much longer term compared to some other regions where too many, you know, components in the equation.
Peter Bowes: [00:15:22] I want to go back to a phrase that you used a few moments ago. You talked about freezing aging. You hear a lot about reversing aging as a process, but freezing aging. Do you mean putting aging on pause and just kind of getting to a certain age and not physically getting much older? What do you mean by freezing?
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:15:44] Yes, exactly. This is exactly means how it sounds and here we shall again, you know, probably discuss and consider. What does it mean, biomarkers of aging and longevity?
Peter Bowes: [00:15:57] That was going to be my next question. What you consider the key biomarkers of aging to be?
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:16:01] So in any industry, in many – not even biomedical industry metrics, how to measure anything, you know, keep the results. This is crucial. Without metrics, there could be no more anything tangible, anything will be too much abstract, too much artificial, particularly, for example, in biotech, in biomedical industries, the sectors which were capable to establish very precisely, very clear, very sophisticated, robust awareness of biomarkers, they actually succeeded and diffract even the most complex One very, very clear examples – oncology, so 10 years ago, you know, cancer in most cases was considered something like close to death sentence. However, you know, there biomarkers, of oncology, of cancer biomarkers. They were developed very well. And that was, you know, one of the major leverages, one of the major enablers, while a lot of scientists, a lot of, you know, actual doctors were capable in order to provide some actual solutions and breakthroughs in cancer research because it was completely clear how to measure the success. You know, a lot of investors, a lot of financiers, they actually were encouraged to invest in this field because they they felt that it is completely clear strategy and they can, you know, they can apply quite tangible and sophisticated de-risk process and derisk their investments.
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:17:41] And this this term, de-risk this is very extremely crucial because for longevity, industry there’s a lot of hype. Unfortunately, a lot of, you know, people or even scientists, they are claiming too much positive expectations. And in many cases, this is tied to actual positive results, an extension of so-called life of so-called model organisms, in particular mice like experiments on mice. There’s a lot of, a lot of laboratories, a lot of experiments which actually extend life of mice quite significantly. But unfortunately, translation from mice to humans, in our opinion, can be quite complicated and there will be a lot of issues. Nevertheless, there is the solution. The solution is a little bit refocus attention towards development of sophisticated, robust biomarkers of aging and longevity, the metrics which will be capable to measure whether any intervention, any food supplement or any drug, any, you know, like a physical exercise, whether they’re providing positive results, maybe they’re providing zero results. Many of them actually actually they can provide the negative results.
Investing in longevity
Peter Bowes: [00:18:56] Just one little aside. So I guess working in the the investment side of longevity, you must have to have quite a high bar in terms of what is real, what is credible science, what is realistic in terms of extending healthspan. And of course, a credible scientist wouldn’t exaggerate the results of an experiment or the conclusions that perhaps they were hoping to get from an experiment when perhaps a study involving mice doesn’t actually match the expectations. But I guess with the financial situation being as it is in terms of funding clinical trials, money is often hard to get by for this kind of very long term science. You must have to really scrutinize a project to ensure that it’s credible.
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:19:45] Well, you know, in the United States, there’s quite an…when there’s a lot of start ups, they can get quite easily a lot of financing once they showing to investors, venture investors results that they were capable to extend the life of mice. Now, case in the Deep Knowledge Group, we have specifically dedicated investment fund longevity Longevity.capital. So apparently, you know, we’re investing for the fund into longevity industry. For the companies who are coming to us, there’s is very simple. There are two questions which we are asking. First, where are the founder belief in his technology, his or her in their technology? Of course, everybody of them are saying we believe and then we’re asking whether you already apply it on your own body the technology? In most cases, this question sounds very unusual. However, it should be very usual, you know, but unfortunately, yet it’s quite unusual in longevity industry and most of them are answering, We’re yet experimenting on some model orgnaism or whatever. So this is for us that means that we will be not interested in such products. The second after that, if the person will say that, yes, we are already testing in ourselves, then the next question will be whether they will be happy to test it on my own body. I am the general partner in the fund, so the major tests should be they should test the technology on me and we will monitor it with biomarkers of longevity on my own body and those biomarkers should, you know, provide some evidence on my own body, that will be the major in all the best possible tests. But, of course, you know, we are not talking about, like, crazy fringe experiments or we are very, you know, kind of practical, very pragmatic. Yes, we do know how to make what a tool is potentially safe. So this was the second how to to make experiments in the so-called macro dosages and the thought how to detect and in all in the very precise way to analyze them. So this is this is the right approach and a lot of ideas how such I know experiments could be conducted in the comparative safe way, a kind of actually from space medicine, you know, from doctors who actually protecting health of astronauts. And then, you know, once astronauts are coming back from space, they’re restoring their health because space provided a lot of negative feedback on the body’s immune system. And there’s a lot of evidence that aging in space is accelerated. So there is a lot of intersection between space, medicine and actual aging research, especially this is when it’s applied to mitochondria storage because mitochondria, they’re damaging, very significant in space. But mitochondrial dysfunction, this is, again, one of the most this is one of the major root causes of actual aging.
Peter Bowes: [00:23:08] Well, we’ve covered mitochondrial science a lot and its impact on aging, its impact on on muscular strength being the energy source of every single cell in our body. So we’ve covered that a lot over the last few months on this podcast. I’m curious when you when you look ahead and you’ve already indicated that you think the next decade is going to be very exciting time in terms of new developments for longevity, what kind of biomarkers do you think we should be or which biomarkers should be we’ll be looking out for over the next few years where we will see those significant developments and maybe even start with a definition of of biomarkers, those bodily functions that are so significant to our overall health.
Guided by personal avatars
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:23:50] So I’m publishing my new book, Longevity Biomarkers. This book is actually based on the research which was made over over the last several years by Aging Analytics Agency, which was actually profiling all the companies, all the scientists, laboratories who are working already now on the matter of, you know, development of not even biomarkers, but entire panels of biomarkers. More, there are five companies which are already in such extent that they’re actually working on so-called digital avatars. So it’s like they are a very sophisticated combination of multiple biomarkers, you know, several sets of panels of different types of biomarkers integrated into what could be named as digital avatar. You know that is combined into one specific storage, in many case, even in real time, or at least close to real time, at least, let’s say, with high frequency updating of different tests and different, you know, let’s say health care and life data from different devices, wearables from multiple sources, including just smartphones, but also with, you know, different blood tests, with MRI scans from many, many other preferably also tests and diagnostic systems. So the point is that there are already companies which are quite sophisticated, quite matured in the field. There are at least eight companies which are actually working on biomarkers, particularly for agent longevity. And there are at least five companies which are very much, you know, let’s say they achieved quite significant success. I would say that approximately two, three to three years from now, we will have very significant progress on that matter. So this, you know, companies capable to provide such services, really sophisticated, really advanced digital avatars for people who are actually pursuing to, you know, analyze their health, not and not only health, but, you know, what could be named precision health. So the state of precision health, not only precision medicine, but the particular precision health in the very quantifiable way. So we can expect that in the next two, three years there will be quite a lot of such technologies already on the market. They will be already on the market so that they’ll be comparably cheap and scalable, you know, and let’s say easy, usable. Most of them will be integrated with smartphones, people actually will be able in real time or close to understand what is beneficial for their health and for their actual longevity because, you know, extension of health, longevity might be a little bit different compared to of what is named health care, because health care is applied to people who are it’s actually sick care, like actual longevity and health longevity. This is a little bit different. Plus to that this is also should be very it is very much connected with, you know, healthful brains, because first of all, when we are talking about health longevity, we shall talk about longevity of brains because, you know, if there will be a healthy body, but… And healthy brains, it does not make sense to live longer. Whereas with healthy brains and even unhealthy body, many people actually know making quite a lot of interesting things. One of the great examples, Stephen Hawking, that famous scientist,
Peter Bowes: [00:27:29] Of course, and a great brain and a great model, I think in many ways to base our lives on.
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:27:35] Right. But my point is that, you know, with quite advanced and robust balance of biomarkers, I think they’ll do also such technologies, which will be adjusting some. So it will be kind of like AI doctors and doctors not about health care, but about precision health in the sense like how to extend your state of precision health in practice, because this will very much depend on multiple factors. Starting with your own personal genetics with your different predispositions. And then it will very much depend where you’re living exactly. Because if you are living in the big city, you are exposed to very significant, you know, negative impacts of because of pollution, first of all, of heavy metals, different chemicals, then many others, including, you know, like air. And it may be also magnetic pollution and many other factors.
Peter Bowes: [00:28:41] So just going back to your earlier point, what you’re talking about and maybe just phrasing this in a different way. You you’re envisaging in terms of personalized health, essentially a computer generated model or avatar that is very unique. We’re using this model to frame our own current health and perhaps the journey forward.
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:29:03] Yes, exactly. So apparently there will be evolution of such technologies. So now we can consider that the most. As for 2021, the most advanced technologies on this matter, they’re not yet digital avatars. Or close to that, at least five companies are really working on that. I would assume that probably they will achieve this state of digital avatar in the year from now, but maybe it will be not yet so much. The last two, three years from now, the most advanced companies they will be able to actually deliver very personalized avatars. What does that mean Avatars? When biomarkers will be adjusted towards particular your particular body and not even just your body, but your body in real time. Plus to that. Then on the next stage there will be even adjusted towards environment where needed in the sense that if you are in New York and for example today, so there will be one set of recommendations. But if you, let’s say, move to Miami, there will be some adjustment. If you will go from Miami, let’s say somewhere to Singapore. Was there, you know, temperature, humidity, sun activity, radiation so-and-so from will be very different to that. You know, type of food is different. Again, they’ll be you’ll be provided with some additional adjustments. Now, if, you know, if there are some fluctuations in your particular, you know, let’s say health again, there shall be some adjustment. And this should be an ideal case scenario. It will be real time. So whatever whenever you are taking … for example, any kind of fluctuations in diet next day will provide you with some you know adjustments and how you can adjust. You shall adjust maybe dosages. So particular types of those pills geo-protectors, some kind of anti-aging drugs and so on.
A day in the life
Peter Bowes: [00:30:56] Just in closing. Demitry, I’m curious, based on your knowledge of longevity and and healthspan and those interventions that we can all make to improve our lives. Can you give me a snapshot of of your life, of how you live every day with your own healthspan your own longevity in mind?
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:31:15] Well, quite an interesting question. So let’s say I’m living first of all, I’m 40, 45 years old. I’m living in extremely proactive way in the sense of. And working a lot, so I’m a workaholic. I don’t have literally, you know, weekends, my vacations have quite limited. By the way, probably maybe this is one of the reasons why I actually am also quite know how to say my immune system was boosted just because I have quite clear in all mission in my life. On the other hand, of course, because I am having direct access to the best experts in longevity in the aging research and, you know, to the best doctors who actually involved into, you know, dealing with the extension of health period of life. So that’s why I have this a quite good understanding what to do and what not to do and what particular technologies to apply to my own body, but probably to put it simple. First of all, I am focusing on the technologies which are used for more people who, let’s say, existing in extreme environments, for example, such as astronauts. So this is kind of from space medicine, such as astronauts, because astronauts, you know, they they need to prepare their body to extreme environments, to extreme challenges. Some of those technologies are also used by, you know, professional sportsmen. So it’s it’s not about that. I’m doing extreme sport training, but the points that I’m using, some relevant technologies which they’re using because to achieve results in sport, in some cases, if you are using the same technology, but with some limited, with some adjusted regime, you can actually achieve quite significant positive results in terms of health, longevity.
Peter Bowes: [00:33:11] Is there something that you do that everyone could do, we could do for free that perhaps you could say, well, you know, it’s it’s easy to do. It just involves a time commitment of a few minutes a day that would perhaps enhance your healthspan.
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:33:26] I would recommend walk everyday 10000 steps. Please try to find on YouTube, you know, some video tutorials, how to walk. Right. Because most of the people, they actually do not have right, walking technique. And walking it’s definitely a very, very positive it’s as a constant. Is this good use by any person. The results are there millions of, you know, evidence that it’s positive, just improve working technique? There are some tutorials. How like digital tutorials, how how to walk right. Because this is also quite important.
Peter Bowes: [00:34:04] I can certainly concur with that. We could go on for a long time exploring all of these fascinating issues. Really good to meet you, to talk to you all the best with the new book. Thank you very much indeed.
Dmitry Kaminskiy: [00:34:14] Thank you very much. It was my great pleasure.
Peter Bowes: [00:34:16] Yeah, a pleasure for me too. And if you’d like to delve deeper into Dmitry’s work, I’ll put some of the details into the show notes for this episode. You’ll find them at the Live Long and Master Aging website LLAMApodcast.com LLLAMApodcast.com. You’ll also find us at all of the major podcasting platforms, including Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Pandora, Audible to name but a few. LLAMA is a Healthspan Media production. Thank you very much for listening and do take care.