New longevity clinic to provide patients 'customised' health plan to slow ageing

Alexandra Hospital staff demonstrate the Facial Ageing test done with a special camera. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
Patients will undergo a series of tests to measure their biological age. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - A new longevity clinic where the doctor will diagnose a healthy person's biological age and then provide a customised plan to slow ageing is being set up at Alexandra Hospital and is expected to open by early next year.

It will be the first publicly funded outpatient clinic in longevity medicine in Singapore and possibly in the world, Professor Andrea Maier, the co-director of the National University Health System (NUHS) Centre for Healthy Longevity told The Straits Times at the sidelines of the centre's opening on Wednesday.

The clinic will be manned by internal medicine specialists like Prof Maier, who is also the founding president of the International Longevity Medicine Society that was set up last month.

"We want healthy individuals who do not yet have age-related diseases, but may be at the edge of becoming a patient and having these diseases, so that we can reverse that trajectory," she said.

To measure the biological age, a patient will undergo blood tests as well as a series of other tests to check heart function, lung function, joints and more.

"Then, we will ask, How old do you feel? We need to know... the social connectivity of that person," she said.

The doctors will then be able to give him a personalised plan that goes beyond just exercising and eating healthily.

"For example, should you do much more resistance exercise training or aerobic exercise training? How much should you do?" said Prof Maier.

"Dietary interventions are very powerful. Modifying one's diet could lead to six to eight more years of lifespan at 60 years. There is no drug that is so powerful," she added.

Prof Maier said the clinic will not be taking walk-in cases. The patients will likely be referred as the doctors will need to have some information on their health. Details are still being worked out.

She said the body's ability to fight diseases reduces dramatically with age, so if the physiological changes of ageing can be addressed, the onset of disease can possibly be stopped or slowed.

Ageing follows a trajectory, with decline occurring from the 20th to 30th birthday. Such trajectory should be measured, like how a person's weight is measured, said Prof Maier.

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