The National University Health System, National University of Singapore and Alexandra Hospital have launched the world’s first Healthy Longevity Clinic in a public hospital to increase Singaporeans’ healthspan by three years in the next ten years.
The Healthy Longevity Clinic at Alexandra Hospital translates healthy longevity research into evidence-based medicine and makes it available to a wider group. The Clinic is co-located with the NUHS Centre for Healthy Longevity, where new longevity treatments and technologies are being tested. There will be opportunities for people at the Clinic to participate in ongoing clinical trials of supplements and repurposed drugs. In fact, the first human clinical trials involving lifestyle interventions and nutritional supplements began last year. The first human clinical trial for repurposed drugs will start next. The Clinic will also be a valuable resource for the community, providing education and outreach on topics related to ageing, optimising health and preventing and reducing the burden of age-related diseases.
A year after the official launch of the Centre for Healthy Longevity (CHL), the National University Health System (NUHS), National University of Singapore (NUS) and Alexandra Hospital (AH) today, on 31 August 2023, announced the opening of the” “Healthy Longevity Clinic” to the general public, the first of its kind in the world in a public hospital. AH’s doctors, nurses, exercise physiologists, dietitians and health coaches now accept appointments to provide diagnosis and interventions for individuals between 35 and 70 years old with a maximum of one stable chronic disease. The aim is to optimise health by targeting ageing processes throughout the life course, as early as possible. The Clinic also aims to establish the cost-effectiveness of the service in optimising health and increasing healthspan and integrates implementation science into the framework. The ultimate goal is to make evidence-based healthy longevity medicine accessible to everyone.
Advantages of being in a public hospital
Its co-location in the public healthcare system is timely and beneficial as Singapore shifts the healthcare paradigm towards preventive healthcare for the broader population, where a greater majority are healthy and disease-free. It is co-located with the NUHS CHL, which Professor Andrea Maier, an internal medicine specialist renowned for translational research in ageing and age-related diseases, diagnostics, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions in ageing humans, leads. Prof Maier is also the Founding President of the Healthy Longevity Medicine Society, an international medical society for healthy longevity medicine, promoting the highest standards of clinical practice and interdisciplinary collaboration. The NUHS CHL is where new treatments and technologies for healthy longevity medicine are being tested. There will be opportunities for people in the Clinic to participate in research trials of supplements, repurposed drugs and other interventions targeting biological ageing. The first human clinical trials involving lifestyle interventions and nutritional supplements began last year. The first human clinical trial for repurposed drugs will start next. The Clinic will also be a valuable resource for the community, providing education and outreach on topics related to healthy longevity to promote healthy ageing and prevent and reduce the burden of age-related diseases.
The Clinic, helmed by Clinical Director and Clinical Assistant Professor Laureen Wang, will use the hospital’s existing infrastructure and resources, such as laboratory, imaging and medical specialists. AH’s care model is already one of integrated, seamless, patient-centred care. So, the Healthy Longevity Clinic, which falls under the auspices of AH’s Well Programme (preventive health screening, women’s health and sports medicine), is integrated with other complimentary services within the hospital. Should any abnormalities be identified during the service that are best handled by other specialities, participants will be referred accordingly to ensure comprehensive and specialised care.
Purpose of the Clinic
The new Healthy Longevity Clinic aims to delay biological ageing, optimising functionality and resilience and increasing healthspan through evidence-based diagnosis and intervention. Using ageing biomarkers specific to the Singapore population, the Clinic will leverage breakthroughs from the NUHS CHL and incorporate advances in geroscience and healthy longevity medicine towards precision medicine.
What to expect at the Clinic
The Healthy Longevity Clinic offers a comprehensive approach to health and longevity, starting with a thorough baseline assessment using a range of tests from blood biomarkers for ageing to measuring exercise capacity to advanced techniques such as epigenetics and artificial intelligence to measure biological age. Some of the assessment tools used in the Clinic include clinical biomarkers such as arterial stiffness, cardiac age, body composition analysis, cognition, physical and functional performance, biological biomarkers such as blood age, epigenetic age and microbiome analysis, and digital biomarkers to track physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep and physiological parameters. This assessment will identify the individual’s biological age and risk factors for chronic disease and functional decline.
Following the comprehensive baseline assessment, a multidisciplinary team including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and health coaches will review each individual’s health status and develop a Personalised Care Plan (PCP) tailored to their needs and goals. The plan will include diet, exercise, sleep, and medical interventions, such as medication and supplements, if necessary. The Clinic provides regular health coaching sessions, telemonitoring and access to digital health monitoring tools to ensure ongoing support. This emphasis on continuous care and monitoring sets the Clinic apart from traditional healthcare models. The individual will have repeat assessments between 6 and 12 months and up to 24 months, if need be, to assess their progress.
Clinical indicators and targets
The Clinic aims to achieve specific clinical indicators and targets to demonstrate the effectiveness of the interventions. Targets for key indicators are as follows:
- HbA1c (average blood glucose levels): Aim for a reduction of 0.5%.
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (an indicator of heart disease and stroke): Aim for a reduction of 30-40 mg/dL
- HS-CRP (indicates the risk of heart disease and stroke in people who are not predisposed): Aim for a 33% reduction
- Vo2 max/peak (maximum amount of oxygen an individual can consume during peak exercise): Aim for an increase of 3-5 mL/kg/min
These clinical indicators are tangible measures of the participant’s progress in managing their health and slowing the ageing process. Achieving these goals will mean improved metabolic health, inflammation and cardiovascular fitness.
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