Robert Nelsen is a biotech investor who has invested millions into a company hoping to slow aging.
To fight his own aging, he takes drugs, frequently visits the doctor, and works out in an electric suit.
While some of these strategies could improve his health, many have not been proved effective.
Robert Nelsen is one of the superstars of the biotech world. Over his career, the 60-year-old has invested in some of the world's most important companies on the cutting edge of cancer diagnostics, gene editing, and longevity. In 2022 he invested millions into Altos Labs, a new biotech with the goal to restore cell health and help humans live longer.
Recently, Nelsen told The Wall Street Journal that he takes his own longevity very seriously. Nelsen told the Journal he adheres to an intricate routine to prevent disease and increase his lifespan, including taking many medications and supplements, going on frequent doctor visits, and working out in an electric suit.
His wife, Ellyn Hennecke, told the Journal: "Bob has a big fear of death."
Here are some of the things that Nelsen does in his daily routine.
He takes almost a dozen drugs daily
Nelsen takes nearly a dozen medications and supplements daily, the Journal said, adding that his medication regimen included rapamycin, metformin, and taurine.
These drugs are all being studied by scientists who want to slow aging — but their longevity capabilities need more research.
Rapamycin, an immunosuppressant medication normally used to treat cancer patients and organ recipients, tells cells in the body to stop growing. It may have some antiaging properties, but its effect on longevity has been studied only in animals — though that hasn't stopped some humans from starting to take it to try and slow aging.
Metformin is a medication that's been used for decades in the treatment of diabetes and weight loss. Some studies indicate it could prevent dementia and some cancers — but research is in early days, and it's not recommended for these uses.
Taurine is a nutrient naturally produced in animals, including humans — but we produce less of it as we age. One study found that mice who were given taurine supplements lived longer compared to mice that weren't given taurine.
For all these medications, it's still unclear whether they have a big effect on people — and if they do, the benefits may not outweigh the risks, including severe gastrointestinal side effects.
He has a full-body MRI every 6 months
Nelsen, like the Kardashians, is a fan of full-body MRI scans and gets one every 6 months, according to the Journal.
MRI scans render 3D images of the body and can be used to diagnose a variety of health issues, including joint problems, brain conditions, and tumors.
A caveat is that using preventive MRI scans to look for health conditions — especially when done frequently, as in Nelsen's case — increases the likelihood of false positives. In other words, something may look off in the body when nothing is actually wrong. This could inspire someone to get invasive and unnecessary follow-up testing, such as a biopsy.
The American College of Preventive Medicine says there's a lack of evidence to support the use of MRIs in asymptomatic people and does not recommend that asymptomatic people get scanned.
Nelsen, however, told the Journal that an MRI has already helped him by catching early-stage thyroid cancer.
He sees a dermatologist every 3 months and has annual blood tests
Nelsen isn't only concerned about tumors; he wants to prevent any type of cancer. That's why, the Journal said, he visits the dermatologist every three months (the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends you book an appointment with your dermatologist once a year).
Visiting a dermatologist can be a great way to identify the early stages of skin cancer, and early detection can be lifesaving. Monitoring your skin for any changes — including sudden dark spots and spots that change in color, shape, or size — is an important way to identify skin cancer early.
Nelsen also gets annual blood tests to detect cancer, the Journal reported.
He works out in an electric suit
Nelsen told the Journal that he exercises in an electric workout suit that emits a low frequency of electricity that pulses all over his body as he works out. He thinks the electrical current can help build muscle and improve health, he told the Journal.
Insider reporter Hilary Brueck previously tried a similar suit, known as an electrical-muscle-stimulation suit, and said she found that the electrical impulses didn't hurt — but rather felt like "having one of those blinking restaurant wait-time buzzers strapped to a bunch of different muscles."
The science is mixed on how much these workouts improve fitness — some doctors also worry that shocking the entire body at once could be harmful. Use of these electric suits has been linked to several cases of rhabdomyolysis in Europe, a serious and potentially fatal condition in which overexerted muscles release proteins and electrolytes into the blood that can harm the kidneys and heart, the Journal reported, citing several studies.
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