A new study suggests that the rate of aging can be tracked in early adulthood.
In the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers analyzed the signs of aging in 954 people that were born between 1972 and 1973; participants were studied until the age of 38.
Aging can be observed through the human organs, so researchers measured each participant’s metabolic and immune functions, including liver, kidney, and lung health. Researchers also analyzed each participant’s cholesterol levels and dental health.
These factors, or “biomarkers,” were used to determine a biological age (the age the body appears to be based on these factors) for each participant once they reached 38. The biological ages ranged anywhere from below the age of 30 to nearly 60 in some of the participants. Researchers were able to look back on data collected during the study and analyze the personal biomarkers taken throughout each participant’s lifetime at the ages of 26, 32, and 38.
From the variables they collected, researchers drew a slope that reflected the change throughout the study. The slope was used to calculate the pace at which each person aged.
The calculations saw most of the participants age at a rate of one biological year per chronological year; however, some participants were aging as fast as three biological years per one chronological year.
To further enhance the results, participants were given a series of tests that people over the age of 60 would normally take. The tests consisted of problem-solving, balance, and coordination tasks. Those who were considered “biologically older” did not fare as well in these tests as their biologically younger counterparts.
To conclude, lead author Dan Belsky stated that the study can be done with young people to predict how quickly they will age—although the study measures and methods would need to be refined.
Source for Today’s Article:
McIntosh, J., “Rate of aging can be tracked in early adulthood, not just later in life,” Medical News Today web site, July 7, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296411.php.