Quantification of biological aging in young adults
Biomarkers measuring results
Numerous blood measures: starts at “Pace of Aging”
Glycated hemoglobin, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and others
Self Rated Health
Young People Age at Different Rates
Kristie Nybo, PhD
A newly developed method for measuring aging during youth confirmed that some people age quicker than others.
Logically, it seems that one year in time should add one year of wear and tear to your body. But some years seem harder on us than others and some people maintain their baby faces long after their same-age peers develop wrinkles. Now in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers present a new method to measure the rate of aging in young people and used it to confirm the suspicion that people age at different rates.
To develop the new approach, Israel’s team turned to the Dunedin Study, a collection of 1037 individuals monitored from birth until age 38 for 18 biomarkers established as risk factors for chronic disease. The team assessed indicators of the health of the cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune systems, as well as kidney, liver, and lung functions, dental health, and DNA features such as telomere length.
Although none of the study participants showed evidence of age-related disease, test results indicated that the 38 year old study participants ranged from 28 to 61 years old biologically. By using measurements from ages 26, 32, and 38, the team quantified each study participant’s rate of physiological deterioration and found that some participants showed nearly 3 years of physiological change per chronological year, while others showed almost no change at all.
The researchers found that biomarker evidence of advanced biological age correlated with poor performance on balance and motor tests, reduced muscle strength, and poor cognitive functioning. These individuals also looked older to undergraduate students estimating the age of individuals in photos.
“This research shows that age-related decline is already happening in young adults who are decades away from developing age-related diseases, and that we can measure it,” Israel said.
Interestingly, three study participants’ biomarkers indicated that they were growing healthier or younger during their 30s.
“Above all, measures of aging in young humans allow for testing the effectiveness of antiaging therapies (e.g., caloric restriction) without waiting for participants to complete their lifespans.”
Belsky DW, Caspi A, Houts R, Cohen HJ, Corcoran DL, Danese A, Harrington H, Israel S, Levine ME, Schaefer JD, Sugden K, Williams B, Yashin AI, Poulton R, Moffitt TE. Quantification of biological aging in young adults. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jul 28;112(30):E4104-10.