New Test to Measure Healthy Aging

New Test to Measure Healthy AgingNew Test to Measure Healthy Aging

Researchers have developed a new molecular test designed to calculate an individual’s “biological age” as opposed to their “chronological age.” They believe the test could lead to improvements in how age-related diseases are managed.

The study, published in Genome Biology, was a collaborative work carried out by researchers from King’s College London in the UK, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Duke University in Durham, NC.

Lead author Prof. James Timmons, of King’s College London, states that until now there has been no reliable way to measure how well a person is aging in comparison with their peers.

“Physical capacity such as strength or onset of disease is often used to assess ‘healthy aging’ in the elderly but in contrast, we can now measure aging before symptoms of decline or illness occur,” he says.

Researchers chose to base their test on genetic changes linked with healthy aging, rather than searching for genes connected with disease or long life. They discovered that the activation of 150 genes located in the brain, blood and muscles was associated with being healthy at the age of 65.

From this discovery, the team developed a formula that could determine how well an individual was aging compared with peers of the same age, medicalnewstoday .com reported

After testing the formula on a sample of people born at the same time, researchers noted a wide variety of biological age scores, suggesting that an individual’s biological age is distinct from their chronological age.

Timmons said what determined an individual’s biological age score was not related to lifestyle markers or associated with levels of exercise. Instead, the determining factor was something more fundamental to an individual’s aging process.

What is interesting, he said, “is that with a good ‘biological age’ you may well cope with a poor lifestyle, and of course vice versa.”

“We now need to find out more about why these vast differences in aging occur, with the hope that the test could be used to reduce the risk of developing diseases associated with age,” he said.