Some interesting research has recently been published by scientists from Duke University in North Carolina. They wanted to know why some young people seem to age so much faster than others. You can see it within your friendship groups or by looking at people you went to school with. Some of them just look so much older than others.
The scientists studied 871 young males and females from a source known as the Dunedin study birth cohort, a group from New Zealand who have been followed for nearly four decades. None of the people used in this study had any chronic medical conditions. They looked at 18 physiological markers that included metabolism, blood pressure, organ function of systems such as the cardiovascular, pulmonary (lung), hepatic (liver), renal (kidney), periodontal (teeth/gums etc) and the immune system. They also measured their lengths of telomeres, protective caps that sit on the ends of chromosomes. Their functions were measured to assess any deterioration in biological aging over three different times, at aged 26, then 32, and finally at the age of 38 using the two methods to give them the data.
Most members of the group’s biological functions reflected their age. Some individuals were showing different levels of decline and some were dramatically showing worse health, cognitive decline and brain aging, were reporting worse health and look much older than others. Biological ages of the 38-year-olds varied from 28 to one person whose biological age was 61years.
According to Daniel Belsky their study gives “researchers the best chance of teasing apart the biological changes that drive ageing from those that underpin specific diseases”. Age increases our risk factor for many diseases. Belsky believes that to prevent multiple diseases simultaneously, ageing itself has to be the target…” .
This does have implications for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Many doctors and scientists believe that we will find that Alzheimer’s is a number of different conditions and therefore will have a varied causation or factors that will affect what methods of treatments may be given in the future.
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Belskie D, et al. Quantification of biological aging in young adults. July 2015
Proceedings of theNationalAcademyof Sciences of theUnited Statesof America.http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/07/01/1506264112