Calculate biological age and measure health risks to measure
People age in different ways, and biological age is a measure that scientists can use to predict health risks. Medicine can increase their relevance by combining different markers. The frailty and the epigenetic clock, which researchers from the Karolinska Institutet describe in a recently published study, are particularly important.
New measuring method for biological age
Biological age, or senescence, can differ from chronological age. Measuring the former can indicate health risks or the risk of premature death. Hopefully this will offer new opportunities for preventive health care. Which markers are most relevant for measuring biological age? A new piece of the puzzle is a study by Sara Hägg, a researcher at the Karolinska Institutet, which combines different markers.
“There are different ways to measure biological age,” she says. “We need to know which markers are most important. Ultimately, this could potentially lead to new ways to prevent age-related diseases. ”
Scientists have recently studied the metric of aging in several studies. A special feature of this new study, however, is that it explores a combination of several markers. The results of the study show that some markers are of particular importance for predicting the risk of early death. The level of frailty, based on participants' self-reports about various symptoms, is part of it. The other is the epigenetic clock (DNA Methylation Age Estimator), which relates to how different genes are expressed.
Risk measurement with an effective instrument
Further investigated markers are telomere length, biomarker analysis of the blood as well as the cognitive and physical abilities. These markers were also associated with an increased risk of premature death. The study was a population study that included 845 middle-aged participants and the elderly over a 20-year period.
“There is great interest in this research and biological age is an effective tool for predicting health risks,” says Hägg. “However, it is important to emphasize that our results are population-based and need to be validated at the individual level.”
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