Usually, as a person increases in age their health decreases. New testing indicates that individuals who share the same chronological age may not share the same body age. Depending on their body age, each person may be more or less healthy compared to others of the same age.
The tests can be used to determine higher risk candidates for many age related diseases such as certain forms of dementia. Discovering these candidates early on could lead to early diagnosis and treatment before the age-related disease worsens. The testing may also be used to identify healthy organs that can be used for organ transplants. Professor James Timmons from Kings College London said “At the moment we have a cut-off age for donors of about 70 years old, but with this, we can see whether an organ has a good biological age, and make a decision on whether to implant it into a patient or not. We should be able to make better decisions, and probably use older donors.”
This seven year research project has taken place by teams in Sweden, Britain and the United States. At King’s College London, the testing process used is RNA-profiling. With this the scientists are able to compare and determine the behavior of 150 genes from thousands of tissue samples from young and old people. According to the research lower scores on the test indicate higher risk of cognitive disease.
Human DNA has things called telomeres which are attached to chromosomes to protect them. Science has shown that the length of these indicates the body is healthy and has aged well. Meanwhile, short telomers indicate damage and higher risk of age related disease.
Now that the science exists to accurately measure the body’s true age we should ask ourselves how can one improve hers/his own body’s age. Can a person lengthen their telomeres, reverse or slow down the damage and age, and ultimately become healthier? I certainly hope so. Maybe by improving eating, sleeping and exercise habits we can all make significant improvements to our own health and lifespan.