A study conducted in collaboration with researchers from US, UK, New Zealand and Israel suggests that people age differently. So when estimating how old somebody actually is looks do not matter as much as aging rates do. The paper was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research team led by Terrie E. Moffitt and Daniel W. Belsky from Duke University analyzed the data from 954 people who were born in New Zealand, Dunedin between 1972 and 1973. They investigated various organs and also conducted surveys.
Just as you feel that you are turning old by looking at your wrinkled skin or loss of hair organs can also show how old a person is. That is why researchers looked at the length of telomeres, which are the protective caps at the end of the chromosomes. They were proved to become shorter with age. Besides this the researchers examined lung, liver and kidney function, HDL cholesterol, the immune and metabolic systems, the blood vessels behind the eyes and the dental health.
According to the researchers some people involved in the study almost stopped aging while the study was unfolding, whereas others on the contrary gained up to three years of biological age in only one year’s time. Dan Belsky explained that most studied which focus on aging rates look at seniors. According to him if scientists want to prevent age-related diseases they should instead look at aging rates in young people.
After the analyses the scientists established a biological age for the participants and noted that the biological age of 38 years old ranged from 30 to 60 years old. Sometimes it was even below 30. This indicates that some of the participants aged at a slightly faster rate than other who had a lower biological age.
There were some cases in which some participants did not age at all for a couple of years. This have researchers the hope that some medicine cold slow down the aging process. That is in fact the ultimate goal of the study. Belsky remarked:
“As we get older, our risk grows for all kinds of different diseases. To prevent multiple diseases simultaneously, aging itself has to be the target. Otherwise, it’s a game of whack-a-mole.”
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