What Determines Healthy Aging?
When it comes to life expectancy, the so-called epigenetic age plays a crucial role. If the biological age exceeds the chronological age, this is also disadvantageous for the mobility and mental fitness of the elderly.
A new cohort study involving researchers from the University of California, San Diego has examined how epigenetic aging, or biological age, is associated with healthy longevity in older women. The results can be read in the English-language journal “JAMA Network Open”.
Accelerated biological aging studied
The researchers looked at 1,813 women in their secondary analysis of three Women’s Health Initiative subsidiary studies and focused on biological aging in the body, specifically the so-called epigenetic acceleration of aging.
A total of 464 women survived to age 90 with intact mobility and good cognitive function. 420 of the participants also lived to age 90, but with mobility and cognitive limitations. 929 women died before reaching the age of 90.
What is epigenetic age acceleration?
Chronological age is based on a person’s date of birth. In contrast, epigenetic age refers to the biological age of cells, tissues and organ systems, the team explains. If the epigenetic age is greater than the chronological age, it is called an acceleration of the epigenetic age.
According to the team, an existing epigenetic age acceleration is associated with a higher risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and other diseases.
Shorter lifespan due to accelerated biological aging
Experts have found that accelerated biological aging of the body is associated with a lower likelihood of reaching age 90, still being physically mobile, and having intact mental functions.
An epigenetic acceleration from age five to eight is associated with a 20 to 32 percent lower chance of reaching age 90 with intact mobility and good cognitive function, the researchers explain.
“Previous studies have shown that epigenetic age acceleration is associated with an increased risk of death, and a few studies have observed that age acceleration is slower in people with long life expectancies” , says study author Purva Jain.
However, the current study is the first study that has prospectively examined the link between epigenetic age and reaching the age of 90 with preserved mobility and memory, adds the expert.
Predict healthy aging
“Additionally, our study suggests that we can use epigenetic acceleration of aging to estimate the risk that an individual will not achieve healthy longevity,” Jain said.
According to the study author, this finding could be used to establish public health interventions that counteract poor health outcomes in older populations. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Purva Jain, Alexandra M Binder, Brian Chen, Humberto Parada Jr, Linda C Gallo, et al. : Analysis of Epigenetic Acceleration of Healthy Age and Longevity in Older American Women; in: JAMA Network Open (published 2022-07-27), JAMA Network OpenUniversity of California – San Diego: Biological Age, Not Birthdate May Reveal Healthy Longevity (published 2022-07-27), University of California – San Diego
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.