Your brain and body can be much older (or younger) than your age

Credit: Unsplash+.

As we age, different organs and tissues may age at different rates, meaning that our biological age may not necessarily be the same as our chronological age.

For example, a 50-year-old may have a brain that appears more like that of a 60-year-old.

The biological age of a person’s brain and body can now be easily measured using a new technique called an organ age clock.

An organ age clock is a tool that tells us whether the health and function of a person’s brain, heart, lungs and other organ systems appear older or younger than their chronological age.

The clock can identify whether a person’s brain and body age are advanced, normal, or younger than their chronological age.

The clock is created by establishing organ age clocks for the brain and seven body systems, including cardiovascular, lungs, musculoskeletal, immune, kidneys, liver, and metabolic systems.

To create the organ age clock, researchers first performed a genome-wide association study, searching through the DNA of nearly 37,000 people without heart disease enrolled in the UK Biobank study.

This identified genetic variants linked to changes to the structure and function of the pumping chambers of the heart—the ventricles.

Using a technique called Mendelian randomization, the researchers then pinpointed 33 proteins, coded for by these genetic variants, that are present in the blood and associated with the risk of developing several heart diseases.

The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans and measures from a wide range of physical, physiological, blood, and urine tests, which are already available in most clinical settings.

This data was then used to determine the rate of aging of each organ system, and whether it was older, younger, or normal compared to chronological age.

The study established that advanced organ age significantly increases the risk of chronic illnesses and that chronic illnesses are characterized by unique organ aging profiles.

Advanced organ age, particularly of the lungs, kidneys, liver, and immune system, significantly raises a person’s mortality risk.

The study also revealed that diverse organ aging patterns exist, but aging in different organ systems is closely linked.

The researchers found a multi-organ aging network, where the age of one organ system selectively and characteristically influences the aging of other organ systems.

For example, if a person’s lungs appear older than their chronological age, it’s more likely that their heart, kidneys, bones and muscles, as well as their brain, will also appear older.

In addition to identifying the risk of chronic illness, the organ age clock can inform us of the person’s risk of premature mortality.

By modifying environmental and lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol intake, sedentary behavior, poor sleep, air pollution, and socioeconomic inequality, people can reduce their brain and body age.

People who have a larger birth weight, tertiary education, regular exercise, and live in areas of greater green space and natural environment coverage tend to have a younger-appearing brain and body.

The study provides important information for healthcare professionals to help identify patients who may be at risk of chronic illness or premature mortality.

The organ age clock can be used to inform medical professionals to commence early treatments and interventions, potentially reducing the risk of chronic illness and premature mortality.

The biomarkers and measures used to estimate biological organ age are already widely used in clinical settings, which means the organ age clocks could move quickly and easily into clinical practice.

In conclusion, an organ age clock is a powerful tool that can identify the health and function of a person’s brain, heart, lungs, and other organ systems, allowing healthcare professionals to identify people at risk of chronic disease and commence early treatments and interventions.

By modifying environmental and lifestyle factors, people can reduce their brain and body age, potentially reducing the risk of chronic illness and premature mortality. With the biomarkers and measures used

If you care about health, please read studies about cannabis linked to blood pressure reduction in older people, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduce cancer death.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about unhealthy habits that may increase high blood pressure risk, and results showing plant-based protein foods may help reverse diabetes.

The study was conducted by Ye Ella et al and published in Nature Medicine.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.