Do you look younger than your biological age? Then you have chances of living longer than others whose looks show them older than their actual age. Scientists have identified a biological clock that could help predict your lifespan based on chemical changes in your DNA.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh studied chemical changes to DNA to know an individual’s biological age which they compared with the person’s actual age and found that people whose biological age is greater than their true age are likely to die sooner than those whose biological and actual ages were the same or those whose actual age is less than biological age live longer.
In four separate studies conducted in Australia, Europe and the US, researchers have tracked the lives of 5,000 older people for a period of 14 years. They measured the biological age by studying a chemical modification to DNA, known as methylation, which can affect many genes and occur throughout a person’s life.
Each participant’s biological age was first measured from a blood sample and then the participants have been followed up throughout the study, and the results showed that the link between having a faster-running biological clock and early death are true, even after taking into account factors like smoking, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“This new research increases our understanding of longevity and healthy ageing,” said the study’s lead author Ian Deary from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology.
“The same results in four studies indicated a link between the biological clock and deaths from all causes. At present, it is not clear what lifestyle or genetic factors influence a person’s biological age. We have several follow-up projects planned to investigate this in detail,” said Riccardo Marioni, researcher for the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh.
The study has been published in the journal Genome Biology. The study has been undertaken by the University of Edinburgh, University of Queensland, Harvard University, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Boston University, the Johns Hopkins University Lieber Institute for Brain Development and the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.