Anyone who attends a class meeting will certainly notice that their old classmates have aged very differently. Some look like they are 100 years old even after only a few dozen years have passed, while others look like they have graduated.
Recently, on January 13, a scientific report published in Nature Medicine gave a closer look at molecular-level aging. It provides a viable explanation of why we grow old and enhances our ability to influence aging through medicine or lifestyle changes in the future.
Scientists at Stanford University call this report “old-fashioned” and it is still in its early stages of development. But outside experts have predicted that this report will become an important step for us to understand more about aging.
“Interesting reports like these provide more accurate interventions, similar to the purpose of accurate medicine.”, Rachel Wu stated. She studied aging as an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She was not involved in this aging study.
In the report, the researchers monitored 43 healthy adults over a two-year period, analyzing blood and other biological samples to study a series of molecular-level changes.
“People get old in different proportions, but it’s equally important or even more critical where you see them getting older.”, Michael Snyder, author of the report, said. He is a professor and head of genetics at Stanford University, majoring in medicine.
So, which part of the body does aging work the most? They found that people often get older in one of four cases that researchers call this type of aging: immune, kidney, liver and metabolism.
Snyder says that older people go towards a metabolic pathway, which is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when they get older. The immune system produces more inflammation so it is more likely to have diseases that are related to the immune system. Similarly, the kidney and the liver are more susceptible to kidney and liver diseases. It is possible that in addition to the above four types, there are still other types of aging, such as cardiovascular aging, which makes owners susceptible to heart attacks. But this report is limited to the four categories above.
Among the study participants, some carried different types of aging, while others aged with all four types.
“As people get older, they become very concerned about aging.”, Snyder said. In theory, if people knew what kind of aging they were and how fast they were aging, they could actively work to influence it.
Rachel Wu also agreed: “It’s important to explore the lifestyle factors that influence the aging process and patterns of individuals. Because it can be used to develop effective and appropriate aging interventions.” than”.
“Imagine you realize that you age much faster than normal people”Snyder said. “Maybe it’s a warning that you should exercise more, use the stairs more and the elevator less.”. Or, perhaps, a person whose type of aging causes the circulatory system to age faster should pay more attention to the calcium buildup in veins.
But does intervention in aging types reduce premature deaths or illness? At present science is not advanced enough to show the actual effects.
“That’s the missing link”Snyder said. However, some participants in the study were able to slow down or reduce the aging process when they make lifestyle changes. We are not sure what this impact will have in the long term. Some other participants have a slower aging process than normal people, but researchers have yet to understand what makes that difference.
Technically, everyone has started to age before they were born, every stage of development lies in aging. And there are many factors that affect aging, including genetics and the environment. But the report not only tells us more about how people age, but also why people get older and possible measures to intervene.
Clinical trials targeting aging processes related to age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, are currently underway.
“There are drugs and interventions through diets, lifestyles that have the potential to impact some aging processes.”, Says Dr. James Kirkland. He is an geriatrician and president of the Kogod aging center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA.
“But to be able to apply these measures correctly”, he said, “We have to know who should take which medicine or diet to give the best results.”. Kirkland is not part of the research team for this report.
“It’s good to know what you’re going to encounter based on a blood test, but you must be able to do something about it.”, Kirkland said.
To be sure, there are measures that have been shown to reduce disease and depression: no smoking, excess weight loss, high exercise and a diet rich in vegetables and fruits.
But, very few people can do all of the above. Snyder thinks people will be more likely to change their lifestyles if they know their own aging type.
“I think the information source will help.”Snyder said. “It will serve as a source of motivation for people when they realize their risks appear more and more serious.”.
According to NBCNews