A recent study revealed that while some people can stay young longer, there are people that display an accelerated aging process and age-related signs long before their time.
The findings that shocked even the researchers pointed out that we may have an over-simplistic view on aging processes which is interwoven in the most basic fibers of our society.
Researchers who made the discovery said that the science of aging, also known as geroscience, should switch focus from the way old people get older onto how young people age, if it wants to address the issue. There are many young people that age prematurely.
“The science of health-span extension may be focused on the wrong end of the lifespan; rather than only studying old humans, geroscience should also study the young,”
wrote study authors in a report.
Daniel W. Belsky and Terrie Moffitt, the two co-authors of the study, said that young people who show signs of aging such as grey hairs, memory loss, and baldness in their twenties seem to grow older than the rest of the population at an alarming pace.
The two scientists have analyzed nearly 1,000 New Zealanders in their forties that were not diagnosed with a serious condition. Researchers took blood samples and studied how certain biomarkers looked like at three time points of their adult lives. The team also measured other biological aging signs such as gum health and the status of their telomeres – some tiny bits of DNA that wither as the person gets old.
The study, which was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that in some people’s cases anti-aging measures should be applied at a young age.
Around age 38, study participants displayed a totally different biological age. The majority displayed their actual age. But some of them had the biological age of a person in their 20s, while others had the biomarkers of 60-year-olds.
Scientists also learned that the latter group was aging very fast since their childhood. Biomarkers showed that their brain functions started to decline from their early years boosting the risk of stroke and dementia to unprecedented levels. The fast-aging group grew older by three biological years in one chronological year, the study showed.
Dr. Moffitt says that governments should take into account such studies when they seek to establish compulsory retirement ages because chronological age “is faulty” so it may benefit some but work against others.
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