Study by UC San Diego researchers shows biological age, not date of birth, can predict healthy longevity

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August 1, 2022 – A unique study of 1,813 older women suggests that accelerated biological aging of the body – specifically epigenetic acceleration of aging – is associated with reduced chances of reaching 90 years and also being physically mobile and with intact mental function .

In the July 27, 2022 online edition of JAMA Network Open, a multi-agency research team led by the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at LaCroix Andrea PhD MPH copyThe University of California San Diego reported that epigenetic age acceleration could be used as a biomarker for healthy longevity and to estimate functional and cognitive aging.

“Older people are well aware that age is just a number that may not be indicative of their health status. What if we had a way of measuring how quickly we age that could predict our chances of living long and healthy lives? In aging research we call this an individual’s health span.” said principal investigator Andrea LaCroix, Ph.D., MPH., Distinguished Professor at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science.

Andrea LaCroix, Ph.D., MPH, Distinguished Professor at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science

Chronological age is based on a person’s date of birth. Epigenetic age refers to the biological age of a person’s cells, tissues, and organ systems. When a person’s epigenetic age is greater than their chronological age, the person experiences epigenetic age acceleration, which is associated with a higher risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other diseases.

Based on four different epigenetic “clocks” that measure biological aging, epigenetic age acceleration every five to eight years was associated with a 20% to 32% reduced likelihood of reaching age 90 with intact mobility and cognitive function.

“Health span is important because the number of people living to age 90 and older will quadruple in the United States alone, from 1.9 million in 2016 to 7.6 million in 2050,” said LaCroix.

As part of the prospective study, the team analyzed physical and cognitive status data from 1,813 women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative, a long-term national health study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute that began in 1993. The median age at death for participants in the Women’s Health Initiative was 90 years.

In this cohort, 464 women survived to age 90 with intact mobility and cognitive function, 420 lived to age 90 but without intact mobility and cognitive function, and 929 women died before age 90.

Study participants were 70 to 72 years old at baseline and were followed up to at least 90 years of age or death. The associations of the epigenetic acceleration of age also play a role Jain Purva PhDHealthy longevity was found to be independent of other characteristics that were more common in long-lived women with intact mobility and memory than in women who did not live to age 90, including whiteness, no or fewer chronic medical conditions at baseline, higher education, and no smoking and go for a walk several times a week.

Purva Jain, Ph.D., first author

“Previous studies have shown that epigenetic age acceleration is associated with an increased risk of death, and some studies have observed that slower age acceleration occurs in long-lived individuals. But this is the first study to prospectively examine the relationship between a slower acceleration in age and reaching age 90 with preserved mobility and memory,” said first author Purva Jain, Ph.D., who completed this work as part of her PhD completed at UC San Diego.

Jain graduated in Epidemiology from the Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health in December 2021.

“Furthermore, our study suggests that we can use epigenetic acceleration of aging to estimate the risk of an individual not achieving healthy longevity, which could lead to future public health interventions to counteract poor health outcomes in older populations.” said Jain.

Co-authors include: Brian Chen and John Alcaraz of UC San Diego; Alexandra Binder of UCLA and the University of Hawaii Cancer Center; Humberto Parada and Linda C. Gallo from San Diego State University; UCLA’s Steve Horvath; Parveen Bhatti of Cancer Control Research, BC Cancer; Eric A. Whitsel, James D. Stewart, and Yun Li from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Kristina Jordahl from the University of Washington; Andrea A. Baccarelli of Columbia University; Lifang Hou from Northwestern University; and Jamie N. Justice of Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Diese Forschung wurde zum Teil vom National Institutes of Health: The National Heart, Lung und Blood Institute (HHSN268201600018C, HHSN2682016001C, HHSN268201600002C, HHSN2682016003C, HHSN268201600C, HHSN282013c, HHSN268201600C, HHSN282013c, HHSN2682016, finanziert. of Environmental Health Sciences (R01 ES020836) und dem National Cancer Institute (K01 CA234317), and the American Cancer Society (125299-RSG-13-100-01CCE), San Diego State University (U54 CA132384, U54 CA132379), and UC San Diego (P30AG059299).

Disclosures: Binder reported receiving grants from the National Cancer Institute and honoraria from the Epigenetic Clock Development Foundation during the conduct of the study. Chen reported that he is a full-time employee and has filed a patent for Foxo Technologies outside of the submitted work and owns Illumina common stock. Horvath reported receiving grants from the National Institute of Aging while conducting the study, receiving personal fees from the Epigenetic Clock Development Foundation outside of submitted work, and filing a patent for the Epigenetic Clock Development Foundation. Jordahl reported receiving grants from the National Cancer Institute while conducting the study and personal fees from Bristol Myers Squibb outside of submitted work.

DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.23285
Source: UC San Diego

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