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Aging Tends To Shift Gears

2 years, 1 month ago

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Posted on Dec 09, 2019, 1 p.m.

Stanford led study has revealed that blood borne signs of aging make three big shifts around the ages of 34, 60, and 78 which may potentially lead to new diagnostic testing and open new paths for anti-aging, regenerative, and longevity research. 

As published in Nature Medicine, close to 3,000 individual proteins were measured in the plasma of blood samples from 4,263 participants between the ages of 18- 95; 1,379 of these proteins were found to vary significantly with subject age, and using the information of levels from 373 of these proteins the researchers found that they were able to predict subject age “with great accuracy,” and using a smaller subset of 9 proteins they were able to do a “passable” job. 

Proteins carry out instructions from all of the body’s cells, changes in levels in our blood may reflect the starting, stopping, and changing of different biological processes. According to the team these changes were found to be often quite sudden, with levels remaining stable in the blood for years then rapidly plunging or leaping rather than displaying a steady decline or increase.

The rapid changes appeared to happen in a synchronized fashion with the big changes in multiple proteins appearing at around the age of 34, 60, and 78 which suggests the possibility of the body changing its biological programming significantly at around these ages. Discovery has the potential to open new doors to research what is happening and whether these changes could possibly be delayed, stopped, reversed, or slowed down to fight the aging process to improve healthspan and longevity. 

The researchers suggest that : “By deep mining the ageing plasma proteome, we identified undulating changes during the human lifespan. These changes were the result of clusters of proteins moving in distinct patterns, culminating in the emergence of three waves of ageing.” 

“We’ve known for a long time that measuring certain proteins in the blood can give you information about a person’s health status - lipoproteins for cardiovascular health for example,” explains neurologist Tony Wyss-Coray of Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. “But it hasn’t been appreciated that so many different proteins’ levels -  roughly a third of all the ones we looked at - change markedly with advancing age.”

Although the findings are early, men and women are also suggested to age differently; of the 1,379 proteins found to change with age nearly two thirds were more predictive for one sex when compared to the other. 

Any clinical applications are still several years off as it will require much work to examine these proteins to determine how they are markers for aging and whether or not they contribute to the aging process. 

Findings reveal the possibility of one day having a blood test to measure how well we are aging at the cellular level, and the more one knows about growing older, the more that can be done to take steps to try and counteract the process to extend longevity as well as identify treatments to combat age related conditions. 

"Ideally, you'd want to know how virtually anything you took or did affects your physiological age," says Wyss-Coray.

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