Signs of aging appear in mid-20s, study finds

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Aging is typically studied in the elderly, but a study released Monday said different rates of aging can be detected as early as the mid-20s.

The findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ July 6 issue are based on a group of 954 people born in New Zealand in 1972 or 1973.

Researchers collected data on the subjects’ kidney, liver and lung function, dental health, the blood vessels in the eyes as well as their metabolism and immune system function at age 26, 32 and 38.

They also measured cholesterol, fitness levels and the length of the telomeres, which are the protective caps at the end of chromosomes that have been found to shorten with age.

Using a total of 18 biological measurements, researchers determined a “biological age” for each participant at age 38 — with some registering under 30 and others appearing to be nearly 60.

When scientists looked closely at the ones who had aged more quickly, they found signs of deterioration were apparent at age 26, the age when the first set of biological measurements were taken.

Most of those in the group were aging at the expected rate of one biological year per chronological year, or even less.

Others were aging as fast as three biological years per chronological year.

Those whose bodies were aging faster also “scored worse on tests typically given to people over 60, including tests of balance and coordination and solving unfamiliar problems,” said the study.

And when a group of university students at Duke was asked to look at pictures of people in the group, they consistently rated as older those whose bodies were aging more quickly than the rest.

Study authors said their findings pave the way for future tests that may be easier and cheaper to implement, so that people can find out how fast they are aging in their 20s, when they might be able to do something about it and possibly prevent age-related diseases.

Previous research has shown that genes account for only about 20 percent of aging, leaving the rest up to health behaviors and the environment.

“That gives us some hope that medicine might be able to slow aging and give people more healthy active years,” said senior author Terrie Moffitt, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University.

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  • Oludavin

    The government must embark on family planning education if it dreams to realise the 2030 vision.

  • Mazzdark

    Population itself is not a problem, otherwise China would not be about to take over the world. The problem lies in poor planning for available resources (of which population is one), eg we could have iron, coal, limestone, titanium etc but if these are not exploited they become a burden. We cannot by any measure claim as a country to have exhausted all resources available to us, our agriculture is still mostly either cash crop based or subsistence farming both of which are not optimal uses for producing food in plenty and reducing prices accordingly. In any case the Government cannot legislate child bearing so why all he noise about something it can’t do anything about….

    • Anonymous

      I also have doubts outside of legislation… I’d be happy to limit myself to only two kids, but I guess a lot of people would see that as a violation of their human rights…

  • Anonymous

    lol, Why did I feel the temptation to put a caption underneath the image “pictured above:the culprits”. I really have issues.

    on a serious note though, I came across a racist commenter on another site who said something along the lines of “why should we give aid to these monkeys [Africans], it’s their fault for populating the world with poor people, they are stupid because they have babies which they can afford” (his/her spelling was atrocious), as always I was tempted to talk this person through but just gave up before I did…

    Anyway I’ll be looking forward to what the UN plans to do, whatever it is I can bet it will be a strategy spanning decades…

  • Alloismatata

    the government should enact a law to  limit the number of children a couple can have lets say for example two. this way we will tame the growing population and there will be equity in sharing national resources.

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