Monday, December 28, 2020


Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

Reporting for STAT, Sharon Begley summarizes findings from a recent study in Nature Medicine (see link in Begley's story) on the idea of the "'ageotype,' a combination of molecular and other changes that are specific to one physiological system. These changes can be measured when the individual is healthy and relatively young...perhaps helping physicians to pinpoint the most important thing to target to extend healthy life."

Rather than viewing aging as systemic, our body parts (systems) age at different rates. You might be a cardio-ager or an immune ager or a metabolic ager or a liver ager or....

As you would guess, this study has some limitations as initial studies often do. It was based on a small sample (106 people) as well as a short follow-up so more studies are required before anti-aging interventions, e.g., exercise or diet or intermittent fasting or medications can be recommended that might work. 

On the other hand the array of measurements taken on patients over two to four years is very impressive. It is a hint of things to come. "Through blood and saliva and urine tests, genetic analyses, microbiome inspections of their nose and gut, and more the scientists measure 10343 genes, 306 blood proteins, 722 metabolites, and 6909  microbes, among other things" (my emphasis). These allowed the team to group participants into four different ageotypes: liver, kidney, metabolic, and immune. 

There were surprises in the study, e.g., some measurements that increased with age, fell for some participants while "some that fell with age in most people rose in a few." Begley points out that while "healthy habits can increase both lifespan and healthspan is not exactly news. But the ageotype approach might let people target their dominant aging pathway."

Begley's story may be read here. She mentions the Buck Institute for Research on Aging but it is not linked. Here it is.

No comments:

Post a Comment