Research highlight

Biology: Measuring the ageing process

Nature Communications

May 26, 2021

A new measure which can be used to estimate the biological ageing process is described in Nature Communications.

Ageing is associated with progressive functional decline and increased risk of chronic diseases. Since determining biological age is complex and does not necessarily correlate with chronological age, studies have used blood markers, DNA methylation, or other measures to develop ageing biomarkers and predictors, that could also potentially be used clinically to determine the effectiveness of anti-ageing interventions.

Here, using longitudinal human blood count data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and UK Biobank, Timothy Pyrkov and colleagues develop a single variable to describe biological age, called the dynamic organism state indicator (DOSI). DOSI was associated with expected variables such as age, illness, and lifestyles. The researchers describe DOSI fluctuations as a measure of physiological resilience, indicating the ability to recover from perturbations, such as disease. They found that DOSI fluctuations increase with age, due to an increase in recovery time. The authors also use the progressive loss of resilience to predict a maximum human lifespan of 120-150 years. These calculations are in line with some other works.

doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23014-1

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