New study identifies how DNA is ‘switched’ on and off leaving some ‘super-agers’ in their 60s with a physical age DECADES younger while others age so fast their bodies are in their 100s
Researchers in California have revealed that a person who is 60 years old could have a genetic age that’s over 100 or as low as 20.
The research was conducted at the University of Southern California and looked at the rate of change that occurred in the DNA of more than 4,000 people over the age of 57.
According to experts from the university, some people are aging so badly that their body is more than 40 years older than their actual age.
Meanwhile people in their 60s, who are known as ‘super-agers’, have a physical age that is decades younger.
Researchers in California have revealed that a person who is 60 years old could have a genetic age that’s over 100 or as low as 20
Dr Eileen Crimmins, Professor of Gerontology, at USC told Express: ‘Some people who are 57 or older look like they’re in their twenties, while some people look like they’re over 100, and there’s a big range in between.’
Crimmins said that experts believe that ‘adverse social experiences can change your epigenetic profile in ways that may subsequently influence your health adversely’.
‘There were people who looked 36 years younger, while some look 48 years older,’ she added.
In another example, researchers found that a 66-year-old was found to have a biological age of 114, while another 59-year-old was 23, also known as a ‘super-ager’.
Researchers looked at epigenetic changes for the study. Epigenetics are chemical compounds that are added to single genes that can regulate their activity.
Epigenetic changes can help determine whether genes are switched on or off and can influence the production of proteins in certain cells, ensuring that only necessary proteins are produced, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
Researchers looked at epigenetic changes for the study. Epigenetic changes can help determine whether genes are turned on or off and can influence the production of proteins in certain cells, ensuring that only necessary proteins are produced
Crimmins said: ‘People believe that the underlying process of aging is one that underlies all the different health outcomes linked to age, such as cognitive decline, disease, disability, frailty and mortality.’
Scientists used blood samples from study participants and tested them against ‘epigenetic clocks’ to measure DNA changes, according to Express.
Things like smoking, stress, pollution or obesity along with the ‘epigenetic changes’ can be used like a clock to determine how fast a person is aging.
Crimmins said experts found that being female slowed down the ageing clock by up to two years, while obesity sped it up by up to 18 months.