“By slowing down the aging process we could prevent not just one disease but many simultaneously,” Belsky, a researcher at Duke’s Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, said.
In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists tracked 1,000 people born in 1972-73 in the coastal city of Dunedin in New Zealand and calculated their “Biological age” 20 years after their 18th birthdays based on a wide range of biomarkers.
Researchers calculated, the “Biological ages” of the 38-year-olds ranged from 30 to nearly 60 years. Their IQ scores, which according to previous studies have been shown to remain relatively constant throughout a person’s life, were lower by age 38.
One particularly interesting finding of the study was that the people who were physiologically older looked older, at least according to Duke undergraduates who were asked to guess their ages from their pictures.
The study, which was funded in part by the National Institute on Aging, is significant because it looked at young adults.
Most previous aging research is focused on the second half of the average person’s life, in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. “Our findings indicate that aging processes can be quantified in people still young enough for prevention of age-related disease, opening a new door for antiaging therapies,” the researchers wrote.