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Literary Openings, Gadgets and News in Nigeria | Duketundesblog: Scientist develops New blood test reveals if you are ageing too fast

Monday, 7 September 2015

Scientist develops New blood test reveals if you are ageing too fast

British Scientists have developed blood test test that calculates how quickly a person is ageing.
The new test works out a patient's biological age compared to their actual age and the test will also be used to determine if the patient is at risk of developing dementia later in life. This is because those who are older biologically than their real age are more likely to go on to develop Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, the scientist said. (See more about dementia here)
When 700 apparently healthy 70-year-old volunteers were tested, their biological ages differed by more than 20 years – from younger than 60 to older than 80.

Professor James Timmons, of King’s College London, who led the research said: ‘We use birth year, or chronological age, to judge everything from insurance premiums to whether you get a medical procedure or not.

‘Most people accept that all 60-year-olds are not the same, but there has been no reliable test for underlying biological age.

‘Our discovery provides the first robust molecular signature of biological age in humans and should be able to transform the way that “age” is used to make medical decisions.’

The team said that the test could be invaluable for finding kidney donors, for example.

Doctors often use age to assess whether someone is suitable to donate, but using biological age would provide a far more accurate assessment of how likely their kidneys are to be healthy later in life.

Professor Timmons said the blood test should be available to other researchers next year, as an invaluable tool for gauging how different factors can affect the ageing process.

It would also be simple to make the test available for GPs and hospital doctors, he said.

But that is unlikely to happen for some time because NHS regulators first have to discuss the ethical impact of disclosing this information.

The researchers, whose work is published today in the journal Genome Biology, looked at the make-up of RNA – a genetic messenger that works with the DNA in our cells – in different body tissues.

By analysing thousands of blood, brain and muscle samples from patients over 20 years, they worked out the ‘optimum’ RNA make-up, or ‘signature’, for a 65-year-old.

The team – from King’s College London, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and Duke University in the US – found that by identifying how 150 genes differed from this ideal signature they could work out how slowly or quickly a person’s body was ageing.

They then produced an ‘ageing score’ based on these 150 markers – where a high score indicated healthy ageing, while a low score meant a person was biologically older than they were in years.

Crucially, the results were shown to be independent of a person’s lifestyle, meaning that common diseases such as heart disease and diabetes would not skew the score.

Those with higher scores at the age of 70 had better mental ability and kidney function when they reached 82.

Those with lower scores, in contrast, were more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease – and more of them had died.

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