Can scientists predict the time of human death with the “aging clock”?

آیا دانشمندان می‌توانند با «ساعت پیری» زمان مرگ انسان را پیش‌بینی کنند؟

Age is something beyond the number of years you have been through since birth. Stress, sleep and diet are some of the factors that affect the body’s adaptation to the burnout caused by daily life. These factors can make your aging process faster or slower than those born on the same day. Therefore Biological age It can be very different from the historical age. Hours of aging They are trying to find the biological age and have made good progress in this field.

Biological age is a better indicator of status Physical health And even better than historical age can show the time of your death. But it is a little difficult to calculate. Scientists have made great efforts in the last decade to develop a device called an aging clock. The aging watch can measure your physical characteristics and get your biological age number.

What is the aging clock?

The important idea of ​​aging watches is that they can show how worn out your organs are and thus be able to estimate how many more years you will spend in health. The accuracy of the hundreds of aging clocks that have developed over the last decade varies. Researchers are still grappling with an important question: Being young What does it mean biologically?

Most watches of aging age the biological age of individuals based on pattern Epigenetic characteristicsEspecially chemical labels called Methyl group Are measured as layers in DNA They exist and affect how genes work. The pattern of methylation changes over thousands of points in the world with age, but no specific cause has been identified.

Some of these watches predict the life cycle by estimating the changes in a person’s body over time, while others have more functional models similar to Speedometer And measure the acceleration of aging. Fans of these watches often try to show with the help of this tool that anti-aging methods can make people biologically younger. But we still do not have enough information about these claims to draw the right conclusions.

Time tracking

The first hour of epigenetic aging in the year 2011 Was designed, when «Steve HorvatHe asked the University of California, Los Angeles, to participate in a study with his twin brother, Marcus. This study looked for epizootic markers in saliva samples to determine the sexual orientation of volunteers.

The example given by Steve Horvat did not show what his sexual orientation was. But further studies have found links between age and epigenetic characteristics. He himself, who was doing this research, realized that Methylation patterns They can determine a person’s age with an error of five years.

Steve Horvat, the inventor of the aging watch
Steve Horvat

Horvat has been working on aging watches ever since. He in 2013 Horvat watch Which is still one of the best clocks of aging. This watch can even measure the age of each organ in the body individually. Horvath uses this methylation data 8000 samples Construction that represented 51 tissues and cell types. With this information, he taught an algorithm that can predict a person’s biological age from a cell sample.

Other researchers have made similar clocks, and today there are hundreds of clocks of aging. But Horvath estimates that Less than 10 hours To assess dietary status, lifestyle or supplements that can affect aging have been widely used in human studies.

Measuring age

What do aging clocks tell us? it depends. Most watches are designed to Historical age To predict. “I do not think that is the main goal,” said Morgan Levine of Yale Medical School in Connecticut. “Because we can ask people how old they are.”

In 2018, Levin, Horvath and colleagues based on 9 biomarkers including level Blood glucose And White blood cells They made a new watch. They used the information of thousands of Americans who had been surveyed over the years. This watch «DNAm PhenoAgeIt is named and, according to Levin, performs better in estimating biological age than watches based on historical age.

This watch says a year increase in the indicators that Levin calls it Age “phenotype” Or “revelation”, causes 9% increase The risk of death is due to various reasons, especially cancer, diabetes or heart disease. If your biological age is older than your historical age, it can be assumed that you are aging faster than the average.

Aging Hour

However, Daniel Belsky of Columbia University says this may not be true. Because several factors cause a person’s biological age to rise above his or her historical age. Belsky et al 954 volunteers Between the ages of 20 and mid 40, they have developed a tool that can more accurately rate Biological aging To calculate. Researchers examined the performance of various organs by examining biological indicators. They then developed an epigenetic accelerometer that predicts how these values ​​change over time.

Another popular aging watch was made by Horvat and his colleagues and is called “GrimAge” Was. Horvath claims that this watch is the best tool for predicting mortality and has tested it on his own blood. He says the results matched his age two years ago, but when he did the test again six months ago, GrimAge matched his age. Four years Showed more. This does not mean that he has lost four years of his life, but Horvat believes that his aging rate has increased.

False aging clocks

A number of other clocks change the results to show that the aging rate usually slows down after taking supplements. But in many cases it can be said that this change is due to the fact that many clocks are prone to epigenetic aging. Random errors are.

The problem is that methyl groups are located on the surface of the body everywhere, causing small changes over time, and these changes with Methylation estimation errors They get bigger. Levine says the problem eventually gets too big and could lead to estimates in decades.

Biological age of aging clock

To solve this problem, researchers are trying to break down existing aging clocks and compare them. The goal of the researchers is to understand what each hour measures and how they can make a better watch in the future. Levin and his colleagues want to eliminate these errors. They also want to know what aging watches tell us. What does lower biological age really mean? And how can this information be used?

Levin says that although aging watches can probably be a good indicator to display General state of health They are you, but they are not accurate enough that they can often be counted on. Horvat claims that these watches can be used in reviews Clinical Be used to show doctors how healthy a person is and what diseases they are at risk for.

“Epigenetic watches never replace clinical features, but add to their value,” says Horvat. “I think five years from now we will have blood sample-based watches that can be used in clinical trials with their high value.”

Nowadays, by adopting a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and exercising regularly, the effects of aging can be partially prevented. We do not need aging clocks to know that these strategies are useful to us.

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