Healthy Aging

What aging type are you?

older-woman-jogging

Will “What’s your ageotype” replace “what’s your sign” as an ice-breaker?

People age differently, at different speeds and through different body processes, a recent study of aging by Stanford University School of Medicine found. Led by Stanford’s genetics department chairman, Dr. Michael Snyder, the team’s research involved a group of 43 healthy participants between the ages of 34 and 68 years who agreed to undergo assessing for molecular biology markers at least five different times over 2 years.

The study detected four distinct patterns based on biochemical markers that changed over time in a person along a specific biological pathway: metabolic (relating to the buildup and breakdown of substances in the body), immune (relating to immune responses), liver function, and kidney function. (For instance, an individual was classified as a “metabolic ager” if his or her metabolic markers changed over time.)

Dubbed “ageotypes,” the patterns are important because they zero in on health-risk factors and pinpoint areas that are apt to cause problems later on. But they aren’t mutually exclusive: Some people showed signs of aging across all four patterns; others, in just one or two. 

Slowing down aging?

Surprisingly, not everyone studied showed more markers linked to aging as they grew older. In some people, the overall rate of aging declined, or even the aging markers declined – at least for a short time.  Sometimes such positive results seemed due to changing their behavior or taking certain medications. For example, many “metabolic agers” lost weight while one changed their diet; some “kidney agers” who had decreased creatinine levels took statins. (But not always. Sometimes, the reason for the slower-than-average aging process was a mystery.)

The markers measured were biological molecules and microbes found in blood and stool samples – like proteins, lipids, metabolites (made when the body breaks down food, drugs and muscle and fat tissue), certain gut bacteria, a form of hemoglobin linked with diabetes and creatinine, whose higher levels are linked to kidney trouble.

The study was done because molecular changes that occur with aging aren’t well understood. If we understand what form or forms of aging we are predisposed to, we are also empowered to come up with a strategy to prevent specific health problems and possibly slow down certain aging processes.

The subjects were part of a larger aging study of 106 people. The study was published in Nature Medicine in January 2020.

Click here to read this study. 

COMMENTS

4 responses to “What aging type are you?

  1. I will not read the article as it is scientific and not meant for a lay person.
    Aging also occurs in the head, meaning one’s interest in and attitude about things. In some cultures wisdom is thought to come with age and thus seniority is respected.

  2. I do not believe in “aging”…numbers do not count.
    A person should be aware…and up to date on the world around..him/her
    Age is just a number……and an “old hat” idea that was used in the past to put people in categories…
    Just remember, “Age only matters if you’re a WINE”

  3. I am kind of impatient. That said I didn’t find a way to figure out a way to find out what kind of aging I was. Which is what the headline lead me to think I could. Where did I miss that part of the article?
    And yes I do hate to expose my ignorance this way, but I am serious about the question.

  4. This is very interesting, the fact that we can’t stop our body from aging but there are a lot of ways to keep it healthy prevent chronic health problems. Sharing more information like this helps our seniors stay positive on taking care of them selves.

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