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BIOMARKERS FOR AGING

 

We need biomarkers for aging as a way of measuring the progression of the aging process in our bodies. In other words, how well we are aging. Early studies on aging biomarkers reveal that even though effective markers can be established, using them to measure how effective an antiaging measure is, is still in the early stages of development.

Of course, this will take time, and probably more than a few 30-year studies. Until these studies have validated these “biomarkers” and measurement criteria, there will be no mainstream acceptance of anti-aging treatments.

Much of the current debate over biomarkers is in the naming convention rather than disagreement as to what constitutes a valid marker. So, whilst this debate continues, we can reasonably make fair assumptions as to what these markers are.

We must also consider that benchmarks will change. What was previously considered an effective result, such as having a 5 year impact, will no longer be acceptable, when new antiaging products and antiaging treatments are promising a 10 year impact.

But we need to start somewhere. The accepted first step to establishing biological markers to aging is still to establish scientific consensus on those factors that cause aging. As yet, there is not full consensus in the scientific community.

So firstly, let’s accept well known biomedical gerontologist, Dr Aubrey de Grey's findings that there are seven major types of damage that accrue to the passing of time. If we could fix them all, we simply wouldn’t age.

 

Dr De Greys list includes:

  • Cell loss
  • Mutations in our chromosomes
  • Mitochondrial mutations
  • Excess cells of unneeded types (senescent cells, fat cells)
  • Extra-cellular cross linking (reaction between sugars in the blood stream and long lived proteins that causes, among other problems, hardening of the arteries)
  • Extra cellular junk, garbage that needs to be brought into the cell to be broken down by the cellular lysosomes
  • Junk within the cells that the lysosomes are not adapted to break down.


Secondly, effective tests must be developed for each of these seven factors. Examples of such test might include:

  • A scan of the brain and heart to measure cell loss
  • Using fat DEXA to measure body fat percentage to determine the level of excessive fat cells and the loss of lean muscle mass.
  • Blood tests to identify chromosome and mitochondrial mutations.
  • Blood tests can also me used to determine the level of Senescent cells, extra-cellular cross linking, and junk inside and outside the cells.
  • Biopsies to confirm degeneration or level of mutation of tissues in certain cases.

Plus we need specific aging tests to measure such things as coordination and memory Function

Thirdly, an effective measuring or scoring system such that adding up all of the results for a complete body of tests could produce a “biological age”. One can only imagine how complex the weighting of each of these factors could be in agreeing a “simple age index”

NEXT: Measuring How Well We Are Aging


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