Kanebridge News
Share Button

How Old Are You Really? Meet Your ‘Biological Age’

Biological age won’t help you live forever, but a ‘credit score for your body’ might prolong your lifespan, some scientists say.

By Betsy Morris
Mon, May 30, 2022Grey Clock 4 min

Biological age—a measure of health that can be more or less than your chronological age—might help determine your quality of life as you get older, scientists say.

The idea behind biological age is that your cells and organs have ages that vary from your regular age. Many aging-research scientists believe that knowing your biological age could help you postpone or avoid Alzheimer’s, cancer, cardiovascular disease or other age-related illnesses. Some also believe biological age can better predict an individual’s lifespan.

Other scientists agree that biological age is important but disagree that it can predict your life. They say there is no standard way to measure biological age and many of the tools in development aren’t yet proven. At the centre of the debate are hopes that people can prolong their lives by changing their behaviours; a crop of companies are betting on it.

David Sinclair, professor of genetics and co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School, is among the researchers and entrepreneurs promoting the notion of a biological age. He describes it as “like a credit score for your body.”

Dr. Sinclair is 52 chronologically but says he is biologically more like 42. Dr. Sinclair is a co-founder of a new company that is developing a biological-age test.

Some scientists calculate the metric by analyzing biomarkers in blood or saliva; other scientists and engineers do it by comparing individuals with broader aging patterns.

The activities that influence biological age—such as sleep, exercise and diet—are essentially the good habits we already know about. But since everybody’s genes are different, tracking your biological age could help determine which habits are most helpful and how to customize them. For one person, 10,000 steps a day could be optimal, while it is 6,000 for someone else.

People also can attempt to lower their biological age through meditation, yoga or other ways of effectively managing stress. Some, including Dr. Sinclair, use supplements to try to make themselves younger.

Scientists studying aging hope that eventually, individuals will be able to accurately measure their biological age and uncover the steps that influence it to forestall chronic disease and possibly live longer.

Even so, some scientists are sceptical of the process. Some think that even if you do know your biological age, it is a stretch to believe that you could use the concept to help you live longer.

Alex Zhavoronkov, chief executive of Insilico Medicine, which uses artificial intelligence to develop drugs targeting age-related diseases, says biological age is a useful concept for drug development. But he says he doubts that people will be able to use behaviours to live longer, based on studies of lifespan in different countries around the world.

“Extreme optimization of sleep, exercise and diet is unlikely to result in dramatic lifespan increases,” he says.

Growing interest in biological age is fueled by advances in the field of epigenetics, the study of how gene expression is affected by behaviours and the environment.

Dr. Sinclair at Harvard is developing a biological-age test based on chemical changes on DNA found in cells from the side of the cheek taken in a swab you do at home. He plans to launch it with a new company called Tally Health.

Dr. Sinclair has been criticized by other scientists for hyping the results of some of his findings, like the antiaging effects found in the compound resveratrol, claims he rebuts. He says that he doesn’t overstate his research findings and that the resveratrol research was published in leading scientific journals. He has co-founded more than a dozen biotech companies and is invested in most of them, including some that are developing therapeutics that target the biology of aging.

Segterra Inc.’s InsideTracker, a personalized-nutrition company founded by scientists from Harvard, Tufts University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, calculates biological age by having users take blood tests and analyzing the samples for markers of conditions like inflammation, heart health and liver or kidney disorder. Those who test as older than their years get recommendations to adjust diet, exercise and supplements.

Many other health startups are offering testing that purports to calculate biological age, sometimes with little scientific backing, and designing supplements aimed at boosting youthfulness.

Stephen Roberts, a winery owner in France, tested himself earlier this year with an at-home blood test by U.K.-based biotech company GlycanAge Ltd. The test was part of an effort by Mr. Roberts to improve his health at age 51.

“I drink. I sometimes smoke and party and eat what I want,” he says, so he expected his biological age to be a lot older than his calendar age.

He says he was shocked when test results reported hisbiological age was 24.

“My first reaction was: ‘This is wrong.’” He says he hasn’t made any changes as a result of the test but plans to test again later this year.

Gordan Lauc, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Zagreb, in Croatia, and chief scientific officer of GlycanAge, says the results make sense given Mr. Roberts’s genetics—longevity runs in his family—and lifestyle, which is likely lower-stress than most.

Michael Roizen, an anesthesiologist and chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic, created one of the first biological age calculators 25 years ago based on a questionnaire. He sold it to digital health company Sharecare Inc., where he receives stock options as a member of its scientific advisory board.

Dr. Roizen now has a book and website due out in the spring, part of a new company he says will be aimed at helping people understand how to live longer.

Exercise, for instance, doemore than strengthen your heart, he says. Working out switches on a gene that starts a chain reaction that increases secretion of a protein that improves memory, studies show. Your methods of managing stress can switch on or off the functioning of more than 250 genes, Dr. Roizen says.

“Your choices have a much more profound effect than just changing whether your heart is beating fast or slow,” says Dr. Roizen.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 24, 2022.

MOST POPULAR

Interior designer Thomas Hamel on where it goes wrong in so many homes.

Following the devastation of recent flooding, experts are urging government intervention to drive the cessation of building in areas at risk.

Related Stories

30 metres of water frontage across a 1733sqm block.

By Kanebridge News
Fri, Jun 24, 2022 < 1 min

With views up the coastline to the NSW central coast comes this magnificent double oceanfront block — a rare setting for the ultimate family holiday retreat.

Boasting level lawns that spill down to 30-metre of ocean frontage, the 1733sqm plot plays host to a three-level 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom, 2-car garage home in one of Whale Beach’s most tightly held cul-de-sacs.

A contemporary masterclass in style, the home showcases free-flowing spaces with glass-wrapped interiors in a layout that accommodates family and friends.

Within the main living spaces comes a state-of-the-art kitchen with Calacatta marble and stainless-steel benchtops accompanied by a full suite of Gaggenau appliances and a separate walk-in cool room.

Other living zones found on the ground level include a games room and sun-drenched terrace with its own Miele appointed kitchen.

Outside sees a 15-metre resort style pool to soak up the sun and watery views, while the poolside studio is fully self-contained and perfect for extra weekend guests.

Accommodation is comprised of three luxurious ensuite bedrooms — of which several open directly to the terraces. The master bedroom has access to the home office, large walk-in-robe and cellar or store room.

Further luxurious additions to the home include a gym, jacuzzi, pizza oven, BBQ and Ecosmart fireplace.

The listing is with LJ Hooker Palm Beach’s David Edwards 0415 440 044 with the POA. palmbeach.ljhooker.com.au

It comes as falling volumes and declining prices reflected a weakness likely to continue in the established homes market.

By Kanebridge News
Wed, Jun 22, 2022 < 1 min

The nation’s housing sales fell by $8 billion in the three months to March when compared to the previous quarter according to data provider CoreLogic’s quarterly Pain & Gain report.

It comes as falling volumes and declining prices reflected a weakness likely to continue in the established homes market.

The fall in nominal profits from $38 billion in December echoed the decline in loss-making sales to $261 million from $355 million. Declines in housing values only kicked in after the March quarter, with the extent of loss-making sales predicted to increase.

CoreLogic’s analysis of 106,000 establish home sales in the March quarter showed the proportion of profit-making sales fell to 92.7% from the December quarter’s 94% peak figure.

The March quarter saw the first time profitable housing sales fell in a year and a half — unit profitability declining faster than houses.

The pandemic was the last cause of such a decline, in the three months to August 2020.

The major markets of Sydney and Melbourne are the cities most at risk due to higher interest rates, and therefore made the biggest contribution to loss-making sales over the quarter — the rate of unprofitable sales in both cities rising to 4.8%.

 Hobart was the city with the highest proportion of profit-making sales for the 15th straight quarter. Just 1 per cent of the Tasmanian capital’s sales made a loss in the March quarter, down from 1.6 per cent in December. 

Further the report fleshes out the different pace of growth between houses and apartments that has made units more affordable into the March quarter. Between the onset of Covid-19 in March 20202 and this year’s March quarter, combined capital city house values rose 25.8% compared to units at 10.6%.

As part of the NSW government’s budget, changes have been made to the tax.

By Kanebridge News
Tue, Jun 21, 2022 2 min

NSW first home buyers will be given the choice to pay stamp duty or an annual land tax under a major reform by the Perrottet government in a test to move away from transfer duties.

In Dominic Perrottet’s first budget as the NSW premier, he has proposed an overhaul of property and housing taxes.

Under the new $730 million property tax plan — that sits at the core of the NSW Budget — first home buyers will have the option of paying the upfront cost of stamp duty, or an annual property tax payment of $400 plus 0.3% of the land value of the property. It will be available on homes valued at less than $1.5 million.

Ahead of the budget, Mr Perrottet said the initiative is aimed at aiding first-home buyers get into the market.

“We want to lower the barriers to owning a home for first home buyers seeking a place of their own,” Mr Perrottet said. “In the past two decades, the share of first home buyers under 35 years of age has declined from 67 per cent to 61 per cent.”

The scheme put forward by the Liberal state government is the second of its kind in the country, with the ACT halfway through a 20-year transition away from stamp duty. There, once a buyer accepts the land tax option it is permanently removed from the stamp duty system.

The NSW model will differ from the ACT scheme in that homes can revert to stamp duty once they are sold to a new owner.

Legislation for the new plan will be introduced into parliament in the second half of the yar, with eligible first home buyers to apply to opt into the program from January 16 in 2023. Any home buyers who purchase in between the laws being passed and the program coming into effect will be able to have their stamp duty payments refunded.