As people get old, chemical changes take place in their DNA. Now scientists have discovered a correlation between these chemical changes and a person’s life.
“This new research enhances our understanding of longevity and healthy aging,” said lead researcher, prof. Ian Deary, from the Center for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh in a press release.
“It’s exciting because it has identified a new indicator of aging, which improves the life expectancy forecast on the contribution of factors such as smoking, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” he said.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and colleagues from Australia and the United States analyzed blood from 5,000 individuals for up to 14 years.
They brought to zero the chemical change known as methylimine, which may affect how genes are activated or deactivated, transmits Koha.net. Methylation worsens over time throughout the person’s genome and can be used to measure biological age.
In four studies, scientists compared the biological age of a person to his or her current age. The team found that people whose biological age was greater than their current age were more likely to die faster than those whose current biological age was the same.
Correlation proved to be true even after scientists counted other health risks, including smoking and cardiovascular disease.