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Longevity Briefs: Uncovering Markers of Healthy Aging

Posted on 14 October 2020

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Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: A biomarker is a measurable signal that gives us information about the physical state of an individual. They allow us to identify disease in a patient, monitor how that disease is progressing, and check how the patient responds to a particular treatment. Biomarkers tell us what is going on inside the body and are crucial for successfully treating it if something does go wrong.
When it comes to healthy aging, the biomedical sciences has had, and is having, a difficult time finding effective biomarkers.

What did the researchers do: Using the hallmarks of aging as a framework, researchers primarily based at the Institute of Aging in Toulouse, France, reviewed the current biomarkers we have for measuring healthy aging. The hallmarks of aging are nine biochemical processes that drive biological aging, outlined in one of geosciences seminal papers. This review suggests an optimal biomarker for each hallmark based on current literature.

Source: The hallmarks of Ageing. López-Otin et al. 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.039

Key takeaway(s) from this research: Given the complexity of the aging process, the likelihood that a single biomarker will ever be able to convey all of the information we need to accurately measure healthy aging seems very low. The review concludes that there is a major need for longitudinal studies of a diverse cohort of middle-aged people taking repeated measures of physical and mental functions. This would allow the identification of early biomarkers of healthy aging.

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