Biomarkers of Aging

The Eyes Have It: An Eye Scanner Measures Biological Age in Humans

11 June 2020

Researchers a Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have developed an eye scanner that can track the biological age of humans based on the proteins found in the lens of the eye.

Different individuals age at different rates. The ability to measure the rate of biological ageing is essential, as it allows researchers to test whether an intervention has successfully slowed or reversed the ageing process. Multiple metrics for biological age have been developed – for example, it is possible to calculate biological age by measuring epigenetic changes to the DNA. However, these techniques are of limited use in a in a clinical setting, as they are either too invasive, impractical, or inaccurate.

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The eye scanner developed at BUSM may help solve this problem. Researchers first extracted human proteins from the lens, some of which are present before birth, and observed molecular changes that occurred over nearly a year. They then adapted their scanner to study these proteins in the lenses of living people of varying ages, and found very similar changes to those that occurred in the test tube.

The lens contains proteins that accumulate aging-related changes throughout life. These lens proteins provide a permanent record of each person’s life history of aging. Our eye scanner can decode this record of how a person is aging at the molecular level. […] eye scanning technology that probes lens protein affords a rapid, noninvasive, objective technique for direct measurement of molecular aging that can be easily, quickly, and safely implemented at the point of care. Such a metric affords potential for precision medical care across the lifespan.

Dr. Goldstein, Boston University College of Engineering
Eye Scanner Detects Molecular Aging in Humans | School of Medicine. (2020). Retrieved 11 June 2020, from https://www.bumc.bu.edu/busm/2020/06/09/eye-scanner-detects-molecular-aging-in-humans/#:~:text=In%20what%20is%20believed%20to,biological%20aging%20in%20living%20humans.

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