CHENGDU, China -- How old are you? Some researchers from West CHina Hospital, Sichuan University, say the answer is more complex than you might expect.
Your chronilogal age is based on your birth date. But so much more goes into aging. These researchers define aging as "an irreversible decline in the functional capacity and stress resistance associated iwth increased risk of morbidity and mortality." Genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle all funnel into the aging process. Chronilogical agining is easy to calculate; the researchers wanted a way to identify "biological age"
This research, just published today (Thursday, February 27, 2018) calims "curent consensus is that aging is driven by the lifelong gradual accumumlation of a broad variety of molecular faults in the cells and tissues." You can read the entire research report here.
Basically, the researchers believe damage to cells from years of "oxidative stress" is what ages us. They analyzed urine samples from more than 1,200 Chineese between the ages of 2 and 90. The molecule they think might be an indicator of aging rose consistently as people got older. There wasn't much difference between men and women until women went through menopause. That's when the level of the molecule rose even higher.
The findings of this research could be helpful for future, large-scale aging studies that researchers hope would better assess a person's risk of age-related illnesses and even premature death.