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Aging Test

August 16, 2006

Your organs age at different rates. But how do you know how old they are?


How old is your brain? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Do you have the muscles of a 70 year old but the kidneys of a 30 year old? A genetic test could soon measure the vitality of individual organs, regardless of actual age. That’s according to geneticist Stuart Kim of Stanford University. He and his colleagues looked at gene activity in muscle tissue from people aged 16 to 89. They found that some genes could tell them more about the youthfulness of the muscles than people’s ages. And he says some of the same genes also mark brain and kidney aging.

STUART KIM (Stanford):
Maybe if you could have some way to know if your different tissues were physically younger or physically older, this could help a lot in planning your own health.

Kim says a speedier version of the test could help determine whether organs from older donors are fit for transplant, possibly increasing the size of the organ pool and the success of transplants. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.