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Longevity Markers

August 2, 2013

Low birth weight, unhealthy aging, and chemical signatures in the blood may all be intertwined.



Aging clocks in the blood. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(Jupiter Images)

Chemicals in the blood may partly predict aging and longevity, even from birth. This according to epidemiologist Ana Valdes, of King’s College London and the University of Nottingham. Her team studied 22 metabolites, which are chemical by-products of biological functions that correlate with aging. One in particular was strongly linked to low birth weight, a predictor of age-related health problems. That metabolite was also linked to DNA changes that result from environmental factors, like nutrition in the womb.

ANA VALDES (King’s College, London/University of Nottingham):

And that may affect how much of these metabolites you produce in your blood, and how that is related to aging and poor health is something that we yet have to investigate.

Understanding these processes may someday make it possible to avert health problems decades in advance and extend potential lifespans. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.