BIOMARKERS FOR AGING
We need biomarkers for aging as a way of measuring
the progression of the aging process in our bodies.
In other words, how well we are
aging. Early studies on
aging biomarkers reveal that even though effective
markers can be established, using them to measure how
effective an antiaging measure is, is still in the early
stages of development.
Of course, this will take time, and probably more than
a few 30-year studies. Until these studies have validated
and measurement criteria, there will be no mainstream
acceptance of anti-aging treatments.
Much of the current debate over biomarkers
is in the naming convention rather than disagreement
as to what constitutes a valid marker. So, whilst this
debate continues, we can reasonably make fair assumptions
as to what these markers are.
We must also consider that benchmarks will change.
What was previously considered an effective result,
such as having a 5 year impact, will no longer be acceptable,
when new antiaging
antiaging treatments are promising a 10 year impact.
But we need to start somewhere. The accepted first
step to establishing biological markers to aging is
still to establish scientific consensus on those factors
that cause aging. As yet, there is not full consensus
in the scientific community.
So firstly, let’s accept well known biomedical
gerontologist, Dr Aubrey de Grey's findings that there
are seven major types of damage that accrue to the passing
of time. If we could fix them all, we simply wouldn’t
Dr De Greys list includes:
- Cell loss
- Mutations in our chromosomes
- Mitochondrial mutations
- Excess cells of unneeded types (senescent cells,
- Extra-cellular cross linking (reaction between
sugars in the blood stream and long lived proteins
that causes, among other problems, hardening of the
- Extra cellular junk, garbage that needs to be brought
into the cell to be broken down by the cellular lysosomes
- Junk within the cells that the lysosomes are not
adapted to break down.
Secondly, effective tests must be developed for each
of these seven factors. Examples of such test might
- A scan of the brain and heart to measure cell loss
- Using fat DEXA to measure body fat percentage to
determine the level of excessive fat cells and the
loss of lean muscle mass.
- Blood tests to identify chromosome and mitochondrial
- Blood tests can also me used to determine the level
of Senescent cells, extra-cellular cross linking,
and junk inside and outside the cells.
- Biopsies to confirm degeneration or level of mutation
of tissues in certain cases.
Plus we need specific aging tests to measure such things
as coordination and memory Function
Thirdly, an effective measuring or scoring system such
that adding up all of the results for a complete body
of tests could produce a “biological age”.
One can only imagine how complex the weighting of each
of these factors could be in agreeing a “simple
NEXT: Measuring How
Well We Are Aging