A lot of people wonder when old age actually begins and which health markers can best predict who lives a long and healthy life. Developing metrics to answer these questions was carried out in a research that was published in Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, a publication of the Gerontological Society of America.
With the rapid development of new genetics tools, scientists are inching closer to developing therapies that can help expand the human lifespan but the effects of such therapies is yet unclear. While it used to be assumed that therapies that can extend lifespan would also extend health span, recent research shows that this may not always be the case.
With the growth of so many anti-aging therapies, the need for the development of new avenues to analyze healthy aging has risen. So rather than working towards only prolonging longevity, interest has been shifted to using tools that allow scientists to focus on lifespan-enhancing therapies that can actually have positive effects on health.
A post-doctoral researcher involved with the study’s lead investigators said that all anti-aging interventions aren’t equal and that research is mainly aimed at developing tools in order to aid scientists to assess the effects that lifespan-enhancing interventions have on overall health span.
Molecular mechanisms of aging is an area of focus of research at the MDI Biological Laboratory that is pioneering new ways to approach regenerative medicine that is focused on the development of drugs to improve the body’s ability to repair loss of damaged organs and tissues.
A tiny roundworm that lives in the soil is a popular model in aging research where scientists can assess the effects of anti-aging interventions (including drug therapies and genetic manipulation). The roundworm shares many of its genes with humans and its health markers also roughly correspond to those in humans. One such marker that scientists found to be productive of a healthy life was the movement speed. Movement speed corresponds to the speed of walking in humans and studies have found this to be a good predictor of longevity. The next steps of scientists will be to develop movement speed as a marker to assess the effects of anti-aging interventions. The bottom line, however, is for scientists to develop metrics to better assess the effect that anti-aging interventions on the overall quality of life.