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Loneliness can speed up our biological clock.
Being lonely and feeling unhappy can speed up the aging process more than smoking, according to a recent article published in Aging-US.
“We demonstrate [that] psychological factors, such as feeling unhappy or being lonely, add up to a year and eight months to a person’s biological age,” said lead author Dr. Fedor Galkin, director of scientific business development at Deep Longevity in Hong Kong, according to a statement.
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“The overall effect exceeds the effects of biological sex, place of residence and marital status and smoking,” he said. “We conclude that the psychological component should not be ignored in studies of aging due to its significant impact on biological age.”
Everyone has a chronological age which is determined by their date of birth, according to the newspaper.
But we also have an “aging clock” that is influenced by our genetics, lifestyle choices and environment, the report adds.
The international research team noted that molecular damage accumulates with age, which contributes to the development of disease.
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But for some people, the aging process progresses more quickly, which is called “accelerated aging”.
The researchers developed an aging clock based on blood panels from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) dataset to define the biological age of a sample of Chinese adults.
“A successful ager is a person over the age of 65 without major disabilities and with normal cognitive function and social engagement.”
CHARLS is a nationwide study that includes a Chinese population over 45; it includes information on participants’ social and economic status, medical history, biometrics and blood panels.
The authors noted that China has the lowest percentage of “successful ageing” among East Asian countries.
“A successful ager is a person over the age of 65 without major disabilities and with normal cognitive function and social engagement,” according to the study.
Due to China’s large population, the number of people over 65 in China is higher than the number of people over 65 in all of Europe. The study therefore notes that “understanding aging in China can therefore provide important insights into aging.” in the world.”
Researchers developed a new “aging clock” with blood and biometric data from 11,914 Chinese adults.
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It is the first of its kind to be used on a Chinese cohort of this magnitude.
What is an “aging clock”?
“An aging clock is a digital model of aging [based] on thousands of human samples,” Galkin told Fox News Digital.
“It learns to identify fingerprints of aging by inspecting biomarker profiles annotated with chronological age.”
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He explained that the “aging clock” can estimate a person’s age by looking at that person’s biomarkers.
He noted that “if a person is recognized by this model as an elderly person, their molecular aging process is accelerated.”
Factors that accelerate aging
The study found that people with a history of stroke, liver and lung disease – as well as smokers – had accelerated aging.
But he also found that a “vulnerable mental state” can accelerate aging.
According to the band’s press release, feeling hopeless, unhappy and lonely increases one’s biological age more than smoking. He also found that being single and living in a rural area (and facing a lack of adequate medical services) was also linked to accelerated aging.
“Mental and psychosocial states are among the most robust predictors of health outcomes – and quality of life – yet they have been largely omitted from modern healthcare,” said co-author Manuel Faria, who is affiliated with the Department of Psychology at Stanford. University, in a press release.
Limits of the study
The study notes that one limitation was the survey method: Participants were asked about their psychological well-being by ranking the frequency of certain feelings or problems over the previous week.
Another limitation of the study was that the research only included participants who were part of a population of Chinese older adults – so the results of the new study need to be replicated in a comparable Western population, said Galkin at Fox News Digital.
“In combination with our previous study, we now have a way to improve its longevity potential using only behavioral measures,” Galkin added.
Early detection of accelerated aging may have real-world applications to “help prevent the onset of age-related diseases or find ways to slow aging.”
“This concept has been implemented in FuturSelf.AI, which we plan to refine later.”
FuturSelf.AI offers a free assessment of a user’s “psychological age”. Deep Longevity of Hong Kong released it earlier this year.
Early detection of accelerated aging may have real-world applications to “help prevent the onset of age-related diseases or find ways to slow aging,” Galkin told Fox News Digital.
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The study’s aging clock could also motivate future ways to “slow down or even reverse psychological aging nationwide,” added co-author Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of Insilico Medicine. , which is in Hong Kong and New York, in a press. Release.
The authors conclude that the way we age is nuanced. Aging is determined not only by physical factors but also, to some extent, by our emotional well-being and social status.
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“We interpreted biological age as an indicator of general health status and show that positive feelings (happiness, hope, security) have a significant impact on the former,” the journal says.
“The study findings further support the need for companionship and a psychologically pleasing environment for healthy longevity.”