Our biological clock can help predict how long we will live

A chemical modification to DNA, known as methylation, takes place throughout our lifetime, providing what could be considered a biological clock age. New research suggests that the biological clock age can tell us more about how long we will live than our actual age. Scientists from the University of Edinburgh, worked in collaboration with researchers […]

A chemical modification to DNA, known as methylation, takes place throughout our lifetime, providing what could be considered a biological clock age. New research suggests that the biological clock age can tell us more about how long we will live than our actual age.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh, worked in collaboration with researchers in Australia and the US to track the biological age of 5,000 older people by gathering blood samples for up to 14 years.

Despite certain lifestyle factors, they found that a faster-running biological clock meant an earlier death.

Dr Riccardo Marioni, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, said: “The same results in four studies indicated a link between the biological clock and deaths from all causes. At present, it is not clear what lifestyle or genetic factors influence a person’s biological age. We have several follow-up projects planned to investigate this in detail.”

The study’s principal investigator, Professor Ian Deary, said: “This new research increases our understanding of longevity and healthy aging. It is exciting as it has identified a novel indicator of aging, which improves the prediction of lifespan over and above the contribution of factors such as smoking, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”