Four different studies, which tracked 5,000 older people for a period of up to 14 years, is a collaborative effort of researchers from the University of Edinburgh, and researchers in Australia and the US. Researchers studied chemical changes to DNA to establish an individual’s biological age and compared it with their actual age.
The results showed that people with biological age greater than their true age were more likely to die sooner than those whose biological and actual ages were the same.
Each person’s biological age was measured from a blood sample at the outset and participants were followed up throughout the study.
Dr Riccardo Marioni, Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, said that similar same results in the four studies hinted that a link between the biological clock and deaths from all causes including those resulting from smoking, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“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”, Dr. Marioni added.
“This new research increases our understanding of longevity and healthy ageing,” said the study’s lead author Ian Deary from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology.