Scientists develop ‘life clock’ that predicts life expectancy

How old are you? Usually we calculate how long we have lived so far, based on the calendar, starting with the time of birth. However, this actual age does not necessarily reflect a person’s biological age. After all, genetics, nutrition, infection, stress and other factors will make the rate of aging vary from person to person, each person “old” degree is not the same.

Scientists develop 'life clock' that predicts life expectancy

The actual age may not be the same as the physiological age. Pixabay.

To more accurately measure the extent to which a person ages and weakens, scientists have developed methods such as measuring muscle strength or gait, comparing the telomere length of chromosomes, and so on. Scientists studying aging hope that a comprehensive set of measures of “old” can eventually be built that not only predicts how long a person can live healthy, but also helps shed light on what causes aging-related diseases and how they can extend their lives.

Professor David Sinclair of Harvard University, a leading scientist in the field of anti-aging, recently led a research team that took a step forward. Using artificial intelligence, they have developed two “life clocks” that measure the physiological age of mice and predict how long they will live.

Scientists develop 'life clock' that predicts life expectancy

The findings were published in Nature Communications, an academic journal.

For the study, the team followed the health of 60 mice for more than a year, starting at 21 months and dying of natural causes. The researchers say this is the first study to track the debilitating changes in a mouse’s life.

Every six weeks, the researchers performed a “physical examination” of the mice, which included walking ability, hunchback level, hearing and vision. These indicators are also commonly used to measure the extent of aging in humans.

Scientists develop 'life clock' that predicts life expectancy

From hair, gait, bone morphology and so on, we can see that the older mice on the left are weaker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The researchers then used artificial intelligence to train two computer models to study the mice’s physical data. One model, called WRIGHT, infers from the degree of weakness how old the mice are physically. Another model, calledAFRAID, is more like a life countdown clock that predicts the remaining life span of aging mice. UsingAFRAID, researchers were able to predict the life expectancy of mice up to a year in advance — equivalent to one-third of the “rat birth” in advance, with an accuracy of two months.

The researchers say they named the two models because aging and death are often frightening. “Many aspects of aging are really scary, but we want to find ways to slow down aging and even get older and keep us young for longer.” Dr. Michael Schultz, one of the study’s lead authors, said.

Scientists say such life clocks can help speed up the finding of long-lived genes and ways to slow aging. “Usually, it takes up to three years to track whether a drug or dietary intervention can slow aging, even in mice.” Alice E. E., another lead author of the study, said: “It’s very important that we have a good way to go. “With predictive biometrics, we can more quickly confirm whether interventions are working,” Dr Kane said. “

Of course, there are very different physiological differences between mice and humans, and the effects of behavior, environmental and social factors on human health are obviously much more complex, so these two “life clocks” are not yet used to predict human health, physical age and longevity.

But the researchers believe that, in principle, human weakness indicators could also be used to develop “life countdown” clocks likeAFRAID, “provided there is a data set that tracks from age 60 to age 90 and has important mortality follow-up data.” Dr Schultz said: “As far as we know, there is no such large longitudinal research data set. “

What would you do if you had such a life clock that accurately predicted a person’s health and life expectancy? Perhaps we have the opportunity to change our unhealthy lifestyle earlier, or to use drug interventions to achieve a longer healthy life.