Rates of chronological aging vary from biological aging, says study

A study conducted on people born within one year of each other has revealed that there’s a huge difference in the rates at which they undergo biological aging. The said study has been published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

During the study, researchers tracked different physical traits in the participants, which include gum health, weight, and kidney function. They found that some 38 year old individuals participating in the research were aging so fast that biologically they could be compared to people nearing their retirement.

The research team then concentrated on identifying the factors that were influencing the aging speed. The researchers followed a total of 954 individuals living in a particular town in New Zealand. Each of these participants was born between 1972 and 1973. Eighteen different aging-related traits were checked at three different stages of their life i.e. when they became 26, 32 and 38 years of age.

These analyses revealed that when at 38, the biological age of the participants appeared to be similar to individuals in their late 20s to those who were approaching 60. Professor Terrie Moffitt of US’s Duke University informed that accelerated aging process made people look rough and they also appeared to lack vitality.

The findings of the study indicated that while there were some who almost didn’t age at all during the course of the study, there were people who started becoming 3 years older biologically after every twelve months. Individuals, who were found to be older biologically, did worse in brain function tests; their grip was also found to be weaker than other people of their age.

The biological age of the majority of the people monitored by the researchers was a few years less or more than their chronological age. It’s not yet been explained clearly how the speed of biological aging alters with all these measures.


According to Prof. Moffitt, we don’t do the right thing by using chronological age for different purposes. She feels that more information about our biological age would have allowed us to be more egalitarian and fair. She said that it’s unfair to ask people to retire when they are working at their peak.

The researchers were surprised to see such difference between people’s chronological and biological ages at such a young age. However, they said that these findings might help scientists to create methods to reduce the speed of aging.