Thanks to new “groundbreaking” research, scientists believe they might be able to spot future frailty in people as young as 20.
We’re living in a culture obsessed with youth, so it’s hardly surprising that most of us have wondered how well we’ll age. With any luck, of course, we’ll grow old gracefully like Jennifer Lopez, and be rocking a 20-something body at 50 – only time will tell.
But what if we could predict how we’ll age right now? We might be able to. Thanks to “groundbreaking” research, scientists believe they might have found a way to predict how well we will age – specifically, how frail we’ll become as we get older. And the answer, they say, might lie in our blood.
While there is no clinical definition of frailty per se, it is usually understood to mean a decline in resilience, which leads to symptoms like muscle weakness, fatigue, and even depression.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Strathclyde, looked at the blood samples from nearly 2000 people between the ages of 56 and 84, then followed up on 786 of these participants four years later. In addition to this, they also analysed the blood of 1200 elderly people to assess whether there were any patters within these samples associated with frailty.
Researchers concluded that a set of 12 specific substances produced in the metabolism could differentiate between frail and non-frail individuals, meaning that someone who contained these 12 substances in their blood, was likely to experience frailty in the future.
Before this experiment very little was known about the biological markers of frailty and, fascinatingly, researchers claim they could potentially predict frailty from the blood of people as young as in their 20s or 30s.
“We believe this assessment is the first of its kind. It could lead to a far deeper understanding of the ageing process and how to potentially develop intervention strategies for ageing poorly,” lead author of the study Nicholas Rattray said.
“This research has opened the door to developing ways to rapidly and accurately quantify frailty and apply this knowledge directly within the clinical environment.”
Of course, we should think of ageing as a blessing regardless, but if this research leads to prevention in the future, it could help us to live healthier for longer.