It’s important to stress a few points here:
- The science into the ageing process is developing fast
- This has led to tests being available that can accurately assess your biological age, and how fast you are ageing
- Separately there is science that is focused on interventions into slowing and even reversing ageing
The fact that you can now discover your own personalised ageing profile, how old you really are and how fast or slow you are degenerating, is great. As this will enable any individual to take proactive steps to intervene (through diet, lifestyle, and exercise). And this will make a big difference at the individual level,
The second aspect, the developing drugs and treatments, that will become available very soon, and will help slow/reverse ageing is another step altogether.
Tests are now proliferating – for example a life sciences company called Elysium Health, has a saliva test called Index. It assesses the biological rate at which you are aging by examining more than 100,000 biomarkers across your genome. This type of testing is seeking to use sophisticated analysis to dig deep into your body’s very structure to elicit information. This is very different from the conventional scans and check-ups that aim to measure your heart rate, take your blood for signs of cancer, or see how your lungs are performing. Of course, if you can combine all types of test, the overall information should be enhanced from any individual type. The more you can get to know, the more precise you can be at dealing with your own situation.
It’s not just about living longer, although this on its own should be a big incentive to pursue this. You are also more likely to be healthier if you get to know your own position in fine detail, this is supported by decades of research into long living, that shows that those people who make it to 100, tend not to be ill during their 80s and early 90s. A typical centurion will not suffer ill-health until they are age 95.
If you can improve your ageing profile, and today you can do this and radically so, you are likely to improve your health in your later years. So the biomarkers and modern tests have these two (admittedly heavily related) benefits.
But it doesn’t stop there because science is really powering forward now, and in laboratories across the world experiments are showing that very soon science should be able to offer enhanced interventions, drugs that can change the ageing process. For example, ones that will target and kill errant cells. These are cells within the body that are causing ageing. There should be stem call treatments that allow for healthy cells to replace sick cells, hormone and genetic treatments to signal the body into a new phase, one that replicates younger age performance.
All of this and more, is subject to successful experiment in animals, particularly mice, where some extraordinary results have been achieved.
And again it is worth stressing how important this is in terms of health generally, not just ageing. Many of these drugs and treatments could have a profound and positive effect on cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, dementia and most other chronic illnesses. A younger person is also more resilient to infection, so this will also help with fighting against viruses.