Loneliness can make our biological clock tick faster.
Being lonely and feeling unhappy can speed up the aging process more than smoking, according to a recent article published in Aging-US.
“We prove ourselves [that] psychological factors, such as feeling unhappy or being lonely, add one year and eight months to biological age,” said lead author Dr. Fedor Galkin, director of scientific business development at Deep Longevity in Hong Kong, according to a statement.
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“The aggregate effect outweighs the effects of biological sex, living area and marital and smoking status,” he said. “We conclude that the psychological component should not be ignored in aging studies because of its significant impact on biological age.”
Everyone has a chronological age that is determined by their birth dates, according to the document.
But we also have an “aging clock” that is influenced by our genetics, lifestyle choices and environment, the report added.
The international research team noted that molecular damage accumulates as we age, contributing to the development of disease.
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But for some people, the aging process moves faster, which is called “accelerated aging.”
The researchers developed an aging clock based on blood panels from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) dataset to define biological age in a sample of Chinese adults.
“Successful aging is a person over 65 without significant disabilities and with normal cognitive function and social engagement.”
CHARLS is a nationwide study that includes a Chinese population over 45; includes information on participants’ social and economic status, health history, biometrics and blood panels.
The authors noted that China has the lowest percentage of “successful aging” among East Asian countries.
“Successfully aged is a person over 65 without significant disabilities and with normal cognitive function and social engagement,” according to the study.
Due to China’s large population, the number of people over 65 in China is larger compared to the number of people over 65 in all of Europe, so the study notes that “understanding the aging in China can provide important information about aging in the world.”
Researchers developed a new “aging clock” using blood and biometric data from 11,914 Chinese adults.
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It is the first of its kind to be used in a Chinese cohort of this magnitude.
What is an “aging clock”?
“An aging clock is a digital model of aging [based] in thousands of human samples,” Galkin told Fox News Digital.
“Learn to identify fingerprints of aging by inspecting biomarker profiles annotated with chronological age.”
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He explained that the “aging clock” can estimate a person’s age by looking at that person’s biomarkers.
He noted that “if a person is recognized by this model as an elderly person, their molecular aging processes are accelerated.”
Factors that accelerate age
The study found that people with a history of stroke, liver and lung disease, as well as smokers, had accelerated aging.
But he also discovered that a “vulnerable mental state” can accelerate aging.
Feeling hopeless, unhappy and lonely increased biological age more than smoking, according to the group’s press release. It also found that being single and living in a rural area (and facing a lack of adequate medical services) were also linked to accelerated aging.
“Mental and psychosocial states are some of the most robust predictors of health outcomes and quality of life, but have been largely omitted from modern health care,” said co-author Manuel Faria, who is affiliated with the psychology department at Stanford. University, in a press release.
Limitations of the study
The study notes that one limitation was the survey method: Participants were asked questions about their psychological well-being by rating the frequency of certain feelings or problems during the previous week.
Another limitation of the study was that the research only included participants who were part of an older Chinese adult population, so the results of the new study need to be replicated in a comparable Western population, Galkin told Fox News Digital.
“Combined with our previous study, we now have a way to improve longevity potential using only behavioral measures,” Galkin added.
Early detection of accelerated aging may have real-world applications to “help prevent the onset of aging-related diseases or find ways to slow aging.”
“This concept has been implemented in FuturSelf.AI, which we plan to refine further.”
FuturSelf.AI offers a free assessment of a user’s “psychological age”. Deep Longevity of Hong Kong released it earlier this year.
Early detection of accelerated aging may have real-world applications to “help prevent the onset of aging-related diseases or find ways to slow aging,” Galkin told Fox News Digital.
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The study’s aging clock could also motivate future ways to “slow or even reverse psychological aging on a national scale,” co-author Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of Insilico Medicine, added in a press release , which is located in Hong Kong and New York. release
The authors conclude that how we age is nuanced. Aging is determined not only by physical factors, but also, to some extent, by our emotional well-being and social status.
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“We interpreted biological age as an indicator of general health status and show that positive feelings (happiness, hope, security) have a significant impact on the former,” the paper said.
“The study results further support the need for companionship and a psychologically pleasant environment for healthy longevity.”