How Fast Are You Aging? Researchers Discuss Their ‘Pace of Aging’ Score

Summary: The “pace of aging” score converts several health variables into a single measure that reflects a person’s biological aging rate.

Source: Duke University

Five decades ago, Duke psychologists Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi began working with a long-term study of 1,000 people in New Zealand to get a better perspective on how childhood factors may have led to adolescent behaviors, such as risk-taking.

But after following all the children born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972 and ’73 for several decades, the married researchers’ questions began to shift: How were the childhood differences reflected in middle age health, and how is it, as the group enters its 50s, that they all seem to be aging at different rates?

Biologically, we all age. Joints get stiffer, arteries get thinner and eyes and ears just don’t gather information they way they used to.

From a biological perspective, we all age at different rates. Some of it is genetics and some of it is lifestyle and environment, dating back to childhood factors. Credit: Duke University

Based on their unparalleled collection of health data on these people, Moffitt and Caspi have come up with a “pace of aging” score that converts all those health variables into a single measure that reflects whether a person is biologically aging one year for every year on the calendar, or whether they’re aging slower or faster.

This shows an older lady sitting in her garden
Biologically, we all age. Joints get stiffer, arteries get thinner and eyes and ears just don’t gather information they way they used to. Image is in the public domain

That scoring system is now being converted into a measure based on epigenetic markers, placemarks on the genes that reflect their life experiences.

About this aging research news

Author: Press Office
Source: Duke University
Contact: Press Office – Duke University
Image: The image is in the public domain

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  1. Watch the video and it will do a better job explaining how the authors used their data collected spanning 5 decades. They showed how the aging process can be measured by detecting changes in the methylation of our DNA – genes correlated with the aging process. Will it galvanize people to implement lifestyle changes to delay the aging process? And where do we start? And do people have the courage or the will to do something about it? That’s the hardest part.

  2. I agree with other comments. This article, as written, tells us near nothing, no specifics regarding factors that relate to pace of aging. Even an single example or two would have been nice. I now know zero more about this topic than I did before reading the article.

  3. At age 88 I am not feeling old….I am still working as a psychotherapist and still play basketball with my young patients. In winter I continue to enjoy downhill skiing. I thank God for good health and attribute being able to do what I do to DNA and having been active all my life. My message to all who are younger: keep moving!!

    1. Spot on! More power to you, Mary! You’re setting a great example for your loved ones when they see you keep moving. When we do that, we increase our blood flow and that brings more oxygenated blood to your brain and other key organs in our body to stay young.

  4. In your article ” How fast are you aging?”, I was expecting an explanation of the epigenetic factors influencing rate of aging. I hope you will address this soon…as in the next article
    Otherwise, it has no practical application for readers, something I have enjoyed from your usually excellent articles which help me keep up with scientific advances

  5. Difficult to leave a reply on the article on ageing when the article just finished abruptly shortly after it started!!!

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