Measuring age!!

Steve Chambers steve at chambers.ak.planet.co.nz
Wed Dec 21 18:56:24 EST 1994


In <3d67n9$lrs at mserv1.dl.ac.uk> <rattan at kemi.aau.dk> writes:
>With reference to somebody's query about age estimation:
>HOW DESPARATELY WE WISH THERE WERE ANY REAL BIOMARKER OF AGE, there is
>no biochemical, molecular, cellular, physiological, psychological marker
>of age and ageing that can be applicable to even a large number of species
>or even to all individuals of a species. All these racemisations, oxidation
>of proteins, rates of various things' synthesis/turnover are specific to
>limited number of ageing systems. By the way, there are never going to be
>any universal biomarkers of ageing because no two individuals age in
>exactly the same way at any level of analysis.
>Suresh Rattan, Aarhus, Denmark

You're quite right that no two individuals age in exactly the same way.
This fact doesn't preclude us, however, from using a variety of biochemical,
functional and other indices to track the course of aging processes.

You'll note that I use the plural.  Those who are preoccupied with measuring
aging often make the assumption that it is one process, or that it may
ultimately be explained in terms of one process.  It can't be and it won't 
be - once we accept this we can get on with measuring and treating its
component parts.

The study of "biomarkers" lets us do this.  What we learn lets us
predict functional decrement _and_ length of life with some accuracy.  
This makes biomarkers useful and "real".


-- 
 ________________________ 
(I_lurk,_therefore_I_am!_\ ,,,                    Steve Chambers
                          (o o)   steve at chambers.ak.planet.co.nz
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