A study of nearly one thousand 38-year-olds found that while most had biological ages close to the number of birthdays they had notched up, others were far younger or older.
Researchers used 18 physiological markers, including blood pressure, organ function, and metabolism, to assess the biological age of each of the participants. For some, the past dozen years had taken no obvious toll on their body’s biology.
But others were not so fortunate. A good many participants had biological ages in the 50s, while one, described by scientists as an “extreme case”, had a biological age of 61 years old. That meant that for every birthday over the past dozen years, their body had aged three years.
“The overwhelming majority are biologically in their mid-40s or younger, but there are a handful of cases who are in pretty bad shape. In the future, we’ll come to learn about the different lives that fast and slow ageing people have lived,” said Daniel Belsky at Duke University in North Carolina.