(Detroit Free Press 2005/ Tribune News Service)
(Detroit Free Press 2005/ Tribune News Service)

If you could know when you would die, would you want to? Scientists uncovered a biological clock that gives researchers clues on approximately how long a person will likely live.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh with the aid of researchers in Australia and the United States studied the chemical change to DNA which is known as methylation.

Methylation can influence how genes are turned off and on throughout a person’s lifespan without altering the DNA sequence. Using these changes, researchers are then able to predict how old an individual is. Comparing their actual age to their biological clock age, the researchers began to see a pattern.

People whose biological age was greater than their actual age were more likely to die sooner.

Four independent studies, which tracked the lives of nearly 5,000 people for nearly 14 years, were conducted by taking blood samples in the beginning and throughout the study.

Accounting for factors such as smoking, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, researchers found a correlation between having a faster running biological clock and early death.

Riccardo Marioni of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology said that the same results in four studies indicated a link between the biological clock and deaths from all different causes. So far, it is unclear to researchers what lifestyle or genetic factors have a role in influencing someone’s biological age. Marioni said that researchers have several follow-up studies to investigate it further.

Researchers believe that this study helps increase understanding of longevity and healthy aging.

Information compiled from Sciencedaily.com

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