‘Inflammation Clock’ Reveals Body’s Real Biological Age

Scientists from Stanford University School of Medicine in California and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging have developed an inflammatory aging clock, which can predict an individual’s likelihood of incurring age-associated diseases and frailty as they age.

The inflammatory aging clock (iAge) is one of the first of its kind to use chronic inflammation as a way to assess an individual’s health.  Based on the theory that as a person ages, chronic inflammation can cause cells within the body to become damaged, causing wear and tear on tissues and organs.

People with healthy immune systems were found to be able to neutralise some of this inflammation, thus decreasing their biological age, whereas those with poorer immune systems were unable to neutralise inflammation and thus age faster. The iAge clock is able to measure an individual’s biological age by taking into consideration health factors which can either be higher or lower than their chronological age.

In developing iAge, researchers analysed blood samples from 1,001 people from 8 to 96 years old between 2009 to 2016, in which protein markers within the blood were used to identify systematic inflammation.  One such immune-signalling protein, CXCL9, which is mainly produced by the inner lining of blood vessels, has been associated with the development of heart disease.

After developing iAge, researchers tested the clock by sampling the blood of 19 people who had lived to at least the age of 99 to calculate their biological age.  On average, the centenarians tested had an iAge of 40 years junior to their actual age, with one 105 year old man showing an inflammatory age of just 25; reinforcing the idea that people with healthier immune systems tend to live longer.

Senior author to the study, Dr David Furman, said, “Every year, the calendar tells us we’re a year older.  But not all humans age biologically at the same rate.  You see this in the clinic – some older people are extremely disease-prone, while others are the picture of health.”

Researchers are hopeful that iAge can be used as a tool to help doctors determine who will benefit from intervention in treating chronic inflammation, which may extend a person’s years of living in good health.


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Carrie Plummer - Editor & Content Manager

Gut Health & Nutrition News

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