Everyone has that friend that looks like it’s been trapped in time for the past 15 years. Or that friend that looks like they’re three times older than us even though they born after we were. And science says that the changes go much deeper than just the physical appearance.
A new study conducted by researchers over at Duke University has tried to find the answer for why some people age quicker than others, and found that the best clues to how you will age start to reveal themselves when you’re in your mid 20s.
In order to answer the question, Daniel W. Belsky and Terrie E. Moffitt, colleagues from Duke University, studied 954 people who were born in Dunedin (New Zealand). All of the subjects had to have born between the years of 1972 and 1973, so that the researchers had a group of people who shared the same age and could make accurate comparisons.
Daniel W. Belsky, lead author and assistant professor with an expertise geriatrics at the Center for Ageing from Duke University, gave a statement saying that even though previous studies have looked at elderly people, he and his team felt that is was important to look at younger individuals and understand what processes their bodies go through when they age, if the experts are to have any chance of finding a method of preventing age related illnesses.
The contrasts that they stumbled upon were remarkable. It turns out that some 38 year olds in the study looked like they haven’t aged a day since they turned 26, while other 38 year olds looked they were close to the age of 60.
In order to reach this finding, Daniel W. Belsky and Terrie E. Moffitt first tested and examined the subjects when they turned 26, than when they turned 32, and then when they turned 38.
The subjects were put through medical tests that assessed the state of their metabolic functions, body mass index (BDI), height, immune functions, lungs, hearts, blood vessels, kidneys, livers and gums. But they were also asked to take IQ tests that help researchers measure their cognitive decline.
The results showed that the changes did not only happen on the outside, but also on the inside. Subjects who were 38 years of age but looked much older on the outside, also had higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol and higher levels of inflammation.
Their balance was not as good as that of younger looking subjects, and their grip was weaker too.
Mentally, the IQ tests revealed that there was cognitive decline and they were also at a higher risk of developing some form of dementia.
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