A New Kind Of Biological Clock Could Turn Back Time

UCLA researcher Steve Horvath has come up with a way to measure the biological -- rather than chronological -- age of human organs, tissues and cells. His findings could lead to new ways to slow or even stop aging.

What's the Latest Development?

UCLA genetics and biostatics professor Steve Horvath looked at over 350 biomarkers of age in the human body and measured them for certain chemical changes that occur from pre-birth to age 101. Through this, he was able to calculate the biological age of organs, tissues and cells, and found that in most cases they matched their chronological age. One key exception was breast tissue, which he says "is about two to three years older than the rest of a woman's body." He also noted that tumor tissue is, on average, 36 years older than healthy tissue, which could help explain why cancer risk grows as people age. 

What's the Big Idea?

For scientists, understanding why people age has always been a challenge. Past attempts to identify an accurate biological clock have focused on, among other things, hormones and chromosome telomeres. Horvath's method is the first to, as he puts it, "reliably [keep] time across the human anatomy." In addition to providing insights into cancer research, the findings -- which were published in the latest edition of Genome Biology -- could help with efforts to slow down or even reverse aging.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at MedicalXpress

Develop mindfulness to boost your creative intelligence

Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned mindfulness leader, teaches meditation at Big Think Edge.

Image: Big Think
Big Think Edge
  • Try meditation for the first time with this guided lesson or, if you already practice, enjoy being guided by a world-renowned meditation expert.
  • Sharon Salzberg teaches mindfulness meditation for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

For a long time, the West shaped the world. That time is over.

The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.

  • Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
  • European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Keep reading Show less

Why modern men are losing their testosterone

Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?

Flickr user Tom Simpson
Sex & Relationships
  • Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
  • While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
  • The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Keep reading Show less

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less