The Loh Down On Science

The ways our bodies age will surprise you!

They say age is just a number, but the question is, which number?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

We’ve seen the online quizzes to figure out your body's actual age.  But UCLA professor Steve Horvath has found a more precise way to measure age.  And the results are kind of weird:  Different parts of the body age at different rates!

Horvath developed his age gauge by studying biomarkers associated with DNA.  He looked at fifty-one tissue types in babies, centenarians, and everyone in between.  He compared the biomarkers to each tissue’s chronological age. 

The marker system worked, accurately predicting a tissue's age.  But it also found that some grow older at different rates.  Muscles age more slowly.  Stem cells are super young, since they haven’t figured out what they want to be when they grow up. 

Breast tissue ages two or three years faster, which may explain why breast cancer is so prevalent.  Rapid aging was especially bad in tissue around tumors, which was around twelve years older!  So Horvath's method could someday be used to detect cancer. 

As for crow’s feet, we’ll still have to depend on $50 hope-in-a-jar.  Sigh. 

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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