Baltimore, MD February 11th, 2017 – While most of us tend to think of age as the number of birthdays we’ve celebrated, scientists agree this metric, also known as our chronological age, is not the most accurate predictor of our mortality – how long we can expect to live.
A far more accurate predictor is our biological age, which measures how quickly the cells in our body will deteriorate compared with the general population. Depending on the genetics we inherit and the lifestyle choices we make regarding diet, exercise, weight, stress, and habits like smoking or drinking, our biological age can vary as much as 30 years compared with our chronological age.This explains why we sometimes meet a grey-haired, wrinkled people who looks older than the age printed on their driver’s license. It also explains why a healthy-looking person in their 60’s may have a body that’s more physiologically similar to a 40-year-old.
Because of its value in predicting our mortality, scientists have tried for years to discover a precise formula to measure our biological age – a true “aging clock”.
Such a formula would help them better understand how the aging process speeds up or slows down compared to our chronological age and how customized medical interventions can help us live longer, by effectively slowing down our clock. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, researchers at Insilico Medicine carried out a big data analysis of blood tests from 130,000 South Koreans, Canadians, and Eastern-Europeans – the largest pool of blood work ever used in a longevity study (results were published in the Journal of Gerontology). Uncovered in their analysis – an aging clock embedded in our body’s blood chemistry that forecasts when our cells and bodies are most likely to die and whether we’re getting old too quickly compared with other people our age.
"A lot of money has been spent in recent years to identify the precise biomarkers of ageing. These attempts have largely failed,” said Polina Mamoshina, a senior research scientist at Insilico Medicine. “But today, thanks to AI and the incredibly fast computational power of our deep learning, neural networks, we can discover patterns and formulas in a huge pool of blood work that could not be discovered just a few years ago.” Each of the 130,000 blood tests in the study was analyzed for 21 parameters typically measured in a blood sample including cholesterol, inflammation markers (CRP), hemoglobin count, albumin levels and 17 other chemical variants. By using AI to analyze and compare the blood chemistry, age, ethnicity, and other data from so many thousands of people in single study, researchers created a computer algorithm scientists regard as the first truly reliable aging clock for humans. The formula, when applied to data in a single drop of blood, generates a reliable forecast regarding how long we can expect to live and whether we’re aging prematurely compared with our chronological age.
Insilico scientists say the algorithm will also be useful in clinical trials for anti-aging medications because it will allow researchers to measure the efficacy of a drug by seeing whether a patient taking it shifts from an advanced-aging, higher-risk status to a healthy, lower-risk one.
Individuals interested in knowing their biological age can visit the Websitewww.Young.AI , where, after they subscribe for a free aging analysis, will be asked to upload at least 18 parameters that appeared in their latest blood test, including Albumin levels, Glucose, and 16 other data points.In addition, subscribers will be asked to upload a facial photo, allowing another Insilico AI-driven algorithm, one that recognizes signs of aging in photographs, to make the user’s biological aging estimate even more precise. The report that appears within seconds after blood work data and the user’s photo are uploaded to the Website is free. In addition to giving Website visitors a preview of their mortality, scientists hope individuals whose biological age is younger than their chronological age will be motivated to take immediate action to improve their health.
“Our test gives people a sober look at how fast or slow their biological clock is ticking,” said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, CEO of Insilico Medicine. “And for those who learn that their bodies are aging at a fast, unhealthy rate, the test will hopefully serve as a wake up call, convincing them to take steps now that will add years to their life later — all this insight from a blood test.”
Because the formula identifies mortality rates in entire populations more precisely than any human estimate, Insilico scientists hopes to work with pharmaceutical companies as they develop drugs to combat diseases that may cause high mortality rates within a specific country, ethnic group, or population. In Korean, for example, where the average life expectancy for men and women is 82.3 years, cancer and diabetes-related deaths have been increasing in recent years. In Moldova, an Eastern European country with one of the lowest life expectancy (72.1 years for men and women), coronary heart disease, stroke, and hypertension are among the leading causes of death.
While it’s well known that blood tests are used to diagnose disease and monitor our health, they can now be used to give us a preview of what lies ahead. And if the aging clock blood test suggests we’re not aging well, the test is a startling reminder of the years we can save if we have the discipline to alter our lifestyle and change our fate.
Media Inquiries - Interested in speaking with a member of the Insilico Medicine team regarding the Young.AI aging clock, please call (510) 677-2947.