Human ‘tree rings’? Neuroimaging predicts life span and brain age

| | May 31, 2017
Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain with no visible abnormalities. MRI in different views
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

In recent years, scientists have plumbed the molecular depths of the body and surfaced with tell-tale biomarkers of aging, some of which extend to the brain. Now, researchers are harnessing another tool, neuroimaging, to measure the organ’s age, and using that to predict how long a person will live.

“People are searching for the tree rings of humans,” [said] James Cole, a research associate at Imperial College London…

Cole and his colleagues recently devised their own technique of predicting the biological age of people’s brains using a combination of machine learning and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. In a study published [on April 25], the team reported that this technique was able to predict mortality in humans—people with “older” brains, they found, had greater risk of dying before age 80.

Interestingly, Cole did not find an association between his brain-age predictor and the epigenetic clock. However, combining the two measures actually improved their ability to predict how long people would live.

While the biomarkers of aging might be of limited use in the clinic, at least for now, scientists see these as useful tools for studying anti-aging therapeutics.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: How to Tell a Person’s “Brain Age”

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