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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds Patterns of Biomarkers Predict How Well People Age, Risks of Age-Related Disease

Levels of specific biomarkers, or chemicals found in the blood, can be combined to produce patterns that signify how well a person is aging and his or risk for future aging-related diseases, according to a new study by researchers at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH).

The study, published online in the journal Aging Cell, used biomarker data collected from the blood samples of almost 5,000 participants in the Long Life Family Study, funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The researchers found that a large number of people—about half—had an average “signature,” or pattern, of 19 biomarkers. Smaller groups of people had specific patterns of those biomarkers that deviated from the norm and were associated with increased probabilities of association with particular medical conditions, levels of physical function, and mortality risk eight years later.

The study was led by Dr. Paola Sebastiani, professor of biostatistics at BUSPH, and Dr. Thomas Perls, professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, director of the New England Centenarian Study, and one of the principal investigators of the Long Life Family Study.

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