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Biological age - "a useful source of information", according to new SWEAH research

A group of people. Picture
Xia Li (third from the left in the picture) defended her dissertation "Biological ages: correlations, genetic determinants, and health outcomes".

SWEAH affiliated Xia Li has defended her dissertation at Karolinska Institutet: Biological ages: correlations, genetic determinants, and health outcomes. She has studied “biological age”; a quantification of aging-related changes in the cellular, organ-, system-, and/or organismal features.

- Biological age can be useful as a source of information different from our chronological age. We explored a range of biological age measures, including the length of a DNA sequence called a telomere, chemical modifications to DNA, serum biomarkers, cognitive and physical functions, and the overall frailty. We found that all molecular and functional measures reflect distinct aspects of aging.

Using a set of multi-dimensional biological ages would provide complementary evidence for risk assessment and intervention effect evaluation.

Genetic background in relation to an inflammatory biomarker

- In addition, we screened the genetic background in relation to an inflammatory biomarker, C-reactive protein, in blood. We found that rare mutation carriers expressed only half the C-reactive protein concentration in the blood that the general population could normally have. This result suggests that information on rare genetic information could guide personalized medical service.

How has you affiliation with SWEAH helped you on your way to this goal?

- SWEAH vastly increases my communication with PhD students outside of KI. Particularly, my SWEAH connection helped with my defense preparation as I have invited a friend whom I met at SWEAH, Marguerita Saadeh, to join my pre-dissertation seminar. She has been very helpful by asking me great questions.

Besides, SWEAH offers an annual allowance to my study activity and paid for my conference registration fee for NKG 2021.

What are your plans for the future?

- I plan to continue working at KI and will do postdoctoral research on “mental disorders and aging” together with researchers from the two departments, IMM and MEB, says Xia Li.

Read more at the KI page