Biological age in healthy elderly predicts aging-related diseases including dementia

Julia W. Wu*, Amber Yaqub, Yuan Ma, Wouter Koudstaal, Albert Hofman, M. Arfan Ikram, Mohsen Ghanbari, Jaap Goudsmit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Application of biological age as a measure of an individual´s health status offers new perspectives into extension of both lifespan and healthspan. While algorithms predicting mortality and most aging-related morbidities have been reported, the major shortcoming has been an inability to predict dementia. We present a community-based cohort study of 1930 participants with a mean age of 72 years and a follow-up period of over 7 years, using two variants of a phenotypic blood-based algorithm that either excludes (BioAge1) or includes (BioAge2) neurofilament light chain (NfL) as a neurodegenerative marker. BioAge1 and BioAge2 predict dementia equally well, as well as lifespan and healthspan. Each one-year increase in BioAge1/2 was associated with 11% elevated risk (HR 1.11; 95%CI 1.08–1.14) of mortality and 7% elevated risk (HR 1.07; 95%CI 1.05–1.09) of first morbidities. We additionally tested the association of microRNAs with age and identified 263 microRNAs significantly associated with biological and chronological age alike. Top differentially expressed microRNAs based on biological age had a higher significance level than those based on chronological age, suggesting that biological age captures aspects of aging signals at the epigenetic level. We conclude that accelerated biological age for a given age is a predictor of major age-related morbidity, including dementia, among healthy elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15929
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the dedication, commitment, and contribution of inhabitants, general practitioners, and pharmacists of the Ommoord district to the Rotterdam Study. The Rotterdam Study is funded by Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University, Rotterdam; Netherlands Organization for the Health Research and Development (ZonMw); the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE); the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sports; the European Commission (DG XII), and the Municipality of Rotterdam. This work was partially supported by an unrestricted grant from the Janssen Prevention Center (JWW, JG, AH). The funding organizations had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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