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Decoding Organ Aging: Predicting Disease and Aging Effects through Plasma Proteomics

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Ethan Sulliva
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Decoding Organ Aging: Predicting Disease and Aging Effects through Plasma Proteomics

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Understanding the aging process of human organs is crucial for predicting and mitigating age-related diseases. A recent study published in Nature offers significant insights into this complex process. The research, which involved a proteomic analysis, identified serologic indicators of organ aging and disease. It developed a novel approach to study organ aging and predict diseases using plasma proteomics data, offering a comprehensive resource of organ aging information for nearly 6,000 individuals across the adult lifespan and various age-associated disease states.

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Unraveling the Complexities of Organ Aging

The study explores organ aging in humans and its effects on age-related diseases. The researchers utilized blood plasma proteins to measure organ-specific aging differences in living individuals. The findings revealed that nearly 20% of the population exhibits strongly accelerated age in one organ, and 1.7% are multi-organ agers. This accelerated organ aging confers a 20-50% higher mortality risk, suggesting that accelerated aging of specific organs can predict the risk of diseases such as heart failure, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Decoding Aging through Plasma Proteomics

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The research introduces a new method to study organ aging using plasma proteomics data. This approach involves the quantification of organ-specific protein molecules in plasma and the use of machine learning algorithms. The method was applied to examine aging in 11 main organs, offering a simple and interpretable way to assess and track human aging.

Accelerated Aging and Mortality Risk

The study, which involved 5,700 people, found that about one in five healthy individuals aged 50 and older had an organ that was aging at an accelerated rate. When the biological age of an organ was much greater than the chronological age of the person, there was a 20-50% higher risk of mortality and organ-specific diseases. This further confirms the connection between accelerated organ aging and the risk of diseases such as heart failure, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and obesity.

A Simple Blood Test for Aging Assessment

The findings suggest that a simple blood test can estimate the biological age of an organ, thereby predicting a person's risk for disease related to that organ. This could potentially serve as an early identification tool for accelerated organ aging, enabling therapeutic interventions before clinical symptoms manifest. About 1 in every 5 reasonably healthy adults aged 50 or older is walking around with at least one organ aging at a strongly accelerated rate. A simple blood test may be able to identify which, if any, organs in an individual's body are aging rapidly, guiding therapeutic interventions well before clinical symptoms appear.

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