Morgan Levine: Using epigenetic clocks to determine biological age

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We are all used to feeling younger than our years and occasionally older than our birth date would suggest. In effect, we have two ages - chronological and biological. Chronological age simply states the number of years that we have been alive, whereas biological age is a measure of how well our bodies are performing, in relation to the rest of the population.
So how is it determined? LLAMA host Peter Bowes delved into the science with Elysium Health, which has developed Index, a DNA test that tracks how fast we have been aging, based on our epigenome, which regulates the way genes work.
In this episode, Peter meets Dr. Morgan Levine, an assistant professor of pathology at Yale School of Medicine and an advisor to Elysium Health. They discuss the background to Index, its use of epigenetic clocks to put a number to our biological age, as well as the test's accuracy and implications for healthy living.
Recorded: April 21, 2021 | Read a transcript and show notes at the LLAMA podcast website.
Topics covered in this interview include:

  • Defining biological age and chronological age.
  • Age as a risk factor for death and disease
  • Having an older parent and developing an interest in aging
  • A lack of consensus over what exactly is meant by aging.
  • How much of aging can be defined as damage to the body, at a cellular level, as we grow older?
  • How do we measure biological age?
  • Genes, genomes and the epigenome.
  • Developing systems that determine biological age based on epigenetic clocks.
  • Exploring the Index epigenetic, at-home saliva test, to determine biological age.
  • Privacy concerns related to sharing personal medical information.
  • Revealing Peter's biological versus chronological age. What does it mean?
  • Interpreting the test results and taking action based on the findings.
  • Does the test reveal information specific to potential medical conditions?
  • How do doctors - primary care physicians - respond to the information gleaned from such tests?
  • The paradigm shift from disease treatment to interventions that delay illness.
  • Lifestyle interventions that promote a long, healthy life.
  • The reliability of biological age tests. Do repeat tests over a short space of time generate the same results?
  • To what extent do results vary between young and older people?
  • Lifespan and healthspan aspirations.

Disclosure: For review purposes, Elysium Health provided Peter Bowes with an Index test kit, free of charge .

This episode is brought to you in association with Clinique La Prairie, the award-winning spa-clinic and pioneering health and wellness destination - nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland. Combining preventative medicine with bespoke lifestyle and nutrition plans, Clinique La Prairie offers a holistic approach to living fuller, healthier and longer lives.
The Live Long and Master Aging podcast, a HealthSpan Media LLC production, shares ideas but does not offer medical advice. If you have health concerns of any kind, or you are considering adopting a new diet or exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.

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