Functional Age vs. Chronological Age

Harvard Scientists Dr. David Sinclair and Dr. George Church are two of the world’s most famous and honored researchers in the field, and they well understand the need for reliable biomarkers of aging. Dr. Sinclair’s lab recently caused muscle tissue of 60 year old equivalent mice to resemble 20 years old after one week of injections of the molecule NMN. Dr. Church used a gene altering technique to accomplish age reversal in a sample of his own cells. Dr. Church has been elected to membership in the top scientific body of the USA, The National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Church and Dr. Sinclair were selected by Time Magazine for their list of The World’s 100 Most Influential People.

The Agemeter® can greatly facilitate the search for genomic variations that may point the way towards uncovering the fundamental differences in rates of aging among different individuals. Toward that end, Dr. George Church and colleagues have been the initiators of the Personal Genome Project, whose goal is to obtain quality whole genome sequences of up to one thousand volunteers that would then be made publicly available to researchers. They are keenly interested in having such an easily deployed functional assay made available for such research.

“For PGP, supercentenarian, aging reversal studies, and everyday wellness, we need cost-effective, standardized, quantitative insight into a diverse set of physiological measures. The AgeMeter® can help us get there.” — Dr. George Church, Harvard University

“A device that can accurately and quickly estimate biological age is badly needed in the field and would be a huge benefit to consumers interest in changing their life’s trajectory.” — Dr. David Sinclair, Harvard University

As laboratories around the world work towards translating experimental anti-aging findings to human treatments, a self-administered functional age test to validate interventions that aim to slow or reverse the aging process is greatly needed:

  • The Emerging Aging Reversal Field Needs The AgeMeter® Functional Age Test

  • Biological Age Tests must be validated by the Age at which a person can actually function.

  • Health Professionals and Researchers must validate that Aging Reversal Interventions cause a person to function at a younger age.

  • The Agemeter® can be a foundational instrument for ongoing age research.

Quality of life depends on the ability to function

Beginning at about age 35, declines occur in functions that are essential for the activities of daily living. The AgeMeter measures the most important of these, including memory, reactions, hearing, agility, decision speed, movement speed, tactile sense, and lung function.

By measuring such biomarkers of aging and comparing scores to norms by age and sex, the AgeMeter determines a person’s functional age for the tests, as opposed to his or her chronological age.

Function declines proceed at different rates in different individuals. Genetic factors play a role, but so does environment, diet, and life style, providing evidence that intervention in the aging process is possible. Originally developed as a research tool to test interventions in aging, the AgeMeter now finds application in clinical practices with a focus on aging.

The Agemeter is the successor to the H-SCAN Functional Age Test that began in 1990 and was discontinued in 2013. In 2014, when told about the H-SCAN by Centers For Age Control, the H-SCAN distributor, Dr. George Church at Harvard Medical School said, “We’ve got the bring that H-SCAN back!” Centers for Age Control Inc. followed up, leading to development of Agemeter® which is now at Harvard Medical School.

The history of medical and scientific interest in biomarkers of functional age in the H-SCAN -- Agemeter Predecessor

An early effort to understand biomarkers of aging and biomarker measurement technologies was the workshop that generated the article, “Biomarkers of aging: from primitive organisms to humans. Journals of Gerontology. Series A,. Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2004 Jun;59(6):B560-7.”

After the discussion of the various potential biochemical biomarkers of aging, the article states the practical necessity for functional biomarkers of aging:

“In the absence of a more complete understanding of the mechanism of aging, clinicians would like to have age-related biomarkers that have adequate predictive value to provide qualified information to their patients to help improve organ-specific function throughout the life cycle and reduce unnecessary morbidity and premature mortality. These biomarkers might be more than disease risk factors and represent individual indicators of functional status. Clinicians might prefer a panel of functional biomarkers of aging that relate to health span.

“Such a set of putative functional biomarkers of aging could be measured in a large group of aging adults at an age where functional loss is known to occur most rapidly, such as in the 60 to 70 age group, but it would also be useful to have data on younger adults. ... The optimal goal would be to obtain a panel of functional biomarkers of aging usable for developing personalized medicine or other interventions that effectively reduce morbidity and improve organ-specific function, thereby delaying the necessity for costly hospitalization or social support of the aging population. At least one such attempt to do this has already been reported (55 [Hochschild R. Can an index of aging be constructed for evaluating treatments to retard aging rates? A 2,462 person study. J Gerontol Biol Sci. 1990;45:B187-B214.])”

In the cited study, Richard Hochschild, a physiologist educated at Johns Hopkins University and the University of California at Berkeley (MA) suggested 12 candidate functional biomarkers of aging that led to the development of the H-SCAN Functional Age Test that has now led to the Agemeter. Unlike blood and other cognitive tests, whose relevance is often based on theory, it is more evident that changes in memory and other cognitive functions, lung function, reaction time, hearing, touch, vision, muscle movement speed, etc. are part of the aging process. What is universally recognized as aging, apart from appearance, is the loss of ability to function.

Every Agemeter test worldwide adds anonymous data to the Agemeter Cloud Database. The ability of the Agemeter to automatically update functional age calculation as the database grows exponentially and easily add additional biomarker tests means that the Agemeter is itself a perpetually expanding Global Aging Study that can become not just a product but eventually the largest aging study in the world.