What if instead of treating the patient once sick, we could anticipate by identifying which of their organs are at risk of failure and treat them before the first symptoms? American researchers claim they can identify premature aging of 11 organs using a simple blood test.
Within our body, our organs are not likely to all age at the same time. This aging exposes you to an increased risk of developing a pathology or dying as a result of this targeted aging. But Stanford researchers believe they have developed a blood test that can determine the biological age of more than 10 organs. The goal: treat it before it even causes a problem.
One in 5 people over 50 have an organ that ages faster than average
According to scientists, nearly one in five people (18%) over the age of 50 have an organ that ages accelerated. This means that they run a greater risk – from 15 to 50% depending on the organ concerned – of developing a pathology of this organ and of dying within the 15 years that follow.
Based on this observation, experts have developed a blood test capable of determining the physiological age of a patient’s organs, and thus preventing possible pathologies. They brought together a cohort of 5,676 volunteers, for whom they studied 11 key organs, and more particularly their biomarkers involved in determining their biological ages.
The 11 organs or systems studied are:
- The heart ;
- Fats ;
- Lungs ;
- Immune system ;
- Kidneys ;
- Liver ;
- Muscles ;
- The pancreas ;
- The brain ;
- Blood vessels ;
- And the intestines.
A blood test capable of predicting organ aging
By studying these biomarkers, researchers found 858 specific to these key organs or systems. They used an artificial intelligence program to choose proteins that were best correlated with accelerated biological aging.
Thanks to this, they managed to develop a blood test, capable of indicating which organ ages more quickly. “We can estimate the biological age of an organ in an apparently healthy person.” explains one of the researchers, Tony Wyss-Coray, professor of neurology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “This data then predicts a person’s risk of disease related to that organ. These ‘biological ages’ are often different from the person’s actual age.”.
Prevent pathologies linked to “prematurely aged” organs
According to the results of this study, people with a “rapidly aging heart” had a 2.5 times higher risk of heart failure, even if they did not have active disease or clinical risk factors.
Similarly, those with “older” brains were 1.8 times more likely to have diminished thinking skills within 5 years. The same observation is made for each organ or system aging more quickly, with correlated pathologies appearing earlier. Hence the importance of developing this test quickly and routinely.
“Only about 1 in 60 people had two organs that aged rapidly, but they had 6.5 times the risk of death than someone without problems” note the researchers, who wish to expand their cohort, to consolidate these initial results.
“If we can replicate these results in 50,000 or 100,000 people, it means that by monitoring the health of individual organs in apparently healthy people, we could identify victims of accelerated aging, and be able to treat them. treat before they get sick” conclut le Pr Wyss-Coray.