Four Different Ways of Aging



The four aging types made the world think differently about how they age.

A group of Stanford researchers have found biological pathways called “ageotypes” that influence the aging process. Scientists believe that the study can help understand why people age differently. The study involved a group of 46 healthy participants between the ages of 34 and 68 over a two year period. The researchers analyzed the participants’ blood and other biological samples along the way to look for a variety of molecular changes. “People are aging at different rates, but what’s equally or even more important is where you see they’re aging differently,” said study author Michael Snyder, a professor and the chair of genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Scientists stated that they were able to see clear patterns of how individuals experience aging on a molecular level. So far, the four biological pathways they have come across are metabolic, immune, liver, and kidney. The pathways affect the aging process because people have different conditions and diseases that can influence the way people age.


Adrian Lam / NBC News
The four aging types are metabolism, immune, liver, and kidney.

The study claims that metabolic agers may be at a higher risk for type two diabetes as they grow older, while immune agers may be at more of a risk for immune-related disease. Liver and kidney ageotypes may be more likely to develop liver or kidney diseases. There are likely other pathways, such as cardio agers who may be more prone to heart attacks, for example, but this study was limited to four main aging pathways. Some participants in the study fit several ageotypes, and some were aging in all four categories. The study has been going on for about two years and the researchers found out that some participants were able to slow down the rate of their aging along those two years. The way they were able to do that was by losing weight or improving their diet. It’s not only the organs that effect us, but it’s our genes, cells, and proteins. If people have something running in their family history, that can have a big effect on how they age. Defining what aging is and exactly how it progresses may enable us to stay healthy for most of our lives.