Inferring a measure of physiological age from multiple ageing related phenotypes

author: David Knowles, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
published: Jan. 23, 2012,   recorded: December 2011,   views: 3981


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What is ageing? One definition is simultaneous degradation of multiple organ systems. Can an individual be said to be “old” or “young” for their (chronological) age in a scientifically meaningful way? We investigate these questions using ageing related phenotypes measured on the 12,000 female twins in the Twins UK study. We propose a simple linear model of ageing, which allows a latent adjustment delta to be made to an individual’s chronological age to give their “physiological age”, shared across the observed phenotypes. We note problems with the analysis resulting from the linearity assumption and show how to alleviate these issues using a non-linear extension. We find more gene expression probes are significantly associated with our measurement of physiological age than to chronological age.

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