A physical test for measuring age shows wide differences between the rates of aging among different population groups, according to new research by demographers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
A strong handshake can say a lot about a person—it can indicate power, confidence, health, or aggression. Now scientists say that the strength of a person’s grasp may also be one of the most useful ways to measure people’s true age.
In a new study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, IIASA researchers Serguei Scherbov and Warren Sanderson (also at Stony Brook University) show that hand grip corresponds to other markers of aging such as people’s future mortality, disability, cognitive decline, and ability to recover from hospital stays.
For their new research, Sanderson and Scherbov reviewed findings from over 50 published studies that focus on people of all ages around the world. Since the measure is already commonly used, data are readily available. “Hand-grip strength is easily measured and data on hand-grip strength now can be found in many of the most important surveys on aging worldwide,” says Sanderson.
The study also demonstrates how such a test could be used as a measure for aging to compare different population groups. The study used data from one such survey, the United States Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), to show how this could be done.
Scherbov says, “We found that based on this survey, a 65-year-old white women who had not completed secondary education has the same handgrip strength as a 69-year-old white women who had completed secondary education. This suggests that according to a handgrip strength characteristic their ages are equivalent and 65 year-old women ages 4 years faster due to lower education attainment.”
In a growing body of research funded in part by a new grant from the European Research Council (ERC), Scherbov and Sanderson have begun to define new measures of aging based on people’s characteristics, such as their longevity, health, disability status and other important demographic factors.
Previous research by Sanderson and Scherbov has shown that measuring age simply by the number of years people have lived does not measure variations in the aging process correctly. Using new characteristic-based approaches such as the one in this paper, using a physical test like hand-grip, the researchers can identify differences in the aging process between population groups that may not otherwise become apparent.
Scherbov says, “Our goal is to measure how fast different groups in a society age. If some group is getting older faster than another, we can ask why that might be and see whether there are any policies that could help the faster aging group.”
European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC grant agreement to ERC2013-AdG 323947-Re-Ageing.
For more information please contact:
Deputy Program Director
T +43(0) 2236 807 584
T +43(0) 2236 807 252
T +1 631 828-4117
IIASA Press Office
Tel: +43 2236 807 316
Mob: +43 676 83 807 316
IIASA is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Our findings provide valuable options to policy makers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by scientific institutions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, and Europe. www.iiasa.ac.at
Katherine Leitzell | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Poses of power are less powerful than we thought
01.04.2015 | Universität Zürich
When attention is a deficit
30.03.2015 | Princeton University
Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy
Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a...
A team of physicists from MPQ, Caltech, and ICFO proposes the combination of nano-photonics with ultracold atoms for simulating quantum many-body systems and creating new states of matter.
Ultracold atoms in the so-called optical lattices, that are generated by crosswise superposition of laser beams, have been proven to be one of the most...
According to new research out of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, that is indeed the case. Chetan Jinadatha, M.D., M.P.H., assistant...
Researchers from ICFO, MIT and UC Riverside have been able to develop a graphene-based photodetector capable of converting absorbed light into an electrical voltage at ultrafast timescales
The efficient conversion of light into electricity plays a crucial role in many technologies, ranging from cameras to solar cells.
Electrical charges not only move through wires, they also travel along lengths of DNA, the molecule of life. The property is known as charge transport.
In a new study appearing in the journal Nature Chemistry, authors, Limin Xiang, Julio Palma, Christopher Bruot and others at Arizona State University's...
13.04.2015 | Event News
25.03.2015 | Event News
19.03.2015 | Event News
17.04.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering
17.04.2015 | Earth Sciences
17.04.2015 | Physics and Astronomy