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
How we understand others
28.04.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
The non-driving millennial? Not so simple, says new research
29.03.2016 | University of Vermont
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.
Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...
Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.
In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...
Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid
Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...
As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.
Fraunhofer FEP is an experienced partner for technological developments, known for testing the limits of new materials and for optimization of those materials...
27.04.2016 | Event News
15.04.2016 | Event News
12.04.2016 | Event News
29.04.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
29.04.2016 | Health and Medicine
29.04.2016 | Life Sciences