In a recently published study in the journal Aging, the researchers from Deep Longevity Limited in Hong Kong found that when certain psychological states or mental health are combined, it can increase a person’s biological age more than smoking.
Everyone experiences the natural process of ageing. But not everyone goes through the same procedure. What happens to your mind and body as you age can be significantly influenced by factors like your medical history, way of life, and genetics.
For instance, prior studies have shown that stress, stress management, and food all hasten biological ageing. The fundamental goal of this study, according to Fedor Galkin, director of Scientific Business Development at Deep Longevity Limited in Hong Kong, was to demonstrate that improving one’s mental health can help one’s physical health.
Galkin said the impact of psychology on a person’s biological age is an understudied subject due to scientific reductionism. He stated some studies link the psychology of aging to its molecular manifestations, but not that many.
“In the (20th) century, scientific reductionism settled in practically every field of science,” he explained. “It did in biology the organism consists of cells and molecules, so if we understand the molecules, we can understand the organism. This has narrowed our view in many aspects. One such instance is the study of aging. Aging is a multifaceted phenomenon with social and (economic)l components to it, but in biology, it is common to study it in a much more narrow sense.” “We know that childhood trauma or Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSDTrusted Source) accelerates epigenetic aging, (as) does psychological stress. Since there is a connection, we hypothesize that the physiological (low-level) pace of aging can be manipulated using psychological (high-level) therapies. This is why we built FuturSelf.AI, to provide a backbone for our new hybrid anti-aging approach.” said Fedor Galkin, lead author of the study
Galkin and his team created a deep learning ageing clock to investigate how mental health affects ageing. A statistical model known as an ageing clock calculates a person’s biological age as opposed to their chronological age. An ageing clock is used to quantify a person’s biological ageing rate by performing blood, genetic, and DNA tests. Researchers assessed the impact of both physical and mental health aspects on the ageing of over 12,000 Chinese people from the CHARLS dataset using the ageing clock they built.
The biggest physical factor was smoking. Depression, troubled sleeping, loneliness, unhappiness, and a lack of hope were some of the mental health challenges people had. Researchers also took into account a person’s socioeconomic standing, such as whether they were married, widowed, or lived in a rural location.
Researchers discovered after studying the data that each element considered in the investigation had a substantial bearing on the rate of ageing. Smoking (which accelerated ageing by 1.25 years), being married (which slowed ageing down by 0.59 years), and sleep troubles were the three biggest influences (increased ageing pace by 0.44 years). The eight psychological variables that were examined by researchers were also found to collectively hasten ageing by 1.65 years, which is faster than smoking.
“Quite frequently, mental health therapies are thought to only make you ‘feel good,’ but according to our study, they can tangibly extend your life,” Galkin said. “If brought to the attention of (governments) or large organizations with millions of customers, using such studies as ours to create new policies can lead to the addition of eons of human life-years to the global economy. I hope that this new line of reasoning deeply elaborated on by Sinclair in his (study) will persuade such large entities to pay more attention to the mental health and longevity fields.”
According to Galkin, this study highlights the advantages of excellent mental health that have previously gone unnoticed.