A study by the Neurovascular Research Group of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, published by the journal “Biology”, has made it possible for the first time to link a more advanced biological age with the presence of indicators of brain aging. extreme intensity White matter, the areas of the brain where blood reaches with greater difficulty.
Life habits affect the configuration of d n and determine biological age. If these habits are modified, DNA aging can be slowed down and, therefore, biological age, thus slowing down the growth of DNA. high intensity of white matter in brain tissue,
These are areas of the brain that appear differently in magnetic resonance images and indicate that this is a tissue where blood reaches with greater difficulty.
“A good part of the effect of the passage of years on our brain is given not only by chronological age, which is from the date of our birth, but also by biological age, which explains many other things besides chronological . “, Indicates Jordi Jimenez-Condecoordinator of the research group, attending physician Hospital Del Mar Department of Neurology And the author of the work.
The study opens the door to having new tools to improve the diagnosis and follow-up of patients, thus making it possible to identify with blood tests which individuals will have a greater tendency to accelerated brain ageing.
Biological age that can be measured in specific blood tests is marked by our lifestyle
The researchers worked with data from 247 patients who had suffered a stroke and who underwent a magnetic resonance imaging, which made it possible to quantify the hyperintensity of white matter in their brains. On the other hand, biological age was determined in blood samples by analyzing the degree of methylation of their DNA, which is modified depending on external factors, such as life habits. In this way, it was possible to demonstrate for the first time how “biological age, the aging of the body, has a direct correlation with brain aging independently of chronological age,” explains Jiménez Conde.
In fact, biological age 42.7% of brain aging would be explained by the presence of white matter hypertrophy. “We should continue to study the effect that this may have,” explains Joan Jimenez-Balado, postdoctoral researcher in the Neurovascular Research Group of the IMIM-Hospital del Mar and author of the study. genetic about these brain lesions, as it may help us better understand the biological mechanisms involved in brain aging. In the same way, it would be very interesting in future studies to use new computational approximations that allow us to classify extreme intensity white matter based on aspects such as its location and see whether, for example, it happens that we are perceiving these lesions as a whole when in fact separate causes are associated with them based on their location” .
In this sense, a higher presence of higher white matter intensity has been associated with various pathologies, such as non-specific cognitive impairment, gait disturbances and a poor prognosis in the brain’s ability to recover from any pathology that affects it. Its quantity increases with age and is not reversible. But with changes to our lifestyle it is possible to act on biological age and slow down DNA aging, a fact that may slow the growth of these lesions in brain tissue as well as slow brain aging. Is.