Seminar: Dan Belsky on “Quantification of Biological Aging: Opportunities for Public Health”

Thursday, September 26, 2019

“Quantification of Biological Aging: Opportunities for Public Health”
Daniel W. Belsky, PhD
Columbia Aging Center Faculty Member
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology
Mailman School of Public Health
Thursday, September 26, 12:00-1:15pm
722 W 168th Street, Allan Rosenfield Building, Room 440


ABSTRACT: To meet the public health challenges of our aging global population programs and policies are needed that can extend healthy lifespan. Human testing of healthspan-extending interventions is challenging because follow-up from midlife intervention to establish if treatment delays onset of disease and disability takes decades. Surrogate endpoints for healthspan that can be measured within months and years of treatment are needed to accelerate interventions development and testing. Advances in understanding the basic biology of aging suggest a novel surrogate endpoint: the rate of biological aging. Biological aging is the gradual and progressive decline in system integrity that occurs with advancing chronological age and mediates aging-related burden of disease and disability. A growing array of measurement technologies aim to quantify biological aging using blood chemistry and genomic data. These emerging technologies have potential to transform development and evaluation of public-health approaches to aging populations. But much remains unknown about how to best measure biological aging. This talk will present the concept of biological aging and its relevance to evaluating interventions to extend healthy lifespan, introduce a framework for evaluating public health utility of biological aging measurements, and show new data from the US, UK, and New Zealand on a novel DNA methylation-based measure of biological aging.