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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Is telomere length a biomarker for aging: cross-sectional evidence from the west of Scotland?
Author(s): Der, Geoff
Batty, G David
Benzeval, Michaela
Deary, Ian
Green, Michael J
McGlynn, Liane M
McIntyre, Alan
Robertson, Tony
Shiels, Paul G
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Keywords: Adolescent
Aging: genetics
Biological Markers
Cognition: physiology
Cross-Sectional Studies
Longitudinal Studies
Middle Aged
Predictive Value of Tests
Principal Component Analysis
Telomere Homeostasis
Telomere Homeostasis: genetics
Telomere: chemistry
Telomere: genetics
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2012
Date Deposited: 14-Jan-2016
Citation: Der G, Batty GD, Benzeval M, Deary I, Green MJ, McGlynn LM, McIntyre A, Robertson T & Shiels PG (2012) Is telomere length a biomarker for aging: cross-sectional evidence from the west of Scotland?. PLoS ONE, 7 (9), Art. No.: e45166.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The search for biomarkers of aging (BoAs) has been largely unsuccessful to-date and there is widespread skepticism about the prospects of finding any that satisfy the criteria developed by the American Federation of Aging Research. This may be because the criteria are too strict or because a composite measure might be more appropriate. Telomere length has attracted a great deal of attention as a candidate BoA. We investigate whether it meets the criteria to be considered as a single biomarker of aging, and whether it makes a useful contribution to a composite measure. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using data from a large population based study, we show that telomere length is associated with age, with several measures of physical and cognitive functioning that are related to normal aging, and with three measures of overall health. In the majority of cases, telomere length adds predictive power to that of age, although it was not nearly as good a predictor overall. We used principal components analysis to form two composites from the measures of functioning, one including telomere length and the other not including it. These composite BoAs were better predictors of the health outcomes than chronological age. There was little difference between the two composites. CONCLUSIONS: Telomere length does not satisfy the strict criteria for a BoA, but does add predictive power to that of chronological age. Equivocal results from previous studies might be due to lack of power or the choice of measures examined together with a focus on single biomarkers. Composite biomarkers of aging have the potential to outperform age and should be considered for future research in this area.
DOI Link: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045166
Rights: © Der et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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