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What's Your Molecular Age?

Researchers report the development of a new blood test that they say may show your “molecular age,” as opposed to your chronological age.

That test measures levels of a protein called p16. A new study shows that p16 levels rise as people age, that smokers have higher levels of p16 than nonsmokers, and that people who exercise have lower levels of p16.

The test isn’t available to the public yet. But if it was, would you want to know your “molecular age”?

Let’s say you took the test and found out your molecular age was greater than your chronological age, suggesting that your aging process is on the fast track. Or maybe you’d find out that the opposite is true, that your clock isn’t ticking quite as fast as you thought.

What would you do with that information? Would it spur you to make lifestyle changes to try to stave off aging, or would you be looking for reassurance that your healthy habits are paying off?

The U.S. population is getting older. Nearly one in five U.S. residents will be at least 65 years old in 2030, and the number of people age 85 and older is expected to triple between 2008 and 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s predictions.

How are do you feel about aging? Is it something that bugs you, something you accept, or a little bit of both? Or is age just a number to you? If you’re doing something that you believe will help you age well, tell us.


The opinions expressed in WebMD Second Opinion are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Second Opinion are... Expand


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