Higher levels of education are associated with a slower aging process and increased longevity, as revealed by a recent study conducted by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, published in JAMA Network Open. According to findings from the Framingham Heart Study, individuals with higher educational attainment tend to age at a slower rate and enjoy longer lifespans compared to those with less education.

The Framingham Heart Study, an ongoing observational study initiated in 1948 and spanning three generations, serves as the backdrop for Columbia’s groundbreaking analysis, which marks the first attempt to link educational levels with the pace of biological aging and mortality. Daniel Belsky, associate professor of Epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School and the Aging Center and senior author of the study, notes, “While it’s long been recognized that individuals with higher education tend to live longer, understanding the mechanisms behind this phenomenon and whether educational interventions contribute to healthy aging poses significant challenges.”

To gauge the rate of aging, researchers applied the DunedinPACE epigenetic clock algorithm to genomic data collected from participants in the Framingham Heart Study. Their findings indicate that an additional two years of schooling correlate with a 2-3% decrease in the rate of aging, translating to roughly a 10% reduction in mortality risk based on previous research by Belsky on DunedinPACE’s association with mortality risk.

Developed by Columbia researchers and introduced in January 2022, DunedinPACE operates by analyzing chemical modifications on DNA within white blood cells, known as DNA methylation marks. It functions as a measure of the aging process, assessing how the body changes over time, and helps researchers understand the biological aging process, characterized by the accumulation of molecular mutations that gradually compromise cellular, tissue, and organ integrity and resilience.

By analyzing data from 14,106 Framingham Heart Study participants across three generations, researchers were able to establish connections between offspring education levels and those of their parents. Subsequently, they utilized data from a subset of participants who provided blood samples to compute the pace of biological aging using the DunedinPACE epigenetic clock.

Lascia un commento

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *