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A simple vision test that measures the age of the retina reveals how long you live

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East Melbourne, Australia (StudyFinds.org) — A simple vision test may give your doctor a clue as to how long you have survived. An international team has found a link between the biological age of a person’s retina and their risk of death.

The membrane behind the eye contains light-sensitive cells that begin to deteriorate in middle age. A study of nearly 47,000 adults found that people whose retina was “older” than their actual age were more likely to die in the next decade.

This discovery can lead to regular screening tools for many life-threatening illnesses – Including Alzheimer’s disease.

“The retina provides a unique and accessible” window “for assessing the underlying pathological processes of systemic vascular and neurological disorders associated with increased risk of death,” the Australian Ophthalmology Study. The center’s corresponding author, Dr. Mingguang He, said. Media release..

Clarify the “age difference of the retina”

Researchers monitored participants aged 40 to 69 for an average of 11 years. As part of a UK Biobank study, we scanned each person’s fundus (behind the eyes). The international team compares the “biological age” of each retina to the person’s chronological age and “Retina age difference” With many participants.

The big gap was related to 49-67% High risk of death From causes other than cardiovascular disease or cancer. This is after considering potentially influential factors such as high blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), lifestyle and ethnicity.

“Our new findings have determined that retinal age differences are an independent predictor of increased mortality risk, especially due to non-cardiovascular disease / non-cancer. These findings are retinal age. Suggests that may be a clinically important biomarker of aging, “the researchers say.

Scientists have found that with each year of age difference, the risk of death from any cause or specific cause increases by 2% and 3%, respectively. The findings add evidence that the network of small blood vessels in the retina is a reliable indicator of the overall health of the body’s circulatory system and brain. According to the team, the risk of illness and death increases with age, but it is clear that it varies considerably among people of the same age.

Artificial intelligence helps predict your lifespan

Biological aging It is unique to the individual and may be a better indicator of current and future health. The authors of the study used an advanced type of AI (artificial intelligence) known as “deep learning” to accurately predict a person’s retinal age from images of the fundus.

The new technology differs from similar tissue, cell, and chemical tests of biological aging, where the authors of the study say they are full of ethical and privacy issues. These tests are also invasive, costly, and time consuming.

The team validated the screening model using approximately 19,200 fundus images from the right eye of 11,052 relatively healthy participants. This showed a strong association between the predicted retinal age and the actual age, with an overall accuracy of less than three and a half years.

Applying the same process to the left eye gave similar results. Scientists then assessed the retinal age differences of the remaining 35,917 volunteers. During the study period, 1,871 (5%) participants died. From this group, 321 (17%) died of cardiovascular disease, 1,018 (54.5%) died of cancer, and 532 (28.5%) died of other causes, including dementia.

1 in 20 has a 10-year retinal age difference

More than half of the participants “Fast old man” — People whose retina looks older than their actual age — 51% have a retinal age difference of 3 years or more, 28% have a difference of 5 years or more, and 4.5% have a difference of 10 years or more.

He states that previous studies suggest that images of the retina contain the following information: Cardiovascular risk factors, Chronic kidney disease, and systemic biomarkers. The new findings, combined with previous studies, add weight to the hypothesis that the retina plays an important role in the aging process and is sensitive to cumulative damage to aging, which increases the risk of death.

“Our findings show that retinal age differences may be a potential biomarker of aging that is closely associated with risk of death, stratification and coordination of risk. Suggests the potential of retinal imaging as a screening tool for the provision of interventions British Ophthalmology Journal..

South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report.

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