Have you ever met someone in their 70’s who seems to defy the aging process? Some people can still run marathons at that age, while others are bedridden. What’s the difference? In a scientific term, this disparity in aging quality is called phenotypic variation. Recently, the scientific community has been heavily invested to predict this variation with age.
The reason that scientists are so interested in this variation is because our conception of aging has changed. Aging is the number one risk factor for almost all chronic disease and death. The relative risk of aging greatly outstrips the risk of well known risk factors like cancer or smoking. However, aging is no longer considered something that just inevitably happens. New data suggests that we can actually reverse the aging of our body as we become chronologically older. As a result, reversing aging is no longer driven by vanity; it is being driven by the desire to make our lives longer and better with age.