Being lonely and unhappy accelerates aging more than smoking, study finds

Research confirms it: psychological problems can accelerate your rate of aging. Credit: Fedor Galkin

Molecular damage accumulates and contributes to the development of frailty and serious age-related diseases. In some people, these molecular processes are more intense than in others, a condition commonly referred to as accelerated aging.

Fortunately, the accelerated rate of aging can be detected before its disastrous consequences manifest by using digital models of aging (aging clocks). Such models can also be used to derive anti-aging therapies at the individual and population level.

According to the latest article in Aging-United States, any anti-aging therapy should focus on mental health as much as physical health. An international collaboration led by Deep Longevity with American and Chinese scientists measured the effects of being alone, having restless sleep or feeling unhappy on the rate of aging and found it to be significant.

The article presents a new aging clock trained and verified with blood and biometric data from 11,914 Chinese adults. It is the first aging clock to be trained exclusively on a Chinese cohort of such volume.

Accelerated aging has been detected in people with a history of stroke, liver and lung disease, smokers and, most interestingly, people in a vulnerable mental state. In fact, feeling hopeless, unhappy, and lonely has been shown to increase biological age more than smoking. Other factors linked to accelerated aging include being single and living in a rural area (due to low availability of medical services).

Being alone and unhappy accelerates aging more than smoking

AI to connect psychological and biological aging. Credit: Fedor Galkin

The authors of the article conclude that the psychological aspect of aging should not be overlooked either in research or in practical anti-aging applications. According to Stanford University’s Manuel Faria, “mental and psychosocial states are among the most robust predictors of health outcomes – and quality of life – yet they have been largely omitted from modern healthcare.”

Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of Insilico Medicine, points out that the study offers an action plan to “slow or even reverse psychological aging nationwide.”

Earlier this year, Deep Longevity launched an AI-guided mental health web service, FuturSelf.AI, based on a previous publication in Aging-United States. The service offers a free psychological assessment which is processed by an AI and provides a comprehensive report on a user’s psychological age as well as their current and future mental well-being. Deepankar Nayak, CEO of Deep Longevity, says, “FuturSelf.AI, in combination with the study of older Chinese adults, positions Deep Longevity at the forefront of biogerontological research.”

Deep Longevity has developed the Longevity as a Service (LaaS) solution to integrate several deep biomarkers of aging called “deep aging clocks” to provide a universal multifactorial measure of human biological age.


Deep biomarkers of aging and longevity: from research to applications


More information:
Psychological and biological clocks of aging reveal major contributors to rate of aging in Chinese elderly Aging-United States (2022). DOI: 10.1000/xyz123

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