Researchers have created a tool that can be used for accurately predicting lifespan as well as assessing the current health state, and discovered the regulatory mechanism that extends "healthspan", the time in which an organism is at its optimal health.
The research was led by Coleen Murphy, professor at Princeton University.
The scientists created the health assessment tool for Caenorhabditis elegans roundworms, modeled after the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), one of the most widely used tests of physical performance in elderly humans, which can accurately predict their future health.
Among other things, the SPPB measures walking speed which was the inspiration for the C elegans version of the test.
The scientists recorded the maximum velocity (MV) of wild-type C elegans worms during timed 30 second sessions for a life time.
In the experiment, the worms all showed a decrease in MV from day six and onwards just as the movement ability of humans starts to decline at some point of our later life and onwards.
Additionally, they found that at day nine (midlife), the median lifespan of worms in the high MV group was 35.3 percent longer than that of the worms in the low MV group (17 A 3.6 days).
They concluded that MV of wild-type worms at day nine of adulthood is a reliable predictor of longevity.
The findings appeared in the journal Nature Communications.