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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2019 Aug;106:293-311. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.04.004. Epub 2019 Apr 5.

Accelerating research on biological aging and mental health: Current challenges and future directions.

Author information

1
Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Oldenaller 1, the Netherlands; Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Neuroscience, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
2
Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Oldenaller 1, the Netherlands.
3
Butler Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.
4
Department of Psychiatry and Weill Institute for Neurosciences, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA.
5
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
6
Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA; Psychiatric Clinic, Lund, Division of Psychiatry, Lund, Sweden.
7
Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands.
8
Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases (CoRPS), Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands.
9
Department of Psychiatry, Division of Behavioral Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA; Department of Neurology, H. Houston Merritt Center, Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA; Columbia Aging Center, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address: martin.picard@columbia.edu.

Abstract

Aging is associated with complex biological changes that can be accelerated, slowed, or even temporarily reversed by biological and non-biological factors. This article focuses on the link between biological aging, psychological stressors, and mental illness. Rather than comprehensively reviewing this rapidly expanding field, we highlight challenges in this area of research and propose potential strategies to accelerate progress in this field. This effort requires the interaction of scientists across disciplines - including biology, psychiatry, psychology, and epidemiology; and across levels of analysis that emphasize different outcome measures - functional capacity, physiological, cellular, and molecular. Dialogues across disciplines and levels of analysis naturally lead to new opportunities for discovery but also to stimulating challenges. Some important challenges consist of 1) establishing the best objective and predictive biological age indicators or combinations of indicators, 2) identifying the basis for inter-individual differences in the rate of biological aging, and 3) examining to what extent interventions can delay, halt or temporarily reverse aging trajectories. Discovering how psychological states influence biological aging, and vice versa, has the potential to create novel and exciting opportunities for healthcare and possibly yield insights into the fundamental mechanisms that drive human aging.

KEYWORDS:

Biological age; Brain; DNA methylation; Mitochondria; Psychopathology; Telomere length

PMID:
31154264
PMCID:
PMC6589133
[Available on 2020-08-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.04.004

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