Blood test in infants may predict aging earlier than ever


by Mayra Moreno / KENS 5

Posted on July 11, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 11 at 7:56 PM

San Antonio - A new discovery by scientists could tell us how long we live. It seems the answer may be available the moment we're born.

At University Hospital, Ashley Carbajal, is bonding with her newborn baby Ericka.

"(I feel) happy blessed," she said.

As a new mom, she hopes her little one will live a long healthy life but what if she could find out now just when Ericka will start getting old? That, may soon be possible.

"This is a very exciting study," said Dr. Nathanielsz with UT Health Science Center.

Dr. Nathanielsz said equipment similar to what's used here in San Antonio was used in an international study of identical twins led by King's College London.

Scientists found chemical evidence that links birth weight to health later in life.

"It looks as if we may be finding markers for people's predisposition to age early," said the doctor.

Those markers were found in umbilical cord blood. The study found some babies already had high concentrations of an amino acid that are only found in people who are older.

"It has already increased before you are born and something is happening that will make you age faster," said the doctor.

Dr. Nathanielsz said it all starts in the womb and how well a baby was nourished. However, if a blood test could give us insight on how a baby will age, its good news.

"It can help design drugs or other treatments to prevent rapid aging," said the doctor.

While a test may not be available now, Carbajal hopes the care she took during her pregnancy will be enough for baby Ericka.