Shanghai Institutes of Biological Science professor Jing-Dong Han led a study that used three-dimensional (3D) facial images to predict biological age in a human population to detect those aging quickly and slowly, so family physicians will be able to identify prematurely aging patients.
The researchers analyzed the facial images of 332 Chinese volunteers between the ages of 17 and 77, and they identified age-impacted characteristics such as the slope of the eye, the distance between the mouth and the nose, and skin smoothness. The information was used to generate a composite map of the face as it ages, which was then compared to each individual's 3D map, revealing the difference between real and facial age rose after 40 years. Prediction accuracy was vetted by blood samples from volunteers to read biomarkers such as cholesterol and albumin.
Han says the facial age predictor offers the first non-invasive technique for measuring differences between biological and chronological age. "We will package our predictor into a downloadable app, and doctors will be able to use it provided they can upload a 3D image of their patient into it," he says.
King's College London's Stephen Harridge notes Han's work leaves out some factors that could affect facial appearance and biological fitness, such as physical exercise.
From New Scientist
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