Can School Make You Stay Young? Here’s the Answer

rasyiqi By rasyiqi - Writer, Digital Marketer
5 Min Read
group of fresh graduates students throwing their academic hat in the air

jlk – Who wouldn’t want to live longer and healthier? Of course, everyone desires that.

However, did you know that there’s one factor that can influence your biological age, and that’s education?

Yes, according to a recent study from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and The Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, the higher someone’s level of education, the slower their aging process and the longer their lifespan compared to those who don’t have upward educational mobility.

So, how does education affect aging and health? Let’s explore the explanation.

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Aging Isn’t Just About Wrinkles

Aging is a natural process experienced by all living beings, including humans. However, aging isn’t only visible in physical appearance, such as wrinkles, gray hair, or tooth loss.

Aging also occurs at the molecular level, involving the accumulation of changes that disrupt the integrity and resilience capacity of our cells, tissues, and organs as we age.

This process is known as biological aging, distinct from chronological aging, which is the age counted from the date of birth.

Biological aging can be measured using an algorithm called the DunedinPACE epigenetic clock, developed by Columbia researchers and their colleagues.

This epigenetic clock functions as a speedometer for the aging process, measuring how fast or slow someone’s body changes as they age.

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This epigenetic clock is based on the analysis of chemical marks on DNA contained within white blood cells, or DNA methylation marks.

More Schooling, Slower Aging

Columbia researchers used data from 14,106 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, an observational study that began in 1948 and spans three generations.

They linked children’s educational attainment data with their parents’ data, and then used data from some participants who provided blood samples to calculate their biological aging rate using the DunedinPACE epigenetic clock.

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They also linked education data and aging rates with longitudinal records of how long participants lived, to determine whether slower aging rates contribute to longer lifespans for those with higher education.

The study results showed that upward educational mobility, meaning how much additional education someone acquired compared to their parents, is significantly associated with slower aging rates and lower risk of death.

Every two additional years of education could slow down the aging rate by two to three percent, which is equivalent to a reduction in the risk of death by about 10 percent.

This relationship pattern is similar across generations and applies in sibling comparisons: siblings with higher educational mobility tend to have slower aging rates compared to their less educated siblings.

School Is an Investment, Not a Burden

The findings of this study support the hypothesis that interventions to improve educational attainment will slow down aging rates and increase lifespan. However, this research still requires experimental evidence to confirm its findings.

Epigenetic clocks like DunedinPACE have the potential to enhance experimental studies by providing results that can reflect the impact of education on healthy aging before the onset of diseases and disabilities later in life.

This research also provides new insights into the importance of education for our health and quality of life. Education isn’t just about gaining knowledge, but also shaping our mindset, behavior, and lifestyle.

Education can open opportunities, improve well-being, and provide protection against stress and life challenges. Education can also enrich experiences, broaden perspectives, and enhance our happiness.

Therefore, don’t see school as a burden, but as an investment. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

And not only that, education can also transform you to stay younger and healthier. So, let’s be enthusiastic about learning and seeking knowledge, because that’s the key to living longer and better.

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