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Scientists uncover patterns of metabolism in humans across the life course


Key points from article :

Study of 6,400 people (age, 8-95 years) in 29 countries, suggests the metabolism remains rock solid throughout mid-life.

People's metabolism was measured using doubly labelled water.

Found four phases of metabolic life:

- birth to age one, when the metabolism shifts from being the same as the mother's to a lifetime high 50% above that of adults.

- a gentle slowdown until the age of 20.

- no change at all between the ages of 20 and 60.

- a permanent decline, with yearly falls that, by 90, leave metabolism 26% lower than in mid-life.

No metabolic surge during either puberty or pregnancy and no slowdown around the menopause.

High metabolism in the first years of life emphasise its importance in development.

It cannot be a coincidence diseases of old age kicked in as the metabolism fell.

Fully understanding the shifting metabolism could have implications in medicine.

Study from University of Wisconsin-Madison, lead by Rozalyn Anderson, published in Science.

Metabolism remained same throughout the mid-life and starts to decline only at 60 years

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Associate Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Peer-reviewed academic online journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)


Public Research university.