The study of aging processes and the changes in morphological, physiological, and functional characteristics that are associated with aging is of great interest not only for researchers, but also for the general public. The aim of the present paper is to study the biological age and tempos of aging in women older than 60 years, including long-lived females (over 90-years-old), and their associations with morphofunctional characteristics.
Somatic traits, body mass components, and functional characteristics were investigated in 119 elderly (between 60 and 74-years-old) and long-lived (over 90-years-old) women in Tiraspol. With the special PC software ‘Diagnostics of Aging: BioAge’ (National Gerontological Center, Moscow, Russia) the biological age and tempos of aging were evaluated in the study participants. The results show close connections between morphofunctional changes, particularly in body mass components, and biological age. The software demonstrated its validity in the estimation of biological age in the group of elderly women. In the homogenous (according to their chronological age) group of women, three subgroups were separated with different tempos of aging: those with lower rates of aging (biological age less than chronological age by two years or more); those consistent with their chronological age, and those with accelerated tempos of aging (biological age higher than chronological age by two years or more).
Morphofunctional characteristics in the studied groups of women demonstrate the trends of age-involutive changes which can be traced through all groups, from those with slow rates of aging, to those with average rates, to those with accelerated tempos of aging, and finally in long-lived women. The results of comparative analysis show that women with accelerated aging are characterized with such traits as lower skeletal muscle mass, lower hand grip strength, and higher metabolic rate. Canonical discriminant analysis revealed a number of morphofunctional characteristics which differentiate the early-aging women from women with average rates of aging: higher BMI values, excessive fat mass, lower skeletal muscle mass and low values of hand grip strength. Thus the presence of such characteristics in elderly women can be considered as additional risk factor towards the early onset of the aging process.