Determination of accelerated ageing in trauma patients

Lead researchers: Prof Janet Lord, Dr Leda Mirbahai

Aim of this research: We aim to determine if a patient who survives a major trauma is biologically older than their chronological age and what are the processes involved. In the long term we will determine which types of rehabilitation can slow or prevent this happening.

Background: We already know that If a patient survives a major trauma, such as a car crash, that they continue to have health issues and experience age-related illnesses sooner. This study will use a novel technique to determine if this is because the injury has led to acceleration of the normal ageing process. Until recently it was not possible to determine how biologically old a person was, but a new method based on analysing the DNA in blood cells, can now do this.  It is important to know if ageing has been accelerated as there are drugs in development that could prevent this process and thus improve outcomes for trauma victims.

How this research is being carried out:  To do this research we are collecting blood from patients soon after they are injured, which tells us their biological age to start with, then 2-3 months and 12 months after their injury once they have been discharged from hospital and completed their rehabilitation programme. If time allows we will also compare different types of rehabilitation and also compare young and older patients to see if the response to injury and rehabilitation differs.

 How the findings will be measured: We will carry out the new test and compare the biological age of the patient just after the injury and then later. If ageing is accelerated we will determine how this has happened by carrying out further tests on the blood cells.

Lead researchers

  • Determination of accelerated ageing in trauma patients

    Professor Janet Lord

    Janet Lord's team / Principal/Chief Investigator

    Prof Lord is director of the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Healthy Ageing Research and is also head of the University’s Centre for Translational Inflammation Research, which is located within the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and due to open in the summer of 2011.

    Professor Janet Lord