Biomarkers and Ageing

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Part of the 2014 Ageing Summit

This is a Euroscicon Small Conference,  an outline of the day can be found at

Biomarkers and Ageing
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 09:30 - 17:00

Cineworld: The O2
Peninsula Square
SE10 0DX
United Kingdom

Map and Directions
Biomarkers of ageing could help to characterise biological age and be used, not only to identify individuals at high risk of developing age-associated diseases or disabilities, but also could lead to anti-ageing therapies. This event will discuss the current research to identify and characterise biomarkers for ageing in an informal atmosphere.  Abstract submissions are encouraged for both oral and poster presentations and there will be plenty of opportunity of networking with experts in the field. Part of the 2014 Ageing Summit
This event has CPD accreditation.

Meeting Chairs: Professor David Melzer, Epidemiology & Public Health Group, Medical School, University of Exeter, UK and Dr Lorna Harries, RNA-mediated disease mechanisms, Medical School, University of Exeter, UK

Abstracts for poster presentation only can be submitted up to two weeks before the event. You can download the instructions forauthors at :

To download the most up to date agenda please click on

Talks include
Bone turnover markers and ageing-related loss of bone mass and strength
Dr Pawel Szulc, INSERM UMR 1033, University of Lyon, France
In postmenopausal women and in older men, elevated BTM levels (which reflect higher bone turnover) are associated with lower BMD, poor bone microarchitecture (e.g. thinner cortex) and faster bone loss. Bone turnover rate is a major determinant of bone loss in older people. However, BTM measurement cannot be used for prediction of accelerated bone loss, because their correlation is not strong enough, especially in men. Higher BTM levels are associated with higher risk of fracture (i.e. lower bone strength). This association was found in postmenopausal and elderly women, but not older men. It was found mainly for major osteoporotic fractures (e.g. hip fracture), especially in short-term follow-ups (<5 years). This association was significant only for bone-specific BTM, mainly for bone resorption markers. The association between BTM levels and fracture risk remains significant after adjustment for BMD, which indicates that accelerated bone turnover is an independent determinant of bone fragility. However, currently, there are no official guidelines concerning the use of BTM for the fracture risk assessment in the clinical practice. In conclusion, measurement of BTM can improve our understanding of the mechanisms leading to the ageing-related loss of bone mass and strength.

Maldi imaging mass spectrometry of ageing cartilage
Dr. Mandy Peffers
, Wellcome Veterinary Integrated Research fellow, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) enables examination of proteins in-situ at a high spatial resolution. This study utilised this methodology to investigate the location and abundance of different cartilage proteins in ageing and osteoarthritic equine cartilage in order to determine changing molecular events distinct between aging and disease.

Healthy ageing: are we there yet?
Dr Suzanne Wait, Director, SHW Health Ltd, UK
'Healthy ageing' has become a ubiquitous goal in all countries facing the challenges of an ageing population. This talk will provide an overview of the current epidemiology of ageing -- looking at time trends, changing patterns of morbidity and co-morbidity, quality of life and independence, and the implications of these trends on health and social policies. Changes that are needed within health and social care systems will be explored with a view to define ways in which we can best foster the healthy ageing of our populations in the future.

Interpretation and usefulness of current reference intervals for biochemical markers in frail elderly
Mrs Maria Edvardsson,
Reg Biomedical Laboratory Scientist, Laboratory, Finspång Health Care Centre, County Council ofÖstergötland, Sweden
Reference intervals provided by the laboratory are commonly established by measurements of samples from apparently healthysubjects in the ages 18-65 years. The aim was to compare values used to develop reference intervals for IgA, IgG, IgM, C3, C4alanine aminotransferase, albumin, aspartate aminotransferase, creatinine, gamma-glutamyltransferase, lactate dehydrogenas,phosphate, sodium and urea, with values from nursing home residents (NHR), 80 years and older. Comparing laboratory resultsfrom elderly people with reference values for younger adults can be misleading or even dangerous, since normal conditions mayappear pathological, or the contrary, and thus lead to unnecessary or even harmful treatment.

Disrupted expression of splicing factors in human ageing
Dr Lorna Harries
, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics, RNA-mediated disease mechanisms, University of Exeter Medical School, UK
Changes in splicing with age have been reported in man, potentially arising from age-related alterations in splicing factor (SF) expression. We examined differential expression of SFs with age, in blood from two human populations and in senescent primary cells in culture.  38% of SFs demonstrated age/senescence-related transcript expression changes both in vivo and in vitro. Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM) emerged as a potential negative regulator of splicing factor expression, which was confirmed by siRNA against ATM in primary fibroblasts. These findings suggest that ATM, a core DNA damage protein, is a key regulator of the splicing machinery in man.

Genomic biomarkers of human ageing
Professor David Melzer
, Epidemiology & Public Health Group, Medical School, University of Exeter, UK
Messenger RNA (mRNA) is an intermediate between DNA and proteins. Clinical tests based on gene expression / mRNA signatures are already in use, notably for sub-typing and prognosis in cancer.  In the last five years there have been several key findings of gene expression and methylation biomarkers linked to ageing or related traits in humans.  Larger scale human studies of in-vivo genome wide expression in blood (notably from our InCHIANTI aging genomics study) have identified age related changes in the ratio of splice variants (isoforms) with advancing age for several genes, perhaps explaining loss of function in specialized cells. Gene expression associations with age itself yielded a biomarker sets that is a powerful classifier of biological age. Gene expression markers associated with muscle strength and cognition showed striking concordance with certain mice models of muscle repair and beta-amyloid phagocytosis respectively. Several studies of methylation with age have confirmed associations with large numbers of markers, with marker sets having strong correlations with chronological age. The functional significance of these patterns is currently being explored. Major challenges for the future include accounting for cell and tissue heterogeneity and establishing the longer term predictive value of expression and methylation markers.

Photoageing and the elastic fibre network
Dr Rachel Watson
, Senior Non-Clinical Lecturer, The University of Manchester, UK
In humans, ageing is a composite, combining intrinsic processes with those induced by interactions with our environment. Skin, more than any other organ, is subject to extreme environmental pressure, the major force being long term, chronic exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Skin is a specialised organ, composed of a cell-rich epidermis and a relatively cell-poor but extracellular matrix-rich dermis; this matrix has a complex composition, made up of many interacting proteins, which imbues skin with strength and elasticity. The effects of chronic UVR exposure to the dermal matrix will be discussed and we will explore why we see variation in the effects of UVR on specific dermal matrix components. Finally, we will look at strategies to partially repair the damage observed following long term sun exposure.

Keywords: biochemical marker; reference value; aging; multi-disease; nursing home resident, Types of adaptive behavior, aging,hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, antioxidant enzymes, primates, Ageing, Splicing factors, Alternative Splicing, ATM, MALDI-IMS,cartilage, ageing, equine, ageing; frail; nursing home resident; biochemical marker; reference interval, ultraviolet radiation, reactiveoxygen species, matrix metalloproteinases, elastin, fibrillin-rich microfibrils


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