You know the saying: you're only as old as you feel. Turns out there may be more to that cliche than meets the eye: researchers at California's Buck Institute for Age think they've found a way to determine a person's "real age" by looking at DNA clues called biomarkers. Which would go a long way to helping explain why some people seem to grow old before their time, and some octogenarians seem as healthy as 60-year-olds.

The speed at which people age depends on a number of factors including genetic inheritance, lifestyle and mental health. Determining chronological age in both worms and humans is easy "“ count forward from birth. But determining physiological age has remained subjective "“ [thus far] -- based on how someone looks or functions. [link]

It's easy enough to determine the physical-vs-chronological age of a worm, it seems -- whose lifespan is about three weeks -- and considerably more challenging to do so with humans. But this research marks a major step forward -- and success could give science a hard-and-fast way to verify the effectiveness of anti-aging therapies, which hasn't yet been possible, and to scare the crap out of 30-year-olds by telling them they have the body of a 50-year-old, and so on. I suspect that in the end, the research will verify what we already know to be true: those who eat right and exercise live longer than those who don't.

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I'd want to know how old I "really" am. It's a little too close to someone telling me when I'm going to die! How about you?