Research Paper Volume 14, Issue 18 pp 7206—7222

Psychological factors substantially contribute to biological aging: evidence from the aging rate in Chinese older adults

Fedor Galkin1, , Kirill Kochetov1, , Diana Koldasbayeva1, , Manuel Faria2, , Helene H. Fung3, , Amber X. Chen3, , Alex Zhavoronkov1,4,5, ,

  • 1 Deep Longevity Limited, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China
  • 2 Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
  • 3 Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China
  • 4 Insilico Medicine, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China
  • 5 Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, CA 94945, USA

Received: April 4, 2022       Accepted: August 23, 2022       Published: September 27, 2022
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2022 Galkin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


We have developed a deep learning aging clock using blood test data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, which has a mean absolute error of 5.68 years. We used the aging clock to demonstrate the connection between the physical and psychological aspects of aging. The clock detects accelerated aging in people with heart, liver, and lung conditions. We demonstrate that psychological factors, such as feeling unhappy or being lonely, add up to 1.65 years to one’s biological age, and the aggregate effect exceeds the effects of biological sex, living area, marital status, and smoking status. We conclude that the psychological component should not be ignored in aging studies due to its significant impact on biological age.


BMI: Body mass index; BUN: Blood urea nitrogen; CHARLS: China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study; CV: Cross-validation; DNN: Deep neural network; EN: Elastic net; HbA1C: Glycated hemoglobin; HDL: High-density lipoprotein; LDL: Low-density lipoprotein; MAE: Mean absolute error; MAPE: Mean absolute percentage error; MCV: Mean corpuscular volume; NHANES: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder; WBC: White blood cells.