Scientists have developed a blood test that could measure how long you have left to live.
The researchers from Yale University insist their data offers the most accurate to date since they largely used factors measured in an annual physical as opposed to previous studies that have focused on molecular changes of cells to calculate a person’s life expectancy.
To conduct the study, the research team looked at nine specific biomarkers, which they chose by analysing 42 different measures that were available in the large data set NHANES (US National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys), a set of studies that tracks thousands of Americans for years.
The team selected 10,000 people from between 1988 and 1994, and identified factors which may have determined their risk of death. From this, the scientists developed a combined test based on nine biomarkers, which they validated with 11,000 people who had taken part in the second study, between 1999 and 2010.
The test calculates what they deemed a ‘phenotypic age’, which reflects the biological rather than chronological age of a person’s body. If a person’s phenotypic age is higher than their chronological age, it means they are ageing faster than average, and vice versa.
When the researchers ran the test on the people in the second study, they found on average, women had lower phenotypic ages compared to men, suggesting women age more slowly.
They also found that those who aged faster had more diseases than those who aged more slowly.
“In young or middle aged people, everyone thinks that they are healthy and fine, but that’s not always the case,” the study’s lead author, Dr Levine told the Daily Mail Online.
“This test could actually tell people their real risk, so they can monitor those factors before they become a problem.”
Dr Levine explained the study goes beyond previous research in determining the longevity of an individual’s life.
“I find that these are better predictors of life expectancy than the more molecular measures because they are actually capturing pieces of the aging process.
“They say there are seven pillars or hallmarks of aging. A lot of the previous studies are looking at just one of those pillars. This encompasses multiple hallmarks.”
While the test does indicate how long you have to live, it sparks conversation in showing how one could improve their results by changing lifestyle factors.
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