Scientists Develop Blood Test That Can Predict When You Will Die
Scientists have developed a blood test that can predict whether someone is going to die in the next decade.
Specialists in Germany discovered more than a dozen biomarkers in blood that are believed to influence the risk of death.
The breakthrough was made after testing 44,000 people, analysing 14 factors, such as immunity and glucose control.
Using the information gathered during the trial, they were able to predict - with 83 percent accuracy - whether someone was going to die in the next 2 to 16 years.
The study was published in the Nature Communications journal. During the trial, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing analysed the blood of thousands of adults, with ages ranging from 18 to 109 years old.
All of those who took part in the trial were of European descent and were taken from 12 other studies.
They were first tested on conventional factors of death, such as their BMI, blood pressure, smoking, etc. Then academics used the biomarkers from the new blood test.
Participants were given a score ranging from minus two to three - the higher the number, the more likely a person is going to die sooner.
Follow-up tests over the next 2 to 16 years found that more than 5,000 of the participants had died. The new test had predicted their risk of death with 83 percent accuracy - better than the 79 percent accuracy of current tests.
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But if you're just about to book an appointment with the GP, don't bother - it won't be available as part of your usual check-up for some time.
Currently, doctors can predict whether a patient is going to die in the next year, but predicting a patient's risk over the next 10 years is much trickier. It is hoped that this recent set of positive results will help specialists improve how someone is treated for their medical condition.
Those in the field, however, have warned people not to get ahead of themselves and stated that much more needs to be done before it can be used in standard medicine.
Dr Amanda Heslegrave, a researcher at the UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London, praised the research, but said there's still a long way to go.
She commented: "Biomarkers give us important insight into what's happening in health and disease.
"The large numbers in the study are good and also the fact that they have a large number for outcome - in this case, mortality - makes the data more viable.
"However, as it is limited by the fact that being only European data, it may not apply to other ethnic groups without further studies.
"Whilst this study shows this type of profiling can be useful, they do point out importantly it would need further work to develop a score at the individual level that would be useful in real-life situations.
"So, it's an exciting step, but it's not ready yet."
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