Blood test death Forecast
Based on the theory that biological ageing wears down your telomeres, though our bodies age at different rates, genes, environment and personal habits all playing their part
Blood test death Forecast
Spain's National Cancer Research Centre is home to a new test, which measures the telomeres on the ends of my chromosomes, and predicting in theory at what age I can expect to die. Might this new telomere research suggest ways in which we can turn back body clocks and make ourselves biologically younger?
Based on the theory that biological ageing wears down your telomeres, though our bodies age at different rates, genes, environment and personal habits all playing their part. Your telomere lengths indicate how you are doing, essentially telling you if you are biologically younger or older than others born around the same time as you.
María Blasco 45-year-old molecular biologist and a leading telomere researcher, says that the number of short telomeres is key. A co-founders of the Life Length company offering the tests, she says that short telomeres cause, as well as provide evidence of ageing. There is a critical level at which the shortness triggers cell death, because tissue stem cells do not regenerate and many telomeres become, over time, so short that key parts of our bodies stop working.
Research is still in its early days, the whole thing set up originally to help researchers across various industries test product impact telomeres, but floods of requests from individual requests have been arriving. The test is now available via doctors in Spain and Portugal, with plans to make it easier for UK and US doctors to carry out.
Current states of telomere testing are akin to the early days of cholesterol testing, and should become common as prices drop and research increases data to help invent telomere-restoring treatments, though the benefits of telomere science still lie mostly in the future.
The most exciting aspects of this new research are the possible future advances such as telomerase activation, because of a potential to reverse ageing, as well as proving which diseases can benefit from such intervention, as many epidemiological studies have shown correlations between telomere length and certain diseases.
If telomeres can be re-elongated. then biological age can be to some extent reversed though immortality is obviously out of the question. However, there are a number of ageing diseases caused by cells ageing, so activating telomerase could possibly help prevent Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease or even cardiovascular problems in some cases.
For now the $500 price-tag for the test may make it just too far out of reach for most, but as the researchers point out, without a comparison database, which will take years to build, the chances of being told with any kind of accuracy on what day you might die are at best remote. When telomere testing, and medication to repair chromosomes are standard fare, allowing us to live longer and healthier lives, then the effort might be worth it, but for now you should save the cash for something more certain.