New blood test shows how long you will live

May 17, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier report

(Medical Xpress) -- A controversial test capable of revealing just how long you have to live is set to hit the market in Britain within the year. The test measures a person's telomeres which are the structures found on the tips of chromosomes and researchers believe that these telomeres are crucial indicators of the speed in which a body is ageing.

The test was developed by Maria Blasco from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre. Blasco’s company, Life Length, is in negotiations with medical diagnostic businesses throughout Europe in order to collect blood samples and market the tests.

The test works by measuring the length of the and is able to then determine the biological age of a person. Research shows that individuals with shorter than normal telomeres have a shorter span than those individuals with longer telomeres. The test, however, is not capable of giving an exact length of life in terms of months or years.

Many critics of the new test are referring to it as opening Pandora’s Box. While the personal interest an individual may have in seeing just how long they have left to live, insurance companies may be just as interested in this information. Life-insurance companies may look to require testing on individuals, and those unfortunate enough to have smaller telomeres may find it difficult to get insurance. Others are concerned this may open a new door to scams and ‘miracle cures’ being offered to ‘extend’ life expectancy and take advantage of those with shorter telomeres.

Researchers are hoping that the testing of telomeres could provide vital information on premature deaths due to many conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. They believe that within the next five to 10 years, telomere testing will become very widespread. The current cost for this is around $700, though Blasco hopes to be able to bring down the prices as public demand increases.

Explore further: Less education related to faster aging

Related Stories

Less education related to faster aging

May 11, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- People who leave education with fewer qualifications are prone to age more quickly, according to a new study funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the British Heart Foundation.

Recommended for you

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nanotech_republika_pl
not rated yet May 17, 2011
In US, SpectraCell offers the telomere length test (for about 2 years I think), and the test is a scam in my opinion.The test is designed to be used in statistical tests on hundreds of samples not on a single person, so the error you get is like 10-30% or maybe more (the company will not admit), which is about where you can say: it shows that I'm way younger than average if the error is +20% or way older than average if the error is -20%. Good luck interpreting it on a single sample. A solution is to test yourself 100 times to increase the confidence level in the result. The price of a single test is about $350.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.