Life is short, the saying goes, and exactly how much time we have before we shuffle off this mortal coil is anyone’s guess. But this uncertainty could be consigned to history, according to the creators of a blood test they claim can predict a person’s life expectancy.
The test measures what the scientists at Yale University call a person’s “phenotypic age,” The Guardian reported. Put simply, if a person’s phenotypic age is higher than their chronological age, they may be at greater risk of dying. It works by measuring nine biomarkers in the body, the authors wrote in a paper published in the biological sciences archive bioRxiv. The paper was not peer-reviewed.
Dr. Morgan Levine, assistant professor of pathology at Yale School of Medicine, explained to The Guardian the test can identify differences in life expectancy among individuals who are seemingly healthy.
The team defined “healthy” as being free of disease and having a normal BMI.
“It’s [the test] picking up how old you look physiologically,” Levine told the newspaper. “Maybe you’re 65 years old but physiologically you look more like a 70-year-old, so your mortality risk is more like that of a 70-year-old.”
A clinician could therefore use the results as the basis for personalised lifestyle advice on how to prevent diseases and raise a patient’s life expectancy, she said.
To develop the test, the researchers analyzed 42 clinical measures documented in participants of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Factors such as their lifestyle and medical history were recorded, as well as a cause of death where relevant. The measures included glucose levels, white blood cell count and levels of albumin, a protein made by the liver. Read more