Would you take the 'death test'? Simple blood test predicts chances of dying within five years
Scientists say new screening technology reveals a signature of mortality
A simple blood test could be enough to predict if a person is likely to die within the next five years – even if they are healthy.
Scientists from Finland and Estoniaclaim said they have now created a “death test” to predict the chances a person has of dying from a medical condition.
The blood test identifies four biological markers that strongly indicate the risk of dying from any disease within the near future.
A biomarker is a biological molecule, gene or characteristic that may be used to identify a biological state, condition or disease.
Blood samples taken from over 17,000 generally healthy participants were screened for more than a hundred different biomolecules. Their health was monitored for the next five years.
Of the 17,000 participants, 684 died during that period from a range of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. The scientists found that all of the deceased had similar levels of four biomarkers - albumin; alpha-1-acid glycoprotein; citrate, and a similar size of very-low-density lipoprotein particles.
One in five participants with the highest biomarker scores died within the first year of the study.
Dr Johannes Kettunen, of the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, said: “What is especially interesting is that these biomarkers reflect the risk for dying from very different types of diseases such as heart disease or cancer. They seem to be signs of a general frailty in the body.”
The team are now looking to study whether some kind of connecting factor between these biomarkers can be identified.
“We believe that in the future these measures can be used to identify people who appear healthy but in fact have serious underlying illnesses and guide them to proper treatment. More studies are, however, needed before these findings can be implemented in clinical practice.”
Estonian researchers initially made the link from a group of 9,842 people and asked Finnish scientists to repeat the experiment on a further 7,503.
Research professor Markus Perola of the Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland told The Telegraph they were not expecting to be able to replicate the findings and were amazed when they were identical.
Prof Perola said: “It was a pretty amazing result. First of all we didn’t really believe it. It was astonishing that these biomarkers appeared to actually predict mortality independent of disease.
“These were all apparently healthy people but to our surprise it appears these biomarkers show an undetected frailty which people did not know they had.”
The study was published in the PLOS Medicine journal today.
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...