Blood test ‘can predict how long people live’

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They believe blood sample analysis can be used to forecast vulnerability to life-threatening illnesses and expected mortality.

The researchers base their claims on a study of genetic traits or “biomarkers” in a blood sample.

By analysing the biomarkers of nearly 5,000 adults, they were able to link a person’s biomarker patterns or “signatures” to healthy or unhealthy ageing.
Certain patterns were associated with different probabilities of life-threatening diseases like cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

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The team from Boston University in the US say their findings could help save the lives of those more likely to fall ill.

Paola Sebastiani, the university’s professor of biostatics, says in her paper: “This analysis shows that various biomarker signatures exist.
“Their significant associations with physical function, morbidity and mortality suggest that these patterns represent differences in biological ageing.”

She added: “Many prediction and risk scores already exist for predicting specific diseases like heart disease.

“We are taking another step by showing that particular patterns of groups of biomarkers can indicate how well a person is ageing and their risk for specific age-related syndromes and diseases.”

Co-author Thomas Perls, the university’s professor of geriatrics, added: “We can now detect and measure thousands of biomarkers from a small amount of blood.”

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