New research has shown that there might be a possible way to predict the lifespan of a person through a blood test. Specific biomarkers in the blood tell us that it might be possible to calculate the life span of a person in the near future.
Currently, doctors can estimate mortality pretty accurately with the final year of a patient’s life. However, predicting mortality beyond a year, though, such as 5-10 years cannot be done yet.
Scientists recently published new research on the possibility of a tool that can accurately predict mortality. Their study appears in the Nature Communications Journal.
This potential discovery could be significant because it could help doctors make treatment decisions. The life span prediction can go up to 5 to 10 years. For example, doctors could decide whether a patient should get surgery depending on their remaining years. It could help identify situations that need medical interventions and those that do not.
Another added benefit is that now scientists would be able to how forms of medical intervention (surgeries or medicine courses) impact the life span. Human trials would not be necessary.
How would the blood test estimate the lifespan?
Doctors currently use cholesterol levels and blood pressure to try and figure out the life span of a patient. However, the older the patient gets, the less useful these measures become. In fact, for patients above the age of 85, high cholesterol and blood pressure is a sign of high mortality.
Hence, scientists from Brunel University in London and Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands designed this study to find out how to accurately calculate life span using biomarkers.
The study took data from 44,168 people between the ages of 18-109. This is the most extensive study of it’s kind. 5,512 people died during the follow-up period.
Researchers used a scoring system to predict when each person would die using metabolic markers linked to mortality.
After this, the researchers had to compare the authenticity of the scoring system with a model of standard risk factors that might be involved. This led to 7,603 more participants in the study, 1,213 of whom passed away during the follow-up period.
Relevant biomarkers for estimating life span
Following many tests to cancel out metabolites, scientists were able to narrow down on 14 biomarkers that are separately linked to mortality. Having a higher concentration of specific biomarkers is a sign of decreasing mortality, such as histidine, valine, and leucine. Lower levels of lactate, glucose, and phenylalanine is a marker of higher mortality.
These markers performed the same in both sexes. The participant pool covered different age groups and found that the biomarkers applied the same across all age groups.
The biomarkers that were singled out in the study looked across a broad spectrum of processes in the body, from inflammation to fluid balance.
While this study is a significant step forward, more research will lead to blood tests having stronger predictive powers. However, this one is more accurate when compared to a score based on conventional risk factors, study authors say.