New Test Shows How Long You'll Live
If you could take a blood test that shows you how long you could expect to live, would you?
It may sound like science fiction, but the test could go on sale to the public in Britain later this year. It measures telomeres, structures on the tips of chromosomes that gradually get shorter with age. Shorter telomeres have also been linked with a number of diseases.
An accurate measure of telomere length can accurately show how old a person is in biological, not chronological, age. For example, if a person is was born 55 years ago but has a biological age of 60, the difference in those numbers can predict how long he or she will live.
But the inventor of the test stressed that you won’t necessarily have a longer life if you have longer telomeres. According to the Independent newspaper, Maria Blasco of the Spanish National Cancer Research Center in Madrid, said, “We know that shorter telomeres can cause a shorter lifespan. But we don’t know whether longer telomeres are going to give you a longer lifespan.”
Blasco’s company, Life Lengths, is negotiating with companies throughout Europe to distribute the test. According to the Independent, Blasco said that a deal is expected to be reached with a British company later this year. All blood samples from the test would be returned to Blasco’s company in Spain.
Not everyone is enthusiastic about such tests. Critics have pointed out that the procedure could be used to do everything from selling fake anti-aging remedies to enabling health-insurance companies to refuse coverage for people whose test results are “unacceptable.”