New OTC Blood Test to Predict Your 'Biological Age' Coming

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News Posted: Thu, May 19 2011 9:18 AM
A new blood test that will come on the market later this year in over-the-counter form is raising questions about just how much we should know, and what will be done with that knowledge. The test will, the maker says, be able to predict your life expectancy to within a decade.

The test, by the company Life Length, is to come on the market in the U.K. later this year, and will cost 500 euros ($714). The tests measures the length of a person's telomeres, the cap-like molecular structures on the tips of the chromosomes. The shorter they are, scientists believe, the nearer one is to death.

Essentially, the test will give a person's "true" biological, vs. his chronological, age. There have been tests that estimate your biological age based on answers to questions about lifestyle and medical conditions, but this is the first such blood test to hit the over-the-counter market.

Maria Blasco of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid, who is the inventor of the new telomere test said,
"We know that people who are born with shorter telomeres than normal also have a shorter lifespan. 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. That's not really known in humans.

"What is new about this test is that it is very precise. We can detect very small differences in telomere length and it is a very simple and fast technique where many samples can be analysed at the same time. Most importantly, we are able to determine the presence of dangerous telomeres – those that are very short."
Professor Jerry Shay of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas is a scientific consultant for Life Length. He said,
"This test devised by Blasco is so accurate that it is likely to provide more useful information than some of the other tests out there right now. What's important in ageing is the shortest telomeres. What makes cells stop growing is the shortest telomeres, not the average telomere length, which is what other tests look at.

"Everyone talks about the chronological age, but there is also a biological age, and telomere length is actually a pretty good representation of your biological age. Telomeres are important – there is no question of that."
There is concern that insurance companies may start requesting telomere tests for their customers. But also, there is skepticism among some scientists.

Blasco is one the former students of Johns Hopkins University researcher Carol Greider, who won a share of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering the telomere-affecting enzyme telomerase. Greider had been offered a position on Life Length's board of advisers, which could have been a lucrative position paying $30 - $50,000 annually, but she declined even before compensation was discussed. Greider said,
“I think they’re just trying to make money. I couldn’t participate in what they were standing for. The science isn’t there yet.”
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Dave_HH replied on Thu, May 19 2011 1:06 PM

This is just wild and a little scary I might add.

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Dave_HH:

This is just wild and a little scary I might add.

It's expensive, too. I'd rather spend the money on some new hardware!

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Drago replied on Thu, May 19 2011 7:19 PM

So what about the guy that gets this test and it says he will live to be 70 and walks out the door and gets hit by a bus and dies. Wouldnt his family be able to sue this company for getting it wrong?

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realneil replied on Thu, May 19 2011 8:01 PM

I predict (as the article said) that insurance companies will strike a deal with this company for cheap testing, and suddenly require everyone to get this test done before granting insurance. I can also see them jacking current customers and dropping them if they get a bad score,...............

This adds new meaning to the term, "Hey Shorty!"

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HHGrrl replied on Thu, May 19 2011 8:14 PM

"The test will, the maker says, be able to predict your life expectancy to within a decade."

I wonder - if you look at the average life expectancy of a person living in a particular area of the world, and then give an over/under of 10 years, does that encompass a good percentage of the population?

For example, according to Wikipedia, the average life expectancy of a male in the United States is 75.6 years. So give or take 10 years either way, and you'd expect that the vast majority of males will live between 65.6 and 85.6 years of age. If it were true (I don't know if it is or not) that the majority of males actually live to between 65.6 and 85.6 years of age, then I see little value in this test.

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Every test will come up with the same answer,.......Dec 21,2012 :P

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realneil replied on Thu, May 19 2011 8:28 PM

animatortom:
Every test will come up with the same answer,.......Dec 21,2012 :P

Ha-Ha! Smart-Ass!

 

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Just pointing out the crazy end of the world scare tactics that many people will believe.
 
I have a hard enough time trusting one doctor telling me when to die without checking with at least five others. This is just big pharma companies coming up with a way to legally stand on the street corner with a sign saying the "end is nigh", so people will throw dollars in the cup?Indifferent
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realneil replied on Thu, May 19 2011 8:48 PM

animatortom:
Just pointing out the crazy end of the world scare tactics that many people will believe.

Like the year 2000. Wasn't that a horrible experience for all of us?

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Yeah, it didn't work out to well for the Griffin Family in episode 3-10 "Da Boom"
 
Or Philip J. Fry?
 
It makes for great entertainment though.
 
It also lets people focus on things other than actually reality. Like how the global environment that is parallel and worse than before WWI, and Ten times worse than the events that lead to WWII. Of course everyone focuses on changing the history books so the new generation remains ignorant and thinks they are in the right because they are told so. Then they get everyone to focus on Anolds marriage and Life expectancy tests?
 
I have always been fascinated by History (factual History!) One thing I can say is that the Mayans got it right! It is only a matter of how you look at it! They were very accurate at measuring the stars for people with strings on a stick! Their calender is just a measurement of the revolutions of the stars and how they come back around and start over next year. Just go look at your "worldwide telescope" and see how the planets line up on that date, its pretty neat!
 
But I don't believe it is a revolution like the youth are calling for like their hero, Che from the sixties (who is apparently some great revolutionary who belongs on T-Shirts and PJ's and not a murderer who lead a dictator to subjugate his people?) Its not some REM song either. Or the end of your world like a global life expectancy test will tell people it is. Although I believe we are heading to WWIII and this generation is cheering for it, because "this is what democracy looks like!"
 
Although the effects in 2012 were cool?
 
So "Remember The March 6, 1836!"
(and not the way it has been scrubbed on Wiki!)
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BBaker replied on Fri, May 20 2011 5:25 AM

This test can only predict your death as what your body is like when you take it. If you're unhealthy it will obviously effect the result. You could get healthy a year later and the test will say you'll live 15 more years. No one leads the exact same life for the rest of their lives, so the test is useless essentially. But it could be used to scare unhealthy people into becoming healthy.

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realneil replied on Fri, May 20 2011 10:31 AM

BBaker:
But it could be used to scare unhealthy people into becoming healthy.

(Imagine This)

So now, some hard-charging entrepreneur will come out with a dietary supplement that claims to 'add length' to your telomeres, thereby prolonging your life. (Viag-Life anybody? How about Ciala-Longlife?) People will buy it, thinking that they've found the "Fountain Of Youth" in a pill, because we all know that many people simply will buy ANYTHING. They'll end up selling everything just to get their hands on this magic substance.

The entrepreneur will be rich until it's found that the pills grow hair on your eyeballs, and then he'll run away with the money to an island in the sun.

(Yep!, Just Imagine)

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eunoia replied on Sat, May 21 2011 2:57 AM

.

...pending.

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Does this test also measure the girth of the telomeres, or is this only about the length?

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realneil replied on Sat, May 21 2011 8:59 PM

  ROFLMAO!! 

 

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