New OTC Blood Test to Predict Your 'Biological Age' Coming
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.Professor Jerry Shay of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas is a scientific consultant for Life Length. He said,
"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."
"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.There is concern that insurance companies may start requesting telomere tests for their customers. But also, there is skepticism among some scientists.
"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."
“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.”