A newly developed blood test could predict your risk of dying in the next five years.
A Death Test which predicts the chance of a healthy person dying from any medical condition in the next five years has been developed by scientists.
Hoax or Fact:
Fact with some missing information.
The messages talk about a newly developed blood test termed as the 'Death Test' that could predict the chance of a healthy person dying from any medical condition in the next five years. Yes, it is a fact, but does not provide the complete information.
Scientists studied the blood samples from over 17,000 generally healthy people in Estonia and Finland for more than a hundred different Biomarkers and those people were monitored over five years. The study was published in PLOS Medicine on 25 Feb. 2014. In their study, 684 people died of various illnesses and diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. The scientists discovered that all those people had similar levels of four biomarkers.
A biomarker or biological marker is a biological molecule found in blood, body fluids, or tissues which may be used as an indicator of some biological state, like an abnormal process or a disease. The level of a particular biomarker may indicate a patient’s risk of a disease, or his likely response to a treatment. For example, the cholesterol levels of a person are measured to estimate the risk of heart disease.
The scientists were astonished to find that the levels of four key ‘biomarkers’ in the body, when taken together, indicated a general level of ‘frailty,’ i.e. the people whose biomarkers were out of balance were five times more likely to die within five years of the 'Death test' (blood).
Research professor Markus Perola of the Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland, talked about the study saying, “It was a pretty amazing result. First of all we didn’t really believe it. It was astonishing that these biomarkers appeared to actually predict mortality independent of disease. These were all apparently healthy people but to our surprise it appears these biomarkers show an undetected frailty which people did not know they had”. Dr. Johannes Kettunen of the Institute for Molecular Medicine in Finland said, “What is especially interesting is that these biomarkers reflect the risk for dying from very different types of diseases such as heart disease or cancer. They seem to be signs of a general frailty in the body. We believe that in the future these measures can be used to identify people who appear healthy but in fact have serious underlying illnesses and guide them to proper treatment”. The video shows a news report on the new findings of this study.
Limitations of the Study
Apart from the fact that the four biomarkers are associated with a short-term risk of death from a variety of diseases, there are several limitations to this observational study, which provides evidence of only a correlation between a biomarker score and ill health. The 'Death Test' does not identify any underlying causes, and does not identify what kinds of treatment might prove successful in reducing the health risks. Therefore, the scientists suggest that more research is needed to determine whether testing for these biomarkers can provide any clinical benefit -- for screening and prevention.