How long will you live? New blood tests may have the answer

Biomarkers will be used to measure - and slow down - the aging process

A new blood test could revolutionise preventative medicine
(Image credit: Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images)

A new blood test that can reveal how long a person has to live could be used to help slow down the aging process.

Scientists at Yale University have developed a test that draws on nine biomarkers found in the blood, including genes and disease characteristics, which can be used to calculate the biological age of a person’s body, “that is, how old it seems from the way it functions, as opposed to how long it has been out of the womb”, says The Guardian.

Researchers found this was a more accurate predictor of life expectancy than a person’s chronological age. It also allows doctors to see what is contributing to a person’s rate of ageing and enables them to suggest lifestyle changes to help reduce it.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Supporting research found the most important factors that appear to accelerate aging are growing up in a deprived area, poor education and chronic stress, as well as smoking and obesity.

Morgan Levine, a pathologist at Yale, said the test could be used to identify people who are ageing faster than normal, meaning they are at greater risk of disease and an early death.

“We showed that even among people who have no diseases, who are presumably healthy, we can still pick up differences in life expectancy. It’s capturing something preclinical, before any diseases present themselves,” she said, adding it would be more beneficial to doctors than routine GP tests, such as measuring blood pressure.

But while it has the potential to revolutionise preventative medicine, HuffPost UK says “it begs the question: would you really want to know how long you’ve got left on this planet? Or is ignorance truly bliss?”

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us