Death is inevitable and mostly unpredictable… but that latter part may be changing in the near future. As reported by Ars Technica, scientists in The Netherlands have developed a “death panel” blood test to estimate a person’s chances of dying in the next ten years.
First, they pulled data from 44,168 people from ages 18 to 109, including 226 substances in their blood. Seventeen years (and 5,512 deaths) later, they came up with 14 deadly metabolic blood substances that should be used in their panel. These markers of potential mortality include blood sugar, bad cholesterol, different types of fatty acids associated with inflammation, and albumin, which points to kidney and liver problems. The leading causes of death like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes all played a big part of the very morbid research.
In a Finnish test pool for 7,603 subjects surveyed in 1997, the blood test was about 83% accurate at predicting the deaths that occurred at the five- and ten-year marks. That accuracy dropped to 72% with people over 60, but that’s still a high number. This is a good start to pinpointing when a person will die but, of course, future studies will have to sort out many more unknown blood and genetic factors… not to mention accidents, and the likelihood of being taken out in the zombie apocalypse, or kicking the bucket 1000 Ways to Die style.
This study could help patients discover unknown problems earlier so they can take action to prolong their lives or prepare for their final days. New treatment plans and medicines may also appear as a result of examining a person’s blood at various stages in their lives. More studies will likely happen considering the only subjects so far are European.
Until then, try not to spend time freaking out about what substances are lurking in your blood and planning a fatal attack.
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