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15 Aug 2013

Blood Test That Predicts How Long You’ll Live

Scientists in Britain have developed a novel blood test that could provide clues to the ageing process and determine how long an individual may live.
In a recent publication in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the scientists say they have discovered key metabolites in the blood, described as chemical ‘fingerprints’ left behind as a result of early molecular changes before birth or in infancy which not only could provide clues to health later in life but also pave the way for the development of therapies to treat age-related conditions.
Funded by the European Commission, Researchers from the Department of Twin Research at King’s College London, the research involves “metabolomic profiling,” the study of metabolites that specific cellular processes or changes leave behind in the blood.
Analysing blood samples donated by over 6,000 twins, they identified 22 metabolites directly linked to chronological age, the concentrations of the metabolites were higher in older people than in younger people.
Their finding suggests that levels of this novel metabolite, which may be determined in the womb and affected by nutrition during development, could reflect accelerated aging in later adult life. The scientists say the findings show it is possible that these markers of aging can be identified with simple blood tests in the future, which may provide further clues to the aging process and could pave the way for development of therapies to treat age-related conditions.
Ana Valdes, lead researcher from King’s, said that “human aging is a process influenced by genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors, but genes only explain a part of the story.
“Understanding the molecular pathways involved in the aging process could ultimately pave the way for future therapies to treat age-related conditions. As these 22 metabolites linked to aging are detectable in the blood, we can now predict actual age from a blood sample pretty accurately and in the future this can be refined to potentially identify future rapid biological aging in individuals,” she further said.

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