If you could find out pretty much the exact date – give or take a few months – when you will take your last breath among the living, would you want to know?
If you said yes, then you may just get your chance, and soon. Scientists believe they may have come up with a simple blood test that can accurately predict whether someone will likely die within the next five years.
As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, scientists have discovered a marker in blood that detects the so-called “building blocks” of cancer, chronic heart disease and a host of other serious illnesses. In fact, experts are saying that the new blood test is a lot more accurate in assessing imminent death than any previous method devised.
The news site noted that a team of international researchers gathered data between 1997 and 1999 on 6,545 men aged between 45 and 69. Participants in the study were followed until 2015, to see if they lived or died.
Is reducing inflammation the key?
Researchers looked at markers for inflammation, including a new method – interluekin-6 (IL-6). They also examined two other markers: C-reactive protein (CRP) and Î±1-acid glycoprotein (AGP).
In previous research, scientists had found the latter marker to be the strongest predictor of death within five years. However, in the new study – which was published in the Canadian Medical Association journal, researchers discovered that IL-6 was the more accurate predictor.
The most recent study’s lead researcher, Prof. Archana Singh-Manoux of University College London, said that the new discovery was “exciting.”
“Research on biomarkers is progressing fast, and it is important to undertake checks like in the one in our study, to shape future research,” he told the Daily Mail.
Critical for new treatment targets
In a related statement, Dr. Paul Ridker of Harvard Medical School said, “Biomarker discovery is crucial for thinking about new treatment targets.” He added that with regards to AGP, CRP and IL-6, it is not yet certain whether reducing inflammation will “reduce cardiovascular event rates,” including sudden death.
The biomarker discovery comes on the heels of a 5-minute online test developed by scientists that can accurately determine what a person’s chances are of dying in the next five years. UbbLE – launched just last year – is available online for free, and requires you to answer just 11 questions for women and 13 for men.
What if government forced you to have the test? What would it do with the information?
While scientists and researchers may be touting this new information as helpful in determining and treating disease, some believe such predictor information could be used by, say, health insurance companies to either deny people coverage or charge them much more in terms of monthly premiums.
Also, there could be misuse of the information by governments – especially when it came to meting out medical care and benefits. Government health agencies, armed with information that you likely won’t live much longer, could refuse to pay for certain other medical care, like cuts and broken bones requiring emergency treatment.
Still others don’t believe that such tests are even worthwhile. After all, not every one of the tests would be accurate. And, you could get into a car crash the day after you took it and be killed.
Is it worth it?
Then there are those who say it isn’t worth knowing if or when you’re likely going to die within a certain amount of time. These people advocate living life to its fullest every day, and that it really doesn’t matter “how much time” you have left.
But what if governments require you to have a blood test – like they require kids to be vaccinated and forbid food labels from listing GMO ingredients? That alone would indicate that the government had some self-serving purpose for knowing what you, personally, don’t really want to know.