Have you got another five or 10 years of life ahead of you? The idea that a blood test may be able to reveal whether an untimely death is in the cards sounds, on the surface, all kinds of crazy. But researchers in Germany and the Netherlands have demonstrated just such a thing, with tests involving data from thousands of people proven to be around 83% accurate. This research could one day play an important role in helping clinicians to make sure that patients get the best possible treatment based on their individual markers.
“In blood samples of [more than] 44,000 individuals, mainly aged above 60 years, participating in 12 biobanks and studies across Europe, we investigated which out of the 63 tested metabolic biomarkers [are] associated with longer-term mortality,” Dr. Joris Deelen from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Germany, told Digital Trends. “The biobanks involved in this collaboration took blood [from] participants and followed them for many years, recording morbidity and mortality. We found that a set of 14 of these biomarkers associated independently with mortality.”
The research suggests that a single blood sample can be informative of longer-term mortality risk for people older than 60. The 14 biomarkers may, in fact, be better at predicting death over a five or even 10-year period than such traditional markers like body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, and the presence or lack of disease.
“The biomarkers are now being investigated in clinical studies to assess whether estimating the vulnerability of older people in the clinic using these biomarkers can help determine the best personal treatment,” Professor Eline Slagboom from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands told DT. “When patients come in with kidney or heart failure or hip fractures, health professionals and doctors need to know patients’ hidden vulnerabilities to provide the best care, medication dose, diet, [and the like.] Biomarkers like these can help them in their research into what is best for which patient.”
A paper describing the work, titled “A metabolic profile of all-cause mortality risk identified in an observational study of 44,168 individuals,” was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.