Photo: Cultura/REX USA.
Get those bucket lists ready. A new study suggests our blood may provide four telltale signs that the grim reaper is upon us.
The study's researchers screened more than 17,000 samples of blood from an overall healthy population in both Finland and Estonia for more than 100 different biomarkers — the biological molecules found in the body that indicate abnormalities. They then followed up on each subject’s health status for several years. Using samples of those who passed away within five years after the blood sample was taken, the researchers narrowed down to four specific biomarkers linked to a higher risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. Of the four biomarkers — albumin, alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, citrate, and the size of low-density lipoprotein particles — only one had previously been linked to a high risk for mortality (albumin).
The researchers even ruled out other known factors that contribute to life-threatening disease, including old age, obesity, tobacco and alcohol use, cholesterol levels, and pre-existing illnesses like diabetes and cancer. The association between the four biomarkers and impending death remained.
But, would you really want to take a blood test to determine imminent doom? It’s likely a simple blood test won’t delay a trip six-feet-under just yet, but biomarkers in our blood may help us take better preventative measures to help us live longer, healthier lives. Before we get too excited about stopping the clock, the researchers say there’s a lot more work to be done before we see any real benefit from a blood test like this one. (Mashable)