Are you up for a Death Test - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Are you up for a Death Test

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Every human being eventually will die. Would you want to know if death were likely within the next five years?

Scientists in Finland and Estonia have developed a simple blood test they believe can predict whether a seemingly healthy individual may die from a medical condition within one to five years of taking the test. The test measures the levels of four biomarkers. A biomarker is a biological molecule found in blood, body fluids, or tissues. The particular biomarkers used to calculate the chance of death in these studies included alpha -1 - acid glycoprotein which is raised during infection and inflammation, albumin-a protein that carries vital nutrients, hormones and proteins in the bloodstream, very low-density lipoprotein - that is very bed cholesterol, and citrate - a compound that is an essential part of the body's metabolism.

It is important to note this was an observational study; therefore, it only shows an association, rather than causation. In other words, the test cannot predict which illness a person might be at a higher risk of getting.

Scientists in this country point out that the biggest risk factors for potentially fatal conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer include smoking, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and a diet lacking in fruit and vegetables.

Researchers connected to the Death Test study claim that in the future, a test could at least "flag" individuals considered at high-risk and in need of medical intervention, even if no symptoms of a disease had presented.

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