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The Forum > General Discussion > Do you want to know how long you've got left before you die?

Do you want to know how long you've got left before you die?

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Do the telomeres know.

There's really not much I can add to this piece from The Independent:

The 400 test that tells you how long you'll live

See:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-163400-test-that-tells-you-how-long-youll-live-2284639.html

Some excerpts:

>>DNA breakthrough heralds new medical era and opens ethical Pandora's box

[...]

A blood test that can show how fast someone is ageing and offers the tantalising possibility of estimating how long they have left to live is to go on sale to the general public in Britain later this year.

[...]

The controversial test measures vital structures on the tips of a person's chromosomes, called telomeres, which scientists believe are one of the most important and accurate indicators of the speed at which a person is ageing.

[...]

The results of the tests might also be of interest to companies offering life-insurance policies or medical cover ...there is a growing body of scientific opinion that says testing the length of a person's telomeres could provide vital insights into the risk of dying prematurely from a range of age-related disorders, from cardiovascular disease to Alzheimer's and cancer.

[...]

"This test devised by Blasco is so accurate that it is likely to provide more useful information than some of the other tests out there right now," said Professor Shay, who is a scientific consultant for Life Length. "What's important in ageing is the shortest telomeres. What makes cells stop growing is the shortest telomeres, not the average telomere length, which is what other tests look at.

"Everyone talks about the chronological age, but there is also a biological age, and telomere length is actually a pretty good representation of your biological age. Telomeres are important there is no question of that," he said.

[..]

"If you smoke or you're obese your insurance rates are higher, and if you have short telomeres your insurance rates might be higher too."

[...]

So, would you take the test?
Posted by stevenlmeyer, Monday, 16 May 2011 2:24:46 PM
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It is a question that has been on my mind of late.
But if my DNA said tomorrow I would be unconcerned.
It shows much about us but even it can Be wrong.
I am unwell, but looking at my family history, it too surely was shown in their DNA it is not clear.
Grand parents on both sides died in the 73,rd year of their life.
Not bad for people born pre 1900.
Dad went at 54, much too soon, heart.
Mum 17 years younger than dad went in her 68th year.
I am not yet, quite, 66.
So no would not pay for a test, and not fear one.
But think individual lifestyle and diet can prove even them wrong.
Posted by Belly, Monday, 16 May 2011 5:11:32 PM
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Hi Belly

I'm sure that some people are born with long telomeres and others with shorter ones.

However my understanding is this:

--Telomeres shorten throughout your life;

--Lifestyle factors MAY influence the RATE at which telomeres shorten.

That's why I doubt this test is useful for anyone much under the age of 60 - assuming it is useful at all.

See that fount of all knowledge, wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomere

BTW in scientific matters I've found wikipedia to be quite reliable. Wouldn't trust it on anything controversial without cross-checking.
Posted by stevenlmeyer, Monday, 16 May 2011 6:06:08 PM
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If the test works then it can be quite useful - if I knew that I'm not going to live that long, then I could afford to retire straight away instead of having to worry about having sufficient savings to live on indefinitely.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Monday, 16 May 2011 6:11:52 PM
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Dear Steven,

Nah, there's some things I'd rather not know - it might spoil (for me at least) the solid foundation of my life at present. I might even go crazy and do something foolish like give in to my emotions for a change - do what I want to do - and become totally selfish. :-)
Posted by Lexi, Monday, 16 May 2011 7:05:44 PM
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Steven,I want to know how long it will be before we all learn to live.Death is inevitable,but living is far more precious.Enjoy the moment.
Posted by Arjay, Monday, 16 May 2011 8:02:39 PM
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