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Blood Test of 4 Biomarkers Predicts Death Within 5 Years 104

retroworks writes "The NHS and the Daily Telegraph report on two studies (original and repeat duplicating results) in Estonia and Finland which predict whether an apparently healthy human will likely die within 5 years. The four biomarkers that appeared to determine risk of mortality in the next five years were: alpha-1-acid glycoprotein – a protein that is raised during infection and inflammation; albumin – a protein that carries vital nutrients, hormones and proteins in the bloodstream; very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particle size – usually known for being 'very bad' cholesterol; and citrate – a compound that is an essential part of the body's metabolism. Researchers found that people in the top 20% of the summary score range were 19 times more at risk of dying in the next five years than people in the lowest 20%." The NHS's summary of the news points out that "the implications of such a test are unclear. As this was an observational study, it can only show an association between the biomarkers and risk of death. It does not predict what the underlying cause of death would be for an individual and does not therefore provide an answer in terms of treatment."
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Blood Test of 4 Biomarkers Predicts Death Within 5 Years

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  • by 3.5 stripes ( 578410 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:03PM (#46358067)

    If a person's age is over 105 years, they're somewhere around 99% likely to die within the next 5 years.

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:06PM (#46358111)
    First, correlation will not tell you causes. Second, correlation does not necessary make individual outcome predictions possible.

    For example, out of population that have bad scores on this test mortality may be 19 times higher, but for any given individual it does not necessary means they are going to die in 5 years, or event that they are significantly more likely to die in 5 years.
  • Re:Risk? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:17PM (#46358255)

    It might have if not for the ACA. As it is, we've reformed our health-care so as to not deny insurance to sick people who need it. Fortunately most of us are compassionate people.

  • Re:Risk? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:27PM (#46358415)
    That's not compassionate, that's just stupid. No way we should be "insuring" people who are going to die within 5 years. Or at least not calling it "insurance", since it's not ensuring the person won't die. Call it end-of-life welfare, or terminal socialism, or something more accurate like that. My suspicion is it will make the Death Panels that the Republicans complained about a stark reality.

    Also, can you imagine the havoc this could wreak with people trying to go out with a bang and spending their life savings and settling old scores before they kick it? And the lawsuits that could be flying around after people spend all their money after false positives?
  • Re:Risk? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @01:01PM (#46358979) Homepage

    Smoking? Choice. Drinking? Choice. Eating crappy foods? Mostly choice. Genetics? You're pretty much stuck with what you have. Unless you're proposing some 'final solution', some people just have it rough.

  • Re:Risk? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by coolsnowmen ( 695297 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @02:17PM (#46360147)
    What is wrong with death panels? Seriously. Aside from the name. When medical science advances so that with enough money we could keep someone alive indefinitely. Then the question is, is it worth it? Years ago, and mostly today, this question didn't exist, because we didn't have technology and know how to do it. But eventually we will, and it will be a hard question. Also, I agree about the name- It is "health care" not "health insurance". I just don't get hung up on it.
  • Re:Risk? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GerryGilmore ( 663905 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @03:12PM (#46360901)
    I'll ignore the snark about Obama, but - trust me on this, white man - once you've watched a loved one like, say, your mother going through years and years of pain, confusion, terror and misery from Alzheimer's because there IS NO OTHER OPTION LEGALLY ALLOWED, you just might change your alleged mind on the subject. Have a nice day and I hope you never have to confront reality.

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.