Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Blood Test of 4 Biomarkers Predicts Death Within 5 Years

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Risk? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mjr167 ( 2477430 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:18PM (#46358273)

    Cause "lifestyle choices" are why we all get sick and die? Really?

    News Flash: Everyone dies.

    While you can certainly make poor lifestyle choices that increase your risk, you can also make all the 'correct' choices, cut yourself while doing your healthy outdoor activities on something stupid, get flesh eating bacteria, and die.

    They are not saying "these activities" are high risk, but "these compounds that everyone has and fluctuate for a variety of reasons not all controlled by the individual" indicate risk. It's like saying something like "white people have a higher risk of this fatal disease (let's say... skin cancer) so lets drop all white people and tell them well, you should have known better than to be white".

  • Re:Risk? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @12:55PM (#46358883) Homepage

    "Next" policy update? This year my company-provided insurance demanded full physicals for me and my wife (not the kids) including 3 vials of blood. That goes for EVERYONE in the company (~3000 in our branch, millions world-wide).

    That said, we are insured in spite of the fact that my (very blunt) doctors told me I would likely never leave the hospital. And, if I did, I wouldn't live more than 4 months without a $300k transplant - And it would take 6 months just to get me on the waiting list. That was a year ago last November and at this point they're saying a transplant would be unnecessarily dangerous compared to its benefits. Suffice it to say, the test results may have been accurate and properly interpreted, but the predictions indicated didn't play out as planned.

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.