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How Long Will You Live? A New Blood Test Will Tell You... If You Really Want To Know

 

Telemares are the bright caps at the ends of these chromosomes: Image by Photo Researchers, Inc., via scientificamerican.comTelemares are the bright caps at the ends of these chromosomes: Image by Photo Researchers, Inc., via scientificamerican.com Judgment Day believers need not read this, unless May 21, 2011 has come and gone and you're still here.  For those that are interested in a more scientific analysis of their life spans, a British company, Life Length, has the technology to predict how long you will live through a small blood sample. 

The technology is the brainchild of Dr. Maria Blasco from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid, analyses one's biological age by measuring the structure of telomeres on his or her chromosomes.  People with longer telemeres tend to have longer life spans and people with shorter than average length telomeres... Well, you know.

Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes that act like the plastic-covered ends of shoelaces to protect the laces from fraying.  When the chromosome prepares for cell division, the telomeres shorten, thus providing less protection to the chromosome.

This state indicates to scientists that the cell's life span is shorter and, of course, as we age, the length of our telomeres also shorten.  

The Life Length test will not give you the day, month, or year of your death; it is not that exact, but an estimate. Telomere research pioneer, Calvin B. Harley, told Scientific American that telomere length is “probably the best single measure of our integrated genetics, previous lifestyle and environmental exposures.”  What a way to view your past.

 Life Length tests are scheduled to launch in 2012 for about $700 a pop in Britain, but Blasco hopes the price will come down quickly based on a large demand.  There is a big controversy about the test, however, among private citizens who wonder how this information might be used against them, as well as medical personnel who question the reliability of the results.

It's worth following the developments in telomerese testing; how it can help us change our lifestyles and how others may access this information in the future....

 

sources: MotherNatureNetwork, The Sun, Scientific American and fellow blogger, Steve Levenstein who tipped me off to this deveiopment!