Controversial Blood Test To Predict How Long You Will Live

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/16/2012 ( 12 moms have responded )

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A new test set to hit the market in Britain in the next year aims to tell patients how long they have to live, and naturally that’s not happening without controversy. The test measures a person’s telomeres, those structures found on the tips of chromosomes. The length of telomeres apparently correlates with how fast a person is aging biologically, and hence researchers want to offer individuals some insight into just how much longer their bodies can hold up.



Well, some researchers do. Others aren’t so sure it’s a great idea. The test, developed at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, will be marketed via the company Life Length, which is in talks with medical diagnostics companies across Europe. When it goes on sale next year it will cost roughly $700.



It works pretty simply: provide a blood sample, and the test checks the length of your telomeres, which are basically used to determine your biological age. Research has shown that those with shorter than normal telomeres have shorter average life spans than those with longer telomeres. They also might have a severe case of telomere anxiety that they didn’t know they had previously.



Critics see that as a problem. Aside from the fact that insurance companies might start requiring telomere testing and using it to determine life insurance and health insurance rates, it might also stoke peoples’ fears of death--and open them up to scams and bad medicine purporting to extend their telomeres/lives.



That all sounds like an interesting backdrop for a novel (perhaps one set in a not too distant future dystopian New York and written by Gary Shteyngart), but some are afraid that such a test would open a Pandora’s Box that we couldn’t put the lid back on. The price might be the more controversial part; $700, and let’s face it: no one’s telomeres are going to be quite long enough.




First I heard of this one. I highly doubt I would ever get this done. I know I am going to die someday. I can see many running for it though, for good reason, especially interest in what they may have to look forward to or not.;)



Would you do it? Is $700 a price you would pay to see how long you will live?



Read more:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/articl...

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/16/2012

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Not interested, but it is a great money making scheme. You can never guess how long someone will live. You could walk out your front door, trip on the sidewalk, fall, hit your head just right and die. Or get into and accident, fall down the stairs and break your neck. Yeah, this is a bullshit scheme. Is it going to tell you if you will get cancer? Get electrocuted? Or die during child birth? Nope. People will flock to this, and unfortunately it will determine how they live their lives.

**Jackie** - posted on 03/17/2012

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I agree with MeMe that it is interesting and I plan on following the articles to come BUT I wouldn't even want to know.



I remember not opening up my lunch box until lunch because I loved the surprise of not knowing what was in between those wonderful slices of bread that my mom packed for me! lol I certainly don't want to know when I'm going to croak.

Christina - posted on 03/17/2012

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This is a little scary...

I hope it doesn't come here and I hope it isn't ever used as a factor for insurance, that would be horrible. I agree it could be dangerous. You never know how a person would react some would commit suicide or act carelessly thinking they have all the time in the world and lets face it..No one knows when your going to die, you could have the longest telomeres and walk off a curb and get hit by a truck tomorrow... so don't waste your money.

Ania - posted on 03/16/2012

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Telmore's change during persons life. I read an article that said that active people make them longer or something...so it is never too late to extend your life...start seriously exercising and eat healthy and you will live a long time...

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/16/2012

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Well, they can use the information for life saving diseases and advertise it for that. Nope. They are going after the gold by calling it a lifespan predictor.

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Becky - posted on 03/16/2012

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No, I don't want to know when or how I am going to die. I hope it's not for a very long time, but it's really out of our hands. Like others mentioned, no one can predict whether you are going to get hit by a bus on your way home from work tomorrow!

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/16/2012

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I dunno but I do find it interesting that the way they are looking at it is also how they can tell if you may end up with a disease such as Cancer. I have not researched any of this yet. However, I am going to. ;) I am finding it quite interesting. Not the "tell me when I am going to die" part but the whole telomeres part.



telomerase is viewed as a potential target for anti-cancer drugs



That right there gives me spark to dig further into this.



Studies have found shortened telomeres in many cancers, including pancreatic, bone, prostate, bladder, lung, kidney, and head and neck. In addition, people with many types of cancer have been found to possess shorter leukocyte telomeres than healthy controls.



If I could know that I am at a huge risk, then this may help me in getting treated sooner than later.... ;)

Jocelyn - posted on 03/16/2012

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What the point when the next time I try crossing a street I could get hit by a car and die?

**Jackie** - posted on 03/16/2012

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I agree with Little Miss, sounds like a way to make money...and it's kind of sad. You can't predict if someone will have a skiing accident or choke on their dinner. It sounds like a game at a carnival or something lol

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/16/2012

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



Interesting... Yes I know wikipedia but I am sure there are other, more reliable sources. I just didn't bother.. ;)



Lengthening telomeres



The phenomenon of limited cellular division was first observed by Leonard Hayflick, and is now referred to as the Hayflick limit. Significant discoveries were made by the team led by Professor Elizabeth Blackburn at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).



Advocates of human life extension promote the idea of lengthening the telomeres in certain cells through temporary activation of telomerase (by drugs), or possibly permanently by gene therapy. They reason that this would extend human life because it would extend the Hayflick limit. So far these ideas have not been proven in humans, but it has been demonstrated that telomere extension has successfully reversed some signs of aging in laboratory mice [14][15] and the nematode worm species Caenorhabditis elegans.[16] However, it has been hypothesized that longer telomeres and especially telomerase activation might cause increased cancer (e.g. Weinstein and Ciszek, 2002). However, longer telomeres might also protect against cancer, because short telomeres are associated with cancer. It has also been suggested that longer telomeres might cause increased energy consumption.[13]



Techniques to extend telomeres could be useful for tissue engineering, because they might permit healthy, noncancerous mammalian cells to be cultured in amounts large enough to be engineering materials for biomedical repairs.




Telomeres and cancer



As a cell begins to become cancerous, it divides more often and its telomeres become very short[citation needed]. If its telomeres get too short, the cell may die. It can escape this fate by up-regulating an enzyme called telomerase, which can prevent telomeres from getting shorter and even elongate them.



Studies have found shortened telomeres in many cancers, including pancreatic, bone, prostate, bladder, lung, kidney, and head and neck. In addition, people with many types of cancer have been found to possess shorter leukocyte telomeres than healthy controls.[19]



Cancer cells require a mechanism to maintain their telomeric DNA in order to continue dividing indefinitely (immortalization). A mechanism for telomere elongation or maintenance is one of the key steps in cellular immortalization and can be used as a diagnostic marker in the clinic. Telomerase, the enzyme complex responsible for elongating telomeres, is activated in approximately 90% of tumors. However, a sizeable fraction of cancerous cells employ alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT),[20] a non-conservative telomere lengthening pathway involving the transfer of telomere tandem repeats between sister-chromatids.[21]



Telomerase is the natural enzyme that promotes telomere repair. It is active in stem cells, germ cells, hair follicles, and 90 percent of cancer cells, but its expression is low or absent in somatic cells. Telomerase functions by adding bases to the ends of the telomeres. Cells with sufficient telomerase activity are considered immortal in the sense that they can divide past the Hayflick limit without entering senescence or apoptosis. For this reason, telomerase is viewed as a potential target for anti-cancer drugs (such as telomestatin).[22]



Studies using knockout mice have demonstrated that the role of telomeres in cancer can both be limiting to tumor growth, as well as promote tumorigenesis, depending on the cell type and genomic context.[23][24]

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/16/2012

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I agree, so far. I have only touched the subject though. Since I only just read about it.



Although, in the link, they do say this:



However, scientists said the test could also provide vital insights into a range of age-related disorders, from cardiovascular disease to Alzheimer’s and cancer.



Perhaps they can tell you of any illnesses you may end up with later in age? I dunno. Still new for me to jump on.

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