Can a blood test determine whether you'll be alive in 5 years?
Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, November 29, 2016 11:41AM EST
There is growing evidence that a simple blood test could determine your risk of dying in five years.
In the past, scientists have drawn links between certain biomarkers and serious medical conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
New research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal this week, examined the association between three types of inflammatory biomarkers and the five-year mortality of more than 6,500 people.
The biomarkers in question are called interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP) and alpha1-acid glycoprotein (AGP). They all measure inflammation in the body and their levels can be determined through blood tests.
The latest study determined that increased levels of all three biomarkers were associated, to some degree, with an increased risk of dying within five years of the blood test. It also concluded that CRP and IL-6 biomarkers were better predictors of death than AGP.
The findings were based on data collected from 6,545 men and women aged 45-69. Researchers from the United Kingdom and France analyzed blood samples collected between 1997 and 1999, and followed the study participants until 2015.
The study points out that previous research has already shown that inflammatory biomarkers “can predict mortality in adults with chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
Biomarkers IL-6 and CRP have also been shown to predict the risk of death and cardiovascular problems in the general population, researchers say.
Research into inflammatory biomarkers is now “moving into the realm of predictive health,” CTV’s medical consultant, Dr. Marla Shapiro, told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
It makes sense, she said, because “inflammation is very much part of the pathway in many diseases.”
However, she cautioned that the science is still evolving and that more research is needed before such blood tests become more widely used.
“It’s not ready for prime time. Don’t go to your doctor and ask to have these tests done,” she said.
“The question is, as this science is just newly emerging, will we be able to use it as a predictive tool?”