Dead in five years? Researchers develop blood test that predicts the risk of death before

Age alone says little about the state of health: It seems that people are far into their Nineties in great shape, while others die at age 65 of a heart attack. But what are the factors that determine how old a person is? Dutch and German researchers want to go to this riddle is with a blood test on the track. In the journal “Nature Communications” in a study with 14 biomarkers. On the basis of the values you want to calculate, how high is the statistical probability of dying in the next five or ten years.

Among the biomarkers, including amino acids, lipid values and inflammatory parameters. In sum, these values provide a metabolic profile, the statistical mortality risk determine, the researchers believe. You are now planning kind of a blood test that could come in clinics. Ready for the market is not such a Test. But what Benefit would say such a prediction?

The results of the Tests could, for example, play a role in the decision for or against a therapy, the researchers believe. The values indicate that a Patient is very unstable, could stay in a possibly dangerous Operation saves. Also in the field of cancer medicine, or in the Transition to a palliative care, the Test could also play a role. It is questionable, however, whether the Test could not be used abusively. So health insurance companies could provide you with the results, for example, the question of whether an expensive therapy for patients is worth it even if they have a high risk of dying within five years.

Patients have a right to “not know”

Annette Rogge, is Chairman of the Clinical ethics Committee, not involved in the study, and warns of the “challenges and dangers” that would make such a prediction with. “How can we prevent statistical risk assessments occupy a high place in the therapy goal setting? How can we prevent the belonging to a statistically analyzed high-risk group of biomarkers leads to a discrimination of the subjects and patients? Who shares this risk and its significance to the individual patient? As we accompany his dealings with this Knowledge? How are we to secure the right of patients not to know?” The use of such a test is both today, as well as to evaluate in the future “extremely critical”.

Rogge provides the Use of the risk tests as a matter of principle: The Information for the doctor and the Patient were very abstract, the prediction period is relatively long. The results provide only a statistical probability, not an individual.

Long way to go to market

“The results are scientifically very exciting, but are perceived by some perhaps as scary,” says Florian Kronenberg, a Professor of Genetic epidemiology at the Innsbruck Medical University, who was not involved in the study. “The presented biomarkers are quite biologically plausible and have been used in individual studies and in part already, but just not in this combination.”

He warns, however, against jumping to conclusions, because the Biomarker Test market is not yet Mature: “Before clinical application, it is now imperative that once further studies are monitored and performed, the advantages and disadvantages of the prediction check.” The scientist stresses that there is a need in General for many years and a number of evaluation steps, to make it a Biomarker in the clinical application.

At the same time, he recalls, to lose the desire of the patient, despite medical advances, from the point of view. It was important “to take into account the views and preferences of the patient”.

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