A test to find how long
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A test that tells you how long you will live
for is to go on sale in Britain later this year.
Hannah Roberts: The blood test, which will offer the alluring
possibility of estimating your lifespan, will cost $700 according to a
Critics said the controversial new technology opens a Pandora’s box, whereby
insurance companies may demand tests before offering someone a policy.
However, scientists said the test could also provide vital insights into a
range of age-related disorders, from cardiovascular disease to Alzheimer’s
Medical researchers working on the technology said they will be able to read
a person’s ‘biological age’, by the length of structures on the ends of a
person’s chromosomes, called telomeres.
Scientists believe telomeres are an important indicator of the speed at
which a person is ageing and several studies have indicated that individuals
with shorter-than-normal telomeres are likely to die younger than those with
But the test cannot yet predict the exact number of months and years a
person has yet to live. Telomere testing will become widespread within the
next five or 10 years, scientists claim.
But some medical researchers have already raised questions about ethical
controls, if the technology becomes widely used.
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