Could you die in five years?

Scientists have developed a five-minute test that determines whether a person is at risk of dying in the next five years. The scientists claim that it is the most accurate indicator of five-year mortality ever created.

Answering a series of simple questions – 11 for women and 13 for men – the test gives people aged 40 to 70 a percentage of the likelihood of their death in the next five years. Additionally, the test provides an ‘UbbLE age’, a single prediction score that uses information about you to match your risk profile to the age of the average person of your gender in the UK. The authors of the test say that if a person’s UbbLE age is above their real age, it may be time to address and rethink some lifestyle factors.

Questions are solely based around existing and past health, lifestyle and family history, and do not take into account common health indicators, such as weight, diet, drinking and external factors.

Data for the formulation of the test was taken from 500,000 British volunteers in the UK Biobank study. Participants were assessed according to 655 health, lifestyle and demographic measurements and tracked over nearly five years. A series of complex algorithms were used to identify the measurements that would be most relevant to determining participants’ mortality. The 655 measurements were reduced to a dozen factors, which the researchers calculated would give the best prediction of life expectancy over five years.

The questions vary slightly for women and men, suggesting that the genders respond to health risks differently. In further research involving 35,000 people, the test had an 80 per cent accuracy rate.

Study co-author Dr Andrea Ganna, from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, said that the test represented exciting possibilities, since it could be conducted online at home and did not involve a physical examination or lab test. “We hope that our score might eventually enable doctors to quickly and easily identify their highest risk patients,” he said.

The research for the test was published in The Lancet medical journal. The test can be accessed for free online at UbbLE.

Would you take the UbbLE test? If not, why? If you did the test and were given a negative result, what lifestyle changes, if any, would you make to change the result?

Written by ameliath