Blood test can predict when a person will die

Font Size:

Would you be prepared to have a blood test that could predict your death within a range of five to 10 years?

That option could be on the table in years to come.

A new paper published in Nature Communications reports that in a group of more than 44,000 healthy patients, a blood test was about 80 per cent accurate in predicting the risk of mortality within five to 10 years.

The patients, ranged in age from 18 to 109, provided regular blood samples and had their health tracked for up to 16 years. The research team, led by Dr Joris Deelen, postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing in Germany, and Professor P Eline Slagboom, head of molecular epidemiology at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, analysed blood samples, focusing on a group of 226 metabolites – the by-products that cells and tissues pour into the bloodstream for circulation and removal.

The research team narrowed the list to 14 markers that they determined could provide a good picture of each person’s health risk and, by association, their risk of dying in the next five to 10 years, Time magazine reports.

The researchers compared those who died during the study to those who did not and isolated which agents in the blood differed in statistically significant amounts. The link between the final 14 factors and mortality remained strong even after they accounted for potential confounding factors that also affect survival, such as age, sex and cause of death.

“We want to tackle the vulnerability of people’s health that is hidden and that doctors cannot see from the outside,” said Prof. Slagboom.

“I am still surprised by the fact that in a group of people, you can take one blood sample at one point of time in their life, and that would say anything meaningful about their five to 10-year mortality risk.”

Dr Deelen and Prof. Slagboom stress that the test is not yet ready for doctors to use in the clinic with their patients, but that it does establish a strong foundation.

They say that such a test could help shape and guide treatment decisions in older patients.

Researchers at Leiden University are continuing to study the results to determine whether the test can help doctors predict which patients with hip fractures are more likely to develop complications after surgery.

Another study is looking at whether the test can predict which people with kidney failure are more likely to develop dementia or side-effects such as delirium as a result of their treatment. The information could help doctors better adjust dosage and treatment decisions, they say.

The researchers are hoping to work with large databanks around the world to further validate the findings.

“We see this as a foundation,” says Prof. Slagboom. “We do not see this test as an endpoint.”

Would you like to know if you were going to die within five to 10 years? Would it help you make decisions about your later life?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Sleep has the power to solve your brain and memory problems

Good-quality sleep throughout a whole night is optimal for learning and memory.

Link between liver dysfunction and Alzheimer’s discovered

Researchers have begun looking for clues about Alzheimer's in a seemingly unlikely place.

Properties of common garden plant found to kill cancer cells

A common garden plant could be the key to curing cancer in older people.

Written by Janelle Ward


Total Comments: 9
  1. 0

    Everyone is going to die sooner or later. This sounds like research into the bleeding obvious by people with nothing better to do, and for which they most likely make a good quid. It also looks like a work creation scheme for the medical profession. We all know we are going to die. When is immaterial. It’s what we do with the time before that happens that matters.

  2. 0

    Will it Predict the Bus or car crash etc.
    Would rather not know thanks.

  3. 0

    In a word NO, I do not want to know when I will die, even if they can only predict within the next ten years. One of the blessings (as a non-believer I think I can use that word in a non-religious context) is that when I wake up in the morning I do not know if I will survive the day, and I like it that way. My time will come, but when is the question.

  4. 0

    I think the idea behind this research is that by identifying the things that are most likely to kill you they can be changed and lengthen your life. I don’t think the prime reason is to predict likelihood of death.

  5. 0

    Definitely not, There are some things you can change and others not. I want to enjoy life and get on with it

  6. 0

    The only reason I would love to know when the lights are turned off…is to word my will accordingly. Spend the last dollar, and then last breath.

  7. 0

    Just wait until insurance companies get hold of this.

  8. 0

    I can just just imagine the RoboDebt if you live a fortnight past your assigned use-by date.
    Are there procedures to prove you are still alive? I bet not.



continue reading


Friday Funnies: The barista and the spoon

Enjoy these caffeinated jokes from Readers Digest while you sip your morning coffee. They may even improve the best part...


What chickens can tell us about living with COVID-19

Professor Amir Hadjinoormohammadi As the world grapples with rolling out various vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, there...


Vaccinations, transmission, contact tracing: COVID questions answered

What do we know about COVID-19? Given how new the disease is, how much has been learnt in the past...

Mental Health

What is agoraphobia and how is it treated?

Popping to the shops, picking up a coffee on the way to work, queuing up for entry to a gallery...


Benefits of kefir and what to look out for

Forget kale and nut butter: fermented foods are the one big health trend we'll all be spooning into our diet...

Age Pension

CPI figures point to an increase in the Age Pension in March

After pensioners were denied an Age Pension increase in September last year, due to a rare case of deflation in...


MND breakthrough offers hope damaged nerve cells can be repaired

There is hope of a breakthrough in treating motor neurone disease (MND) after Edinburgh researchers found a way to repair...


Avoid these common mistakes people make with bleach

Bleach is one of the most effective and least expensive disinfectants around, but it pays to remember it's not an...