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How Long Do We Have?

Researchers have developed a blood test that they say can predict a person's life expectancy, the Guardian reports.

A Yale University School of Medicine-led team used typical clinical chemistry measures taken on 9,926 individuals from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES III) cohort in combination with mortality data to derive their Phenotypic Age score. As they report in a preprint at BioRxiv, the researchers uncovered nine biomarkers that they said could better predict life expectancy than chronological age. These markers include albumin, glucose, percent of lymphocytes, and white blood cell count. They validated their test in 11,432 people from NHANES IV.

"It's picking up how old you look physiologically. Maybe you're 65 years old but physiologically you look more like a 70 year old, so your mortality risk is more like that of a 70 year old," senior author Morgan Levine from Yale tells the Guardian.

She and her colleagues note that their Phenotypic Age score was robust to both all-cause mortality and disease-specific mortality.

The Guardian adds this score could then help individuals and their physicians take steps to reduce patients' risk.