Scientists Come Up With New 'Phenotypic Age' Blood Test That Can Identify People Aging Faster Than Normal

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(Photo: Unsplash/Cassi Josh)

A newly developed blood test is showing that it can more accurately predict how long a person has to live by measuring elements other than an individual's chronological age.

Researchers at the Yale University in Connecticut set out to determine the validity and effectiveness of a blood test that aims to measure a person's "Phenotypic Age" instead of their chronological age.

The "Phenotypic Age" is different from the common measure people use because it is based on how old a body is according to nine different biomarkers.

The specific biomarkers used for the test were not identified.

In order to come up with accurate biomarkers, the scientists first sought to determine which clinical measures worked best in terms of predicting life expectancy after studying information from 10,000 people who participated in a study conducted from 1988 to 1994, The Guardian reported.

The scientists then took those earlier findings to identify the biomarkers they needed and they conducted a second study on 11,000 people between 1999 and 2010 to see how effective their test is.

With all the data in hand, the scientists concluded that if a person's "Phenotypic Age" is significantly higher than his/her chronological age, then the individual in question is at greater risk of dying young.

That finding holds true across different age groups.

The relationship between "Phenotypic Age" and chronological age is even more noticeable among those aged 20-39. Within this group, the chances of an individual dying increased by 14 percent with every year that "Phenotypic Age" was higher than the biological age.

Women usually had lower "Phenotypic Ages" in relation to their chronological ages when compared to men. The researchers see that as a sign that women are aging more slowly than men even in their own age groups.

Yale pathologist Morgan Levine noted that the new blood test has another purpose beyond predicting a person's life expectancy. According to Levine, the test can also be used to identify the members of the population who are getting older faster than expected.

Levine pointed out that the test is "capturing something preclinical, before any diseases present themselves." The test can be used to identify someone who's at high risk for an early death or disease and from there, doctors can suggest changes that can help prevent those people from meeting an untimely end.