Out of all aspects of human life, death is one thing that’s inevitable and all of us move one step closer to it every day. But having an idea about when you’ll make an exit has its pros and cons.
Nevertheless, the subject of death has always fascinated researchers and scientists who have always made efforts to accurately predict when a human will die.
It’s 2019, and it seems a team of researchers has managed to crack the code (almost). Published in Nature Communications (via Ars Technica), a paper shows that they have managed to make risk predictions based on some factors.
After studying the blood properties of 44,168 people (aged 18-109, divided across multiple cohorts), the researchers concluded 14 blood measurements could be analyzed to predict when will a person die.
Overall, they studied 226 blood substances of the participants. The researchers also did follow-ups for over 17 years, during which 5,512 people died.
The results, however, focus on long-term mortality assessment. Researchers can predict whether a person will die within a 5-year or 10-year time frame. Still, it sounds way better than realizing that your death is just around the corner.
After analyzing the blood properties of 7,603 Finnish people (FINRISK cohort studied in 1997) they were able to make predictions with around 83% accuracy. Out of these, 1,213 people died during the follow-up period. The prediction accuracy becomes 72% for people aged above 60 years.
However, one thing to be noted here is that all the people who took part in the research were of European origin. So, the results might not fit for people living in other parts of the world.
In addition to the blood measurements, there are already many clearly visible signals such as heart problems, cancer, etc, and some non-visible factors as well. Researchers determined whether their measurements were directly related to these disease-specific risks or not.
While their study could lead to improved risk prediction, the researchers say the data can be used to come up with a clinically-backed risk assessment standard. This, in turn, will help guide treatment strategies, for instance, whether an older person is too fragile for an invasive operation.