£400 Blood Test to reveal your life-span – would you take it?

Would you want to know how long you had left to live if let us assume the above test is nearer to science fact than fiction?

£400 is about the price of a certain Apple tablet – knowing the extent of my remaining mortality or enjoying the myriad delights of an iPad?!

This test made me think of the film The Bucket List which I watched recently for the first time on ITV – one of the items on my bucket list was to watch the fine 2007 Rob Reiner film The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman – sorry could not resist!

Scene from The Bucket List

In that film the Carter character opines that a survey revealed that if we could know the exact date we would die 95% of us would not want to know. The Edward character replies that ‘if life has taught him anything is that 95% of people are always wrong’!

I though would be one of the 95% here – there is the Latin expression and wise advice Memento Mori – Remember You Will Die – to remember that life is indeed not a dress-rehearsal, that one day tomorrow will not come and that very knowledge should cause us to live our lives more fully, not to squander our time but to cherish it.

That said, accepting I will die is one thing, knowing the exact day or even week month or year is knowledge I would rather not have.

This particular test is based on established scientific work on the length of telomeres – briefly a correlation between their length and the lengths of our lives – hint we would want our telomeres to be as long as possible!

The Nobel Prize Winners

This is Nobel winning science – the 2009 Prize for Physiology or Medicine for ‘the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase”  – but the recent media interest such as this article in The Independent is due to commercial interest in its application – most obviously offering us the blood DNA test for a fee. This clearly is information that insurance companies would want too – where here the shorter our telomeres the higher our premiums.

It could also be of use in health practice prioritising care and or prejudicing care depending on your viewpoint. The science is moving along a pace and as often is the case the ethics are left lagging behind.

For me I can think of a lot of other things I could spend £400 on – and not just an iPad!