[Might blood]…be a window on the body’s fate?
Many scientists are trying to answer that question as a practical matter, not a metaphor. They are scouring the blood for biomarkers — easily measured substances that illuminate what’s going on in hard-to-reach places.
[Scientists led by Yan Zhang at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg]…found that specific methylation patterns at just 10 sites (out of thousands), when measured in people in their 60s, strongly predicted a person’s risk of dying over the next 10 years.
So, blood biomarkers that predict longevity — hemo-augury, you might call it — are a hot topic in medical research. But can they tell us anything useful that we don’t already know?
Various studies have shown that genes are responsible for only 30 percent of our longevity. The other 70 percent is determined by diet, exercise, weight, habits such as smoking and drinking, family and social life, along with access to medical care, and luck.
But as a practical matter, we don’t need to wait for hemo-augury to show up at our doctor’s office. We already know what to do to make ourselves healthier.
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