London: Researchers have come up with a controversial lifespan test that claims to tell people how fast they are ageing. More than 100 Britons have now taken a ground-breaking blood test to see how fast they are ageing, and which might be used in the future to indicate statistically how long they have got left to live, the Independent reported.

The company behind the lifespan test believes that ten times as many people in the UK will take the 650-pound blood check next year, and millions more worldwide will be tested by the end of the decade.

It also expects the test to be used as part of the standard medical check-up required by insurance companies, just as they now ask about family history of disease and whether someone is a smoker or obese.

However, some experts have warned that there is still not enough known about telomere testing to provide people with any important medical advice, and one Nobel prize-winner has told The Independent that 99 per cent of people who take the test will not gain any benefit.

It is claimed that the blood test estimates how fast someone is ageing by measuring the length of microscopic structures at the ends of each chromosome, called telomeres, which keep each chromosome from falling apart when cells divide, much like the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces stop them from fraying.

Telomeres shorten after each cell division and animal studies have shown that a high percentage of short telomeres in blood cells are associated with a shorter-than-normal life expectancy, which is why blood tests could provide a guide to ageing and life expectancy.

According to the Spanish makers of Life Length, more than 1,000 people worldwide had volunteered to take the blood test since it became commercially available earlier this year.

The company plans to lower the price of the test by 20 per cent a year for the next five years so that it costs no more than about 65 pounds by 2017, bringing it within the price range of millions of new customers.


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