There’s news out of Great Britain this morning that scientists have devised and perfected a blood test that proposes to predict how long you can expect to live.
It’s scheduled to be available by the end of the year.
By almost every account, this is not medical quackery, but instead a highly technical development that’s been years in the making.
Scientists believe a person’s “biological age” can be measured by examining the length of their telomeres, which is another word for the tips of their chromosomes. This blood test basically predicts how quickly you’re aging, and whether or not your chronological age is tracking ahead or behind your biological age.
Cost? Approximately $600.
Would you take the test and pay the price?
Professor Jerry Shay of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas speculated on the test’s allure, which is already causing a buzz in Europe.
“I think people are just basically curious about their own mortality. If you ask people what they worry about, most people would say they are worried about dying. People might say ‘If I know I’m going to die in 10 years I’ll spend all my money now,’ or ‘If I’m going to live for 40 more years I’ll be more conservative in my lifestyle.'”
As you might expect, there’s no consensus within the medical community regarding the test’s effectiveness. While some doctors strongly believe in its reliability, others are skeptical.
Still, however tantalizing the prospect of knowing the unknown, should it really matter? Should our behavior and lifestyle be contingent upon knowing the approximate date of our death? I wonder how many of us are so concerned with the prospect of dying that we forget to live with daily enthusiasm and a sense of purpose.
“Live every day like it’s your last,” somebody once said, “because one day you’ll be right.”
That’s true, of course. Even if the test is reasonably accurate, though, it still can’t predict the unpredictable, like accidental death. Rather than spending a substantial sum on tests that may or may not predict the number of years we’ll be on earth, wouldn’t it be better to prioritize investing our time and resources in the lives of other people instead?
It might cost you more than $600. But in the end, I guarantee that it’ll be money well spent.