Blood Test May Predict Lifespan and Future Health

October 1, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. analyze [AN-l-ahyz] (v.) – to examine or study something carefully in order to explain and interpret it
Example: The researchers need to analyze the results of their study more clearly.

2. chronological [kron-l-OJ-i-kuhl] (adj.) – following the order in which things occurred
Example: Medical decisions should be based on the individual’s biological age, not chronological age.

3. susceptibility [suh-sep-tuh-BIL-i-tee] (n.) – the state or condition of being likely to be influenced or harmed by a particular thing
Example: Lack of exercise increases the susceptibility of an adult to diseases.

4. elusive [ih-LOO-siv] (adj.) – difficult to find, catch, or achieve
Example: Success in research will become more elusive if scientists lack resources.

5. pave the way [peyv thuh wey] (idiom) – to make something easily develop or occur
Example: The researchers expect the study to pave the way for the discovery of potential HIV treatment.


Read the text below.
A research claimed that a groundbreaking blood test may help predict how fast the person will age and how long he or she is expected to live.

Scientists at King’s College in London have identified specific chemical markers, known as metabolites [muh-TAB-uh-lahyts], in the blood linked with ageing. The said metabolites may also possibly help in addressing health issues that could occur later in life.

The research suggests that one of the 22 metabolites found could indicate faster ageing in adult life. Scientists believe that identifying a person’s ageing process can be possible with a blood test in the future.

In the latest study, researchers analyzed blood samples donated by more than 6,000 twins to identify 22 metabolites directly linked to chronological age. The research showed that a modification could be applied to the gene affecting levels of C-glycosyl tryptophan, which is linked to age-related traits.  This modification occurs when environmental factors switch genes on or off and change the way they function.

According to Professor Tim Spector of King’s College, susceptibility to age-related diseases is associated to having a lower birth weight. He added that the molecular mechanisms that link low birth weight to a person’s future health or diseases are still elusive, though the discovery revealed the involvement of one molecular pathway.

The researchers now hope that the discovery will pave the way for powerful and revolutionary new treatments and drug therapies to help with age-related health problems.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, is this recent discovery important? Please explain your answer.
·         Do you think determining the exact life span of humans is possible? Why do you say so?

Discussion B

·         Given the chance, would you like to know your exact life span? Why or why not?
·         What are the advantages of knowing how long you will be able to live? Please explain your answer.


October 1, 2013