A new test set to hit the market in Britain in the next year aims to tell patients how long they have to live, and naturally that's not happening without controversy. The test measures a person's telomeres, those structures found on the tips of chromosomes. The length of telomeres apparently correlates with how fast a person is aging biologically, and hence researchers want to offer individuals some insight into just how much longer their bodies can hold up.
Well, some researchers do. Others aren't so sure it's a great idea. The test, developed at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, will be marketed via the company Life Length, which is in talks with medical diagnostics companies across Europe. When it goes on sale next year it will cost roughly $700.
It works pretty simply: provide a blood sample, and the test checks the length of your telomeres, which are basically used to determine your biological age. Research has shown that those with shorter than normal telomeres have shorter average life spans than those with longer telomeres. They also might have a severe case of telomere anxiety that they didn't know they had previously.
Critics see that as a problem. Aside from the fact that insurance companies might start requiring telomere testing and using it to determine life insurance and health insurance rates, it might also stoke peoples' fears of death--and open them up to scams and bad medicine purporting to extend their telomeres/lives.
That all sounds like an interesting backdrop for a novel (perhaps one set in a not too distant future dystopian New York and written by Gary Shteyngart), but some are afraid that such a test would open a Pandora's Box that we couldn't put the lid back on. The price might be the more controversial part; $700, and let's face it: no one's telomeres are going to be quite long enough.
OK, I know the direction this thread will be going...I'll start, there is no god, heaven and hell aren't real (Stephen Hawking's view here: religion.blogs.cnn.com)... etc.
With that out of the way, insurance companies must be just salivating over this. How about employers? "Bob I know your scheduled to die next week...but can you come in the weekend, we're really behind, what have got to lose?"
lol. yeah life is a mostly a mystery. why not leave it at that? knowing ones death date will just make things harder. although it might teach us how to save lives. my view on god are like that of Einsteins. He believed in something godly but not in the form of Judeo-Christianity. and i think he was right.
Mr. Jones according to our test you should have died 2 months ago. We have notifed your employer, health insurance and life insurance companies. Have a good day.
Oh, bring on the telomere-envy.
I don't think this is accurate enough for insurance companies to rely on. If anything, telomeres are indicative of your current age, not when you're going to die (see learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/traits/telomeres/).
As for the existence of God, there is no proof that he does not exist, so you cannot say with 100% certainty that he doesn't :)
Well just to inform everyone telomeres are NOT a good indicator of life- time because there is an enzyme called telomerase which works by restoring the length of the telomeres. Low activity levels of this enzyme have been linked with shorter life times, but all my years in science tells me that there are a lot more factors involved. Therefore it would be unethical for the scientific community to release this test and market it as a "life-time" measuring test.
@M_Bayber yes just because you cant prove manbearpig is real,you cant disprove his existence, that makes sense.....
why would this have to do with religion at all?dont answer that.
As for telomeres there's a market for it why not make money on it, some people may want to know there telomores because when you get older they get shorter thus they are less effective at protecting against degradation of genes.Also it has been shown that changing enzymes that prevent chromosome tips from unraveling in mice has in fact reversed the degeneration of tissue, personally i think this will play a important role in living longer.
I read an article a few years back about these proteins, DNA caps. When they DNA splits, so does the cap. So the half life of these protein structures determines total possible cell life. Other factors will always play in. What struck me as odd was, we know what causes cellular death, we can see the protein structure that fails, we've read documents about different experiments involving mice that were "cured" of all the genetic ailments they were designed to have.
So my question is, if we can see the problem, we can diagnose the problem, we can cure the problem in mice/rats... when does this go Human? Ray Kurzweil has theorized that the first human to live past 200 has already been born. His book "The Singularity is Near" is quite an amazing read, and every day I keep seeing it move closer and closer just as Mr. Kurzweil spells it out. Amazing time we live in! God or not, things are going to change and no one will be able to deny it.
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
The objections here remind me vaguely of Gattaca. I guess I should start borrowing some ladders, then...
On a related and interesting note, did you know that if you constantly extend the telomeric length, you can create immortal cells, but you also create various forms of cancer at the same time? Yeah. So when we figure out the cure for all cancer, then that should be our next goal!
-IMP ;) :)
@KatieSaucey God is as real as your belief. To you, God does not exist. Have you ever been to Antarctica? No? Do you believe that it exists? What proof do you have that says it exists? Maps, images, people, the internet. Your own existence is a lie perpetuated by your own model dependent perception of the world. You are a fish in a fish bowl.
Do you honestly in your heart believe that you were an accident of chance? Why are there no other species on Earth with near comparable intelligence?
It took man 60 years to go from candle lit hallways to outer space. Yet, man discovered fire 1.6 million years ago. You honestly think that man alone was responsible for the progression of the entire human race?
Don't be so naive.
This test does not tell you how long you will live, popsci. Expectancy, maybe. But this article is written like the only thing that determines our lifespan is telomeres.
Also, I've been wondering something: What's good about living longer, or immortality? Maybe I'm naive, but what is the *point* of immortality? I'm seriously asking, not trying to be snarky. I suppose I'm just anxious about what will happen to the human race when the idea "each day is a gift" becomes null and void.
@laurielou862 maybe its the idea that every day isn't null and void the reason people want to live longer that makes more sense....?
Who wants to create a nano-robot mass producable via photolithography (for intercellular protein repair) with me? Also, if you can download folding@home and run it. That minescule donation of processing could help us all. :D
Happy (genetic) hacking!
Your first paragraph is metaphysics, so I won't touch that. A plausible explanation for why we are the only animal of intelligence on this planet has been around for years. Remember the Neanderthals? The scientific community theorizes that they were about our intelligence 30000 yrs ago. Humans and Neanderthals had overlapping territory, and thus were in contact. Based on DNA evidence and archaeological digs in Eastern Europe, it is believed humans both killed and bred the
Neanderthals out of existence. Why would a god create 2 intelligent creatures, only to pit them against each other in a struggle to extinction? Or is this just one more good example of natural selection's "survival of the fittest"? Regarding your last statement, I think you are insulting all great thinkers, scientist, oh hell all of humanity, by suggesting we could not be a capable/viable and innovative species without some sort of divine intervention.
So basically you're arguement there is against any religion with a kind God. Nit religion in general.
I think SolomonSinclaire's point was that you can't just shout out there's no God because you can't find an explanation, when your explanations for other things come down to "someone said so."
To the point of this article, there's always a lid. Telomeres can obviously be lengthened, because meiosis and sexual reproduction aren't inhibited due to this shortening. While were not nearly at this level of technology yet, one could theoretically have certain cells throughout the body go through the same process, a kind of "refresh."
Or for the Doctor Who fans out there, regenerate.
Ohhh those humans...they'll learn something new...and then figure out how to sell it.
1. Get telomeres measured
2. Get hit by a truck on the way out
We can bring a core sample back from Antarctica. We can kidnap you and bring you to Antarctica. We can show you the research notes of all the successes, and more importantly, failures, it took to get from candlelit hallway to outerspace.
What can you do? Will you shoot yourself and bring an angel from heaven or demon from hell back as evidence for us to see?
What if you believe in God, what can you do then? Can you channel this power of god to move mountains, predict future and feed the hungry at your whim? Because engineering and scientific inquiry can.
"Don't be so naive."
Does needing a giant face in the sky as your imaginary friend make you more mature?
@Matt5327: You people took the bait hook line and sinker, thanks for the fish.
@Nimrod: right back at ya *slap*
I mean this is pretty new and hasnt been researched enough but if this is legit I can see myself taking one, but the insurance company point is true.
The one problem I have with many (not all) atheists is that they arrogantly presume that there is no diety, all the time hiding behind the guise of science. They fail to realize that classifying any form of diety as myth or illusion is completely anti-scientific in nature. Pure scientific process is a way of objectively trying to find the truth. Just because science has been unable to (as a Christian example) "turn water into wine" doesn't mean that said act is mythical and impossible. It just means that science hasn't been able to recreate the same act in a controlled environment. The objective position, therefore, would be to conclude such a thing plausible yet unproven, because any other conclusion would be incomplete. It would be more approprite to say, "I believe that there is no diety." Words such as "mythical" and "fairytale" and "gobbledygook" only expose a person's bias. In other words, atheists are jeopardizing their own claim to scientific objectivity when they show any form of bias. There is no proof that a diety exists. There is no proof that such a diety does not exist. So quit being arrogantly disrepectful of how another person believes. Atheists are just as much "believers" as theists are.
I think that all of these comments are good. The idea that we can predict ones expiration date through a simple blood test is intriguing and in my view not so far fetched. The discussion of God and his existence is inevitable anytime where life / death predictions are made. When I first heard the claim that a blood test could reveal or predict life expectancy I became very interested. If this science can with any degree of accuracy make this prediction, this is good science. I look forward to next steps, like how to better protect or even heal our Telomeres.
The implications and ramifications of such claims in today’s world are unfortunate. There will always be believers & unbelievers. It’s important to respectfully consider all points of view. Collectively, we’re providing invaluable feedback and may serve as a listening post for the real decision makers.
Well, so nice discussion also all of these comments are too good... but my question is if we stop aging process then is it possible that that test getting cure result about how long we have live....
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