Lois Rogers

Journalist and Communicator

Laser test to tell us when we will die

The Sunday Times 11 August 2013

SCIENTISTS have patented a “death test” that can tell people how long they have left to live. The simple, non-invasive test is the first of its kind in the world.

A painless laser pulse is applied to the surface of the skin through a wristwatch-style device. This measures how a person’s body will decline with age by analysing endothelial cells. These cells line the smallest blood vessels, capillaries, in our bodies and respond to complex activity elsewhere in the body.

By measuring the oscillations within the cells, the scientists say they can calculate the length of time before death and also test for diseases including cancer and dementia.

The result is graded from 0 for death to 100 for optimum functioning. The predictions become more accurate as more data is added.

A user-friendly version of the system is expected to be completed within the next three years when it will be made available to GPs.

The test, funded by government research grants and medical charities, was pioneered by Aneta Stefanovska and Peter McClintock, physics professors from Lancaster University.

Stefanovska, who is credited with inventing the method of analysing endothelial reactivity, said: “I am hoping we will build a database that will become larger and larger, so every person measured can be compared against it. We will then be in a position to tell them the values [that] predict a certain number of years.”

Written by Lois Rogers