But is it pure fiction? Possibly not. While we don't yet have the ability to predict the day and hour of our demise, scientists are making rapid headway toward understanding longevity – toward knowing your personal odds of living two more years versus 20 more years. Scientists and researchers throughout the world are delving far beyond our previous knowledge regarding life and its expiration.
Tick tock – The death test watch
Embedded in your endothelium is a wealth of key chemical information that can clue us in to vital health markers throughout the body. This "death test" watch's analysis can potentially warn us in advance of an approaching stroke or heart attack. Its analytic non-invasive tentacles can also painlessly identify the onset of dementia or diabetes mellitus. It can recognize the presence of cancer in the body, and even provide indications of how quickly we are aging. Read more about the death test watch at PubMed or at Lancaster University’s research showcase.
Telomeres – a microscopic measure of longevity
How is this possible? To explain it, scientists often used two different analogies: the telomere as the plastic tip of a shoestring and the telomere as the fuse on a bomb.
- Just as the plastic tip of a shoestring protects the string itself from unraveling, the telomere protects and preserves the genetic information encoded within your DNA.
- Just as the shortening of a bomb fuse as it burns indicates the shortening of time before detonation, the shortening of your telomere indicates the impending death of the cell.
Here's the rub; every time your cell divides, your telomeres shorten a bit. In the human blood cell, for instance, your telomere length is long enough at birth to contain about 8,000 base pairs. But in the elderly? It's closer to 1,500 base pairs. With each cell division (which occurs 50 to 70 times over the course of your life), your telomeres are getting shorter. Eventually, the telomeres are so short they can no longer divide, and your cell dies or becomes inactive.
Using this information about your telomeres, scientists believe they may be able to predict to some degree the remaining life of your cells – the remaining length of your life.
From predicting longevity to extending life?