Blood test shows when you'll die
Swedish researchers have found that high contents of a certain enzyme that is measured in the blood, may be linked to both heart disease and cancer, and could thus serve as an early predictor of who is most likely to die from these diseases. In the study, which involved nearly 2,000 people enrolled in two separate long-term trials, Johan Ärnlöv, associate professor at Uppsala University, and his colleagues, measured the levels of cathepsin S, an enzyme involved in breaking up proteins. They then tracked these volunteers for up to 12 and a half years, and found that those with the highest levels of cathepsin S were more likely to die than those with lower levels, or about half those levels. Heart disease and cancer together make up for more than 60 percent of all deaths in Sweden every year, and the study may be of great importance in the future. A simple blood test can save thousands of lives. “The results have great potential but the road to practical usage is long,” Ärnlöv says. “We don’t know why certain individuals have higher levels of cathepsin S. We only know it increases the chance to die.”