Today, May 30, 2011, Memorial Day, we salute all that serve. Great piece on its origin in the NYT: http://nyti.ms/mawXid
Soon to be released in Europe , an over-the-counter home blood test that will tell you how long you will live.
The biotechnology utilized in this test measures the length of a person’s telomeres, structures on the tips of chromosomes that can show how fast one is aging, allowing those who take it to get a sense of whether their “biological age” is older or younger than their actual age. Studies have shown that people with shorter telomeres than normal have shorter lifespans.
Telomeres: a short history
* 2003 Scientists studying 20-year-old blood samples from 143 people show that telomere length is good indicator of whether someone is likely to live for 15 years or more once they reach 60.
* 2004 Women living with stress of having a sick child are found to have shorter telomeres. Other research suggests that meditation or other forms of stress reduction may lengthen telomeres.
* 2007 Study of men in Scotland shows those with the longest telomeres were half as likely to develop heart disease than those with shorter telomeres. Telomere length was as good as cholesterol levels at predicting the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
* 2009 Short telomeres linked with inherited bone marrow disease.
* 2010 GM mice with no telomerase, an enzyme that elongates telomeres in some cells, age prematurely compared to normal mice. The ageing effects were reversed after injections of telomerase.
* 2011 Study of civil servants in the UK shows that those with few educational qualifications have shorter telomeres than those with higher educational qualifications. People with poor backgrounds are known to age faster and suffer more age-related diseases.
While most researchers believe that telomere testing will become common witinh the next decade, just as many scientist have ethical concerns. The drawback to this biotech capability is the potential mis- and mal-usage by insurance company, medical institutions and even corporate entities when issuing policies, determining healthcare options and considering employment candidates, respectively. Then there are also the unscrupulous ”anti-aging” product companies that will undoubtedly hawk all sorts of unproven “fountain of youth” products to easily influenced customers.
On the plus side, knowing that one has shorter teemore will enable a person to make lifestyle changes (diet, stress reduction, exercise…) that can literally and measurably add years to a person’s life.
In the abstract, there are myriads of ways this development will play into the legal and court system.
- Will such a test become mandatory for those making decisions on injured people in coma/non-responsive states?
- Can juries be instructed to award more targeted monies to plaintiffs as it relates to post-injury quality of life (specifically, with regard to long-term care? )
- How will expensive surgeries be decided? Will lesser procedures be performed on those anticipating shorter life spans based on telomere testing?
- Organ transplants? Next on the list or give to those who will better and longer utilize the donor organ?
In the next decade, a new generation of human testing technology will certainly bear many positive, life saving devices and techniques as well as those delivering better quality fo life. The price of this biomed technology will also include much (needed and required) ethics debate and review.
BNI Operatives: A step ahead.
As always, stay safe.
Filed under: Medical Ethics, Scientific Advancements | Tagged: Blood test, Clinical trial, health, how long will i live, Independent, Jerry Shay, Life expectancy, life predictors, Stress management, Telomere | 2 Comments »
Time to check in on one of my favorite safety companies, TruTouch Technologies, Inc. (T3). We’ve spotlighted my friend, Jim McNally‘s (founder), corporate realization from almost day one. T3 holds patent to perhaps one of the most interesting and effective developments in non-invasive alcohol testing – a dermal scanner that requires no skin penetration, pulmonary effort (other than to walk up to the machine), no monitors, no bio hazmats and cannot be fooled by a “friend stand-in” for the test.
TruTouch, The Company: December, 2006, Tru Touch was named one of TIME’s Best Inventions. Infrared alcohol testing! A privately held corporation based in Albuquerque, NM, TruTouch recently (April 2011) achieved $60 million in funding from the biomedical community.
TruTouch, The Device: How It Works
TruTouch devices use light to accurately determine a person’s alcohol level. When you place your forearm on a TruTouch device, it shines a harmless spectrum of near infrared light into your skin and analyzes the light bouncing back from just beneath the surface.
The test takes just one minute and requires no disposables or preparation. No training is required to use our devices—they’re as user-friendly as ATM’s.TruTouch devices are enrolled devices, meaning that users must register on them in an alcohol-free state. This enrollment gives the device a baseline to which to compare future alcohol readings. Enrollment also allows the device to learn your “cellular fingerprint” thereby removing the requirement for supervision as one person cannot successfully pretend to be another.
T3 is involved in developing current and future devices bearing the same minimal operation, maximum effectiveness and optimal correctness of its infrared blood alcohol testing devices. This is one of those companies with that idea that gets it right.
BNI Operatives: A step ahead.
As always, stay safe.
- Study: Alcohol, Energy Drinks Are Risky Combo (webmd.com)
- Why Drinking and Driving Never Go Hand in Hand With Each Other (healthadel.com)
Filed under: Safety | Tagged: alcohol, Alcohol by volume, Blood alcohol content, Driving under the influence, health, Jim McNally, non invasive, noninvasive, Substance Abuse, technology | Leave a Comment »