A blood test could soon tell who is at risk of age-related diseases, dementia and death and even how long they might live, a new study found.
A combination of specific biomarkers or chemicals in the blood could help predict those who will live into a healthy ripe old age or become ill as the body ages.
The tests for these patterns could provide early warning signs of diseases even before symptoms develop, Boston University scientists said
Results were based on biomarker data collected from the blood samples of almost 5,000 participants in the Long Life Family Study.
Scientists found about half had an average "signature," or pattern, of 19 biomarkers.
A smaller groups of people had specific patterns of those biomarkers that deviated from the norm and were linked with increased risk of particular medical conditions, levels of physical function, and mortality risk eight years later.
For example, one pattern was associated with disease-free ageing, another with dementia, and another with disability-free ageing in the presence of cardiovascular disease.
The study generated 26 different predictive biomarker signatures according to the study published in Aging Cell.
Instances where similar biomarker data were available from the long-running Framingham Heart Study allowed for about one-third of the signatures to be replicated.
Professor of biostatistics Dr Paola Sebastiani said: "Many prediction and risk scores already exist for predicting specific diseases like heart disease.
"Here, though, we are taking another step by showing that particular patterns of groups of biomarkers can indicate how well a person is ageing and his or her risk for specific age-related syndromes and diseases."
The findings may speed up the development of drugs and treatments to prevent or delay age-related diseases.