Bioanalysis Zone

Biomarkers of short-term death risk identified

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Researchers have discovered biomarkers in blood that can indicate risk of death.

A group of scientists from various institutions in Estonia and Finland have reported four biomarkers that can indicate healthy individuals at risk of dying over a 5-year period.

The team analyzed 106 blood biomarkers by NMR spectroscopy, from 17,345 individuals across Estonia and Finland in two large population-based cohorts. The study concluded that alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, albumin, citrate and the size of very-low-density lipoprotein particles, were all biomarkers associated with increased risk of mortality. In addition to increased risk of cardiovascular mortality, the biomarkers were found to be linked to death from cancer and nonvascular diseases.

Johannes Kettunen from the University of Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland), one of the scientists involved in the study, commented, “We believe that in the future these measures can be used to identify people who appear healthy but in fact have serious underlying illnesses and guide them to proper treatment. More studies are, however, needed before these findings can be implemented in clinical practice.”

As reported in the recent research, screening individuals for biomarkers, such as those identified by the team, could lead to targeted prevention strategies.

Sources: Fischer K, Kettunen J, Würtz P. Biomarker profiling by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for the prediction of all-cause mortality: an observational study of 17,345 persons. PLoS Med. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001606 (2014) (Epub ahead of print); Novel blood screen reveals risk of dying among healthy people.

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