Predict how long you’ll live

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

laser watch concept
We imagine it’ll look a little something like this.

I’ve heard that eating healthy and exercising daily are good ways to increase your lifespan, and I try to do both. There are some days, however, where I cheat and pig out on a burger and put the exercise off until tomorrow. If only there was a way to see how my bad choices affect my life! Well, thank goodness for the laser from Lancaster University, because this little light beam is going to tell me how long I’ll live.

There’s no need to take a sample of my brain or a piece of my heart and run complex scientific tests. All I have to do is put on a device that looks just like a wristwatch, and let it scan the insides of my blood vessels with a laser. Just like that, bada-bing bada-boom, the test is over. No pain, no pinches… just a simple scan.

You see, our vessels are lined with units called endothelial cells, which are a great indicator for health. By scanning these cells, the laser determines how healthy or unhealthy they are, and gives them an age. The healthier you are, the “younger” the cells will be. On the other hand, the unhealthier you are, the “older” the cell will be. If there is a big difference between your actual age and the age of the cells, you’re in big trouble. “If you’re aged 35 with an endothelial age of 65, then you have something to worry about,” said Prof. Peter McClintock, the co-creator of this test.  “Nearly everything that goes wrong with the cardiovascular system starts off as a problem in the endothelium – heart attack, stroke, heart failure,” said McClintock. “The take-home message is, look after your endothelium!”

Er, and how exactly do I “look after” my endothelium, doc? Simple! You just follow advice on staying healthy! Tips include cutting down on sugary drinks, upping your water intake, abandoning fast food, and getting enough sleep. The laser will likely cost several hundreds of dollars, but it won’t be available for purchase until approximately 3 years from now. Oh no, what if I only have 3 years to live? I need a scan now!

Featured image courtesy of Toni Verdú Carbó on Flickr. Watch image courtesy of Andy Kurovets.