A small Spanish biological research company was deluged with queries after reports that its blood test could predict the age you would die at. Well, can it?
As a taxi takes me across Madrid to the laboratories of Spain's National Cancer Research Centre, I am fretting about the future. I am one of the first people in the world to provide a blood sample for a new test, which has been variously described as a predictor of how long I will live, a waste of time or a handy indicator of how well (or badly) my body is ageing. Today I get the results.
Some newspapers, to the dismay of the scientists involved, have gleefully announced that the test – which measures the telomeres (the protective caps) on the ends of my chromosomes – can predict when I will die. Am I about to find out that, at least statistically, my days are numbered? And, if so, might new telomere research suggesting we can turn back the hands of the body's clock and make ourselves "biologically younger" come to my rescue?