Recent Blog Articles

Staying Healthy

Can this DNA test help predict your longevity?

April 01, 2018

Telomeres — made of your DNA — are biomarkers of aging.

l0418g16207256889137
 Image: © Dr_Microbe/Getty Images

There's no crystal ball in medicine that can predict how fast you're aging or how long you'll live. But the latest trend in private screening tests claims to provide a tantalizing clue. The tests offer a snapshot of the length of your telomeres — the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes in your cells.

"The concept is very attractive. There's this visual idea of something acting like a clock counting down to the end, and that's why it's powerful. The problem is that just because it's appealing it doesn't mean it's true," says Dr. William Hahn, a Harvard Medical School professor and chief research strategy officer at Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.