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Is It Good to Know How Long You Will Live?

by Julia Samuel on March 31, 2016 at 12:31 PM
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Is It Good to Know How Long You Will Live?

A four-year project has been launched at the University of East Anglia to predict how long you will live and the impact of chronic diseases, their treatment on longevity.

While many people may not want to know how long they have left, the team say the research will bring practical, financial and medical benefits - such as helping people plan for retirement, and knowing how particular drugs such as statins or beta-blockers affect longevity.

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Lead researcher Prof Elena Kulinskaya from UEA's School of Computing Sciences said: "People around the world are living longer. We want to develop software tools that use Big Data routinely collected by healthcare providers to forecast longevity.

"When we talk about Big Data what we mean is data that is vast, complex and difficult to analyse. We want to be able to use it to see statistical life expectancy trends, based on large-scale population-based data collected over the long term.
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"We want to identify and quantify the key factors affecting mortality and longevity, such as lifestyle choices, medical conditions and medical interventions.

"We are particularly interested in understanding how various chronic diseases and their treatments impact life expectancy," she added.

Researchers from UEA's School of Computing Sciences will work alongside medical and health scientists from Norwich Medical School, with assistance from technical experts at Aviva.

They will develop new statistical methods to model mortality, find trends in morbidity, and assess life expectancy, based on Big Data. And they say that there are many benefits to knowing how long you might live.

Prof Kulinskaya said: "Pension contributions were recently freed, so now people can take their pension pots out and use them as they wish. But to be able to plan for retirement, and to understand how much you can spend, it is good to have some idea of your life expectancy. Our estimates of life expectancy will only be true on average, not at the individual level.

"This is exactly what we are trying to do for a number of chronic medical conditions. We also want to be able to estimate how some popular drugs, such as statins or beta-blockers, may affect longevity.

"As well as being useful for people planning retirement, it is also important for GPs deciding whether and when to prescribe particular drugs or how to advise their patients. It could also benefit local health authorities planning resources, and insurance companies deciding on the size of pension you can buy with your pension pot."



Source: Newswise
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