HELSINKI, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- A joint medical research conducted by Finnish and Estonian researchers found that some biomarkers in blood sample could predict mortality risk to people who appear healthy, Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE reported on Wednesday.
Researchers used NMR Spectroscopy, which is capable to screen large numbers of blood samples in a cost-effective way, to screen blood samples taken from a total of 17,000 Finnish and Estonian people, and measured 106 biomarkers to check if any of them were associated with risks of death.
A biomarker is a biological molecule found in blood, body fluids or tissues that may signal an abnormal process, a condition or a disease. The level of a particular biomarker may indicate a patient's risk of disease, or likely response to a treatment.
As a result, the researchers found that those people with elevated levels of four biomarkers plasma albumin, alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, very-low-density lipoprotein particle size and citrate in their blood samples had a significantly increased risk of death in the next five years.
During the follow-up study, among the participants, 288 persons with a biomarker score in the top 20 percent were dead of life threatening illness, such as heart disease and cancer within five years, while only 15 people in the bottom 20 percent died in the same period.
"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," said Dr. Johannes Kettunen, a researcher from the University of Helsinki.
However, he added that more studies are needed before these findings are implemented in clinical practice.
The research was carried out by researchers from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, the University of Helsinki, the University of Oulu, the University of Eastern Finland and the Estonian Biobank.
The result of the research was published on latest issue of the PLOS Medicine journal.