Healthy Living

Diagnostic tool predicts seniors' survivability

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

A University of California-San Francisco team has developed a tool to help predict senior citizens' 10-year survivability rates.

The clinical tool operates on a point system based on 12 factors including people's age, gender, medical conditions and cognitive abilities.

Internal medicine expert Dr. Michael Sanchez plugs information into a formula to determine if clinical interventions such as a colonoscopy would be beneficial.

"You really want to think if you want to put them through that discomfort and preparation that's involved. You want to think of potential risk. And you want to think of their life expectancy," said Sanchez. "What are you going to do with what you find?"

To test the accuracy of this score, researchers tested their estimates against the health and death records of people who died between 2008 and 1998. And they found that the risk score was accurate.

So can this knowledge help people improve their quality of life and lengthen their life span? Dr. Sanchez says a real life score could be a wake-up call.

"We all know what we need to do. It's just following that and doing what we know we should be doing," said Sanchez.

Quitting cigarettes is among Sanchez's top recommendations.

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health, medical research, healthy living, denise dador
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