The Checkup: New Mortality Quiz Calculates Your Chances of Dying by 2023

Researchers have quantified death risk in a new mortality index. How much do you want to bet this gets turned into a smartphone app real soon?

• Okay, so this isn’t quite as fun as those “Does he secretly love you?” quizzes in Cosmo, but nonetheless: Researchers in San Francisco published a mortality quiz this week that can calculate your chances of dying in the next 10 years. While it’s meant as more of a guide for doctors and patients rather than a fun diversion on a Wednesday morning, it’s easy enough for a person to calculate his or her score on their own—you know, for a peek into the ol’ crystal ball. The mortality index, developed for people over 50, works like this:

— Men automatically get 2 points. If you’re a man or a woman ages 60 to 64, give yourself a point. Ages 70 to 74 get 3 points, and 85 or over get 7 points.

— Give yourself two points each for: a current or previous cancer diagnosis, except minor skin cancers; lung disease limiting activity or requiring oxygen; heart failure; smoking; difficulty bathing; difficulty managing money because of health or memory problem; difficulty walking several blocks.

— One point goes for: diabetes or high blood sugar; difficulty pushing large objects, such as a heavy chair; being thin or normal weight.

The lower your score, the lower your risk of death, with a zero score giving you just a 3 percent mortality risk. The highest score a person could get is 26, awarded for a man least 85 years old with all the above conditions. He would have a 95 percent chance for death. If you read the factors above carefully, they probably all make sense (and aren’t surprising), except for that last one: being thin or normal weight. That ups your chances, the AP reports, because “thinness in older age could be a sign of illness.” Read more here.

• At the risk of being too morbid, here’s more death news: A new study found that mortality rates for women have increased in 42.8 percent of U.S. counties, while for men it’s up just 3.4 percent. Meaning? We ladies are dying younger. Among the factors that lowers your death risk is “not being from the South or West,” Gawker reports. Phew. At least we dodged that bullet.

Blood banks might want to consider sell-by dates, according to new research. A study found that donated blood begins to go “stale” (meaning it begins to lose its capacity to deliver oxygen-rich red blood cells) after just three weeks on the shelf. More here.

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