Narrator: This is Science Today. A UCLA-led geriatrics study is looking into how biological markers in the blood may serve as an early identification of disease and functional decline in older, at-risk populations. Dr. David Reuben, chief of UCLA geriatrics, says they're looking at two biomarkers in particular.
Reuben: The first is serum albumin. Serum albumin is a protein that everybody has and it's the same albumin that's in your egg whites. The important thing about this protein is that it's a very, very good predictor of four-year mortality or decline in function.
Narrator: The other biomarker is a cytokine called IL-6 that can predict the presence of inflammation, which is a possible indication of disease.
Reuben: I'm not sure that it's justified in terms of the screening yet at this point and certainly the IL-6, which is a pretty expensive test, would not be justified for screening purposes yet. But that doesn't mean that sometime in the future this might not be the case.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.