By Integrated Care Journal-
Researchers at the University of East Anglia have developed a new app that shows the effect of various medical and lifestyle factors on life expectancy.
The new app called Mylongevity will utilise data from anonymised electronic health records to calculate life expectancy, by taking into account sociodemographic and health characteristics.
The app designed before the Covid-19 pandemic, the research team have been able to work to incorporate hypothetical life expectancy change scenarios into its forecast.
Researchers hope that the new app could help bring practical, financial and medical benefits – such as helping people plan for retirement. It can also help people understand how behaviours such as smoking affect longevity.
Lead researcher Prof Elena Kulinskaya, from UEA’s School of Computing Sciences, commented: “People are interested in their life expectancy, but it is not just out of morbid curiosity.
“Life expectancy is a big consideration in any long-term planning and it is especially important to people planning their financial goals and retirement strategies…It can also help people improve their life expectancy by making healthy lifestyle changes. ”
The app calculates life expectancy through assumptions and information such as the UK life expectancy figures published by the Office for National Statistics and refined using UEA research on cardiovascular disease and the benefits of statin use.
Prof Kulinskaya commented on what the app takes into account stating “The results of our analysis are translated into life expectancies for 648 different risk profiles based on age, sex and postcode. The list of risk factors we used include hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, BMI, the risk of a cardiac event within 10 years, smoking status and statin use. ”
Researchers hope that the app could prove useful for GPs to help people make lifestyle changes, as well as for actuaries and demographers.
The research was based on the results of a research programme on ‘Big Health and Actuarial Data for understanding Longevity and Morbidity Risks’ funded by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and commissioned through its Actuarial Research Centre (ARC). The development of the Mylongevity App was funded by UEA.
The app can be assessed at: https://mylongevity.org/. The web-developer was PhD student George Oastler, from UEA’s School of Computing Sciences.