New app to forecast life expectancy

Published by  Communications

On 3rd Sep 2020

Man viewing online healthcare app on smartphone screen

Researchers from the University of East Anglia have developed a new app that shows the effect of various medical and lifestyle factors on life expectancy.

The Mylongevity app uses big data from anonymised electronic health records to calculate life expectancy – taking into account socio-demographic and health characteristics such as chronic diseases.

While the app was designed before the onset of Covid-19, the research team are working to incorporate hypothetical life expectancy change scenarios into its forecast.

They say 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, said: “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,” she added.

The calculations are based on 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 said: “We have identified and quantified the key factors affecting mortality and longevity, such as lifestyle choices, medical conditions and medical interventions.

“The software we have developed is based on our research using electronic health records. In our recent analysis of life expectancy, we followed a cohort of 110,000 healthy people who hit 60 between 1990 and 2000 for the next 25 years, updating their health status every six months. 

“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.

“Our research included people aged 60 and older, resident in England and Wales. For younger people, we provide life expectancy assuming that they survive to age 60 retaining all their current demographic and health characteristics. 

“This research provides a calculation of life expectancy at a very fine scale. It is still an average individual lifespans will vary either side of that, but it may give people some useful food for thought.

“Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic may result in a decreased life expectancy for some. We are confident that the key application of our tool - helping to show the relative effects of such things as smoking - is largely unaffected, but we plan to fine tune it to explore life expectancy changes caused by the pandemic,” she added.

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 downloaded from: The web-developer was PhD student George Oastler, from UEA’s School of Computing Sciences. 

Latest News

Health care worker in PPE knelt against wall with head in hands
16 Oct 2020

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff

Mental health problems such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and depression are common among healthcare staff during and immediately after pandemics –...

Read more >
Cancer cells reproduction
15 Oct 2020

£2 million for UEA’s Future Leaders

From drug discovery to cancer treatment, two University of East Anglia research projects are set to benefit from a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) award worth...

Read more >
Freshwater carp feeding with sunlight reflecting off of the surface of the water
15 Oct 2020

Australian carp virus plan 'dead in the water'

Plans to release a virus to reduce numbers of invasive Common Carp in Australia are unlikely to work and should be dropped – according to new research involving...

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
Man vaping and exhaling smoke against black background
14 Oct 2020

E-cigs better than gum or patches to help people quit smoking

Electronic cigarettes could increase the number of people who stop smoking compared to nicotine replacement therapy – such as chewing gum and patches – according...

Read more >
09 Oct 2020

UEA community celebrates four awards in Queen's Birthday Honours

Four pioneering female members of the University of East Anglia’s (UEA’s) community have been recognised for their lifelong work in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Read more >
Two girls using a tablet
08 Oct 2020

New online hub launched to help keep more than 2 million vulnerable children safe

A digital service designed to help society’s most vulnerable children and young people who are disproportionally at greater risk of online harm has been launched...

Read more >
Tractor fertilizer spreader in young wheat field
07 Oct 2020

N2O emissions pose an increasing climate threat, finds breakthrough study

Rising nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions are jeopardizing the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, according to a major new study by an international team of...

Read more >
Care home worker wearing PPE holding seated elderly woman's hands
07 Oct 2020

Norfolk care homes to benefit from £1.2 million UEA project

Researchers at UEA will be part of a £1.2 million government-funded project to improve care in residential homes, which were hard-hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

Read more >
Dr Michael Houghton receiving his Honorary Graduate degree at UEA
06 Oct 2020

UEA graduate awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine

UEA alumnus and Honorary Graduate Dr Michael Houghton has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work into the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus,...

Read more >
Partial view of woman holding cardboard large intestine
02 Oct 2020

Could a poo transplant one day be the secret of eternal youth?

Faecal transplants could one day be used as a therapy to restore cognitive function in the elderly – according to new research from the University of East...

Read more >