Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Telomeres made headlines this fall when three American scientists won the Nobel Prize for discovering them and exploring their role in health.

Great short article that ties telomeres and healthy lifestyle choices together.
Shortened telomeres contribute to heart disease, diabetes, reduced immunity and possibly even brittle bones. In people over age 60, those with the shortest DNA tips have been shown to be three times more likely to die from heart disease and eight times more likely to die from an infectious disease than those with longer telomeres. Shorter-than-usual telomeres also have been found in many cancers, including those of the pancreas, bone, prostate, bladder, lung, kidney, head and neck.

One of the most exciting things about telomeres is that your everyday choices can make a big difference in how young they stay. Unhealthy choices can age you by an extra five, seven or even 10 years. In one University of California San Francisco study, for example, men who changed their diets, got regular exercise and calmed their stress with meditation actually increased levels of an enzyme that lengthens telomeres in immune cells. Just what should you tell your telomeres to keep you young and healthy?

1. Take it down a notch. Your stress, that is. The most stressed-out women have enough telomere shortening to make themselves 10 years older (including wrinkling!); moms of disabled children also tend to have shortened telomeres. So do pessimists! Researchers have shown that meditation, coupled with walking and a diet change - toward healthy choices only - lengthens your telomeres. Others are now studying whether mindfulness meditation alone can preserve telomere length. We already know that the technique can help you with the next factor that keeps telomeres young ...

2. Get an attitude. Worrying about pounds, food choices and calories is associated with shorter telomeres, according to a University of California San Francisco study of constant dieters. Step off the diet roller-coaster and achieve a consistent lower weight (and longer telomeres) with exercise and a meal plan packed with mindful eating plus healthy vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein and good fats from foods including fish, nuts and avocados.

3. Activate yourself. Inactive people have shorter telomeres than active people. The difference is enough to age the sitting-around crowd by an extra decade. Go take a walk, for at least 30 minutes a day. Physical activity also can help reduce belly fat, another telomere foe.

4. Say goodbye to tobacco. Smoking two packs a day for 20 years aged participants in one telomere study by an additional 7.4 years. Your telomeres aren't the only reason you need to nix tobacco. Smoking messes with your lungs (of course), your heart and even your wrinkles and your sex life - and everything in between.

5. Go Mediterranean. That's the meal plan we mentioned in point No. 2, rich in delectable vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats. Telomeres, in one study, were longest in those eating the most vitamin C-rich foods - including citrus fruit, strawberries and red bell peppers - and vitamin E-rich foods such as whole grains. Add salmon and trout, olive oil and a cup of tea ... or two or three. Researchers in Hong Kong found the longest telomeres in men who drank three cups of green tea or sometimes black tea a day.
Soon a telomerase enzyme booster may increase health and longevity.

Mutant Hyperactive gene may explain longevity
Centenarians effectively have a body mechanic constantly repairing the hardware that runs the body, versus a normal person whose body's cellular control centre is left to wear out with time.

Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the U.S studied a group of Ashkenazi Jews and found those who lived longest had inherited a mutant version of the enzyme telomerase.

Related - Naked Mole Rats have long lives don't get cancer

The Methuselah Manifesto
Tech entrepreneur and futurist Ray Kurzweil opened the conference with a virtual presentation on exponential technology trends that are bringing the prospect of achieving longevity escape velocity ever closer. “We are very close to the tipping point in human longevity,” asserted Kurzweil to the conferees. “We are about 15 years away from adding more than one year of longevity per year to remaining life expectancy.” This has been labeled by summiteer and life-extension guru Aubrey de Grey as longevity escape velocity. Achieving escape velocity, according to Kekich, would mean that “your projected day of reckoning moves further away from you rather than closing in on you.”

“Health and medicine will be a million times more powerful in 20 years,” Kurzweil declared. He predicted that the complexity of biology will yield to the exponential powers of applied information technology and take off. He cited Moore’s Law which predicts doubling of microchip functionality and halving their costs every two years. The decrease in cost and increase in speed of sequencing whole human genomes is outpacing even Moore’s Law. In 2000, the first genome was sequenced after 14 years and at a cost of $3 billion. Now various startups offer the potential to sequence an individual’s DNA for less than $100 in under an hour.

The goal of the summit was to devise scientific and business strategies with the goal of demonstrating the capability to reverse aging in an older human being by 2029. By then, Kurzweil argued, people will be beginning their intimate merger with information technologies, biotechnologies, and nanotechnologies. Kurzweil, age 61, emphasized, “Something I am personally interested in is not just designer babies, but designer baby boomers.”
Around ten years ago I heard of the people trying to prevent Old Age Disease and that telomeres were the most promising line of research and learned to keep an eye on Geron.


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