Prof Dean Ornish MD, Jue Lin PhD, Jennifer Daubenmier PhD, Gerdi Weidner PhD, Elissa Epel PhD, Colleen Kemp MSN, Mark Jesus M Magbanua PhD, Ruth Marlin MD, Loren Yglecias BA, Prof Peter R Carroll MD and Prof Elizabeth H Blackburn PhD
Telomeres are protective DNA-protein complexes at the end of linear chromosomes that promote chromosomal stability. Telomere shortness in human beings is emerging as a prognostic marker of disease risk, progression, and premature mortality in many types of cancer, including breast, prostate, colorectal, bladder, head and neck, lung, and renal cell. Telomere shortening is counteracted by the cellular enzyme telomerase. Lifestyle factors known to promote cancer and cardiovascular disease might also adversely affect telomerase function. However, previous studies have not addressed whether improvements in nutrition and lifestyle are associated with increases in telomerase activity. We aimed to assess whether 3 months of intensive lifestyle changes increased telomerase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).