Telomere Science Library

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Lifestyle change may reduce aging, disease

SAUSALITO, Calif., Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Shorter telomeres -- DNA-protein complexes at the end of chromosomes -- increase disease risk, but this may be reversed via lifestyle, a U.S. researcher says.

Dr. Dean Ornish of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, say telomere shortness in human beings is emerging as a prognostic marker of disease risk, progression and premature mortality.

Severe stress such as caring for a spouse or parent with dementia has been shown to shorten telomeres of the caregiver, but Ornish says that telomere shortening
is counteracted by the cellular enzyme telomerase -- via lifestyle changes.

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