Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I am getting back to this issue but it will be brief. Sorry, I got home late and I also cannot find one of my bank cards so I think I need to check my car and then call the bank - dang.

Okay. I wanted to write about telmores after that article last week that mentioned telomere length accompanied with younger looks might for tell longevity. I learned two or three things, but the main thing is that the study of aging is still very new and full of hypothesis. We have known for about a decade that a lot of our theories are out of date and incorrect. In fact, we know that the more we do even as we age, the more we will be able to do and that we don't really just wear out.

But telomeres are the tips or ends of our chromosomes. Chromosomes as you must remember from biology class are a part of the cell that contain blueprints or instructions on what cells are supposed to do. Telomeres are technically part of the chromosome but an expendable part. They are protecting the more valuable DNA. Cells divide. It is their job. Each time they do, the telomeres shortens. The hypothesis has been that this happens in all cells until the cell can no longer divide because the message can no longer be copied. The cell then dies. Many of our cells can divide about 50 times. Cancer cells divide uncontrollably because an enzyme that protects the telomeres is released, but that is another story.

In studies of whole populations, there is a link between shorter telomeres and aging, but NOW scientists are learning that individual differences are pronounced. Some persons have longer "tails" then others and sometimes the tails get longer and not shorter.

So I have learned that telomeres do have a place in senescence, but what they mean to each of us as we strive to spread out our active aging for as many years as we can is unknown.

Senescence is a word I had forgotten all about - and in the words of my Dad - I say, "go look it up."

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