One researcher from Spectracell said in a recent NBC interview that the value of telomeres testing for the general public is as a measure of how well you are aging on the inside. The wearing of telomeres over time, which progresses at significantly different rates for different people, even those close in chronological age, is based on a combination of genetic and environmental factors and is linked to increased vulnerability to age-related illnesses. Studies conducted at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center in Madrid, as well as Telome Health (a research organization co-founded by Elizabeth Blackburn), among other laboratories, have linked shorter telomeres to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer, among other chronic illnesses. The length of our telomeres can serve as a better marker of our biological age than our chronological age, says Mitch Leslie of ScienceMag.Org; It can show a more complete picture of overall health as well as display the pace at which our bodies are deteriorating, to help doctors tailor treatments for individual patients and save lives. One aspect of telomere length, it’s potential for malleability, is garnering wide attention from both researchers and the general public alike. Think of telomeres measurements as a verdict on a patient’s lifestyle, says Maria Blasco, a molecular biologist and co-founder of the Spanish National Cancer Research Center, who has also recently entered the market in Europe with their Life Length test.