“What you do affects your genes. In other words, you’re not predestined to a certain life because of your genetics, as we once thought.” -Trygve Tollefsbol (Ph.D. Molecular Biology)
The booming field of epigenetics has made a sizable entrance in the age-old nature vs. nurturer debate, giving researchers a better understanding of how different social factors influence the way our genetic material is expressed throughout our lives. “Epigenetics offers a surprising middle ground,” says Dr. Tollefsbol (Professor, Epigenetics and Gene Regulation in Cancer and Aging at the University of Alabama), “Genes are profoundly important, epigeneticists say, but so are environmental factors.”
With the large number of recent studies attributing the shortening of telomeres to aging, Ligi Paul, Ph.D., of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has reviewed the types of nutrients which may influence telomere length. “Of interest to nutritionists, telomere length has been shown to be associated with nutritional status in human and animal studies. Healthy lifestyles and diets are positively correlated with telomere length,” Dr. Paul wrote.
I heard *Scoop Nisker say those words a couple of years ago now, and they really stayed with me, as they speak to my own interest in healthy aging, something which has definitely grown with age.
I was further inspired a number of years ago when I was introduced to Michael Fossel’s 1997 book Reversing Human Aging. In it he unveiled new advancements in what has come to be know as Telomere Science. In short, Telomeres are specialized sections of DNA at the ends of our chromosomes, which get shorter each time our cells divide as we age. This allows them to serve as a bio-marker for our overall health and our prospects for a longer, healthier life.
I attended the Health 2.0 Conference this week, and in conjunction with my work on behalf of ConferenceBites, wanted to share some of my favorite and most relevant quotes for the agemarker.com audience:
Good slogan: “ Know your body—change your life.”
~ Christine Robbins, BodyMedia
“The exome is the useful part of your genome—the 50 M base pairs out of 3 billion.”
~ Anne Wojcicki, CEO, 23andMe, announcing their new $1,000 Exome program