Thursday, April 14, 2016

Predicting Longevity May Be Simpler Than Thought

People always wonder how long they will live for. It is a question that is always pondered which has made scientists begin researching ways to determine lifespans. One thing that has been researched is DNA. In particular, scientists have been looking into length of the ends of DNA strands. The ends of these strands are called telomeres. Telomeres shrink as a person ages. Telomeres are said to act as a “molecular clock” and ever since people have been fascinated trying to find the length of telomeres to predict ones death. There have been new studies conducted that show that using telomere length to predict death was just better than a 50% chance.  A person’s actual age was determined to be the single best predictor of ones death. Senior research investigator at Georgetown University’s Center for Population and Health, Dana Glei, has said that using telomere length to predict when someone will die has been exaggerated by the media and companies may be promising more than they can actually do. There are much simpler factors that can be used to determine how long you will live, such as cognitive function, smoking, exercise, and measure of kidney function. These methods are much less expensive and a lot easier to find out a lifespan. To test telomere length, blood is collected, DNA is extracted, and then the telomere length is measured. This is an expensive process. Glei added that there are “test-your-own-telomere-length kits” however buyers should be cautious and know the facts.

Personally, I would not want to know when I was going to die. I think that can significantly alter a person’s life.  However, there are always people out there that will want to know the answer to this question. I think a lot more research needs to be conducted on DNA to determine whether or not it can actually give a timetable on someone’s life or how accurate it actually is. I think that the more simpler methods mentioned in the article, such as exercise, a person’s age, if one smokes, etc., should be looked at and used to determine lifespans. I think more research on these topics should be done as well to see if there is a cheaper and easier way to find out how long you will live for.


1 comment:

  1. Many studies have shown evidence on how to increase telomerase production which is the enzyme responsible for lengthening of the telomeres. The study includes a diet low in meat in general and high in vegetables, more strenuous exercise and a stress free lifestyle. This is a checklist to increasing production of telomeres as well as making them longer.