March 25, 2012
More Heart Disease Death With Shorter Telomeres

You might be getting tired of "if your chromosome telomere caps are shorter you are more likely to die" posts. But every time I come across another research report showing this relationship I think "this shows how much benefit we can get from stem cell therapies". These reports show that the ability to deliver newer stem cells and newer other types of cells into various places in the body would likely increase life expectancy. Cells more able to divide (and shorter telomeres interfere with cell division) are more able to create new cells to do repairs.

BOSTON, MAŚNo one really wants the short end of the stick, in this case the short end of a chromosome. Telomeres, which are DNA-protein complexes at the ends of chromosomes, can be thought of as protein "caps" that protect chromosomes from deteriorating and fusing with neighboring chromosomes.

It is typical for telomeres to shorten as cells divide and chromosomes replicate over time. Now a new study from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) suggest a strong link between telomere shortening and poor cardiovascular outcomes in patients with acute coronary syndrome.

If you think "yes, but I do not have acute coronary syndrome" keep in mind that people who have long telomeres are probably much less likely to get acute coronary syndrome (and osteoarthritis and many other maladies, aches, and pains). Your body will function better with younger cells to do repairs even if most of the cells are older.

Regardless of age group shorter telomeres are associated with greater risk of heart attack and death.

The study is being presented at the American College of Cardiology 2012 Annual Scientific Session, March 24 to 26 in Chicago.

Scientists measured telomere length in 5,044 patients with an acute coronary syndrome who were followed for 18 months.

They evaluated the risk of cardiovascular death or heart attack based on telomere length and other characteristics.

Shorter telomeres were associated with older age, male gender, smoking, prior heart attack and heart failure; although, the correlation between each individual factor and telomere length was modest. Age, for example, only accounts for seven percent of the variability in telomere length.

Telomere length was strongly associated with risk of cardiovascular death or heart attack. Patients with shorter telomeres had the highest risk. This relationship was consistent across various age groups.

Even if you are young enough to think you have low odds of a heart attack or other organ failure in the next 30 years you are still better off getting youthful cell therapies sooner rather than later. Aging damage to the body builds up over decades until it reaches the point where the body malfunctions enough to cause heart attacks or other major organ failures. A lot of disease processes feed on themselves in a vicious cycle where the more the body malfunctions the more it damages itself. You are better off keeping your body in excellent condition since reversing the vicious cycle at an advanced stage of disease is much much harder.

I've done many other posts about the association of telomere length with life expectancy, osteoarthritis risk, and other maladies.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 March 25 07:58 PM  Aging Measurements

PacRim Jim said at March 25, 2012 11:15 PM:

It might be useful to suggest how people with inferior telomeres might at least slow their shortening, if that is possible, until a treatment becomes available.
Otherwise, who would bother to be tested?

bmack500 said at March 27, 2012 7:59 PM:

Yet another reason for taking ta-65...

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