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Stress and Aging

May you have long telomeres.

A telomere is a region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromosome. It protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighboring chromosomes. No matter the length of our telomeres at birth, everyone’s get shorter as they age. When cells divide their telomeres get a little shorter. This is normal aging. Telomere shortening is the main cause of age-related break down of our cells. When telomeres get too short, our cells can no longer reproduce, which causes our tissues to degenerate and eventually die. When telomeres become too short, we die.

"Chronic stress", says Lisa Feldman Barrett, neuroscientist and professor of psychology at Northeastern University, "shrinks your telomeres".

Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.