Telomere Enzymes and your aging process
In October of 2009, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009 jointly to three researchers (H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak). Their discovery was a turnkey piece about how our “how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.” Our DNA, which are long, thread-like DNA molecules that carry our genes are packed into chromosomes. At the end of these threads are “telomeres” which act like caps at both ends. Collectively, they discovered that a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres protects the chromosomes from degradation and identified the enzyme called telomerase.
Telomerase is the enzyme that makes telomere DNA. These discoveries explained how the ends of the chromosomes are protected by the telomeres and that they are built by telomerase. Basically if the telomere length does not degrade, cellular senescence is delayed. If they are shorted, cells age. The Karolinska Institute stated that, “The award of the Nobel Prize recognizes the discovery of a fundamental mechanism in the cell, a discovery that has stimulated the development of new therapeutic strategies.” The discovery of Telomerase may be the most significant discovery in the scientific research area of anti-aging.
Telomere length is a true measure of your biological age – how we look, feel and function. Even though two people may have the same chronological age, their biological ages and appearances may be very different. When we have patients who come to us with aging concerns, we measure their telomere length in order to accurately determine their true biological age.
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