Telemores, TV and Trickery

telemoresWhat is a telomere and why does size matter?

They are DNA caps on the ends of these chromosomes. Think of a telomere as plastic bits on the end of shoelaces that keep genetic material from fraying. Longer is better.

Yes, it’s possible to measure your telomeres. While not a crystal ball, it does provide an indication of risk from typical midlife baby boomer ailments.

You can change your telomeres. Smoking, obesity, and stress shrinks them. Studies suggest that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and psychological counseling may lengthen them.

Watching television has no direct effect on telomeres but a recent study indicates that relaxing in front of the tube for 6 hours a day starting at age 25 could shorten the viewer’s life expectancy by almost 5 years. That boils down to giving up 22 minutes of life for each hour. You can take the old baby boomer Groucho Marx quiz show, You Bet Your Life, literally. This conclusion, of course may be linked to associated risk factors, such as bad eating and not exercising while indulging ball games or reality shows.

Finally, if all diets fail, you can at least delude others or have others delude you into eating less.

telomersGhrelin is a substance secreted by stomach lining that stimulates appetite. As it goes down, it signals the brain you’re full. If you can fool your brain, you can fool your ghrelin, which in turns fools your brain again.

Actually, it’s simple. A recent Yale University study gave subjects a 380 calorie milkshake, but they were told it was either an over-the-top 680 calorie yummy or a sensible 140 version. When ghrelin levels were measured in both groups, those who thought they were consuming the high-calorie shake had a significantly steeper drop in gharelin than those who believed they were consuming a diet drink.

Live long – eat your fish, watch less television, embrace white lies – and prosper.

Terry Hamburg writes Baby Boomer Daily about the exciting and revolutionary baby boomer years.

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