20 February 2012

Two Simple Ways to Grow old and Die Prematurely

Smoking and obesity increase the risk of heart attack and premature death

Each cell of the body contains chromosomes, the end sections of which – telomeres – shorten as the body ages, as well as under the influence of factors such as smoking and obesity. Experts have long assumed that shortening telomeres increases the risk of myocardial infarction and premature death. The results of a large population study conducted by scientists at the University of Copenhagen, working under the guidance of Professor Borge Nordestgaard, confirm the existence of this relationship.

As part of the ongoing research, scientists have isolated the DNA of almost 20,000 Danes and analyzed the length of their telomeres, which is an indicator of aging at the cellular level. Observation of participants (the duration of which in some cases was almost 19 years) showed that the short length of telomeres corresponds to an increase in the risk of myocardial infarction and premature death by 50% and 25%, respectively.

It is a proven fact that smoking and obesity increase the risk of developing heart disease. The data obtained indicate that these factors "age" the body at the molecular level in the same way as time does.

The study also showed that every fourth Dane has short telomeres, which automatically place him in risk groups for myocardial infarction and premature death.

Professor Nordestgaard emphasizes that further research is needed to clarify the molecular mechanisms by which telomere shortening leads to myocardial infarction. It is necessary to understand whether there is a causal relationship between them or whether they are manifestations of a third, as yet unknown phenomenon.

Another possible direction for the continuation of this research is the development of tests with which therapists will be able to measure the length of telomeres in patients' blood cells and, thus, determine their real cellular age.

Article by Maren Weischer et al. Short Telomere Length, Myocardial Infarction, Ischemic Heart Disease, and Early Death
published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the University of Copenhagen:
Cellular aging increases risk of heart attack and early death.


Found a typo? Select it and press ctrl + enter Print version