From the Imperial College London and the research of Dr. Jessica Buxton, we now understand one of the secrets to slowing aging is to keep working.
Many years ago, we explored the work of Geron Corporation. The researchers there had discovered telomeres, the structures at the ends of chromosomes that protect the DNA from being degraded. As people age, their telomeres typically deteriorate. This latest research shows that long-term unemployment, emotional and financial stress cause premature aging and are the root cause of real change in the body's DNA.
Men who had been out of work for at least two of the three previous years (before their blood was drawn) were more than twice as likely to have short telomeres as those who had been gainfully employed for the period. Historically, shorter than average telomeres have been associated with ill health and premature death. This landmark study analyzed blood samples and unemployment records of more than 5500 people in the United Kingdom aged 31---not an insignificant number.
Even when other factors associated with aging, including illness, smoking, drinking, and lack of exercise, were taken into account the link was there. Stressful life experiences in childhood and adulthood have previously been linked to accelerated telomere shortening as well.
Want to live a long time? This research says the way to do that is to reduce your stress and keep working.
Geron's research went further. They also realized that when they "bathed" chromosomes in "telomerase", an enzyme that helps the telomeres, the strands seemed to rebuild themselves. The corporation used this valuable information to create an environment conducive to cancer's demise.
In the United States, we are bombarded by advertising offering a new class of drugs called "biologics". By using epigenetic materials, those derived from genetics, we are already responding to many cancers, as well as some autoimmune diseases, like Lupus and Diabetes.
What's next? Personalized medicine that, by analyzing our individual DNA, can pre-determine which of us will respond favorably to certain drugs and which of us won't. This Brave New World of healthcare will see increasing numbers of disease reversal, leading to health.
Special thanks to "Bottom Line's Daily Health Digest" for piquing our interest again on this important topic.
Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a Strategic Business Futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and