What are telomeres?

Elissa Epel, PhD, MS
Integrative Medicine

Telomeres are strings of DNA that protect the ends of chromosomes. Chronic stress causes damage to the telomeres. In this video, Elissa Epel, PhD, associate professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco explains.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Telomeres are the tips of your chromosomes. They're much like the tips of a shoelace, and with general wear and tear, they can shorten and fray, causing age-related health issues, such as memory loss. Help keep your telomeres -- and memory -- sharp with stress reduction, brain games, and regular exercise.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Telomeres, which are sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes, can provide one way to judge your rate of aging. The longer your telomeres, the more your stem cells can repair damages elsewhere in your body (including your heart), and the younger you are. People with purposes in life (ones that don't stress them) have much longer telomeres (almost eight years worth longer) than their chronological age and other healthy behaviors would justify - the telomeres seem to be elongated by having that purpose.

Telomeres are repetitive strings of DNA. They are found at the ends of chromosome pairs in cells. Telomeres are like the plastic ends on shoelaces that keep the laces from fraying. They protect chromosomes in the same way. Each time a cell divides, the telomere on the end of each chromosome pair is shortened. Eventually, the telomeres are depleted, and the cell dies. Scientists studying aging are researching whether a cell's lifespan can be extended by adding a protein called telomerase to cells. This protein, found in abnormal cells like tumors, contains an RNA template that can produce new telomeres on the ends of chromosomes.

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