Spanish company, was inundated with questions after receiving reports that blood tests could predict the age would die. Well, is not it?
As a taxi that takes me through the laboratories of Madrid Spanish National Centre for Research against Cancer, I am concerned about the future. I am one of the first in the world to provide a blood sample for a new test, which was described as a predictor of how long I live, a waste of time or a useful indicator of how well ( or badly) my body is aging. Today, I can get the results.
Some newspapers, to the dismay of the scientists involved have happily announced that the test - which measures the telomeres (the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes mi) - one can predict when they will die. I am about to discover that, at least statistically, my days are numbered? And, if so, new research suggests that telomeres can go back and body to make us "biologically younger" come to my aid?
The test is based on the idea that biological aging factories in the telomeres. And despite the time ticks consistently, our bodies are aging at different rates. Genes, environment and our personal habits play a role in this process. A look at their telomeres is an indicator of what you do. In essence, they tell you if you become biologically younger and older than the others born in the same period.
The key measure, said Maria Blasco, a molecular biologist for 45 years, research director of the Cancer Central Spain and one of the principal investigators of the telomeres in the world, is the number of short telomeres . Blasco, who is also one of the co-founders of the company that provides testing Lifespan, says that short telomeres, not only provide evidence of aging. The cause. Often compared to the plastic caps on a budget, there is a critical level at which the frayed becomes irreversible and leads to cell death. "The short telomeres are causative of the disease, because when they are below a length of [some] are harmful to cells. Stem cells do not regenerate tissues and then there is the aging of tissues, "explains. That, in brief, cellular aging is like work. Finally, many of our short telomeres that an essential part of our body can not function.
The investigation is still in its infancy, but extreme stress, for example, has been linked to telomere shortening. I think back to a day's work had in the last three countries, three stories, two international flights, public lectures, and very little sleep. Reasonable behavior, perhaps, someone in their 30 years - but I am closer to my 50th birthday. What days are shortened my expectations, or real life?
people with similar concerns - or, perhaps, just Woody Allen-style neuroses of their health - have begun to contact the company created by Blasco. Applications have invested in the world from a freelance writer in the title, perhaps misled by the ambiguous name permanently invited readers to learn about "400 pounds test that tells you how long to live." The Internet did the rest.
Originally created to help researchers and pharmaceutical companies, health food and cosmetic testing the impact of their products in the telomeres, the avalanche of individual petitions reached Blasco small company by surprise. But the evidence is available from this month by doctors in Spain and Portugal and plans to make it easier to achieve in the UK and the U.S. as soon as possible. He sees a potential gold mine in the proof of what people call "biological age" - although it is not only in the area. What can you tell me about my Blasco test?
"In fact, have very good news," he said, pointing to a picture that looks like it was hit by shotgun pellets. My telomeres - especially the most dangerous, shorter - are in better shape than would be normal for my age. The pellets are points the individual results of those who have been tested and entered into the database so far and the red dot represents a sample of my blood on the best side of both graphs shows me Blasco. A graph shows the median length of telomeres, while the other shows the number of terminations crucial that I have short telomeres. In each case, a line on the graph shows the average performance of age. The test in about 100,000 of my telomeres, compared with other results in the database used by small indeed life, when the test was conducted in the summer, give me a "biological age" less than six years my actual age. With only 90 men on the table so far, all different lifestyles and genetic origins of my own, I avoid the feeling of complacency. Finally, when there are thousands or more in the database, you may have a better idea of ??what the results are more people like me waiting. I have a fairly healthy life, after all, and previous generations on both sides of my family were long-term.
However, according to an interview with the New York Times with the 2009 Nobel Prize Carol Greider - who trained under Blasco - individual telomeres tests are not very useful. "Science is not really there to tell us what are the consequences of telomere length," he said.
Blasco, of course, disagrees. So does Elizabeth Blackburn, who shared the Nobel Prize for research on telomeres with Greider and Jack Szostak, and created his own health telomere company to begin offering the tests later this year.
individual tests, therefore, still in its infancy. Much more interesting are the possible future developments, the telomeres of the research, says Blasco. "One of them is the activation of telomerase, because of its potential to reverse aging. The evidence of this disease may benefit from the activation of telomerase, so this is something druggable."
"Some of the new [research] articles published in major magazines have to do with the activation telomorase" he said. "This is one aspect. The other is that we are seeing a large number of epidemiological studies show correlations between telomere length and diseases, and habits are good or bad for telomere length. "