[GRG] Healthy lifestyle buffers stress-related cell aging

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Contact: Juliana Bunim
juliana.bunim@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California – San Francisco

Healthy lifestyle may buffer against stress-related cell aging,
study says

UC San Francisco study suggests healthy diet, sleep and exercise
can mitigate negative impacts of stress

A new study from UC San Francisco is the first to show that while
the impact of life’s stressors accumulate overtime and accelerate
cellular aging, these negative effects may be reduced by
maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and sleeping well.

“The study participants who exercised, slept well and ate well had
less telomere shortening than the ones who didn’t maintain healthy
lifestyles, even when they had similar levels of stress,” said lead
author Eli Puterman, PhD, assistant professor in the department of
psychiatry at UCSF. “It’s very important that we promote healthy
living, especially under circumstances of typical experiences of
life stressors like death, caregiving and job loss.”

The paper will be published in Molecular Psychiatry, a peer-
reviewed science journal by Nature Publishing Group.

Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes that
affect how quickly cells age. They are combinations of DNA and
proteins that protect the ends of chromosomes and help them remain
stable. As they become shorter, and as their structural integrity
weakens, the cells age and die quicker. Telomeres also get shorter
with age.

In the study, researchers examined three healthy behaviors
–physical activity, dietary intake and sleep quality – over the
course of one year in 239 post-menopausal, non-smoking women. The
women provided blood samples at the beginning and end of the year
for telomere measurement and reported on stressful events that
occurred during those 12 months. In women who engaged in lower
levels of healthy behaviors, there was a significantly greater
decline in telomere length in their immune cells for every major
life stressor that occurred during the year. Yet women who
maintained active lifestyles, healthy diets, and good quality sleep
appeared protected when exposed to stress – accumulated life
stressors did not appear to lead to greater shortening.

“This is the first study that supports the idea, at least
observationally, that stressful events can accelerate immune cell
aging in adults, even in the short period of one year. Exciting,
though, is that these results further suggest that keeping active,
and eating and sleeping well during periods of high stress are
particularly important to attenuate the accelerated aging of our
immune cells,” said Puterman.

In recent years, shorter telomeres have become associated with a
broad range of aging-related diseases, including stroke, vascular
dementia, cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis diabetes,
and many forms of cancer.

Research on telomeres, and the enzyme that makes them, telomerase,
was pioneered by three Americans, including UCSF molecular
biologist and co-author Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD. Blackburn co-
discovered the telomerase enzyme in 1985. The scientists received
the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 for their work.

“These new results are exciting yet observational at this point.
They do provide the impetus to move forward with interventions to
modify lifestyle in those experiencing a lot of stress, to test
whether telomere attrition can truly be slowed,” said Blackburn.

###

Co-authors include senior author Elissa Epel, PhD, department of
psychiatry, Jue Lin, PhD, department of biochemistry and
biophysics, both of UCSF and Jeffrey Krauss, MD, division of
physical medicine and rehabilitation at Stanford University. Lin,
Epel and Blackburn are the co-founders of Telome Health Inc., a
diagnostic company measuring telomere biology.

The study was supported by the Baumann Foundation and the Barney &
Barbro Foundation. Puterman is supported by the National Heart,
Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

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About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. http://www.AgingIntervention.org Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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