Long telomeres may equal longer lives, if recent studies prove conclusive.
Scientists claim to have found a new predictive marker for heart disease, the telomere or strand of DNA found at the ends of the chromosome.
Nilesh Samani and his team who published a report in the british medical journal, The Lancet, detailed their experiments on 1500 men, in the age group 45 to 64.
A study into the length of their telomere (sampled from white blood cells) found that a shorter length was associated with a higher risk of coronary heart diseases.
Telomere is currently known to be associated with biologically ageing. Every time a cell in the body replicates, the telomere gets shorter. When it gets too short, the cell dies.
Just how telomere length may be asociated with heart disesae can be explained by the fact that degraded telomeres hinder the cells of the bone marrow from repairing damaged arteial walls.
One more interesting find from the experiment was a clue into the protective effects of statin drugs. Statin drugs are used to lower cholesterol levels and protect against stroke. The results from the study indicated that statin drugs could actualy hinder telomere reduction.