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Grantees in the News: Campisi, Kaeberlein, and Sinclair on The Telomere Effect

Jan 6

Grantees in the News: Campisi, Kaeberlein, and Sinclair on The Telomere Effect View MoreBACK

In the popular scientific publications STAT News and Scientific American, several AFAR-affiliated experts have lent insights on the publication of the recently published book, The Telomere Effect.

On January 3, 2017, AFAR board member and 2000 AFAR Research Grant awardee David Sinclair, PhD and 1990 AFAR Research Grant winner Judi Campisi, PhD lent expert commentary to a STAT News feature:

The book argues that “you can actually lengthen your telomeres — and perhaps your life — by following sound health advice, the authors argue, based on a review of thousands of studies.”

Sinclair comments:  “I think it’s a very difficult thing to prove conclusively” that lifestyle can affect telomere length and therefore lifespan. “To get cause-effect in humans is impossible, so it’s based on associations.”

While Campisi notes that the underlying research is solid. “If you have a terrible diet and you smoke, you’re definitely shortening your life, and shortening your telomeres,” she said.

Additionally, a January 4 story in Scientific American featured insights by 2006 AFAR Research Grant for Junior Faculty awardee and 2007 Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG) Award winner Matt Kaeberlein, PhD:

By measuring telomere length in the blood, “what you’re really reporting on is the capacity of immune stem cells to function well,” said Matt Kaeberlein, who studies the molecular basis of aging at the University of Washington. “What this may be really telling us is the immune system may be particularly sensitive to lifestyle and environmental factors.”

Kaeberlein said he’s only at the periphery of telomere research, but is skeptical about the predictive value of shorter versus longer telomeres.

Read the full article in STAT News article here, and the Scientific American feature here.

Judith Campisi, PhD is a Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

Matt Kaeberlein, PhD is the director, University of Washington Medicine Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging; Director, Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute; and President, American Aging Association.

David Sinclair, PhD is a Professor of Genetics and co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging at Harvard Medical School.

For more, explore AFAR’s expert-edited InfoAging guide on Telomeres and Telomerase here