Telomeres are in the news again. In a recent study published in the July 7 issue of JAMA, telomere length appears to show that the shorter the telomeres length, the greater risk of cancer and a worse rate of survival. It is the first study to show a direct link between telomeres and cancer. Telomeres are protein complexes on the ends of chromosomes which shorten a bit each time the cell divides, sort of an internal cell clock. As they shorten, they release telomerase to try regain some of the length, but the process can go haywire and actually create malignant cells. In this study, shortened telomere length was associated with a 60 percent increase in cancer risk, independent of other risk factors. An active aging process via diet and exercise can go a long way in preserving telomere length, thus reducing this risk factor for cancer. Seems a small price to pay…..

In other news, drinking caffeinated coffee and green teas like mate`are linked to a lower risk of head and neck cancers, according to recent study published online June 22 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. The latest good news continues for coffee drinkers. Mate`, a green tea from South America, is at the top for health benefits. It’s the only green tea I drink.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this or not, but exercise, be it aerobic or resistance training, and without making any dietary changes,  reduced body fat, improved insulin sensitivity, and decreased visceral (inside the stomach) fat in obese boys over a three-month period. The results show just how powerful a tool exercise is. Keep at it.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.