Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn has launched a company called Telome Health, and has created a commercial genetic test to measure telomere shortening, to give people insight on their aging process, reports Boonsri Dickinson at New Scientist. Blackburn says telomere length can give a patient a "sense of your underlying health," as researchers see telomere shortening in conditions like heart disease and cancer. In 2004, a study that Blackburn worked on showed that chronic stress and bone marrow failure are linked to telomere shortening, and she adds that a test showing a shortening of the telomeres would be "a red flag suggesting you should take a look at possible risk factors." Telome Health was launched to teach people about their telomeres, Blackburn says. The telomere test will be available through doctors later this year for less than $200. It would entail taking a blood or saliva sample, and measuring the telomere length in white blood cells, she adds. Blackburn hopes that educating people about their telomeres will encourage them to change their lifestyles, like reducing stress and stopping smoking.
What Do Your Telomeres Say About You?
May 09, 2011