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Brief Exercise Reduces Impact of Stress on Cell Aging, UCSF Study Shows
Date:5/26/2010

ase development.

The findings also build on previous studies showing that exercise is linked to longer telomeres, but this is the first study to show that exercise -- acting as a “stress-buffer’’ – can prevent the shortening of telomeres due to stress.

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

“We are at the tip of the iceberg in our understanding of which lifestyle factors affect telomere maintenance, and how,’’ noted Blackburn.

The new study, in which Blackburn is a co-author, is published May 26, 2010 in the peer-reviewed online publication PLoS ONE (http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010837).

In the study, 62 post-menopausal women – many of whom were caring for spouses or parents with dementia -- reported at the end of each day over three days the number of minutes of vigorous physical activity in which they had engaged. Vigorous activity in the study was defined as “increased heart rate and/or sweating.’’ They also reported separately their perceptions of life stress that they had experienced during the prior month. Their blood’s immune cells were examined for telomere length.

Results support the UCSF-led discovery six years earlier in premenopausal women that psychological stress has a detrimental effect on immune cell longevity, as it relates to shorter telomeres. The new study showed, however, that when participants were divided into groups – an inactive group, and an active group (i.e., they met federal recommendations for 75 minutes of weekly physical activity) – only t
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Brief Exercise Reduces Impact of Stress on Cell Aging, UCSF Study Shows
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