January 30th, 2012
Posted by Patti Doherty, R.N.
As part of Popper and Company’s ongoing effort to scan the health care universe and share innovative ideas and solutions with you, the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has risen to the surface. That year, Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostack received the prize for discovering “how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.” The Nobel Laureates demonstrated that chromosomes are protected from degradation by telomeres, which sit at the ends of our chromosomes, similar to the plastic cap on the end of a shoelace. There’s a lesson here that plays on a theme that Popper and Company team members often discuss among ourselves – the role the individual plays in his or her own health and longevity.
Let me explain: The telomere protects our chromosomes from becoming tattered and damaged. The enzyme telomerase helps maintain a healthy cell. As telomerase levels and activity diminish over time, our telomeres shorten and no longer divide, our cells age and no longer function properly; they then die, and well, eventually we die.
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