Topics: Senescence, Gerontology, Aging Pages: 11 (3461 words) Published: June 24, 2011

Long-term Happiness and Longevity:
The Psychology of Telomeres

Niki Jarrett
University of Nevada, Reno

The following was written in response to a request from my instructor, Professor Wade Brown at the University of Nevada in Reno. Professor Brown gave the class the option to right on an interested of theirs and relates that passion to Psychology. I chose to write about Telomeres and their relationship with Psychology. A chromosome is a lengthy piece of DNA. Towards the end of a chromosome is a telomere, which acts like a cap. Telomeres keep a chromosome protected and normally will put a stop to the Telomere from binding into rings or connecting with other DNA. Telomeres play a significant role in cell division. Researchers now will make use of the length of a cell's telomeres to decide the cell's age and how many more times the cell will replicate. This knowledge of the number of cell duplication and Telomere length is important in reverse ageing research. When a cell stops dividing or replicating, it enters into a stage known as "cell senescence," that is the cellular equivalent of aging and finally-death. Psychology plays a great role in influencing Telomere length. By understanding the process by which Telomere death can occur, one may be able to slow down their own ageing process.

Keywords: Psychology, Telomeres, Ageing

Long-term Happiness and Longevity:
The Psychology of Telomeres
From the moment of the birth, humans begin the fight against death -- against the inevitable. Statistics state that a new baby can expect to live an average of seventy six years. However, the averages will not be what they were in the long-ago. In the late 1700s, life expectancy was around twenty four years and a hundred years later, that expectancy doubled to a high of forty eight years. A life expectancy of seventy six is the magical number of today. Today's search for the “fountain of youth” is pointing scientists from inside the genetic construction of cells to researching the role of psychology in the form of stress on life spans. The origin of what is called "aging" is now at last, being understood. Psychology, the study of the science of mind and behavior is looking at the relationships between telomere shortening by the mind and ones behaviors. Researchers know that telomeres shorten and deteriorate with aging, but they are learning that stress also affects telomere length. (Danton, 2011, p.3)

Viewzone (2011), Doctor John Langmore and his team of colleagues have been looking inside human cells, chiefly within the Deoxyribonucleic acid molecule, or DNA. In particular, Dr. Langmore investigated the end caps of the DNA molecule, a previously disregarded part of the double-helix molecule which is called telomeres. A telomere is a region of repetitive DNA sequence at the end of each chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from the fusion with chromosomes nearby. The name Telomere is derived from the Greek nouns telos "end" and merοs "part". (Wikipedia, 2011)

According to Nelson, (Viewzone, 2011, p. 4) just as aglets stop a shoelace from unraveling or fraying, telomeres are structures on the ends of chromosomes that save from harm the chromosome from deteriorating, breaking or fusing with additional chromosomes, which can lead to mutations or the demise of a chromosome.

As most cell grow older, they are constantly under attack by oxides and stress induced free-radical chemicals in the body as in worrying too much to chemicals introduced into the body like cigarette smoking or from the surrounding environment such as too much sun. Individuals survive as living human beings because their cells have the capability to duplicate themselves before being ruined by internal or external causes. Each time cells duplicate themselves, the DNA molecule makes a second copy from an existing piece of DNA....
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