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Recent articles bringing to light links between age-related diseases and shortened telomeres have brought out additional research correlating statins and protection of telomere shortening.

Statins, popular cholesterol lowering drugs, may also slow human aging by protecting against telomere shortening, scientists have claimed.  Statins may reduce the rate at which telomeres shorten, a key factor in the natural aging process.  Telomeres are stretches of DNA at the ends of the chromosomes.  Many age-related diseases have been associated to shortened telomeres.

“By telomerase activation, statins may represent a new molecular switch able to slow down senescent cells in our tissues and be able to lead healthy lifespan extension,” said Giuseppe Paolisso, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in this study.

To make this discovery, researchers worked with two groups of subjects.  The first group was under chronic statin therapy, and the second group (control), did not use statins.  When researchers measured telomerase activity in both groups, those undergoing statin treatment had higher telomerase activity in their white blood cells, which was associated with lower telomeres shortening along with aging as compared to the control group.  This highlights the role of telomerase activation in preventing the accumulation of short telomeres.

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