Back in 2009 Elizabeth Blackburn a Tasmanian born Molecular Biologist was one of a handful of scientists awarded the Nobel prize for her work in defining telomeres and telomerase. The word telomere can be interpreted many ways but I choose to take it to mean “time keeper”.
Every time I write a new blog or email about telomeres I have to re explain the concept because even though I wrote a book on this topic in 2010, it is not exactly a household word.
So, it was with great interest I read the most recent book by Liz Blackburn and Elissa Epel. You see I had been reading their scientific publications for many years now and was curious to see how they would weave their findings into a lay public book.
I guess I should admit a few things and give you some background here.
I am an MD not a PhD so my interest and focus is on human health span and longevity. My specialty originally called anti-aging medicine has been usurped by various different credentialing Boards and called several different things but all of these areas lead ultimately to longer life span and health span. At least that is the goal.
The goal of scientists is not always the same. They can be more focused on specific what’s and why’s instead of “how” to impact human health. On the flip side, they are scientists which means there should be adherence to the scientific method and no bias. Of the first I am certain most scientists adhere, of the second I have grave doubts.
Scientists, especially Nobel laureate scientists also have to contend with a huge factor: their reputation.
This means it’s not likely they are going to say or believe anything that is considered “radical” by the establishment.
An illustration of this is the case of Dr Andrew Weil. In the 70’s Dr Weil was considered by many to be near lunatic fringe. An outlier in the field who was disregarded by any “serious” person. Yet over time the public became more and more hungry for the “truth” that was hidden from them by the medical establishment. And Dr Weil became more and more of a beacon of logical self-empowered health care.
The price one pays for this is one becomes “establishment” after all, and can no longer espouse anything but the party line.
Why am I telling you all this?
Frankly it’s because you won’t find anything new or all that exciting in this book if you’ve been in my audience for a while.
Now again this might be expected because the authors are regarded as serious people in a serious world and not to be expected to rock the boat, ruffle feathers or say anything controversial.
You also should consider that our book The Immortality Edge pretty much said all this 6 years ago, and I have a personal bias towards it which I fully admit.
The Telomere Effect is ironically going to benefit from all the publicity and work and yes, abuse that was heaped on the non-scientists. For the general public, it will be a good book to give “just enough” hope to and of course to educate them on the topic of telomeres. And since its from serious scientists, the contents are more likely to be taken seriously!
Who better to get the information from than a Nobel Laureate!
Now here is another admission: If it were not for Dr Blackburn’s work in the field it is highly unlikely I would know what and who I know today. I think she has made a gigantic contribution to human health, health span and longevity even if it is too frightening to come out and say it. It may be the biggest contribution of the century although it is down played so often.
Similarly Dr Epel’s contribution to the concept of “The Molecules of Emotion” put forth by Dr. Candice Pert and later by Bruce Lipton is incredibly valuable. The telomere remains a central if not THE central arbiter of aging. So far changing the telomere dynamic remains the only way that has been demonstrated to EXTEND life beyond the Hayflick limit, not merely approach that limit the way sirtuins, calorie restriction and the various mTor/rapamycin machinations do. Linking telomere length to emotion is a great achievement.
If I ever get to meet either of these people I will consider it a great honor.
If I were you I would read the new book by Drs Blackburn and Epel, if only to reconfirm your belief in what has been written in the past. The fact that it’s them saying it should silence a lot of our critics.
We all owe these scientists a huge debt of gratitude for their work in the field. I am certain their book will go a long way towards making the word telomere a regular part of everyone’s lexicon.
Here is your health secret for the day with the contents of this book in mind: Your emotions can directly affect the quality and quantity of your life. Don’t squander them on worthless or self-inflicted nonsense!
All the Best, and again a Very Happy 2017 !