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Publication Title: 
Psychosomatic Medicine

BACKGROUND: Leukocyte telomere shortening can serve as a biomarker of aging, as telomere length (TL) can decline with age and shortening is positively associated with morbidity and mortality. It is therefore important to identify psychological and behavioral factors linked to accelerated telomere shortening. Stress and poorer metabolic health (greater adiposity, insulin resistance, and cortisol) correlate with shorter telomeres.

Author(s): 
Kiefer, Amy
Lin, Jue
Blackburn, Elizabeth
Epel, Elissa
Publication Title: 
Psychoneuroendocrinology

BACKGROUND: Telomerase activity is a predictor of long-term cellular viability, which decreases with chronic psychological distress (Epel et al., 2004). Buddhist traditions claim that meditation decreases psychological distress and promotes well-being (e.g., Dalai Lama and Cutler, 2009). Therefore, we investigated the effects of a 3-month meditation retreat on telomerase activity and two major contributors to the experience of stress: Perceived Control (associated with decreased stress) and Neuroticism (associated with increased subjective distress).

Author(s): 
Jacobs, Tonya L.
Epel, Elissa S.
Lin, Jue
Blackburn, Elizabeth H.
Wolkowitz, Owen M.
Bridwell, David A.
Zanesco, Anthony P.
Aichele, Stephen R.
Sahdra, Baljinder K.
MacLean, Katherine A.
King, Brandon G.
Shaver, Phillip R.
Rosenberg, Erika L.
Ferrer, Emilio
Wallace, B. Alan
Saron, Clifford D.
Publication Title: 
Psychoneuroendocrinology

BACKGROUND: Telomerase activity is a predictor of long-term cellular viability, which decreases with chronic psychological distress (Epel et al., 2004). Buddhist traditions claim that meditation decreases psychological distress and promotes well-being (e.g., Dalai Lama and Cutler, 2009). Therefore, we investigated the effects of a 3-month meditation retreat on telomerase activity and two major contributors to the experience of stress: Perceived Control (associated with decreased stress) and Neuroticism (associated with increased subjective distress).

Author(s): 
Jacobs, Tonya L.
Epel, Elissa S.
Lin, Jue
Blackburn, Elizabeth H.
Wolkowitz, Owen M.
Bridwell, David A.
Zanesco, Anthony P.
Aichele, Stephen R.
Sahdra, Baljinder K.
MacLean, Katherine A.
King, Brandon G.
Shaver, Phillip R.
Rosenberg, Erika L.
Ferrer, Emilio
Wallace, B. Alan
Saron, Clifford D.
Publication Title: 
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Understanding the malleable determinants of cellular aging is critical to understanding human longevity. Telomeres may provide a pathway for exploring this question. Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes. The length of telomeres offers insight into mitotic cell and possibly organismal longevity. Telomere length has now been linked to chronic stress exposure and depression. This raises the question of mechanism: How might cellular aging be modulated by psychological functioning?

Author(s): 
Epel, Elissa
Daubenmier, Jennifer
Moskowitz, Judith Tedlie
Folkman, Susan
Blackburn, Elizabeth
Publication Title: 
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Understanding the malleable determinants of cellular aging is critical to understanding human longevity. Telomeres may provide a pathway for exploring this question. Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes. The length of telomeres offers insight into mitotic cell and possibly organismal longevity. Telomere length has now been linked to chronic stress exposure and depression. This raises the question of mechanism: How might cellular aging be modulated by psychological functioning?

Author(s): 
Epel, Elissa
Daubenmier, Jennifer
Moskowitz, Judith Tedlie
Folkman, Susan
Blackburn, Elizabeth
Publication Title: 
Psychoneuroendocrinology

BACKGROUND: Telomerase activity is a predictor of long-term cellular viability, which decreases with chronic psychological distress (Epel et al., 2004). Buddhist traditions claim that meditation decreases psychological distress and promotes well-being (e.g., Dalai Lama and Cutler, 2009). Therefore, we investigated the effects of a 3-month meditation retreat on telomerase activity and two major contributors to the experience of stress: Perceived Control (associated with decreased stress) and Neuroticism (associated with increased subjective distress).

Author(s): 
Jacobs, Tonya L.
Epel, Elissa S.
Lin, Jue
Blackburn, Elizabeth H.
Wolkowitz, Owen M.
Bridwell, David A.
Zanesco, Anthony P.
Aichele, Stephen R.
Sahdra, Baljinder K.
MacLean, Katherine A.
King, Brandon G.
Shaver, Phillip R.
Rosenberg, Erika L.
Ferrer, Emilio
Wallace, B. Alan
Saron, Clifford D.
Publication Title: 
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Understanding the malleable determinants of cellular aging is critical to understanding human longevity. Telomeres may provide a pathway for exploring this question. Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes. The length of telomeres offers insight into mitotic cell and possibly organismal longevity. Telomere length has now been linked to chronic stress exposure and depression. This raises the question of mechanism: How might cellular aging be modulated by psychological functioning?

Author(s): 
Epel, Elissa
Daubenmier, Jennifer
Moskowitz, Judith Tedlie
Folkman, Susan
Blackburn, Elizabeth
Publication Title: 
Psychoneuroendocrinology

BACKGROUND: Psychological distress and metabolic dysregulation are associated with markers of accelerated cellular aging, including reduced telomerase activity and shortened telomere length. We examined whether participation in a mindfulness-based intervention, and, secondarily, improvements in psychological distress, eating behavior, and metabolic factors are associated with increases in telomerase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).

Author(s): 
Daubenmier, Jennifer
Lin, Jue
Blackburn, Elizabeth
Hecht, Frederick M.
Kristeller, Jean
Maninger, Nicole
Kuwata, Margaret
Bacchetti, Peter
Havel, Peter J.
Epel, Elissa
Publication Title: 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry

Inhibition of the up-regulated telomerase activity in cancer cells has previously been shown to slow cell growth but only after prior telomere shortening. Previously, we have reported that, unexpectedly, a hairpin short interfering RNA specifically targeting human telomerase RNA rapidly inhibits the growth of human cancer cells independently of p53 or telomere length and without bulk telomere shortening (Li, S., Rosenberg, J. E., Donjacour, A. A., Botchkina, I. L., Hom, Y. K., Cunha, G. R., and Blackburn, E. H. (2004) Cancer Res. 64, 4833-4840).

Author(s): 
Li, Shang
Crothers, Julia
Haqq, Christopher M.
Blackburn, Elizabeth H.
Publication Title: 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is a predictor of age-related disease onset and mortality. The association in adults of psychosocial stress or stress biomarkers with LTL suggests telomere biology may represent a possible underlying mechanism linking stress and health outcomes. It is, however, unknown whether stress exposure in intrauterine life can produce variations in LTL, thereby potentially setting up a long-term trajectory for disease susceptibility.

Author(s): 
Entringer, Sonja
Epel, Elissa S.
Kumsta, Robert
Lin, Jue
Hellhammer, Dirk H.
Blackburn, Elizabeth H.
W¸st, Stefan
Wadhwa, Pathik D.

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