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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Daily Dose

Can healthy lifestyle changes reverse cell aging?

How motivated would you be to forgo cheesecake, practice relaxation techniques, and hit the gym if you knew that altering your lifestyle could not only slow, but actually reverse the aging of your cells? For the first time, researchers have produced preliminary evidence that this could be the case.

In a small study involving 35 men in their 50s and 60s, researchers at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and the University of California, San Francisco found that the 10 participants who adopted several healthful lifestyle changes for five years experienced a 10 percent lengthening of their cell’s telomeres, indicating that the cells would have a longer lifespan. Telomeres are the protective ends of chromosomes that protect against DNA damage — analogous to how plastic tips on the end of shoelaces keep them from unraveling.

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