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Aging Well? A New Test Can Tell What Might Need Improvement

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – Could a new DNA test redefine the conventional understanding of aging by measuring cellular age? According to a recent article in Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry(MD+DI), the answer is yes. Conventional health markers—like blood pressure, respiratory rates and cholesterol levels—give patients a better understanding of how their bodies are responding to the aging process. Now a Silicon Valley company named Telomere Diagnosticshas identified what might be another important measure.

That measure is the length of telomeres, a unique DNA sequence that forms at the end of chromosomes. These telomeres begin to shorten as people age, and scientists have found that other factors like stress, lack of sleep, smoking and a poor diet can make them shorten faster—meaning that telomeres can indicate just how well the body is aging at a cellular level, reports MD+DI. At the same time, positive lifestyle changes can lengthen telomeres.

“Our new technology, known as TeloYears, is a simple test performed at our company’s CLIA-certified lab,” says Jason Shelton, Chief Executive Officer of Telomere Diagnostics.

The TeloYears evaluation begins when a test-taker mails his or her blood sample—collected via a custom kit produced by the company—to Telomere Diagnostics’ laboratory in Silicon Valley, California. There, the telomeres in the white blood cells are analyzed. Specifically, the relative average telomere length in the white blood cells is measured using a proprietary variant of quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, which has been spotlighted in the Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine. The evaluation conducted by the laboratory is summarized in a report, mailed to the test-taker, that displays the average telomere length and how it compares (as a percentile) to others of their same age and gender.

“In the not-too-distant future, we hope that as a doctor orders a cholesterol test for HDL and LDL, they will also consider testing for ATL (average telomere length),” Shelton adds. “For more than two decades, telomere length has been well established in clinical literature as an important biomarker of overall health. Now we are making ATL testing broadly available to those who take a preventative and personalized approach to their health by tracking their health and fitness—and then receiving to take action.”

As the company moves forward with the technology, its goal is to become the world’s leader in telomere length measurement, reports MD+DI, and eventually make telomere measurement as standard as a cholesterol test in a physician’s office.

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