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The Function of Telomeres in Obesity - Term Paper Example

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A paper "The Function of Telomeres in Obesity" reviews a recent study on the association between telomere shortening and childhood obesity, and shall discuss earlier works that laid the ground for subsequent studies, back to the pioneering study that first laid the ground for research on telomeres…
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The Function of Telomeres in Obesity
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"The Function of Telomeres in Obesity"

Download file to see previous pages The investigators carried out a case-control study involving 793 children, obese (above the 97th percentile for weight) and non-overweight (below the 90th percentile for weight). Their peripheral blood samples were taken and leukocyte DNA extracted, from which measurements of telomere lengthening was done using PCR. Statistical analysis showed that mean leukocyte telomere length in the obese group was significantly lower than in the non-overweight group, equating to about a 24% decrease. No statistical differences were found across gender, age, blood pressure or total cholesterol levels, however, telomere length was inversely related to height and weight. The investigators concluded that telomeres of obese children are significantly shorter than those of non-obese children of comparable age, and therefore obese children have a biological age that is significantly higher than their actual chronological age – an alarming conclusion which stresses the importance of reducing obesity in order to reduce the risk of future diseases. Buxton et al (2011) cited a number of published articles. More than one of the cited papers demonstrated how obesity in various ways – by a waist-hip ratio in women, for example - was linked to shorter telomere length. Among the references, the paper that was most critical to the study objectives of Buxton et al (2011) was the study by Farzaneh-Far et al (2010). This is because it was the largest, most robust, and most popular study, with the highest standards of research methodology....
Buxton et al (2011) cited a number of published articles. More than one of the cited papers demonstrated how obesity in various ways – by waist-hip ratio in women, for example - was linked to shorter telomere length. Among the references, the paper that was most critical to the study objectives of Buxton et al (2011) was the study by Farzaneh-Far et al (2010). This is because it was the largest, most robust, and most popular study, with the highest standards of research methodology. This was a prospective cohort study, the most reliable study design, involving 608 participants over 5 years. Participants were patients with cardiovascular disease. The investigators found that over 5 years, 45% of these patients developed telomere shortening, 32% maintained the same telomere length, and 23% lengthened telomeres. Independent predictors of telomere shortening in cardiovascular disease patients included older age, male sex, and abdominal obesity (higher waist to hip ratio). Study participants with the longest telomeres experienced the greatest amount of shortening, while those with shorter telomeres maintained or increased their length. This suggested that there may be negative feedback regulation of leukocyte telomere length in humans. The shortening of telomeres was postulated to be done by the enzyme telomerase. In contrast with prior cross-sectional studies, the authors found no significant associations between telomere trajectory and blood pressure, insulin resistance, smoking, body mass index, or physical activity. It was recognized that many genetic and environmental stressors may have acted as confounders to influence ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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