Can You Find Out How Long You Will Live?

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Interviewer:  So telomere length can be related to life expectancy, correct?  Is that something you can measure, telomere length? Can you physically measure that?

Dr. Park:  Oh yeah.  There are several companies throughout the world that measure it, but we have to be careful about what we say measure it is.  They draw blood.  They don't do a biopsy of your brain or, you know, check your spermatogonia or anything like that, your sperm cells.  So, just because you are checking the blood cells that doesn't necessarily mean that's what's going on in your liver, if you're a drinker, or your lungs, if you're a smoker.  So you can measure it and I think that will be a bigger part of the armamentarium for doctors as we go forward, but what we need is like a tricord where you can measure them in the organ of interest.  You just wait and say... but yeah, definitely, that technology has been here for a while and I use it in my practice.

Interviewer:  But at the same time you can't look at the telomerase and say you should have about X amount of years left... I mean presumably if you don't get hit by a bus or anything like that, but you can't determine how much life somebody has by those, correct?

Dr. Park:  Yeah.  Yeah, that's correct.  I think two years ago they had a bunch of media around.  They had... If there was a test that told you how long you had to live, would you take it?  It's fun to think of it that way, but that's really not the case.  You know?  If you firecrackers and the fuse is burning, it really matters not whether or not the fuse is half way, three quarters burnt, as long as its not at the bottom, it's long enough.  So, this company out of Spain called life link is actually improving their ability to report.  They've been reporting to us the length of your white blood cells on average, and actually, the percentage of them that are really about ready to go off as firecrackers, and now they're going to report to us, hopefully, a little more of the distribution. Because a lot of the times whenever I give patients a telomerase activator, I mean, their average length will improve, or get worse.  So we just really need a better amount of data to explain why that is.  I have my own theories, but next year early they'll be publishing a study of like 120 people and following them out on the telomerase activator, and we'll have more information exactly how the populations shift as you start to take that medicine... Or not medicine, I mean nutraceutical.  Excuse me.

Dr. Ed Park discusses telomere length and how it is connected to life expectancy. He also discusses current tests that are available to determine telomere length. But that brings up the question, 'can you determine how much time you have left based on telomere length'? Dr. Park discusses this here.

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