Open in the App Open in the App Open in the App
Get the key ideas from

The Telomere Effect

A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer

By Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel
15-minute read
Audio available
The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel

The Telomere Effect (2017) explains why some people look and feel younger than others. These blinks walk you through the science of telomeres, which are at the cellular root of the aging process. You’ll learn how it’s possible to do right by your telomeres and live a longer life.

  • Anyone who wants to look and feel younger as they age.
  • Health buffs looking for new tips.
  • Couples thinking about having children or those who have just had one.

Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 with two colleagues after uncovering the molecular nature of telomeres. She is now president of the Salk Institute and a professor emeritus at University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Elissa Epel, PhD, is a leading health psychologist who studies stress, aging and obesity. She is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from

The Telomere Effect

A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer

By Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel
Synopsis

The Telomere Effect (2017) explains why some people look and feel younger than others. These blinks walk you through the science of telomeres, which are at the cellular root of the aging process. You’ll learn how it’s possible to do right by your telomeres and live a longer life.

Key idea 1 of 9

The pace of aging depends on a specific cellular structure.

Lots of people fear getting older, but is this just a product of the youth culture we live in or a valid fear of aging’s effects on the body?

For many people, it’s probably the latter. A quick overview of the process of aging shows why it’s justified.

The cells that compose our bodies have to regenerate regularly to keep us healthy. Some cells, however, can only be renewed a limited number of times. These are known as senescent cells. When they’re damaged, they send out inflammatory signals to other cells and body parts, damaging healthy structures, causing aging and making the body function poorly.

This dynamic can be likened to a barrel of apples: just one piece of rotten fruit can affect all its healthy neighbors.

That being said, how old a person looks and feels is also determined by the length of the telomeres in her cells. Telomeres are compound structures attached to the ends of chromosomes that help protect the cell. They get shorter every time a cell divides.

This is especially problematic when it comes to stem cells, which have the potential to become all manner of different specialized cells in the body. They can divide continuously throughout a person’s life. In adults, they can be found in many different tissues and play a vital role in repairing the body by replacing damaged cells. Stem cells thus keep people feeling healthier and looking younger. However, if the telomeres of these cells shorten, they go into early retirement, meaning they can’t replace unhealthy cells as necessary.

Because of this, shortened or damaged telomeres affect how old a person looks. For instance, damage to the telomeres in skin cells due to UV exposure from the sun or through genetic mutations, can cause hair to gray prematurely. Ultraviolet radiation can even damage the stem cells in a hair follicle itself, thereby killing melanocytes, which add pigment to the follicle.

In general, people with shorter telomeres in their cells are sicker and weaker. Now that we’ve learned what telomeres are, it’s time to learn precisely how they work.

Key ideas in this title

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.