Friday, November 05, 2010
Could meditation help preserve your DNA?
A new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis and the University of California, San Francisco has provided more evidence of the links between meditation, psychological wellbeing and health by measuring the levels of an enzyme called telomerase. The researchers studied 60 people comparing 30 who received meditation training with 30 from similar backgrounds who acted as a control group. Telomerase helps to repair telomeres which are sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes; they function a bit like the bits of plastic at the end of shoelaces helping to stop the chromosomes wearing out. The researchers compared the levels of telomerase in the white blood cells of the meditating and non-meditating participants and found that telomerase activity was about a third higher in the white blood cells of the meditating group. The meditating participants had a greater sense of purpose in life and more mindfulness this led them to feel a greater sense of control over their life and surroundings and less neuroticism which in turn led to the increase in telomerase activity.