Telomeres - our tiny flugalbinders
In the film "Cocktail", Tom Cruise is sitting next to a river, talking about the cocktail umbrella and how much money goes to the person who invented it. He puts his feet up on the table, and the girl he is chatting to holds his shoe lace and says "How about this?"
Cruise responds "Its a Flugalbinder", referring to the plastic nib on the end of his shoe lace.... "We are surrounded by millionaires!" here is the video
In 2009 Elizabeth H Blackburn received the Nobel Prize for her discovery of Telomeres; they are the flugalbinder's for our chromosomes. Since you started reading this you will have reproduced hunderds of thousands of cells in your body, the new cell should be identical to the one it is replacing, and this is dictated by your chromosomes.
As we age, these Telomeres breakdown so when the cell divides, it becomes less perfect- hence the ageing effect on skin, muscles and everything about us. Even our memory. This can also make the cell susceptible to disease or mutations. If we could find a way of restoring these Telomeres we would, slow down the ageing effect. Elizabeth H Blackburn Published a study on colon cancer patients, where they were only testing for the benefits of exercise. The group who did no exercise showed a 3% reduction in the length of their telomeres where as the group who exercised showed a 3% increase in the length of their telomeres. There is also evidence that socialising and good nutition helps maintain our tiny flugalbinders!