Wandering Minds Associated With Aging Cells

The followings are the excerpt from the article “Wandering Minds Associated With Aging Cells”:
Scientific studies have suggested that a wandering mind indicates unhappiness, whereas a mind that is present in the moment indicates well-being. Now a preliminary UCSF study suggests a possible link between mind wandering and aging, by looking at a biological measure of longevity.
In the study, telomere length, an emerging biomarker for cellular and general bodily aging, was assessed in association with the tendency to be present in the moment versus the tendency to mind wander, in research on 239 healthy, midlife women ranging in age from 50 to 65 years.
Being present in the moment was defined as an inclination to be focused on current tasks, while mind wandering was defined as the inclination to have thoughts about things other than the present or being elsewhere.
According to the findings, published online on Nov. 15 in the new Association for Psychological Science journal Clinical Psychological Science, those who reported more mind wandering had shorter telomeres, while those who reported more presence in the moment, or having a greater focus and engagement with their current activities, had longer telomeres, even after adjusting for current stress.
Pioneering Research on Telomeres
Telomeres are the DNA-caps that protect the ends of chromosomes, preventing them from deteriorating or fusing with neighboring chromosomes. Telomeres typically shorten with age and in response to psychological and physiological stressors. In research pioneered at UCSF, scientists have discovered that telomere shortness predicts early disease and mortality.
…Research on telomeres, and the enzyme that makes them, was pioneered by three Americans, including Blackburn, who co-discovered the telomerase enzyme in 1985. The scientists received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this work.
Source: University of California

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