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The Telomere Effect: The New Science of Living Younger

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  3,671 ratings  ·  428 reviews
Groundbreaking book by the Nobel Prize Winner who discovered telomeres, telomerase, and their role in the aging process, and the psychologist who researched specific lifestyle habits to protect them and slow down disease and lengthen life.
Have you wondered why some 60-year-olds look and feel like 40-year-olds and why some 40-year-olds look and feel like 60-year-olds? While
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Grand Central Publishing
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Frank Livaudais
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it
"Groundbreaking book" is going a little far. It was an interesting book that added basically no new information to the pantheon.

If you don't have time to read this book, here is the TLDR:
Don’t be a caregiver
Be White
Don’t be poor
Exercise at least 3x a week
Eat Fruits/Veggies
Don’t Smoke
Be thin (at least don’t have belly fat)
Don't eat so much sugar.

That’s the whole book. #yourewelcome. If you haven't read any diet or health books in the last decade you might learn something but if you already know y
Always Pouting
Honestly what the hell man, I thought I was picking up a book by a Nobel Laureate about their biology research but instead what I got was a book written by some health psychologist pushing the latest advice on being healthy that I'd already heard. I feel like yeah maybe I should have anticipated it somewhat from the title and branding but it also feels disingenuous to it say it's by the Nobel prize winning biologist. Or even to list that biologist first when listing the authors.

I also feel like
The new field of telomere research is fascinating. Telomeres obviously have a big effect on our lives and on our aging. Elizabeth Blackburn is a co-discoverer of telomerase, an enzyme that helps to replenish telomeres. For this discovery, she won the Nobel Prize in physiology. She well deserves that prize.

I generally enjoy reading science books when the author is a researcher in the field. And, since Elizabeth Blackburn is a leading scientist in the field of telomeres, I thought this would be a
Rachel Stansel
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I have to start by saying my PhD research was in this field. I was SO excited to read Dr Blackburn's book since I have been out of the field for a decade. As a scientist, I found it much like reading a very long review. I found myself wondering if in trying too hard to make it accessible, it just got very dry. This is an interesting field and the research has the potential or creating new treatments for a wide variety of problems. Even as someone who knows the science well and is interested in t ...more
Caidyn (he/him/his)
Free ARC given through Netgalley for an honest review.

When I saw this book on Netgalley, I immediately got interested because of one word: Telomeres. Now, I went into this with a basic understanding of telomeres. They're nonsense code at the end of your chromosome, a cap to protect your cell during mitosis/meiosis. And they can wear down, which isn't a good thing. I learned that in my general biology course that I took a year ago. We spent, maybe, ten minutes on the topic, then moved on. I can't
Apr 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Breaking news: exercise is useful in the fight against aging. And here, from a Nobel prize winning scientist is the science to back it up. And by the way: drink clean water, eat organic fruits and vegetables; stay away from processed foods; develop a loving close-knit social network. All of these things will improve your telomeres which are those little things at the end of your DNA strands that look like the plastic piece at the end of your shoelaces which keep your shoelaces from unraveling.
Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)
Have you ever wondered why some sixty-year-olds look and feel like forty-year-olds, and why some forty-year-olds look and feel like sixty-years-olds? More importantly - can you choose which outcome will happen to you? Written by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and health psychologist Dr Elissa Epel, THE TELOMERE EFFECT reveals the ground-breaking science at the heart of ageing and what you can do to help reverse it.

I guess the first question is 'What is The Telomere Effect anyway?'. W
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This is a fascinating look at why all those things you know are good for you actually are good for you: A healthy diet, positive attitude, exercise, good stress management, rewarding friendships and life goals. It is no surprise to see these things recommended but I never knew the exact mechanism by which these elements help us live long and healthy lives. We all know we should avoid stress, isolation, processed foods, smoking and pesticides, and a sedentary lifestyle. This book beaks it down to ...more
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
While I found the science behind the telomere discovery quite fascinating, this book didn't work for me for a couple of reasons. First, I didn't like the narration. It felt like I was sitting through a first grade class. Second, the title was misleading. It read more like a self-help book. So much so, I thought this book was going to cover how to hold the fork and chew 2o my total dismay, it got so close to that. I didn't appreciate this. I wish this covered the science and left all t ...more
Karel Baloun
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health
Many anti-aging, healthy living books share the same general advice: eat well, exercise, do less dumb harmful stuff. This book specifies the advice with written exercises and habit forming activities, and chooses its advice specifically from telemere verified research.

Blackmore received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009 for her research into telomeres, and into telomerase on slowing aging. This comprehensive review of telomere research shows (along with articles in Sciences and leading journal
May 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Telomeres are one of the more fascinating things from research into DNA - repetitive sequences of base pairs at the end of each chromosome, because each time they are copies, chromosomes are shortened. This book, written by one of the original scientists involved, unfortunately focuses more on self help than science.

Telomeres start out long in children and get shorter as we age. As they get shorter, we are also more susceptible to disease - our protecting cells work less efficiently as they age.
I'm surprised by some of the negative reviews here.

I will admit that the book is repetitive at times, and it does seem as if the impact of stress on telomere length gets more air time than it deserves, but I chalked this up to one of the two authors having a specialty in the field of psychology.

I also can understand why the conclusions are described by some reviewers as anticlimactic. Once again, we're being told to exercise, eat whole foods, get adequate sleep and destress. Ah, duh.

But, I thin
Darya Rose
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Was expecting a lot of science and little practical application, but The Telomere Effect offers some of the most practical and realistic ways to slow aging I've found in a single book. ...more
Lily Nesbitt
Very interesting, a bit too self-help for my liking but it made the science very accessible which I loved.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Telomere Effect was written by Elizabeth Blackburn, who won the Nobel Prize in 2009 for decoding the telomere, and her UC San Francisco colleague Elissa Epel, a health psychologist. The collaboration is an incredibly fruitful one, bringing very complementary perspectives to figuring out how to make practical use of what we know about telomeres.

Telomeres are the structures at the ends of DNA that protect the DNA during cell division, like the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces. With age an
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though a lot of the stuff covered in this book is already common knowledge, I still gained some valuable insights. Such as, I always thought I was just the normal amount of jaded and cynical of people from living in cities and driving in traffic, but it turns out that my knee-jerk reaction to many stressors tends to be in the pessimist range. I don't neccessarily assume that people are out to pull one over on me, but I do have fleeting thoughts about people being careless, oblivious, even g ...more
Jay Dwight
A subject I'd never heard anything about. Whilst a lot of the messages seem common sense, the scientific background into the why, I found very interesting. Written so easily digested by the layman, but plenty of references and notes if you want to delve deeper into the research. ...more
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Telomeres: you know those plastic aglets on the ends of your shoelaces that keep them from fraying. Well, telomeres are the aglets of your chromosomes, keeping the genetic material from unraveling.

Telomeres shorten over time naturally. A baby has about 10,000 basepairs. A 65-year-old has about 4,800 basepairs on average. When telomeres become too short, the chromosome cells stop dividing altogether; they no longer renew themselves, and the person ages and dies.

Lots of things can affect telomere
Mike S
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is about telomeres and how they affect health and longevity.

If you aren't very scientifically inclined, and want a brief, simplistic explanation of what telomeres are, along with a mostly self-help book about how to improve your quality of life, this book is for you.

If you like to read science articles, this book is definitely not for you, you'd be much better off reading online content. At most, find this book in a bookstore or library and browse the first section, you'll be done in
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended to improve our quality of life!

This unique book puts invaluable information on the latest discoveries of telomeres biology about aging and the importance they have in protecting the DNA for optimal cellular functioning, all explained in a way accessible to the public. It provides scientific information in practical and simple terms that empower the public in decision making to optimize their health, longevity and quality of life. The most valuable part of the book is that the
Neil Crossan
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Neil by: SF Book Club
This entire book can be summed up in one sentence on page 265:

“But when you practice naturally healthy habits such as stress management, exercise, good nutrition, and good sleep, your telomerase efficiency increases slowly, steadily, and over time.”

That’s it. All right there. There is nothing ‘revolutionary’ in this book. Do cardio and sleep 7 hours a night? Ok thanks. There is soooo much repetition in this book. So many times they mention mindfulness, it’s like they have money in it. The same c
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you care about the how you look and feel as you age, you need to know about telomeres. The significant scientific evidence shows we have more control over our aging process than we might think. I was excited about this Nobel Prize news in 2009 and shared it enthusiastically with my yoga students then. This book is very accessible for the lay person and for anyone interested in the science backed up by thousands of studies that inform their recommendations. A few reviewers felt the book was, " ...more
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever met someone who didn't look their age (either for good or bad)? That's the telomere effect.

This clearly written and engaging book is about the science behind the mind-body connection. Many of us have known instinctively that attitude, disposition and lifestyle can have an effect on health and aging but Nobel Prize-winning Doctor Elizabeth Blackburn has discovered the biological basis for that mechanism. Telomerase is the enzyme that replenishes telomeres and this protects our DNA.
First quarter is all you need if you don't know what telomere is. Rest is just plain old wellbeing advices you already know or heard of.

- Mindfulness meditation
- Healthy eating
- Cardio exercises
- Good sleep
- Less stress
Giuseppe D
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
meh, I expected more telomere science, while most of what I got was just advice that we already know about, don't stress, have a healthy sleep routine, exercise, follow a balanced diet etc. ...more
~☆~Autumn♥♥☔ Wells
Not an interesting writing style so avoid this one.
Shannon Poynot
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the areas of Biology that I love to learn more about is genetics (all things DNA, the passing of traits from parent to offspring, how we are who we are, etc.) and The Telomere Effect fits perfectly into this category. I teach Biology, so I already have some background knowledge when it comes to Telomeres, but you don't have to know about it to read and enjoy this book. It is written by a biologist and a psychologist in such a way that anyone could pick it up and understand exactly what th ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it
This book provides an interesting look at the science of how we can improve our health at the cellular level. More and better exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress reduction are hardly groundbreaking news on the health front. So the science is interesting and the suggestions at the end of each chapter on how to implement healthful changes in your lifestyle may be useful, but we've heard the rest before. ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have to admit - midway through this book I started skim reading it. Not because the information wasn't good, but it was all stuff I've read before. The basics are the basics are the basics: in order to give ourselves the best chance to live long and healthy we should eat a diet of nutritious whole foods, avoid processed foods, avoid sugar, exercise regularly, limit our exposure to stress when possible, manage stress when it's not possible to limit our exposure to stress, nurture our close rela ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, science
The author made the book boring by making it too accessible and not deep enough into the science of telomeres. Then she broadened it into a general self help kinda book which had info I'd heard a million times in other books.

The only interesting takeaway: telomerase can lengthen telomeres, but it can also shorten them!
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Elizabeth Blackburn is an Australian-American Nobel laureate who is the former President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Previously she was a biological researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who studied the telomere, a structure at the end of chromosomes that protects the chromosome. In 1984, Blackburn co-discovered telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes the tel ...more

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