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Today Show – Video – How To Live to 100
Transcript of the above video:
Back now at 8:19 with more of our special series, how to live to 100. this morning we’re focusing on the science of longevity. reaching the century mark, is it possible for everyone? here’s nbc’s chief medical editor.
reporter: there are approximately 70,000 centenarians living in the united states today. and some scientists say that the first person who will live to their 150th birthday had already been born. but who are these centenarians going to be and can we increase our chances of becoming one of them?
the signs of aging is becoming really popular because there’s so much more out there as a consumer to take control of their health and manage their aging.
reporter: in 2009 three scientists won the nobel prize for the research on one of the most exciting developments on the aging forefront. telomeres are structures on the chromosomes that shorten as people age. think of them as a plastic tips on a shoestring. people with shorter telomeres are more likely to develop illnesses and die earlier. the science is far from complete but some laboratories have seized this opportunity and are offering tests that measures a person’s telomere length. this laboratory is the only lab in the united states to offer telomere testing. the cost, $200.
it can serve as a wake-all call for some people. it’s a measure on how well you’re ageing on the inside. so for some people it can tell them that maybe they’re aging faster than they expect and maybe they can make some major lifetime changes.
reporter: i decided toby own ginuinea pig and see what my telomere says about me. i hope i slide out of home plate. that’s all i’m asking for. but if our telomeres are short, is there a way to make them longer? this doctor at the albert einstein college of medicine is focusing their research but is hoping hoping catches up.
why is everyone looking at telomere?
people think it can serve as a bio marker for prediction of how long they are going to live. but, like predictions, can be this side or this side.
reporter: he believes their test is for real.
it does not tell you when you’re going to die or how long you have to live. it just tells you how well you’re aging and help you manage that.
reporter: is it safe to say that this is an extraordinarily exciting development in the lab but it is not ready for public use?
yes. we don’t have enough information to make it accurate for prediction.
the future is there?
the future is there.
reporter: with that in mind, i’m ready to get my result. like any good parent, i want one wish, i want to predisepredisease my children, that’s it.
chief medical officer here. let’s hear nancy’s results. good morning.
you don’t know what the results are?
i don’t have a clue.
we’re going to put them up on the monitorexplain, tanya, how nancy did.
nancy is the red box. and the black line is the average telomere length of her age. if you look at her box and you track it over to the green dot, that’s her actual age based on her telomere lengths.
so i’m 70 right now even though i’m 59?
i’ll make you feel better. there’s a variance here, 8% to 10% error when you get older. it’s plus or minus seven years. your range really is 63 to 77, with an average of 70. but your telomeres are shorter than someone your same age.
you are likely to have –
a shorter life expectanexpectancy.
it’s a variable. i could get hit by a bus this afternoon.
but what’s interesting to me, looking at that, is that i’m probably the first in my generation to really be affected by everything environmental. i’m a fast food kid. i grew up around cigarette smoke. you know, i wasn’t perfect in college. i’ve had, you know, some excess alcohol in my past.
but you workout –
but i’m not stupid. every one of those things takes a hit. that to me says you can override your genes and environmental factors. perhaps even though i’ve cleaned up my act since then, i live a pretty good life now, there’s still room for improvement.
there is. your genes are set but how your genes are translated and transcripted you have an affect with your lifestyle choices.
on that point then you talk about what you can do as for nutritional profile tests, take your medication, exercise, decrease body fat, meditate, reduce stress. that last point –
stress is huge. i must tell you, this doesn’t shock me.
it’s sobering to me.
it shocked me, though.
it’s sobering to me. i wish it weren’t what it is. but i can’t tell you that i’m absolutely shocked. i expected it to not get a great result and to tell myself to get my act together.
does that mean — for $200, anyone can have this done? the question is, is it worth it? are you — do you think it was worth it for you to now know this sobering number, nancy?
yes, this to me is a little bit like getting a stress test or angiogram. it’s a component. let’s check back a year later and see if we can make it better.
let’s do that.