Too much alcohol, too short chromosomes?

The telomere It is that part of our chromosomes at the end of which prevents it from degenerating: for this reason it is often compared to the piece of plastic at the end of a shoelace. Decreased telomere length has long been associated with aging: and for the same reasonVarious studies – but this is still the subject of much debate – have linked shorter or very short telomeres with a higher risk. cancerFromAlzheimer’s disease or cardiovascular disease.

However, in Search Published in July in the magazine Molecular PsychiatryBritish and American researchers write that there could be a limit to alcohol consumption over which the effect can be felt along telomere length. This threshold would be 17 drinks per week.

These researchers are back in the UK Biomedical Database –UK Biobankwhich collects genetic and health data for half a million people – Records are analyzed 245,000 participants ranged from 40 to 69 years old. As for the level of alcohol consumption, they had to do what these participants themselves had stated in the questionnaire. But the medical record also showed those who had been diagnosed with an alcohol-related disorder. It is the latter that proves to be more at risk of having shorter telomeres.

We can’t confirm The researchers say it’s a causal relationship, because groups that drink a lot of alcohol may also include more people with other poor lifestyle habits. The researchers also found an association between shorter telomeres and people who had a genetic variant observed in the past. commitment to Increased alcohol consumption. But this association has the same limits, and alcoholism is rarely alone in a person.

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However, the link promises to attract the attention of medical authorities, considering the important role that telomeres seem to play in life expectancy…

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