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Mindfulness and Meditation May Promote Longevity

Woman Practicing Mindfulness Meditation

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In addition to reducing stress and improving general health, mindfulness and meditation techniques have been linked to longevity, as marked by longer telomere length, a biomarker of human aging. In a new research paper in Scientific Reports, Spanish researchers at the Navarra Institute for Health Research, in Pamplona, reported that aging, which typically shortens telomere length, showed no association with that marker in a group of long-term meditators. They theorized that long-term meditation could be related to epigenetic mechanisms, in particular, gene-specific DNA methylation changes at distinct sub-telomeric regions. Lead author Maite Mendioroz, M.D., Ph.D., suggests that yoga practice and meditation are related to longer telomere length in blood cells, writing, “Leukocyte telomere shortening has been associated with several age-related conditions such as cardiovascular events, including stroke, myocardial infarction and cognitive performance.”
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