TODAY   |  September 24, 2013

Study: Healthy lifestyle can reverse cell aging

Dr. Roshini Raj and Dr. Adam Ofer share some of the biggest news in the medical world this week, including a study that shows men with healthy lifestyles had longer telomeres, a cap on DNA that is shortened over your lifespan.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it is just about impossible to keep up with all the health studies that come at you every week so we're doing it for you. there's new research on the reversal of aging and getting rid of your fears while you sleep.

>> that sounds too good to be true but here with the round up is assistant professor of medicine and the director of gynecology at norwalk hospital . we talked about good news in the fight against the flu. what are we talking about?

>> every year we tell our patients get the flu shot but it's not 100% effective and it only protects you against three or four strains of the flu. so now there's a study looking at an approach in creating a flu vaccine that makes people create more of their t-cells that will fight all types of viruss and it maybe a more broader flu vaccine . it may lead to a more universal flu shot .

>> extremely promising but in the meantime get the flu vaccine . get the ones out there. every year you need to get another one. last year's doesn't cover you this year. the young, the old, pregnant patients, get your flu vaccine . this is the time to do it.

>> by next season we get the universal flu vaccine or down the road?

>> a couple of years.

>> this next one is exciting. healthy life style can lead to the reversal of cell aging, what does that mean?

>> i love this. he's really the grandfather of life style intervention, effecting disease or preventing disease and now his group at ucla looked at a group of men. it was about 30 men with prostate cancer . strict vegetarian diet, meditation and yoga which i love and exercise and he did find that actually their chromosomes, if you think about the plastic caps on the ends of shoe laces, this is what protects them from damage, those were lengthened and we think that can help prevent cancer down the road, aging in general. pretty remarkable stuff.

>> we know that these little caps at the end of the dna shorten overtime. so the youth have really long ones and as you get older and age more you get shorter ones. that has to do with aging. things that are bad for you shorten them. this shows us that behaving properly can increase the length of them. but be careful because we're going to get the audience googling now and there's like a thousand out there claiming to lengthen them. this is early stuff. so yes associated with youth and vitality and also associated with cancer cells so be careful what you put in your system. it's not available for mainstream. incredible new study but forget them for now. just eat healthy and exercise and medication.

>> i just came back from a health and wellness conference in colorado and one was to test them based on saliva.

>> na there's nothing you can do to change it but we are learning now you can.

>> i love the sound of this. doctors can get rid of certain fears while you sleep. how does this work?

>> okay. so it was a small study again.

>> yeah.

>> but they actually took some subjects and they made them afraid of certain things. they exposed them to electron shocks associated with a certain odor and when they were sleeping they had them exposed to the odor. when they woke up those exposed during sleep were no longer afraid of the odor or shock. our brain is processing information in interesting ways and we may be able to use that time to overcome phobias, a fear of crowds or flying. we always say we have enough hours in the day, maybe we use the sleep hours.

>> how would this work as a practical matter.

>> i have no idea.

>> i was like what's the practical aspect. they're giving electrical shocks to people and then in their sleep. it's fascinating because you can effect things in your sleep. this is the beginning. god knows what's happening to my wife listening to my snoring all night long. but, there are 40 million people in the united states that has anxiety disorders and if we can find a way to effect that without using medications, maybe odors or sounds or things in our sleep. it will be fantastic. early though.

>> we'll call you skeptical on