Mindfulness meditation: Key to a longer, stress-free life?

Oliver Ubeda, Synapse: During my first year of pharmacy school, I attended an alternative medicine Saturday elective where Dr. Dean Ornish spoke about the benefits of meditation and the effect it has on lengthening our chromosomal telomeres.

Telomeres are portions of repetitive DNA at the ends of our chromosomes that protect our chromosomes from deteriorating.

Meditation was the focus of research at UC Davis and UCSF by Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, and others as part of the Shamatha project.

The 2011 study found that meditation increased activity of telomerase — enzymes that can rebuild and lengthen our chromosomal telomeres…

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