Monthly Archives: February 2018

“The Telomere Effect” – Why Sleep Is so Crucial for Your Telomeres


We all have health spans – the number of years we remain healthy, active and disease-free – and the shortening of our telomeres contributes to ageing and our entry from health span into disease span. But we can [do things that] affect our telomerase and telomeres, that can delay entry from health span to disease span. So we are talking more about keeping people healthier for longer and staving off some diseases of ageing. This is not about extreme life span extension – though of course staying healthier longer does have a reflection in mortality rates.

People who get roughly 7 hours of sleep a night tend to have longer telomeres. People who get five hours or less have much shorter telomeres.

Think about the last time you felt sleep-deprived. Your body probably felt tired and achy, your attention was all over the place, you forgot some important information, or you felt irritable towards those around you. Maybe you spent too much money at Starbucks for an afternoon caffeine boost or ran a stop sign. What you might not have noticed is that poor sleep mucks with your regulation of emotions as well. Sleep deprivation amplifies our emotions (both positive and negative) and makes our stress responses larger—cue an awkward, aggressive rant at the coworker who definitely stole your stapler.

Getting even one night of poor sleep can throw our hormones out of whack. We may develop high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and insulin (the hormone that regulates our blood sugar), and ghrelin (a hormone that makes us hungry). That’s why sleep deprivation is thought to be one of the major highways to obesity.

Getting full sleep restoration on subsequent nights can normalize these changes.

Chronic sleep deprivation affects us on a cellular level. Not surprisingly, your telomeres like being well-rested just as much as you do–people who get roughly 7 or more hours of sleep a night tend to have longer telomeres, especially among the elderly. People who get five hours or less have much shorter telomeres. Hedge your bets and get 7 or more hours of sleep as often as you can.

There are other aspects of disrupted sleep that are also associated with shorter telomeres. Sleep apnea creates oxidative stress, a chemical known to shorten telomeres. It’s thus not surprising that sleep apnea appears to be linked to shorter telomeres. Insomnia and snoring also appear to matter.

Studies have linked longer telomeres with better brainpower, a reduced risk of diseases, and a longer life. And here’s the part relevant to all of us: Getting good sleep quality is related to longer telomeres.

Elizabeth Blackbrun — along with Jack. W. Szostak and Carol W. Greider — was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her help in discovering “how chromosomes are protected by telomeres.”


Electrotherapy and Acupuncture Reduce Opioid Consumption

You know that America is facing a health care crisis of epic proportions, and we’re all starting to realize that everyone plays a role in ending our cultural dependence on opioids.


In 2015, there were 52,000 drug overdose deaths and more than 60% of these were linked to OxyContin, Percocet, fentanyl, heroin, and other opioids.

Today, right now, drug overdoses are killing more Americans than the HIV and AIDS crisis did at its peak; more than car crashes and gun murders combined; it’s one of the biggest reasons why scientists say we’re seeing a decline in overall life expectancy in the U.S.

It’s up to every care provider to start addressing these concerns by not only reducing prescriptions for opioids but also by offering alternative pain management therapies. Everything else should be in your arsenal so that you can protect your patients.

The latest revelation in the opioid crisis comes from doctors reporting that patient satisfaction surveys may cause concern and lead to increased prescriptions for the drugs. Patient surveys ask if they feel the hospital or care setting has done everything it can do to relieve their pain, and many who are in pain (or are seeking drugs) but do not get an opioid will report that they’re not satisfied with their pain management.

Alternative therapy options that avoid prescriptions are not only growing because of safety worries, but also because more and more Americans want to avoid the crisis they see on TV, in their communities, and even in their families.

Electrotherapy (the use of electrical energy to stimulate nerves and muscles) and bioelectronic medicine options are a growing opportunity because they provide relief with virtually no chance of an addiction. Plus, electrotherapy also helps address many of the side effects of opioid abuse and other addictions.

Electrotherapy devices reduce the pain people experience, and for those using opioids this outside pain reduction can help decrease incidents and likelihood of related concerns, including:

  • central hypogonadism
  • cognitive impairment
  • depression
  • fractures and fall-related injuries
  • infections
  • impaired wound-healing
  • risk of secondary addictions
  • sleep disorders, especially breathing concerns

Addressing chronic pain is the best way to give the people you treat relief from a wide range of harms, and can help remove some of the potential for prescription or opioid abuse.

Physicians and patients alike are saying that it works. It helps them feel better, it helps offices enhance their business, and it can start to push America away from the crisis that we face.