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Telomeres - July 22, 2011
Written by Jay Fares   
Sunday, 24 July 2011 11:34

Telomeres - July 22, 2011

Having been brought up in Lebanon for the first 21 years of my life, my education focus has always been on learning and understanding Western Culture. At university studying the classics was a requirement for the first two years of my undergraduate study. Now that I am 57, I realize this education /indoctrination/ has shielded me from understanding my own Arab Culture and to a greater extent Asian Cultures such as the Japanese and Indochinese. Now that I am directing my focus towards the East to bring some balance into my life - I find the Chinese culture quite fascinating and most challenging to understand. When I ride the work bus with Chinese co-workers I often hear them chatting and laughing, yet I can't find any Chinese jokes on the INTERNET. Do the Chinese have any Jokes? If anyone knows, please tell me. When I look at a Western painting, for example, I can clearly understand what the artist is expressing no matter how abstract of a subject. On the other hand, Chinese paintings with their surficial simplicity offer a challenge to me. Sure, I appreciate the simplicity of colors and the beauty of nature they express, but how about the stories they tell? They all seem to portray similar subjects. An old man sitting down with a fishing rod. A boy pointing at a red bird (bat) in the sky.

Recently, I did some studying and I learned that the objects portrayed in Chinese paintings offer a great deal of symbolism.

"The scene of the boy pointing to the red bat in the sky"

The bat is one of the top symbols for good luck in China. The word "bat" in the Chinese language sounds identical to the word for "Good Fortune." Often five bats are shown together to represent the Five Blessings; a long life, riches, health, love of virtue, and a natural death. The color red expresses double fortune.

"The scene of the old man fishing"

The word Fish in Chinese sounds like the word for "Abundance and Affluence" so the fish symbolizes wealth. Fish shown with a lotus blossom symbolize "Year after Year may you live in Affluence".

As you can ascertain from the preceding, studying any subject no matter how trivial it might seem, offers us better understanding of the subject itself and also opens for us new realms of knowledge and understanding.

This has been the case for me this week after I attended a presentation on Exercise and Fitness and learned about “Telomeres”.

Telomeres are “caps” at the ends of every cell’s DNA. They act like the plastic fittings on the ends of your shoelaces, and keep your DNA strands from fraying. For the cell, having a long telomere can be compared to having a full tank of gas in your automobile; having a short telomere is like running on empty. Each time a cell divides, its telomeres become a little shorter until the cells simply can no longer divide (e.g., it runs out of fuel).

The longer the telomeres the more youthful you are.

Recent study of 2,401 twins in England found that physical activity was related to telomere length. Moderate levels of activity created much longer telomeres than either zero exercise or too much exercise.

Exercising Keeps Your Cells Young

Note: I ran the regular Friday Morning Run and took it easy because my stomach was hurting. Time 1:10. I went to the barber after that, then took a nap before writing this.

Happy Running!


Last Updated on Sunday, 24 July 2011 11:36
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