Family Instability is associated with poor telomere health in African-American families

Ed Park, MD #TheatricalThursdays Leave a Comment

For today’s #TheatricalThursday, let’s talk about the granddaddy of all African-American epic dramas, ROOTS.



With 37 Emmy nominations and the third nighest Nielson rating of a finale (after M.A.S.H. and Dallas).  That was a story about family instability, violence, courage, and the family history of our nation.  Anyone who watched it would probably conclude that it was stressful to be a slave (or a slave owner) and that was not a great health situation for anyone.  A recent study suggests that family instability and violence affects telomeres in a study of families in New Orleans.  If you know how fundamental telomeres are to health and wellness as well as disease and illness, then this shouldn’t come as any surprise.


Tulane telomere study

A study from Tulane (from a $2.4 Million dollar grant) suggests that family instability and violence is associated with shorter telomeres.

As I mentioned in my blog, this is akin to proving that Ginsu knives can cut all kinds of things. Here is a similar study in African-American boys.

The good new is that we have a firm grasp of the obvious.  The bad news is that the state-of-the-art for telomere research will be studies like this for the next $2 Billion dollars and twenty years while Nero fiddles away at our telomeres.


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