It would be a beauty and youth-seeker’s dream come true: Weight loss surgery not only getting rid of excess pounds, but perhaps making you younger in the process. This was the preliminary result of research released by Stanford University. The belief centers on the lengthening of telomeres. Telomeres exist at the ends of DNA strands and protect them from being destroyed. Over the course of our lives, these telomeres shorten. The aging of the human body overtime has been seen as the main cause.
For half of those who submitted to research, a year later finds that their telomeres have lengthened significantly. This highly irregular development suggests for the very first time that it is possible to influence the body’s aging process through surgery.
But aging isn’t the only positive benefit that could be noted. Dr. Jaime Ponce, the former president of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, told Aljazeera that it’s very possible for depression levels to be impacted. He adds that a follow-up has shown that even four years after major weight loss procedures, many patients have more positive scores regarding depression levels than they did prior to their surgeries. As it turns out, telomeres are also linked to depression.
Patients with high cholesterol and inflammation prior to weight loss surgery saw major improvements over time. Again, telomere levels were affected. It’s enough to suggest broad benefits, but nothing directly linked to a visible reverse in aging.
Which is why skeptics say it’s too early to draw any major conclusions. There are too many factors that could cause telomeres to change. And before ushering obese patients into weight loss procedures, it’s good to remember there are major risks. These risks, which include infections, blood clots, and possible heart attacks, often cause many to forego weight loss surgery altogether.
Researchers hope to develop safer and less controversial alternatives to the invasive surgical procedures which could deliver the same results as observed in the studies.
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