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Colds too often? Chromosomes responsible

Los Angeles, Feb 20: Chromosome structures may help predict one’s ability to resist cold, says an American study.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have identified a biological marker in the immune system that, beginning at about age 22, predicts our ability to fight off the common cold.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and led by Carnegie Mellon’s Sheldon Cohen, the study found that the length of telomeres — protective cap-like protein complexes at the ends of chromosomes — predicts resistance to upper respiratory infections in young and midlife adults.

Having shorter telomeres is associated with early onset of aging related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and with mortality in older adults, reports Science Daily.

"Our work suggests the possibility that telomere length is a relatively consistent marker across the life span and that it can start predicting disease susceptibility in young adulthood," said Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.


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