Absent dads tied to cellular changes

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Absent dads tied to cellular changes

Postby wolfhnd on May 7th, 2018, 3:06 am 

Absent dads tied to stress-related cellular changes in kids

The loss of a father due to death, divorce or jail is associated with children having shorter caps on the ends of their chromosomes


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-heal ... SKBN1A32CY

I have always been more a biological determinist than most people I know but this article if accurate makes me wonder how much we are missing because biological determinism is so unpopular.
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Re: Absent dads tied to cellular changes

Postby Braininvat on May 8th, 2018, 12:16 pm 

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how absent dads directly contribute to shorter telomeres in kids or cause any specific health problems, the authors note. It’s also possible that a variety of factors not examined in the study, such as mothers’ parenting quality, might influence whether kids develop shorter telomeres after the loss of a father.


I had wondered if the effect might partly arise from nutritional issues. Often, when a family loses a male parent it also loses a wage earner, and a perpetually broke, or near-broke, mom is more likely to only have mac-and-cheese from a box, instead of a four course dinner. Since boys need more protein and calories while growing, a nutritive deficit could affect them more strongly - which fits with the results of this study. Could be a mix of stress hormones, like cortisol, and nutritional deficits, and possibly depression could also further those two factors.
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Re: Absent dads tied to cellular changes

Postby zetreque on May 8th, 2018, 12:21 pm 

The title of this keeps making me think.. Dad's are more absent due to their cellular phone addiction or dads go absent because the children are consumed by cellular phones.
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Re: Absent dads tied to cellular changes

Postby Serpent on May 8th, 2018, 2:11 pm 

Or dads go absent because the only job they can find is in another state or in the army, or they go absent because of a restraining order after abusing those same children and their mother, or the dads died of or been institutionalized for a genetically transmitted illness, or substance abuse, or environmental toxin or some other physical affliction that also affects the children ....
In short, way too many unaccounted variables.

I, too, wish all children had stable extended families to grow up in, but the world we have at present is less than conducive to such an arrangement.
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Re: Absent dads tied to cellular changes

Postby doogles on May 8th, 2018, 5:54 pm 

I'm not into telomeres at the moment, but it occurred to me that the absence of dads was just another of mutitudes of stressors that could cause shortening. There are 'too many variables', as Serpent pointed out. Braininvat and Zetrique also named a couple of possible co-confounders.

I wondered whether telomeres could lengthen again in new cells, and found this in Google. It may contribute to a balanced attitude towards shortened telomeres:-

https://www.quora.com/Is-telomere-shortening-reversible
Brian Farley, Molecular biologist turned biotech data scientist:

Answered Mar 4, 2016

Full disclosure: "I currently work in a lab that studies telomeres and telomerase in human stem cells, and the persistence of this question frustrates the hell out of me.

Let's start with the literal question, answered in the most literal way possible: yes, telomere shortening is reversible. The human genome encodes an enzyme complex called telomerase, whose sole job is to lengthen telomeres. This is how long telomeres are re-established in embryonic cells and maintained in cells that need to divide often.

Now, the real questions that people want the answers to whenever they ask this question:
Is there anything I can do to lengthen my telomeres? Probably not. The production of telomerase is tightly inhibited in most cells, because telomeres are only useful for cell divisions and the vast majority of your cells will either never divide again, or are one or two divisions away from their last. Telomeres exist to be sacrificial sequences during cell divisions; once the capacity of a telomere to lose sequence is exhausted (which, I'd like to point out, doesn't mean that the entire telomere is gone!) the cell that contains it stops dividing.

Certain types of DNA damage will increase the speed at which telomeres are lost, so you might be able to slow down the rate at which your telomeres shorten, but there's almost certainly nothing you can do to actually replace lost sequence. That's because...

Do I actually want long telomeres? In the vast majority of cells in your body -- hell no. One of the single most prevalent mutations associated with a huge variety of cancers is one that disables the cell's ability to turn telomerase off. It turns out that short telomeres (but not too short!) are a natural defense against cancer, because they prevent cells from dividing. The one unifying feature of cancers is that they're diseases associated with rampant cell division, so cells can't be cancerous unless they either ignore their short telomeres (and eventually kill themselves), or acquire the ability to lengthen telomeres.

It's just barely possible that there's a tiny subset of cells where lengthened telomeres are beneficial, but there isn't any evidence in support of this.

Aging is a far more complicated phenomenon than just telomere length alone, and it's unlikely that telomeres are the only (or even the primary) reason why we age.
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Re: Absent dads tied to cellular changes

Postby Mossling on May 11th, 2018, 6:02 am 

Cancer tumors as Metazoa 1.0: tapping genes of ancient ancestors (P C W Davies1 and C H Lineweaver, 2011, Physical Biology, Volume 8, Number 1) - this paper, I recall, argues for cancer as potentially an ancient single-cellular genetic program that kicks in when the overall communal setting of a multicellular organism isn't paying off adequately.

The link between telomere shortening and cancer is of course well known.

I wonder, if the above theory about ancient genes is true, and it is purely the broken home (primary community) setting which is causing the problem, which would come first in the sequence of broken home and then telomere shortening or cancer-directionality.

Perhaps the child feels that their inner (their 'heart', let's say) community as well as their outer community is broken, and therefore subtle cancerous inclinations take root and genes start to operate slightly differently, and telomerase is inhibited and so on.

The OP article does say:

there is evidence that meditation can help buffer the effects of adversity. “So that for individuals with exposure to early adversity, such interventions could in theory actually prevent or attenuate chronic illnesses,”

Meditation making mind and body (cellular community) more 'One' - so then pulls those cells back from subtle cancerous orientation before detectable?

Anyway, just theorising a little. ;P Very interesting topic.
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Re: Absent dads tied to cellular changes

Postby doogles on May 11th, 2018, 7:35 am 

This is just a check on whether you made a typo here Mossling, when you said that "The link between telomere shortening and cancer is of course well known".

The telomere researcher above said just the opposite - "Do I actually want long telomeres? In the vast majority of cells in your body -- hell no. One of the single most prevalent mutations associated with a huge variety of cancers is one that disables the cell's ability to turn telomerase off. It turns out that short telomeres (but not too short!) are a natural defense against cancer, because they prevent cells from dividing."
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Re: Absent dads tied to cellular changes

Postby Mossling on May 11th, 2018, 8:13 am 

doogles » May 11th, 2018, 8:35 pm wrote:This is just a check on whether you made a typo here Mossling, when you said that "The link between telomere shortening and cancer is of course well known".

The telomere researcher above said just the opposite - "Do I actually want long telomeres? In the vast majority of cells in your body -- hell no. One of the single most prevalent mutations associated with a huge variety of cancers is one that disables the cell's ability to turn telomerase off. It turns out that short telomeres (but not too short!) are a natural defense against cancer, because they prevent cells from dividing."

Oops, yeah sorry, my bad. I had seen other info before - digestive tract cancer and telomere shortening, for example. I skimmed over the above.

The association between telomere length and cancer risk in population studies
short telomeres may be risk factors for the tumors of digestive system.


Roles of telomeres and telomerase in cancer, and advances in telomerase-targeted therapies
Telomeres maintain genomic integrity in normal cells, and their progressive shortening during successive cell divisions induces chromosomal instability. In the large majority of cancer cells, telomere length is maintained by telomerase. Thus, telomere length and telomerase activity are crucial for cancer initiation and the survival of tumors. Several pathways that regulate telomere length have been identified, and genome-scale studies have helped in mapping genes that are involved in telomere length control. Additionally, genomic screening for recurrent human telomerase gene hTERT promoter mutations and mutations in genes involved in the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway, such as ATRX and DAXX, has elucidated how these genomic changes contribute to the activation of telomere maintenance mechanisms in cancer cells.


I was aware that there was an existing relationship.
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