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Researchers Identify Biological Marker That Predicts Susceptibility to the Common Cold

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Published on Feb 19, 2013

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. Telomere length is a biomarker of aging with telomeres shortening with increasing chronological age. As a cell's telomeres shorten, it loses its ability to function normally and eventually dies. Having shorter telomeres is associated with early onset of aging related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and with mortality in older adults. Unknown until now is whether telomere length plays a role in the health of young to midlife adults.

For more information, visit http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archi....

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