From this paper

Those with shorter telomeres in blood DNA had poorer survival, attributable in part to a 3.18-fold higher mortality rate from heart disease (95% CI 1(.)36-7.45, p=0.0079), and an 8.54-fold higher mortality rate from infectious disease (1.52-47.9, p=0.015).

What is the connection between shorter telomeres and heart disease ?


1 Answer 1


This seems a bit like a hen and egg problem. Telomere length is both associated with age and with heart diseases, but heart disease is also associated with age. The question here is, is one really causing the other here (short telomeres heart problems) or do they occur simultaneously? The other problem with heart disease is that it is a multi-risk disease, with many risks accumulating with age. The figure below sums this up, it is from the first paper:

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