The fogging over of the bathroom mirror by the steam from the morning shower is one of nature’s kindnesses, for which most of us are truly grateful. When wiping a small circle to reflect my chin for its shaving trauma, I now am reminded of the chatty mirror in ‘Snow White’ and I’m waiting for the new generation of speech-enabled and programmable bathroom mirrors that will have the details of our fitness challenges and give us daily advice and encouragement.  The bathroom may then take on the character of the confessional. Our iPhones will naturally come to the rescue here. There is already an app to help the Catholic penitent with a checklist to fill out so saving time when going to confession.

However, our personal fitness regimens are probably taking a hit now that we are several weeks away from our New Year Resolution commitments. But the view in our mirrors should keep us up to the mark and help pushback the ravages of age.

It is a pity that we don’t have the ability to fatten up our telomeres. These protect the ends of our DNA and their lengths are critical in our ageing process. Short is bad, long is good. The activity of the enzyme, telomerase, increases telomere length but we don’t seem to be able to control this yet. A paper published yesterday by Cayuela et al (1) describes the use of zebrafish as a model. If the fins of this fish are cut off, they regrow and during the re-growth, the telomerase activity is high and the fish’s telomeres were elongated, especially if the fins are repeatedly chopped off. This seems a hard way to stay young. Maybe if I keep cutting my hair and finger nails, I will tweak my telomeres and look younger. That’s my best shot as anything else that gets chopped off won’t regenerate.


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