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Telomeres as Sentinels for Environmental Exposures, Psychosocial Stress, and Disease Susceptibility

On September 6 and 7, 2017, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) convened an interdisciplinary workshop to explore the potential use of telomere length as a biomarker for environmental exposures, psychosocial stress, and disease susceptibility. Five sessions featured presentations on the state of the science, known effects of psychosocial stress on telomeres, critical considerations regarding telomere dynamics, the influence of genes and the environment, and the relationship between telomeres and other biomarkers. Throughout the workshop, participants discussed the challenges and opportunities of using the telomere as a biomarker of environmental exposures, psychosocial stress, and disease susceptibility. They also suggested constructive actions that would advance the field. A workshop summary (PDF, 1.1MB), produced with co-funding from the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), is available.