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Researchers will soon be offering a simple test that aims to tell patients how quickly they are aging. TELOMERES are caps on the ends of chromosomes, protecting them much as plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces keep the laces from fraying. Whenever chromosomes—the store­houses of our genes—are replicated their telomeres shorten. That shrinking has led many scientists to view telomere length as a marker of biological aging as well as an indicator of overall health.


35 Years of the World’s Best Microscope Photography

Microscopic Photography: Fluorescent actin protein filaments. / Dennis Breitsprecher, Institute of Biophysical Chemistry at Germany’s Hannover Medical School. Courtesy of Nikon Small World.

Fat tissue. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a sample of fat tissue, showing fat cells (adipocytes, blue) surrounded by fine strands of supportive connective tissue. Adipocytes are among the largest cells in the human body, each cell being 100 to 120 microns in diameter. Almost the entire volume of each fat cell consists of a single lipid (fat or oil) droplet. Adipose tissue forms an insulating layer under the skin, storing energy in the form of fat, which is obtained from…

The Birth of Brain Cells This might look like a distant web of galaxies captured by a powerful telescope, but it’s actually a microscopic image of a newborn nerve cell.

Confocal image of dividing cell. The markers are mitotic spindle (in red), the chromosomes (in blue) peroxisomes (in green). LM

Macrophage engulfing bacteria as part of the immune system's response to infection. #microscopic


Matching DNA With Medical Records To Crack Disease And Aging

A light micrograph image of telomeres, shown in yellow, at the end of human chromosomes. Women tend to have longer telomeres than men and tend to outlive men, according to new research matching genetic information with medical records.

SEM image of a white blood cell, platelet and red blood cell. White blood cells or leucocytes (far right) fight infection by producing antibodies or devouring invading bacteria. Red blood cells or erythrocytes (far left) carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Platelets (middle) are cell fragments that play a role in the ability of blood to clot.

Red blood cell on a needle, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Composite SEM of a single red blood cell on the tip of a needle.

Human chromosomes and nucleus, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Chromosomes are a packaged form of the genetic material DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The DNA normally exists in a non-condensed form in the cell nucleus (upper right). It condenses into chromosomes (centre and lower left) during cell replication. In humans, there are 46 chromosomes, consisting of 23 chromosome pairs. Magnification: x4350 when printed at 10 centimetres across.

Ruptured venule. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showing stacks (rouleaux) of red blood cells exposed inside a torn venule. A venule is a very small blood vessel in the microcirculation that allows deoxygenated blood to return from the capillary beds to the larger blood vessels (veins). Red blood cells are the most abundant cell in the blood. They have no nucleus and are about 7 micrometers across. Magnification: x2300 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.