REBIRTH active men

Under the banner of ‘Prevention rather than repair’, 67 male staff at MHH took part in the REBIRTH-aktiv study. The men trained for half an hour every day – doing swimming, cycling or rowing – from April to September 2012. The MHH Presidium gave them two hours off work per week for this purpose. The researchers determined several vital parameters to find out whether sport stimulates cell regeneration, among these being the length of the telomeres in the white blood corpuscles. Telomeres are found at the ends of the chromosomes; they shorten each time a cell divides, leading to cell aging. However, no shortening of the telomeres was observed in the study’s participants; indeed, they lengthened by 6% over a six-month period, indicating cell recovery. Endurance sport therefore enabled the subjects to considerably lower their biological age. The exercising men also showed enhanced performance and the number of days absent from work fell. Professor Axel Haverich, director of MHH’s Department of Cardiac, Thoracic, Transplantation and Vascular Surgery (HTTG) and coordinator of the REBIRTH Cluster of Excellence, initiated the study in 2011. In addition to HTTG and the Institute of Sports Medicine, several MHH departments – those of Cardiology and Angiology, Paediatric Kidney Diseases and Dental Prosthetics – were involved in the investigation, as were the Leibniz Research Laboratories for Biotechnology and Artificial Organs (LEBAO).