"Psilocybin-Telomere Hypothesis" Info-graphic
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material
Prominent variables that influence telomere attrition

Telomere image source:
U.S. Department of Energy Genomic Science program

The “Psilocybin-Telomere Hypothesis”
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material

Created by Christopher B. Germann

, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material
Germann, C. B. (2019). The Psilocybin-Telomere Hypothesis: An empirically falsifiable prediction concerning the beneficial neuropsychopharmacological effects of psilocybin on genetic aging.
Medical Hypotheses, 134, 1–9.
Emotions Stress and Rate of Telomere Shortening: Are Our Cells Listening to Us?
Cognitive Stress, Mindfulness, and Telomeres
Pertinent References
  1. Carhart-Harris, R. L., Roseman, L., Bolstridge, M., Demetriou, L., Pannekoek, J. N., Wall, M. B., … Nutt, D. J. (2017). Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 13187. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-13282-7
  2. Catlow, B. J., Song, S., Paredes, D. A., Kirstein, C. L., & Sanchez-Ramos, J. (2013). Effects of psilocybin on hippocampal neurogenesis and extinction of trace fear conditioning. Experimental Brain Research, 228(4), 481–491. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-013-3579-0
  3. Epel, E., Daubenmier, J., Moskowitz, J. T., Folkman, S., & Blackburn, E. (2009). Can Meditation Slow Rate of Cellular Aging? Cognitive Stress, Mindfulness, and Telomeres. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1172(1), 34–53. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04414.x
  4. Gotlib, I. H., LeMoult, J., Colich, N. L., Foland-Ross, L. C., Hallmayer, J., Joormann, J., … Wolkowitz, O. M. (2015). Telomere length and cortisol reactivity in children of depressed mothers. Molecular Psychiatry, 20(5), 615–620. https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2014.119
  5. Griffiths, R. R., Richards, W. A., McCann, U., & Jesse, R. (2006). Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology, 187(3), 268–283. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-006-0457-5
  6. Hoge, E. A., Chen, M. M., Orr, E., Metcalf, C. A., Fischer, L. E., Pollack, M. H., … Simon, N. M. (2013). Loving-Kindness Meditation practice associated with longer telomeres in women. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 32, 159–163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2013.04.005
  7. Johnson, M. W., & Griffiths, R. R. (2017). Potential Therapeutic Effects of Psilocybin. Neurotherapeutics, 14(3), 734–740. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-017-0542-y
  8. Kraehenmann, R., Schmidt, A., Friston, K., Preller, K. H., Seifritz, E., & Vollenweider, F. X. (2016). The mixed serotonin receptor agonist psilocybin reduces threat-induced modulation of amygdala connectivity. NeuroImage: Clinical, 11, 53–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2015.08.009
  9. Malan, S., Hemmings, S., Kidd, M., Martin, L., & Seedat, S. (2011). Investigation of telomere length and psychological stress in rape victims. Depression and Anxiety, 28(12), 1081–1085. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20903
  10. McCorvy, J. D., Olsen, R. H., & Roth, B. L. (2016). Psilocybin for depression and anxiety associated with life-threatening illnesses. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(12), 1209–1210. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881116675771
  11. Preller, K. H., Pokorny, T., Krähenmann, R., Dziobek, I., Stämpfli, P., & Vollenweider, F. X. (2015). The Effect of 5-HT2A/1a Agonist Treatment On Social Cognition, Empathy, and Social Decision-making. European Psychiatry, 30, 22. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0924-9338(15)30017-1
  12. Roseman, L., Demetriou, L., Wall, M. B., Nutt, D. J., & Carhart-Harris, R. L. (2018). Increased amygdala responses to emotional faces after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. Neuropharmacology, 142, 263–269. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.12.041
  13. Ross, S., Bossis, A., Guss, J., Agin-Liebes, G., Malone, T., Cohen, B., … Schmidt, B. L. (2016). Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(12), 1165–1180. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881116675512
  14. Wei, Y. Bin, Backlund, L., Wegener, G., Mathé, A. A., & Lavebratt, C. (2015). Telomerase dysregulation in the hippocampus of a rat model of depression: Normalization by lithium. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1093/ijnp/pyv002
  15. Wikgren, M., Maripuu, M., Karlsson, T., Nordfjäll, K., Bergdahl, J., Hultdin, J., … Norrback, K.-F. (2012). Short Telomeres in Depression and the General Population Are Associated with a Hypocortisolemic State. Biological Psychiatry, 71(4), 294–300. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.09.015
  16. Wolkowitz, O. M., Mellon, S. H., Epel, E. S., Lin, J., Dhabhar, F. S., Su, Y., … Blackburn, E. H. (2011). Leukocyte Telomere Length in Major Depression: Correlations with Chronicity, Inflammation and Oxidative Stress - Preliminary Findings. PLoS ONE, 6(3), e17837. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0017837
  17. Wolkowitz, O. M., Reus, V. I., & Mellon, S. H. (2011). Telomere shortening in leukocyte subpopulations in depression. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 13(1), 25–39. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-14-192
  18. Wolkowitz, O. M., Reus, V. I., & Mellon, S. H. (2011). Of sound mind and body: depression, disease, and accelerated aging. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 13(1), 25–39. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21485744
Ants, Spiders, and Bees - Francis Bacon (Novum Organum)
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material

“Those who have handled sciences have been either men of experiment or men of dogmas. The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes a middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own. Not unlike this is the true business of philosophy; for it neither relies solely or chiefly on the powers of the mind, nor does it take the matter which it gathers from natural history and mechanical experiments and lay it up in the memory whole, as it finds it, but lays it up in the understanding altered and digested. Therefore from a closer and purer league between these two faculties, the experimental and the rational (such as has never yet been made), much may be hoped.”
Francis Bacon, Novum Oganum, Book I (1620)

A biological analogy by Sir Francis Bacon (Novum Organum, 1620)
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material
, Telomere info graphic + supplementary material