The One Surprising Thing That Speeds Up Your Aging

By JOHN M. GROHOL, PSY.D. Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on November 13, 2013 Researchers have discovered one thing that speeds up your body’s aging process that you may not be aware of — depression. In a study of more than 2,400 Dutch subjects, researchers examined chromosomes within cells. What they found was surprising — people with clinical depression had shorter telomeres than their healthy peers. Telomeres are strands of protective DNA that are found at the tips of chromosomes. As we age and our cells divide, telomeres get a little bit shorter each time. When they become so small that they lose their protective benefits, psychiatric researcher at the Free University and Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center. “Overall, this study provides convincing evidence for the suggestion than an emotional stressful condition, such as [clinical depression], may truly impact on the physical ‘wear and tear’ of a person’s body resulting in accelerated biological aging,” wrote Verhoeven and colleagues. The researchers said that while their data showed an association between depression and shorter telomere length, it could not demonstrate a clear cause-and-effect relationship. It is possible that some other factor, such as a genetic vulnerability, underlies both, the researchers said. The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. Source: VU University Medical Center

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