Tough Family Life Linked to Chromosome Aging
Telomeres are the segments of DNA at either end of a chromosome that protect the ends from deterioration or fusion with neighboring chromosomes. Shorter telomeres can decrease life expectancy by reducing the number of times our cells can divide, and scientists are discovering that a person’s living environment may lead to the condition.
Using large cohort (age group) study data from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety, another group of researchers from Amsterdam’s Vrije University found significantly shorter telomere length among those with higher stress markers; the shorter length was also associated with aging approximately 10 years faster. In addition, the scientists observed significantly shorter telomere length among people with depressive symptoms lasting longer than four years; the shorter length correlated with both longer and more severe depression.