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Researchers: Early life stress shortens telomeres

Human chromosomes (grey) capped by telomeres (white)/Human Genome Program

From Anna Azvolinsky at The Scientist:

Multiple stressful events during childhood may have a greater impact on telomere length in adulthood compared to stressful events faced during adulthood. While the accumulation of stressful events throughout life increases the chance of having shorter telomeres later in life, adversities experienced during childhood appeared to have the greatest effect on these chromosome caps, according to a study published today (October 3) in PNAS. Each additional adverse event during childhood was associated with an 11 percent-increased odd of shorter telomeres—a marker of cellular aging—past age 50, the authors reported.

The findings “offer new insights into what types of stressors may potentially be most harmful in impacting biological aging markers,” Judith Carroll, who studies the links between behavior and health at the University of California, Los Angeles, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and was not involved in the work, wrote in an email to The Scientist. “The findings are consistent with other reports suggesting that early life is a particularly vulnerable time when the body is rapidly growing and adapting to its surroundings.” More.

It’s amazing how genetic fundamentalism is falling by the wayside. The genome has got to be the worst thing that ever happened to the Gene, the Selfish Gene, and all that.

See also: Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!

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Other lifestyle-related issues may affect telomere length too: https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/mystery-at-the-heart-of-life/#comment-618476 Dionisio

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