The study performed on more than 2,000 people finds that depression makes us physically older by speeding up the aging process in body cell.
In the study it was found that the length of the telomeres of depressed people were remarkable shorter in comparison to happy people. They concluded after observing the white blood cells of 2,400 study participants.
Telomeres are the caps that are located at the ends of chromosomes in order to protect the cell’s DNA from any kind of damage. Whenever a cell divides telomeres gets a bit shorter. This makes them useful markers for aging.
“The most severely and chronically depressed patients had the shortest telomeres,” said lead author Josine Verhoeven, a psychiatric researcher at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center, according to Los Angeles Times.
“Overall, this study provides convincing evidence for the suggestion than an emotional stressful condition, such as MDD, may truly impact on the physical ‘wear and tear’ of a person’s body resulting in accelerated biological aging,” wrote Verhoeven and colleagues in the paper.
Of the total 2,400 study participants, one-third of them were already depressed. The another third had not experienced a major depression recently and the remaining were happy throughout their lives.
Blood samples of the participants were taken to analyze the signs of cellular aging. Researchers were more interested in looking for the changes in the telomeres.
Greater the extent of depression was, shorter the length of telomeres appeared.
However it is not clear if this kind of aging process was harmful. Scientists will start working on the methods to reverse such effect.
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source: Molecular Psychiatry.
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