Childhood stress accelerates cell ageing

Sad girl.jpg


Researchers claim that stress suffered during childhood has deeper implications, which show at a later stage.
According to a study of children from Romanian orphanages, the effects of childhood stress could be visible in the DNA on growing up, reports Nature .
It is now proved that children who spent their early years in state-run Romanian orphanages have shorter telomeres than the ones who grew up in foster families.
Biologically, telomeres get slightly shorter each time a chromosome replicates during cell division. However, it has now emerged that stress may also result in their shortening.
Resultantly, shorter telomeres may propel diseases in adults ranging from diabetes to dementia.
The study was initiated at a time when orphanages were still common in Romania and a foster care system was especially established for this project.
Researchers analysed 136 orphans aged between 6-30 months, half of whom were assigned to foster families and the other half remained in orphanages.
They measured the length of the telomeres from DNA samples of the children when they were 6-10 years old and found that kids who stayed in the orphanage for longer had shorter telomeres compared to their peers in foster care.
"It shows that being in institutional care affects children right down to the molecular level," said Stacy Drury, clinical psychiatrist of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The study is published in Molecular Psychiatry1 .

About The Author

Ut dignissim aliquet nibh tristique hendrerit. Donec ullamcorper nulla quis metus vulputate id placerat augue eleifend. Aenean venenatis consectetur orci, sit amet ultricies magna sagittis vel. Nulla non diam nisi, ut ultrices massa. Pellentesque sed nisl metus. Praesent a mi vel ante molestie venenatis.