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Exposure to Stress as a Child can Permanently Affect your DNA

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Geplaatst op 19 juni 2014 - 10:14

A team of researchers based at Tulane University School of Medicine has found that exposure to violence or other traumatic events within the family during childhood can leave lasting marks on stretches of DNA called telomeres. This study adds to the growing body of evidence that stressful home environments can permanently affect chromosomes. The work has been published in the journal Pediatrics.
Telomeres are repetitive sequences of DNA found at the end of chromosomes that act as protective caps, preventing chromosomes from sticking together or being degraded, both of which can lead to cell death. Telomeres can be thought of as a kind of cellular timer as they shorten a little bit every time a cell replicates until they reach a certain limit; after this the cell will no longer replicate. Telomere length has been linked to a variety of diseases and shorter telomeres have been associated with higher risks for heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline and mental illness, to name a few.
In order to further our knowledge of how adverse events during childhood may negatively impact health, Tulane University researchers investigated the links between exposure to disruptive or violent events and telomere length in youth.
This is the second study published this year which demonstrates that stressful home environments and telomere length are linked. Back in April, a report in PNAS found that children growing up in poor and unstable homes had shorter telomeres than children raised in nurturing families. According to Drury, this study highlights the fact that the home environment is an important intervention target to reduce the lasting biological impacts of childhood adversity.
Read more & source: IFLscience


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