Depressed People May Age Faster, Study Suggests

from People suffering from depression may be aging faster than other people, according to a new study from the Netherlands. In the study of about 1,900 people who had major depressive disorders at some point during their lives, along with 500 people who had not had depression, researchers measured the length of cell structures called telomeres, which are “caps” at the end of chromosomes that protect the DNA during cell division. Normally, telomeres shorten slightly each time cells divide, and their length is thought to be an index of a cell’s aging. The researchers found telomeres were shorter in people who had experienced depression compared with people in the control group. This suggests cellular aging in people with depression is accelerated by several years, the researchers said. The severity of a person’s depression, as well as a longer duration of symptoms were linked with shorter telomere length, and the results held after controlling for weight, smoking, drinking and several other factors that may contribute to aging, according to the study published today in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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