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Children, Clock, and England: WTF fact #333 Bullying, child abuse, and stress causes children to age faster at a cellular level and leads to physical and mental health problems even decades later, including an earlier death Hwtf fun fact.com A hard life can age you, literally, researchers say. In fact, children who are exposed to violence at a young age show changes in their DNA equivalent to several years of premature aging. That’s the finding of an international group of scientists who analyzed data from the Environmental Risk Study (E-Risk), which tracked 2,232 children born between 1994 and 1995 in England and Wales. The researchers focused on 236 children whom they followed from age 5 to 10. Nearly half of the children had had some exposure to violence, either in the form of observing violent acts against their mother, being bullied themselves, or being the victim of aggressive acts by an adult. The study’s lead author, Idan Shalev, in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, says that he and his colleagues were interested in seeing whether the long-term negative effect of violence on children’s later health and behavior might be related to the early aging of their cells. So they took DNA samples from each child at age 5 and again at age 10 and studied their telomeres, the repetitive sequence of DNA that caps chromosomes at each end. Over time, telomeres get shorter, since each time a cell divides, a bit of the telomere is lost. Once the telomeres reach a certain length, the cell starts to die, leading some experts to believe that telomeres are a master regulator, or chronological clock, that documents a cell’s aging. "Children who experience violence appear to be aging at a faster rate,” Shalev said in a statement about the study, which was published in Molecular Psychiatry. β€œThis finding suggests the importance of including telomeres as stress markers in research to evaluate the effects of stress.” The fact that violence can be β€œseen” in a physical way in children’s cells, he says, β€œsuggests new urgency for preventing harm to children.” http:-healthland.time.com-2012-04-24-how-bullying-and-abuse-may-age-children-prematurely- KidsAreTheFuture ChildRights ProtectChildrenAtALLCosts

A hard life can age you, literally, researchers say. In fact, children who are exposed to violence at a young age show changes in their DNA ...

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