People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder age more quickly if it is added that they have also suffered some trauma during their childhood, according to a group of researchers from the University of California and the University of California. San Francisco Medical Center (U.S).

These scientists have published an article in the journal Biological Psychiatry, in which they explain that they have carried out a study in which they have been able to verify that the telomeres of patients who suffered trauma during their childhood are significantly shorter than those of patients whose Post-traumatic stress is not related to any event of your childhood.

Telomeres are structures of DNA located at the ends of the chromosomes, and whose function is to protect them to prevent them from suffering alterations. Other previous studies have already revealed that a shorter length of telomeres is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and other pathologies of an autoimmune or neurodegenerative nature, in addition to increasing the chances of dying prematurely.

A shorter length of telomeres is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer and other pathologies, and with premature death

The scientists selected and analyzed DNA samples from 90 people, of whom 47 were healthy and 43 had a post-traumatic stress disorder. They observed that, in general, the telomeres of those affected by the disorder were shorter compared to those of the other group.

This data surprised the scientists because the individuals who underwent the study were healthy and had an average of 30 years of age.

The researchers then checked whether the subjects had suffered severe trauma during their childhood, as violence within the family, physical or mental abuse, negligence in their care and sexual abuse, and found that the chances of having shorter telomeres increased in patients with post-traumatic stress in relation to the magnitude of the childhood trauma they had suffered, that is, the more serious this trauma was, the shorter the telomeres. However, in individuals with post-traumatic stress who lacked childhood traumas the size of the telomeres was similar to that of healthy people.

The study is interesting because, as explained by Dr. Neylan Thomas, one of its authors, it could show that post-traumatic stress disorder has a cumulative effect that affects the dimensions of telomeres, and will help to find out why individuals with this type of stress age differently.


Is My Adult Child A Narcissist? When Helping Them Is Hurting You (November 2019).