Science: Poor Lifestyle Leads To Premature Ageing

A Glasgow hospital believes that high levels of 'stress' can damage 'genes', causing premature ageing. The discovery was made by a team at 'The Western Infirmary' in the course of measuring the impact 'stress' can have on the body's cells. Mr.Paul Shiels, who led the research team, said that many lifestyle factors, such as poverty, unemployment and 'poor diet' caused 'stress'-related 'Deoxyribonucleic acid' (DNA) damage.
'General "stresses", whether they be a disease "stress" or some other environmental "stress", do seem to impact upon the rates at which your biological "clock" ticks', he said.
The team found that blood taken from those under the greatest amount of 'stress', either 'psychologically' or through illness, had shorter 'telomeres' (structures which effectively hold chains of DNA together).
'Shorter 'telomeres' are a marker that you have been predisposed to some sort of life stress or disease. 'Telomeres' are associated with one biological clock mechanism', Mr.Shiels said. He added that the root cause of the damage was how the human body burned fuel.
'Stress, whatever type, changes how your body burns fuel and makes it function less cleanly and effectively and this breaks DNA, which hurts the body clock'.
Mr.Shiels said it was not just those in poverty, but anyone with a lifestyle high in stress, with a poor diet and with long hours could be open to similar damage. One of the areas of application is examining the reasons why people living in poverty age faster. The researchers behind the study are now working with 'The Glasgow Centre for Population Health' to understand why the stresses of poverty shorten life and cause ill health. Men in Glasgow Shettleston have been shown to have a life expectancy of just 63 years, a decade less than the UK average and the worst in Europe. Ms.Jacqueline Atkinson, of 'The Public Health Department' at 'The University of Glasgow', said that general 'stresses' had increased through people's wish to have more possessions and a better lifestyle, rather than more demands placed on them. She said, however, for those living in 'straitened circumstances', the 'stresses' were very real.
'Things that contribute to "stress" are "not being in control"', she said. 'If you are unemployed, living on a low income, in not "very great" housing, in a place like Shettleston, you may not have a lot of control over a lot of things in your life -- and that will be very "stressful"'.
The study focused on the chains of DNA that control how cells work, develop and die, and which are constructed from 'genes'. Though in its early stages, the research shows that blood cells from people who suffer severe 'stress' showed changes similar to those found in older, healthy people.
'Stress ages you before your time', Craig Brown, The Scotsman, 2005-01-14, Fr.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


1/15/2005 12:49:00 am  

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