The link between schizophrenia and childhood trauma recently came forth. Along the same lines, scientists at the Duke University have shown that children who encounter violence in their growth years are likely to have damaged DNA.
Wear and tear of the DNA in generally associated with aging which means these kids could be elder than their actual age. Telomeres play a major role in manifesting a person’s biological age. Each time our body experiences stress or other conditions related to obesity or smoking, the number of telomeres seemingly reduces.
Idan Shalev, a post-doctoral researcher in psychology and neuroscience at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, quoted, “This is the first time it has been shown that our telomeres can shorten at a faster rate even at a really young age, while kids are still experiencing stress.”
In the present trial, approximately 1,100 families having twins were examined and followed till the kids touched 18 years of age. A DNA analysis was conducted at 5 and 10 years to understand the effects of external factors on the genome. The parents of these participants were surveyed regarding their kids’ activities in childhood where issues like bullying, physical abuse and others cropped up.
As per the outcomes, children who were exposed to violence as kids seemingly manifested more telomere loss as compared to their control counterparts. Basically, this study suggested that stress undergone during young age may not spare the DNA and cause its impairment.
It is crucial to keep children away from any sort of adverse or untoward acts that may build stress. The study is published in the recent issue of the journal, Molecular Psychiatry.