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The DNA with in the cell shows the signs of ageing. One of these signs is the shortening of telomeres, that promote cellular stability. Telomeres are the 'caps' of the DNA, at the end of the chromosomes. Telomere length is a measure of biological ageing as they shorten progressively with each cell division.
Shorter telomere lengths have been linked to a variety of ageing-related medical conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The childhood abuse, neglects etc cause stress and trauma which may lead to several medical and psychiatric illnesses. These stress also promote cellular ageing.
The researchers examined the DNA of healthy adults who had a history of childhood maltreatment and found they had shorter telomeres than those who did not experience child maltreatment.
These findings suggests the possibilities of early developmental experiences, which can influence cellular mechanisms at a very basic level and even lead to accelerated ageing.
The study has been published in Biological Psychiatry.