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Experiencing childhood trauma makes body and brain age faster: study

Trauma exposure at a young age can cause biological aging faster than those who have not experienced trauma. Three signs of biological aging (early puberty, cellular aging, and changes in brain structure) are present to a more rapid extent in those who have experienced a traumatic event when they were young. There are many types of trauma that can lead to accelerated aging, including abuse, neglect, and poverty. Accelerated biological aging can lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety, as well as physical issues like diabetes and cancer.

Key Takeaways:

  • PhD Katie McLaughlin claims that adversity for children is a great predictor of health issues later on in life.
  • While other studies have tried to look at these factors, McLaughlin’s research split up the type of adversities to get a closer look.
  • This research will possibly help many people by introducing rehabilitation methods for those who are victims of a stressful childhood.

“They found that children who suffered threat-related trauma such as violence or abuse were more likely to enter puberty early and also showed signs of accelerated aging on a cellular level-including shortened telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of our strands of DNA that wear down as we age. However, children who experienced poverty or neglect did not show either of those signs of early aging.”

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