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July 20, 2006

Socio-economic Status Linked To Aging

Topics: Medicine

telomere.gifTelomeres are repeat sequences of DNA that sit on the ends of chromosomes, protecting them from damage. As people age, their telomeres become shorter and shorter, leaving cells more susceptible to damage and death - the causes of ageing and disease. Because of this association with ageing, telomere length is often used as an indicator of biological ageing.

Socio-economic status has been previously shown to have a major impact on health, and there is evidence that a lower status is associated with increased risks of some diseases, infant mortality and life-span. In a new study of 1,552 volunteers, scientists compared the social class of the volunteers with the average length of their telomeres and found that a low social status can accelerate the ageing process by about seven years.

The scientists, writing in the journal Aging Cell, believe the stress associated with belonging to a lower social class may be to blame.

Related: Telomere Length Reflects Lifestyle

Posted by Richard at July 20, 2006 12:28 AM



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