PTSD Patients with Traumatic Childhood have Shorter Telomere

Experts form the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco found that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder patients with traumatic childhood have shorter telomere in comparison to PTSD patients without traumatic childhood. The results of the study are published in the April 2011 edition of the journal Biological Psychiatry.

A telomere is the cap-like structure at end of a chromosome. It protects this structure of DNA from undergoing mutation. Short length of telomere increases the risk of dreadful ailments like cancer, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases.

It was surprising for the researchers to find that the physical health of the former group was perfectly normal and the average age of the participants was 30. Patients with multiple traumas in the childhood like physical and sexual abuse, neglect and violence in the family had shortest length of the telomere.

The researchers believe that treating PTSD can eventually develop further insight into the biology of telomere.

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