15:53 31 July 2012
Researchers from Finland recently confirmed through a study what many people have already known for years but don’t seem to pay enough attention to: stressful jobs can make people age faster.
The study conducted by Kirsi Ahola of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health is offering scientific proof of a piece of practical advice that has been common knowledge for most.
In the study, researchers measured the length of DNA sections called telomeres and how these varied in cases associated with stressful jobs. The results showed that people who suffered the most from job-related stress tended to have shorter telomeres.
The telomeres are a type of protective cap located at the ends of the chromosomes. Its role is to help assure that the genes stick to their genetic instructions and send the right messages to the cells.
Telomeres are known to shorten as a person ages. When it reaches a critically short length, it causes either the death of the cell in a process dubbed as ‘apostosis’ or ‘senescent’, a state in which the cells start making genetic errors and causing damage.
Scientist Ahola and her team also analyzed blood cells called leukocytes, which are critical to the body’s immune system. They found that workers who experienced the greatest amount of exhaustion due to their jobs had shorter leukocyte telomeres.
Studies also show that aside from crow’s feet and grey hair, shortened telomeres is also linked to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.
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