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The Stress-Age Connection

The question arises, 'Does stress speed the aging process?' Duke University researches say, 'Yes.'

Stress is part of life. Stuff happens, and not all of it is rosy. Events that happen to you and around you -- and many things that we do to ourselves -- place stress on the body. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts. Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.

So, back to the question - what's the correlation between stress and aging, scientists at Duke University say there is evidence that stress definitely speeds the aging processes in our body. Published in the journal Nature, the study found that while undergoing severe stress, our bodies release chemicals that can damage DNA and cause us to look older, including causing hair to turn gray prematurely. Yes, it's perhaps accurate to say to your kids - “You’re giving me gray hairs!”

The experiment was conducted on mice that were infused with a compound similar to adrenaline. Their chronic stress resulted in DNA damage. “This could give us a plausible explanation of how chronic stress may lead to a variety of human conditions and disorders, which range from merely cosmetic, like graying hair, to life-threatening disorders like malignancies," said senior author Robert J. Lefkowitz, MD. Additional studies are planned to further explore the physical effects of stress on the body. In the meantime, relax a little to save your locks.

Article Reviewed: June 22, 2012
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