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There is growing evidence that people who have experienced various mental disorders have shorter telomeres than controls even when taking lifestyle factors into account that can also damage DNA, such as alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking etc.

Anxiety and telomere lengthEdit

Depression and telomere lenghthEdit

A Dutch group led by Josine Verhoeven found that telomeres of people who had ever been depressed were significantly shorter (by 83 to 84 base pairs on average) than people who had never suffered from depression.[1]

PTSD and telomere lengthEdit

Zhang et al (2013) reported an interaction between stressful life events and leukocyte telomere length which was is associated with PTSD [2]


  1. J E Verhoeven, D Révész, E S Epel, J Lin, O M Wolkowitz and B W J H Penninx (2013). Major depressive disorder and accelerated cellular aging: results from a large psychiatric cohort study Mol Psychiatry advance online publication, November 12, 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.151
  2. L Zhang, X-Z Hu, D M Benedek, C S Fullerton, R D Forsten, J A Naifeh, X Li, H Li, K N Benevides, S Smerin, T Le, K Choi and R J Ursano. (2013).The interaction between stressful life events and leukocyte telomere length is associated with PTSD. Mol Psychiatry advance online publication, November 5, 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.141

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