A Genetic Solution to Stress in Teens and Reduced Lifespan
Throughout life we try to do everything we can to achieve a healthy and long lifespan. We try to exercise regularly, maintain a well-balanced diet, and build stable relationships, all so that we can be happy and healthy. But recent research suggests that certain elements can significantly reduce a long lifespan. Stress in teens can be caused by a multitude of things. School, relationships, family, or extracurricular activities can all result in stress in teens. A recent article by Medical News Today explains recent genetic research that identifies how mood and stress can reduce lifespan.
A team from Indiana University School of Medicine and the California Scripps Research Institute, conducted a project that investigates the genetic basis of premature aging in response to stress in teens and psychiatric illness. Throughout this project, they identified a selection of genes that seem to control the impact of mood and stress responses on the longevity of life.
What they found was that a gene called ANK3 played a key role in uncovering the links between stress in teens and premature aging. ANK3 has previously been associated with bipolar disorder, autism, and schizophrenia. When they examined the genes of individuals who experienced significant stress or mood disorders (people who had committed suicide) they noticed a shift in the display of these genes. The changes are the type of change that would normally be associated with shorter lifespans and premature aging. They also found from a previous study that when these genes were exposed to antidepressants, people generally lived longer. This ultimately led to their study on determining how antidepressants affect genes connected to mood and stress and its toll on lifespan.
The Research Process
To conduct the research, they investigated the genetic changes that occurred when they introduced antidepressants to worms. The drug was found to affect 231 genes that were then cross-referenced to the human genome. In total, 347 similar genes were identified in humans. These 347 genes were then compared with the genomes of 3,577 older adults. Of these genes, 134 overlapped with depressive symptoms in humans.
The researchers used a database containing genes already known to be involved with psychiatric disorders, to prioritize the genes in order of their involvement in mood and stress disorders. The top scoring gene was ANK3. The team used a strain of worm that had been bred with inactive ANK3 genes and tested them under the effects of antidepressants and stress.
The authors concluded that ANK3 is believed to reduce lifespan. But the introduction of antidepressants can create life-extending effects. The discovery of ANK3 and other genes as biological links between mood, stress, and lifespan may be markers for aging and stepping stones for personalized preventive or therapeutic interventions. The discovery of these new practices could ultimately lead to a reduction of stress in teens and the steps needed to provide them with healthy, long lives.
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