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The Power of Two

Telomere Tears

Published February 4, 2014 1:44 PM by Eleanor Wolfram
Of all of the varieties of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, it seems that depression is the most overlooked disease. I think it is because of how secretive and the subtle the depression signs can be. People most often think that if one is depressed, they will see the victim crying frequently. But visible tears are not always the case.

Everyone feels sad from time to time, but depression is when feeling blue or sad interferes with your daily life for long periods of time. The scope of depression can be mild to severe and occur from giving birth (postpartum depression) or seasonal (seasonal affective disorder or SAD).

The physical signs are listed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which include but are not limited to: persistent feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness;  fatigue and decreased energy; insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping; or thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts.

Nonphysical signs are being uncovered due to electronics and technology boom. Molecular and geriatric microbiologists are now able to examine signs of depression at the cellular level.  One such topic area is changes in chromosomes.

In fact, I was finished reading an article on the topic in the November edition of the Molecular Psychiatry Journal. The study that concluded that people suffering from the mental illness of depression experience cell degradation.

It seems to have chromosomes with shorter telomeres. It seems that collaborating Amsterdam and United States scientists have found that study participants who experience episodes of depression have shorter telomeres then compared to healthy volunteers.

In addition, the cells of depressed people appear older. Humans suffering from depression show signs of advanced cellular aging.

According to Dr. Josien Verhoeven, the study's lead author, depression causes detrimental impact resulting in accelerated biological aging.

One day soon the research results may help in clarify the not readily seen molecular link between psychiatric disorders (i.e. depressive) and potential onset.

posted by Eleanor Wolfram

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