(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have shown how stress affects the acceleration and deceleration of the internal biological clock.
The work of the human body is regulated by various rhythms – “clocks”, among which there are, for example, circadian rhythms – an internal rhythm with a period of about 24 hours, familiar to us as the “sleep-wakefulness” cycle. For such clocks to be useful, they must be synchronized with the outside world: for example, the circadian rhythm depends on light information. However, in addition to the 24-hour circadian rhythms, there are other biological rhythms, whose work also depends on external factors.
Scientists at Yale University have studied the work of one such biological clock, called the GrimAge, which can be used to estimate a person’s biological age by tracking the chemical changes in DNA that occur as a person ages. They asked themselves: How can chronic stress affect the performance of this watch?
Chronic stress is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, addictions, mood disorders, and even PTSD. Is there then an opportunity, for example, to slow down the work of the biological clock and thereby prolong the period of “good” health?
To find the answer to these questions, the scientists invited 444 people aged 19 to 50 to participate in the study. Each had a blood test to determine both age-related chemical changes that affect the performance of the GrimAge watch and other markers for assessing overall health. Participants also completed questionnaires, where their level of stress and psychological stability was determined by self-report.
The results of the study, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, showed that stress actually makes those hours “go faster.” Even after taking into account demographic factors and behavioral characteristics such as smoking, body mass index, level of socioeconomic status, earnings, this relationship continued to be confirmed. Moreover, participants who had high levels of chronic stress not only showed markers associated with older biological age, but also other physiological changes, such as insulin resistance.
However, as scientists have shown, this effect can be mitigated by learning to regulate your emotional state and increased self-control. Participants who scored high on these two dimensions had fewer changes associated with chronic stress.
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