A new study has found that people living with major depressive disorder are biologically older than people without depression, and that childhood trauma exacerbates this effect.
The results illuminate the epigenetic mechanisms that might explain this discrepancy.
Major depression is one of the most common health problems in the United States.
In fact, more than sixteen million adults will have had at least one major depressive episode during the past year.
New research shows that major depression may also mean premature aging.
Scientists led by Laura Han from the Amsterdam University Medical Center in the Netherlands studied the DNA structure of people with depression and made an intriguing discovery.
This effect of premature aging was more significant in people who had had adverse childhood experiences, such as violence, trauma, neglect, or abuse.
The study also found that those who had had childhood trauma were biologically 1.06 years older, on average, than people who had not experienced trauma.
The researchers replicated their findings by examining brain tissue samples.