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Can Defiancy Lead to Early Aging?

June 18th, 2015 | By: Nancy Ripton
Defiant Preschoolers May Be at Risk of Increased Cellular Aging
Can Defiancy Lead to Early Aging?

No one wants to deal with a defiant preschooler. However if your child acts out often it may a sign that they are at risk of increased cellular aging.

Telomeres are protective DNA and protein complexes located at the end of chromosomes that help ensure chromosomal stability. Much like the plastic tips of shoelaces, telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes and act as buffers against the loss of protein-coding DNA during cell division. In adults, short telomeres are related to aging and the development of diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer.

While telomere shortening happens naturally with aging, it is accelerated by stress. A recent study published in Nature looked at behavior in children and how it relates to telomere length.

The study looked at the length of telomeres in a group of three- to five-year-olds. It found that there was a direct correlation to maternal depression and/or early childhood trauma and telomere length.

Telomere length was also associated with oppositional defiant behavior and anxiety. Researchers aren’t exactly sure of the connection or implication and are currently planning new studies.