If going through the pain of labor is not enough, a new study published in the journal Individual Reproduction appears to suggest that girls who give birth faster than their child-free peers, at least to some cellular level. Apparently, with a child racks up the equivalent of the additional 11 years on this 1 step of biological aging and scientists are not so sure this is.
It all comes down to some compound structure known as telomeres: These sit at the conclusion of a chromosome to protect DNA from degeneration, somewhat like a lid onto a pen. Every time a mobile regenerates, the telomeres have a little shorter — this manner, they’re the mobile’s aging clock. Shorter telomeres are connected to a array of health conditions and higher mortality in addition to physical signs of aging such as grey hair.
For the study, researchers at George Mason University, Virginia, analyzed the length of telomeres from the blood samples of nearly 2,000 American girls aged between 20 and 44, and they made a startling discovery. Those with children had telomeres that have been 4.2 percent shorter on average compared to people without. This remained true even when differences in age, weightreduction and socioeconomic backgrounds were cancel.
“It’s equivalent to about 11 decades of accelerated cell aging,” Anna Pollack, lead author of the newspaper, informed New Scientist.
And it is a more significant change than you see studies associated with obesity and smoking, she added.
However, before you get overly concerned or swear off having kids altogether, there are similar studies that indicate the entire opposite. A study on Mayan girls in 2017 showed that girls who had more kids, in fact, had longer telomeres than people who had fewer.
This contradiction directed Pollack to speculate it might have something related to all the anxiety levels in rearing a child rather than the act of childbirth itself. Specifically, she emphasized the absence of mandatory maternity in the united states, which might add to the already stressful potential for raising a newborn infant.
It appears for now, at least, additional study is required to verify this stride in cellular aging and also determine its scope and trigger. In the meantime, Pollack says that she does not want people to fear. “We’re not saying ‘don’t have kids’, she told New Scientist. Since the study authors point out, the “findings should be interpreted with caution.”
[H/T: New Scientist]