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Depressed Moms Have Faster-Aging Daughters

Update Date: Nov 03, 2014 06:30 PM EST

Stress makes you ugly, according to a new aging study.

Researchers found that this is particularly true in girls who are stressed and prone to depression. The latest study reveals that girls with a family history of depression age quicker than their peers because they release higher levels of the hormone cortisol when facing stressful situations. Releasing high levels of cortisol ages the body because it can damage the immune system and organs.

The latest study also reveals that girls with a family history of depression also tend to have shorter telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten every time cells divide. This is important because shorter telomeres have been shown to increase the risk of premature death, infection and chronic disease in adulthood.

Lead researcher Professor Ian Gotlib of Stanford University said the findings were shocking.

"I did not think that these girls would have shorter telomeres than their low-risk counterparts - they're too young," said Gotlib, according to the Daily Mail.

After analyzing a group of girls between the ages of 10 and 14, researchers found that 12-year-old girls who were more prone to depression had significantly shorter telomeres than their healthier counterparts.

"It's the equivalent in adults of six years of biological aging," Gotlib explained.

However, he added that "it's not at all clear that that makes them 18, because no one has done this measurement in children," according to a news release.

The latest findings were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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