unemployment and aging

How Unemployment Is Literally Shortening Men’s Lives

A team of researchers from the Imperial College of London and the University of Oulu in Finland recently conducted a study where they examined the DNA of 5,620 men and women born in Finland in 1966.

The researchers were measuring the subjects’ telomeres. Telomeres are the structures at the ends of our chromosomes which protect our genetic code. They naturally wear away and shorten as we age, so scientists are able to use them as a biological marker for aging.

Telomeres and DNA structure

The researchers examined DNA samples from 1997 when the subjects were all 31. What they found was that men who had been unemployed for more than 2 of the 3 years before the samples were taken were more than twice as likely to have shorter telomeres compared to men who were employed continuously.

The study also accounted for a number of other, “social, biological and behavioural factors” to rule out the possibility that the short telomeres were a result of other causes.

This trend was not observed in the women in the study, however.

Read the full story here.

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