May 6, 2011

Is Stress Giving You Wrinkles?

Stress and Skin Wrinkles

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco enlisted 27 students, who all had healthy skin, in a clinical study that found that stress effects cause a decrease in the skin's ability to function properly, heal wounds and fight disease.

Over eight weeks of time, the researchers measured the stressed student's levels of anger, confusion, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and tension while also taking sample of student’s surface skin on the forearms. The scientists then monitored when they reduced stress levels how quickly the participants' skin recovered its ability to essentially "breathe" properly.

The researchers discovered that skin recovery was directly linked to reduced stress levels. Throughout the duration of high stress anxiety levels in exam week, there was a marked decrease in the ability of the aggravated skin to return to normal function. The scientists claim that they have found the first direct link between stress effects and a decrease in the capability of the skin to resume normal functioning after disruption. This stress health link may place a stressed individual at greater risk of common skin disease, such as psoriasis or dermatitis, besides premature wrinkling of the skin

Stress and Premature Aging

While studies have demonstrated evidence that stress symptoms can compromise the immune system and elevate blood pressure, new findings at the University of California, San Francisco have found that prolonged exposure to psychological stress can accelerate the aging process of people's cells and cause them to die at a faster rate than normal.

In the study, published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, scientists were able to exactly identify the protein-DNA complexes, known as telomeres, which act as genetic timekeepers and communicate to the cells how long they will live. More specifically, the researchers were able to determine that chronic stress effects and perceived emotional stress had a significant impact on three biological factors -- the length of telomeres, the activity of telomerase, and levels of oxidative stress -- in immune system cells known as peripheral blood mononucleocytes.

Telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes and promote genetic stability. Each time a cell divides, a portion of telomeric DNA dwindles away, and after many rounds of cell division, so much telomeric DNA has diminished that the aged cell stops dividing. Thus the telomeres play a crucial role in activity of a cell and its life span. Telomerase is an enzyme that replenishes a portion of telomeres with each round of cell division. Oxidative stress, which has been proven to precipitate cellular damage, has been identified as to possessing the ability to accelerate the shortening of telomeres in cell culture.

The most stunning result of the study was that the telomeres of women with the highest perceived psychological stress anxiety had undergone the equivalent of approximately 10 years of additional aging, compared with those who had the lowest degree of being stressed! The authors of the study commented that their study is the first time that stress symptoms have been linked to a cellular indicator of aging in healthy people.

Say NO to stress! SMILE :D

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