Violence experienced during childhood can have an impact on biological aging

Les violences subies pendant l'enfance peuvent avoir un impact sur le vieillissement biologique

Children who have experienced violence may experience a biological development early.

According to a study published in the journal “Biological Psychiatry”, when someone suffers physical violence during childhood, pubertal development may appear more quickly, and the symptoms of depression also.

A study carried by Jennifer Sumner, Natalie Colich, Monica Uddin, Don Armstrong and Katie McLaughlin asserts that violence experienced during childhood can have an impact on the aging of the individuals concerned.

The study published in the journal “Biological Psychiatry” shows that the abuse physical, emotional or sexual are associated with biological aging faster. The individuals concerned by the violence will know about pubertal development faster than individuals who have not been victims of such violence.

In parallel, age, epigenetics is going to evolve more quickly, epigenetics is a layer of additional information of genes, which defines how they will be used by a cell.

“Each of our cells contains all of our genetic heritage : the 46 chromosomes inherited from our parents on which we account for approximately 25 000 genes. But if all of our cells contain the same information, they are obviously not all used for the same purpose : a skin cell is nothing like a neuron, a cell in the liver has not the same functions that a cell of the heart,” one can read on the website of Inserm.

The researchers studied a sample of 247 children aged between 8 and 16 years old. The results from the study have proven to be factors of aging could be identified biologically by the age of 8 years.

For children who have experienced physical violence, the researchers found an increase in symptoms related to depression, contributing to the onset of health problems later in life.

The study is also interested in the violence, “passive”, such as neglect, or food insecurity. The researchers found that among participants who experienced this type of violence, the development of puberty was delayed.

The study shows that depending on the type of violence suffered, epigenetics may react in a different way. These forms of violence have different effects on the development of the individuals studied.

Thus, the development early or late puberty in some individuals might be a marker of the violence experienced. Children whose puberty would quickly could be taken care of earlier in the framework of psychological support.

The researchers, based on this study, call for an increased investment of the State to educate people, and remove the violence in the homes.


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