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What depression, trauma can do to your age and appearance.

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A new study has found that people living with major depressive disorder are biologically older than people without depression, and that childhood trauma exacerbates this effect. The results illuminate the epigenetic mechanisms that might explain this discrepancy.

Major depression is one of the most common mental health problems in the United States.

In fact, more than 16 million adults will have had at least one major depressive episode during the past year.

The condition has been linked to various other adverse outcomes, from a shorter lifespan to a higher risk of cardiovascular problems.



New research shows that major depression may also mean premature aging. Scientists led by Laura Han — from the Amsterdam University Medical Center in the Netherlands — studied the DNA structure of people with depression and made an intriguing discovery.

 Han and colleagues found that the DNA of people with major depression is older by 8 months, on average, than that of people who do not have the condition.

The researchers presented their findings at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference, held in Barcelona, Spain, and they published their study in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

This effect of premature aging was more significant in people who had had adverse childhood experiences, such as violence, trauma, neglect, or abuse.

In the U.S., almost 35 million children have experienced some form of trauma, according to a national survey. That is almost half of the nation’s child population. 

Studying how depression affects DNA

Han and colleagues examined the DNA of 811 people with depression and 319 people without. The participants were enrolled in the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety.

 Using blood samples, the researchers examined how the participants’ DNA changed with age. The study revealed that epigenetic changes took place more quickly in people with depression.

Epigenetics is the study of the changes in gene expression that do not affect the DNA sequence. Such changes can occur as a result of many factors, including environment and lifestyle.

One of the mechanisms through which epigenetic change occurs is called DNA methylation — that is, when a methyl group is transferred and added to the DNA.

Overall, the scientists saw that people with major depressive disorder had a degree of methylation and epigenetic change that was indicative of an older age. More specifically, this means that those with depression were biologically older, by 8 months, than people without depression.

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In some severe depression cases, this biological age was 10–15 years older than the chronological age.

 The study also found that those who had had childhood trauma were biologically 1.06 years older, on average, than people who had not experienced trauma.

The researchers replicated their findings by examining brain tissue samples.

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‘Epigenetic clock runs faster’ in depression

Han comments on their findings, saying, “The fact that we saw similar results in both blood samples and postmortem brain tissue helps support the belief that this is a real effect we are seeing.”

“This work shows,” she explains, “that methylation levels at specific loci increase and decrease with age, and so this pattern of methylation is a good indicator of biological age. This difference becomes more apparent with increasing age, especially once people move into their 50s and 60s.”

The results highlight the biological effect of early-life trauma and the importance of early preventive and therapeutic measures when it comes to depression and adverse childhood experiences.

However, she also points out that more research is needed to strengthen the findings. “Of course,” she says, “these are associations, so we need long-term linked studies (longitudinal studies) to be able to draw any conclusions whether the trauma causes the epigenetic aging.”

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Health & Lifestyle

Hygienic Reasons You Should Avoid Putting Loo Roll on The Seat in Public Restrooms

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Using a public restrooms is rarely an enjoyable experience, as they tend to be left in disgusting conditions.

Most of us try to avoid the smelly, dirty spots at all costs, but when you’ve got to go you’ve got to go.



To make it a little more bearable, the hygiene-conscious try to avoid germs by putting a layer of flimsy loo roll on the seat as a protective shield.

But it turns out that’s actually a really bad idea and exposes you to even more bacteria – this is why.

Toilet seats are actually designed to repel nasty germs as their shape and smooth surface make it tricky for bacteria to latch on.

“In fact, the top of a toilet seat is much cleaner than most people’s kitchen sinks,” Philip Tierno, clinical professor in the departments of microbiology and pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center said to Self.

He said that the type of bacteria found on toilet seats normally dies off relatively quickly.

On the other hand, toilet paper has a rough texture and is designed to be absorbent, making it the ideal material for bacteria to latch on to.

Studies show that with every flush, fecal bacteria can be disseminated into the air.

Since that sends fecal matter everywhere, it could easily land on the roll of toilet paper itself, especially as it’s normally located right next to the lavatory.

At home you can avoid this by flushing with the lid down, but public toilets don’t always have seats.

So when you layer up the toilet seat with layers of bog roll, you’re actually exposing yourself to more germs – gross.

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The best option to avoid coming into contact with nasty bacteria is to squat above the loo, ensure you wash your hands.

“No matter how contaminated your hands are, as long as you wash them properly—for 20 seconds, with soap, and getting under the nail bed—you’re fine,” Tierno said.

He also advises using a paper towel to open the door if you can.

“The towel dispenser, door knob, all of that is contaminated grossly,” Tierno added.

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Health & Lifestyle

Do Not Underestimate The Power Of Lemons. Here’s why

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Most people are familiar with the traditional uses of lemons to soothe sore throats and add some citrus flavour to our foods.

However the diversity of applications of lemons far exceeds general knowledge and once you read the following list, you’ll likely want to stock at least a few lemons in your kitchen 24-7.

1. Freshen the Fridge

Remove refrigerator odours with ease. Dab lemon juice on a cotton ball or sponge and leave it in the fridge for several hours. Make sure to toss out any malodorous items that might be causing the bad smell.

2. High Blood Pressure

Lemon contains potassium which controls high blood pressure and reduces the effect of nausea and dizziness.

3. Prevent Cauliflower From Turning Brown

Cauliflower tend to turn brown with even the slightest cooking. You can make sure the white vegetables stay white by squeezing a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice on them before heating.

4. Mental Health

Lemon water can also prep up your mood and relieve you from depression and stress. Long distance walkers and world travellers as well as explorers look upon the lemon as a Godsend. When fatigue begins, a lemon is sucked through a hole in the top. Quick acting medicine it is, giving almost unbelievable refreshments.

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5. Refresh Cutting Boards

No wonder your kitchen cutting board smells! After all, you use it to chop onions, crush garlic, and prepare fish. To get rid of the smell and help sanitize the cutting board, rub it all over with the cut side of half a lemon or wash it in undiluted juice straight from the bottle.

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6. Respiratory Problems

Lemon water can reduce phlegm; and can also help you breathe properly and aids a person suffering with asthma.



7. Treating Arthritis and Rheumatism

Lemon is a diuretic – assists in the production of urine which helps you to reduce inflammation by flushing out toxins and bacteria while also giving you relief from arthritis and rheumatism.

8. Prevents Kidney Stones

Regular consumption of the refreshing drink — or even lemon juice mixed with water — may increase the production of urinary citrate, a chemical in the urine that prevents the formation of crystals that may build up into kidney stones.

9. Keep Insects Out of the Kitchen

You don’t need insecticides or ant traps to ant-proof your kitchen. Just give it the lemon treatment. First squirt some lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills. Then squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Finally, scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance. The ants will get the message that they aren’t welcome. Lemons are also effective against roaches and fleas: Simply mix the juice of 4 lemons (along with the rinds) with 1/2 gallon (2 litres) water and wash your floors with it; then watch the fleas and roaches flee. They hate the smell.

10. Anti-Ageing

Lemon water reduces the production of free radicals which are responsible for ageing skin and skin damage. Lemon water is calorie free and an antioxidant.

11. Fruit and Vegetable Wash

You never know what kind of pesticides or dirt may be lurking on the skin of your favourite fruits and vegetables. Slice your lemon and squeeze out one tablespoon of lemon juice into your spray bottle. The lemon juice is a natural disinfectant and will leave your fruits and vegetables smelling nice too.

12. Treat Infections

Lemon water can fight throat infections thanks to its antibacterial property. If salt water does not work for you, try lime and water for gargling.



13. Deodourize Your Garbage

If your garbage is beginning to smell yucky, here’s an easy way to deodorize it: Save leftover lemon and orange peels and toss them at the base under the bag. To keep it smelling fresh, repeat once every couple of weeks.

15. Purges The Blood

We consume a lot of junk food or food with a lot of preservatives and artificial flavours. This builds up a lot of toxins in the blood and body but daily consumption of lemon water helps to purify the blood.

16. Make Soggy Lettuce Crisp

Don’t toss that soggy lettuce into the garbage. With the help of a little lemon juice you can toss it in a salad instead. Add the juice of half a lemon to a bowl of cold water. Then put the soggy lettuce in it and refrigerate for 1 hour. Make sure to dry the leaves completely before putting them into salads or sandwiches.

17. Oral Health

Lemon juice also stops bleeding gums and reduces toothaches

18. Lighten Age Spots

Why buy expensive creams when you’ve got lemon juice? To lighten liver spots or freckles, try applying lemon juice directly to the area. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse your skin clean. It’s a safe and effective skin-lightening agent.

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