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Feb 6

Long-term unemployment may accelerate ageing in men, study finds

Men who are unemployed for more than two years show signs of faster ageing in their DNA, a study has found, Imperial College London reports.

Researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Oulu, Finland studied DNA samples from 5,620 men and women born in Finland in 1966.

They measured structures called telomeres, which lie at the ends of chromosomes and protect the genetic code from being degraded. Telomeres become shorter over a person’s lifetime, and their length is considered a marker for biological ageing. Short telomeres are linked to higher risk of age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The study, funded by the Wellcome Trust, found that men who had been unemployed for more than two of the preceding three years were more than twice as likely to have short telomeres compared to men who were continuously employed.

This trend was not seen in women, which may be because fewer women than men in the study were unemployed for long periods in their 30s.



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