Premature aging linked to disadvantaged neighbourhoods and depression symptoms
Feeling depressed and living in a deprived urban neighbourhood could be making you age faster, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University. The findings, showed that living in urban environments marked by material and social inequities, and having depression symptoms, were independently associated with premature biological aging, even after accounting for individual-level health and behavioural risk factors, such as chronic conditions and poor health behaviours.
Depressive symptoms in the study were measured using a 10-item standardized depression scale. The researchers found an acceleration in the risk of death by one month for every point increase on the depressive symptom score. They theorized that emotional distress caused by depression may result in more biological wear and tear and dysregulation of physiological systems, which in turn could lead to premature aging.
The researchers assessed neighbourhood material and social deprivation using two indices that were developed by the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE) based on 2011 census. Social deprivation reflects the presence of fewer social resources in the family and community, and material deprivation is an indicator of people’s inability to access goods and conveniences of modern life, such as adequate housing, nutritious food, a car, high-speed internet, or a neighbourhood with recreational facilities.
The researchers found an increase in the risk of death by almost one year for those exposed to greater neighbourhood deprivation compared to lower neighbourhood deprivation.
Association of Neighborhood Deprivation and Depressive Symptoms With Epigenetic Age Acceleration: Evidence From the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, The Journals of Gerontology Series A,DOI 10.1093/gerona/glad118
B.Sc Life Sciences, M.Sc Biotechnology, B.Ed