dcsimg

DNA Study Finds That People Who Completed Less Education Age More Quickly

May 11, 2011

Young man and old man workingThinking of going back to school? That might be a good idea, but for a reason you probably were not thinking of--a study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity indicates that people with less academic education, may age more quickly than those with higher levels of education.

According to Medical News Today, researchers took blood samples from 450 volunteers--healthy women and men aged between 53 and 76--from the "Whitehall II" study, an ongoing study that started in 1985 to investigate links between socioeconomic status and health. They hypothesized that the length of telomere sections would be more related to education than to socioeconomic circumstances. Telomeres are the "caps" at the ends of chromosomes that guard against damage and the loss of cell functions. Shorter telomeres are thought to be an indicator of faster ageing.

Reuters reported that study participants were separated into four groups based on education level--those with no education, those who left formal education around the age of 16, those who left around 18, and those who earned a degree from a higher education institution.

Results showed that people with less education had shorter telomeres, suggesting that they may be ageing faster. According to Medical News Today, even after adjusting for confounding factors, researchers still found that participants with less education had shorter telomeres, which indicates that socioeconomic circumstances do not affect telomere length, as was previously thought.

In other words, "Education is a marker of social class that people acquire early in life, and our research suggests that it is long-term exposure to the conditions of lower status that promotes accelerated cellular ageing," said Professor Andrew Steptoe, lead researcher on the study, as quoted by BBC News.

Researchers speculated that education helps people make better decisions that can positively affect their long term health. Furthermore, they also argued that those with higher education levels may experience less stress or may be better equipped with coping skills, such as problem solving, that help them better deal with the stresses of life, which in turn can reduce biological stress on their bodies.

According to BBC News, the researchers for this study were primarily from University College London. However, they also collaborated with experts at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff and the University of California San Francisco.


Compiled by Heidi M. Agustin

Sources:

"Educational attainment but not measures of current socioeconomic circumstances are associated with leukocyte telomere length in healthy older men and women," sciencedirect.com, April 1, 2011, Andrew Steptoe, Mark Hamer, Lee Butcher, Jue Lin, Lena Brydon, Mika Kivimaki, Michael Marmot, Elizabeth Blackburn, Jorge D. Erusalimsky

"Less educated 'will age faster'," bbc.co.uk, May 10, 2011, Pallab Ghosh

"Less Educated People Age Faster, DNA Study," medicalnewstoday.com, May 11, 2011, Catharine Paddock, PhD

"Study links lower education to faster ageing," reuters.com, May 10, 2011, Kate Kelland

Career and Education News

Find a school near you

Our News Writers and Editors

CityTownInfo Writers and Editors

Follow CityTownInfo.com

Follow Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Youtube

Career and College Resources on CityTownInfo

Real-World Career Reports

Career Stories from workers: daily activities, job tips, best/worst job aspects, training, etc.
Daily Career & Education News from our staff. We're an approved Google News provider!

Career References and Original Articles

Resource Center. A starting point for all CityTownInfo career and college resources.
Career Overviews of hundreds of careers: descriptions, salaries, forecasts, schools, more.
Best Careers Not Requiring Degrees: Good pay, job growth, low need for degrees.
Helpful Articles, many in "how-to" format; e.g., "How to Become a Chef".
Infographics covering employment and educational trends.

College Directories and Lists

These lists link to thousands of detailed school profiles.

Colleges by State. Nearly every college and trade school in the country.
Colleges Listed Alphabetically. About 7,000 colleges & trade schools, including online schools.
Colleges by Major City. Browse cities with multiple college options.
Online Colleges. Colleges with online degree programs.
Graduate Schools by State. Colleges offering graduate degree programs.
Graduate Schools by Major City. Find cities with multiple graduate school options.