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The Science Behind Work Stress and Aging

Editorial Staff

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The Science Behind Work Stress and Aging

If you’ve held a job long enough, you know the toll work stress can take on your health. With longer hours, bad sleep and work-related stress, your job can increase your cortisol levels, which will take a biological toll on anyone. Researchers have found this is especially true for new doctors. A few medical professionals have reported finding their first spotting of a gray hair during medical residency. This is just the start of how the stress can trickle down to our genes.

Doctors have incredible stress factors to deal with on a daily basis, including the pressure of saving lives. From the moment they start medical training, they begin the experience of intense stress as they learn to perform.

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There is a new study that shows how long hours, disrupted sleep and constant stress can take a real biological toll on new doctors as they finish residency. Researchers from the University of Michigan tested the DNA of 250 first-year medical residents around the country, measuring their stress levels. They used samples of participants’ saliva to examine the length of their telomeres before and after their first year of residency. The discovery was shocking. It was determined that the DNA of first-year residents aged six times faster than normal.

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