I recently wrote about amazing findings showing that stress in early life actually causes DNA damage. Researchers at Duke have taken the next step, finding the exact receptor that is disabled by chronic stress, resulting in genetic damage.
This adds strength to what I believe about making sure our kids are brought up in Good Enough environments: We already know that a LITTLE bit of stress is a good thing. It toughens us up and helps us learn new lessons. But too much stress, over a long period of time, is a bad thing. That's why children brought up in chronically abusive or deprived environments fare so poorly. And these folks at Duke have found a glimpse into exactly how that works, on a molecular level. Cool stuff.
Their research is connected to how our cells are damaged in a variety of ways -- including by the aging process -- and I know I'm not the only 40-something parent out there hoping science will help us push the envelope of healthy life way out into the future, giving us more time with our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Do you think science will offer us a cure for stress and aging -- in our lifetimes? I hope so!
Dr. Heather The BabyShrink