2017 McNair Scholars Program Summer Symposium

Presentation Type

Open Access Paper

Keywords

Cortisol--Physiological aspects; Older people--Health and hygiene;

Abstract

Abstract: Persistent elevated basal levels of the hormone cortisol are an indication of chronic stress. Maladaptive response to stress, or chronic psychological stress, is thought to play a crucial role in the biological mechanisms involved in mental disorders, disease, and accelerated aging. In 2011, a critical connection was reported between elevated cortisol and the oxidative damage to DNA associated with aging and disease in a study of elderly participants (ages 63-83) via 24-hour urinary samples (Joergensen, et. al., 2011). This connection, if verified, has implications for how stress may accelerate the aging process and the onset of cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. The possible relationship between psychological stress and the cellular damage that underlies aging and disease is explored here, replicating the prior study with a sample of 49 young adults (ages 18-26) via direct salivary assay. Results show a significant association was also found, suggesting a link between elevated cortisol and DNA damage at earlier ages. Potential clinical impacts and suggestions for further research are discussed.

Start Date

4-8-2017 10:00 AM

End Date

4-8-2017 12:00 PM

Faculty Advisor

Catherine DeSoto

Department

Department of Psychology

File Format

application/pdf

Embargo Date

8-4-2017

Included in

Psychology Commons

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Aug 4th, 10:00 AM Aug 4th, 12:00 PM

Evidence of Youthful Aging: Chronic Stress and the Association With DNA Damage

Abstract: Persistent elevated basal levels of the hormone cortisol are an indication of chronic stress. Maladaptive response to stress, or chronic psychological stress, is thought to play a crucial role in the biological mechanisms involved in mental disorders, disease, and accelerated aging. In 2011, a critical connection was reported between elevated cortisol and the oxidative damage to DNA associated with aging and disease in a study of elderly participants (ages 63-83) via 24-hour urinary samples (Joergensen, et. al., 2011). This connection, if verified, has implications for how stress may accelerate the aging process and the onset of cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. The possible relationship between psychological stress and the cellular damage that underlies aging and disease is explored here, replicating the prior study with a sample of 49 young adults (ages 18-26) via direct salivary assay. Results show a significant association was also found, suggesting a link between elevated cortisol and DNA damage at earlier ages. Potential clinical impacts and suggestions for further research are discussed.