Covid 19 has given us a glimpse of the importance of Mental health. It is one of the most critical part of health, which is often neglected. Mental health should be given the amount of attention that it deserves as it is responsible for the healthy functioning of the human mind.
Depression And Early Mortality Due To Accelerated Cellular Aging.
Poor mental health often leads to mental suffocation in individuals in one form or another. Individuals with poor mental health should be wise enough to understand that there is a problem after that comes acceptance. Half of the solution is in accepting that there is a problem. After that, you can consult a professional to shed some light on it, and then you can work your way out of it.
Depression is one of the clinical conditions that is attributed to poor mental health. But the way we approach Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), which is one of the most prevalent health concerns globally, is about to change.
DNA markers of an individual suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) are suggestive of accelerated cellular aging as they were found to be 2 years older when compared with an individual of the same chronological age.
Cells of Individuals suffering from MDD were studied and compared with that of a healthy individual, results were quite shocking. Those cells were having rates of methylation that were higher than expected, and that too at very specific sites in the DNA. Furthermore, the methylation pattern present in individuals with MDD indicated that their cellular age was generally found to be accelerated, relative to healthy controls.
According to a study published in Translational Psychiatry, blood samples of individuals with MDD were analyzed through ‘GrimAge clock to study their methylation patterns. GrimAge clock is a mathematical algorithm for predicting an individual’s remaining life span based on methylation patterns present at the cellular level. The GrimAge score highlighted the affinity of individuals with MDD towards increased risk of mortality and an average of 2 years on the GrimAge clock when compared to another healthy individual of the same chronological biological age.
Before this study, both individuals healthy and those with MDD were screened for a physical health examination. Individuals with MDD showed no signs of accelerated aging or age-related pathology. In some cases, accelerated cellular aging persisted even after accounting for the factors like lifestyle which includes habits of smoking and even BMI. This not only suggested the independence of cellular aging in some cases but also highlighted the presence of an underlying biological mechanism that is responsible for the same.
“This Fundamentally alters the way we approach depression”
– Katerina Protsenko, Lead author of the study.
WHO states, that some 300 million people suffer from depression on a global scale, which accounts for 4.4% of the world population. According to Owen Wolkowitz, individuals that suffer from depression have significantly higher rates of age-based physical illnesses and early mortality even after accounting for the factors of poor lifestyle choices. That always posed as a source of confusion and later led him to look for aging at a cellular level.
Furthermore, researchers are hoping to determine whether pharmacological therapy can normalize the cellular aging process in affected individuals before it advances and leads to further complications. The effect of pharmacotherapy on methylation patterns is yet to be studied. Although the method of predicting mortality through GrimAge methylation clock has been associated with the general population, research has yet to prove its effectiveness in predicting mortality in individuals with MDD.
Alteration of methylation patterns through pharmacotherapy might help us understand the dynamics of these patterns so that they can be used to normalize
At last Katerina Protsenko said, This knowledge shifts the understanding of depression from purely a mental or psychiatric disease to a whole-body disease.