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Medicine Science

Adrenaline May Damage DNA 173

Thelasko writes "Ever wonder why heads of statetend to age twice as fast as the rest of us? New research shows that adrenaline may damage DNA, potentially accelerating aging."
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Adrenaline May Damage DNA

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  • In other news... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Friday August 26, 2011 @08:26PM (#37224414)

    stress causes you to age...

    Go figure!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, what they should really do is run an experiment to see once and for all if bathing in the blood of a hundred virgins keeps you young.

    • Actually the closer we get to pinning down the precise mechanism, the closer we get to figuring out ways to block/alter it.
      • This is only any use if at the same time, they can cure all the other diseases that are truly debilitating - Alzheimer's being a prime example. I certainly don't want to be trapped in my body unable to die of other natural causes.

        • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

          This is only any use if at the same time, they can cure all the other diseases that are truly debilitating - Alzheimer's being a prime example.

          Last I read the mechanism behind Alzheimers was becoming fairly well understood. I suspect that the vast majority of disease will be curable by the end of this century and probably before.

        • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @12:12AM (#37225464)
          Why is this only useful if they can cure "diseases x,y,z"? Isn't aging the most debilitating disease of all? If it yields any insights into how we age, even those that don't lead directly to cures, there can still be much merit.
          • Its also important to consider diminishing returns. Another thing to consider is that, in biology, many things are related in ways that are not immediately obvious. A third aspect is that researchers specializing in different fields will have different perspectives. So it is good to have a diverse field of study.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Friday August 26, 2011 @09:51PM (#37224852)

      Yeah it sounds really obvious, until you realize they're figuring out the actual biochemical mechanism behind it. Stress also increases the chance of heart disease and cancer. P53 (or specifically its failure) is also involved in many cancers.

      It looks like useless research on the surface, for the lay person. But when you dig into it you realize that if you can map out the biochemical pathway, you can think about designing drugs to block certain parts of it - resulting in prolonged life or decreases tumor incidence, for example. Stuff like this actually is important.

      • I think it makes sense that stress would promote mutations. Organisms which do not cope with their environment need to experiment with the genes of subsequent generations, to find a way to adapt.

        • They would need to be mutating the sperm/egg cells. A mutation in a skin cell (for example) is not going to get passed on. That does make me wonder if stress level is related to birth defects or anything like that though. Maybe mutations elsewhere are just an unwanted side effect. I can't see how that would be selected for.

          • Actually, here is the paper []. They say it does occur in the testes.

          • by Alsee ( 515537 )

            Maybe mutations elsewhere are just an unwanted side effect. I can't see how that would be selected for.

            When bacteria are in a starvation or other stress situation they do selectively increase their mutation rate. That can be a useful strategy given their rapid reproduction rate and their inability to move to a better environment. However I doubt that applies in higher animals. In stress situations the body may shut down some repair processes to conserve energy, or the body may crank up some potentially damaging processes to increase fight-or-flight performance. Stress-related mutations in humans would almost

    • by duguk ( 589689 )

      stress causes you to age...

      Go figure!

      See, I always presumed they were just using cocaine. Certainly would explain a lot.

    • Adrenaline is not about stress. Adrenaline is more about panic.

      But yes, your statement is correct: Stress is debilitating to the body. Being in a permanent state of stress means your body tries to put on weight, your state of mind is not easy-going like it when you're not stressed, your immune system is affected etc etc. (Also, there is good stress and bad stress. The stress you impose on yourself is not too harmful, which is why many highly driven people enjoy excellent health)

  • What does adrenaline have to do with heads of state? I mean unless you're Gaddafi and on the run from rebels.
    • Stress of all kinds cause adrenaline. You banging your head while you are stuck in traffic, or opening a bill you cannot afford to pay, still releases adrenaline. It isn't the same quanity of adrenaline you get if say a bear was chasing you, but it is adrenaline none the less, and living in that state for a long time, will have similar effects on the body. I can't vouch for what goes on behind whitehouse doors because IANAP, but I would imagine despite how much we assume these guys are playing golf and flip
    • Yeah, I mean... what kind of normal, peaceful politician is under any significant form of stress []?
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Presumably being told the results of the latest polls saying how badly you suck tends to take its toll, no matter how many rounds of golf you play.
    • What does adrenaline have to do with heads of state?

      Okay, imagine someone going up to you and yelling the following, REALLY LOUD: "The economy is falling apart!!! Everyone thinks you're a Muslim born in Kenya!!! We're spending billions in Afghanistan propping up a failed state and getting U.S. servicemen killed!!! Nobody can find jobs!!! Wikileaks just released our diplomatic cables! Still no jobs! We found Osama Bin Laden but he's in Pakistan so either you tell them and he may get away or you don't and b

  • by whiteboy86 ( 1930018 ) on Friday August 26, 2011 @08:41PM (#37224512)
    I thought it was a common sense that any physical, mental or biological (food) stress can lead to DNA damage and wear out.
    • by martas ( 1439879 )
      I thought it was common sense that cancer kills. Why are we doing so much research on these things? And with taxpayer money, too!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aliquis ( 678370 )

      Common sense isn't science thought.

      "Of course the world is flat!"

  • If adrenaline causes rapid aging enough that presidents seem to age ten years for every four in office, then how does one explain professional athletes who compete (or at least practice) almost every day for 10-20 years and come out of it looking, if anything, young for their age?

  • Green skin, gigantic muscles, and torn clothing.

  • ...die young.
    • . . .but then you'll leave a good-looking corpse . . . unless "live fast" also means you'll be traveling at a high rate of speed when you die.
  • by ItMustBeEsoteric ( 732632 ) <> on Friday August 26, 2011 @09:30PM (#37224766)
    If this were true in all cases, people like me would be in trouble. I run 50+ miles per week and the runner's adrenaline high is a part of my daily life. However, it has to be balanced with the benefit of aerobic exercise: [] That said, I'd imagine most heads of states don't put in those kind of miles, and the CNN article (mostly about Obama) is far from scientific. "Looking older" has shit to do with overall health in many cases. However, the study seems to imply chronically elevated adrenaline levels--and athletes have anything but. Catch us before or after a workout, and many of us* are some of the most mellow people you could meet (because the stress relief offered by heavy exercise is a hell of a boon). Personally, I think that's the key that many people who "read" this article will miss: stress keeps adrenaline *chronically* elevated.
    • by tyrione ( 134248 )
      Agreed. The claims that adrenaline is the cause is going to be proven false. However, I wouldn't doubt that adrenaline under severe stress becomes the transport agent for the real culprit that causes one's DNA to weaken and cause accelerated aging, whereas, adrenaline under sports, sexual intercourse [both emit large quantities of endorphins] will be found to strengthen one's defenses against such attacks on one's DNA and thus slow the aging process. Yogis have long attributed Tantric Sex to very youthful a
      • Next step: find a woman who shares my interests and is willing to, erhm, work with me to live forever. :)
      • Yogis have long attributed Tantric Sex to very youthful appearances in those far beyond their youth.

        And the world's oldest woman claims that the secret to long life is to smoke large quantities of cannabis, but both statements are unproven. Both strategies still sound worth a try, though.

    • Smoking cigarettes is a big part of early aging.

      Switch to spitless tobacco pouches

      Or maybe have a good cigar now and then.

      • I quit smoking all together after having done it (though admittedly lightly--like 1-2 packs a week) for a few years. I did it in baby steps, even using one of those atomizer things for a while, but the final push was actually wanting to up my physical activity more than anything else. The boosted lung capacity is well worth the occasional craving I get now and again.
    • I am wondering why you think running causes you to experience adrenaline. Everything I've seen suggests it's caused by something like dopamine or endorphines [], not adrenaline. The most likely way you would experience an adrenaline rush while running is if a giant dog were chasing you. Which it probably isn't.
      • 1. Adrenaline rush of a start of a race. 2. Glancing at the GPS, realizing I'm close to some speed goal kicks up my "fight or flight" to push after it. 3. I have been chase by dogs more often than I would like! 4. Competing with/trying to pass a friend/other runner/person walking a dog that's barking at me. Etc. There's plenty of things running that get the adrenaline up, too. It is a distinctly different feeling that the floating, rewarding, I-could-go-on-forever endorphin high. Perhaps I should
        • ok, sounds like you're probably describing adrenaline. Might want to consider figuring out a way to not get so excited about all that that stuff. Apparently it is damaging your DNA, and keeping you from living as long as if you had a more Zen-like attitude towards running.

          Although I'd guess running is still better than not running, and who'd want to live without running anyway? ;)
          • I'm an adrenaline junkie, fortunately or unfortunately! That's the reason I dig rock climbing and roller coasters, too.

            That said, I am trying to learn to be more Zen about running, especially as I'm transitioning to marathon-and-ultra distances. I even run with my mala [] for my long runs these days to keep myself mentally calm and collected. This came as a result of reading both Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and Barefoot Running.

            I still love the rush of pushing through shorter runs in the ways I described ab

          • Although I'd guess running is still better than not running, and who'd want to live without running anyway? ;)

            Depends on where you live. If you have to suck a bunch of fumes while you run it's healthier to stay home. Bicycling is the same. I have never understood all these people who want to raise their respiration and then suck toxics. Sure, it sucks that the cars own all the prime transportation real estate. I have a MTB...

            You could complain that there's no way to do this living in a city, and that's true so long as cities are designed to support car companies. Cities would be fucking great without cars. All Amer

            • lol I lived in a city in El Salvador where my snot started coming out grey from all the particulate matter that was floating in the air from cars. It was really bad and I was glad to leave there because of that.

              Surely most American cities are not that bad. Are you sure there is really a level of toxicity in the air worth worrying about? Or are you just talking about along the freeway?

              Incidentally, country living isn't much wouldn't believe the amount of particulate matter (dust, fecal
              • Surely most American cities are not that bad. Are you sure there is really a level of toxicity in the air worth worrying about? Or are you just talking about along the freeway?

                Most American cities are not that bad, but a few are pretty gross, and anyway studies have been done (yes, I am too lazy to citation-hunt... sue me) that show that in heavy traffic areas even in this country it's healthier to drive than to jog or bike in traffic.

                Incidentally, country living isn't much wouldn't believe the amount of particulate matter (dust, fecal matter if you're by a horse pen) floating in the air, especially around harvest time.

                Yeah, I live in wine country, and am surrounded by horses, vineyards, and even cattle. So I'm pretty well familiar with the joy of having several times the dust of practically anywhere else. I get to clean my PC out very frequently, which really suc

      • by Flammon ( 4726 )

        Adrenaline is released during races and key workouts in competitive athletes.

        Adrenaline is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland in the body of many animals. When it is produced in the body it stimulates the heart-rate, contracts blood vessels, dilates air passages, and has a number of more minor effects. Adrenaline is naturally produced in high-stress or physically exhilarating situations. []

    • ...and the runner's adrenaline high...

      The runner's high is from endorphins, not adrenaline.

  • My plan of hiding in my house and doing nothing exciting or stressful ever is working out perfectly.

  • I'll trust Starfleet medical [] on this one.
    • Note quite. Spock magics up an apparently adrenaline-based serum that undoes the rapid aging that some radiation exposure caused in that particular episode. As far as adrenaline itself is concerned, McCoy only says it was used as a radiation treatment in the past, and might be part of a cure for their predicament.
    • The cure for rapid aging (or late youth) is the transporter (1 [], 2 [], 3 []), psychic magic (4 [], 5 []), or nothing (6 []).

      I think I've found all or almost all the episodes that deal with *rapid* age changes. The Bashir episode is questionable, as the aging only occurred in his mind. I can't think of any relevant Voyager or Enterprise episodes. Q's kid ages rapidly for Janeway, but that's sort of to be expected.... There are several episodes that take place partly in the future (the end of Enterprise; the DS9 episode with

  • Adrenaline may do some damage to your DNA. But nothing like what the bear will do to it if it catches you.
  • Not too much adrenaline in this here basement ....

  • If it can be scientifically proven that stress causes premature aging, will workplace stress become the subject of OSHA regulations and workman's comp litigation?

  • So now my adrenal glands are going to be required to carry a warning label?
    • Only in California. Will TV shows and movies have to have warnings too? Selling things in CA is almost not worth it, what with the extra cost.
  • I mean, didn't Star Wars teach you anything? It is a sign of the dark side–all your choices, they affect the flesh, rotting it, as the dark side rots you from within.


    a) Adrenaline was not involved in this experiments

    b) no word that the compound use directly attacks the DNA, but only blocks pathways.

    That is interesting and makes sense. Evolutionary stress was a mechanism which was active only in emergency situations to provide all resources to muscles and movement. In this terms reducing accumulation of unwanted substances in cells (e.g. oxidants) would have never payed off, especially if your maximum age was limited due to other things.

    From linked summary:
    In the st

  • . . . burns those little DNA strands twice as fast.

    Better to live large and die young that to live small and suffer long.
  • I had life circumstances that stressed me beyond belief. I'm talking 24/7 constant worry and dread to extremes I've never felt in my life for over 2 months straight. Shortly after I noticed I started balding and I've always had a full head of hair. Yes, it could be just a coincidence but I've read there is such a thing as stress related baldness and if it's short-term hair will usually return. Also, this stressful episode of my life is over but I feel entirely burnt-out as a result.

    I exercise and try an

  • No.....running at a faster pace causes you to age, and therefore we know adrenalin makes you pump blood faster...hence why this would seem as the reason.
    Any drug that makes your metabolic rate run faster makes you age faster, as the degeneration is quicker then the regeneration, unless you take steroids or gh or other know drugs to counter degeneration, you will age faster, but take gh, with end up with no signs of aging.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun