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Menopause, insomnia may accelerate ageing

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New York: Menopause and insomnia may make women age faster, revealed a dual study.

The dual research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Biological Psychiatry, suggested that menopause and insomnia can increase risk for ageing-related diseases and earlier death in women.

“In the women we studied, those reporting symptoms such as restless sleep, waking repeatedly at night, having difficulty falling asleep and waking too early in the morning tended to be older biologically than women of similar chronological age who reported no symptoms,” said Judith Carroll, assistant professor, University of California.

For their research, both used a “biological clock” developed by the researcher which has become a widely used method for tracking the epigenetic shift in the genome.

For the first study on menopause, the researchers tracked methylation, a chemical biomarker linked to aging, to analyse DNA samples from more than 3,100 women, including the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) a major 15-year research programme that addressed the most common causes of death, disability and poor quality of life in postmenopausal women.

They measured the biological age of cells from blood, saliva and inside the cheek, to explore the relationship between each woman’s chronological age and her body’s biological age.

The researchers discovered that menopause speeds up cellular aging by an average of six per cent. On average, the younger a woman is when she enters menopause, the faster her blood ages. This is significant because a person’s blood may mirror what is happening in other parts of the body and this could have implications for death and disease risk.

In the second study on sleep, the researchers drew their data from more than 2,000 women in the WHI using the epigenetic clock and found that postmenopausal women with five insomnia symptoms were nearly two years older biologically than women the same chronological age with no insomnia symptoms.

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