Is a Wandering Mind a Sign of Aging?

AARP:

There’s a new study that suggests that if your mind frequently wanders or gets distracted — hey, are you paying attention? — it means your cells are aging too quickly.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, wanted to test whether being able to focus on the here and now predicts better health and longevity.

To measure longevity, they looked at telomeres, the little caps at the ends of a cell’s chromosomes that are considered a biomarker for how fast our bodies are aging. Telomeres shorten with age and also in response to stress and depression.

The researchers tested 239 healthy, college-educated women, ages 50 through 65, asking them about life satisfaction, stress and how frequently they found themselves daydreaming or distracted from what they were doing. Researchers then used blood tests to measure the length of the subjects’ telomeres.

They found that the women who reported frequently wandering minds tended to have shorter telomeres by about 200 base pairs — equivalent to about four to five years of additional aging, according to the study, which was published online this month in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.

Read the whole story: AARP

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