Major trauma and acceleration of the ageing process

Jack Sullivan, L Mirbahai, Janet Lord

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
330 Downloads (Pure)


It is well established that numerous factors can affect the rate at which we age biologically. Diet, physical activity, lifestyle and our genes all play a major role in influencing the ageing trajectory and longevity. Major trauma affects millions globally, is the major cause of death in young adults and could influence ageing processes but has largely been ignored by biogenterologists. The long-term health consequences of physical trauma are well known in the medical community, how trauma effects the ageing process at a molecular level is not. It has long been difficult to assess ageing trajectories due to the absence of a biomarker of biological rather than chronological age. Recent advances in epigenetics have helped by identifying specific DNA methylation sites as good indicators of biological age. Recent investigations into the impact of psychological trauma and the associated physical stress on accelerating ageing as measured by epigenetic drift are promising. The physical and metabolic stress which is synonymous with physical trauma may also accelerate the ageing process. We suggest that long term epigenetic profiling is required to understand to what degree the ageing trajectory is altered by trauma, which will in turn add support for the development of novel therapies to improve health outcomes for survivors of traumatic injury.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-39
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Early online date11 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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