Substance Use Can Lead to Premature Aging

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Substance Use Can Lead to Premature Aging

Researchers from the University of Iowa report on a way to measure substance use by looking at a person’s DNA. After analyzing data from Gene Expression Omnibus, the researchers found that methylation patterns, a molecular modification that affect gene expression, were affected by alcohol and cigarettes use.

Methylation patterns progress in a normal while as people age and as their environment changes. Adding substance use into a person’s lifestyle also affects these patterns. Doctors can now use this as a new way to test if someone has been abusing these substances more than they say.

While studying the DNA, the researchers also found that exposure to cigarettes smoke and high levels of alcohol consumption also led to premature aging. These researchers want to collect further information on how methylation is affected by quitting smoking and drinking to further look at the connection.