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B. Tracking How Psychological Stress Leads to Cellular Damage

Narrator: This is Science Today. A University of California, San Francisco study suggested an actual cellular mechanism for how chronic stress may cause premature aging of cells and the onset of disease. Lead author Elissa Epel admits they are now flooded with follow-up questions.

Epel: We know now that there is a link between stress and these markers of cell aging, we don't know how. We don't know what's in the black box between mind and cell aging and we are trying to map out how the biochemical pathway that will help us explain how perceptions of stress can lead to this type of cellular damage.

Epel says they will primarily be examining people.

Because we can only understand resilience of stress by really understanding how people cope with chronic stress. So we're now examining dementia caregivers and we're following them for two years and so we're looking at factors such as genetics, personality and primarily how they cope with caregiving stress and looking at how that predicts different aspects of health years later.

For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.