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Originally published April 12 2009

Antidepressant Drugs Linked to Accelerated Aging and More Wrinkles

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The use of antidepressant drugs can contribute to faster aging, including the development of wrinkles, according to a study on identical twins conducted by researchers from University Hospitals Case Medical Center and published online in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

"A person's heritage may initially dictate how they age, but if you introduce certain factors into your life, you will certainly age faster. Likewise, if you avoid those factors you can slow down the hands of time," said researcher and plastic surgeon Bahaman Guyuron.

The researchers sought to determine the relative influence of genetic and environmental factors on aging by comparing identical twins, who share the same genetic code. Each member of 186 pairs of twins completed a comprehensive questionnaire and provided digital photographs. An independent panel was recruited to estimate the perceived age difference between each pair of twins. When one twin had used antidepressants and the other had not, the former appeared significantly older than the latter.

Other factors associated with an older appearance included divorce, obesity in the young and abnormal weight loss in the middle aged or elderly.

One element linking all of the observed risk factors for accelerated aging might simply be stress, Guyuron noted, but there might be a more direct effect as well. Because antidepressants usually function as muscle relaxants, their continued use might eventually lead the facial muscles to lose tone and to sag. Likewise, abnormal weight loss can contribute to a sagging look.

The good news from the study, Guyuron said, is that it provides tips for people hoping to avoid stressors that lead to more rapid aging.

"In this study, we looked at identical twins because they are genetically programmed to age exactly the same, and in doing so we essentially discovered that, when it comes to your face, it is possible to cheat your biological clock," Guyuron said.

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