Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Poor children grow up more susceptible to catching colds, study finds

Date:
November 1, 2013
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Researchers have found an association between lower socioeconomic status during childhood and adolescence and the length of telomeres, protective cap-like protein complexes at the end of chromosomes, that ultimately affects the susceptibility to colds in middle-aged adults. Published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, the study showed that children and teens with parents of lower socioeconomic status have shorter telomeres as adults.

The results showed that participants with lower childhood socioeconomic status — indicated by fewer years that their parents were homeowners — had shorter than average telomere length. Telomere length decreased by 5 percent for each year the participants' parents did not own a home.
Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have found an association between lower socioeconomic status during childhood and adolescence and the length of telomeres, protective cap-like protein complexes at the end of chromosomes that ultimately affect the susceptibility to colds in middle-aged adults.

Published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, the study showed that children and teens with parents of lower socioeconomic status have shorter telomeres as adults. Telomere length is a biomarker of aging with telomeres shortening with age. As a cell's telomeres shorten, it loses its ability to function normally and eventually dies. Having shorter telomeres is connected to the early onset of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, with mortality in older adults and, as CMU's Sheldon Cohen first discovered, predicts susceptibility to acute infectious disease in young to midlife adults. This new research now links low childhood socioeconomic status to shorter telomeres and an increased susceptibility to the common cold.

"This provides valuable insight into how our childhood environments can influence our adult health," said Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

In the study, Cohen and his team measured the telomere lengths of white blood cells from 152 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55. To gauge childhood and current socioeconomic status, the participants reported whether they currently own their home and whether their parents owned the family home when they were between the ages of 1 and 18. They were then exposed to a rhinovirus, which causes a common cold, and quarantined for five days to see if they actually developed an upper respiratory infection.

The results showed that participants with lower childhood socioeconomic status -- indicated by fewer years that their parents were homeowners -- had shorter than average telomere length. Telomere length decreased by 5 percent for each year the participants' parents did not own a home. The researchers also found that parental homeownership in both early childhood and adolescence were both associated with adult telomere length.

The participants with lower childhood socioeconomic status were also more likely to become infected by the cold virus. Specifically, for each year their parents did not own a home during their childhood years up to age 18, the participants' odds of developing a cold increased by 9 percent.

"We have found initial evidence for a biological explanation of the importance of childhood experiences on adult health," Cohen said. "The association we found in young and midlife adults suggests why those raised by parents of relatively low socioeconomic status may be at increased risk for disease throughout adulthood."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sheldon Cohen, Denise Janicki-Deverts, Ronald B. Turner, Anna L. Marsland, Margaretha L. Casselbrant, Ha-Sheng Li-Korotky, Elissa S. Epel, William J. Doyle. Childhood socioeconomic status, telomere length, and susceptibility to upper respiratory infection. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2013; 34: 31 DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2013.06.009

Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Poor children grow up more susceptible to catching colds, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131101091910.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2013, November 1). Poor children grow up more susceptible to catching colds, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131101091910.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Poor children grow up more susceptible to catching colds, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131101091910.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins