We’re always interested in the ageing process and how much of it is determined by genes and how much is determined by environmental factors. This study looking at identical twins confirms that external factors significantly contribute to the ageing process. We found this article in Aesthetic Medicine Magazine:

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A new study involving identical twins has suggested that despite genetic make-up, certain environmental factors, such as the use of antidepressants, can add years to a person’s perceived age.

Results published on the web version of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), show that factors such as divorce or the use of antidepressants can be significantly ageing.

Dr Bahaman Guyuron, ASPS member surgeon and study author, professor and chairman, department of plastic surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, said, “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.”

During the study, Guyuron and colleagues obtained comprehensive questionnaires and digital images from 186 pairs of identical twins. The images were reviewed by an independent panel, who then recorded the perceived age difference between the siblings.

The results revealed that twins who had been divorced appeared nearly two years older than their siblings who were married, single or even widowed.

Antidepressant use was associated with a significantly older appearance and weight too was found to play a major factor. In those sets of twins who were less than 40 years old, the heavier twin was perceived as being older, while in those groups over 40 years old, the heavier twin appeared younger.

“The presence of stress could be one of the common denominators in those twins who appeared older,” commented Guyuron. Additionally, researchers thought that continued relaxation of the facial muscles owing to antidepressant use, could account for sagging.

“This research is important for two reasons,” said Guyuron. “First, we have discovered a number of new factors that contribute to aging and second, our findings put science behind the idea that volume replacement rejuvenates the face.”

www.aestheticmagazine.co.uk