A new research study, summarized this weekend in Science Daily, suggests a possible mechanism for PTSD’s link with having shorter life. … veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who were diagnosed with PTSD had shorter telomeres than those without. The study defined telomeres as “DNA-protein complexes that cap the ends of chromosomes and protect them from damage and mutations.” They stated that “Short telomere length is associated with an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as early death.” Other analyses indicated that those in the PTSD group with more traumas, including neglect, physical abuse or sexual abuse, had the shortest telomeres. This suggests a possible additive effect of PTSD and childhood traumas in predicting telomere length and risk for early mortality. Unfortunately, the study could not address this question directly because those without PTSD had few childhood traumas.