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Accelerated aging in serious mental disorders

Bersani, Francesco S.a,b; Mellon, Synthia H.c; Reus, Victor I.b; Wolkowitz, Owen M.b

doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000525
PSYCHIATRY, MEDICINE AND THE BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCES: Edited by Mohan Isaac and Igor Filipcic
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Purpose of review Clinical, epidemiological, and biological evidence raises the possibility that serious mental disorders (SMDs) are associated with accelerated biological aging. To the extent this is true; SMDs should not simply be considered in terms of mental illness or brain dysfunction, but also as ‘whole body’ and multisystem illnesses, or else as conditions with significant somatic concomitants.

Recent findings The concept of accelerated biological aging in SMDs is supported by reports of accelerated changes in certain biomarkers normally associated with the aging process.

Summary We define and discuss several proposed biological aging markers that have been examined in SMDs, we review the most recent findings, and we conclude with opinions regarding the merits and meanings of these markers, their usefulness in understanding and treating SMDs, and remaining questions and future directions in this area of research.

aDepartment of Human Neurosciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

bDepartment of Psychiatry, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

cDepartment of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, San Francisco, California, USA

Correspondence to Owen M. Wolkowitz, 401 Parnassus Ave, Box F-0984, San Francisco, CA 94143-0984, USA. Tel: +1 415 476 7433; e-mail: Owen.Wolkowitz@ucsf.edu

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