As I have a family member who is a physician, I was particularly interested in this study. Wow. I hope that the scientists can find a way to repair and lengthen those telomeres.
And this effect is greater when the number of hours increases.
"The findings about the effect of residency focus on stretches of DNA called telomeres, which keep the ends of chromosomes intact, like the plastic end of shoelaces. The discovery that telomeres shrink in an accelerated way among interns suggests the importance of ongoing efforts to reduce the strain of medical training."
"But the researchers say their study also holds implications for other professions and situations that expose people to prolonged stress and months of long hours."
“It will be important to study how telomere changes play out in larger groups of medical trainees and in other groups of people subjected to specific prolonged stresses, such as military training, graduate studies in the sciences and law, working for startup companies, or pregnancy and the first months of parenting.”
In contrast, first year undergraduate university students did not show the same telomere shrinkage even though they were in a stressful situation as well.
The study suggests that it is important to focus more on the work hours of interns to keep our future physicians health.