Since “women with chronically ill children generally reported more stress” and since “there was a very striking connection between stress and telomere length,” isn’t it probable that there is a strong connection between telomere length and becoming the parent of a chronically ill child? I would be interested to learn whether the connection between stress and telomere length held for adoptive parents of chronically ill children and for parents of teenagers, compared with parents in general.

Bob Vanasse
Weymouth, Mass

The researchers don’t think the telomere length underlies the chronic illness because they also found a correlation between telomere shortening and perceived stress. Some mothers with chronically ill children weren’t stressed and had long telomeres. A study of adoptive parents would still be interesting but might not be necessary with these data .—C. Brownlee