Time flies when you’re having ‘fun’
Match Day is one of the most exciting times in any young, prospective doctor’s life. Finally, the specialty of your dreams is yours. You know the training will be stressful and the hours will be long, but how bad could it be?
It’s not like it’ll take years off your life, right?
Well, according to new research published in Biological Psychiatry, that’s almost exactly what medical residency will do to you.
The researchers took a group of medical students at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, entering their first year of residency and measured their telomere length both before and after their internship year, comparing it with a group of first-year undergraduates. Rapidly shrinking telomere length is a well-accepted sign of aging, and interns had their telomeres shrink at a rate six times faster than their nonmedical peers, who were apparently too busy doing upside-down kegstands to notice how stressful college can be.
Oh, don’t worry, there was most definitely an association between hours worked and increased telomere shrinkage. Those who had to work more than 80 hours a week aged most of all.
So, if you emerge from a particularly difficult internship with the sudden desire to yell at those darn kids for being on your lawn, we completely understand.