Are healthy girls affected physically by their mothers’ depression?

Researchers following adolescent and pre-adolescent healthy daughters of mothers with a history of depression, have found that the chromosomes of these high-risk girls show signs of cellular aging.  In a paper published in the Sept. 30 edition of Molecular Psychiatry, Stanford scientists found that telomeres, the caps at the end of chromosomes whose length shortens as a person ages, are shorter than normal in girls whose mothers have had multiple episodes of depression.  What was especially surprising, according to these researchers, was that these 10-to-14  year-old girls with telomere shortening showed no signs or symptoms of depression at the beginning of the study, when their telomeres were measured.