SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — As if returning from the battlefield with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome wasn’t bad enough, new research shows that war can take years off a veteran’s life as well.

The subjects in two studies were young male and female vets from the Iraq and Afghainstan wars.

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“And what we saw in both those studies was evidence across multiple levels of an accelerated aging process,” Boston University Psychiatrist Erika Wolf said.

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Wolf says they’re were looking for a genetic marker of cellular aging, and found the vets with PTSD showed the most accelerated aging of the brain.

The vets with PTSD also had difficulty with response, and decision making. The researchers also looked at evidence of metabolic syndrome, and a constellation of symptoms like obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease

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“We might want to start thinking about PTSD as a cardiac risk factor,” Wolf said.