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Monday, 14 December 2009

People who look young `live longer`


Are you a baby face? Well, then chances are high that you will live to a ripe old age, says a new study.
Researchers, led by Professor Kaare Christensen of the University of Southern Denmark, have carried out the study and found that people who look young for their age are likely to enjoy a longer life.

For the study, the researchers tested the belief that a person`s perceived age gives a general indication of his health.

They looked at twins to see whether perceived age -- basically how old others think you are -- is linked with survival, as well as important age-related traits such as physical functioning and brainpower.

The researchers also examined evidence relating to chromosomes and DNA and their effect on longevity. But in the end, it seems, the best method of research was simply a long hard look in the mirror, a news daily reported.

"It`s probably easy to explain because people who`ve had a tougher life are more likely to die early -- and their life is reflected in their face," Professor Christensen was quoted as saying.

In fact, the research started back in spring 2001, when 1,826 Danish twins aged 70 years and over underwent physical and cognitive tests and had their faces photographed.

Three groups of assessors rated the perceived age of the twins from the photographs.

The assessors did not know the age range of the twins, and each twin of a pair had their age assessed on different days. Death records were then used to track the survival of the twins over a seven-year period.

Perceived age was significantly associated with survival, even after adjusting for chronological age, sex, and the environment in which each pair of twins grew up. And, the bigger the difference in perceived age within a twin pair, the more likely it was that the olderlooking twin died first.

The researchers also investigated whether longevity was linked to the length of telomeres, which are tiny `caps` on the ends of chromosomes that protect the strands of DNA from inflammation and other ageing processes.

Longer telomeres are a sign of being biologically younger and also of being healthier, but they dismissed the telomere tests as complicated.

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