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12/23/2009 - Articles

Looking younger means living longer

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Looking younger has often been used informally by doctors to assess a patient’s state of health. But there has been no scientific evidence that perceived age – looking younger or older than your actual age (or, indeed, looking your age) – is a health indicator. Now a team from the University of Southern Denmark reports on a study of perceived age in a group of nearly 2,000 twins aged 70 or older. To see what effect looking younger has on health, photographs were taken of the twins in 2001 and their perceived age rated by a group of female geriatric nurses, male students and older women.

Then the twins’ physical and mental functioning was assessed along with their telomere lengths. The latter is a measure of the ability of cells to carry on replicating. Shorter telomeres are a sign of physical aging. Death records were then used to track the survival of the twins over the next seven years.

Looking younger, or having a lower perceived age, was linked with survival, better physical and mental functioning and longer telomeres. The bigger the difference in perceived age between the two twins, the more likely the older twin was to die first. In other words, looking younger is a sign of good health. It may seem obvious, but it’s the first time it’s been shown that looking younger means you live longer, at least after the age of 70. The researchers say that there may be common genetic factors which link looking younger and survival. Unfortunately, the genes involved haven’t yet been identified!



Christensen K et al Perceived age as clinically useful biomarker of ageing: cohort study Christmas issue BMJ 2009;339:b5262


Created on: 12/23/2009
Reviewed on: 12/23/2009

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sammy wrote 2 weeks 13 hours ago

The formula seems to be correct, younger people have more time until the become old, have more until the end point. Looking younger means you have a good health and a good conservation system, that something that we all want.
Sammy, discount health supplement

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