People with youthful faces are more likely to live to a longer life than those who look more than their years, revealed by Danish researchers in a new study.
New research findings are reported in the British Medical Journal of UK.
To determine whether perceived age correlates with survival and important age related phenotypes, researchers asked nurses, trainee teachers and peers to guess the age of the twins from mug shots.
Participants in the study were 20 nurses, 10 young men, and 11 older women. For all three groups of assessors, perceived age was significantly associated with survival.
The likelihood that the older looking twin of the pair died first increased with increasing discordance in perceived age within the twin pair-that is, the bigger the difference in perceived age within the pair, the more likely that the older looking twin died first. Twin analyses suggested that common genetic factors influence both perceived age and survival. Perceived age, controlled for chronological age and sex, also correlated significantly with physical and cognitive functioning as well as with leucocyte telomere length.
Key pieces of DNA called telomeres, which indicate the ability of cells to replicate, are also linked to how young a person looks. A telomere of shorter length is thought to signify faster ageing and has been linked with a number of diseases. In the study, the people who looked younger had longer telomeres.
Perceived age-which is widely used by clinicians as a general indication of a patient’s health-is a robust biomarker of ageing that predicts survival among those aged 70 and correlates with important functional and molecular ageing phenotypes.
Source: British Medical Journal, UK