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by
Helen Smith

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August 3, 2012 - 5:02 am

I saw this article at MSN (from Current Biology) on why women live longer than men and thought it was worth sharing with readers:

New research reveals that mutations to the DNA of the mitochondria cause men to age faster than women — a finding that may explain why women, on average, outlive men.

The researchers from Monash University in Australia examined male and female fruit flies that carried mitochondria — the part of the cell that converts food into energy — of various origin. They found that genetic variation in the mitochondria predicted life expectancy in males, but not in females. The investigators concluded that several mutations within the DNA of mitochondria affect how quickly men age as well as their longevity. …

…Our results therefore suggest that the mitochondrial mutations we have uncovered will generally cause faster male aging across the animal kingdom.”

Luckily,  these researchers (unlike the New York Times) seem fine with finding ways to help men live longer:

The study authors said they plan to continue their research and explore ways to negate the genetic mutations that negatively affect men’s life expectancy.

As my husband always says, “faster, please.”

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Image courtesy shutterstock / Liew Weng Keong

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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