Older Fathers and Grandfathers May Pass on Longevity to Children

Researchers conclude that children who were conceived by an older father, who also was conceived by an older father, may live longer. 

Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell


What’s the Latest Development?

According to researchers at Northwestern University, men who become fathers at an older age pass off longevity chromosomes to their children that scientists believe will prolong the child's life. The chromosomes containing long disposable buffers called telomeres, which protect its ends, have been determined by studies to lengthen one’s life span. A recent study examined the DNA of mothers who gave birth in the early 80's and the blood of their children“then compared the children’s telomere lengths to the ages of their fathers and grandfathers when each successive generation was born.” The results indicate the men who procreated later in life had longer telomeres that their offspring inherited. The idea of longer telomeres extending life comes from previous lab tests done on mice, where telomere extension reversed signs of aging in the mice. Researchers do not suggest that men should hold off on procreating, because the older a man is the higher the risk of cognitive issues arising in their childrensuch as autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Researchers say that men who put off fatherhood until they are older can extend the life span of their offspring because of longer telomeres. However, the downside of a man waiting too long to procreate could put his children at a higher risk of obtaining mental disorders.  



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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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