Research Suggests Older Mothers Likely Live Longer
Researchers believe women who have their last child after 33 are more likely to live into their late nineties. The findings are a matter of genes, meaning the relationship between late motherhood and long life is correlative, not causative.
Women who have their last children after the age of 33 may possess genes that allow them to live past 95, reports Lena H. Sun of the Washington Post. These findings are part of a Boston University study published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society. Thomas Perls, one of the study’s lead investigators, told The Post about his team’s conclusions:
“We think the same genes that allow a woman to naturally have a kid at an older age are the same genes that play a really important role in slowing down the rate of aging and decreasing the risk for age-related diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Sun goes on to explain the process by which these results were found:
The research found that women who had their last child after the age of 33 had twice the odds of living to 95 years or older compared with women who had their last child by age 29.
She also mentions Perls’ insistence that the relationship between the two events — late motherhood and a long life — is one of correlation, not causation. Delaying childbirth can in fact increase the risk of birth defects.
Scientists will no doubt continue to research this topic and attempt to identify the genes responsible for this fascinating correlation. With genetic engineering increasingly being discussed as a key component of future family planning, it’s easy to see long-life genes being a rather popular choice.