Twins Live Longer Than Other People, Study Finds

Posted: Aug 21 2016, 8:29am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 22 2016, 9:15pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Twins Live Longer Than Other People, Study Finds
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Twins, especially male identical twins, get a bigger longevity boost than anyone else.

Having a twin brother or sister is a blessing. It means you always have someone to be around, to play games with and even blame stuff on. Another big perk of having a twin brother/sister is increasing your life expectancy.

New research suggests that twins live longer than singletons. This is especially true for male identical twins. Nevertheless, identical twins have a considerably lower mortality rate for both genders throughout their lifespan.

“We find that at nearly every age, identical twins survive at higher proportions than fraternal twins, and fraternal twins are a little higher than the general population.” Lead author David Sharrow from University of Washington said.

The study does not highlight any genetic reason. In fact, it suggests how a close bond can lead to an improved, extended lifespan. The health benefits are similar to marriage. Researchers believe that the marriage itself is not what represents health benefits but the mental and physical support that married people have can bring positive results in their life.

"There is benefit to having someone who is socially close to you who is looking out for you," said Sharrow. "They may provide material or emotional support that lead to better longevity outcomes."

For the study, researchers looked at 2,932 pairs of either twin brothers or twin sisters who were born in Denmark between 1870 and 1900. Then, they compared their ages at the time of their death with the overall Danish population and found that having a twin brother or sister boosts overall longevity of a person. For instance, if out of 100 boys in the general population, 84 were still alive at age 45, then for twins that number was 90, making a difference of about 6 percent. But the difference was more evident in twin brothers rather than females. Moreover, the lifespan was also extended more for identical rather than fraternal twins and it may reflect the benefits of having close social connections.

“There is some evidence that identical twins are actually closer than fraternal twins. If they're even more similar, they may be better able to predict the needs of their twin and care for them,” said Sharrow.

“Research shows that these kinds of social interactions, or social bonds, are important in lots of settings. Most people may not have a twin, but as a society we may choose to invest in social bonds as a way to promote health and longevity."

The data came from the Danish Twin Registry, one of the oldest departments to keep a record of twins in the country. Researchers have not considered natural causes or accidents for reaching the conclusion.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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