Study: Older mothers may live longer

May 5, 2009 at 5:56 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, May 5 (UPI) -- The same genes that prolong lifespan prolong female fertility -- resulting in older mothers living longer, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, shows the brothers of late-in-life mothers also live longer, but the brothers' wives do not, suggesting the same genes prolong lifespan and female fertility, and may be more important than social and environmental factors.

Lead author Ken R. Smith of the University of Utah says the study found women who gave birth at age 45 or older were 14 percent to 17 percent less likely to die during any year after age 50 than women who did not deliver a child after age 40.

"If women in your family give birth at older ages, you may well have a chance of living longer than you would otherwise," Smith says in a statement. "If you have a female relative who had children after age 45, then there may be some genetic benefit in your family that will enhance your longevity."

The researchers examined genealogical records from the Utah Population Database at the University of Utah of 1.6 million Utah Mormon pioneers and descendants as well as data of the University of Montreal's records on 400,000 people who lived in Quebec from 1608-1850.

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