95 Percent Of People Who Live To 110 Are Women: Stem Cells?

First Posted: Jun 05, 2015 05:04 PM EDT

Here's a quick fact: About 95 percent of people who live to be 110 are women. But why? After all, we're pretty much just as old as our stem cells.

New findings published in the journal Cell Press examine how the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, along with other factors, may ultimately modify our lifespan.

It's currently known that estrogen has a direct effect on stem cell populations in female mice, increasing the number of blood stem cells and enhancing the regenerative capacity for the brain's stem cells at the height of estrus, otherwise known as the fertile period of a woman's life.

According to researchers, these changes hold a direct impact on lifespan but have yet to be directly examined. 

"It is likely that sex plays a role in defining both lifespan and healthspan, and the effects of sex may not be identical for these two variables," the study authors noted, in a news release. "As the search continues for ways to ameliorate the aging process and maintain the regenerative capacity of stem cells, let us not forget one of the most effective aging modifiers: sex."

Yet previous studies have shown that giving estrogen supplements to male mice helped increase their lifespan. Furthermore, the findings revealed that the human eunuchs lived about 14 years longer than non-castrated males.

However, more research will be needed in order to get a firmer grasp on just how genetics impacts stem cell aging with specific differences between sexes.

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