New study identifies possible predictor for women's longevity

December 7, 2016, The North American Menopause Society
Credit: George Hodan/public domain

Death and taxes have long been said to be the only two things guaranteed in life. Exactly when someone will die, in most instances, remains a mystery. A new study, however, identifies one possible predictor—specifically, telomere length. This has been linked to longevity, as well as the ability to bear children at an older age. The study is being published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Several studies have already shown that late at last childbirth is positively associated with maternal longevity. The Long Life Family Study (LLFS) reported that the odds of living up to the top fifth percentile were two times higher for women who had their last child past the age of 33 years than for those who had their last child before the age of 29. The study "Telomere length is longer in women with late maternal age," used data from LLFS to show that certain factors associated with the rate of aging and longevity, such as telomere length, are also associated with later maternal age at the birth of the last child.

Telomeres are essential parts of human cells that affect how our cells age. They are caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect the chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Telomeres provide protection to chromosomes during the replication process to prevent the loss of DNA strands. As people age, the length of telomeres decreases. Longer lengths are typically associated with better health.

In this study, the proportion of women in the longest telomere tertile was higher for women in the fourth quartile of maternal age at the birth of their last child than in the first quartile (35.7% vs 20.2%). Compared with women who had their last child at 29, with a later age at birth of their last child were found to have increased odds of being in the longest tertile of telomere length.

"With longevity and the ability to bear children at an associated with longer telomere length, this study suggests that a higher maternal age of successful child bearing may be a marker of healthy aging," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director. "However, it's important to remember that personal and social factors often influence childbearing age, and these factors may not have any relation to either a woman's ability to bear children at later ages, , or ."

Explore further: Mother's BMI may affect the biological age of newborn babies

Related Stories

Mother's BMI may affect the biological age of newborn babies

October 17, 2016
Higher BMI in mothers before pregnancy is associated with shorter telomere length - a biomarker for biological age - in newborns, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine that involved 743 mothers ...

$89 test kit claims to determine how well your cells are aging. Does it work?

November 28, 2016
A new $89 test claims to calculate the age of the DNA in your cells and tell you how well you are aging. The test, called TeloYears, is the newest in a bunch of mail-order kits that measure the length of telomeres, the caps ...

Cardiovascular health linked to cellular aging

November 14, 2016
The age of a person's immune cells may predict risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016.

Having more children slows down aging process, study finds

January 7, 2016
A study by Simon Fraser University researchers suggests that the number of children born to a woman influences the rate at which her body ages.

Early behavior problems may be linked to 'aging' biomarkers in preschoolers

June 16, 2015
Preschoolers with oppositional defiant behavior are more likely to have shorter telomeres, a hallmark of cellular aging, which in adults is associated with increased risk for chronic diseases and conditions like diabetes, ...

Recommended for you

Exercise-induced hormone irisin triggers bone remodeling in mice

December 13, 2018
Exercise has been touted to build bone mass, but exactly how it actually accomplishes this is a matter of debate. Now, researchers show that an exercise-induced hormone activates cells that are critical for bone remodeling ...

Law professor suggests a way to validate and integrate deep learning medical systems

December 13, 2018
University of Michigan professor W. Nicholson Price, who also has affiliations with Harvard Law School and the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law, suggests in a Focus piece published in Science Translational Medicine, ...

Faster test for Ebola shows promising results in field trials

December 13, 2018
A team of researchers with members from the U.S., Senegal and Guinea, in cooperation with Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), has developed a faster test for the Ebola virus than those currently in use. In their paper published ...

Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in brain independently of one another

December 13, 2018
Pain is a negative sensation that we want to get rid of as soon as possible. In order to protect our bodies, we react by withdrawing the hand from heat, for example. This action is usually understood as the consequence of ...

Drug targets for Ebola, Dengue, and Zika viruses found in lab study

December 13, 2018
No drugs are currently available to treat Ebola, Dengue, or Zika viruses, which infect millions of people every year and result in severe illness, birth defects, and even death. New research from the Gladstone Institutes ...

Researchers give new insight to muscular dystrophy patients

December 13, 2018
New research by University of Minnesota scientists has revealed the three-dimensional structure of the DUX4 protein, which is responsible for the disease, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). Unlike the majority ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.