People who are impatient age prematurely, suggests a new study. Researchers from National University of Singapore (NUS) have found that the cells of impatient young women are aging faster than their more patient peers.
This study is the first to link a fundamental determinant of decision making such as impatience to aging in humans.
‘People who are impatient may be at risk of aging faster and die earlier in life than those who are more patient.’
AdvertisementA total of 1,158 healthy Chinese undergraduates participated in the study. Researchers employed a behavioral economic game known as 'delay discounting,' to determine the participants' extent of impatience.
The participants were asked to decide between receiving 100 dollars the next day, or rewards later. Participants who opted for earlier gratification were considered as more impatient.
The length of the participants' leukocyte telomeres - the caps at the end of each DNA strand which protect the chromosome - were measured.
The length of the telomeres decreases each time when a cell divides and ages. Once a cell has reached a critically short length, the cell will no longer divide.
Women who were identified as impatient had shorter telomere length. The research suggests that telomere length could be an initial predictor of disease and earlier mortality. The researchers said that older people and older cells have shorter telomeres.
There were no significant correlations observed in the male participants. The findings of the study were robust after controlling for health-related variables, risk appetite, and lifestyle behaviors.
"Patience is indeed a virtue and women with impatient personality types are likely growing older at a faster pace than women disposed to be more patient," said Richard Ebstein from NUS.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.