"We think the same
genes that allow a woman to naturally have a kid at an older age are the same
genes that play a really important role in slowing down the rate of aging and
decreasing the risk for age-related diseases, such as heart disease, stroke,
diabetes and cancer," said Thomas Perls, one of the lead authors and a
geriatrics professor at Boston University Medical Center.
who conceived their last child between ages 33-37 without using any infertility
treatments or drugs have great possibilities of becoming the oldest of old
University School of Medicine study findings coincide with findings of other
studies that laid focus on the association between maternal age at birth of
last child and exceptional longevity.
Living until 95 or older is what is considered to be exceptional
longevity by researchers.
All study findings
share one thing in common, that is, sturdy women who are genetically
predisposed to live longest first exhibit their physical fitness by staying
fertile for several years.
The latest study on late motherhood and longevity was
carried out on a large group of 4875 people from 551 families in the United
States and Denmark.
The genetic study named "Long Life Family Study,"
consisted of families with many members living up to exceptionally old age.
The study made a
comparison between women who had their last child at 29 years of age and those
who bore a child after 33 or more.
revealed a woman who mothered a child at age 33 had twice more chances of
outliving 95% of women of her same age.
who had their last child between ages 33-37 had an edge over other women from
the beginning in the longevity race.
They were nearly 2.08 times likely to live to an exceptionally old age.
Those women who bore a child after 37 years of age were 1.92 times likely to
survive that long.
The study also
throws light on some evolutionary benefits bestowed on women capable of
mothering late in life. This in turn
brings benefits to her children since she is available at their disposal for
providing care. Her grandchildren also
reap the benefits of her robust health.
studies have suggested that genes contribute to nearly 20% of an individual's
chances of surviving late into his or her 80s whereas nutrition, predators,
toxins and protective elders contribute to the rest 80%.
Notably, the genes
linked to healthy births after 33 are not necessarily the same in all women.
postponing births to older age does not guarantee increased life spans.
The fact is that
the risks of pregnancy-related complications are higher as the age of the child
The study was
reported in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.