Health New Zealand CU –Throughout the ages women have generally outlived men and studies have suggested that it could be a variety of factors such men being more vulnerable to heart conditions. A chance discovery by scientists at the University of Auckland could possibly explain why women’s lifespan is greater than men.
Professor of Ophthalmology in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Dr Trevor Sherwin stated that longevity may be related to our stem cells, that are responsible for generating new cells that replace our organs life long and help us stay healthy.
Professor Sherwin and his team were conducting research on tissues when they observed how different stems cells donated from women were to that of men in their capability to replenish cells. Female donors of stem cells in their 70s and 80s had better potency than significantly younger men.
Professor Sherwin stated that the unexpected discovery, prompted him to explore further the connection between sex and ageing, could demonstrate the fact that 95% of supercentenarians are women and unusually healthy.
“It was a completely serendipitous finding that we hadn’t expected. We expected it to be linked to age but we didn’t expect it to be linked to sex,” said Professor Sherwin.
“That led us to look at whether ageing in general is a factor of the stem cells within our bodies.”
Stem cell have been an area of interest for many areas of health research particularly in treating damages tissues and there has been much interest by different health professionals and scientists.
Professor Sherwin’s group are now around 3 years into a study looking at how the potency of stem cells in males differ from females, and its impact on the ageing.
The research team believe that hormone may possibly have an impact on stem cells, where oestrogen can increase production of antioxidants in the body, and testosterone can have the reverse effect.