It is believed that becoming a father at an old age is not really the best idea, and for obvious reasons. However, a study from Northwestern University scientists shows there’s at least one benefit: kids with older dads live longer.
The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has published quite an interesting research. All those of you cracking jokes at your dad’s age should reconsider. The fact is that the study showed that the older the fathers and grandfathers are the longer their children will get to live.
Sure, the findings are not easy to accept, given that the overall social opinion is to start having kids at a younger age, before the first wrinkles get to braze your forehead. But the study comes to confirm several other similar researches that pinpointed paternal age effect to increase the likelihood of the children to live a longer and healthier life.
Dan Eisenberg explains that although the study showed there’s an increased likelihood kids with older dads live longer, they “don’t recommend people have kids at a later age”.
Researchers examined over 1,700 young adults during 30 years. What scientists observed is that children of old dads had longer telomeres, elements in the DNA that should allow them to live longer and healthier. Moreover, children of old dads would transmit their longer telomeres to their own children, and thus increasing their life span.
“Our study shows for the first time that this happens across at least two generations: older fathers not only have offspring with longer telomeres, but their sons also have offspring with longer telomeres” said Eisenberg.
Telomeres are found at the end of chromosomes and protect the organism throughout the life. However, whenever cells divide, the telomeres reduce in size. The theory at hand is that the longer the telomere the lengthier the life span and the slower is the aging.
Eisenberg and his team can’t explain, yet, why older men have longer telomeres. They believe it’s because of an enzyme called telomerase which is found in large quantities in the testis. “This telomerase activity could progressively extend telomere length as men age” adds Eisenberg.