Scientific Correspondence

Middle-aged mothers live longer

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Abstract

Comparing two groups of women born in 1896, we found that women who lived to at least age 100 were four times more likely to have had children while in their forties than women who survived only to age 73. The ability to have children in the fifth decade may be a marker for slow ageing and subsequent ability to achieve extreme longevity. We propose that the evolutionary pressure to extend lifespan is closely linked to prolonging the period of time during which women can bear children.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. *Gerontology Division, Department of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA

    • Thomas T. Perls
    •  & Laura Alpert
  2. †Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA

    • Ruth C. Fretts

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