Thursday, July 10, 2008
Men Die Younger
It's not really any surprise that men die younger, but it will probably surprise most people that the biological disadvantages begin at conception, so says Marianne J. Legato in her new book Why Men Die First: How to Lengthen Your Lifespan. She argues that males are less likely to survive in the womb. That they are born six weeks developmentally behind females. That adolescence is much riskier for them because of the dramatic testosterone levels they experience—which causes them to engage in riskier behavior. And at middle age, they become more at risk for heart disease. These are just a few examples of why men die first, according to Legato.
Here's a link to a Today Show interview with the author, and an excerpt from her book.
Of course it has the modern spin of you can control it and put a stop to aging/death. It's a common theme any time something deals with death to soften the blow by implying that the research is being used to help people control their mortality and extend their lives. I haven't read the book, and there's nothing in the interview or excerpt that specifically addresses that portion of the book, only the book's subtitle, so I'm not sure how much of that is marketing and how much that theme plays centrally to the book.
I do find it to be a fascinating research topic because we have known for years now that men do not live as long as women, so why not look at why? And how amazing is it that the differences in mortality rates begin at conception!