A new study from the University of Washington found that twins live longer lives than others. The findings are available in the journal PLOS ONE.
“We find that at nearly every age, identical twins survive at higher proportions than fraternal twins, and fraternal twins are a little higher than the general population,” says the study’s lead author David Sharrow, a UW postdoctoral researcher in aquatic and fishery sciences.
The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging, involved analyzing the results of the Danish Twin Registry. The research team compared the age of death of twins with the age of death of the Danish population.
They found that the twins in the data live longer lives. They believe that social support plays an important role in this lengthened life expectancy by providing psychological and health benefits. This supports previous research that social interaction can improve a person’s mental and physiological health.
Female twins only had lower mortality for acute causes of death such as behavior-related causes or accidents. On the other hand, male twins enjoyed lesser mortality risk from acute causes as well as natural causes of death past the age of 65.
The difference between male and female twins could be explained by healthier choices male twins make. Moreover, the team speculates that males engage in risky behaviors but are controlled when they have another person watching out for them.
Identical twins even lived longer than fraternal twins. The team believes that identical twins are closer than fraternal twins and they could predict the needs of each other.
While the study only involved twins, the researchers believe that singletons can also live longer lives. The team believes that for most people, having social interaction or social bonds with others can provide the same benefit as having a twin.