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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
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Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Oscar Winners Live Long Lives
18 May 2001 7:00 pm
Katharine Hepburn celebrated her 94th birthday this month, and all her Oscars (she's got four of them) may have something to do with it: According to a study published in the 15 May issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, winners of Academy Awards live longer than other successful actors.
A growing body of research shows that high-status people live longer than people lower on the ladder of life. For instance, a huge longitudinal study of British civil servants, called the Whitehall Study, has shown that even in a population with good income and health benefits, the higher-status folks live longer.
The latest study indicates that even the cream separates into discernible layers. Physician Donald Redelmeier and Sheldon Singh of Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto sorted through the vital statistics of all 762 actors and actresses who have been nominated for Academy Awards in leading or supporting roles--including 235 winners--since the first awards ceremony in 1929. They also established a control group of 887 actors, matched as closely as possible for age and sex, who had appeared in the same movies. Of the total, 772 had died by March 2000.
The researchers found that life expectancy was 3.9 years longer for the winners than the controls (79.7 versus 75.8 years). The life expectancy of nominees who'd lost looked more like that of the controls, with life expectancy of 76.1 years. In all groups, the women outlived the men by 2.5 years, but winning had the same tonic effect on survival for both sexes. What's more, the authors report, there was a dose-response effect: Those with more than one Oscar had an even greater advantage--surviving controls by an average of 6 years. The results couldn't be accounted for by age of Oscar-winning, country of birth, number of films made (an indicator of income), or other factors; Redelmeier suggests that "the peace of mind" of winning an Oscar "may make a person much more resilient to all sorts of stresses."
"If the authors have properly ruled out confounding with childhood circumstances and [other factors] ... then one must add this intriguing result to what we know about the personal factors that contribute to human longevity," says psychologist Ian Deary of the University of Edinburgh.