Why do tall people die earlier and larger animals — no?


2017-03-03 18:00:06




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The tallest man in Europe, 2,34-foot former basketball player, actor Neil Fingleton, who played the role in "Game of thrones", "X-Men" and "the Avengers", has died at the age of 36. Such an early death for people tall is not uncommon. Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in the world, died at the age of 22; of the 10 tallest of people, only one lived to be 56 years old. Among men the growth is negatively correlated with longevity; tall people don't live long.

If we push aside these unusual examples and talk in General, among the people really the tendency to reduce the quality of life along with increased growth. For example, higher women are likely to suffer from cancer in old age, in postclimacteric life. In a study of civil servants in Whitehall the height noted as concomitant cancer, stroke and cardiovascular diseases followed by death.

Nevertheless, the biology of the larger mammals live longer, for example, elephants from 40 to 75 years, whales are from 35 to 110 years old than the small ones such as mice and rats is about 12 months. Why height is not associated with long lifespan in humans?

Why high growth, such a useful feature and may even be an evolutionary advantage for our ancestors, hunter-gatherers who plays against us? There are two good hypotheses, one about nature, the other about the case, but they can be linked.

In recent years many studies have been conducted on the topic of what (to eat less) is associated with increased life expectancy. Faced with a limited amount of food available, animals tend to live longer.

We observed that the worms, mice, dogs, monkeys, and maybe even in humans. In fact, children who had survived the Second world war and the famine, show a striking lifespan. Why is it important? Because all of them have one thing in common: they ate less food. Therefore, the average height of a population can be a rough marker of the availability of food in childhood and adolescence, when one grows the fastest. It is a hypothesis of the case.

With regard to natural hypotheses, it may seem obvious, but genetics also determines the height. "The height of the family" is passed through genes, which determine the growth.

In particular, the gene FOXO3 is a common variation, which is associated with lifespan in worms, flies and humans. This gene has many roles, he contributes to the activation of stem cells, control mechanisms of cell death and changes the efficiency of insulin and insulin-like growth factors. They all play a role in how the body feels, how much he has energy and what growth it can provide beyond what is necessary for the body to maintain the amount of nutrients and energy. Therefore, the change in the gene FOXO3 may contribute to a hypothetical connection between lifespan, growth, and calorie consumption, sending more or less energy in the growing organism.

So while high growth is associated with short lifespan, we don't yet understand exactly how. There are good studies related to genetics and lifestyle, which may say that you just need to eat less to live longer. It would seem that the words simple and clear, but to get people to eat less has always been difficult.


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