Castration May Be Linked to Longevity

Male sex hormones 'decrease lifespan,' says researcher
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 25, 2012 4:32 AM CDT
Pakistani eunuchs dance at a local shrine as people throw notes on them earlier this year.   (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

(Newser) – Here's something no one will want to think about too carefully: Is castration linked to longevity? Some researchers think it's possible, especially after discovering that a group of eunuchs, castrated men, lived up to 20 years longer. The study examined records of 80 eunuchs from the Chosun Dynasty, which ruled in Korea from 1392 to 1897, and compared them to records of other men of similar social rank. The study found that the average lifespan of a Korean eunuch was about 70 years, 14 to 19 years longer than for non-castrated men, reports ABC. Three of the eunuchs lived to be more than 100 years old. What's the culprit for an earlier death for men not castrated? Male sex hormones, the researchers believe.

"Our study supports the idea that male sex hormones decrease the lifespan of men," wrote Kyung-Jin Min, an associate professor at Inha University in Inchon, South Korea. The hormones may have a negative effect on the immune system, and "predispose men to adverse cardiovascular attacks," he noted. At least one researcher said other things may be responsible, like a better diet or less stress in the eunuchs' lives. In any case, added another scientist: "I would not recommend becoming a eunuch." (Read more castration stories.)

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