Patience pays

Research finds impatient women age more rapidly

Stress related to making hasty decisions could be the cause of faster aging. (stock photo)

New research indicates that the body’s DNA ages more quickly in people who are impatient, and women are particularly prone to the effect. Researchers in Singapore put over 1,000 healthy students through a test of patience by involving them in a game where they could either be given a gift of $100 the next day or wait a month for a larger amount. The volunteer would then be asked how much money it would take for it to be worth the wait, evaluating the volunteer’s patience based on whether they asked for more money or less. Finally, volunteers provided blood samples so that researchers could examine their telomeres; tiny biological caps on the ends of chromosome that protect DNA from damage. As we age, telomeres grow shorter and shorter, leading to DNA becoming damaged and increasing the odds of age-related illness.

Interestingly, the study found that volunteers who proved less patient were more likely to have shorter telomeres, making their cells effectively “older” than those of patient people, even after accounting for factors such as socioeconomic status and how healthy a person’s lifestyle was. Researchers are as yet unsure why patience correlates with telomere length, and while it may be possible that shorter telomeres themselves cause impatience, they believe it more likely that hastiness is the cause rather than the effect. The aging effect was particularly pronounced in women, a difference that researchers believe may be explained by sex hormones.

Read the full story at The Daily Mail.

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