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Eunuchs Live Longer Than Non-castrated Men: Study

Update Date: Sep 25, 2012 07:08 AM EDT

 

Eunuch
(Photo : Flickr)
Eunuch

Could male hormones shorten the lives of men? Apparently yes- at least according to a new research that has based its findings on the fact that castrated men in Korea significantly outlived other men centuries ago.

For the study, the researchers extensively studied the family tree of the noble members of the Imperial court of the Korean Chosun dynasty (AD 1392-1910).

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"This discovery adds an important clue for understanding why there is a difference in the expected life span between men and women," said Kyung-Jin Min of Inha University.

According to the Medical Xpress report, castrated boys in Korea lost their reproductive organs in accidents-usually after being bitten by dogs-or underwent castration purposefully to gain early access to the palace. Eunuchs were allowed to marry and had families by adopting castrated boys or normal girls.

The people of that era kept detailed records of their family tree in order to keep a record of the fact that they belonged to the noble class.

By extensively studying those records, Min and colleague Cheol-Koo Lee of Korea University found out that eunuchs lived about a decade or two longer than other men.

There was a difference of about 14 to 19 years between the life spans of eunuchs and other men.Among the 81 eunuchs they studied, three even lived to be 100-years-old.

When compared to developed countries, the chances of Korean eunuchs living to be 100 is at least 130 times greater Lee notes and says that it is not just about the lives they spent in the palace, because most eunuchs spent a lot of time outside as well.

And indeed, facts say that kings and the male members of the royal family lived shortest lives of all, most of them reaching only their mid-forties. "For better health and longevity, stay away from stresses and learn what you can from women," Min and Lee joke. The findings of the study may help seek clues to a long life and were published in the September 25 issue of Current Biology.

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