Monday, November 22, 2010

Men, take note. Women are the stronger sex

I just read about this new theory that defies the cultural dogma that belies within our mind for a long time: women are the weaker sex.

Well the fact is, we are physically stronger because of testosterone. We are emotionally more stable because we lack oestrogen.
Nevertheless, statistics show that women live longer than men.

Why?

It is because their bodies are better at repairing themselves. In other word, men are more disposable, which doesn't sound good to me. We are supposed to be strong and tough! Ah nevermind...

Image: thestar.com
In an article in November's Scientific American, Professor Tom Kirkwood of Newcastle University argues that women have to be better at fixing the wear and tear on their cells in order to have healthy offspring.

Kirkwood said in an interview that it made biological sense for men to be more disposable and therefore die younger. The body is disposable, argues Kirkwood, because the genes are passed to the next generation.

"This theory is widely accepted now," Kirkwood says. "Ageing is not driven by a clock."

Image: hilda.thevalkyrie.com
We age because the rate of cell generation couldn't catch up with the rate of cell death, which is a process regulated by genes that specify the levels of maintenance. Much of the damage done to our cells is inevitable and caused by free radicals, a byproduct of the chemical reactions in cells that produce energy. Some of the damage is caused by external factors, such as smoking. But according to Kirkwood, ageing is not pre-programmed because the genes that repair cells can be modified.

Currently, the average life expectancy for the world is around 67.2 years. In the UK, A boy born today lives to an average 77.7 years, compared with a girl, who would be expected to reach 81.9. The differential is thought to be due to higher rates of heart disease and risk-taking in men; oestrogens have protected women from heart disease.

Image: insideasiajsdome.blogspot.com
But this would still fit with Kirkwood's theory because these factors could influence how the maintenance genes are expressed. "It's important to understand what influences longevity – how much is societal and could it disappear?" says Kirkwood, who believes biology dictates it can never disappear.

"This theory matters when we are discussing things such as when women should start their pensions. For a long time, we've had a paternalistic attitude that women are the weaker sex." No they aren't.



Malcolm.
info:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/oct/31/women-ageing-genes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

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