Twins live longer than people who don’t have twins, says a new study published in PLOS ONE. Born with a companion seems to have its fair share of advantages, even to the extent of possibly having a longer lifespan. A new study based on data obtained from the Danish Twin Registry (one of the oldest databases concerning twins) says that twins appear to live longer than other people.
Born with a companion seems to have its fair share of advantages, even to the extent of possibly having a longer lifespan. A new study based on data obtained from the Danish Twin Registry (one of the oldest databases concerning twins) says that twins appear to live longer than other people.
“We find that at nearly every age, identical twins survive at higher proportions than fraternal twins, and fraternal twins are a little higher than the general population,” says lead author of the paper, David Sharrow, from the University of Washington.
Sharrow and his team examined a load of information coming from 2,932 pairs of same-sex twins born in Denmark from 1870 to 1900, and compared the age at death of the subjects with those of the general Danish population. The findings indicate that “having someone who is socially close to you who is looking out for you” comes with many advantages just like marriage is associated with psychological and health benefits.
According to Sharrow, study supports previous research that shows how social relationships contribute to positive health outcomes. He exemplifies his statement by explaining how friends can encourage one to give up bad habits; furthermore, he mentions the benefit of simply having a shoulder to cry on.
“There is benefit to having someone who is socially close to you who is looking out for you,” Sharrow says. “They may provide material or emotional support that lead to better longevity outcomes.”
This benefit would be more pronounced in identical twins: the latter tend to have higher lifespans than fraternal twins. This might be the result of a stronger social bond.
“There is some evidence that identical twins are actually closer than fraternal twins,” Sharrow says. “If they’re even more similar, they may be better able to predict the needs of their twin and care for them.”
Another facet of the findings entail the male to female ratio. The results show that male twins generally had greater longevity than their female counterparts.
“Males may partake in more risky behaviors, so men may have more room to benefit from having a protective other—in this case a twin—who can pull them away for those behaviors,” Sharrow says.
The study might be having implications that extend to the general population, and not restricted to twins. So, you might not have a twin, but that does not mean the general principle does not apply to you.
“Research shows that these kinds of social interactions, or social bonds, are important in lots of settings,” Sharrow says. “Most people may not have a twin, but as a society we may choose to invest in social bonds as a way to promote health and longevity.”