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Longevity

Fear of Unknown May Reduce Lifespan

20 years, 4 months ago

9936  0
Posted on Dec 13, 2003, 4 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Results of a recent study suggest that being afraid of new experiences may shorten the lifespan. Dr Sonia Cavigelli of the University of Chicago's Institute for Mind and Biology and colleagues found that fearful rats produced higher levels of stress-related hormones when exposed to new experiences and had, on average, a 20% shorter lifespan than their more adventurous counterparts.

Results of a recent study suggest that being afraid of new experiences may shorten the lifespan. Dr Sonia Cavigelli of the University of Chicago's Institute for Mind and Biology and colleagues found that fearful rats produced higher levels of stress-related hormones when exposed to new experiences and had, on average, a 20% shorter lifespan than their more adventurous counterparts. The researchers suspect that the increased production of stress-related hormones seen in fearful animals may accelerate the aging process. Whether the findings will remain true for humans is uncertain, however some studies have shown that levels of stress-related hormones in shy children increase significantly when they are introduced to someone new.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: PNAS published online before print on December 12th, 2003, 10.1073/pnas.2535721100 (Psychology).

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