The Answer to a Longer Life Is to Whip Off Your Knackers

By Sam Gibbs on at

It’s a known fact that women live longer than men. Unfortunately, us blokes are just set to die-off earlier. There is something you can do about it, though, but you're definitely not going to like it. Want to live longer? Lose your balls and join the castrati. Ouch.

Researchers studying the effects of male sex hormones on longevity have confirmed that without testicles, animals generally live longer. It's apparently to do with stress on the heart, as well as a reduction in your immune system as you age. Basically, testosterone kills you, eventually.

Of course, studying that kind of thing in humans would be, err, a tad difficult. So, the next best thing is studying eunuchs, and as luck would have it, the Koreans had them aplenty, along with excellent record keeping. Between 1392 and 1910, the Chosun Dynasty, the royal court used eunuchs in the civil service and as male servants in palaces -- you wouldn't want normal, testicle-equipped blokes messing with your royal wives would you? Researchers studied the fastidious records and compared and contrasted them with details of non-castrated Koreans from the same time period, controlling for genetic differences.

The results show that eunuchs live much, much longer. On average they lived a whole 19 years longer, and quite a few of them made it into triple digits. Considering some of us already live into the 100s, imagine how long we could last if we took the plunge and whipped off our knackers.

Yeah, I'm not up for that either; no matter how long I live. I'm rather attached to my baby makers, but if we're sending people out into space, maybe it's worth giving them the choice? Eunuchs could live so much longer that they'd actually make it to other planets and not die on the way. Then again we could just get warp drive working -- voyage to the stars without having to lose something precious in the process. [Current Biology via The Register]

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