Science is evolving every day. There are so many facts turning into myths, and many myths turning out to be facts. Similarly, long time ago it was said that those women who turn moms tend to become old easily. It is because the more children they have, the more hard work they do. Raising children is a full time, 24/7 job. On top of that, they have to look after the household chores as well. Therefore, all in all, they age quicker than single women. Is it true? Well, science says otherwise.
Before we learn more details about the research, first we need to briefly go through some important terms.
Senescence is a process to grow old, in other words, it means biological ageing. This happens when each time a cell splits into halves and slowly worsening the tissue process. But the researchers believe that the effect of childbirth may limit the tissue damage and have positive effect on the process.
How is childbirth effecting such a procedure? According to the researchers, there is a feature known as telomere, that can be found longer in those women who gave multiple childbirth. Telomere is a region that is found at the tip of a chromosome, and helps to protect the end of the chromosome from worsening and fusing with other chromosome.
When every time a cell divides, the telomere shortens. By the time the cell is divided for a longer period of time, the telomere will no longer exist. If a telomere does not exist, the chromosomes lay unprotected, and will not be able to divide, leaving the tissues to die. The longer the telomere stays, the longer the tissue lives. That is why the length of the telomere is important in shaping senescence.
The researches studied 94 Guatemalan women, all came from the rural Kaqchikel Mayan communities. The data was collected back in 2000. After 13 years, the researches went back to collect genetic samples from these women. Next, they cross matched the changes in the length of the telomere in accordance to the number of children each woman had. The results showed surprising facts that moms with more children had longer telomere length.
The result debunked previous theories on how women tend to age faster and more with the amount of children they bore. It was believed that since child birth and child bearing requires plenty of energy, it results in damaging the tissues faster.
The researchers came up with the answer that the steriod estradiol helps to limit the damage of telomere. Steriod estradiol has an antioxidant effect which protects the telomere from damaging.
The study also proposes that the environment also plays an important role here. According to the Kaqchikel Mayan tradition, moms who have multiple children have greating social status. This helps them to receive communal assistance, and welfare benefits. Since they are receiving such helps from the society, these women utilises less energy in raising children. They have enough time to rest and save more energy for tissue maintenance.
The researchers are now thinking of doing a similar research in other communities, or ethnic groups of different countries. They want to know whether the longevity of telomere is solely based on how many children a woman gives birth to, or is it also related to the facts how much rest she has and help she gets from her society. Different ethnic groups have different rules. The researchers can only draw a positive conclusion once they complete a similar study on a different group of women. If they see that taking rest has no or minimal effect on the longevity of telomere, then they can easily conclude that the more children moms give birth to, the more slowly they shall age.
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