Low-oxygen environment in Tibet may be promoting longevity among the local people, according to a study by Zhang Yaping and Wu Dongdong of Kunming College of Life Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The research shows elderly people from the Tibetan Plateau have a longer lifespan than their counterparts in China. By examining 2010 census data, researchers found that the proportion of the Tibetan population over 60 years of age was significantly lower than that of the Han population.
However, among Tibetans there was dramatic rise in ratio of proportion of people aged 90 and above. The proportion of individuals older than 100 years of age was also higher for male (but not female) Tibetans than for Han Chinese. According to findings, published in Cell Research on September 9, elderly Tibetans tend to have a longer lifespan than those living at lower altitudes, suggesting an association between hypoxia and longevity.
Low-oxygen environments can accelerate evolution of aging-associated genes, which might offset the effect of aging.