Low-oxygen environments in Tibet may be promoting longevity among the local people, according to a study by Chinese researchers.
According to research by Zhang Yaping and Wu Dongdong at Kunming College of Life Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, elderly people from the Tibetan Plateau have a longer lifespan than their counterparts in others parts of 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 for the Han population.
However, among Tibetans there is dramatic rise in the ratio of proportion of people older than 91 years old.
The proportion of individuals older than 100 years of age was also higher for male (but not female) Tibetans than for Han Chinese, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
According to the findings, published in Cell Research on September 9, elderly people living on the Tibetan Plateau tend to have a longer lifespan than elderly people living at lower altitudes, suggesting an association between hypoxia and longevity.
There have also been reports of a link between longer life expectancy and living in the high altitude Andean region in America, the report said.
Genetic studies showed that low-oxygen environments can accelerate the evolution of aging-associated genes, which might offset the effect of aging and extend lifespan, the researchers said.