You have probably not heard about the scientific project called „10,001 Dalmatians – Croatian Biobank“. The 10,001 Dalmatians project, which has been going on since 2006, is currently the best-ranked research project in the field of Biomedicine in Croatia. The main objective of this program is to create a comprehensive resource for the study of genetic, environmental and social determinants of health and diseases with emphasis on chronic diseases that are the leading cause of death in Croatia and other developed countries.
The project looks interesting but rather complex for an amateur like me. However, the name that was chosen for the project is funny and intriguing. Actually, the project’s examinees are women and men who live on the Croatian/Dalmatian islands. One of the aspects of the project that look into human genome is why women and men age differently and when and how these differences occur.
To make it understandable and interesting for me and, hopefully, for you who are reading this article, I had to turn and look into other medical, but more popularly written, stories about the ageing differences that seem to be obvious in the different sexes. And, it is not just the physical difference in question but the experience and psychology of ageing, which is not the same, too.
The fact is that a woman’s body responds to ageing dramatically with menopause when the hormone oestrogen becomes a major concern. A man’s body responds more gradually, being affected by different hormone, testosterone.
Another interesting thing is that after age 50, a woman’s rate of depression, anxiety, and suicide drop as they grow older. Along with their older age comes a better set of coping skills: empathy, ability to listen, patience, and courage to pursue new endeavours. On the other hand, men show a lower compliance, or ability, to cope with new changes than women.
As for people who make it to 100 or beyond, the centenarians, women are more likely to make it than men. However, there are some differences between men and women who make it to age 100, including:
- 24 percent of male centenarians and 43 percent of female centenarians fit the profile of “survivors.” These are people who had a diagnosis of at least one of the age-related illnesses before age 80.
- 32 percent of men and 15 percent of women over 100 fit the profile of “escapers” or people who did not have any major health conditions.
- 44 percent of men and 42 percent of women over 100 are “delayers” or people who did not have a major diagnosis until after the age of 80.
Talking about centenarians, here is an interesting photo session which is also one of the most accurate representations of the aging faces of males and females. The photos were taken by Belgian photographer Edouard Janssens’ camera lens in 2012, when he finished his project “1 to 100 Years”. Enjoy these few minutes of ageing through mostly smiling faces from the time we are one up until one hundredth year of life.