Previous evidence suggests that living at higher altitudes leads to longer life spans for humans. Scientists at Harvard Medical School wanted to know why.
In a study released this week of mice, evidence found restricting oxygen flow led to significantly longer lifespans. Researchers placed mice into two chambers. One set of mice was in a chamber with normal oxygen levels; another set was in a section with an oxygen level equivalent to Mount Everest’s. The mice employed in the study generally have short life spans.
The group of mice with their oxygen restricted lived, on average, 24 weeks, compared to 16 weeks for those who experienced normal oxygen levels. Harvard Medical School also found the maximum lifespan for mice with oxygen restriction was about 30% longer.
The researchers also noted that oxygen-restricted mice preserved neurologic function longer.
In 2011, the National Institutes of Health released data that found that men who live 1,500 meters above sea level live an average of 1.2 to 3.6 years longer than those who live within 100 meters of sea level. Women who live at high altitudes live an average of .5 to 2.5 years longer.
In the case of the humans I would have hypothesized it was cleaner air or some such thing leading to longer lives. But with the mouse experiments I don’t understand how this might work.