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Reaction time: barometer for longevity?

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Published : 2014-02-06 14:28
Updated : 2014-02-06 14:28

A group of researchers in Britain has revealed that slower reactions may indicate a higher chance of dying.

University College London researchers conducted a study on the connection between reaction speed and longevity. They measured the reaction speeds of 5,134 adults aged 20 to 59 in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The experiment asked them to press a button as fast as possible once they saw a light flash up on a screen.

In the 15 years since the experiment, they checked how many of the participants were still alive.

The analysis revealed by the researchers showed that there was 25 percent higher chance of dying of any cause for those with slow reactions and a 36 percent higher chance of dying of cardiovascular disease compared to those with faster reactions. No relationship between cancer mortality and reaction time was found.

A senior research associate of the study commented that the reasons for the link between reaction time and longevity were unclear for now, but it may be due to differences in the function of nervous system or brain function that also result in different reaction times.

By Ha Ji-won, Intern reporter (jiwonha@heraldcorp.com)

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