A new study offers a possible clue to why women outlive men.
The researchers found that specialized immune cells called natural killer, or NK, cells were present in equal amounts in older women as in older men. But the cells were more active in the women. Better NK cell function could protect women against the increasing risk of illness and death in old age, according to the study, published in Mechanisms of Ageing and Development.
NK cells are a type of lymphocyte, or white blood cell, that attacks and destroys aging, infected and cancerous cells. Reduced NK cell activity in old age is associated with higher rates of pneumonia, infectious diseases and cancer. These illnesses are more prevalent in elderly men, the study said.
Excerpted from wsj.com