People blessed with youthful faces are more likely to live to a ripe old age than those who look more than their years, work shows.Danish scientists say appearance alone can predict survival, after they studied 387 pairs of twins.The researchers asked nurses, trainee teachers and peers to guess the age of the twins from mug shots.Those rated younger-looking tended to outlive their older-looking sibling, the British Medical Journal reports.
The researchers also found a plausible biological explanation for their results.
Key pieces of DNA called telomeres, which indicate the ability of cells to replicate, are also linked to how young a person looks.
A telomere of shorter length is thought to signify faster ageing and has been linked with a number of diseases.
In the study, the people who looked younger had longer telomeres.
All of the twins were in their 70s, 80s or 90s when they were photographed.
Over a seven-year follow-up the researchers, led by Professor Kaare Christensen of the University of Southern Denmark, found that the bigger the difference in perceived age within a pair, the more likely it was that the older-looking twin died first.
The age, sex and professional background of the assessors made no difference to any of the results.