PROBLEM: Last September we learned that Eunuchs live around 14 to 19 years longer than non-castrated males. Fertile people die younger. It's seems a cruel side-effect of evolution that once we've passed on our DNA to the next generation, there isn't much need for us to stick around. We know less, however, about how those earlier deaths come about.
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METHODOLOGY: Researchers at the University of Georgia looked at over 40,000 death records of pet dogs going back to the 1980s. They controlled for diseases that occur more frequently with increased age, and for potential differences between breeds.
RESULTS: Spayed and neutered dogs lived an average of a year and a half longer than dogs that retained their reproductive ability. That's a difference of over a decade, in dog years. The increase in life expectancy was 13.8 percent for male dogs, and 26.3 percent for females.
The sterilized dogs were more likely to die from cancer or autoimmune diseases; the intact dogs died more often from infectious disease or trauma. (The information was culled from veterinary hospital records, so the sample didn't consist of many dogs that had died of natural causes.)