Personality, Genes, And Longevity

Photo by Rikahi via MorgueFile

Photo by Rikahi via MorgueFile

Some of my writer friends build their characters based on personality types. Whether they choose to set two characters on opposite ends of the Meyers-Briggs evaluation, or pit type A against type B. Now they may even be able to predict their characters health.

A new study has suggested that extroversion is associated with expression of pro-inflammatory genes, meaning they fight off infection better than people who score higher on conscientiousness. But the flip side of pro-inflammatory gene expression is the possibility of chronic inflammation later in life. Over time low-level chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and nephritis.

Yet a centenarian study from 2012 suggests that extroverts with easygoing, outgoing, and positive attitudes live longer. They had large social networks and didn’t bottle up their emotions. Yet these centenarians studied also tested high in conscientiousness. In other studies, the personality trait of openness to experience may be associated with better protective immune system function. Maybe living longer and avoiding disease is a mixture of good genes that ward off disease, and the right personality.


How Personality Affects Gene Expression And Immune System Function

Carolyn Gregoire of the Huffington Post

Extroverts Live Longer Study of Centenarians Suggests 

Jennifer Welsh of Live Science

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