STUDY, PUBLISHED IN ANNALS OF PLASTIC SURGERY, CONCLUDES
LIFESTYLE CHOICES EFFECT THE WAY WE AGE
York...December 15, 1999 - A two-year, unprecedented study
on aging and identical twins concludes that lifestyle and environmental
factors are the most significant contributors to premature aging.
The study entitled "How Environment and Lifestyle Choices Influence
the Aging Process" was conducted by world-renown plastic surgeon
Darrick Antell, M.D., attending physician at St. Lukes-Roosevelt
Hospital. The details of the study - which are published in the
December, 1999, issue of the highly respected Medical Journal Annals
of Plastic Surgery -- were announced today at 11 a.m. at a press
conference at the Roosevelt Division of St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital
Center, 1000 10th Avenue, New York City.
To present the results of his study, Antell was joined by six sets
of identical, face-lifted twins from across the United States --
both male and female, aged 48 to 73 -- who had participated in the
study. Antell selected identical twins to help unlock the mystery
of "nature vs. nurture," because identical twins develop from a
single egg and therefore have identical genes. In theory, they should
age identically, but instead he found that frequently one twin looked
like an older version of his/her counterpart.
In search of identical twins to participate in the study, Antell
traveled to Twinsburg, Ohio, to the annual Twins Days Festival.
Over a two-year period, he conducted intensive interviews, studied
hundreds of photos and subsequently performed face-lifts on a select
group in order to bring them back into balance and so that they
would again look as one.
The evidence was clear says Antell: "When one identical twin looked
noticeably older than the other, only external factors can account
for the differences in appearance. The two most consistent factors
that contribute to accelerated aging are smoking and/or sun exposure.
Other factors include alcohol consumption, stress, diet, exercise,
medications and accidents."
Antell admits that how one ages is largely a consequence of genetics.
However, this study proves that individuals can practice defensive
aging. By studying sets of identical twins, it is known that their
wrinkle patterns and hereditary drooping of the eyelids are identical.
But, due to lifestyle and environmental differences, the depth and
severity of wrinkles, as well as the amount of excess skin and the
quality of the skins texture varied and appeared to be vastly different.
Antell is the first to study identical twins as a control group
for an aging population. His interest in identical twins began during
his training as a plastic surgeon when he encountered a heart-wrenching
pair of identical twin sisters. "One had been badly burned in a
fire," he recalls. "I couldn"t help but think how difficult it was
for them to look at each other." Antell did what he could to repair
the burned twin"s scarred countenance. However, both sisters were
left with lasting damage to a prominent feature: Their twinness.
Phase two of Dr. Antell's study will research different face-lift
techniques. To date, he has performed more fact-lifts on identical
twins than any other physician worldwide. He has performed elective
surgery on eight sets of identical twins and will be following them
at one-year intervals for 10 years. Each twin has had subtle modifications
of the face, and though initially, it is not outwardly apparent,
the true test will be seen over time.