When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

South Korea

Study Says Castration May Add Up To 20 Years To A Man's Life

ARIRANG NEWS (Korea), BBC NEWS, CURRENT BIOLOGY (UK), MEDICAL DAILY (USA)

Worldcrunch

During Korea's Chosun Dynasty, young men living in poverty often chose to castrate themselves to live within the relative comfort of the imperial palace walls, reports Arirang news.

They were used to guard gates and manage food, and were the only men outside the royal family allowed to sleep in the palace, explains the BBC. According to Dr Cheol-Koo Lee from Korea University: "Eunuchs had some women-like appearances such as no moustache hair, large breasts, big hips and thin high-pitched voice."

A new study, published in Current Biology, investigated records from the families of eunuchs living in the court of the Chosun Dynasty. It found that on average, eunuchs lived between 14 and 19 years longer than other men of similar socio-economic status, reports the Medical Daily.

Researchers examined the records of 81 Korean eunuchs who lived between 1556 and 1861, says the BBC. They lived far longer than men of noble blood: the average age was 70 years, including three centenarians - the oldest reached 109. This centenarian rate is 130 times higher than it is in developed nations today, according to the Medical Daily.

By comparison, men in other families in the noble classes lived into their early 50s. Males in the royal family lasted until they were just 45 on average.

Dr. Kyung-Jin Min, from Inha University, told the BBC that the study provides compelling evidence that male sex hormones (such as testosterone) reduce the male lifespan by weakening the immune system or damaging the heart.

According to the researchers, it has long been known that male animals live longer if castrated, but this is the first study to show the same result among humans.

Researchers say they hope to use the data to figure out ways to increase human lifespan, reports Arirang news.

The ironic longevity of the eunuch and other secrets for eternal youth. bit.ly/NNDzdo

— Camilo Matiz (@Camilo_Matiz) September 25, 2012

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Geopolitics

With The Chechen War Veterans Fighting For Ukraine — And For Revenge

They came to fight Russia, and to avenge the deaths of their loved ones and friends killed in Chechnya. Not wanting to sit in the trenches, they've found work in intelligence and sabotage.

Photo of members of the pro-Ukrainian Chechen group "Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion" posing with weapons

Members of the pro-Ukrainian Chechen group "Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion"

Lydia Mikhalchenko

At least five Chechen units are fighting for Ukraine, with more than 1,000 troops in each unit — and their number is growing.

Most of these Chechen fighters took part in the first and second Chechen wars with Russia, and were forced to flee to Ukraine or elsewhere in Europe after their defeat. Vazhnyye Istorii correspondent Lydia Mikhalchenko met with some of these fighters.

Four of the five Chechen battalions are part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and are paid the standard wages (about €4,000 per month for those on the front line) and receive equipment and supplies.

Chechen fighters say they appreciate that Ukrainian commanders don't order them to take unnecessary risks and attack objectives just to line up with an unrealistic schedule or important dates — something Russian generals are fond of doing.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

The experienced Chechen fighters have taken fewer losses than many other units. Unhappy sitting in trenches, they mostly engage in reconnaissance and sabotage, moving along the front lines. "The Russians wake up, and the commander is gone. Or he's dead," one of the fighters explains.

Some of the fighters say that the Ukrainian war is easier than their previous battles in Chechnya, when they had to sit in the mountains for weeks without supplies and make do with small stocks of arms and ammunition. Some call this a "five-star war."

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest