Scientists who have won a Nobel prize live nearly two years longer than
those who were merely nominated, suggesting that social status confers
"health-giving magic," British researchers said.
The researchers said there was evidence to link health and status in
monkeys but it had been difficult until now to do the same for humans
because status often brought more wealth, which improves living standards
and medical care.
"Status seems to work a kind of health-giving magic," said Andrew
Oswald, an economist at Warwick University who conducted the study with
Matthew Rablen, a former Warwick postgraduate researcher who is now a
"Once we do the statistical corrections, walking across that platform
in Stockholm apparently adds about two years to a scientist's life-span.
How status does this, we just don't know," he said in a university press
The study entitled "Mortality and Immortality," published this month,
focused on Nobel prize winners "as an ideal group to study as the winners
could be seen as having their status suddenly dropped on them," it said.
The researchers studied 524 men -- 135 winners and 389 nominees, who
were in the competition for the physics and chemistry prizes between 1901
They looked at one sex only to avoid differences in life span between
sexes. The total had been 528, but they dropped four who died in war or
from other causes that were not natural.
The average life span for the nominee group was just over 76 years.
Prize winners lived 1.4 years longer on average -- or 77.2 years --
than those who were nominated for the award.