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Male Holocaust survivors have a longer life-expectancy
Date:7/31/2013

Male Holocaust survivors have a longer life expectancy compared to those who didn't experience the Holocaust, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Haifa jointly with Leiden University. The results have just been published in PLOS ONE. This is the first study to examine data on the entire Jewish Polish population that immigrated to Israel before and after World War II, using the population-wide official database of the National Insurance Institute of Israel. "Holocaust survivors not only suffered grave psychosocial trauma but also famine, malnutrition, and lack of hygienic and medical facilities, leading us to believe these damaged their later health and reduced life expectancy. Surprisingly, our findings teach us of the strength and resilience of the human spirit", said the leading professor of this research, Prof. Avi Sagi-Schwartz, from the Dept. of Psychology and the Head of the Center for the Study of Child Development at Haifa University.

Previous studies showed a traumatic experience may shorten life-expectancy and even found genetic proof that trauma may lead to a shortening of the chromosome ends in the human DNA, responsible for the lifespan of human body cells. These facts led the researchers to examine whether Holocaust survivors really do have a shorter lifespan.

This research, conducted in collaboration with Prof. Shai Linn, Dean of the Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences at Haifa University, Prof. Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg and Prof. Marinus H. van IJzendoorn from Leiden University in The Netherlands, was the first to be based on population-wide data derived from the official database of the National Insurance Institute of Israel, examining the entire Jewish Polish population that immigrated to Israel before and after World War II. The researchers compared between a population of Holocaust survivors who were 4-20 years old in 1939 and who immigrated to Israel between 1945-1950 and a population
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Contact: Polina Petruhin
ppetruh1@univ.haifa.ac.il
972-482-88722
University of Haifa
Source:Eurekalert

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