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In one of the most puzzling discoveries in research on aging, people like Irma Lara and Salomon Leos may have the secret to living longer.
It was 1999 and a Columbia University graduate student, Adriana Lleras-Muney, was casting about for a topic for her doctoral dissertation in economics. She found an idea in a paper published in 1969. Three economists noted the correlation between education and health and gave some advice: If you want to improve health, you will get more return by investing in education than by investing in medical care.
Over and over again, studies show that health is linked to wealth. It even matters where a person lives.
Dr. Smith also asked whether getting richer made people healthier, an effect that could translate into a longer life. It does not, he concluded after studying the large increases in income during the stock market surge of the 1990s.