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Do Cabinet Members Age Faster Than the Rest of Us? -- PICTURES Do Cabinet Members Age Faster Than the Rest of Us? -- PICTURES

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Pictures / WHITE HOUSE

Do Cabinet Members Age Faster Than the Rest of Us? -- PICTURES

July 2, 2012

While the graying of the president is a well-documented phenomenon, the conventional wisdom may be a bit off. As the Associated Press reported in 2011, a study of American presidents has shown that they often live longer than their cohorts. According to the AP's reporting:

"The graying of hair and wrinkling of the skin seen in presidents while they're in office are normal elements of human aging," said study author S. Jay Olshansky, a researcher on aging at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Stress can speed up those two outward signs of aging, and it's possible that job stress has made some presidents appear to age quickly. But the study shows that doesn't mean being doomed to an early grave.

"We don't actually know if they get more gray hair or more wrinkles" than other men their age. "But even if they did, we don't die of gray hair and wrinkles," Olshansky said.

Presidents are generally well-taken-care-of people, which may account for their longevity. But there is scientific evidence to suggest that chronic stress can induce premature aging on the cellular level. One study showed women who underwent exteme mental stress to have DNA that was prematurely aged 10 years compared to non-stressed women.

This all being true, the proof is in the pictures, right? Scroll through the gallery below of Obama and his Cabinet from several years ago compared with now and judge for yourself.  

Left: President Obama in 2008. Right: Obama in 2012.(AP)

Left: Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton in 2009. Right: Clinton, 2012.(AP)

Left: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in 2008. Right: Geithner in 2012.(AP)


In four years, Education Secretary Arne Duncan's salt-and-pepper hair has become more salt than pepper. Left: 2008. Right: 2012.(AP)

Left: Attorney General Eric Holder in 2008. Right: 2012.

What's a more stressful job: director of the CIA or Defense Secretary? In switching jobs, Leon Panetta doesn't seem to be worse for the wear. On the left, a picture from 2006. On the right, one from 2012.(AP)


Left: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in 2008. Right: 2012.(AP)

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