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

July 2, 2012, 12:57 p.m.

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.