CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Want to live longer? Having a woman for a doctor instead of a man may help.

A new Harvard University study reveals that older patients are less likely to die or end up back in the hospital if they have female doctors.

The study looked at more than 1 million patients over the age of 65 who were hospitalized for common conditions including pneumonia, stroke and heart attack.

Researchers say women physicians are more likely to practice evidence-based medicine and stick with clinical guidelines.

“The difference in mortality rates surprised us,” said lead study author Yusuke Tsugawa. “The gender of the physician appears to be particularly significant for the sickest patients.”

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