weekly blog--one for the ages
A new study concluded that how people allocate their time in retirement is a factor in their wellbeing, and that most retirees are spending way too little of it on what they desire as they get older, contributing to a decrease in overall happiness. Passive activities such as watching television and staying at home were reported to generate the lowest amount of happiness, while more active endeavors, like socializing, volunteering, walking or exercising, were associated with the highest level of happiness.
The study found that as respondents aged, they spent more time watching television, staying home, and running errands, even though their desire to engage in active pursuits was found to have increased with age. One possible explanation for this is that people might start off in their retirement spending more time at home or watching more television, but eventually they found that engaging in more meaningful activities provided more happiness.
A new research study concludes that people achieve the most meaning in their lives at around age 60. The research also found that as people's sense of meaning in life rises, so does their well-being, and that both sense of meaning and search for meaning tend to rise and fall in U-shaped curves over a person's life span.
Presence of meaning starts low in the 20s and gradually rises to a peak around age 60, on average, before declining again. The search for meaning is a mirror image: It starts high in people's 20s and drops to an all-time low around age 60 before climbing in older age.
Can’t remember something? Researchers identified a gene in mice that seems to influence memory recall at different times of day. Researchers tested the memories of young adult male and female mice. In the “learning,” or training, phase of the memory tests, researchers allowed mice to explore a new object for a few minutes.
Later, in the “recall” phase of the test, researchers observed how long the mice touched the object when it was reintroduced. Mice spend less time touching objects that they remember seeing previously. Researchers tested the mice’s recall by reintroducing the same object at different times of day.
They did the same experiments with healthy mice and mice without BMAL1, a protein that regulates the expression of many other genes. BMAL1 normally fluctuates between low levels just before waking up and high levels before going to sleep. The researchers discovered that when BMAL1 levels are normally low, it causes mice to not recall something they definitely learned and know.
A new research study concluded that our body seems to shift gears three times during a lifespan: at 34 years, 60 years and 78 years. The same study also put forward a new way of reliably predicting people's ages using the protein levels (the proteome) in their blood, and provided more evidence that men and women age differently.
A new Northwestern University study shows that, in the absence of injury, athletes across a variety of sports – including football, soccer and hockey – have healthier brains than non-athletes. Essentially, playing sports can tune the brain to better understand one’s sensory environment. Athletes have an enhanced ability to tamp down background electrical noise in their brain to better process external sounds, such as a teammate yelling a play or a coach calling to them from the sidelines.
Like athletes, musicians and those who can speak more than one language also have an enhanced ability to hear incoming sound signals. However, musicians’ and multilinguals’ brains do so by turning up the sound in their brain versus turning down the background noise in their brain.
Switzerland was recently ranked as the most innovative country in the world by the UN. Here’s how the country with one of the highest life expectancies in the world is using technology to tackle the challenges of aging.