Who are the happiest people?

August 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

Worried about getting older? Here’s something to look forward to: new research from Stanford University in California has found that emotional well being peaks at around age 70.

While youth may give you more hair and perkier boobs, this study suggests that the upside of ageing is inner peace. Researchers followed participants aged 18 to 94 over 10 years and found that the toils and troubles of youth make people unhappier. The older set did experience negative feelings but these were balanced by positive ones as well, which gave them more stable and balanced emotions overall.

Similar research on ageing and happiness by US researchers, David G. Blanchflower and Andrew J. Oswald, suggests a chart of happiness throughout a lifetime would look like Figure 1 below, an upside-down U: born happy little babies, dipping into depressed mid-life crisis adults, and curving back to our happy place after we’ve had our pensioner’s card for a while. The tentative reasons for the rough regularity of this mathematical curve are posed as follows:

  1. Individuals learn to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses and in mid-life quell their infeasible aspirations.
  2. Cheerful people live systematically longer than the miserable, for reasons not currently understood, and that the well being U-shape in age thus traces out in part a selection effect.
  3. A kind of comparison process is at work, e.g. “I have seen school friends die and come eventually to value my blessings during my remaining years”.

Read the August Case of the Month on Happiness and listen to Habits of Happiness.

Reference: Blanchflower, David. G. & Oswald, Andrew. J. Is Well-being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle? Social Science & Medicine. 2008.

This can’t be good for you – Part 1

August 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Spinewave Bulletin 

How artificial sweetners destroy nerve cells

August 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure.

According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting aspartame: Brain tumours, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.

Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Aspartic acid makes up about 40% of aspartame. It is an amino acid and acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate is why they are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They “excite” or stimulate the neural cells to death.

The blood brain barrier, which normally protects the brain from excess aspartate as well as toxins, A. is not fully developed during childhood, B. does not fully protect all areas of the brain, C. is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions, and D. allows seepage of excess aspartate into the brain even when intact. The excess aspartate slowly begins to destroy neurons. The large majority (75% or more) of neural cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed.

Adapted from mercola.com

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