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The Fascinating Way Age Will Improve Your Personality

There are three things that naturally happen to people’s personality with age.

People get nicer as they get older, in contrast to the stereotype of the grumpy senior.

The finding may be a surprise to those that believe people never change.

They do — even if only a little.

The three main changes to personality that occur, on average, with age are that people get:

  • more conscientious,
  • more agreeable,
  • and less neurotic (moody).

The study examined the brain scans of 500 volunteers.

The researchers found that typical changes in brain structure that occur with age were linked to changes in personality.

Dr Roberta Riccelli, the study’s first author, said:

“Our work supports the notion that personality is, to some degree, associated with brain maturation, a developmental process that is strongly influenced by genetic factors.”

aging

These changes in personality suggest a genetic influence, explained Professor Nicola Toschi, a study co-author:

“Of course, we are continually shaped by our experiences and environment, but the fact that we see clear differences in brain structure which are linked with differences in personality traits suggests that there will almost certainly be an element of genetics involved.
This is also in keeping with the notion that differences in personality traits can be detected early on during development, for example in toddlers or infants.”

Dr Luca Passamonti, a study co-author, said:

“Linking how brain structure is related to basic personality traits is a crucial step to improving our understanding of the link between the brain morphology and particular mood, cognitive, or behavioural disorders.
We also need to have a better understanding of the relation between brain structure and function in healthy people to figure out what is different in people with neuropsychiatric disorders.”

The study was published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (Riccelli et al., 2016).
 
source: PsyBlog


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Tired? Weak? You’re Not ‘Just Getting Old’; Something is Wrong

When Dr. Christopher Callahan examines older patients, he often hears a similar refrain.

“I’m tired, doctor. It’s hard to get up and about. I’ve been feeling kind of down, but I know I’m getting old and I just have to live with it.”

This fatalistic stance relies on widely-held but mistaken assumptions about what constitutes “normal aging.”

In fact, fatigue, weakness and depression, among several other common concerns, aren’t to-be-expected consequences of growing older, said Callahan, director of the Center for Aging Research at Indiana University’s School of Medicine.

Instead, they’re a signal that something is wrong and a medical evaluation is in order.

“People have a perception, promulgated by our culture, that aging equals decline,” said Dr. Jeanne Wei, a geriatrician who directs the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

“That’s just wrong,” Wei said. Many older adults remain in good health for a long time and “we’re lucky to live in an age when many remedies are available.”

Of course, peoples’ bodies do change as they get on in years. But this is a gradual process. If you suddenly find your thinking is cloudy and your memory unreliable, if you’re overcome by dizziness and your balance is out of whack, if you find yourself tossing and turning at night and running urgently to the bathroom, don’t chalk it up to normal aging.

Go see your physician. The earlier you identify and deal with these problems, the better. Here are four common concerns that should spark attention — only a partial list of issues that can arise:

Fatigue. You have no energy. You’re tired all the time.

Don’t underestimate the impact: Chronically weary older adults are at risk of losing their independence and becoming socially isolated.

Nearly one-third of adults age 51 and older experience fatigue, according to a 2010 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. (Other estimates are lower.) There are plenty of potential culprits. Medications for blood pressure, sleep problems, pain and gastrointestinal reflux can induce fatigue, as can infections, conditions such as arthritis, an underactive thyroid, poor nutrition and alcohol use.

All can be addressed, doctors say. Perhaps most important is ensuring that older adults remain physically active and don’t become sedentary.

“If someone comes into my office walking at a snail’s pace and tells me ‘I’m old; I’m just slowing down,’ I’m like no, that isn’t right,” said Dr. Lee Ann Lindquist, a professor of geriatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
“You need to start moving around more, get physical therapy or occupational therapy and push yourself to do just a little bit more every day.”

Woman with photo of elderly woman's eyes on hers'

Woman with photo of elderly woman’s eyes on hers’

 

Appetite loss. You don’t feel like eating and you’ve been losing weight.

This puts you at risk of developing nutritional deficiencies and frailty and raises the prospect of an earlier-than-expected death. Between 15 and 30 percent of older adults are believed to have what’s known as the “anorexia of aging.”

Physical changes associated with aging — notably a reduced sense of vision, taste and smell, which make food attractive — can contribute. So can other conditions: decreased saliva production (a medication-induced problem that affects about one-third of older adults); constipation (affecting up to 40 percent of seniors); depression; social isolation (people don’t like to eat alone); dental problems; illnesses and infections; and medications (which can cause nausea or reduced taste and smell).

If you had a pretty good appetite before and that changed, pay attention, said Dr. Lucy Guerra, director of general internal medicine at the University of South Florida.

Treating dental problems and other conditions, adding spices to food, adjusting medications and sharing meals with others can all make a difference.

Depression. You’re sad, apathetic and irritable for weeks or months at a time.

Depression in later life has profound consequences, compounding the effects of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, leading to disability, affecting cognition and, in extreme cases, resulting in suicide.

A half century ago, it was believed “melancholia” was common in later life and that seniors naturally withdrew from the world as they understood their days were limited, Callahan explained. Now, it’s known this isn’t so. Researchers have shown that older adults tend to be happier than other age groups: only 15 percent have major depression or minor variants.

Late-life depression is typically associated with a serious illness such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis or stroke; deteriorating hearing or vision; and life changes such as retirement or the loss of a spouse. While grief is normal, sadness that doesn’t go away and that’s accompanied by apathy, withdrawal from social activities, disturbed sleep and self-neglect is not, Callahan said.

With treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-depressants, 50 to 80 percent of seniors can expect to recover.

Weakness. You can’t rise easily from a chair, screw the top off a jar, or lift a can from the pantry shelf.

You may have sarcopenia – a notable loss of muscle mass and strength that affects about 10 percent of adults over the age of 60. If untreated, sarcopenia will affect your balance, mobility and stamina and raise the risk of falling, becoming frail and losing independence.

Age-related muscle atrophy, which begins when people reach their 40s and accelerates when they’re in their 70s, is part of the problem. Muscle strength declines even more rapidly — slipping about 15 percent per decade, starting at around age 50.

The solution: exercise, including resistance and strength training exercises and good nutrition, including getting adequate amounts of protein. Other causes of weakness can include inflammation, hormonal changes, infections and problems with the nervous system.

Watch for sudden changes. “If you’re not as strong as you were yesterday, that’s not right,” Wei said. Also, watch for weakness only on one side, especially if it’s accompanied by speech or vision changes.

Taking steps to address weakness doesn’t mean you’ll have the same strength and endurance as when you were in your 20s or 30s. But it may mean doctors catch a serious or preventable problem early on and forestall further decline.

By Judith Graham, Kaiser        Health News       Fri December 16, 2016
 
source: www.cnn.com


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Life is More Enjoyable After Retirement

Enjoyment of everyday activities increases after retirement, a study from Australia has found.

The heightened level of enjoyment lasts at least a year after a retiree stops working full time, researchers report in the journal Age and Ageing.

There is conflicting evidence about changes in enjoyment and happiness when people retire, coauthor Tim Olds of the University of South Australia told Reuters Health by email.

On the one hand, people may lose social connections and their sense of purpose in life when they retire, he said. On the other hand, retirement offers a chance to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.

“We found that you’re likely to be happier when you retire,” he told Reuters Health in an email.

That’s not because retirees spend more time doing things they like and less time doing things they don’t like, Olds noted.

Rather, it could be that retirees get more pleasure from even mundane daily activities “because they have more autonomy and time-flexibility,” Olds said.

The 124 study participants all intended to retire within three to six months. The group was roughly half men and half women, with an average age of 62.

At the start of the study and again three, six and 12 months afterward, Olds and his colleagues asked participants to recall their activities in the last 24 hours. They grouped activities into eight categories: physical activity, social, self-care, sleep, screen time, quiet time, transport, work and chores.

Participants also completed surveys about their health, wellbeing, sleep quality and loneliness.

happiness

Compared to pre-retirement levels, average enjoyment ratings were significantly higher throughout the study.

“Changes were partly due to shifts towards more enjoyable activities . . . but were mainly due to retirees getting more enjoyment out of doing the same activities post-retirement,” the authors found.

Overall, enjoyment ratings were associated with wellbeing and better sleep quality.

Physical activity and social activity had the highest enjoyment ratings while work and chores had the lowest, according to the report.

Still, participants who continued to work part-time after retirement reported that their enjoyment of it increased substantially, the authors noted.

“People have a different experience when working after retirement,” said Kenneth Shultz, a social gerontologist and professor of psychology at California State University in San Bernardino.
“You don’t have to deal with the pressure of a career job, and people tend to not be emotionally invested in it,” said Shultz, who was not part of the study.

For those on the edge of retirement, however, work appears to be an unpleasurable drag, according to Olds and colleagues.

During those last few months before retirement, they write, “enjoyment decreased when the trip to work began, was momentarily elevated during work breaks, and rose again at the end of the working day.”

The study participants, they conclude, “were . . . working for the ‘eternal weekend’ of retirement.”

BY LINDA THRASYBULE
SOURCE: bit.ly/28NKanG      Age and Ageing, online      June 7, 2016         www.reuters.com


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How to stay strong in adulthood? Eat protein often, study says Diet

Graham Slaughter, CTVNews.ca    Published Thursday, April 21, 2016

A new study suggests that adults should eat significantly more protein than national guidelines currently recommend, and that portions should be split evenly throughout the day.

The high-protein diet, outlined in a joint study by the University of Mississippi and researchers at McMaster University, could help stave off muscle and strength loss in aging adults.

Researchers say the sweet spot is 30 grams to 45 grams of protein eaten one to two times per day – but one researcher suggests a person could see benefits with three to five meals at that amount. (For scale, an average chicken breast contains about 25 to 30 grams of protein.)

“That’s a pretty big dose of protein,” said researcher and professor Stuart Phillips, who studies protein and physical activity at McMaster University.

“But the more times people consume that dose, the greater their retention of muscle and the greater their strength that they measured using at least their legs, which is arguably the most important muscle that you want to preserve.”

The findings are based off information from 1,081 Americans between the ages of 50 and 85 collected from 1999 and 2002 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES.

Researchers zeroed in on the relationships between participants’ leg strength and how much protein they consumed. From that, they found a positive relationship between protein consumed in multiple meals and overall leg lean mass and strength.

‘A big jump’ from the norm

The conclusion may sound obvious – more protein, more strength – but the amount of protein researchers recommend far exceeds today’s national guidelines.

For example, a man weighing 80 kilograms (176 lbs.) requires 64 grams of protein under the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), a common benchmark in the U.S. and Canada. But Phillips suggests that such a person would benefit by boosting that protein intake to between 90 grams and 135 grams across three meals.

That’s more than double the national standard, but Phillips insists the suggestion isn’t “radical.”

“I think that it might shock some people and it’s definitely a big jump from the RDA, but I think that … there’s enough science now that’s beginning to emerge that challenges the adequacy of the RDA for older persons,” he said.

protein
A new study suggests that adults should eat significantly more protein
than national guidelines currently recommend,
and that portions should be split evenly throughout the day.

The study itself did not consider the type of protein consumed, but Phillips says the diet could be followed with either plant- or animal-sourced protein.

And the message isn’t simply that more protein is better, Phillips insists.

“It’s that you should probably distribute it in a balanced fashion. So take some of the protein that you’re eating at dinner and maybe consume a smaller portion there and consume more protein at breakfast and lunch time meals.”

The study did not specify the timing between meals, but Phillips suggested at least three hours.
He also point outs that the research is a step forward, but it’s not the final word on protein.

“This is a hypothesis generator rather than bona fide as fact,” he said.

Works for ‘anybody’

Phillips says the diet could work for “just about anybody,” and it becomes increasingly important for people to eat more protein in their forties and fifties when they may begin to lose muscle mass.
But people who don’t exercise often may experience muscle loss sooner in life and require a high-protein diet earlier.

“If you assume a fairly sedentary lifestyle and you have a fairly sedentary workplace, then you’re going to lose muscle mass at an earlier and probably more rapid rate than somebody else,” Phillips said.

Phillips compared muscle loss to bone mass loss in women going through menopause. Rather than fight the problem when it strikes, Phillips says it’s better to prepare with the appropriate diet.

“It’s definitely preventative. There’s no question,” he said.

Too much protein?

There are a couple “myths” associated with high-protein diets, Phillips says, including an increased likelihood of kidney failure or that it causes bones to “dissolve” by leeching calcium.

“Neither of those have any scientific basis,” says Phillips, whose research pertains particularly to protein. “I don’t see the smoking gun.”

But eating more protein could tip the scale on consumption of other nutrients, like carbohydrates and fiber, so Phillips says it’s important to keep a balanced diet and not “blindly” eat more protein.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is just as important as eating a balanced, protein-rich diet, Phillips says.

“I won’t say that one trumps the other … but I think you can cure a lot of evil from a disease and poor diet standpoint from a lot of good exercise,” he said.

The study will appear in the international journal Clinical Nutrition in the next few weeks.


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7 Nutrients To Help Protect Your Brain From Aging

Flavanols, Fish, Nuts, And Blueberries May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

Apr 21, 2015      By Lecia Bushak

Eating certain nutrients, like cocoa flavonals and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, help boost your cognitive function and brainpower.

While genetics and exercise play a large role in your brain health and risk of developing dementia, diet is quite influential, too. There is no magical elixir that can cure or completely prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but scientists have been able to pinpoint certain nutrients that are associated with improved cognitive function or memory. Keeping your diet full of the foods that contain them, then, can help you protect your brain.

Cocoa Flavanols

Cocoa flavanols are found naturally in cocoa and can be beneficial to your brain health; they make dark chocolate healthier than regular chocolate, which has been washed out with milk and sugar. A 2014 study examined the impact of eating a high cocoa flavanol diet over the course of three months. The researchers focused primarily on the dentate gyrus (DG), a part of the hippocampal formation in the brain that, when it declines, is often associated with aging. Scientists believe this part of the brain is linked to memory loss. After eating a lot of cocoa flavanols, the researchers report that the participants experienced “enhanced DG function.”

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, are going to not only help your heart health, but they’ll also give you a boost in brainpower. According to a 2014 study, mice that were given supplements of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid showed improved cognitive function while they aged — showing better object recognition memory, spatial and localized memory, and aversive response retention.

nuts

Nuts

Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids like fish, so adding nuts to your diet in addition to fish will provide you with solid amounts. Walnuts, in particular, have been shown to fight memory loss. In one recent large-scale analysis, researchers found that a diet supplemented with walnuts — which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, folate, antioxidants, and melatonin — improved adults’ performances on a series of six cognitive tests.

Magnesium

Scientists believe that a magnesium deficiency may play a role in cognitive decline, brain aging, and ultimately, dementia. So taking magnesium supplements — or eating foods that contain magnesium, like chard, spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, almonds, black beans, avocados, figs, dark chocolate, or bananas — can help you fight off the effects of the aging brain.

Blueberries

Blueberries are delicious, but they also help in boosting your memory. According to a 2010 study, blueberries were shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They also contain anthocyanins, compounds that are associated with increased neuronal signaling in the brain’s memory areas. In the study, researchers found that participants who drank wild blueberry juice on a daily basis had improvements in paired associate learning and word list recall; they also found lower depressive symptoms and glucose levels.

Cruciferous Vegetables

According to the National Institute on Aging, eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help stave off cognitive decline as well as other chronic diseases, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Green, leafy, cruciferous vegetables in particular (like broccoli and spinach) have been shown to reduce the rate of cognitive decline. The Mediterranean diet, in particular (vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals, fish, olive oil, mild amounts of alcohol — as well as low consumption of saturated fats, dairy, meat, and poultry) has shown in studies to be beneficial for cognitive health compared to more “Western” diets that are high in fats, carbs, and meat.

Green Tea

Green tea is good for a lot of things — but it’s also going to help you protect your brain. In a recent study completed at the University of Basel, researchers found that green tea extract enhances your thinking process and working memory. Participants scored higher for working memory tasks after they received the green tea extract, and an MRI showed a boost in connectivity between the parietal and frontal cortex of the brain, meaning that green tea “might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain,”  said Professor Stefan Borgwardt, an author of the study.


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7 Free Ways To Fight The Effects Of Aging

By Dr. Agnes Frankel    October 3, 2014 

The essence of anti-aging medicine is not only prolonging one’s life span, but to ensure that we are experiencing life while being our best, most vibrant, energetic and healthy self — whether in our 20s or 60s.

Think of your body as an ocean full of beautiful underwater life. When the water is dirty there is no way the colorful fish will stay healthy and vital. The same goes for your cells and organs — when their environment becomes polluted they get weaker and die prematurely, meaning they AGE!

That’s why the key is to be focused on proactive actions that will help your body and mind stay balanced in their best and most optimum state. Let me share with you some easy yet powerful tips that, when implemented, will set you up to win and thrive every single day of your life.

1. Stand up.

Sitting for too long is harmful to your health. Be proactive! Make it a habit to move and stretch your body for five to 10 minutes for every 50 minutes you sit. Just think how many “sitting” activities you could approach differently and use as an excuse to stand up, like a phone conversation, reading, or drinking your favorite cup of tea. There are even different phone apps that can help you keep track of your break routine.

2. Move it!

It’s been said over and over, but somehow so many people do little to no physical activity. If you’ve read about the positive effects of sports on your body and mind, but never actually put yourself into the position to do it, NOW is the time! Think of it as the greatest gift you can give yourself.

Start out by exercising three times a week for an hour. Schedule the time as a “necessary appointment” with yourself to make sure no one will interfere.

ski

3. Finish in “last place” in the meal marathon.

You want to take your time when having meals. If you eat in a rush, it’s likely you don’t chew properly, and you overeat. As a result, your body does not extract all the essential nutrients, plus you burden yourself with too many calories.

When you take a five-minute break, it’s much better to drink some fresh juice than taking huge bites just to finish quickly. Remember — that’s the race you DON’T want to win!

4. Be on a mission.

Setting clear goals about what you want to achieve will boost both the quality and length of your life. If you haven’t done it already, ask yourself: what is your purpose? What do you what to give and achieve while being here? Give yourself time and space for this reflection. Write your thoughts down or make a vision board. This is significant, so don’t push yourself if you don’t have the answer straight away. Stay focused and be patient: it will come!

5. Connect.

You’re not a lonely island, and you shouldn’t be. So get out there! Never underestimate the time spent with your colleagues, family, and friends. Make it a daily habit — even a five-minute talk during a busy day will make a huge difference in the quality of your life. Don’t limit yourself only to Internet connections; go offline and experience the real world. There’s nothing more refreshing than a face-to-face interaction.

6. Be the director of your own life.

In life, not like in the movies, you can be successful only when you act to your own script. Don’t let anyone else write it for you. Don’t wait. Live your life according to your own rules. And remember: today is the best day to start!

7. Be happy!

You can’t change everything that surrounds you. Nonetheless, it’s always up to you what you focus on. Yup, the glass can be either half full or half empty. Make sure to find empowering meanings in every situation. The more you exercise this, the more organic it will become for you! And when doing that, of course, smile!


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10 Reasons Why Life Gets Better As You Grow Up (Not the Opposite Way Around)

 Brianna Wiest   Writer, editor, professional human being. Founder of Soul Anatomy  11/30/2015  

We don’t age by years, we age by experience. Yet, we’re largely under the impression that life gets worse as it goes on — the “golden days” we’ve attributed to being our budding adolescence, yet generally speaking, that is the most difficult and uncertain time of life, both biologically and socially.

Research shows that we get better as we age, we become happier as life progresses, and that the loss of “childlike wonder,” or, the magic that makes youth what we want to hold onto, is not a natural occurrence, it’s a learned behavior. That is to say – we can just as easily reclaim it.

Happiness increases as we age because we develop and master the cognitive functions required to sustain happiness, we settle into a sense of who we are, we accomplish a few things, and we evolve past our erratic, emotional adolescent selves. Essentially: life doesn’t get better, we become better equipped to deal with it. Here, all the reasons why you have the rest of your life to look forward to, whether you believe it or not:

1. As you get older, you build the cognitive functions that happiness requires: gratitude, objectivity, problem-solving.

The more you see of the world, and the more you experience yourself within it, you learn that there’s a lot to be grateful for, things exist separate from our perception of them and most issues are resolvable if only you decide you’re committed to resolving them.

2. Science says you’re generally more content after you have a few major life achievements under your belt.

Some research argues that 37 is the happiest age: we’ve done enough that we feel accomplished, settled and as though our identities are validated, but not so much that we don’t have anything to look forward to.

3. As you age your attitude shifts from “What can I do” to “what can I enjoy.”

Your objective is less to prove or establish yourself, and more to enjoy your life and be present within it fully.

4. If life becomes more difficult as time goes on, it indicates you’re not learning, evolving or adapting in some way.

There is not actually a point in time when life gets “easier,” we just become better equipped to deal with things that we didn’t know how to deal with prior. Likewise, people who do not develop those tools do find that life gets more difficult as it goes on, not because circumstances are more challenging necessarily, but because from their perspective, they are unable to handle them well.

5. You’re most emotionally erratic as a young adult.

The brain circuit that processes fear, the amygdala, develops ahead of the prefrontal cortex, which is the center for reasoning and executive control. This means that adolescents have brains wired for an enhanced perception of fear, and underdeveloped ability to calm or reason with themselves.

happiness

6. We are taught by experience that nothing external we assume will bring us happiness actually does.

Very often, the goals we choose to pursue as adolescents have some deeper link or connection to believing we’ll be more loved, accepted or admired for having achieved something “great.” It’s only after we have one or two of those things under our belts that we realize we’re not fulfilled in the way we hoped to be. As we age, we learn to separate our desire for emotional fulfillment from our false ideas of how we could achieve it.

7. Bonds you build with people over years cohere into emotional “safety nets.”

This is to say that as time goes on, friendships deepen and relationships evolve, you begin to choose your own family and bond with them in more and more intimate ways. This, of course, translates to us as a feeling of “safety,” and genuine inclusiveness, which is a primitive desire as well as a key component of happiness.

8. You know how to get through things — because you’ve done it before.

You know you’ll survive the death of a loved one because you had to teach yourself how to mourn and move on a few times before. You know you’ll get through a financially sparse month or a difficult breakup, because you’ve done it before. Your past challenges gave you the tools to deal with your current, and present ones.

9.You move from assuming that your time here is a guarantee to seeing it as a gift and an opportunity.

Friend’s parents pass on. Friends pass on. People get ill. Tragedies occur that remind us our time is not a given. Nobody expects that they’ll die young, but they do. You may project your ideal life to carry on until 95, but that will not necessarily make it reality. When we sober up about how delicate and precious life is, we are fully present in it.

10. You learn about who you are, and learn how to create a life that person will enjoy.

The portals of self-discovery are endless and not always obvious, and they don’t end after your mid-20s. As time goes on, you learn your habits, your preferences, what works and what doesn’t, what you want more of and less. That self-knowledge is invaluable, and makes up the building blocks of a life well-lived.

This post originally appeared on Soul Anatomy
Follow Brianna Wiest on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/briannawiest