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Good Mood Boosts Brain Power

Posted Feb 21 2013 10:10pm

Previously, a number of studies suggest that younger adults are more creative and cognitively flexible when they are in a good mood.  Stephanie M. Carpenter, from the University of Michigan (Michigan, USA), and colleagues enrolled 46 adults, ages 63 to 85 years, in a study to assess the role of mood on cognitive skill.. Half of the subjects were put into a good mood by receiving a thank-you card and two small bags of candy, tied with a red ribbon, when they arrived at the lab for the experiment. The other "neutral mood" participants did not receive a card or candy. The participants completed a computer-based study. They also participated in a decision-making task, where the participants were given $3 in quarters and presented with eight virtual decks of cards over the course of experiment. The researchers wanted to see how quickly and accurately the participants would learn which decks generally won them money, and which decks lost them money. The findings were clear: older adults who were put into a good mood chose significantly better than those who were in the neutral mood. Later in the experiment, the researchers tested working memory -- how much information people can hold in their mind at any one time. Researchers read aloud a group of intermixed letters and numbers (such as T9A3) and participants were to repeat the group back in numeric and then alphabetic order (in this case, 39AT). The participants received groups with increasingly more letters and numbers. Results showed that the older adults who were induced into a good mood scored better on this test of working memory. The study authors conclude that: “These effects of positive-feeling induction have implications for affect theory, as well as, potentially, practical implications for people of all ages dealing with complex decisions.”

Stephanie M. Carpenter, Ellen Peters, Daniel Vastfjall,  Alice M. Isen.  “Positive feelings facilitate working memory and complex decision making among older adults.”  Journal: Cognition & Emotion; Volume 27, Issue 1, January 2013, pages 184-192.

  
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Tip #127 - Delay Death with Vitamin D
The therapeutic role of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," for bone health, has become well established. A number of recent studies now link vitamin D deficiency to adverse health consequences such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and some infectious diseases.

Johns Hopkins University (Maryland, USA) researchers reported that low blood levels of Vitamin D are associated with a 26% increased risk of death from any cause. The team analyzed data collected on 13,331 adults during a 6-year period after which the subjects were followed for 9 years. People with Vitamin D levels of less than 17.8 ng/mL had a 26% increased rate of death from any cause, compared to people with the highest Vitamin D levels (more than 32.1 ng/mL).

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA) reported that those individuals taking vitamin D supplements are at a 7% lower risk of death, as compared to those who did not supplement.

As well, Vitamin D inhibits the body’s inflammatory response and thus reduces the turnover of leukocytes (a type of white blood cell). The length of the leukocyte telomere (the endcap of the chromosome) is a predictor of aging-related disease, whereby it shortens as a result of increased inflammation. A team from King's College, London School of Medicine (United Kingdom) found that people with longer telomeres have higher levels of Vitamin D stored in their bodies. The team reports that: “The difference … was … equivalent to five years of telomeric aging,” suggesting that people who have higher levels of vitamin D may age more slowly than people with lower levels.
 
 
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