Older people are happier

Friday, 9 March 2012


If you have been plagued by sensitive teeth your symptoms may ease as you get older because more dentin (the tooth’s inner hard tissue) is laid down between the enamel and nerves. This means extra insulation and a diminished pain response.
Sensitivity is normally caused by hot or cold food and drink seeping into the tiny tubules (or microscopic pores) that run from the outside of the tooth to the nerve in the pulp.
Toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth helps by blocking those tubules, but a report in the International Dental Journal found that dentil tubules narrow and harden over time, thus reducing sensitivity.
However, some people may end up with more sensitive roots, as London dentist Dr Anthony Halperin points out.
‘You may get less decay and less sensitivity in places, but as gums recede more dentine will be exposed around the margins of the teeth causing increased sensitivity as the root of the tooth becomes exposed,’ he says.


Despite the gruelling effort required, marathon runners improve with age.
Sports scientists believe older runners are more mentally resilient, more determined to win and often train more effectively.
A 16-year study at Yale University found runners aged 50-plus show greater improvements in marathon times than younger ones.
The top female runners aged 50 to 59 showed the greatest improvement of all.
Yale’s Dr Peter Jokl advises that the key to running success in middle age is often starting late. Runners who start young are more likely to wear out their joints earlier.


People report more ‘positive well being’ and greater emotional stability as they get older, according to a study at Stanford University in the U.S.
Psychologists believe this is due to changes in how the brain – in particular the amygdala which processes emotion – responds to events.
When researchers scanned the brains of volunteers aged 18 to 29, their amygdalae were activated equally by cheerful and distressing images, but the brains of volunteers aged 70 to 90 reacted much more strongly to the positive pictures.
Dr Laura Carstensen, who led the study, says: ‘Older people clearly show preferences in memory and attention for positive over negative.’
Professor Bill von Hippel, from the University of Queensland’s School Of Psychology, has been examining the links between people’s age and their sense of social satisfaction.
He says: ‘Older adults see the good things in life more easily and are less likely to be upset by the little things that go wrong.
‘This may be the wisdom of ageing — the ability to experience everyday life as uplifting.’

So apart from the sagging and wrinkling bits, it seems getting older is something to look forward to! Better immune systems, better sex and greater happiness, here I come!

Written by Louise Atkinson, this article originally appeared in the Daily Mail

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