Summary of “The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis”

Part of the answer likely involves what researchers call selection bias: unhappier people tend to die sooner, removing themselves from the sample.
A common hypothesis, and one that seems right to me, is alluded to by Carstensen and her colleagues in their 2011 paper: “As people age and time horizons grow shorter,” they write, “People invest in what is most important, typically meaningful relationships, and derive increasingly greater satisfaction from these investments.” Midlife is, for many people, a time of recalibration, when they begin to evaluate their lives less in terms of social competition and more in terms of social connectedness.
In my 40s, I found I was obsessively comparing my life with other people’s: scoring and judging myself, and counting up the ways in which I had fallen behind in a race.
Carstensen told me, “When the future becomes less distant, more constrained, people focus on the present, and we think that’s better for emotional experience. The goals that are chronically activated in old age are ones about meaning and savoring and living for the moment.” These are exactly the changes that K. and others in my own informal research sample reported.
“As people perceive the future as increasingly constrained, they set goals that are more realistic and easy to pursue.” For me, the expectation of scaling ever greater heights has faded, and with it my sense of disappointment and failure.
He used a German longitudinal survey, with data from 1991 to 2004, that, unusually, asked people about both their current life satisfaction and their expected satisfaction five years hence.
To his own surprise, he found the same result regardless of respondents’ economic status, generation, and even whether they lived in western or eastern Germany: younger people consistently and markedly overestimated how satisfied they would be five years later, while older people underestimated future satisfaction.
What’s more, Schwandt found that in between those two periods, during middle age, people experienced a sort of double whammy: satisfaction with life was declining, but expectations were also by then declining.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why I Hope to Die at 75”

So I am not talking about bargaining with God to live to 75 because I have a terminal illness.
I am talking about how long I want to live and the kind and amount of health care I will consent to after 75.
The claim is that with longer life, an ever smaller proportion of our lives will be spent in a state of decline.
It tells us exactly what we want to believe: that we will live longer lives and then abruptly die with hardly any aches, pains, or physical deterioration-the morbidity traditionally associated with growing old.
Although he didn’t die from the heart attack, no one would say he is living a vibrant life.
At age 75 we reach that unique, albeit somewhat arbitrarily chosen, moment when we have lived a rich and complete life, and have hopefully imparted the right memories to our children.
Certainly if there were to be a flu pandemic, a younger person who has yet to live a complete life ought to get the vaccine or any antiviral drugs.
Is making money, chasing the dream, all worth it? Indeed, most of us have found a way to live our lives comfortably without acknowledging, much less answering, these big questions on a regular basis.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Learning Chess at Forty”

I would explain that I too was learning to play, and the resulting tone was cheerily patronizing: Good luck with that! Reading about an international tournament, I was struck by a suggestion that a grandmaster had passed his peak.
Magnus Carlsen, the world’s current top-ranked player, was the youngest player to reach number one, at age 19.
“If you’re talking about two novices,” Charness said, when I asked him about my daughter, me, and chess, “Your daughter would probably pick things up about twice as fast as you could.” My daughter is, in effect, learning chess like a first language, whereas I am learning it like a second language.
After what seemed a particularly disastrous move, I would try to play coach for a moment, and ask: Are you sure that’s what you want to do? She would shrug.
Even if I was only learning chess for the first time, I had a lifetime of play behind me.
Chess, especially played at the top levels, can encompass both fluid and crystallized intelligence-one needs the firepower to quickly think through a novel position, but it also helps to draw upon a deep reservoir of past games.
As Daniel King, a London-based retired professional chess player who now analyzes and commentates chess matches, tells me, “Children just kind of go for it-that kind of confidence can be very disconcerting for the opponent.” Lacking larger representational “Schema,” the psychologist Dianne Horgan has noted, children players rely more on simple heuristics and “Satisficing,” choosing the first good-looking move.
She played, in those games, as if I were just some lower-level chess engine making haplessly random moves.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Stay Sharp in Old Age”

There are three main types of memory loss: age-related cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia.
Dementia, according to the National Institute on Aging, is “The loss of cognitive functioning-thinking, remembering, and reasoning-and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.” People with dementia forget appointments and medications, but they can also experience impaired vision, language skills, spatial reasoning, and decision-making.
In late-onset Alzheimer’s, the more common type, dementia symptoms set in during or after the mid to late 60s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s is rarer, accounting for roughly 10 percent of all cases, and sets in anytime between age 30 and 60.Video courtesy of the National Institute on Aging.
Whether it’s caused by Alzheimer’s or something else, dementia is much more common in the elderly; the NIH estimates that half of people over age 85 have some form of dementia.
Some people with no family history at all develop dementia, but as with many other medical conditions, the more people in your family that have had it, the higher your risk.
While some studies suggest that increased physical activity may delay normal age-related cognitive decline, there’s no evidence that the same is true for MCI or dementia.
A recent randomized clinical trial of more than 9000 hypertensive adults found a connection between intensive blood pressure management and the risk of MCI and probable dementia: people who reduced their systolic blood pressure to 120 mmHg or lower had a significantly lower rate of MCI than those whose systolic pressure was under 140 mmHG. Intensive blood pressure reduction also significantly reduced the combined risk of MCI and dementia.
Given the participants’ relative youth, the short observation window, and the fact that MCI usually presents earlier than dementia, it makes sense that significant results were only observed in relation to MCI-and therefore pretty exciting that any dementia result was observed at all.

The orginal article.

Summary of “3 tips to slowing down cognitive decline”

Even in your fifties and beyond, activities like learning a new language or musical instrument, taking part in aerobic exercise, and developing meaningful social relationships can do wonders for your brain.
Over time, there is a build-up of toxins such as tau proteins and beta-amyloid plaques in the brain that correlate to the aging process and associated cognitive decline.
A 2018 study by researchers at Columbia University shows that in adults, this type of neuroplastic activity occurs in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that lays down memories.
Exposure to social interaction can also increase the neurogenesis, and in many instances, doing so lets you practice your hand-eye coordination, which research has suggested leads to structural changes in the brain that may relate to a range of cognitive benefit.
In rodent studies, intermittent fasting has been found to improve cognitive function and brain structure, and reduce symptoms of metabolic disorders such as diabetes.
Reducing refined sugar will help reduce oxidative damage to brain cells, too, and we know that increased oxidative damage has been linked with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Sleep helps promote the brain’s neural “Cleaning” glymphatic system, which flushes out the build-up of age-related toxins in the brain.
Of course, there are individual exceptions, but having consistent sleep times and making sure you’re getting sufficient quality and length of sleep supports brain resilience over time.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘You will have an emotional reboot’: the ultimate guide to stress at every age”

Major stressors in this age group include marital conflict, violence in the home, violence in the community, problems with parental mental health – a mum or dad who is depressed – maltreatment and disciplinary behaviours that become punitive.
Commonly known as the sandwich generation, many in this age group will care for both teenage children and ageing parents.
As Jonathan Rauch, author of The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better after 50, points out, in this age group “It’s perfectly natural to go through an emotional reboot”.
For those who are feeling discontented, he points in his book to research that shows that after the age of 50 stress levels begin to drop.
Friendship groups at this age may be decimated by ill health and death.
Rauch, 58, is finding this age “a great period for relaunch. Our values change. We put less emphasis on ambition and more on relationships, other people, which is very rewarding.” Finding new routines helps.
“One of the great things about old age is that you can fail and it’s not going to destroy you.”
According to Alex Bailey, a doctor in the old age faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, fear of death is not a big problem.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A high-carb diet may explain why Okinawans live so long”

One of the most exciting factors to have recently caught the scientists’ attention is the peculiarly high ratio of carbohydrates to protein in the Okinawan diet – with a particular abundance of sweet potato as the source of most of their calories.
So could the “Okinawan Ratio” – 10:1 carbohydrate to protein – instead be the secret to a long and healthy life? Although it would still be far too early to suggest any lifestyle changes based on these observations, the very latest evidence – from human longitudinal studies and animal trials – suggest the hypothesis is worth serious attention.
According to these findings, a low protein, high carbohydrate diet sets off various physiological responses that protect us from various age-related illnesses – including cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
The OCS has found that Okinawans are less likely to smoke than most populations, and since they worked predominantly in agriculture and fishing, they were also physically active.
The traditional Okinawan diet is therefore dense in the essential vitamins and minerals – including anti-oxidants – but also low in calories.
For this reason, some scientists believe that Okinawans offer more evidence for the life-enhancing virtues of a “Calorie restricted” diet.
The benefits of the Okinawan Diet may not end with its calorie restriction.
So the Okinawans may be living longer due to the fact that they are eating fruit and vegetables, rather than its high carb, low protein content.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Hi, I’m Tom Brady’: How the Patriots’ 41-year-old quarterback relates to teammates”

Brady turned 41 in August, which makes him the oldest non-kicker in the NFL. He belongs to a protected class under the Age Discrimination Act.
About 30 of his teammates this season are closer in age to Brady’s 11-year-old son, Jack, than to Brady.
As Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said, “One of the big roles that a quarterback plays on the team is just being able to communicate openly with each one of his teammates.” For Brady, age presents a hurdle to that role.
Brady takes connecting to his teammates seriously.
Younger teammates say they can converse with Brady about the music and pop culture they consume.
In training camp, teammates spotted Brady attempting the Kodak Bop, a dance move running back James White had performed after a touchdown.
Carter and Brady share a knack for relating to far younger, far less famous teammates.
Teammates say Brady is eager to hear their perspectives, which is crucial to bridging the age gap.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Exhaustion Is Not Unique to Our Overstimulated Age”

Is ours the most exhausting age ever? Many sociologists, psychologists and cultural critics argue that the rapid spread of exhaustion syndromes such as depression, stress and burnout are consequences of modernity and its challenges.
What often goes unnoticed is that anxieties about exhaustion are not peculiar to our age.
The experience of exhaustion, and anxieties about exhaustion epidemics in the wider population, are not bound to a particular time and place.
Over the centuries, medical, cultural, literary and biographical sources have cast exhaustion as a biochemical imbalance, a somatic ailment, a viral disease and a spiritual failing.
Because exhaustion is simultaneously a physical, a mental and a wider cultural experience, theories about exhaustion can yield insights into how people in the past thought about the mind, the body and society.
Exhaustion theories often address questions of responsibility, agency and willpower.
In some accounts, exhaustion is represented as a form of weakness and lack of willpower, or even as a grave spiritual failing manifest in a bad mental attitude.
The burned-out are guilty only of having worked too hard, of having given more than they had. Burnout-related exhaustion can also be seen as a social form of depression, a systemic dysfunction that is directly related to the work environment and one’s position in it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Can we cheat ageing?”

BBC World Service podcast The Inquiry quizzed some of the world’s leading researchers about the nature of ageing – and about the cutting-edge science that could ‘cure’ it, from the role of microbiomes to 3D-printed organs.
Watching her grow older, all while remaining sound, made Wang wonder about the secrets of ageing.
As cells gets older, they divide to replace cells that are dying or getting worn out, but this is not a perfect process.
“It’s almost like the cell saying ‘I’m an old cell and you guys have been around here about the same sort of amount of time as I have, so you must be old too’,” says Lorna Harries, professor of molecular genetics at England’s University of Exeter.
These senescent cells are almost ‘contaminating’ other cells with age and as we grow older, more and more of our cells become senescent until our body is overwhelmed.
To test the skin cell’s age when the experiment ran its course, they applied a particular dye that would turn cells blue if they were senescent.
The experiment effectively rejuvenated old cells and turned them into young cells, making hers the first experiment ever to have reversed ageing in human cells.
Perhaps one day we will be able to replace our damaged organs, take supplements that give us a youthful microbiome and stop our cells from ageing.

The orginal article.