Money can buy happiness…if you give it away – spending money on others makes people happier than spending it on themselves. That was the conclusion of researchers at the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School who conducted three studies to determine the relationship between spending habits and reported happiness. In each study, participants who spent money given to them in the study on others – as little as $5 – reported feeling happier at the end of the day than those who spent it on themselves…
Sept 11 attacks left 70,000 with stress disorder – new data from a public registry that tracks health effects of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks suggest that up to 70,000 people developed post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the terror attacks. The voluntary registry includes rescue and recovery workers, commuters, and passers-by. An estimated 400,000 people were exposed to the disaster. Overall, half of those in the registry reported being in the dust cloud from the collapsing towers; 70 percent witnessed a traumatic sight, such as a plane hitting the tower or falling bodies; and 13 percent sustained an injury that day. The study was conducted by the Health Department and the federal Centers for Disease Control's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. It was released in the Journal of Urban Health.
More than 2 million U.S. youths depressed – researchers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that more than 2 million U.S. teenagers have suffered a serious bout of depression in the past year, including nearly 13 percent of girls. They defined a major depressive episode as two weeks or longer of depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, and at least four other symptoms such as problems with sleep, energy, concentration or self-image. Of the more than 67,700 youths in the study, nearly half who had a major depression said it had severely impaired their ability to function in the areas of work (school or other), social life, and home life. Fortunately, SAMHSA reminds us, depression responds well to early intervention and treatment.
Social networks and memory ;- a pair of articles published in the American Journal of Public Health in July of this year suggest that social connections can reduce the chances of developing dementia. Despite significant limitations of both studies, some of the results were impressive. People with the highest levels of social integration (the most interaction with family, friends, and other people) were most likely to retain cognitive functioning. Also, when people are more integrated into a social network and feel supported in their relationships, they may experience less stress – and avoid triggering stress hormones that may interfere with brain function. The conclusion seems to be that programs that keep older adults engaged and involved in social life are likely to yield good results. And, until the pharmacological treatment of dementia improves, relationships may be the most powerful treatment we have.