More and more advances in our understanding of human nature grows. There have been a variety of interesting studies that have been released in the year of 2015. Most people don’t know about this, and now it’s time that you should. These studies is a personal opinion. We feel that these studies highlight the year of 2015. There might be other studies that might be just as important. The studies that we highlight our opinion and it could be wrong. Let us know.
Study 1: Correlation between brain power and age
It is commonly believed that a person’s brain power doesn’t decay as it gets older. This is a common stereotype throughout society. The elderly become senile and develop diseases such as Alzheimer’s. However, this study has shown us a nuanced view of how brain power fluctuates through age. 50,000 people were tested across different age groups.
The peak of mental ability occurs during the age of 18. Primarily, how much information the brain can process at any given time. Interestingly, a person’s vocabulary skill will continue to advance even beyond the age of 60. Our sensory input or our visuals peak during the mid-20s.
The peak of an individual’s short term memory is the age of 35.
Here’s something that was unexpected. Reading body language, reading other people’s emotions, reading other people’s states, and how self-aware are all – start developing at the age of 40. And, it matures completely once the individual reaches the age of 60 and onwards.
Here’s a summary of Laura Germine’s (one of the authors of the study) statement about the study: The brain fluctuates constantly in terms of brain power depending on age. The common view of complete mental decay going down as age increases, is false. Certain mental abilities peak at different ages.
More clues hinting to Alzheimer’s
This one’s a biggie as approximately 5 million people in the USA have Alzheimer’s.
There have been a bunch of studies that have been conducted to show even earlier signs to detecting Alzheimer’s. One was conducted and it showed that middle aged individuals who failed at memory tests, had a high chance of developing Alzheimer’s. People who failed memory tests constantly, were significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
Another interesting study involved brain brans. Scientists looked at the brain’s GPS system or something called the entorhinal cortex. This cortex gives us our sense of direction and allows us to navigate around the world. Damage in this area indicated a high probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the future.
Study 2: Connection between the Brain and Immune system found
It’s a well-known phenomenon that toxins build up in your brain as you go through the day. Sleep is a necessary mechanism to get rid of those toxins. What’s unclear is how the brain actually goes about doing so. One hypothesis was that the brain had its own disposal system for toxins. This system would only be active when an individual sleeps.
This got debunked by this study. The brain clears toxins through the lymphatic system. Your brain clears the toxins through blood vessels that are near your brain and spinal cord. These vessels were previously unknown to scientists but we know of it now. It is quite possible that diseases such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and multiple sclerosis occur because of damage to these vessels. We will know as more research is conducted on this matter.
Study 3: Loneliness can kill you
It’s been well known that being alone for an extended period of time has detrimental effects to physical and psychological well-being. This was solidly confirmed when a scientist did experimented with social isolation on monkeys. The man’s name was Harry Harlow and he isolated baby monkeys for 10+ months. Many of the monkeys died from physical damage as a result of being isolated. He also practiced what would be consider psychological abuse to the monkeys.
Many studies were conducted later. Many monkeys eventually died from total isolation.
Not enough studies were done on humans. Too controversial and sensitive a topic to testing total isolation on humans. However, data can be found among prisoners who experience solitary confinement. Many of whom who slowly develop mental illness and become clinically insane. It’s clear that solitary confinement produces significant negative effects on prisoners. And, that’s why many people argue that it’s immoral and that it should be removed.
Recent studies were done in the year of 2015. There’s a solid link between the effects of loneliness and causing negative harm to physical and mental health.
Approximately, 9000 people were studied. A variety of things were measured such as: depression, how lonely they were, mental ability, interactions with their peers, and how well they were able to remember things. The results of the study wasn’t surprising.
Approximately, 20% of the subjects reported that they were lonely. 10% of the subjects said that they had severe depression over the years. These subjects were shown to have significant mental decline. Mental decline being measured as shorter memory spans, decrease in ability to solve puzzles, emotional intelligence being lowered, reflexes lowered, and so forth. There was significant mental decline among these participants and loneliness was the cause of it.
People who perceived that they were isolated died faster than individuals who didn’t. There was a 15% chance of the individual dying more compared to those who did not perceive themselves to be socially isolated.
Now, there’s a solid link to loneliness and its detrimental effect on the human body. People reported more illnesses and diseases when they were lonely. This is because depressed individuals develop a vicious cycle. Mood goes down, appetite goes down, loses will to take care of themselves, does not exercise, does not eat well and so forth. A combination of these factors can easily explain the increased mortality rate among these people.
Happy people lead to happier lives.
Study 4: OTC drugs are dangerous and can cause dementia.
This one’s a surprising and interesting find. There’s a link between taking OTC drugs and developing dementia. Approximately, 4000 elderly subjects which was conducted by JAMA Internal Medicine. All subjects were made sure that they did not have dementia. Over the years 800 subjects got afflicted with the condition of dementia and another 637 developed Alzheimer’s disease.
And, the scientists found that these subjects faced a significant risk of developing dementia if they took substances such as diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, oxybutynin, and doxepin. Many of these substances are found in OTC drugs that you take for colds, coughs, flus, fighting allergies and so forth. They’re quite common.
These substances have something in common and that they are anticholinergics. What these substances do is block something called acetylcholine in your brain. There are a variety of side effects to taking these substances such as making you sleepy, blurring your vision, and memory loss.
It’s been found that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease have very low levels of acetylcholine. So, it can be naturally concluded that OTC can play a role in developing these neurodegenerative diseases. If OTC drugs can lower acetylcholine and neurodegenerative diseases are caused by low amounts of acetylcholine then there’s a high chance there is a correlation. More research needs to be done on the matter but there is a strong link between the consumption of OTC drugs and senile subjects developing disease such as dementia and Alzheimer’s over time.
Mortality of Middle Aged Americans is going up and we have no idea what’s causing it.
It was found by two researchers that the mortality rate of middle age men are going up significantly. This has been observed over a period of 13 years. No other country is facing this issue. It’s only unique to the United States. No one knows the reason behind the increased mortality. A Nobel Peace prize winner said that part of the reason why they are dying more is due to mental illness, drugs, and suicide. Middle Aged Americans are more likely to suffer depression. It is still unknown why this is the case. More research needs to be done in the future. Quite the depressing fact.
Facebook Will Make You Depressed
Technology has pretty much delivered on the promise of bringing the world together and making it more connected. Revolutions occur now because people can organize protests online. People can access information with their fingertips and can access alternative newspaper. Despite, all this there is studies that show that being on Facebook for long periods of time can increase the rate of depression.
The reasoning behind it is simple. People compare themselves to the happy lives portrayed on Facebook. They get jealous of other people’s lives and get saddened that they cannot similar lives. What’s ironic is that on Facebook everyone tries to show themselves in the best light. What appears to be a happy photo can be miserable inside. We only see the outside. Not the inside. Yet, people experienced increased loneliness, depression, and social isolation by being on Facebook a little too long.
We are all getting the benefits of technology but we are also facing significant negatives. We can talk to someone that is 1000 miles away from us, but we feel lonelier as a result. We used to be close together but now we are far apart.
Let’s hope that humans can feel close again as the years go by.
Blood Tests & Mental Illness
There has been a connection established between blood tests and finding mental illness. This is a new study and its conclusion is fascinating. There are biological indicators among potential suicide suspects. Scientists have found that with a blood test and questionnaire they were able to predict 90% of people who would eventually become suicidal.
One of the leading causes of suicide is because of depression. This is a useful tool for those who are in the mental health industry and medical professional in general. This tool can allow individuals to see who will develop suicidal thoughts and it can be countered before they go on to actually kill themselves.
If blood tests can reveal these kind of indicators, then the potential for this technology is endless. There might be a possibility to finding people who develop schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and so much more with these findings. More research will be done but it will be interesting to see where this finding takes us.
It’ll help us counter the dangerous effects of mental. And, potentially reduce violent attacks against innocents. We don’t want another Columbine or Virginia Tech shooting. Mental illness is the root cause of the issue and finding it early on will assist greatly.
Your Diet May Influence Depression
Yes, you heard right. Eat the wrong way and you develop higher odds of obtaining depression. Sound body leading to sound mind can be taken more literally, after this interesting research.
Inflammation in our bodies is quite bad for you. It can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, cancer, diabetes, and even depression. And, there are established correlations between inflammation and the kind of diets that we eat.
New research has shown that if you eat a diet that is anti-inflammatory (such as the Mediterranean Diet) it can significantly reduce your risk of depression.
This shows a link between inflammation and depression. Perhaps, there is a link between inflammation on the body and developing mental illness. More research will be done.
Eat healthier and you reduce your risk of depression. Simple as that.
Those were the top studies of 2015. Lots of interesting information. Personally, I found the intelligence fluctuating as you age interesting. The OTC drug is most glaring as you increase your risk of developing diseases that affect your brain.
There will be more research as 2016 progresses. We will understand more and more about our brains and human nature. And, we will make use of it. Hope you had some insight to the human mind.