The size of the effect on longevity is comparable to that of smoking or not. This is concluded from an analysis of 30 follow-up studies published in the latest issue of the Journal of Happiness Studies (September 2008).
There have been more reports of happy people living longer, but for long it was unclear whether happiness causes longevity, since it can also be that good health add both to happiness and longevity.
Scientists assess causality using long-term follow-up studies, taking initial health into account. The results of such studies seemed contradictory; several studies found the expected causal effect of happiness on longevity, but other studies found no effect and some observed even earlier death among the happy.
The analysis of 30 follow-up studies showed that the difference is in the people under investigation. Happiness does not lengthen the life of seriously ill people, but it does prolong the life of healthy people. Happiness appears to protect against falling ill. One of the mechanisms behind that effect seems to be that chronic unhappiness causes stress, which on its turn reduces immune response. Another possible mechanism is that happiness adds to the chance of adopting a healthy life style.
An implication of this finding is that public health can also be promoted by policies that aim at greater happiness for a greater number.
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Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
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MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
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Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
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