Today in Research: How Much Longer Do Happy People Live?

By The Atlantic Wire

Discovered: happiness as a longevity percentage, resurfacing worries about X-ray scanners, the non-heart risks of ADHD medication, and an unpleasant climate change weather forecast.

  • Do you really want to know, as a percentage, how unhappiness affects your lifespan? Happy people may live longer. Common sense, and smile research, keeps telling us. But how much longer should happy, intensely smiling people be expected to live? Will a half-smirk pasted on your face add a few more precious years to your life, just as a furrowed brow scratches off a couple months? No one knows, but we'll keep trying: "new research says happy lives are longer -- by 35 percent." USA Today spoke to the researchers behind the British study (which used a one-day survey to rate feelings, then checked in with these people five years later), who noted that "We can't draw the kind of final conclusion that the happiness is leading directly to better survival." But, now would be a good time to go quantify, exactly, just how happy you are in a very blunt online quiz anyway. [USA Today]
  • Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin don't up the risk of heart problems in youth. A study that wasn't conducted by the makers of such ADHD medication confirmed that the drugs, "didn't increase the risk of serious heart problems," The Wall Street Journal reported. There have been worries the medication (which we're informed carries warnings of heart risks on the bootles) would cause problems even to the point that the "American Heart Association gave the controversial advice in 2008 that it was reasonable to screen a child starting on such a drug with a heart EKG test," the Associated Press noted. The latest study, which looked at medical data of 1.2 million youth aged 2 to 24, found 81 cases during the seven-year study period. [The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press]

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/11/today-in-research-how-much-longer-do-happy-people-live/247700/