The Los Angeles Times (4/20, Healy) “Booster Shots” blog reports that a study published online April 19 in Science Magazine suggests that the way in which people deal with deal with regret may make a significant difference in whether they can be healthy and happy in old age. Researchers found that older adults who had experienced late-life depression were more likely to respond to regret with a pounding heart rate and moist hands, much as a healthy young person would respond. In contrast, healthy older adults would respond to regret with serenity. The blog post adds that among 40 older subjects over the age of 50, “whenever regret was evident, the anterior cingulate cortex — a key hub for communication between emotions and rational decision-making — came alive in the happy older adults,” as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging scans.
According to HealthDay (4/20, Marcus), Murali Doraiswamy, MD, of the Duke School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, pointed out that “the brain patterns seen in depressed participants, if confirmed in larger studies, could potentially help identify people who are vulnerable to late-life depression and in need of counseling.”
— “For a healthy old age, learn to let go of regrets,”Melissa Healy , Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2012.