Youre Looking Very Well: The Surprising Nature of Getting Old

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Actually, I'm not sure that's really the case — and Wolpert born in , a distinguished developmental biologist and emeritus professor, should know better than most that by no means all statistical correlations are causal ones.

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Still, perhaps there's something about old age that brings out the statistician in people — which would explain the age profile of Wisden's readership, if nothing else. You're Looking Very Well is larded with stats — a not inappropriate trope, given that many of them establish the incontrovertible truth that if you want to live to a ripe old age you're better off not being a lardy-arse.

It's also a survey of ageing and old age which, somewhat counter-intuitively, moves along at a brusque trot; its chapters have snappy titles — "Surprising", "Ageing", "Forgetting", "Living", "Curing" — and each page has enough factoids to pepper a PowerPoint presentation by a private healthcare provider pitching to a primary care trust. One vile piece of information new to me was that when it comes to caring for the elderly, the preferred NHS contracting method is for companies to underbid each other, thus ensuring that the winner will be the one willing to treat its clients as cheap as chips.

Given the hoodoo Wolpert put on any reviewer below a certain age, I hesitate to introduce a critical note. His overview of the scientific evidence is compelling, readable, and ultimately stark unless you're a wacko creationist : evolution cares only for reproduction, and once we've reached the optimal age for spawning, it's downhill from there on in, as the body effectively starts to give up on repairing cellular damage. Wolpert says he's surprised to discover he's 82, and quotes Oscar Wilde's apothegm "The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.

For surely it's only with the coming-of-old-age of the postwar babyboomers that old age has become such a looking-glass world. Fifty or a hundred years ago the way-stations from birth to — usually premature — death were well-marked. I think the force of Wilde's observation comes from its prescience.

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With The Picture of Dorian Gray Wilde formulated the modern myth of narcissistic eternal youth — gay men, decoupled from any ability to procreate, would be its avant garde. But with the advent of effective contraception, heterosexuals became able to convince themselves that they, too, should never really age — this is the cultural expression of the great demographic alterations of the 20th century.

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Wolpert, while he skates over the ethical issues implicit in the rapidly accelerating demographic timebomb on current trends, by there'll be a near ratio of productive workers and the elderly in western societies , still takes an oppressively utilitarian view of it all. So long, he says, as we can have decent standards of care, and an expanding economy, everything in the garden will be rosy.

Personally, the prospect of Britain as an enormous if well run care home fills me with dread — indeed, it makes me come over all Roger Daltrey. Luckily, according to the audience at Brunel, I'm still young enough for such heretical hopes.

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Will Self's Walking to Hollywood is published by Bloomsbury. Topics Health, mind and body books. Ageing Psychology Fay Weldon reviews. Home Oral and Dental Care. Sure, lavender smells good. But the alluring scent also has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system. You might feel awkward at first when you hit the hay looking like a hockey player, but a custom-made bite splint to wear overnight can reduce grinding and prevent damage to teeth.

This way, the back teeth do not touch when their teeth are together. If you find yourself instinctively clenching your jaws, warming up may just be the answer. This method is best done using a heating pad; while lying down, rest one side of your face on a heating pad for 15 minutes, then repeat on the other side. The heat increases the local blood supply, improves circulation, and helps relax the muscles. Studies have shown that valerian reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep, and unlike other prescription sleeping pills, it has fewer side effects.

In a study conducted by the Foellinge Health Center in Sweden , 89 percent of participants reported significantly improved sleep when taking valerian root.

You're Looking Very Well: The Surprising Nature of Getting Old | Oxfam GB | Oxfam’s Online Shop

An impressive 44 percent reported absolutely perfect sleep, and no side effects were observed. Tweaking your diet can also help you quit grinding.

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  8. Magnesium is known to benefit muscle and heart health, and this helpful alkaline is also integral to the relaxation of muscle tissue and blood vessels. The relaxing effects of magnesium either applied topically there are magnesium sprays or lotions available , eating magnesium-rich foods, or taking magnesium supplements can prove beneficial. Stress is a primary contributor to teeth grinding, so start toning down those elevated stress levels ASAP.

    You may notice tightening muscles in the neck, jaws, or upper back; according to Dr. Williams, these all tighten up when we are stressed and can make sleeping less restful. Your body has quite a few muscles that work to clench and open the jaw—the masseter, temporalis, medial pterygoid, and lateral pterygoid to be exact.

    When these are overly tight, they can aggravate the mouth and increase teeth grinding. Massage them daily in order to help loosen up the musculature. Afterwards, take your hands along the side of your jaw starting at the uppermost area from your ears.