Uncorrected vision linked to depression

IN BRIEF

Ophthalmology

November 22, 2007|By NEW YORK TIMES

Nursing home residents with proper glasses enjoy life more and are less depressed than those with uncorrected vision problems, a study has found. Obvious? Perhaps, but nursing home residents have three to 15 times higher rates of uncorrected vision impairment than seniors living independently.

Before testing their vision, researchers led by Cynthia Owsley, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, scored 150 nursing home residents on scales of quality of life and depression. "Some of the people had no glasses at all," says Owsley. "Some had glasses at one time, but they got lost. And some had glasses but the wrong prescription."

Half the residents had their vision tested and corrected immediately with proper glasses. Two months later, both groups were retested for depression and how much they enjoyed life. Then the second group had their vision tested and corrected.

The study, in the Archives of Ophthalmology, found those receiving glasses early did better on follow-up, reporting much less difficulty reading, looking at magazines, playing cards, watching TV, reading the clock on the wall, Owsley says. "They also had less psychological distress and were more socially interactive."

Los Angeles Times

Psychology

Feminists make better partners, study says

Take a feminist out to dinner.

That's the advice of a social psychologist who concludes in a new study that feminists make better partners and have stronger romantic relationships.

Laurie Rudman of Rutgers University had found in earlier research that negative stereotypes of feminists - that they're unattractive, man-hating lesbians, in a nutshell - cause young adults to distance themselves from the "F-word" and tone down their demands for equality.

So she set about trying to determine if there was any truth to the notion that feminists are more likely than traditional women to have crummy relationships.

The subjects - 513 students and 471 adults ages 18 to 65 recruited online - were asked how they felt about career women and whether they considered themselves feminists. They were also asked about their partners' feminist identity and attitudes.

The results, appearing in the online edition of the peer-reviewed journal Sex Roles, show that for both women and men there was a benefit to having a feminist partner. Feminist women were also more likely than others to be in a romantic relationship.

"If you're a woman paired with a male feminist," said Rudman, "you have a healthier relationship across the board" - better in terms of equality, stability and sexual satisfaction.

"And men paired with female feminists have greater sexual satisfaction and greater relationship stability," she said.

Chicago Tribune

Exercise

Speed of walking may predict survival

Researchers who followed the health of nearly 500 older people for almost a decade found that those who walked more quickly were less likely to die over the course of the study.

The findings, the researchers said, suggest that gait speed may be a good predictor of long-term survival, even in people who otherwise appear basically healthy. The study was presented at a conference of the Gerontological Society of America.

In a related study, appearing in the November issue of The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the researchers also found that people whose walking speed improved reduced their risk of death.

"We don't know why," said one of the authors, Stephanie A. Studenski of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "Did some of these people exercise? Did some of these people have health conditions that were treated and improved?"

The study presented at the conference reported that nine years after their gait speed was measured, 77 percent of people described as slow had died, 50 percent of those considered medium had died and 27 percent of those considered fast had died.

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