Posted by timothyon Tuesday February 21, @12:15PM
from the posting-this-from-the-villages dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Scientists have looked for explanations as to why certain conditions occur with age, among them memory loss, slower reaction time, insomnia and even depression looking at such suspects as high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and an inactive lifestyle. Now Laurie Tarkan writes that as eyes age, less and less sunlight gets through the lens to reach key cells in the retina that regulate the body's circadian rhythm, its internal clock that rallies the body to tackle the day's demands in the morning and slows it down at night, allowing the body to rest and repair. 'Evolution has built this beautiful timekeeping mechanism, but the clock is not absolutely perfect and needs to be nudged every day,' says Dr. David Berson, whose lab at Brown University studies how the eye communicates with the brain. Dr. Patricia Turner, an ophthalmologist who with her husband, Dr. Martin Mainster has written extensively about the effects of the aging eye on health, estimate that by age 45, the photoreceptors of the average adult receive just 50 percent of the light needed to fully stimulate the circadian system, by age 55, it dips to 37 percent, and by age 75, to a mere 17 percent and recommend that people should make an effort to expose themselves to bright sunlight or bright indoor lighting when they cannot get outdoors and have installed skylights and extra fluorescent lights in their own offices to help offset the aging of their own eyes. 'In modern society, most of the time we live in a controlled environment under artificial lights, which are 1,000 to 10,000 times dimmer than sunlight and the wrong part of the spectrum,' says Turner. 'We believe the effect is huge and that it's just beginning to be recognized as a problem.'"
I have, for some years, been aware of the correlation between the presence or absence of sunlight on my own mental outlook.
We moved from Kansas to Seattle in late 1965 - and stayed for some of the least sunny 15 months in Seattle's (then) history. It took me nearly the whole 15 months to regain my equalibrium. I loved the verdure of the area, but the gloominess was quite depressing. We returned (for Hunky Husband's professional reasons) to Kansas where I stayed until 1981.
In the 1970s, I could not understand how a caretaker in our extended family could inflict plastic, do-it-yourself storm windows (in a sparsely windowed apartment) on his Alzheimer patient wife - year round! So gloomy.
In 1981, I moved to Florida. Although we had a daily "duty rain shower", it was sunny when it wasn't rainy. No problem. Then, in 1983, I moved to Albuquerque NM. I was in heaven for the seven years that I lived there. My house had huge skylights and windows and, excepting in August, sun abounded.
In 1990, I returned to Kansas - to the Wichita area - back to a house that had neither skylights nor lots of glass. The Wichita area averages 30 fewer sunny days per year than the Albuquerque area. It took me a while to adjust. When, in 1999, we built this house, I added a couple of modest skylights and a couple of modest windows to the floorplan that had already included mostly glass on the front and back walls of the house. I am, again, a happy camper.
Now, Hunky Husband's most-frequented parts of this house (yes, our house is pretty well partitioned into "his" and "her" areas!), his den, workout area, and laundry room, comprise the portion of the basement that is below grade and has no windows. He doesn't care a fig! What is wrong with that man?! *laughing*
Most recently (18 months ago), I've had cataracts removed. How life changing! Not only because I see better, not only because I regained the ability to discern colors, but because the whole world is so much brighter. Wow!