ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
CAREGIVING
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma
Sunken, Unexploded Bombs Pose Cancer Risk
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
FITNESS
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance
Go To Work But Skip The Car
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Can a Bad Boss Make You Sick?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement

It's said that one of the joys of old age is taking pleasure in your grandchildren, but an English research team begs to differ.

An active social life, being married and having a partner who is also retired all make a huge difference in seniors' enjoyment of life, but having children or grandchildren matters little, the University of Greenwich team found in its study of 279 British retirees.

Grandchildren are a source of pride, but there are trade-offs to having them, said lead researcher Oliver Robinson, of the university's department of psychology and counseling.

"There are both benefits and drawbacks to the presence of children and grandchildren in retirement, which balance each other out," Robinson said. "The positives are that having children and grandchildren imparts a sense of purpose and meaning, while the drawback is the frequent commitment for child care that can potentially interfere with the sense of freedom and autonomy that is at the heart of a positive retirement."

Robinson and his team were to report their findings Thursday at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Study participants, who were recruited from a retirement Web site and online newsletter, answered questions about family, friends and their life in retirement. They also completed a scale designed to measure their satisfaction with their lives.

The researchers found no difference in life satisfaction between retirees who have children and grandchildren and those who don't.

But a strong social network tended to have a major positive effect on retirees' enjoyment of life. Seniors with high levels of life satisfaction strongly agreed with the statement, "I have active social groups I enjoy spending time with." Conversely, seniors who aren't enjoying life much strongly agreed with the statement, "I miss the socializing of working life."

"Social groups in retirement, particularly those that revolve around shared interests, can provide a retiree with a number of basic psychological needs -- a sense of connectedness, of purpose, and of mastery if there is a skill involved," Robinson said. "The great retirement trap is loneliness, and active social groups negate the possibility of that."

American retirees have expressed similar sentiments regarding what makes their life most enjoyable, said Rosemary Blieszner, associate dean of the graduate school at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and director of the Center for Gerontology.

"Older adults are very interested in their grandchildren and want them to succeed, but really, I think that most of your happiness and psychological well-being is going to come from your peers," Blieszner said. "For many stages of life, not just old age, people feel like their age peers understand what they're going through and give them that social support that comes from friendship and understanding."

Having a spouse or a longtime partner also matters significantly when it comes to enjoyment of retired life, the British team found. Seniors who are widowed, never married, divorced or separated reported lower levels of life satisfaction than people in long-term relationships.

It also makes a difference whether your partner is retired along with you. The study found that retirees whose spouse or partner is still working enjoyed their life less than those who have been joined in retirement by their partner.

"Those retirement individuals whose partner is not retired miss their work lives more, perhaps because they are unable to fully engage with retirement," Robinson said.

"They are in a kind of limbo state, unable to make plans for long holidays or a substantial change of life until the retirement of their partner happens," he added. "When a couple retire together, they can plan aspirationally together, and help each other adapt to the new life phase."

SOURCES: Oliver Robinson, M.A., M.Sc., Ph.D., University of Greenwich, Department of Psychology and Counseling, London; Rosemary Blieszner, Ph.D., Alumni Distinguished Professor, associate dean, Graduate School, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and associate director, Center for Gerontology, Department of Human Development, Blacksburg, Va.; April, 15, 2010, presentation, British Psychological Society annual conference, Stratford-upon-Avon, England Published on: April 15, 2010