Study examines aging ‘Happy Days’ cohort

They say money can’t buy love, but could it change the structure of your brain? When the going gets tough, do the tough live longer? And if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what can hard apple cider do? For 45 years, the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) has provided policy makers and social science researchers with an unparalleled look at how education, career and family affect adult life. Housed in the Center for Demography of Health and Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this groundbreaking study repeatedly surveys thousands of 1957 graduates from all of Wisconsin’s high schools about their interests and experiences, habits and health.

Ecstasy use among American teens drops for the first time in recent years

This year’s annual Monitoring the Future survey of American secondary school students provides much good news for the nation, reports the University of Michigan. Ecstasy use is finally beginning to decline among adolescents, the proportion using any illicit drug is also down, the proportion drinking alcohol has dropped, and the proportion reporting cigarette smoking continues to drop sharply.

Religious high schoolers more optimistic, have better self-esteem

High school seniors who consider themselves religious have significantly higher self-esteem and hold more positive attitudes about life than do their less religious peers, a new study shows. The research, part of the larger National Study of Youth and Religion, revealed a statistical association between religion and higher self-esteem among 12th-graders who went to religious services at least once a week or who professed deeply held spiritual views. “This was contrary to the belief held by some people that religion is associated with psychological neurosis or dysfunction,” said the study’s lead author. “These findings seem to suggest the opposite — that religion is associated with a constructive outlook.”