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Sun, 23 Jan 2022
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


Gene Mutation in Schizophrenia Linked to Mental Disorders

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A genetic mutation that is associated with schizophrenia may also be implicated in other major mental illnesses when the individual's mother experiences an assault on her immune system. That is the conclusion inferred by a mouse study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers.

"Psychiatric diseases have genetic roots, but genes alone do not explain the entire disease," says Mikhail V. Pletnikov, M.D., Ph.D., the study's leader and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In the study, mice who were predisposed to schizophrenia actually developed mood and anxiety disorders instead. This finding suggests that one gene mutation can lead to another kind of mental illness when influenced by the same environmental factor.

Magic Wand

Yoga Better Than Walking For Beating The Blues

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Scientists are now giving serious attention to an idea that yogis have known for centuries: that yoga has a positive effect on your mood. Although it's an ancient mind-body practice, the future of yoga may be in treating mood disorders. For this small study, scientists at the Boston University School of Medicine measured yoga's effect on depression and anxiety versus walking with a brain imaging study. They found that compared to walking, yoga provides a greater improvement in mood, as well as a decrease in anxiety.

The 34 study participants were randomly selected healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 45. They were divided into two groups: those who walked for an hour three times a week, and those who practiced Iyengar yoga (a strenuous form of yoga) for the same amount of time.


Curiosity's Evil Twin Can Drive You Insane

curious boy
© Unknown
It's that time of year again. Gifts are appearing under Christmas trees, and people - especially kids - are itching to find out what's in those boxes and bags. In many homes, curiosity gets the better of a child, as evidenced by hastily re-taped wrapping paper and ribbons in disarray.

There's a real reward to finding out what's under the tree, of course: a new gadget that's yours to keep, or the necklace you've been coveting for months. In other situations, though, the biggest rewards of curiosity are knowledge, stimulation and other intangibles. And for the most part, researchers who study curiosity have seen it as a positive thing, driven by a love of newness and learning.


Your Brain On Meditation

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If you have never tried to quiet your mind with meditation then you are in for a surprise: your mind is a very noisy place. Brain waves are the electrical movements in our brain, and they always happen, even when we sleep. However, the frequency range of our brain waves fluctuates. Most of us during our waking moments have fast moving beta waves coursing through our brains. To slow down our thoughts, many western doctors are turning to the East and are encouraging the practice of meditation for their patients. Why? There have been various scientific studies that prove regularly practicing meditation has many therapeutic effects including stress reduction. High levels of stress are directly correlated to depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental health issues.

From a brain wave perspective the goal of meditation is to move the brain waves from beta into a more relaxed frequency like alpha or even theta. Alpha waves are detected when we are awake but involved in a relaxed state, for example while practicing yoga or meditating. Theta waves are a deeper form of relaxation that happen during deep meditations as well as right before we fall to sleep or upon waking.


A Positive Mood Allows Your Brain to Think More Creatively

child laughing
© Unknown
People who watch funny videos on the internet at work aren't necessarily wasting time. They may be taking advantage of the latest psychological science - putting themselves in a good mood so they can think more creatively.

"Generally, positive mood has been found to enhance creative problem solving and flexible yet careful thinking," says Ruby Nadler, a graduate student at the University of Western Ontario. She and colleagues Rahel Rabi and John Paul Minda carried out a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. For this study, Nadler and her colleagues looked at a particular kind of learning that is improved by creative thinking.

Cell Phone

Cellphones and Temper Tantrums: A Possible Link

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Research suggests a connection between early exposure to cellphones and behavior problems in children.
New study suggests cell phone use by pregnant moms could lead to bad behavior among their children, adding to the unknowns about cellphones and health.

Very few of us know somebody who doesn't have a cellphone. Yet, very few of us have any idea what impact our handy, must-have cellphones have on our health. So far, some research suggests that their overall health impact could be as minor as causing ringing in the ears, but other studies suggest that cellphones cause other biological changes that aren't yet entirely clear. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate even pressed researchers to provide them with more concrete evidence that cellphones are either safe or are potential cancer causers.

"It's impossible to know what the real long-term risks are," says Diana Zuckerman, PhD, president of the Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund, "and we're probably not going to know for 20 years." But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned about how cellphones affect our health right now - or the health of our kids. Adding to the concerns: A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has found that cellphones could be associated with bad behavior among children.


'Love Hormone' Oxytocin Shows Promise for Treating Mental Illness

© medindia.net
In recent years, we've been bombarded with studies about the hormone oxytocin - researchers have demonstrated it increases trust and helps aid in social bonding. It has even garnered a reputation as the "love hormone." But what good is it for? Despite all these findings, the hormone's medical use remains limited to obstetrics - it is used to induce labor and aid in breastfeeding.

But researchers are now trying to apply these findings, and are investigating oxytocin as a treatment for psychiatric illnesses. They say its unique ability to adjust our wiring could remedy symptoms of schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety, and improve social abilities among those with autism.

Comment: To learn more about Vagus Nerve Stimulation, through breathing exercises, and naturally producing the stress reducing hormone Oxytocin in the brain, visit the Éiriú Eolas Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program here.


Why married men tend to behave better: Better marriages reduce antisocial behavior

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S. Alexandra Burt, associate professor of psychology and behavioral geneticist
Researchers have long argued that marriage generally reduces illegal and aggressive behaviors in men. It remained unclear, however, if that association was a function of matrimony itself or whether less "antisocial" men were simply more likely to get married.

The answer, according to a new study led by a Michigan State University behavior geneticist, appears to be both.

In the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, online today, S. Alexandra Burt and colleagues found that less antisocial men were more likely to get married. Once they were wed, however, the marriage itself appeared to further inhibit antisocial behavior.

Evil Rays

Cell Phone Exposure in Womb May Lead to Behavioral Problems in Children

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A new cell phone study, based on a prior study, suggests that children exposed to cell phones - in utero and after birth - experienced an increased risk of behavioral problems by the time they turned seven, said Newsday. Experts believe the risk is connected to electromagnetic fields sent out by cell phones.

This study looked at about 29,000 children. The prior study, on which this study was based, took place in 2008 and looked at 13,000 children; the same U.S. team conducted both studies, wrote Newsday. The current study, noted Newsday, considered some significant variables, said lead author Leeka Kheifets, an epidemiologist at the School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles, noted Newsday. "These new results back the previous research and reduce the likelihood that this could be a chance finding," said Kheifets, quoted Newsday.

Comment: For more information about the health effects of cell phone, wifi and electromagnetic radiation exposure read the following articles:

The BioInitiative Report - The Dangerous Health Impacts of Microwave Radiation

Electromagnetic radiation and its effect on the brain: an insider speaks out

Is 'Electrosmog' Harming Our Health?


Addictive Nature of Gaming Probed

Games Addictive
© Press Association
The computer gaming industry uses a powerful psychological device that could make some fans play compulsively, a Panorama investigation has found.

In the BBC show, entitled Addicted To Games and being aired on Monday night, investigators speak to children who believe they are addicted and hear from industry experts calling for more research into the issue.

Games designer Adrian Hon, chief creative officer of SixToStart, said producers use a simple technique based on a 1950s study of rats feeding themselves by pressing a lever.

The "variable ratio of reinforcement" (or operant conditioning) basically sees people acting a certain way because they are rewarded for that behaviour.