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Thu, 01 Dec 2022
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Science of the Spirit


'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

© Unknown
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

© n/a
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.


People with severe mental illness 12 times more likely to commit suicide

People with psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, are 12 times more likely to commit suicide than average, according to research released today by King's Health Partners.

The research found that the rate of suicide was highest in the first year following diagnosis (12 times national average) and that high risk persisted - remaining four times greater than the general population ten years after diagnosis, a time when there may be less intense clinical monitoring of risk.

Neither the risk of suicide nor the long-term risk of suicide, as compared to the general population, have been studied and measured in this way before. And the findings show that doctors must always remain vigilant when assessing a patient's risk of suicide regardless of time since first diagnosis.

2 + 2 = 4

Brain Development: How Much TV Should Children Watch?

© Thinkstock
The brains of the infant, toddler and preschooler are genetically programmed to develop most effectively when exposed to an environment which has remained essentially unchanged over the past tens of thousands of years. During this period of our evolution, early childhood was characterized by specific types of social interaction, including language exposure, social experiences leading to an understanding of self-awareness and one's role in society, as well as virtually limitless opportunities for physical play, imaginative play and creativity.

We now live in a society where these types of experiences, so critical for appropriate brain development, have been usurped by television and other electronic media. In the United States, the average time television is on in the home each day approaches seven hours. We live in a society where the number of downloads or DVDs rented each day is six million, while only three million books are checked out of libraries. The average U.S. household has 2.24 televisions, with 66 percent of U.S. homes having three or more televisions. The typical American child spends 1680 minutes watching television each week, while more than 70 percent of day care centers also have the television playing during a typical day. The average American youth spends 900 hours in school each year, but watches 1500 hours of television.


'Only losers get bullied in the office' - Says Who?

It is probably not the advice that anyone who has dealt with a workplace bully wants to hear.

But conflict resolution expert Gavan Podbury says that people who call themselves bullying victims are "losers" who need to learn how to resolve their own disputes.

Mr Podbury, a social Researcher and presenter, has conducted seminars around Australia teaching individuals and corporations how to communicate more effectively and deal with conflict.

"A lot of people talk about bullying these days (and) I'm going to be contentious and say that only losers call themselves victims," Mr Podbury said.

Comment: Anyone who is not equipped with the necessary knowledge to deal with pathological behaviour is a potential victim. That knowledge will have to include: the nature of the individuals and how they function; the methods they use to deceive and manipulate; effective strategies for defending oneself against them.

Everyone must take personal responsibility to educate themselves to this effect. However this same knowledge is consciously suppressed in our society by just those psychopaths who wish to take advantage of our ignorance. So calling those who have been denied this knowledge 'losers' is tantamount to blaming the victim.

Comment: We recommend reading 'In Sheep's Clothing' by George K Simon Jr, for a more comprehensive set of strategies for dealing with bullying or manipulative behaviour.

Here is a synopsis of the major points for 'redefining the terms of engagement':
Accept no excuses. Don't buy into any of the many reasons (rationalisations) someone may offer for aggressive, covertly aggressive behaviour, or any other inappropriate behaviour. If someone's behaviour is wrong or harmful, the rationale they offer is totally irrelevant. The ends never justify the means. So, no matter how much an "explanation" for a problem behaviour seems to make sense, don't accept it. Remember that the person offering an excuse is trying to maintain a position from which they should be backing away (...)

Judge actions not intentions. Never try to "mind-read" or second-guess why somebody is doing something, especially when they are doing something hurtful. There is no way for you to really know, and in the end, it's irrelelevant. Getting caught up in what might be going on in an aggressor's mind is a good way to get sidetracked from the really pertinent issue. Judge the behaviour itself. If what a person does is harmful in some way, pay attention to and deal with that issue. (...)

Make direct requests. When asking for things, be clear about what you want. Use "I" statements. Avoid generalities. (...) Making requests direct and specific has two payoffs. First, it gives the manipulator little room to distory (or claim they misunderstood) what you want or expect from them. Second, if you don't get a direct, reasonable response to a direct, reasonable request, you already know that the manipulator is fighting with you (...)

Accept only direct responses. Once you've made a clear, direct request, insist on a clear, direct answer. Whenever you don't get one, ask again. Don't do this in a hostile or threatening way, but respectfully assert the issue you raised is important and deserves to be forthrightly addressed. (...)

Stay focussed in the here and now. Focus on the issues at hand. Your manipulator will probably try to throw you off track with diversionary and evasion tactics. Don't let these tactics steer you away from the problem behaviour you're trying to confront. (...)

When confronting aggressive behaviour, keep the weight of responsibility on the aggressor. This may be the most important thing to remember, If you're confronting an aggressor about some inappropriate behaviour, keep the focus on whatever they did to injure, no matter what tactics they might use to shift the ball back into your court. Don't accept their attempts to shift blame or responsibility. Keep asking what they will do to correct their behaviour. Ignore whatever rationalisations they might make and don't let them sidestep the issue. (...)

When you confront, avoid sarcasm, hostility, and put-downs. Aggressive personalities are always looking for an excuse to go to war. So they will construe any sort of hostility as an "attack" and feel justified in launching an offensive. Besides, attacking their character "invites" them to use their favourite offensive tactics such as denial, selective inattention or blaming others. Don't back away from necessary confrontation, but be sure to confront in a manner that is up-front, yet non-aggressive. Focus only on the inappropriate behaviour of the aggressor. (...)

Be prepared for consequences. Always remain aware of the covert-aggresive's determination to be the victor. This means that, if for any reason, they feel defeated, they're likely to try anything in order to regain the upper hand, and a sense of vindication. It's important to be prepared for this possibility and to take appropriate action to protect yourself. (...)

Be honest with yourself. Know and "own" your own agendas. Be sure of what your real needs and desires in any situation are. Its bad enough that you can never be sure what a manipulator is up to. But decieving yourself about your own needs can really put yourself in double jeopardy. (...)


Is Infidelity Genetic? Study Suggests Brain Chemistry Plays a Role in People's Ability to Commit

© Unknown
Genes associated with sensation-seeking behaviors, such as drinking alcohol or gambling, may also be associated with sexual promiscuity and infidelity, according to a new study.

Researchers led by Justin Garcia, an investigator and SUNY Doctoral Diversity Fellow at the State University of New York in Binghamton, looked at possible biological mechanisms behind the compulsion to be unfaithful to one's partner or to be sexually promiscuous. They interviewed 181 young adults, asked them about their sexual behavior and relationships, and took samples of their DNA. Seventy-seven percent of the group reported a history of sexual intercourse.

The findings suggest that genetic variation may indeed influence sexual behavior.


Season of Birth May Have Long-Term Effects on Personality

The season in which babies are born can have a dramatic and persistent effect on how their biological clocks function.

© iStockphoto/Sean O'Riordan
Crying newborn being held by doctor.
That is the conclusion of a new study published online on Dec. 5 by the journal Nature Neuroscience. The experiment provides the first evidence for seasonal imprinting of biological clocks in mammals and was conducted by Professor of Biological Sciences Douglas McMahon, graduate student Chris Ciarleglio, post-doctoral fellow Karen Gamble and two undergraduate students at Vanderbilt University.

The imprinting effect, which was found in baby mice, may help explain the fact that people born in winter months have a higher risk of a number of neurological disorders including seasonal affective disorder (winter depression), bipolar depression and schizophrenia.

"Our biological clocks measure the day length and change our behavior according to the seasons. We were curious to see if light signals could shape the development of the biological clock," said McMahon.

In the experiment, groups of mouse pups were raised from birth to weaning in artificial winter or summer light cycles. After they were weaned, they were maintained in either the same cycle or the opposite cycle for 28 days. Once they were mature, the mice were placed in constant darkness and their activity patterns were observed.


"Tell me about your mother": oxytocin evokes maternal memories

© Wikimedia Commons
Oxytocin, aka the "hormone of love" or "cuddle chemical," is a mammalian hormone that is released during labor and breastfeeding; in these contexts it induces uterine contractions and milk letdown. But it is perhaps better known for its alleged role in attachment bond formation.

The attachment bond between a mother and infant is essential to species survival; without it, a mother might not be disposed to care for her dependent newborn and said newborn would probably not live long enough to reproduce. The attachment bond can also color all future relationships the infant will go on to develop in life.