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Sat, 23 Mar 2019
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Can pet ownership alleviate depression symptoms?

pets
© The Flor-Ala
A new study examined the impact of pet ownership on people with treatment-resistant depression.

It's no secret that animals can bring people joy, but a new study indicates that adopting a pet could prove particularly beneficial for those with severe depression.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, found that for those with severe depression that was not easily treatable, adopting a pet could help lessen symptoms.

Jorge Mota Pereira and Daniela Fonte, two Portuguese researchers, recruited 80 study participants who had "treatment-resistant major depressive disorder." They encouraged each one to adopt a pet. Of the 80 participants, 33 agreed to adopt, with 20 individuals choosing a dog and seven choosing a cat.

Blackbox

Are our dreams glimpses of other dimensions?

many worlds hypothesis
If you have ever looked into the 'many world's theory' you know that the world we live in is quite possibly one of many. Regardless of the multiverse hypotheses you choose to follow/look into, each one is truly fascinating for a number of reasons.

Basically, most of them touch on how there are many different worlds, universes, dimensions, or whatever you would like to call them. Each one the same as our own but also different in some way. For instance, in another world, you might be living the same life as you are now but perhaps politics had gone in a different direction. Maybe all of the presidents that were elected here in the US were opposite from how they are in our world. Maybe everything is the same except for you have different colored hair? The differences between worlds could be minuscule or extreme, it all varies.

Comment: See also:


Pocket Knife

Study finds millennial men continue to value traditional masculine qualities

man writing grass
As the famous Village People song declares, "Every man wants to be a macho macho man / To have the kind of body, always in demand." But are "macho macho" mindsets becoming a thing of the past? A new study finds that male millennials are drifting away from stereotypical masculine values.

The research, led by the University of British Columbia, showed that younger men tend to value selflessness, social engagement, and health over traditional male ideals like physical strength and autonomy.


Comment: Autonomy and selflessness are not mutually exclusive and, as the article notes later, it was only marginally rated as less important.


Of course, physique and independence were still prominent values for the 630 Canadian men aged 15 to 29 who took part in the survey, just not as important to participants as selflessness. In fact, selflessness was by far the top-rated male value. Nine in 10 respondents said that men should help others, and 88 percent of the respondents agreed that men should be open to new ideas, new people, and new experiences. Eight in 10 felt it imperative that a man gives back to his community.

Comment: Hedonism, hyper competitiveness and neglecting one's health were never aspirational masculine qualities, they are aberrations men assume when lacking role models and purpose. As noted in the article, these are stereotypes. Most of these 'new' values were traits men in good standing were always admired for.


Boat

How dealing with past trauma may be the key to breaking addiction

Trauma
© Illustration: Eva Bee/Observer
Facing trauma: ‘It takes a lot of work to wake up as a human being, and it’s a lot easier to stay asleep than to wake up.’
Opening up to past trauma is difficult, but self-awareness is key to addressing issues that leave us vulnerable

What's your poison, people sometimes ask, but Gabor Maté doesn't want to ask what my poison is, he wants to ask how it makes me feel. Whatever it is I'm addicted to, or ever have been addicted to, it's not what it is but what it does - to me, to you, to anyone. He believes that anything we've ever craved helped us escape emotional pain. It gave us peace of mind, a sense of control and a feeling of happiness.

And all of that, explains Maté, reveals a great deal about addiction, which he defines as any behaviour that gives a person temporary relief and pleasure, but also has negative consequences, and to which the individual will return time and again. At the heart of Maté's philosophy is the belief that there's no such thing as an "addictive personality". And nor is addiction a "disease". Instead, it originates in a person's need to solve a problem: a deep-seated problem, often from our earliest years that was to do with trauma or loss.

Comment: Dr. Gabor Maté: The stress-disease connection, addiction & the destruction of American childhood


SOTT Logo Radio

The Truth Perspective: How To Survive A Totalitarian Nightmare: The Psychology Of Tyranny

kremlin leadership USSR
What is it like to live in a country with a brutal, totalitarian government? According to Dr. Andrew Lobaczewski, the only way to truly know is to actually experience it. Literary accounts and news reports can provide some data, but even that will only be theoretical. Actually experiencing it is something else entirely: a punch in the gut that can cause anxiety, depression, and PTSD. But there's one other way to get an idea: a first-hand experience with malevolence at the hands of someone with a severe personality disorder.

Today on the Truth Perspective we discuss chapter 6 of Lobaczewski's book Political Ponerology: "Normal People Under Pathocratic Rule". The reason people who have lived with a pathological individual know what it's like to live under a pathocracy is because the two experiences are analogous: they both involve personality-disordered individuals in positions of authority. And without an understanding of psychopathology, we can't understand totalitarianism.

In this chapter, Lobaczewski discusses the experience of living under pathocratic rule: the deformations of normal human psychology that result, as well as the skills and values that develop after years of terror. The current polarization we are experiencing in our own society is not a good development, but if we don't do something to stop where it is leading us, the time will come when both sides of the political spectrum are equally terrorized. Ironically, it may only be a real pathocracy that will bring both sides together: a solidarity bred by shared suffering that seems unimaginable to us now.

Running Time: 01:35:11

Download: MP3


Book

Children who start school a year early more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, study shows

kids in school

Children with ADHD find it more difficult to focus and to complete their schoolwork. Credit: public domain image
Could a child's birthday put them at risk for an ADHD misdiagnosis? The answer appears to be yes, at least among children born in August who start school in states with a Sept. 1 cutoff enrollment date, according to a new study led by Harvard Medical School researchers.

The findings, published Nov. 28 in The New England Journal of Medicine, show that children born in August in those states are 30 percent more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis, compared with their slightly older peers enrolled in the same grade.

The rate of ADHD diagnoses among children has risen dramatically over the past 20 years. In 2016 alone, more than 5 percent of U.S. children were being actively treated with medication for ADHD. Experts believe the rise is fueled by a combination of factors, including a greater recognition of the disorder, a true rise in the incidence of the condition and, in some cases, improper diagnosis.

Comment: Younger kids having a difficult time sitting still for hours and paying attention isn't a medical condition. It's just normal. That a correlation like the above is being made should be ringing alarm bells for those who are trigger-happy with the medication. We'll be surprised if it makes any difference in the over-diagnosis problem.

See also:


People 2

Fearing fear itself

fear
© Peter Marlow/Magnum
Once parents felt children needed a little fear to grow up well. Today they are desperately protective. What went wrong?

How much fear, anxiety and risk can children handle? Until the late 19th century, most people thought that the answer was quite a lot. Aristotle himself said that education might be defined as teaching us to fear aright. It was widely believed that a sense of fear made a positive contribution to the formation of a child's character. That fear was regarded as essential for the education of children was spelled out by the Church Missionary Society in 1819, when it stated that 'it is necessary, that children fear the Schoolmasters'. Children's experience of fear was sometimes portrayed as essential for developing their powers of imagination and creativity. For example in 1848, the Christian Register advised parents that a 'child who has never known any kind of fear can have no power of imagination: can feel no wonder, no impulse of life, nor awe or veneration'.

Contrast to the culture of today, where entertainment is age-appropriate; where the wrong word (or microaggression) is said to trigger an anxiety attack; where the ultimate fear, of separation, is seen as so damaging that, if not managed well, can ruin the child for life. Childhood fears, and fear of those fears, seem ubiquitous: Fear of bullies, not to mention active shooters and public gatherings. Fear of wars and accidents streaming in through the TV. Most modern parents would no more try to frighten a child than they would beat the child with whips or send that child to a year of hard labour on a chain gang, but feel stymied by the onslaught of the world. We are mightily attuned to children's fears, and strive to blunt them at all cost.

Nebula

Ian Stevenson: Birthmarks and birth defects corresponding to wounds on deceased persons

Dr. Ian Stevenson
© Society for Psychical Research
Dr. Ian Stevenson
Abstract

Almost nothing is known about why pigmented birthmarks (moles or nevi) occur in particular locations of the skin. The causes of most birth defects are also unknown. About 35% of children who claim to remember previous lives have birthmarks and/or birth defects that they (or adult informants) attribute to wounds on a person whose life the child remembers.

The cases of 210 such children have been investigated. The birthmarks were usually areas of hairless, puckered skin; some were areas of little or no pigmentation (hypopigmented macules); others were areas of increased pigmentation (hyperpigmented nevi). The birth defects were nearly always of rare types.

In cases in which a deceased person was identified the details of whose life unmistakably matched the child's statements, a close correspondence was nearly always found between the birthmarks and/or birth defects on the child and the wounds on the deceased person. In 43 of 49 cases in which a medical document (usually a postmortem report) was obtained, it confirmed the correspondence between wounds: and birthmarks (or birth defects).

There is little evidence that parents and other informants imposed a false identity on the child in order to explain the child's birthmark or birth defect. Some paranormal process seems required to account for at least some of the details of these cases, including the birthmarks and birth defects.

Comment: For more on Dr. Stevenson's work on reincarnation, see:


Question

What's in a name? The surprising ways your name affects your life

name board
© Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters


From dating to job prospects, a name has remarkable power over the path of its owner's life.


I was at a party for Bastille Day in Paris a few years back, and we were leaning over the balcony to watch the fireworks. A cute French girl sat next to me, but after a few flirty glances the moment was entirely ruined with the most basic of interactions: "What's your name?" she asked in French. "Cody," I said.

That was it. We were done. "Co-zee?" she said, sounding out the entirely foreign name, looking more disgruntled with each try. "Col-bee?" "Cot-ee?"

Family

Not in front of the kids: Children can detect their parents' emotional suppression

sad family
"Not in front of the kids." It's an age-old plea for parents to avoid showing conflict and strong negative emotions around their children. But new research from a Washington State University scientist disagrees, showing that it's better to express negative emotions in a healthy way than to tamp them down.

After people suppress compassionate feelings, they lose a bit of their commitment to morality.

Sara Waters, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development on the WSU Vancouver campus, and co-authors from the University of California, Berkley and the University of California, San Francisco, write about their findings in the journal Emotion.

"We wanted to look at how we suppress emotions and how that changes the way parents and kids interact," Waters said. "Kids pick up on suppression, but it's something a lot of parents think is a good thing to do."