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Mon, 28 Sep 2020
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Evening light exposure dangerous to health: new study

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© Unknown
According to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), exposure to electrical light between dusk and bedtime strongly suppresses melatonin levels and may impact physiologic processes regulated by melatonin signaling, such as sleepiness, thermoregulation, blood pressure and glucose homeostasis.

Melatonin is a hormone produced at night by the pineal gland in the brain. In addition to its role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, melatonin has been shown to lower blood pressure and body temperature and has also been explored as a treatment option for insomnia, hypertension and cancer. In modern society, people are routinely exposed to electrical lighting during evening hours to partake in work, recreational and social activities. This study sought to understand whether exposure to room light in the late evening may inhibit melatonin production.

"On a daily basis, millions of people choose to keep the lights on prior to bedtime and during the usual hours of sleep," said Joshua Gooley, PhD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. and lead author of the study. "Our study shows that this exposure to indoor light has a strong suppressive effect on the hormone melatonin. This could, in turn, have effects on sleep quality and the body's ability to regulate body temperature, blood pressure and glucose levels."

In this study, researchers evaluated 116 healthy volunteers aged 18-30 years who were exposed to room light or dim light in the eight hours preceding bedtime for five consecutive days. An intravenous catheter was inserted into the forearms of study participants for continuous collection of blood plasma every 30-60 minutes for melatonin measurements. Results showed exposure to room light before bedtime shortened melatonin duration by about 90 minutes when compared to dim light exposure. Furthermore, exposure to room light during the usual hours of sleep suppressed melatonin by greater than 50 percent.

Heart

Meditation for Depression Relapse

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© Unknown
Mindfulness meditation found to be as effective as antidepressant medication in prevention of depression relapse.

A new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy - using meditation - provides equivalent protection against depressive relapse as traditional antidepressant medication.

The study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry compared the effectiveness of pharmacotherapy with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) by studying people who were initially treated with an antidepressant and then, either stopped taking the medication in order to receive MBCT, or continued taking medication for 18 months.

"With the growing recognition that major depression is a recurrent disorder, patients need treatment options for preventing depression from returning to their lives." said Dr. Zindel Segal, Head of the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Clinic in the Clinical Research Department at CAMH.

"Data from the community suggest that many depressed patients discontinue antidepressant medication far too soon, either because of side effect burden, or an unwillingness to take medicine for years. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is a non pharmacological approach that teaches skills in emotion regulation so that patients can monitor possible relapse triggers as well as adopt lifestyle changes conducive to sustaining mood balance.

Study participants who were diagnosed with major depressive disorder were all treated with an antidepressant until their symptoms remitted. They were then randomly assigned to come off their medication and receive MBCT; come off their medication and receive a placebo; or stay on their medication. The novelty of this design permits comparing the effectiveness of sequencing pharmacological and psychological treatments versus maintaining the same treatment - antidepressants - over time.

People

Why First Impressions Are Difficult to Change: Study

There is more than a literal truth to the saying that "you never get a second chance to make a first impression," suggests emerging international research. Experts have discovered that new experiences that contradict a first impression become "bound" to the context in which they were made, whereas first impressions still dominate in other contexts.

"Imagine you have a new colleague at work and your impression of that person is not very favorable," said lead author Bertram Gawronski. "A few weeks later, you meet your colleague at a party and you realize he is actually a very nice guy. Although you know your first impression was wrong, your gut response to your new colleague will be influenced by your new experience only in contexts that are similar to the party. However, your first impression will still dominate in all other contexts."

According to Gawronski, our brain stores expectancy-violating experiences as exceptions-to-the-rule, such that the rule is treated as valid except for the specific context in which it has been violated.

Family

Apologies aren't as good as people imagine they'll be

We all want an apology when someone does us wrong. But a new study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that people aren't very good at predicting how much they'll value an apology.

Apologies have been in the news a lot the last few years in the context of the financial crisis, says David De Cremer of Erasmus University in the Netherlands. He cowrote the study with Chris Reinders Folmer of Erasmus University and Madan M. Pillutla of London Business School. "Banks didn't want to apologize because they didn't feel guilty but, in the public eye, banks were guilty," De Cremer says. But even when some banks and CEOs did apologize, the public didn't seem to feel any better. "We wondered, what was the real value of an apology?"

Heart

Is Dreaming a Form of Survival?

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© John Anster Fitzgerald
The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of (1858), painted by John Anster Fitzgerald.
Dreaming could have begun as a form of survival in the wild, according to evolutionary psychologists. Some people credit their dreams for helping solve real-life problems.

No one really knows what dreams are for. But evolutionary psychologists theorize that humans started dreaming to promote survival by "rehearsing" adaptive responses to challenges.

"In prehistory it was, 'How do I get away from saber-toothed tigers?'" says Sandy Ginsberg, an Encino psychotherapist who leads a weekly dream group and says she's had, and heard, her own share of recession dreams of late. "We're still dreaming about how to survive."

About two-thirds of people surveyed say they've solved a practical problem in dreams, adds Deirdre Barrett, a clinical psychologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School - perhaps because "out of the box" solutions, shown visually, can eclipse the closed circles in which our logical minds travel.

Among such people are some eminent scientists who have credited breakthroughs to the options they saw in dreams.

Question

Is Your Pet Psychic?

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© Cute-Pets.net
I wanna be a ballerina when I grow up!

Lassie could always sense when Timmy was in trouble. Black Beauty knew the bridge was out.

Now two-thirds of Ameri­can pet owners said they can relate -- their pets have a sixth sense about bad weath­er. Forty-three percent say the same about bad news, ac­cording to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll.

Seventy-two percent of dog owners said they've got­ten weather warnings from their pets, compared with 66 percent of cat owners.

For bad news, 47 percent of dog owners and 41 percent of cat owners said they've been alerted by their pets, according to the poll con­ducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Com­munications.

Jim Fulstone said his farm dog, a pomeranian named Austin, gives warn­ings about 15 minutes before earthquakes and 45 minutes before thunderstorms.

"He'll run around in cir­cles and look at you. If you sit down, he'll sit down with you. If you are outside, he will come up to you, run around, look off, sniff your leg, just kind of be there. He's a lot more active," said Fulstone, 65, of Wellington, Nevada. "For the quakes, he was very alert and started bark­ing and doing his run-around routine."

The reason? Hard to know.

Heart

Birth of a Moral Compass, Even for Science

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© Dick DeMarsico/New York World-Telegram
1929: Martin Luther King Jr. is born. Though his work for civil rights and peace will become widely known, he will also deliver an important warning on the perils of technological amorality.

King delivered a lecture at the University of Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 11, 1964, the day after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. He argued that progress in science and technology has not been equaled by "moral progress" - instead, humanity is suffering from a "moral and spiritual lag."

At 35, King was then the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He was recognized for using nonviolent methods, including civil disobedience and the boycott (as well as the power of his oratory), to fight racial segregation and advance the civil rights movement in the United States.

2 + 2 = 4

Ramifications of Incest

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© lodolcefamilylaw.com
Dr Kluft is in private practice of psychiatry and psychoanalysis in Bala Cynwyd, Pa, and is clinical professor of psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He has published extensively in the areas of trauma, dissociation, and hypnosis. He reports no conflicts of interest concerning the subject matter of this article

Few subjects in psychiatry elicit more profound, visceral, and polarized reactions than incest - the occurrence of sexual behaviors between closely related individuals - behaviors that violate society's most sacred and guarded taboos. Furthermore, few circumstances confront the psychiatrist with more complex, painful, and potentially problematic clinical dilemmas and challenges than the treatment of the incest victim and/or the management of situations in which incest has been suspected or alleged by one member of a family, and denied, often with both pain and outrage, by the accused and/or other members of that family.

The study of incest as an actual phenomenon rather than as a fantasy is a relatively recent event. In 1975, an authoritative text proclaimed that the incidence of father-daughter incest in the United States was 1 in a million families.1 Crucial contributions by feminist authors and traumatologists rapidly sensitized the profession to the frequency and importance of incest and its association with psychopathology.2-4 By 1986, Russell5 wrote that some form of father-daughter incestuous activity, ranging from minimal to brutal and aggressive, was found in approximately 1 in 20 families that included daughters and their natural fathers, and 1 in 7 families in which daughters resided with a stepfather. By the early 1990s, feminists, traumatologists, and contributors from the emerging study of dissociative disorders were engaged in a vigorous study of incest and the treatment of incest victims.

However, during this time, there emerged a trend of calling into question the recollections of those who reported incestuous abuse, mounting militant defenses of accused perpetrators. The rising number of incest accusations was attributed to faulty practices on the part of therapists who worked with patients who recalled incest, especially if the recollections had been absent from memory for some time and emerged either in the context of therapy or with the patient's exposure to certain media, books, and practices. Clinicians were accused of suggesting abuse that had never occurred and of causing their patients' memories to be contaminated with information and/or ideas that had planted erroneous ideas in their minds. Certain books and media were accused of encouraging false reports.

Sherlock

Perceived Emotions Can Intensify a Quarrel Between Lovers

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© unknown
Within any romantic relationship, conflicts inevitably occur. And, as most of us are well aware, the fighting evokes intense emotions.

New research now suggests that how each person perceives the other partner's emotion during a conflict greatly influences different types of thoughts, feelings and reactions in themselves.

Baylor University's Keith Sanford, Ph.D., and his research team studied 105 college students in romantic relationships communicating through different arguments over an eight-week period.

Sanford focused on how emotion changed within each person across episodes of relationship conflict. He and his colleagues found demonstrated links between different types of emotion, different types of underlying concern, and different types of perceived partner emotion.

Family

Writing About Worries Eases Anxiety and Improves Test Performance

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© Unknown
Students can combat test anxiety and improve performance by writing about their worries immediately before the exam begins, according to a University of Chicago study published Friday in the journal Science.

Researchers found that students who were prone to test anxiety improved their high-stakes test scores by nearly one grade point after they were given 10 minutes to write about what was causing them fear, according to the article, "Writing about Testing Boosts Exam Performance in the Classroom." The article appears in the Jan. 14 issue of Science and is based on research supported by the National Science Foundation.

Comment: Another excellent way to calm the nervous system when under stress is to learn to relax and regulate your breathing. To learn how easy and effective it is visit the Éiriú Eolas website at EEbreathe.com