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Sun, 11 Apr 2021
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Brain's clock influenced by senses

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© Unknown
Humans use their senses to help keep track of short intervals of time according to new research, which suggests that our perception of time is not maintained by an internal body clock alone.

Scientists from UCL (University College London) set out to answer the question "Where does our sense of time come from?" Their results show that it comes partly from observing how much the world changes, as we have learnt to expect our sensory inputs to change at a particular 'average' rate. Comparing the change we see to this average value helps us judge how much time has passed, and refines our internal timekeeping.

Dr Maneesh Sahani, from the UCL Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, and an author of the paper said: "There are many proposals for how an internal clock might work, but no one has found a single part of the brain that keeps track of time. It may be that there is no such place, that our perception of time is distributed across the brain and makes use of whatever information is available."

2 + 2 = 4

Understanding and Overcoming the Myths of Suicide

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© Madalina Iordache-Levay
Suicide by Madalina Iordache-Levay.
What Goes On in the Minds of Those Who Attempt Suicide

Myths about suicide abound in the therapeutic setting. They often inhibit the ability of clinicians (and families) to assess the severity and magnitude of a patient's suicide risk. This special report discusses some of those myths. In Why People Die by Suicide,1 I argued that a kind of fearlessness is required to face voluntarily the daunting prospect of one's death, and that doing so necessarily involves a fight against ancient, ingrained, and powerful self-preservation instincts. In Myths About Suicide,2 I used the framework developed in the previous book to contend that death by suicide is neither impulsive, cowardly, vengeful, controlling, nor selfish.

Impulsivity Myths

The tragic death of a Florida television news reporter in 1974 illustrates the fallacy that suicide is an impulsive, spur-of-the-moment whim, much like casting off peanut shells at the ballpark. In July of that year, the reporter was covering the story of a shooting that had happened the day before. When the reporter called for the news station's video footage of the scene, the tape jammed. She shrugged and stated, "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first - an attempted suicide." She extracted a gun from beneath her desk and shot herself behind the right ear. She was rushed to a local hospital, but died 14 hours later.

Document

Good Old Melatonin - Making News Again

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© Unknown
News have been released that "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, thermo regulation, blood pressure and glucose homeostasis."

In my book Lights Out, I have pointed out that melatonin and progesterone are both master-switch hormonal controllers. If either one is out of sync, it reads to nature as "pushing a red button." Any light at night changes natural rhythms.

As time goes on, we increase the amount of responsibilities and tasks that we take on, and as a result we sleep less and less. "In 1910 the average adult was still sleeping nine to ten hours a night. Now the average adult is lucky to get a full seven hours a night. You can't make melatonin in the daytime or with the lights on. We need to understand that "going to sleep with the sunset means a whole-body melatonin bath." When we sleep short nights that mimic summer mean: Reduced melatonin secretion which means reduces white cell immune function; A sever reduction in the most potent antioxidant that you have-melatonin."

In the study, recently reported 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.

Bulb

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?

Pets
© 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.