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Fri, 20 Sep 2019
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Brain Can Learn Fear By Seeing Others' Fears. But what about instinct?

Whether you get stung by a bee or simply watch as a friend gets stung, you might start to run and hide every time a bee buzzes across your path. A new study reveals why you do this: It turns out the brain areas that respond when fear is learned through personal experience are also triggered when we see someone else afraid.

The finding, detailed in the March issue of the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, could explain why some people are afraid of things like spiders and snakes despite little contact with them.

Fear learning

Study participants watched a short video of a person conditioned to fear a so-called neutral stimulus - something people normally wouldn't fear - paired with something they find naturally aversive, in this case an electrical shock.

The person in the video watched colored squares on a computer screen: When a blue square appeared, the person received a mild shock; when a yellow square appeared, there was no shock. The participant in the video responded with distress when the blue square appeared - he would blink hard, tense his cheek muscles, and move his hand.

Health

Report: Over 5M Living With Alzheimer's

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, a 10 percent increase since the last Alzheimer's Association estimate five years ago - and a count that supports the long-forecast dementia epidemic as the population grays.

Age is the biggest risk factor, and the report to be released Tuesday shows the nation is on track for skyrocketing Alzheimer's once the baby boomers start turning 65 in 2011. Already, one in eight people 65 and older have the mind-destroying illness, and nearly one in two people over 85.

Unless scientists discover a way to delay Alzheimer's brain attack, some 7.7 million people are expected to have the disease by 2030, the report says. By 2050, that toll could reach 16 million.

Bomb

Paying Attention to Not Paying Attention

Researchers are studying a pervasive psychological phenomenon in which oh man we've got to finish doing the taxes this weekend...

C'mon, admit it. Your train of thought has derailed like that many times. It's just mind-wandering. We all do it, and surprisingly often, whether we're struggling to avoid it or not.

Mainstream psychology hasn't paid much attention to this common mental habit. But a spate of new studies is chipping away at its mysteries and scientists say the topic is beginning to gain visibility.

Someday, such research may turn up ways to help students keep their focus on textbooks and lectures, and drivers to keep their minds on the road. It may reveal ways to reap payoffs from the habit.

And it might shed light on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which can include an unusually severe inability to focus that causes trouble in multiple areas of life.

Health

Warning over 'legal high' pills

The UK medicines regulator is warning people to stay away from pills called BZP, the BBC has learned.

The pills are said to offer a "legal high", but the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has warned they can cause health problems.


Wolf

60 Million Containers Of Pet Food Recalled After Unknown Number of Pets Die

WASHINGTON A major manufacturer of dog and cat food sold under Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger and other store brands recalled 60 million containers of wet pet food Friday after reports of kidney failure and deaths.

An unknown number of cats and dogs suffered kidney failure and about 10 died after eating the affected pet food, Menu Foods said in announcing the North American recall. Product testing has not revealed a link explaining the reported cases of illness and death, the company said.

Bomb

Intentional Imitation : How to play the president

Is John Kerry a good enough actor to become president? As the campaign enters its final leg, with the first of the proposed televised debates approaching on Sept. 30 and a stark political choice facing the voters, the question may sound cynical, disrespectful, even uncivic. After all, an actor is an illusionist, whereas a political leader is supposed to be, as Kerry himself has put it, "the real deal."

Yet as anyone who follows modern politics knows, it takes a great deal of talent, practice, and discipline -- not to mention the combined efforts of numerous image consultants and communications experts -- for a politician to appear appealingly authentic, especially on television. As the playwright Arthur Miller wrote in a 2001 essay, "On Politics and the Art of Acting," "Political leaders everywhere have come to understand that to govern they must learn how to act."

The elaborately staged political conventions were the easy part, with everything scripted and well rehearsed. It only gets tougher from here. For the fall ad campaign, John Kerry's leading "image maker" is Robert Shrum, who has written speeches, produced ads, and developed strategies for a long list of Democratic politicians, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Bush's consultant of choice is Stuart Stevens, who produced the Bush campaign's television advertising in 2000. (Stevens also worked for Massachusetts governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci, and wrote early episodes of the television series "Northern Exposure.")

Bulb

Killers' faces provide new truths on lying: Can you really conceal your intentions?

While studying the faces of convicted killers, a Halifax psychologist says the truth about lies can be found in facial expressions.

Dr. Steve Porter, a forensic psychologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S., studies micro expressions and says the face of someone telling a lie is different from someone experiencing true emotion.

"People manifest particular concealed emotions, so how does that express itself on your face?" he told CTV.

Porter looks at emotions frame-by-frame and says it's nearly impossible for someone to mimic the complex muscle movements of such emotions as sadness, stress or despair.

Evil Rays

Peering Into The Soul - What is your intent?

Years ago, Woody Allen used to joke that he'd been thrown out of college as a freshman for cheating on his metaphysics final. "I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me," he confessed.

Today, the joke is on us. Cameras follow your car, global-positioning systems track your cellphone, software monitors your Web surfing, X-rays explore your purse, and airport scanners see through your clothes. Now comes the final indignity: machines that can look into your soul.

Red Flag

Smallpox shot infects soldier's toddler son

In the first case of its kind in years, a 2-year-old boy is being treated in Chicago for a rare and life-threatening infection that he contracted from his father, a U.S. Army soldier recently vaccinated against smallpox.

The Indiana boy is in critical condition with eczema vaccinatum, an unusual side effect of the smallpox vaccine that can affect people who receive the shot or their close contacts.

Health

This Is War! Weaponizing Food

You are a target in a war. So are your children, grandchildren, parents, and the people half way around the world whom you have never met. The war is for resources and you are in the way.

You Are In the Way. It's that simple.

Comment: All of this REALLY makes you wonder why, if they are trying to kill people off - and it is clear they are - are they so anti-smoking? Is there some health benefit that smoking confers that we don't know about?