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nat bas

Understanding the Anxious Mind - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • But some people, no matter how robust their stock portfolios or how healthy their children, are always mentally preparing for doom. They are just born worriers, their brains forever anticipating the dropping of some dreaded other shoe. For the past 20 years, Kagan and his colleagues have been following hundreds of such people, beginning in infancy, to see what happens to those who start out primed to fret. Now that these infants are young adults, the studies are yielding new information about the anxious brain.
  • Four significant long-term longitudinal studies are now under way: two at Harvard that Kagan initiated, two more at the University of Maryland under the direction of Nathan Fox, a former graduate student of Kagan’s. With slight variations, they all have reached similar conclusions: that babies differ according to inborn temperament; that 15 to 20 percent of them will react strongly to novel people or situations; and that strongly reactive babies are more likely to grow up to be anxious.
  • In the brain, these thoughts can often be traced to overreactivity in the amygdala, a small site in the middle of the brain that, among its many other functions, responds to novelty and threat. When the amygdala works as it should, it orchestrates a physiological response to changes in the environment. That response includes heightened memory for emotional experiences and the familiar chest pounding of fight or flight. But in people born with a particular brain circuitry, the kind seen in Kagan’s high-reactive study subjects, the amygdala is hyperreactive, prickly as a haywire motion-detector light that turns on when nothing’s moving but the rain. Other physiological changes exist in children with this temperament, many of them also related to hyperreactivity in the amygdala. They have a tendency to more activity in the right hemisphere, the half of the brain associated with negative mood and anxiety; greater increases in heart rate and pupil dilation in response to stress; and on occasion higher levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine.
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  • The physiological measurements led them to believe something biological was at work. Their hypothesis: the inhibited children were “born with a lower threshold” for arousal of various brain regions, in particular the amygdala, the hypothalamus and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the circuit responsible for the stress hormone cortisol.
  • At age 4, children who had been high-reactive were four times as likely to be behaviorally inhibited as those who had been low-reactive. By age 7, almost half of the jittery babies had developed symptoms of anxiety — fear of thunder or dogs or darkness, extreme shyness in the classroom or playground — compared with just 10 percent of the more easygoing ones. About one in five of the high-reactive babies were consistently inhibited and fearful at every visit up to the age of 7.
  • By adolescence, the rate of anxiety in Kagan’s study subjects declined overall, including in the high-risk group. At 15, about two-thirds of those who had been high-reactors in infancy behaved pretty much like everybody else.
  • PEOPLE WITH A nervous temperament don’t usually get off so easily, Kagan and his colleagues have found. There exists a kind of sub-rosa anxiety, a secret stash of worries that continue to plague a subset of high-reactive people no matter how well they function outwardly. They cannot quite outrun their own natures: consciously or unconsciously, they remain the same uneasy people they were when they were little.
  • Teenagers who were in the group at low risk for anxiety showed no increase in activity in the amygdala when they looked at the face, even if they had been told to focus on their own fear. But those in the high-risk group showed increased activity in the amygdala when they were thinking about their own feelings (though not when they were thinking about the nose). Once again, this pattern was seen in anxiety-prone youngsters quite apart from whether they had problems with anxiety in their daily lives. In the high-risk kids, even those who were apparently calm in most settings, their amygdalas lighted up more than the others’ did.
  • Behaviorally inhibited children were much more likely to have older siblings: two-thirds of them did, compared with just one-third of the uninhibited children. Could having older siblings, he and his co-authors wondered, mean being teased and pushed, which becomes a source of chronic stress, which in turn amplifies a biological predisposition to inhibition?
  • high-reactive babies who went to day care when they were young were significantly less fearful at age 4 than were the high-reactives who stayed home with their mothers.
  • The predictive power of an anxiety-prone temperament, such as it is, essentially works in just one direction: not by predicting what these children will become but by predicting what they will not. In the longitudinal studies of anxiety, all you can say with confidence is that the high-reactive infants will not grow up to be exuberant, outgoing, bubbly or bold. Still, while a Sylvia Plath almost certainly won’t grow up to be a Bill Clinton, she can either grow up to be anxious and suicidal, or simply a poet. Temperament is important, but life intervenes.
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    This is a good article that looks at how anxiety happens- it is more or less something you are born with, but you learn to live with, if you are intelligent about it. Liked it. Good writing.
yc c

The power of secrets | Psychology Today - 0 views

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    There's no question that family secrets are destructive. But it matters mightily when and how you reveal them. Resist the temptation to handle them at transition times such as weddings, graduations, and new beginnings. As a family therapist, I'm a professional secret-keeper. I'm often ~the very first person with whom someone risks telling a longheld secret. Several decades of guiding people struggling with secrets have taught me that they have an awesome if paradoxical power to unite people--and to divide them.
Sue Frantz

Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy : Article : Nature - 0 views

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    I'm having a hard time thinking this is a good idea. I'd prefer to move toward less reliance on drugs rather than more.
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    "In this article, we propose actions that will help society accept the benefits of enhancement, given appropriate research and evolved regulation. Prescription drugs are regulated as such not for their enhancing properties but primarily for considerations of safety and potential abuse. Still, cognitive enhancement has much to offer individuals and society, and a proper societal response will involve making enhancements available while managing their risks."
thinkahol *

The Blog : Drugs and the Meaning of Life : Sam Harris - 1 views

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    Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. We eat specific foods to enjoy their fleeting presence on our tongues. We read for the pleasure of thinking another person's thoughts. Every waking moment-and even in our dreams-we struggle to direct the flow of sensation, emotion, and cognition toward states of consciousness that we value.Drugs are another means toward this end. Some are illegal; some are stigmatized; some are dangerous-though, perversely, these sets only partially intersect. There are drugs of extraordinary power and utility, like psilocybin (the active compound in "magic mushrooms") and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which pose no apparent risk of addiction and are physically well-tolerated, and yet one can still be sent to prison for their use-while drugs like tobacco and alcohol, which have ruined countless lives, are enjoyed ad libitum in almost every society on earth. There are other points on this continuum-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or "Ecstasy") has remarkable therapeutic potential, but it is also susceptible to abuse, and it appears to be neurotoxic.[1]One of the great responsibilities we have as a society is to educate ourselves, along with the next generation, about which substances are worth ingesting, and for what purpose, and which are not. The problem, however, is that we refer to all biologically active compounds by a single term-"drugs"-and this makes it nearly impossible to have an intelligent discussion about the psychological, medical, ethical, and legal issues surrounding their use. The poverty of our language has been only slightly eased by the introduction of terms like "psychedelics" to differentiate certain visionary compounds, which can produce extraordinary states of ecstasy and insight, from "narcotics" and other classic agents of stupefaction and abuse.
frankie stevens

Instant Solution For Unwanted Fiscal Crisis Within No Time - 0 views

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    Instant loans online is considered to obtain desire cash for unforeseen financial situation without placing any application collateral pledging. If you need this fund at your home without any risk then apply via online for this loan and can meet your financial requirement within the same day. This loan is just what you are looking for when in need of cash. Apply Now
Robert Kamper

People With Higher IQs Make Wiser Economic Choices, Study Finds - 1 views

  • People with higher measures of cognitive ability are more likely to make good choices in several different types of economic decisions, according to a new study with researchers from the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities and Morris campuses.
  • People with better cognitive skills, in particular higher IQ, were more willing to take calculated risks and to save their money and made more consistent choices. They were also more likely to be cooperative in a strategic situation, and exhibited higher "social awareness" in that they more accurately forecasted others' behavior.
Todd Suomela

Peanut Butter and Paternalism | Psychology Today Blogs - 2 views

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    Where is the line between safety and paternalism? Two cases: food regulation and motorcycle helmets.
nextergo

Top 5 Biggest Health Risks of Sedentary Lifestyle - 0 views

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    A sedentary lifestyle can cause many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and more. Using a standing desk will help you beat the inactivity and enjoy a health-friendly working environment. Read on to know more.
nextergo

Top 5 Biggest Health Risks of Sedentary Lifestyle - 0 views

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    A sedentary lifestyle can cause many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and more. Using a standing desk will help you beat the inactivity and enjoy a health-friendly working environment.
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