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Saturday, March 26, 2016


Listening to music could be affecting your mental health.


Neuroscience, read more 


http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00466/full


 listening to sad songs could be making us anxious and 

neurotic. 



Many of us play music to reflect our mood: a bit of Drake to 

get us dancing, Sam Smith when we want to cry.  


But most of us have no idea how this might actually affect 

our health.


Emily Carlson, a music therapist and author of the study, 

said: ‘Some ways of coping with  negative emotion, such as 

rumination, which means continually thinking over negative 

things, are linked to poor mental health.’


‘We wanted to learn whether there could be similar negative 

effects of some styles of music  listening.’


The researchers tested the neural responses of participants 

while they listened to happy, aggressive and sad music 

and compared this to markers of mental health including 

depression, anxiety and neuroticism.



They found that listening to music affected the medial 

prefrontal cortex (mPFC), with those using sad and 

aggressive music to reflect on their emotions having higher 

levels of anxiety and neuroticism than those who didn’t.


This was particularly true for men.


Elvira Brattico, the senior author of the study said: ‘These 

results show a link between music  listening styles and 

mPFC activation, which could mean that certain listening 

styles have long-term effects on the brain.’




READ http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00466/full





Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Study finds connections between genetics, brain activity and preference

Study finds connections between genetics, brain activity and preference: A team of MGH researchers has used brain imaging, genetics and experimental psychology techniques to identify a connection between brain reward circuitry, a behavioral measurement of preference and a gene variant that appears to influence both.

The report in the August 4 issue of Archives of General Psychiatrydescribes how variations in a gene involved with the brain’s reward function are associated with the activity of a key brain structure and, in parallel, with the effort study participants ‘invest’ in viewing emotion-laden facial images.  The findings have implications for how genes may influence healthy or dysfunctional behavior involving choices in many different areas.

“This work helps connect our psychological understanding of why we like some things and not others with the genetic mechanisms that define our range of behaviors,” says Hans Breiter, MD, senior and corresponding author of the study and principal investigator for the Phenotype Genotype Project in Addiction and Mood Disorders, an interdisciplinary project involving the MGH Departments of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Neurology.  “In the ongoing discussion about how much the environment versus genetics determine behavior, this study points to how the interaction between these factors influences our judgment and decision-making.”

The current study is part of a decade-long effort to link studies of reward and aversion in animal models to human psychology and neuroscience.  In the mid-1990s, Breiter and other MGH researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques to demonstrate how structures deep within the brain were involved with the experience of reward, how that experience was connected to motivated behavior, and how the reward system could be co-opted in situations like drug addiction. 

In 2001, Breiter collaborated with Daniel Kahneman, PhD, of Princeton University and Peter Shizgal, PhD, Concordia University, Montreal, to show how the brain’s reward/aversion circuitry followed the principles of what is called prospect theory when responding to the anticipation and receipt of a financial reward, helping to lay the groundwork for the field now called neuroeconomics.  Kahnemann was a co-recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics for his earlier development of prospect theory, which describes the different ways people evaluate positive and negative outcomes in uncertain situations.  

The current report connects molecular genetics with earlier studies of choice and preference and with investigations of the brain’s reward circuitry. The researchers focused on a gene called CREB1 that has been implicated in animal studies of the brain’s reward/aversion function.  Study lead author Roy Perlis, MD, medical director of the MGH Bipolar Program, and colleagues previously found that depressed men with a particular variation near the gene coding for CREB report greater difficulty suppressing anger. Another study of theirs associated the same variation with a threefold greater risk of suicidal thinking in major depressive disorder patients soon after beginning antidepressant therapy.  The 28 participants in the current study had no evidence of any psychiatric disorder or physical disorder that might influence brain activity.

In addition to analyzing each participant’s version of the CREB1 gene, the researchers conducted a set of experiments. As the participants viewed facial expressions reflecting different emotional states – happy, neutral, sad, fearful and angry – fMRI scans were taken to examine the activity of brain structures associated with processing pleasant or unpleasant experiences.  In another test, participants viewed the same pictures and could change how long they viewed an image by the way they pressed keys on a keyboard.  Many earlier studies have established the keypress experiment as a quantitative measure of preference.  In the version used in this study, keypress responses reflected participants’ judgment and decisions about how much or how little they preferred the facial expressions.

The fMRI study showed that, during the viewing of angry faces, the activity of a structure called the insula, involved in the response to unpleasant situations, depended on which version of the CREB1 gene a participant inherited.  In the keypress experiment, responses indicating a preference against the angry expression paralleled the CREB1-affected fMRI activity seen in the insula in the first experiment and also differed depending on the CREB1 variant that had been inherited. 

“We were surprised to see that variation in the CREB1 gene would account for more than 20 percent of the difference in how healthy participants weighed different options and expressed specific preferences,” says Perlis.  “Our previous studies and the work of other groups suggested that variation in this gene could be important for judgment and decision-making by the brain, but we needed to connect this to a measurable decision-making effect in both behavior and brain activity.”

Breiter adds, “This study connects quantitative measurements across three levels of observation – brain activity, genomic variation and the expression of preference.  We now are investigating the potential role of other genes and will go on to assess how this relationship across three levels of observation may be affected by conditions such as depression and addiction.” 

Along with Breiter and Perlis, the study’s other authors are Daphne Holt, MD, Jordan Smoller, MD, Anne Blood, PhD, Sang Lee, Nikos Makris, MD, PhD, Kathryn Rooney, Darin Dougherty, MD, Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, MD, and Maurizio Fava, MD, MGH Psychiatry; Byoung Woo Kim, Myung Joo Lee, and Gregory Gasic, PhD, MGH Radiology; David Kennedy, PhD, MGH Neurology; Mei Sun and James Gusella, PhD, MGH Center for Human Genetic Research; and Rick Hoge, PhD, University of Montreal. The study was primarily supported by funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, along with additional support from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard MedicalSchool. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $500 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Are the US Armed Forces a “Rape Culture”?

Are the US Armed Forces a “Rape Culture”?



US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have produced quagmires of crime, corruption and abuse, beginning with the torture of prisoners, the creation of offshore penal colonies, and repeated airborne attacks on shepherd boys, wedding parties, TV crews and allied troops — and ending with atrocity-producing chauvinism, bigotry, night-time home invasions and indefinite detention without charges. We don’t so much spread democracy as shred a mockery.
This war system has produced epidemic suicide rates, boot camp fatalities, plane and copter crash losses, friendly fire deaths, “green-on-blue insider” attacks by Afghan trainees, combat wounds and amputations, PTSD and several unknown or undiagnosed syndromes many of which are permanently debilitating. The abuse and even murder of spouses are on the rise among returning vets while sexual battery, assault and rape have reached staggering rates.
The Department of Defense’s 2012 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military estimates there were 26,000 sexual assaults in the military last year, up 35 percent from 19,000 in 2011. You know that sexual predators are rampaging through the services when the president calls the rape statistics “shameful” and “disgraceful,” when Pentagon Chief Chuck Hagel calls the chronic outrages a “betrayal” and a “scourge that must be stamped out,” and when the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey says, “We’re losing the confidence of the women who serve.”
Why would Dempsey admit such a thing? Because, according to Kirby Dick, director of the film “The Invisible War,” less than one percent of the 26,000 cases resulted in a court-martial conviction. Kirby’s documentary reviews the scandal of military commanders — not prosecutors and judges — deciding whether to prosecute “embedded serial sexual predators.”  In a recent editorial, Dick writes, “500,000 uniformed men and women have been assaulted since 1991” (the year of the Navy’s Tailhook sexual assaults in Las Vegas), and fewer than 15 percent were ever reported. In 1996, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland was the site of infamous sexual assaults on female recruits. In 2003, it was the Air Force Academy in Colorado that represented the military’s rape scene.
The problem of unreported and unprosecuted sexual assaults in the military is notorious. Of the estimated 26,000 cases last year, the Department of Defense claims only 3,374 were reported. Tens of thousands of victims keep quiet out of fear of retribution by superior officers and a distrust of the military court system.
One such case came to light June 1, 2013 as the Naval Academy announced that three of its football players were under investigation for the serial rape of a female midshipman in 2012. The victim’s lawyer, Susan Burke, has said that after reporting her attack the sophomore was harassed and taunted by other midshipmen and ostracized and retaliated against by the Naval Academy community. While still under investigation, the three perpetrators were allowed to play football while the victim was disciplined for underage drinking. They were formally charged June 19, 2013. In a second case, on May 1, 2013, the Air Force said it disciplined five former commanders for not reporting sexual assault allegations at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland in Texas — where 18 sexual assault trials have taken place and 32 basic training instructors are under investigation for assaulting recruits. In addition, on May 14, 2013 Sgt. Michael McClendon at West Point was charged with secretly videotaping a dozen women, sometimes in the shower. In December 2012, a Pentagon report warned that sexual assaults reported by students at its three prestigious military academies jumped 23 percent in one year.
Three more current cases — beyond being too ironic for words — telegraph just how pervasive the culture of male sexual violence is in the military and how unlikely it is to be abolished by committee. First, Army Lt. Col. Darin Haas, sexual assault prevention officer at Fort Campbell in Ky., was removed from his position after being charged with and arrested for stalking and violating a restraining order procured by his ex-wife. Second, an Army sergeant first class that served as a sexual assault prevention and response coordinator at Fort Hood, Texas, is now accused of abusive sexual contact, assault, pandering and maltreatment of subordinates. Third, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski — who until May 7, 2013 was in charge of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention and response branch — was arrested on a charge of sexual battery for allegedly groping a women after midnight in a parking lot.
The case of Virginia Messick, who was raped at basic training in Texas, is grimly representative, although her assailant, Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, went to prison last July for raping 10 trainees. Messick didn’t initially report being raped. She was staggered by the dilemma that the rapist was the same officer she was supposed to inform.
Under pressure from Pentagon brass, Congress rejected a bill by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of N.Y. that would have given military prosecutors, not commanding officers, the power to decide which sexual assault cases to try. Without fear of retaliation, the law would have increased the number of reported crimes, but the generals objected, saying it would negatively affect “good order and discipline.” Gillibrand didn’t buy the cliché. She told the generals at a senate hearing in March 2012, “I don’t know how you can say having 19,000 sexual assaults and rapes a year is discipline and order.”
John LaForge is a co-director of Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, edits its Quarterly, and writes for PeaceVoice.

U.S. military faces historic tipping point on rape epidemic

U.S. military faces historic tipping point on rape epidemic



The Army is investigating a sergeant first class whose job is to prevent sexual assault at Fort Hood for allegedly forcing a subordinate into prostitution and allegedly assaulting two others. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., is co-chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, and she joins Chris Jansing to discuss.

The U.S. military seems increasingly incapable of policing itself or ridding its ranks of sexual predators, watchdogs charge, but the latest litany of accusations — leveled Tuesday at Fort Hood — has thrust the Pentagon to the brink of wholesale reform long sought by victims of sexual assault. 
With the second member of the military's campaign to stem sexual misconduct falling under investigation — for alleged sexual misconduct — critics were quick to lambast Pentagon brass for "gross negligence" and for maintaining an internal system of investigation and discipline that appears to be in desperate need of being ripped down and rebuilt with fresh independence and transparency.  read more ....

U.S. military faces historic tipping point on rape epidemic

U.S. military faces historic tipping point on rape epidemic



The Army is investigating a sergeant first class whose job is to prevent sexual assault at Fort Hood for allegedly forcing a subordinate into prostitution and allegedly assaulting two others. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., is co-chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, and she joins Chris Jansing to discuss.

The U.S. military seems increasingly incapable of policing itself or ridding its ranks of sexual predators, watchdogs charge, but the latest litany of accusations — leveled Tuesday at Fort Hood — has thrust the Pentagon to the brink of wholesale reform long sought by victims of sexual assault. 
With the second member of the military's campaign to stem sexual misconduct falling under investigation — for alleged sexual misconduct — critics were quick to lambast Pentagon brass for "gross negligence" and for maintaining an internal system of investigation and discipline that appears to be in desperate need of being ripped down and rebuilt with fresh independence and transparency.  read more ....

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Gendercide: One Woman Dies Every Hour in India Over Dowry Disputes.

Steven Ertelt | New Delhi, India | LifeNews.com | 9/4/13 12:54 PM                                                                                                                           India is one of the worst nations in the word for sex-selection abortions, infanticide and gendercide — the specific targeting of girl babies and unborn children specifically because they are females.
A new report shows just had bad this cultural preference for sons is in this Asian nation:  one woman dies every hour in India over dowry disputes, despite the fact that Indian law prohibits the centuries-old custom of giving or receiving dowries.
From an AP report:
One woman dies every hour in India because of dowry-related crimes, indicating that the country’s economic boom has made demands for dowries even more persistent, women’s rights activists said.
The National Crime Records Bureau says 8,233 women were killed across India last year because of disputes over dowry payments given by the bride’s family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage.
The conviction rate in dowry-related crimes remained a low 32 percent, according to statistics the bureau published last week.
Indian law prohibits the giving or receiving of a dowry, but the centuries-old social custom persists.
Dowry demands often continue for years after the wedding. Each year, thousands of young Indian women are doused with gasoline and burned to death because the groom or his family felt the dowry was inadequate.
Women’s rights activists and police said that loopholes in dowry prevention laws, delays in prosecution and low conviction rates have led to a steady rise in dowry-related crimes.      Kristen Walker, in a post last year at LifeNews, talked about the importance of pro-lifers getting involved in the effort to protect girls from abortion and infanticide.
Reggie Littlejohn is busy. When we speak on the phone, she’s in the process of traveling through Washington, D.C., by train and on foot. At one point, her train goes underground and we’re cut off. Two weeks ago, we couldn’t speak because she was traveling in Europe.
Why is Reggie Littlejohn so busy? Because, as president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, she was involved in the documentary film It’s A Girl, which is being screened around the world as we speak. Recently, it was shown at the British Parliament and the European Parliament, to a diverse audience. “I think it’s pretty encouraging that the film was featured in the Amnesty International Film Festival just a few weeks ago,” says Littlejohn. “Amnesty International is not a pro-life organization.”
Littlejohn is also busy because her organization has launched a campaign that directly, literally saves baby girls. The Save A Girl campaign is one that anyone can get involved in, and it is an excellent way to give thanks for life this Thanksgiving season. The fact is, the multifarious crimes against women, girls, and the unborn in China and India explored in It’s A Girl – forced abortion, female feticide, infanticide, dowry death, and more – are not going away without help from people outside those countries. People like me. And you.
“India does not have a one-child policy,” Littlejohn explains. “India does not have a government-imposed birth limit. People are much freer in India to have a grassroots movement.” As the film explains, though, unfortunately, the culture in India – specifically the tradition of dowry –makes sons so preferred over daughters that deep cultural change will be needed to end crime against women and girls.                                                                                                                                    Please don't forget to read the other posts, like-                                     http://islamic-fascism-exposed.blogspot.com/2014/01/case-study-female-infanticide-in-two.html      or                                                                             
or
http://islamic-fascism-exposed.blogspot.com/2010/05/funny-but-thought-provoking.html