Category: Stress


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“Why we are the way we are: the Internet of our brains. These are axonal nerve fibers in the real brain as determined by the measured anisotropy (directionality) of water molecules inside them. 3T 30 channel GRAPPA DTI scan protocol, deterministic tractography performed using TrackVis/FACT algorithm. You might know the subject :-)”

jgmarcelino from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Wikimedia . org

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LiveScience

Disaster Survivors: How Stress Changes the Brain

How well a person recovers from traumatic events may depend  in part on their self-esteem, according to researchers who examined the effects of a major earthquake on the survivors’ brains.

The researchers had conducted brain scans of university students for a study before the Great East Japan Earthquake struck in 2011. After the earthquake, they repeated the scans on 37 of the same people, and tracked stress-induced changes in their brains in the following months.

“Most importantly, what these findings show, is that the brain is dynamic — that it’s responding to things that are going on in our environment, or things that are part of our personality,” said Rajita Sinha, professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, who wasn’t involved in the study. [Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]

In the brain scans taken immediately after the incident, the researchers found a decrease in the volume of two brain regions, the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex, compared with the scans taken before the incident.

One year later, the researchers repeated the scans and found that the hippocampus continued to shrink, and people’s levels of depression and anxiety had not improved.

 

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Japan Quake Shows How Stress Alters the Brain

HealthDay April 29, 2014 SHARE

TUESDAY, April 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A small study of people who experienced the devastating 2011 earthquake in Japan shows that although traumatic events can shrink parts of the brain, some of those regions can rebound once a person’s self-esteem returns.

“Higher self-esteem is one of the most important traits of resilience in the context of stressful life events,” said study author Atsushi Sekiguchi, who noted that these latest findings also illustrate that brain changes are dynamic and fluid over time.

Sekiguchi’s prior research had already demonstrated that people with lower self-esteem following a traumatic event are likely to experience a quick, short-term drop in the size of their orbitofrontal cortex and hippocampus. The first brain region is involved in decision-making and emotions, while the second area is involved in memory.

But by tracking the same individuals over time, Sekiguchi’s team observed that the “part of the brain volume which had decreased soon after a stressful life event [ultimately] increased, especially in individuals with [renewed] high self-esteem.”

Sekiguchi, from the division of medical neuroimage analysis at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, and his team report the findings in the April 29 online edition of Molecular Psychiatry.

To gain insight into how the 2011 earthquake — and ensuing tsunami that heavily damaged several nuclear reactors in northern Japan — affected its victims, the researchers focused on 37 men and women who were about 21 at the time.

All had MRI brain scans right after the earthquake, and then again one year later.

At the same time, the earthquake victims were given psychological assessments to gauge anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and other characteristics of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Investigators concluded that none of the patients ever developed full-blown PTSD.

Yet, the group did experience a big dip in self-esteem immediately following the earthquake. And by comparing their brain scans with those of 11 other people taken before the earthquake, the team determined that the loss of self-esteem was accompanied by a downsizing of the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex.

 

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Vets, Docs Worry Fort Hood Shootings Will Deepen PTSD Stigma

The word “PTSD” had barely left the mouth of Fort Hood’s commander late Wednesday when, across the nation, many veterans with those symptoms and doctors who treat the malady understood they faced a renewed battle: a resurgence of the stigma that comes with that diagnosis.

The Fort Hood tragedy –- 16 wounded and four killed, including identified shooter Ivan Lopez, a soldier being evaluated for PTSD –- is precisely the type of event that makes combat veterans cringe. Many worry they’ll be further mislabeled as dangerous time bombs, as the next to snap, and that post-traumatic stress will again be misrepresented and misunderstood as a condition that sparks public, violent outbursts.

“That is not what post-traumatic stress is or what it does,” said Ingrid Herrera-Yee, a clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C. area who treats veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health issues as well as their family members and civilians. Her husband, Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Ian Yee, spent three combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Yes, there is anger and irritability (associated with PTSD), but it’s usually internalized. You’re more likely to see it as someone who is withdrawn, anxious and numb, who’s lost interest in life. Some veterans explain it to me this way: ‘The last thing you want is to go out and lash out,” said Herrera-Yee, adding: “Just like any victims of a trauma –- rape or domestic violence -– they can become fearful of their surroundings, but they’re not going to react angrily toward their surroundings. For them, it’s all about avoidance.”

“You’re more likely to see it as someone who is withdrawn, anxious and numb, who’s lost interest in life. Some veterans explain it to me this way: ‘The last thing you want is to go out and lash out.'”

For years, Pentagon brass and branch commanders have urged troops and veterans to seek mental-health help if they feel the need, while repeating the message that, if they do see a doctor, they will not be viewed as weak but as strong. That campaign seems to have finally dented the macho-military mantra that every soldier can handle his or her own business. Many veterans are turning to doctors to begin addressing post-service anxiety issues, often fueled by repeated or long deployments.

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Gunman in Fort Hood shooting had behavioral issues, authorities say

 

An Iraq war veteran who was grappling with mental health issues opened fire at Fort Hood, Tex., in an attack that left four people dead and 16 wounded Wednesday afternoon, according to preliminary law enforcement and military reports. The gunfire sent tremors of fear across a sprawling Army post still reeling from one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.Many basic details about the shooting remained unclear in the chaotic hours after the first calls for help around 4 p.m., but senior U.S. law enforcement officials said the incident did not appear to be linked to any foreign terrorist organizations. The shooter was among those who died, the officials said.

The officials identified the shooter as Army Spec. Ivan Lopez, 34, a military truck driver, who was dressed in his standard-issue green camouflage uniform. Lopez opened fire in two locations on the vast central Texas post, inside a building housing the 1st Medical Brigade and in a facility belonging to the 49th Transportation Battalion.

Police spent Wednesday night searching his apartment in Killeen, the city that abuts the Army facility. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the commander of Fort Hood, said the soldier, whom he did not identify by name, served four months in Iraq in 2011.

Milley said the shooter “had behavioral health and mental health issues.” He said the soldier, who self-reported a traumatic brain injury and was taking anti-depressants, had been under examination to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder. “We are digging deep into his background,” Milley said.

Milley said the soldier opened fire with a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol that was purchased recently but was not authorized to be brought on the post. He was eventually confronted by a female military police officer. He put his hands up but then pulled out a gun from under his jacket. “She engaged,” Milley said, and then the soldier put the gun to his head and shot himself.

The shooting was the third major gun attack at a U.S. military installation in five years, leaving the nation grappling with the prospect of yet more flag-draped funerals for troops killed on the homefront. A government contractor went on a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard in September, leaving 12 people dead. In 2009, Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan opened fire on a group of soldiers at Fort Hood preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30.

Doctors at the Scott & White hospital in Temple, Tex., said Wednesday that they have treated eight of the wounded and that one more was on the way. Three of the patients were in critical condition in the ICU, and five were in serious condition. Seven of them were male, and one was female. Their injuries ranged from mild to life-threatening, a majority of them caused by single-gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen.

President Obama said he was “heartbroken that something like this might have happened again.” Speaking during a fundraising trip to Chicago, he pledged “to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

 

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Four killed in shooting at Fort Hood; gunman dead, multiple injuries

A shooting at the Fort Hood military installation in Texas left at least four people dead, including the gunman, and more than a dozen were injured, according to authorities.

The gunman, identified by multiple government sources as Army Specialist Ivan Lopez, took his own life, officials said.

Lopez, 33, of Kileen, Tex., was wearing an Army uniform at the time of the shooting, Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told reporters.

Four people were taken to Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Tex., and another two are being brought there, said Glen Couchman, the facility’s chief medical officer. Their injuries that “range from stable to quite critical,” he said.

The installation was locked down for much of the afternoon and into the evening after the shooting before being lifted shortly before 9 p.m. local time.

Speaking in Chicago, President Obama said his administration was following the shooting closely.

“I want to just assure all of us we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” he said. “We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again.”

The base was the site of a shooting in 2009 that ultimately killed 13 people and wounded another 32, the worst mass murder at a military installation in U.S. history. Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death last year for the shooting after being found guilty of premeditated and attempted premeditated murder.

 

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BREAKING: Shooting at Fort Hood Military Base – 1 Death Confirmed

 

Published on Apr 2, 2014

SHOOTING SITUATION STILL ACTIVE, Multiple Gunned Down
FORT HOOD (April 2, 2014) At least one person is dead after a shooting late Wednesday afternoon on Fort Hood, a post spokesman confirmed.
Others were injured in the shooting, but the spokesman didn’t say how many.
The gunman is still at large and the spokesman said the incident is being treated as an active-shooter situation.
Warning sirens sounded late Wednesday afternoon at Fort Hood because of the incident.
A man who said he was a witness told News 10 that about 20 shots were fired in a post motor pool in the area of Motor Pool Road and Tank Destroyer Boulevard.

He said at least three people were hit.

He said the three victims were taken to a hospital.

The post was on lockdown as a result of the shooting, which occurred at around 4:25 p.m.

People on post were told to stay indoors.

A message that scrolled across the top of the post’s website said, “Shelter in place immediately. This is not a test.”

The 1st Calvary Division, which is based at Fort Hood, sent a Twitter alert telling people on base to close doors and stay away from windows.

Texas A&M Central Texas in Killeen canceled evening and night classes Wednesday at Fort Hood and at its Fairway building because of the situation on post.

First responders from surrounding communities were headed to the post.

Bell County sheriff’s deputies and Department Public Safety troopers were also responding, sheriff’s Lt. Donnie Adams said.

Media were being directed to the post’s Visitor’s Center.

On Nov. 5, 2009, Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood’s Soldier Readiness Center, killing 12 soldiers and one civilian and wounding 29 others before two Fort Hood civilian police officers shot him.

He is now on the military’s death row.

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Jan 7, 2014 by MICHAEL FORRESTER

Emotions coordinate our behavior and physiological states during survival-salient events and pleasurable interactions. Even though we are often consciously aware of our current emotional state, such as anger or happiness, the mechanisms giving rise to these subjective sensations have remained unresolved. Brilliant research by Finnish scientists has mapped the areas of our body that are experiencing an increase or decrease in sensory activity when we experience a particular emotion.

emotions In a new study, Finnish researchers have published visualizations describing how human emotions affect the body.  PNAS

Depending on whether we are happy, sad or angry, we have physiological sensations that are not located in different areas of the body. We overlook this reality from one day to the next (the famous “lump in the breast” generated by anxiety, the feeling of warmth that pervades our face and our cheeks particularly when we feel the shame…), and do not consciously realize how much the location of these body areas activated by our emotions and how they vary considerably depending on the nature of the emotion.

Researchers around the world are slowly integrating research on how our energetic and emotional states cause health and/or disease. How we connect emotionally to our overall wellness and wellbeing may indeed be more relevant than any supplement, food, exercise, medical intervention or health treatment.

Finnish scientists have for the first time mapped areas of the body activated according to each emotion (happiness, sadness, anger, etc). This map was compiled following a study of 700 Finnish, Swedish and Taiwanese volunteers.

They used a topographical self-report tool to reveal that different emotional states are associated with topographically distinct and culturally universal bodily sensations; these sensations could underlie conscious emotional experiences. Monitoring the topography of emotion-triggered bodily sensations brings forth a unique tool for emotion research and could even provide a biomarker for emotional disorders.

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I Am Happier, Heavier

Posted: 01/06/2014 10:08 am

 

Rachel Oh Uiginn Estapa

It’s not insane to believe that once you lose weight, life gets better.

For years, I heard stories from those who have shed pounds, recharged their lives, never felt better, and speak so confidently that once the weight was gone, they became the person they were meant to be: a thin and happy one.

I do not doubt their happiness when they share their story, but I also don’t believe that by losing weight, they have some superior knowledge about happiness that us heavier-folk don’t. How do I know this? I’ve been fat and thinner. And I’ve been at my happiest, heavier.

End of high school and into college, I was BIG and used to decline attending parties because I didn’t remotely have anything cute to wear, so I hid behind sarcasm and baggy shirts. And dating-wise… wait, WHAT dating life?

Midway through my freshman year of college I joined Weight Watchers and the gym, becoming obsessed with both. Within seven months, I lost 55 pounds, fit into a size ten and even felt sexy for about fifteen minutes!

But as the scale dipped lower and the compliments on my weight-loss wore off, something else emerged: I felt exhausted, disappointed and still unhappy.

“Ugh, I just can’t keep this up…” I recall saying to myself after a Weight Watchers meeting, of which was my lowest weigh-in ever. I felt defeated and broken that after all my effort, not much beyond the scale changed.

 

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relaxing in the tubSlipping into a warm tub feels wonderful on a cold day. If you are blessed with a bathtub (and doubly blessed with a deep one), try taking your soak to another level by adding one of these various healing and nutrifying elements.

Essential Oils: Perhaps the easiest way to add a benefit to your bath, aromatherapy doesn’t just smell good; studies show it can influence how you feel. Organic pure essential oils can be purchased at natural products stores, and one bottle will last a long time. Be sure to mix the oils into the bath water before stepping in, as undiluted essential oils can irritate the skin. For a calming bath, add lavender, chamomile or clary sage. To energize, add peppermint or rosemary. Eucalyptus and tea tree will offer purifying benefits.

Stress-Relieving Mineral Bath: Adding sea salt to a bath can turn an ordinary bathtub into a mineral pool. The trick is to add quality sea salt that contains naturally existing minerals. Sea salt has a purifying and healing effect. How much salt to add to a tub depends on the condition of your skin; start with a small handful and increase until you are comfortable. We recommend Natural Vitality’s Calm Bath, which is a blend of the anti-stress mineral magnesium and Redmond Real Salt, which is rich in trace minerals.

 

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MissingSky101 MissingSky101

Published on Nov 11, 2013

Note:
This video does not pertain to any radiation issues from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant meltdown. “Healing Children through Art” is a message of hope, support, encouragement and love for the children living in the disaster stricken area of Tohoku.

Healing Children through Art

Ms. Harumi Torii, Founder of Kids Earth Fund, believes in the healing power of creative activities. She holds variety of events to help children in the disaster area to freely express their feelings through painting. One day she shows some children a big canvas and encourages them to complete a painting of artistic messages from children around the world. This is a story of how traumatized children reacted and were comforted through heart to heart exchanges with the world.

Kids Earth Fund
Sadly, even in affluent countries such as Japan there are many children who suffer emotional problems as a result of the damaging influence they have received growing up in a materialistic society. In Japan, KIDS EARTH FUND hosts projects and workshops that are designed to help these children. Professional artist, specialist and musician volunteers design programs that foster children’s imagination and help build their self-esteem and interest in helping others. 1000 children have participated in these Japan-based events.
http://www.kidsearthfund.jp/en/injapa…

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Warning!!  Some  scenes  may  be deemed offensive  by those  of  more  delicate  sensibilities. 

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Half Ton Killer – My Shocking Story

MyShockingStory MyShockingStory

Published on Jul 4, 2013

On 18 March 2008 a two-year-old boy was beaten to death in a Texan border town. His aunt, Mayra Rosales, was the only one with him at the time and was charged with his murder. But was this really possible?

Mayra weighed nearly 500 kg, was bed-ridden and totally immobile. So why was she confessing to a heinous crime she seemingly could not have committed?

This incredible film follows the many twists and turns in the case with intimate interviews with Mayra, her family, and the investigators, lawyers and doctors involved.

Mayra Rosales is 28 years old and weighs 74 stone; unsparing, humiliating footage shows the fat cascading around her as she is hauled from her bed and her house by tarpaulin. There is so much tumbling flesh Rosales doesn’t appear to have a body, she’s just a huge, wobbling mound. In 2008 she was accused of murdering her two-year-old nephew in a Texan border town.

The case has triggered one of those American trash-media frenzies with Rosales claiming she accidentally fell on the child. Accused wonders if Rosales really could have committed such a dreadful crime.

An insight into a high-profile American murder trial in which 74st Texas woman Mayra Rosales confessed to beating her two-year-old nephew to death. As the only person in the company of the youngster when he died, Mayra became the prime suspect, and the programme follows the twists and turns of the trial, discovering how a bedridden, immobile woman appeared to be admitting to a crime it seemed unlikely she was able to commit. Includes testimony from Mayra, her family and friends, and the doctors, lawyers and investigators involved in the case.

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More Americans Committing Suicide than During the Great Depression

Suicide rates are tied to the economy.

The Boston Globe reported in 2011:

A new report issued today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that the overall suicide rate rises and falls with the state of the economy — dating all the way back to the Great Depression.

The report, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that suicide rates increased in times of economic crisis: the Great Depression (1929-1933), the end of the New Deal (1937-1938), the Oil Crisis (1973-1975), and the Double-Dip Recession (1980-1982). Those rates tended to fall during strong economic times — with fast growth and low unemployment — like right after World War II and during the 1990s.

During the depths of the Great Depression, suicide rates in America significantly increased. As the Globe notes:

The largest increase in the US suicide rate occurred during the Great Depression surging from 18 in 100,000 up to 22 in 100,000

We’ve previously pointed out that suicide rates have skyrocketed recently:

The number of deaths by suicide has also surpassed car crashes, and many connect the increase in suicides to the downturn in the economy. Around 35,000 Americans kill themselves each year (and more American soldiers die by suicide than combat; the number of veterans committing suicide is astronomical and under-reported). So you’re 2,059 times more likely to kill yourself than die at the hand of a terrorist.

NBC News reported in March:

Suicide rates are up alarmingly among middle-aged Americans, according to the latest federal government statistics.

They show a 28 percent rise in suicide rates for people aged 35 to 64 between 1999 and 2010.

RT reports:

In a letter to The Lancet medical journal, scientists from Britain, Hong Kong and United States said an analysis of data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that while suicide rates increased slowly between 1999 and 2007, the rate of increase more than quadrupled from 2008 to 2010, Reuters reported.

Earlier this month, NY Daily News wrote:

The Great Recession may have been at the root of a great depression that caused suicides to soar among middle-aged Americans, a government report speculates.

The annual suicide rate for adults ages 35 to 64 spiked in the past decade, according to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And a shaky economy that nose-dived into the worst financial crisis since the Depression may be the biggest reason why.

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The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said the annual suicide rate jumped 28.4% from 1999-2010.

It was the biggest increase of any age group, said the CDC, citing “the recent economic downturn” as one of the “possible contributing factors” for the increase.

“Historically, suicide rates tend to correlate with business cycles, with higher rates observed during times of economic hardship,” the report said.

David Stuckler (a senior research leader in sociology at Oxford), and Sanjay Basu (an assistant professor of medicine and an epidemiologist in the Prevention Research Center at Stanford), write in the New York Times:

The correlation between unemployment and suicide has been observed since the 19th century.

(And see these articles by the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.   This is obviously true world-wide.  For example, last year the New York Times reported:

The economic downturn that has shaken Europe for the last three years has also swept away the foundations of once-sturdy lives, leading to an alarming spike in suicide rates. Especially in the most fragile nations like Greece, Ireland and Italy, small-business owners and entrepreneurs are increasingly taking their own lives in a phenomenon some European newspapers have started calling “suicide by economic crisis.”

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In Greece, the suicide rate among men increased more than 24 percent from 2007 to 2009, government statistics show. In Ireland during the same period, suicides among men rose more than 16 percent. In Italy, suicides motivated by economic difficulties have increased 52 percent, to 187 in 2010 — the most recent year for which statistics were available — from 123 in 2005.)

Indeed, more Americans are killing themselves today than during the Great Depression. Specifically, there were were 123 million Americans in 1930.  The maximum suicide rate during the depths of the Great Depression was 22 out of 100,000  Americans.  That means that up to  27,060 Americans killed themselves each year.

 

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