Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Posted by Fireman John at 6:50 PM
Thursday, February 23, 2012
by Professor Gary L. Wenk Ph.D
Addicted to drugs? blame it on brain anatomy
Do you feel impulsive today? How much risk are you willing to expose yourself to for the sake of a few dollars; how far are you willing to exceed the speed limit just to cutting off a few minutes from the morning commute; how easy is it for you to turn down just one more line of cocaine? Each of us would answer these questions with a wide range of nuanced responses. Life is a balancing act: on one side is impulsive action; on the other is thoughtful hesitation.
Psychologists have studied this balance for many decades; cartoonists have depicted the event as an argument between an angel sitting on one shoulder while the devil sits on the other; both are whispering into their respective ear. Do it; don't do it. Our response is significantly influenced by the genes we inherited from our parents. Risk takers give birth to risk takers. The category that you fall into as a child offers insight into your future mental and physical health and your probability of spending time in jail, becoming obese or developing an addiction to cocaine.
Recently, a group of neuroscientists at the University of Cambridge published (Science, Feb 2012) evidence showing that abnormalities in the connections between specific parts of the brain (within the inferior frontal lobe) underlie our ability or inability to control our behavior. Furthermore, their results provide insight into why siblings sometimes display quite different levels of impulse control. More importantly, their study offers hope that it is possible to avoid the same fate as your addicted sibling —they're just not sure how, yet.
The scientists examined the brains from fifty biological sibling pairs. Each pair consisted of someone who was dependent upon stimulant drugs (such as methamphetamine or cocaine); the sibling pair was required to have no history of drug or alcohol abuse. The information obtained from these siblings was compared to that obtained from fifty healthy volunteers who were unrelated and matched for age and level of intelligence.
The siblings, whether addicted to stimulants or not, both demonstrated personality traits that are highly predictive of being vulnerable to long term drug abuse. The major behavioral symptom was having poor inhibitory control, i.e. it was quite difficult for them to stop doing something risky when instructed to do so. The scientists discovered a high correlation between an inability to control one's behavior and a deformed structural integrity in brain regions that critical for this ability.
Why is this finding so important? Because it clearly demonstrates that important features of our brain anatomy, features that are present at birth, predispose us to drug addiction. In the past, the assumption was that the drug-taking experience altered the brain and all that was necessary was that we avoid the drug, i.e. "Just Say No." Essentially, this approach is doomed to failure because we inherit our self-control deficits. The imbalance in control that develops between vulnerable brain regions is also thought to predispose people to thrill-seeking and impulsive behaviors such as gambling. An explanation for why one sibling succumbed to drug dependence while the other did not remains to be determined.
© Gary L. Wenk, Ph.D. Author of Your Brain on Food (oxford, 2010)
Posted by Fireman John at 1:52 PM
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Reality is the leading cause of stress -- for those in touch with it.
- Jane Wagner
Your life work is a statement of who you are. If it is not, then why are you doing it?
- Neale Donald Walsch
Flatter me, and I may not believe you.
Criticize me, and I may not like you.
Ignore me, and I may not forgive you.
Encourage me, and I may not forget you.
- William Arthur Ward
Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.
- Denzel Washington
The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.
- H. G. Wells
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
- Edith Wharton
I know unless I'm true to myself I couldn't be happy. Too much emphasis is placed today on externals and too little on character.
- Betty White
I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.
- William Allen White
Make one person happy each day and in forty years you will have made 14,600 human beings happy for a little time, at least.
- Charley Willey
Being your own man does not mean taking advantage of anyone else.
- Flip Wilson
Posted by Fireman John at 9:42 PM
Monday, February 13, 2012
the latest celeb substance abuse news
Singer Whitney Houston Dies at 48
Singer Whitney Houston - who sold more than 170 million albums, singles and videos - has been found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel on the eve of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. Police said there was "no obvious signs of criminal intent" and the cause of her death was under investigation.
Demi Moore Reportedly Seeking Rehab
Actress Demi Moore has reportedly checked herself into a Utah treatment facility to get help with eating disorder and addiction issues. Moore was recently taken to the hospital after a 9-1-1 caller said "she smoked something."
Radcliffe: I'm Drunk in Some 'Harry Potter' Scenes
The actor who starred in the "Harry Potter" movies has admitted to being intoxicated while filming many of the scenes. "I have a very addictive personality. It was a problem. People with problems like that are very adept at hiding it. It was bad. I don't want to go into details, but I drank a lot and it was daily -- I mean nightly," Daniel Radcliffe said.
Randy Travis Arrested for Public Intoxication
Country singer Randy Travis narrowly avoided a drunken driving charge when he was found parked in front of a Texas church drinking a bottle of wine. Because no one actually saw him driving the vehicle, Travis was charged with public intoxication. Travis apologized for the incident and said he had been celebrating the Super Bowl.
Griffin O'Neal Gets 16 Months in DUI Case
Griffin O'Neal, the son of actor Ryan O'Neal, has been sentenced to 16 months after entering a guilty plea to charges of drunken driving and weapons possession during an auto accident which injured another driver. Court records show O'Neal had cocaine, marijuana, Xanax and amphetamines in his system at the time of the crash.
Traffic Stop Leads to 'Suge' Knight's Arrest
Former head of Death Row Records, Marion "Suge" Knight is facing marijuana possession charges after a routine traffic stop in Las Vegas. Knight also had three outstanding warrants for traffic offenses, police said.
Red Sox Pitcher Boyd Admits Cocaine Use
For Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd admitted to staying up all night doing cocaine in every major league baseball city he played in. The details of his on-the-mound drug use were revealed in his new book "They Call Me Oil Can: My Life in Baseball."
Posted by Fireman John at 3:10 PM
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Posted by Fireman John at 1:21 PM
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
It takes two to make a marriage a success and only one a failure.
- Herbert Samuel
Simplicity is the most difficult thing to secure in this world; it is the last limit of experience and the last effort of genius.
- George Sand
Every man in the world is better than someone else and not as good as someone else.
- William Saroyan
The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.
- Jean-Paul Sartre
Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.
- Marilyn vos Savant
I have spent my whole life looking for the perfect woman, and now I've found her. Too bad she's looking for the perfect man.
- Robert Scharm
Life is too short to waste. Dreams are fulfilled only through action, not through endless planning to take action.
- David J. Schwartz
The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.
- General Schwarzkopf
Integrity is not a 90 percent thing, not a 95 percent thing; either you have it or you don't.
- Peter Scotese
You cannot find yourself, only create yourself.
- Anne B. Sekel
Posted by Fireman John at 10:29 AM