Wow. Imagine if nothing scared you. You could ask out that guy you’ve been crushing on, try skydiving, not panic while driving in a snow storm: the possibilities would be endless. Well, the science blogs were abuzz today with news of a 44-year-old woman who really doesn’t experience fear. University of Iowa researchers write about her in the new issue of Current Biology, saying that even when she was the victim of a near death-causing domestic assault and robbed at gun-point, this woman only reported feeling angry and upset — never fear. Why? Because she has a rare brain condition, Urbach–Wiethe disease, which has destroyed her amygdala, the part of the mind that generates fearful responses. “My hope is to expand on this work and search for psychotherapy treatments that selectively target and dampen down hyperactivity in the amygdala of patients with PTSD,” says Justin Feinstein, one of the researchers of the project.
A possible treatment for all those suffering from PTSD, from soldiers who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan to rape and abuse victims? Now that’s something to hope for in the new year! [MSBC via LiveScience]
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Scientists in Austria are looking to
torture study little girls who are afraid of spiders by examining their brainwaves as they’re shown photographs of the arachnids. The University of Granz is looking for girls ages 8 through 13 for the study and hope their results will find a cure for phobias. It seems to me that having a fear of spiders is totally legit, though, because some of the poisonous ones can kill you! Instead, these scientists should study this nutcase I know who is afraid of kittens. [NPR]
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Years ago, I used to have this mantra: “The things you worry about usually don’t happen.” It was true. The fears never, ever materialized: I was never fired from a job; a roommate never kicked me out of my apartment; no one ever climbed up my fire escape in the middle of the night and broke in. Instead, of course, an entirely different set of bad things happened to me, stuff that I hadn’t anticipated or prepared for. And you know what? Everything turned out OK. More than OK, really: I love my job; I met my partner for life; I earn enough money to live on; and everyone I care about is healthy. I’m so OK it’s boring — and all the time I spent worrying about the now ex-bosses and ex-roommates seems, well, wasted. Keep reading »
Here’s how I thought being engaged would make me feel: OLD. Here’s how being engaged really makes me feel: like I’m in on the funniest inside joke ever. Two of the most opposite people on the planet, at least on the surface, are in it for the long haul. Who would have thunk it?
I’m not going to go into the details of my engagement because I don’t think it matters, and, besides, wouldn’t that be a bit braggy? The truth is, as elated as I am to be taking the next step in my relationship and as spring chicken-like as I still feel, thank God, I wasn’t always so convinced that marriage was for me.
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