Category Archives: Science

Men can suffer from Postpartum Depression too.

depressedIt is a little know fact that new dads can suffer from Postpartum Depression, that is until recently. James F. Paulson, PhD, of the Center for Pediatric Research at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA recently spoke to WebMD about their recent research which says that 2 out of every 1000 new dads meet criteria that meets the standards for moderate to sever Postpartum Depression. The study also shows that new fathers have a 3-5% higher chance of being depressed than the general population.

There is even more shocking news, according to Paulson.

“What we found,” Paulson says, “is that both moms and dads who were depressed were significantly less likely to engage in interactions such as reading, telling stories, and singing songs to their infants.”

But only the dads’ behavior significantly affected their child’s development at 24 months — “specifically in terms of how many words the child used,” Paulson says.

“If their dads were depressed and didn’t read to them, the infants had a much smaller vocabulary,” he says. And according to Paulson, there was no noticeable link between postpartum moms and their children’s vocabulary at 24 months.

For more information, please read the article at WebMD. If you think you are suffering from depression after the birth of a child or if you just want to know even more, visit The Postpartum Dads Project (full disclosure: My wife’s site), Postpartum Men.

For insight into the life of a new father dealing with depression, please visit my other blog, Diary of  Real Man.

I Suffer From Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia

Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is a condition that billions of people worldwide suffer from. Sphenopalatinebrainfreeze ganglioneuralgia, also known as icebergers syndrome, brain freeze or ice-cream headache, is a painful condition. But fear not. It is not fatal and is only temporary. I am sure that you have at some point in your life gotten brain freeze, and I am sure that you already know that it comes from eating or drinking something cold too quickly. But what exactly is taking place when this horrible condition strikes? Well today we clear up that mystery.

The pain is caused by the rapid cooling of the roof of the mouth, which is close to the sphenopalatine nerve, a section of an extensive bundle of nerves running from the face up into the brain.When this nerve gets cold, it fires off a danger signal that the entire head is about to become chilled and warns the vascular system to start pumping more blood to the brain to keep it warm. Vessels open up and the sudden in-rush of warm blood causes a painful sensation, which lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. By that time the body has rewarmed the sphenopalantine nerve and the blood flow to the brain reduces to normal levels, stopping the pain.The source of the pain has been described as being similar to that resulting from sticking hands chilled in winter into a bucket of warm water. The sudden increase in blood flow and associated expansion causes pain. Brain freezes are called “referred pain” because the pain occurs in a location (the brain) that’s different than the location of the stimulus (the roof of the mouth.)

One third of all people are statistically susceptible to brain freezes. They are more often caused by eating ice cream than drinking an iced beverage because ice cream is colder than ice. Also, they are much more common when the weather is warm than when it’s cold, suggesting that it’s the rate or amount of temperature change that’s important.

The quickest way to relieve a brain freeze it to take a drink of warm water and hold it against the roof of your mouth. Since they are over so quickly anyway and it’s unlikely that you’re going to be holding a cup of hot water in one hand at the same time that you are holding an ice cream cone in the other, the next best thing to do is press your tongue against the roof of your mouth to rewarm the nerve.

Prevention is simple: Give up ice-cream . . . OR eat and drink very cold foods slowly.

Reference:

WikipediaBrain Freeze

AnswerBag.comWhat Causes Brain Freeze?

It’s Earth Day!

The EarthApril 22 is Earth Day. Ok, so we have all heard of it, but few fully understand the true reason for Earth Day and it’s origin. Some believe it is a day for tree hugging hippies to revel in mother earth, and others believe that it is a day devoted to thanking God for His beautiful creation. It can be said that Earth Day is whatever you want it to be. Whatever your beliefs, Earth Day is a day set aside by Americans to celebrate the environment in which we live and to remember what is necessary to preserve it.

Earth Day was founded (per sey) by Gaylord Nelson, a Senator from Wisconson and a long time conservationalist. He announced in 1970 that there would be a National Teach-In in schools across the country and the news wires and papers picked it up. Word spred and Earth Day was born.

Groundbreaking federal legislation followed the success of the first Earth Day. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970, followed by the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Part of these bills were the requirement that automobiles use unleaded gasoline, achieve a minimum number of miles-per-gallon of gasoline and be equipped with catalytic converters to reduce the amount of toxic fumes released by automobile exhaust.

Interestingly, there is no centralized group that organizes Earth Day, although there are some organizations that gather lists of events planned around the country. I have listed some of those organizations below as well as a link to a complete story on the origin of Earth Day.

Earth Day 2008 – The Nature Conservancy

Earth Day Network – Earthday.net

What is Earth Day? – America.gov

Let’s see if I can make you yawn.

Have you ever wondered why yawns seem to be contagious? Scientists have many different theories, ranging from it being a inborn mimic response to changes in pressure in the room when someone yawns. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to suggest either of these theories. As a matter of fact, there is little to no response in the part of the brain that causes us to mimic behavior when a second person yawns in response to another. What causes us to catch a yawn is not known for sure, but there is evidence to suggest that it is linked to empathy.

In a study conducted by Steve Platek, a cognitive neuroscientist at Drexel University, may have revealed the real reason that yawns seem to be contagious. It appears according to Platek’s study that people with higher empathy are more prone to “catch” a yawn.  An MRI of people who were induced to yawn by looking at videos and listening to audio of other people yawning showed that the yawn response was linked to the area of the brain responsible for empathy. A new study actually shows that people with autism are generally not susceptible to contagious yawning. This is likely to be due to the fact that they are less likely to be in touch emotionally with the people around them.

Now I have to ask. Did you yawn while you were reading this? If so, it is likely that you are highly empathetic. Want to read more? Here are some links with more information.

Contagious Yawning – Howstuffworks.com

Yawn Contagion – NewYorkTimes.com