Wednesday, November 13, 2019

FREE BOOK PREVIEW. Impeachment: A Presidency on the Line












President Donald Trump has joined the company of a small group of presidents now that he is the subject of an official impeachment inquiry in the United States House of Representatives. Only three previous presidents experienced the impeachment process: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, who were found not guilty after trials in the Senate, and Richard Nixon, who resigned to avoid being impeached in the House and removed from office by the United States Senate.  Contrary to common knowledge, impeachment does not mean automatic removal from office. It is a much more complicated, considered process. Rarely used due to its irrevocable nature, impeachment, as defined in the U.S. Constitution, was a critical feature of the government created by the Founding Fathers. The new nation had just freed itself from rule by a tyrannical monarch and wanted nothing remotely similar in its newly created government. 


Impeachment was considered extensively in The Federalist Papers, a collection of essays written in 1788 by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. These articles urged citizens of New York Statement to ratify the United States Constitution. They promoted the ideas and plans that had been debated and drafted at the Constitutional Convention the year before. The Federalist Papers is considered one of the most significant American contributions to definitive source for understanding the original intent of the framers of the Constitution.  In Federalist 51, James Madison argued for a watchdog system between the three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial. Federalist 51 was entitled “The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments.” Madison, a future president, wrote that “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” The most practical way to keep the government in check, Madison argued, was to structure it so that politicians must compete with each other. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” he wrote. During the Constitutional Convention, Madison also said about impeachment: “You need it because a president might betray his trust to foreign powers." 


Having said that, the Founders did not invent impeachment. The concept had its roots in British common law, and was used beginning in the 14th century. There the House of Commons served as prosecutor and the House of Lords as judge in an impeachment proceeding against a government official charged with a criminal offense. Conviction on impeachment could result in fines, imprisonment, and even execution. In the United States, the penalties extend no further than removal and disqualification from office. Possible criminal liabilities, however, remain for an impeached and removed official. In the early 1800s, an understanding that cabinet ministers were responsible to Parliament (rather than to the monarch) ended the use of impeachment in Great Britain. In the United States impeachment has rarely been used, largely because it is so potentially overwhelming to the political system. Impeachment can occupy Congress for a long period of time, involve substantial amounts of testimony, and bring about deep political conflict.  Attempts to amend the procedure, however, have not worked, partly because impeachment is regarded as a key part of the system of checks and balances in the U.S. government. These rules describe the intricate inter-relatedness of the three branches of government and their powers to hold each other accountable. The idea of impeaching and removing a president is the ultimate accountability of high officials to the land they swear a high oath to defend. The actual language on impeachment in the Constitution says that the president, vice-president and all civil officers of the United States "shall be removed from office on impeachment for conviction of treason, robbery or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” terms debated by politicians and historians to this day Congressman Gerald Ford, who became president as the result of an impeachment process, notably said that “an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” High crimes and misdemeanors can include obstruction of justice or perjury (lying under oath during a trial or investigation), violating an oath of office, or flouting the emoluments clause of the Constitution. This stricture prohibits members of the government from receiving gifts, offices, or titles from foreign states and monarchies without the consent of the United States Congress.

Previous impeachment proceedings: 2 acquittals, 1 resignation 
The nation's experience with presidential impeachment begins with Andrew Johnson, the 17th president, who assumed office after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865.  During the U.S. Civil War, Johnson was the only Southern senator to remain loyal to the Union and Lincoln chose him as vice president for Lincoln's second term. Six weeks after Johnson became vice president, Lincoln was assassinated. As president, Johnson took a moderate approach to restoring the South to the Union, and clashed with congressional Radical Republicans who wanted to ensure congressional rather than presidential control Reconstruction. Congress passed a number of measures to protect Southern blacks over Johnson’s veto.

Johnson wanted to quickly restore the Southern states to the Union. He granted amnesty to most former Confederates and allowed the rebel states to elect new governments. These governments, which often included ex-Confederate officials, soon enacted black codes...






Monday, November 11, 2019

Any amount of running linked to significantly lower risk of early death

The brain is at the center of your health. Learn how.


Substantial improvements in population health/longevity

likely if more people took it up, say researchers

November 4, 2019
British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Any amount of running is linked to a significantly lower risk
of death from any cause, finds a pooled analysis
of the available evidence, published online in the
British Journal of Sports Medicine.
If more people took up running -- and they wouldn't have to run far or
fast -- there would likely be substantial improvements in population health and
longevity, conclude the researchers.
It's not clear how good running is for staving off the risk of death from
any cause and particularly from cardiovascular disease and cancer,
say the researchers.

Nor is it clear how much running a person needs to do to reap
these potential benefits, nor whether upping the frequency,
duration, and pace -- in other words, increasing the 'dose' --
might be even more advantageous.

To try and find out, the researchers systematically reviewed relevant
published research, conference presentations, and doctoral theses
and dissertations in a broad range of academic databases.

They looked for studies on the association between running/jogging
and the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
They found 14 suitable studies, involving 232,149 people,
whose health had been tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years.
During this time, 25,951 of the study participants died.
When the study data were pooled, any amount of running was
associated with a 27% lower risk of death from all causes
for both sexes, compared with no running.
And it was associated with a 30% lower risk of death
from cardiovascular disease, and a 23% lower risk of death from cancer.
Even small 'doses' -- for example, once weekly or less, lasting
less than 50 minutes each time, and at a speed below
6 miles (8 km) an hour, still seemed to be associated
with significant health/longevity benefits.

So running for 25 minutes less than the recommended weekly
duration of vigorous physical activity could reduce the risk of death.
This makes running a potentially good option for those whose main
obstacle to doing enough exercise is lack of time, suggest the researchers.
But upping 'the dose' wasn't associated with a further lowering
of the risk of death from any cause, the analysis showed.
Nevertheless, they suggest that any amount of running is
better than none, concluding: "Increased rates of participation in
running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to
substantial improvements in population health and longevity."
The brain is at the center of your health. Learn how.



Story Source:
Materials provided by BMJ. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Friday, November 8, 2019

Stressed to the max? Deep sleep can rewire the anxious brain


Learn how the brain controls stress. 

A sleepless night can trigger up to a 30 percent rise in emotional

stress levels, new study shows

:
November 4, 2019:
University of California - Berkeley
Researchers have found that the type of sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain
is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in
which neural oscillations become highly synchronized, and heart rates and blood pressure drop.
Deep sleep concept (stock image). | Credit: © stokkete / stock.adobe.com
Deep sleep concept (stock image).
Credit: © stokkete / Adobe Stock
When it comes to managing anxiety disorders, William Shakespeare's
Macbeth had it right when he referred to sleep as the "balm of hurt minds."
While a full night of slumber stabilizes emotions, a sleepless night can trigger
up to a 30% rise in anxiety levels, according to new research from the
University of California, Berkeley.
UC Berkeley researchers have found that the type of sleep most apt to calm and reset
the anxious brain is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave
sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronized, and heart rates and
blood pressure drop.
"We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight
by reorganizing connections in the brain," said study senior author Matthew Walker,
a UC Berkeley professor of neuroscience and psychology. "Deep sleep seems to be a
natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night."
The findings, published today, Nov. 4, in the journal Nature Human Behaviour,
provide one of the strongest neural links between sleep and anxiety to date. They
also point to sleep as a natural, non-pharmaceutical remedy for anxiety disorders,
which have been diagnosed in some 40 million American adults and are rising among
children and teens.
"Our study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and,
conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress," said study lead author
Eti Ben Simon, a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Human Sleep Science at UC Berkeley.
In a series of experiments using functional MRI and polysomnography, among other measures,
Simon and fellow researchers scanned the brains of 18 young adults as they viewed
emotionally stirring video clips after a full night of sleep, and again after a sleepless night.
Anxiety levels were measured following each session via a questionnaire known as the
state-trait anxiety inventory.
After a night of no sleep, brain scans showed a shutdown of the
medial prefrontal cortex, which normally helps keep our anxiety in check,
while the brain's deeper emotional centers were overactive.
"Without sleep, it's almost as if the brain is too heavy on the emotional accelerator
pedal, without enough brake," Walker said.
After a full night of sleep, during which participants' brain waves were
measured via electrodes placed on their heads, the results showed their anxiety
levels declined significantly, especially for those who experienced more slow-wave
NREM sleep.
"Deep sleep had restored the brain's prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions,
lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,"
Simon said.
Beyond gauging the sleep-anxiety connection in the 18 original study participants,
the researchers replicated the results in a study of another 30 participants.

Across all the participants, the results again showed that those who got more
nighttime deep sleep experienced the lowest levels of anxiety the next day.
Moreover, in addition to the lab experiments, the researchers conducted an
online study in which they tracked 280 people of all ages about how both their sleep and
anxiety levels changed over four consecutive days.
The results showed that the amount and quality of sleep the participants got from
one night to the next predicted how anxious they would feel the next day. Even subtle
nightly changes in sleep affected their anxiety levels.
"People with anxiety disorders routinely report having disturbed sleep, but rarely is
sleep improvement considered as a clinical recommendation for lowering anxiety,"
Simon said.


Learn how the brain controls stress. 

"Our study not only establishes a causal connection between sleep and anxiety, but it
identifies the kind of deep NREM sleep we need to calm the overanxious brain."
On a societal level, "the findings suggest that the decimation of
sleep throughout most industrialized nations and the marked escalation in anxiety
disorders in these same countries is perhaps not coincidental, but causally related,"
Walker said. "The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night of sleep."
Co-authors of the study are Aubrey Rossi and Allison Harvey, both at UC Berkeley.


Story Source:
Materials provided by University of California - Berkeley. Original written by Yasmin Anwar.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Does sleep boost memory, affect autism, Alzheimer's?

Learn more about your incredible brain.

Why do we feel great after a solid night's rest and crummy without one?

Are we "brainwashed" during sleep?
Cerebrospinal fluid washes in and out of brain during sleep

Date:
October 31, 2019
Source:
Boston University

Summary:
A new study illustrates that the brain's cerebrospinal fluid pulses during sleep, and that these motions are closely tied with brain wave activity and blood flow. It may confirm the hypothesis that CSF flow and slow-wave activity both help flush toxic, memory-impairing proteins from the brain.



FULL STORY
New research from Boston University suggests that tonight while you sleep, something amazing will happen within your brain. Your neurons will go quiet. A few seconds later, blood will flow out of your head. Then, a watery liquid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) will flow in, washing through your brain in rhythmic, pulsing waves.

New research from Boston University suggests that tonight while you sleep, something amazing will happen within your brain. Your neurons will go quiet. A few seconds later, blood will flow out of your head. Then, a watery liquid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) will flow in, washing through your brain in rhythmic, pulsing waves.

Learn more about your incredible brain.

"We've known for a while that there are these electrical waves of activity in the neurons," says study coauthor Laura Lewis, a BU College of Engineering assistant professor of biomedical engineering and a Center for Systems Neuroscience faculty member. "But before now, we didn't realize that there are actually waves in the CSF, too."

This research may also be the first-ever study to take images of CSF during sleep. And Lewis hopes that it will one day lead to insights about a variety of neurological and psychological disorders that are frequently associated with disrupted sleep patterns, including autism and Alzheimer's disease.

The coupling of brain waves with the flow of blood and CSF could provide insights about normal age-related impairments as well. Earlier studies have suggested that CSF flow and slow-wave activity both help flush toxic, memory-impairing proteins from the brain. As people age, their brains often generate fewer slow waves. In turn, this could affect the blood flow in the brain and reduce the pulsing of CSF during sleep, leading to a buildup of toxic proteins and a decline in memory abilities. Although researchers have tended to evaluate these processes separately, it now appears that they are very closely linked.

This research may also be the first-ever study to take images of CSF during sleep. And Lewis hopes that it will one day lead to insights about a variety of neurological and psychological disorders that are frequently associated with disrupted sleep patterns, including autism and Alzheimer's disease.

The coupling of brain waves with the flow of blood and CSF could provide insights about normal age-related impairments as well. Earlier studies have suggested that CSF flow and slow-wave activity both help flush toxic, memory-impairing proteins from the brain. As people age, their brains often generate fewer slow waves. In turn, this could affect the blood flow in the brain and reduce the pulsing of CSF during sleep, leading to a buildup of toxic proteins and a decline in memory abilities. Although researchers have tended to evaluate these processes separately, it now appears that they are very closely linked.


Learn more about your incredible brain.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Coping with the Death of a Parent


The Death of a Parent Affects Even Grown Children Psychologically and Physically

Grief is both real and measurable. Scientists now know that losing a parent changes us forever.

By Joshua A. Krisch
Updated Oct 16 2019, 11:00 AM

The death of a parent is one of the most emotional and universal human experiences. If a person doesn’t know what it’s like suffer the loss of a father or mother, they most likely will one day. But just because the passing of a parent happens to almost everyone doesn’t make it any easier. The death of a parent is traumatic, yes, but it also informs and changes their children biologically and psychologically. It can even make them sick.

The death of a parent can trigger emotional and physical stress. Click here to learn more.

“In the best-case scenario, the death of a parent is anticipated and there’s time for families to prepare, say their goodbyes, and surround themselves with support,” psychiatrist Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi says. “In cases where a death is unexpected, such as with an acute illness or traumatic accident, adult children may remain in the denial and anger phases of the loss for extended periods of time … [leading to] diagnosis of major depressive disorder or even PTSD, if trauma is involved.”

There’s no amount of data that can capture how distinctly painful and powerful this grief is. That said, there are a number of psychological and brain-imaging studies that demonstrate the magnitude of this loss. The posterior cingulate cortex, frontal cortex, and cerebellum are all brain regions mobilized during grief processing, research shows. These regions are involved in storing memories and dwelling on the past, but they’re also involved in regulating sleep and appetite.

In the short term, neurology assures us that loss will trigger physical distress. In the long-term, grief puts the entire body at risk. A handful of studies have found links between unresolved grief and hypertension, cardiac events, immune disorders, and even cancer. It is unclear why grief would trigger such dire physical conditions, but one theory is that a perpetually activated sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) can cause long-term genetic changes. These changes — less pre-programmed cell death, dampened immune responses — may be ideal when a bear is chasing you through the forest and you need all the healthy cells you can get. But this sort of cellular dysregulation is also how cancerous cells metastasize, unchecked. 

While the physical symptoms are relatively consistent, the psychological impacts are all but unpredictable. In the 12 months following the loss of a parent, the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders considers it healthy for adults who have lost their parents to experience a range of contradictory emotions, including sadness, anger, rage, anxiety, numbness, emptiness, guilt, remorse, and regret. It is normal to withdraw from friends and activities; it is normal to throw oneself into work.

As ever, context matters. Sudden, violent death puts survivors at higher risk of developing a grief disorder, and when an adult child has a fractured relationship with a parent, the death can be doubly painful — even if the bereaved shuts down and pretends not to feel the loss. “Coping is less stressful when adult children have time to anticipate parental death,” Omojola says. “Not being able to say goodbye contributes to feeling depressed and angry.” This may explain why studies have shown that young adults are more affected by parental loss than middle-aged adults. Presumably, their parents died unexpectedly, or at least earlier than average.

Gender, of both the parent and child, can especially influence the contours of the grief response.


Studies suggest that daughters have more intense grief responses than sons, but men who lose their parents may be slower to move on. “Males tend to show emotions less and compartmentalize more,” Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and author, told Fatherly.


At the same time, the differences between losing a father and a mother represent relatively weak trends. “Complicated bereavement can exist no matter which parent is lost,” Benders-Hadi says. “More often, it is dependent on the relationship and bond that existed with the parent.”

Grief becomes pathological, according to the DSM, when the bereaved are so overcome that they are unable to carry on with their lives. Preliminary studies suggest this occurs in about 1 percent of the healthy population, and about 10 percent of the population that had previously been diagnosed with a stress disorder. “A diagnosis of adjustment disorder is made within three months of the death if there is a ‘persistence of grief reactions’ exceeding what’s normal for the culture and the religion,” Omojola says. “In this situation, the grieving adult has severe challenges meeting social, occupational, and other expected, important life functions.” Even adults who are able to go to work and put on a brave face may be suffering a clinical condition if they remain preoccupied with the death, deny that their parent has died, or actively avoid reminders of their parents, indefinitely. This condition, known as persistent complex bereavement disorder, is a trickier diagnosis to pin down (the DSM labeled it a “condition for further study”).

Elisabeth Goldberg works with grieving adults as a relationship therapist in New York City, and she has seen the toll that long-term grieving can take on a marriage. Specifically, Goldberg suggests a (somewhat Freudian) link between losing a parent and cheating on a spouse. “I see many affairs as manifestations of unresolved grief about losing a parent,” Goldberg says. “The adult child stays in a state of disbelief, and rejects reality in many ways in order to feed the delusion that the parent is still alive. The grieving child needs a new attachment figure, that’s the psyche trying to reconcile the denial and grief. 

In more concrete — and dire — terms, unresolved grief can spiral into anxiety and depression. This is especially true when the parent dies by suicide, according to Lyn Morris, a licensed therapist and VP at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. “Adults who lose a parent to suicide often struggle with complex emotions such as guilt, anger, and feelings of abandonment and vulnerability,” she told Fatherly. Indeed a 2010 study out of Johns Hopkins University confirmed that losing a parent to suicide makes children more likely to die by suicide themselves.

How to cope in a healthy way remains an active area of scientific inquiry. Ross Grossman, a licensed therapist who specializes in adult grief, has identified several “main distorted thoughts” that infect our minds when we face adversity. 

On the opposite extreme, patients sometimes blame their deceased parents for not treating them properly, and never making amends. This is similarly unhealthy. “The usual result of this is deep resentment, anger, rage,” Grossman says. “They may have genuine, legitimate reasons to feel mistreated or abused. In these situations, it’s not always the death of the parent but the death of the possibility of reconciliation, of rapprochement and apology from the offending parent.”

“The possibility has died along with the person.”
The death of a parent can trigger emotional and physical stress. Click here to learn more.

In extreme cases, therapy may be the only way to get a grieving son or daughter back on his or her feet. But time, and an understanding spouse, can go a long way toward helping adults get through this unpleasant, yet ubiquitous, chapter in their lives. “Husbands can best support their wives by listening,” Manly says. “Men often feel helpless in the face of their wives’ emotions, and they want to fix the situation. A husband can do far more good by sitting with his wife, listening to her, holding her hand, taking her for walks, and — if she desires — visiting the burial site.”