This small-scale study may have uncovered a new link between the peripheral nerve system and autism.
- Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. According to the CDC, autism impacts an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States.
- An October 2020 study suggests that the peripheral nervous system may play a role in autism.
- The parameters of the study may not show the entire picture —more research is needed in this area.
The nerves that sense touch and pain may play a role in autism, new research suggests<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a41b00d7960f360bf4674a021f7480fd"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QdhwsK7E6cc?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>An October 2020 study suggests that the peripheral nervous system (the nerves that control our sense of touch, pain, and other sensations), may play a role in autism.</p><p>Study author Sung-Tsang Hsieh, M.D., Ph.D., of National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201014160516.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">explains to Science Daily</a>: <em></em>"More than 70% of people with autism have differences in their sensory perception. For some people, even a light touch can feel unbearable while others may not even notice a cut on their foot. If larger studies can confirm these results, it is possible that further insight into the peripheral nervous system could help us understand how this disorder develops and potentially light the way for treating these distressing sensory symptoms that most people with autism experience."</p><p>The study involved 32 men with autism (with an average age of 27). They were compared to 27 men and women (with an average age of 33) who did not have autism or any diseases that would impact their peripheral nerves. </p><p>The people with autism completed questionnaires on their sensory symptoms. All of the participants then had tests of their sensory nerves, including skin biopsies to look for damage to the small fibers of their nerves. Then, another test was administered, where heat pulses were applied to the skin so researchers could look at the electrical signals produced by the nerves to see how they responded to the heat.</p><p><strong>53 percent of people with autism had reduced nerve fiber density. </strong></p><p>The results of the skin biopsy tests showed 53 percent of people with autism had reduced nerve fiber density, while all of the people in the control group (participants without autism) had levels in the normal range. </p><p>"This indicates that the nerves have degenerated, similar to what happens for people with the condition of peripheral neuropathy, where the threshold for feeling heat and other sensations is higher than for other people," said Hsieh.</p><p><strong>The response to touch differed among people with autism according to whether or not they had nerve fiber damage. </strong></p><p>According to the results, people who had undamaged nerves were more likely to say they disliked being touched and were uncomfortable with some textures, while people with nerve fiber damage were more likely to say that they preferred going barefoot and could be unaware that they had gotten scratched or bruised. </p><p>"This indicates that the nerves have degenerated, similar to what happens for people with the condition of peripheral neuropathy, where the threshold for feeling heat and other sensations is higher than for other people," Hsieh <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201014160516.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">explained in his interview</a>. </p><p>The parameters of the study may not show the entire picture—more research is needed in this area. </p>
Is breakup sex ever a good idea?
- A July 2020 study aimed to better understand post-breakup behavior, specifically why we have breakup sex.
- This research established there are three main reasons people engage in breakup sex: relationship maintenance, ambivalence, and hedonism.
- Experts weigh in on whether or not breakup sex can be beneficial.
Why do we really have breakup sex?
Credit: rodjulian on Adobe Stock<p>A <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1474704920936916" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">July 2020 research study</a> sought to better understand post-breakup behavior by looking at the practice of breakup sex. This research consisted of two studies: one to identify how past breakup sex experiences made the people involved feel versus how they predicted they would feel in the future, and the other investigated why men and women engage in breakup sex at all.</p><p>Men and women want to have breakup sex for different reasons. </p><p>The first study included 212 participants. The results suggested that men are more likely than women to have felt better about themselves after breakup sex, whereas women were more likely to feel better about the relationship after having breakup sex.</p><p>The second study included 585 participants and the results of this study revealed that most breakup sex appears to be motivated by three main factors: relationship maintenance, hedonism, and ambivalence. </p><p>In other words, common reasons to have breakup sex include: because it feels good, because we are conflicted over how we feel about the person, and/or because we think there is maybe a way to salvage things. With this particular study, men tended to support more hedonistic and ambivalent reasons for having breakup sex more often than women. </p>
Most research says breakup sex is unhealthy<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQzMjgwMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTkzMjEyMn0.RDzGSXynRVnPpOTs43vkNjYZQdRRMMHSDkqv6jfTTcM/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C446%2C0%2C446&height=700" id="b16f5" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ae4de88a838d886a1cf1ebe7df2fdb6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man and woman laying in bed" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Is breakup sex healthy? Research claims it's not...
Credit: fizkes on Adobe Stock<p>While the media may portray breakup sex as beneficial, does it actually do anything to help us cope with, mend, or move on from the ending of a significant relationship? The majority of research suggests that it's unhealthy, however, every situation is different and there are almost always exceptions to the rules. </p><p><a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/women-autism-spectrum-disorder/202006/is-break-sex-ever-good-idea" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Psychology Today</a> reminds us that when a relationship ends, those feelings that you had for the person don't just magically disappear. It can be a complicated and messy process—one that doesn't always have a clear path forward. The article goes on to explain some of the reasons breakup sex is unhealthy. </p><p><strong>It can give you false hope. </strong><br>Perhaps spending one more night together will convince you that the relationship isn't over or that you can continue just having sex without continuing the relationship. </p><p><strong>It stops you from moving forward. </strong><br>While there's no set time in which you should grieve the ending of a relationship, still seeing that person in any kind of sexual or romantic capacity is not going to help you heal and move forward to find better partners. </p><p><strong>The rush of hormones can make you feel differently than you actually do feel (temporarily). <br></strong>Oxytocin and other hormones released during sex are known for providing comforting, loving emotions. This can be quite conflicting when you don't actually feel that way with the person, but your body (due to sexual activity) is telling you that you do. </p>
However, some experts claim there are some benefits to breakup sex.<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTQzMjgwMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjI2NTI4NX0.UgmT7KWRLTRN2CPytCa7Ky5wdmSqaCKTQBqkm9YbeZE/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C189%2C0%2C189&height=700" id="28c04" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4221709927d001eedb381f806ae6d51e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man and woman breaking up concept of breakup sex psychology" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Can breakup sex ever be beneficial? Some experts think it can.
Image by Naufal on Adobe Stock<p>Psychosexual and relationship psychotherapist Kate Moyle spoke with <a href="https://www.elitedaily.com/p/the-psychology-behind-breakup-sex-explains-why-it-feels-super-hot-17031372#:~:text=%E2%80%9CBreakup%20sex%20helps%20a%20couple,may%20have%20once%20worked%20well." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Elite Daily</a> about some of the reasons why breakup sex could potentially feel helpful to those involved.</p><p>Breakup sex could allow you to be bolder in bed, leading you to more sexual satisfaction. According to Moyle, it can allow people to lose their inhibitions because they are less afraid of judgment or reaction because the relationship is ending. </p><p><strong>Breakup sex can also be therapeutic. </strong></p><p>In his interview with Elite Daily, licensed Psychotherapist Dr. John D. Moore explains that breakup sex can be one facet of the drawn-out process of ending a relationship. While most people assume relationship endings are an immediate event, Moore suggests it's more of an ongoing process. </p><p>After a breakup, your feelings are in a heightened state, which can allow you to emotionally connect with a partner in a more intense way, which can allow you both to work through some of the emotions surrounding the ending of your relationship. In the interview, Moore goes on to explain that breakup sex almost has the ability to validate certain parts of your relationship (perhaps your physical connection or chemistry) that once worked really well. It can be a celebration of the parts of your relationship you both loved and a way to let go of the relationship due to the things that won't make it work.</p><p><strong>Is breakup sex worth it? </strong></p><p>Some research is against it, some experts are for it, so is breakup sex worth it? It seems almost entirely situational. If you're having breakup sex because you are still hoping to save your relationship, perhaps it's best to steer clear of it to avoid more hurt feelings. However, if you're interested in breakup sex to celebrate and validate each other and the good parts of your relationship, there is proof that it can do that.</p>
No, being interested in BDSM does not mean you had a traumatic childhood.
- BDSM is a kind of sexual expression and/or practice that refers to three main subcategories: Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/submission, and Sadism/Masochism.
- It has been widely speculated that many BDSM practitioners or people who enjoy the BDSM lifestyle are drawn to it because of sexual trauma they experienced in the past.
- This 2020 study claims that BDSM practitioners deserve perception as normal sexual practice free from stigmatization rather than deviant behavior.
No, being interested in BDSM doesn’t mean you had a traumatic childhood<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="20118e9474ed94bd8e4d50bc166b1bee"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZfSyq8gRsyM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>While many may assume being interested in BDSM may mean you've experienced unhealthy or violent relationships/situations in your formative years, this study explains why that myth should be put to rest.</p><p>BDSM practitioners across the study scored higher levels of physical abuse in adulthood. However, no significant differences emerged for other traumatic experiences (including childhood physical abuse or unwanted sexual trauma).<br></p><p>There have been many accounts (<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYG0pajxLuY" target="_blank">such as this</a>) from BDSM practitioners that have claimed there is a certain "healing process" involved in finding a trustworthy BDSM relationship after escaping from a toxic relationship. This could account for why people who have experienced physically abusive relationships as adults then turn to the BDSM community and BDSM-related sexual interests. </p><p>When it came to the Relationship Questionnaire, people who engaged in the BDSM lifestyle more often scored in the "secure" attachment style than people who were not BDSM practitioners. While many BDSM practitioners had secure attachment styles, there was also a significant spike in anxious-preoccupied attachment styles when it came to people who practiced BDSM. In particular, the "secure" attachment style was associated with BDSM practitioners who identified as "Dominant" and the "anxious-preoccupied" attachment style was associated with people who identified as "submissive."</p><p><strong>There are no findings to support the hypothesis of BDSM being a coping mechanism for early life dynamics or trauma.</strong> </p><p>This authors of the study claim that BDSM practitioners deserve perception as normal sexual practice free from stigmatization rather than deviant behavior—and the final results of the study support this idea. </p>
Are people involved in BDSM practices more aware of their attachment styles?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTIwMDc2OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2OTYwMjA1OX0.2cQbq1Nka_9dWd6GvzyoWjc68JU3Oor-1d6PKnUWBmY/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C292%2C0%2C292&height=700" id="c0877" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6eb72a2ee78fb73264254d33e4411364" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man and woman holding paper heart" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Could people who engage in BDSM be more mindful in their relationships?
Photo by Tiko on Adobe Stock<p>While many people insist engaging in BDSM practices means you've had significant traumatic experienced that led you to do so, there are some experts that argue BDSM practitioners are actually more in tune with their own psychopathology than people who do not engage in BDSM activities.</p><p>BDSM involves a diverse range of practices which can involve role-playing games in which one person assumes a dominant role and the other assumes a submissive role. These activities are often intense and can involve activities such as physical restraint, power plays, humiliation, and sometimes (but not always) pain. </p><p><a href="https://www.nhs.uk/news/mental-health/fans-of-bondage-and-sm-report-better-mental-health/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to a study</a> published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, people involved in BDSM may actually be more mentally healthy. The study suggests people who engage in BDSM activities often show more extroverted qualities and tend to be more open to experiences and more conscientious. They also tend to be less neurotic and less sensitive to rejection. The study also showed BDSM practitioners had a more secure attachment style, which is supported in the more recent study listed above. </p><p>Additionally, <a href="https://www.bustle.com/articles/186777-bdsm-may-be-the-most-mindful-type-of-sex-study-finds" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">it's been hypothesized</a> that people involved in BDSM are more mindful during sex than those who do not engage in BDSM practices. </p>
Fractal patterns are noticed by people of all ages, even small children, and have significant calming effects.
- A new study from the University of Oregon found that, by the age of three, children understand and prefer nature's fractal patterns.
- A "fractal" is a pattern that the laws of nature repeat at different scales. Exact fractals are ordered in such a way that the same basic pattern repeats exactly at every scale, like the growth spiral of a plant, for example.
- Separate studies have proven that exposure to fractal patterns in nature can reduce your stress levels significantly.
Fractal patterns are evident in nature as well as in some man-made art, architecture and sculptures.
Credit: Anikakodydkova on Adobe Stock<p>The research team explored how individual differences in processing styles might account for trends in fractal fluency. Researchers exposed participants to images of fractal patterns (exact and statistical), ranging in complexity on computer screens.</p><p>The ages of the participants were:</p><ul><li>82 adults (between the ages of 18-33)</li><li>96 children (between the ages of 3-10)</li></ul><p>When viewing these patterns, the participants chose favorites between pairs of images that differed in complexity. When looking at exact fractal patterns, selections involved different pairs of snowflake-like or branch-like images. For statistical fractals, selections involved choosing between pairs of cloud-like images. </p><p>Although there were some differences in the preferences of adults and children, the overall trends were similar: exact patterns with greater complexity were more preferred. This study confirms that these preference trends are apparent in early childhood, suggesting that the appreciation for common fractal aesthetics is formed earlier in our development than previously thought. </p><p>Prior to this study, exposure to fractal patterns might have been expected to vary across the lifespan of a person due to environmental and developmental patterns. Instead, this study found a consistent preference across childhood and through adulthood which suggests a stable fractal aesthetic is established early in life. There is a possibility, according to this study, that an early biological or evolutionary mechanism optimizes our visual system for processing fractals. </p>
Fractal patterns can be used to significantly reduce stress<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk1OTg2OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjQ3MjQ0N30._vBGVkgp9RLj9wIBG-RC9sy5-LlSkrNVFqZ6N1Wqm2A/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C618%2C0%2C618&height=700" id="3a2ba" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ff0d89c69acb5ade6f8006e68504fda0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="fern plant fractal pattern in nature" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Fractal patterns and designs can reduce your stress by up to 60%, according to research.
Credit: MNStudio on Adobe Stock<p>The term "fractal" was first coined in 1975 by Benoit Mandelbrot, who discovered that simple mathematic rules apply to a vast array of things that often looked visually complex. Since then, many studies have been conducted on what fractals are, where we find them, and even how they impact us.</p><p>The study above, mentioning the positive benefits that fractals have in even small children, becomes particularly interesting when you begin to understand the potential benefits we derive from even minimal exposure to fractal patterns. </p><p><strong>Fractal patterns can reduce stress by up to 60 percent, according to <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/codes-joy/201209/fun-fractals#:~:text=The%20results%20of%20many%20studies,physiological%20resonance%20within%20the%20eye." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Psychology Today</a>. </strong></p><p>Exposure to fractal patterns in nature can reduce your stress levels significantly. It seems this kind of stress reduction most often occurs because of a certain physiological resonance within the eye. While this effect is most prominent in nature's fractal patterns, some research indicates that certain types of artwork carrying fractal patterns can also promote relaxation.</p><p><strong>How can you use fractals to feel happier? </strong></p><p>A separate <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/codes-joy/201209/fun-fractals" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Psychology Today</a> article focuses on how to use our knowledge of the positive benefits of fractals to our advantage. To take a walk in nature, visit a park or garden or sit and watch the clouds for a while, paying special attention to the patterns you see can help you include this kind of relaxation practice into your daily life. Alternatively, you can opt for a visually pleasing fractal plant (like the spiral aloe or a fern) to sit at your office desk. </p><p>Additionally, you can conduct some "research" of your own by placing yourself in fractal-rich environments for 20 minutes a day for one week and monitoring your stress levels before and after. </p>
There is a lot we don't know about psychedelics, but what we do know makes them extremely important.
- Having been repressed in the 1960s for their ties to the counterculture, psychedelics are currently experiencing a scientific resurgence. In this video, Michael Pollan, Sam Harris, Jason Silva and Ben Goertzel discuss the history of psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin, acknowledge key figures including Timothy Leary and Albert Hoffman, share what the experience of therapeutic tripping can entail, and explain why these substances are important to the future of mental health.
- There is a stigma surrounding psychedelic drugs that some scientists and researchers argue is undeserved. Several experiments over the past decades have shown that, when used correctly, drugs like psilocybin and LSD can have positive effects on the lives of those take them. How they work is not completely understood, but the empirical evidence shows promise in the fields of curbing depression, anxiety, obsession, and even addiction to other substances.
- "There's a tremendous amount of insight that can be plumbed using these various substances. There's also a lot of risks there, as with most valuable things," says artificial intelligence researcher Ben Goertzel. He and others believe that by making psychedelics illegal, modern governments are getting in the way of meaningful research and the development of "cultural institutions to guide people in really productive use of these substances."