He Didn’t Say ‘I Love You’ Back

What’s a girlfriend to do when her boyfriend doesn’t drop the l-bomb back? Stuff Mom Never Told You has some suggestions. 

missedinhistory:

We planned this week’s episodes around the theme of love. Monday’s was on Casanova and Wednesday’s was on Abelard and Heloise.

If you’re in the mood for more, here are some love stories from the archive:

Or, if you’re not feeling so affectionate this Valentine’s Day, you can try our episodes on St. Valentine’s Day Massacre or Bonnie and Clyde.

skeptv:

People Who Don’t Want to Fall in Love

Who doesn’t want to fall in love? Aromantics don’t. Cristen explains who aromantic people are — and aren’t.

via Stuff Mom Never Told You.

Again, thank you, skeptv! 

(via scientiflix)

Don’t Fear the Breakup!

Cristen advises people who are (understandably) scared to get into relationships for fear of eventual heartbreak in this episode of Stuff Mom Never Told You

"For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love."

Carl Sagan

neuromorphogenesis:

Mom’s love good for child’s brain
School-age children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus, a key structure important to learning, memory and response to stress.
The new research, by child psychiatrists and neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is the first to show that changes in this critical region of children’s brain anatomy are linked to a mother’s nurturing.
Their research is published online in theProceedings of the National Academy of SciencesEarly Edition.
“This study validates something that seems to be intuitive, which is just how important nurturing parents are to creating adaptive human beings,” says lead author Joan L. Luby, MD, professor of child psychiatry. “I think the public health implications suggest that we should pay more attention to parents’ nurturing, and we should do what we can as a society to foster these skills because clearly nurturing has a very, very big impact on later development.”
The brain-imaging study involved children ages 7 to 10 who had participated in an earlier study of preschool depression that Luby and her colleagues began about a decade ago. That study involved children, ages 3 to 6, who had symptoms of depression, other psychiatric disorders or were mentally healthy with no known psychiatric problems.
As part of the initial study, the children were closely observed and videotaped interacting with a parent, almost always a mother, as the parent was completing a required task, and the child was asked to wait to open an attractive gift. How much or how little the parent was able to support and nurture the child in this stressful circumstance — which was designed to approximate the stresses of daily parenting — was evaluated by raters who knew nothing about the child’s health or the parent’s temperament.
“It’s very objective,” Luby says. “Whether a parent was considered a nurturer was not based on that parent’s own self-assessment. Rather, it was based on their behavior and the extent to which they nurtured their child under these challenging conditions.”
The study didn’t observe parents and children in their homes or repeat stressful exercises, but other studies of child development have used similar methods as valid measurements of whether parents tend to be nurturers when they interact with their children.
For the current study, the researchers conducted brain scans on 92 of the children who had had symptoms of depression or were mentally healthy when they were studied as preschoolers. The imaging revealed that children without depression who had been nurtured had a hippocampus almost 10 percent larger than children whose mothers were not as nurturing.
“For years studies have underscored the importance of an early, nurturing environment for good, healthy outcomes for children,” Luby says. “But most of those studies have looked at psychosocial factors or school performance. This study, to my knowledge, is the first that actually shows an anatomical change in the brain, which really provides validation for the very large body of early childhood development literature that had been highlighting the importance of early parenting and nurturing. Having a hippocampus that’s almost 10 percent larger just provides concrete evidence of nurturing’s powerful effect.”
Luby says the smaller volumes in depressed children might be expected because studies in adults have shown the same results. What did surprise her was that nurturing made such a big difference in mentally healthy children.
“We found a very strong relationship between maternal nurturing and the size of the hippocampus in the healthy children,” she says.
Although 95 percent of the parents whose nurturing skills were evaluated during the earlier study were biological mothers, the researchers say that the effects of nurturing on the brain are likely to be the same for any primary caregiver — whether they are fathers, grandparents or adoptive parents.
The fact that the researchers found a larger hippocampus in the healthy children who were nurtured is striking, Luby says, because the hippocampus is such an important brain structure.
When the body faces stresses, the brain activates the autonomic nervous system, an involuntary system of nerves that controls the release of stress hormones. Those hormones help us cope with stress by increasing the heart rate and helping the body adapt. The hippocampus is the main brain structure involved in that response. It’s also key in learning and memory, and larger volumes would suggest a link to improved performance in school, among other things.
Past animal studies have indicated that a nurturing mother can influence brain development, and many studies in human children have identified improvements in school performance and healthier development in children raised in a nurturing environment. But until now, there has not been solid evidence linking a nurturing parent to changes in brain anatomy in children.
“Studies in rats have shown that maternal nurturance, specifically in the form of licking, produces changes in genes that then produce changes in receptors that increase the size of the hippocampus,” Luby says. “That phenomenon has been replicated in primates, but it hasn’t really been clear whether the same thing happens in humans. Our study suggests a clear link between nurturing and the size of the hippocampus.”
She says educators who work with families who have young children may improve school performance and child development by not only teaching parents to work on particular tasks with their children but by showing parents how to work with their children.
“Parents should be taught how to nurture and support their children,” Luby says. “Those are very important elements in healthy development.”
(Image: The hippocampus (highlighted in fuchsia) is a key brain structure important to learning, memory and stress response. New research shows that children who were nurtured by their mothers early in life have a larger hippocampus than children who were not nurtured as much. Credit: Washington University Medical School from press release)

neuromorphogenesis:

Mom’s love good for child’s brain

School-age children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus, a key structure important to learning, memory and response to stress.

The new research, by child psychiatrists and neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is the first to show that changes in this critical region of children’s brain anatomy are linked to a mother’s nurturing.

Their research is published online in theProceedings of the National Academy of SciencesEarly Edition.

“This study validates something that seems to be intuitive, which is just how important nurturing parents are to creating adaptive human beings,” says lead author Joan L. Luby, MD, professor of child psychiatry. “I think the public health implications suggest that we should pay more attention to parents’ nurturing, and we should do what we can as a society to foster these skills because clearly nurturing has a very, very big impact on later development.”

The brain-imaging study involved children ages 7 to 10 who had participated in an earlier study of preschool depression that Luby and her colleagues began about a decade ago. That study involved children, ages 3 to 6, who had symptoms of depression, other psychiatric disorders or were mentally healthy with no known psychiatric problems.

As part of the initial study, the children were closely observed and videotaped interacting with a parent, almost always a mother, as the parent was completing a required task, and the child was asked to wait to open an attractive gift. How much or how little the parent was able to support and nurture the child in this stressful circumstance — which was designed to approximate the stresses of daily parenting — was evaluated by raters who knew nothing about the child’s health or the parent’s temperament.

“It’s very objective,” Luby says. “Whether a parent was considered a nurturer was not based on that parent’s own self-assessment. Rather, it was based on their behavior and the extent to which they nurtured their child under these challenging conditions.”

The study didn’t observe parents and children in their homes or repeat stressful exercises, but other studies of child development have used similar methods as valid measurements of whether parents tend to be nurturers when they interact with their children.

For the current study, the researchers conducted brain scans on 92 of the children who had had symptoms of depression or were mentally healthy when they were studied as preschoolers. The imaging revealed that children without depression who had been nurtured had a hippocampus almost 10 percent larger than children whose mothers were not as nurturing.

“For years studies have underscored the importance of an early, nurturing environment for good, healthy outcomes for children,” Luby says. “But most of those studies have looked at psychosocial factors or school performance. This study, to my knowledge, is the first that actually shows an anatomical change in the brain, which really provides validation for the very large body of early childhood development literature that had been highlighting the importance of early parenting and nurturing. Having a hippocampus that’s almost 10 percent larger just provides concrete evidence of nurturing’s powerful effect.”

Luby says the smaller volumes in depressed children might be expected because studies in adults have shown the same results. What did surprise her was that nurturing made such a big difference in mentally healthy children.

“We found a very strong relationship between maternal nurturing and the size of the hippocampus in the healthy children,” she says.

Although 95 percent of the parents whose nurturing skills were evaluated during the earlier study were biological mothers, the researchers say that the effects of nurturing on the brain are likely to be the same for any primary caregiver — whether they are fathers, grandparents or adoptive parents.

The fact that the researchers found a larger hippocampus in the healthy children who were nurtured is striking, Luby says, because the hippocampus is such an important brain structure.

When the body faces stresses, the brain activates the autonomic nervous system, an involuntary system of nerves that controls the release of stress hormones. Those hormones help us cope with stress by increasing the heart rate and helping the body adapt. The hippocampus is the main brain structure involved in that response. It’s also key in learning and memory, and larger volumes would suggest a link to improved performance in school, among other things.

Past animal studies have indicated that a nurturing mother can influence brain development, and many studies in human children have identified improvements in school performance and healthier development in children raised in a nurturing environment. But until now, there has not been solid evidence linking a nurturing parent to changes in brain anatomy in children.

“Studies in rats have shown that maternal nurturance, specifically in the form of licking, produces changes in genes that then produce changes in receptors that increase the size of the hippocampus,” Luby says. “That phenomenon has been replicated in primates, but it hasn’t really been clear whether the same thing happens in humans. Our study suggests a clear link between nurturing and the size of the hippocampus.”

She says educators who work with families who have young children may improve school performance and child development by not only teaching parents to work on particular tasks with their children but by showing parents how to work with their children.

“Parents should be taught how to nurture and support their children,” Luby says. “Those are very important elements in healthy development.”

(Image: The hippocampus (highlighted in fuchsia) is a key brain structure important to learning, memory and stress response. New research shows that children who were nurtured by their mothers early in life have a larger hippocampus than children who were not nurtured as much. Credit: Washington University Medical School from press release)

(Source: news.wustl.edu)


image

Is chocolate an aphrodisiac?

Why is chocolate such a popular go-to gift for Valentine’s Day? Is it just about satisfying someone’s sweet tooth, or does chocolate make things racier in the bedroom, too?

Some doctors at the New York State Psychiatric Institute first kicked around the idea of chocolate as an aphrodisiac in the early 1980s. Donald F. Klein and Michael R. Liebowitz suggested that when someone’s in love, his or her brain produces a chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA).

PEA acts a lot like amphetamines in the brain, triggering a release of the hormones norepinephrine and dopamine to create feelings of euphoria. Klein and Liebowitz theorized that since chocolate contains PEA, it may also make people feel happy and loving. In 1983, Liebowitz even wrote a book titled “The Chemistry of Love.” Newspapers gobbled up the concept and perpetuated the idea that chocolate was an aphrodisiac.

Of course, it’s not quite that simple in practice. Thanks to an enzyme called monoamine oxidase (MAO), the PEA in your body doesn’t last long. Later studies showed that PEA levels didn’t go up in the bloodstreams of even the biggest chocoholics.

Researchers still haven’t given up on finding a link between chocolate and sex drive, though.

Keep reading….

Your Deceptive Brain on Love

It’s been said that love is blind, and it’s true that the brain isn’t the most objective observer to begin with. But what happens when you’re actually in love? How do the chemical processes responsible for affection skew your perception of the world around you? Tune in to Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know to learn more about your deceptive brain on love.


How Love Works
If you’ve ever been in love, you’ve probably at least considered classifying the feeling as an addiction. And guess what: You were right. As it turns out, scientists are discovering that the same chemical process that takes place with addiction takes place when we fall in love.
­Love is a chemical state of mind that’s part of our genes and influenced by our upbringing. We are wired for romance in part because we are supposed to be loving parents who care diligently for our helpless babies.
In this article, we’ll find out what love really is and what happens in our bodies that makes us fall in love — and ensures we stay there. We’ll also look at what attracts us to someone in the first place. Is it their pheromones, or do they just fit the right “love template?”
Keep reading…

How Love Works

If you’ve ever been in love, you’ve probably at least considered classifying the feeling as an addiction. And guess what: You were right. As it turns out, scientists are discovering that the same chemical process that takes place with addiction takes place when we fall in love.

­Love is a chemical state of mind that’s part of our genes and influenced by our upbringing. We are wired for romance in part because we are supposed to be loving parents who care diligently for our helpless babies.

In this article, we’ll find out what love really is and what happens in our bodies that makes us fall in love — and ensures we stay there. We’ll also look at what attracts us to someone in the first place. Is it their pheromones, or do they just fit the right “love template?”

Keep reading…

Domestic Bliss?: Stomping Glass, Smashing Dishes and 8 Other Strange Wedding Celebrations
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen at a wedding? A drunken best man? An unusual theme? A few seriously bad dancers? Such occurrences might be surprising, but they’re hardly tradition. Some cultures, however, have wedding customs that make an inebriated groomsman seem passé.
Of course, strange is in the eye of the beholder, and most of these traditions have significant meanings and historical rationale. In fact, continuing to practice them often allows a couple to spice up their wedding ceremony while simultaneously paying tribute to their culture’s past.
Read on…
(Side note: Most of the traditions in this article aren’t nearly as strange as this bride!) 

Domestic Bliss?: Stomping Glass, Smashing Dishes and 8 Other Strange Wedding Celebrations

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen at a wedding? A drunken best man? An unusual theme? A few seriously bad dancers? Such occurrences might be surprising, but they’re hardly tradition. Some cultures, however, have wedding customs that make an inebriated groomsman seem passé.

Of course, strange is in the eye of the beholder, and most of these traditions have significant meanings and historical rationale. In fact, continuing to practice them often allows a couple to spice up their wedding ceremony while simultaneously paying tribute to their culture’s past.

Read on…

(Side note: Most of the traditions in this article aren’t nearly as strange as this bride!) 

Happy International Kissing Day! MWAH! Now, to explain how kissing works:
When you really think about it, kissing is pretty gross. It involves saliva and mucous membranes, and it may have historical roots in chewed-up food. Experts estimate that hundreds or even millions of bacterial colonies move from one mouth to another during a kiss. Doctors have also linked kissing to the spread of diseases like meningitis, herpes and mononucleosis.
Yet anthropologists report that 90 percent of the people in the world kiss. Most people look forward to their first romantic kiss and remember it for the rest of their lives. Parents kiss children, worshippers kiss religious artifacts and couples kiss each other. Some people even kiss the ground when they get off an airplane.
So how does one gesture come to signify affection, celebration, grief, comfort and respect, all over the world? No one knows for sure, but anthropologists think kissing might have originated with human mothers feeding their babies much the way birds do. Mothers would chew the food and then pass it from their mouths to their babies’ mouths. After the babies learned to eat solid food, their mothers may have kissed them to comfort them or to show affection.
In this scenario, kissing is a learned behavior, passed from generation to generation. We do it because we learned how to from our parents and from the society around us. There’s a problem with this theory, though: women in a few modern indigenous cultures feed their babies by passing chewed food mouth-to-mouth. But in some of these cultures, no one kissed until Westerners introduced the practice.
Other researchers believe instead that kissing is instinctive. They use bonobo apes, which are closely related to humans, to support this idea. Bonobos kiss one another frequently. Regardless of sex or status within their social groups, bonobos kiss to reduce tension after disputes, to reassure one another, to develop social bonds and sometimes for no clear reason at all. Some researchers believe that kissing primates prove that the desire to kiss is instinctive.
Scientists don’t entirely agree on whether kissing is learned or instinctive. There’s support for both arguments, just as there’s support for the different theories of why people started doing it in the first place. See the next page to learn more.
Several other animal species have behaviors that resemble kissing. Many mammals lick one another’s faces, birds touch one another’s bills and snails caress one another’s antennae. In some cases, the animals are grooming one another rather than kissing. In others, they’re smelling scent glands that are located on faces or in mouths. Regardless, when animals touch each other in this way, they’re often showing signs of trust and affection or developing social bonds.
Scientists don’t entirely agree on whether kissing is learned or instinctive. There’s support for both arguments, just as there’s support for the different theories of why people started doing it in the first place. 
Read on to learn more about the what, why, and hows of kissing…

Happy International Kissing Day! MWAH! Now, to explain how kissing works:

When you really think about it, kissing is pretty gross. It involves saliva and mucous membranes, and it may have historical roots in chewed-up food. Experts estimate that hundreds or even millions of bacterial colonies move from one mouth to another during a kiss. Doctors have also linked kissing to the spread of diseases like meningitis, herpes and mononucleosis.

Yet anthropologists report that 90 percent of the people in the world kiss. Most people look forward to their first romantic kiss and remember it for the rest of their lives. Parents kiss children, worshippers kiss religious artifacts and couples kiss each other. Some people even kiss the ground when they get off an airplane.

So how does one gesture come to signify affection, celebration, grief, comfort and respect, all over the world? No one knows for sure, but anthropologists think kissing might have originated with human mothers feeding their babies much the way birds do. Mothers would chew the food and then pass it from their mouths to their babies’ mouths. After the babies learned to eat solid food, their mothers may have kissed them to comfort them or to show affection.

In this scenario, kissing is a learned behavior, passed from generation to generation. We do it because we learned how to from our parents and from the society around us. There’s a problem with this theory, though: women in a few modern indigenous cultures feed their babies by passing chewed food mouth-to-mouth. But in some of these cultures, no one kissed until Westerners introduced the practice.

Other researchers believe instead that kissing is instinctive. They use bonobo apes, which are closely related to humans, to support this idea. Bonobos kiss one another frequently. Regardless of sex or status within their social groups, bonobos kiss to reduce tension after disputes, to reassure one another, to develop social bonds and sometimes for no clear reason at all. Some researchers believe that kissing primates prove that the desire to kiss is instinctive.

Scientists don’t entirely agree on whether kissing is learned or instinctive. There’s support for both arguments, just as there’s support for the different theories of why people started doing it in the first place. See the next page to learn more.

Several other animal species have behaviors that resemble kissing. Many mammals lick one another’s faces, birds touch one another’s bills and snails caress one another’s antennae. In some cases, the animals are grooming one another rather than kissing. In others, they’re smelling scent glands that are located on faces or in mouths. Regardless, when animals touch each other in this way, they’re often showing signs of trust and affection or developing social bonds.

Scientists don’t entirely agree on whether kissing is learned or instinctive. There’s support for both arguments, just as there’s support for the different theories of why people started doing it in the first place. 

Read on to learn more about the what, why, and hows of kissing…

Famous Historical Couples:
When these men and women weren’t composing poetry, combating the Great Depression or committing mass genocide, they were sharing their lives with their equally famous other halves. They may be revered (or reviled) for the deeds that secured their presence in history books and pop culture, but they were also loved.
Read on…
Image courtesy The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Inauguration Day, 1941) 

Famous Historical Couples:

When these men and women weren’t composing poetry, combating the Great Depression or committing mass genocide, they were sharing their lives with their equally famous other halves. They may be revered (or reviled) for the deeds that secured their presence in history books and pop culture, but they were also loved.

Read on…

Image courtesy The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Inauguration Day, 1941)