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Relationship Anxiety Hard on Your Immune System

Relationship Anxiety Is Hard On The Immune System, Study Says
Katherine Bindley
katie.bindley@huffingtonpost.com

This is from AOL News/Huffpost:

Relationship anxiety is known to be tough on a person’s mental well-being, but a new study suggests that fear of rejection — and worry that someone doesn’t love you enough — can also serve as chronic stressors that tax the immune system.

In a study of 85 couples who’d been married for an average of 12 years, a team of researchers led by Lisa Jaremka with Ohio State University College of Medicine examined the level of anxiety participants had about close relationships, as well as samples of their blood and saliva.

They found that the levels of cortisol — a hormone associated with stress — were on average 11 percent higher in people with higher levels of attachment anxiety than those who were less anxious. In addition, the more anxious people had between 11 percent and 20 percent fewer T-cells, which help the body to fight off disease.

“The thing that was surprising was the magnitude of the difference, especially in the immune cells that we saw,” Jaremka told The Huffington Post. “Some of the differences in the immune cell numbers, between the higher and the less high anxious attached people, were on the magnitude of what you’d see between obese and non-obese people.”

Attachment styles are believed to be derived from the type of caregiving people experienced in childhood, but the effects extend to, and impact, relationships in adulthood.

Most people are bound to have some level of concern and stress during the ups and downs of a relationship, Jaremka explained to HuffPost. But those with higher levels of attachment anxiety are hypersensitive to signs that a person they’re close to will leave them on a regular basis. They’re also more likely to seek reassurance and interpret their partner’s behaviors in a negative way.

Because the team did not include study participants who fell on the very high end of the anxiously attached spectrum, it’s possible that the effects of relationship anxiety could be even greater than the study suggests. Incidentally, while more women in the study suffered from higher levels of attachment anxiety, the researchers saw the same elevated levels of cortisol and lower T-cells in the men who were anxious.

Previous research had already established that relationship anxiety can have negative effects on a person’s physical health, but less was known about how exactly the anxiety and the health effects related to one another.

According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s believed that about 20 percent of the population falls on the anxious side of the anxiously attached spectrum. Another 25 percent fall into the avoidant category, which means those people may not get close to their partner out of fear that it could lead to a loss of autonomy.

Experts told the Journal that emotional opposites are often initially attracted to one another, but they may eventually face obstacles if they exacerbate one other’s attachment tendencies. For example, an anxious person might push for more affection and attention. This behavior might make an avoidant partner pull further away, in turn, making the anxious person even more insecure.

Despite the negative effects that attachment styles can have on a person’s relationships and physical health, Jaremka explained these traits are not inalterable.

“Anybody that is experiencing something that feels like high levels of attachment anxiety would think, ‘Oh great I’m doomed, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that just because you are highly anxiously attached now doesn’t mean you have to be that way forever,” Jaremka told HuffPost. “We do know based on research that people can change and people can be very anxiously attached in one relationship and not at all in a different relationship.”

So what kind of relationship can serve as an antidote to pre-existing anxiety? One with a secure partner.

“If they are a very caring and loving and responsive partner, who attends to your needs when you need them, who is there for you when you’re stressed…Those relationships seem to be the types of relationships that people are able to feel secure in and are able to overcome anxieties in, if they have them,” Jaremka said.

The study, titled “Attachment Anxiety Is Linked to Alterations in Cortisol Production and Cellular Immunity,” is slated to be published in the journal Psychological Science.

February 15, 2013 Posted by | Character, Circle of Life and Death, Communication, Cultural, Family Issues, Marriage, Mating Behavior, Relationships, Women's Issues | Leave a comment

Video of Meteor Exploding in Russia; 500 Injured

From Huffpost Science:

Meteorite Streaks Across Russian Urals, Leaves Approximately 500 Injured (VIDEO)
By JIM HEINTZ 02/15/13 06:56 AM ET EST

MOSCOW — A meteor that scientists estimate weighed 10 tons (11 tons) streaked at supersonic speed over Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday, setting off blasts that injured some 500 people and frightened countless more.

The Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement that the meteor over the Chelyabinsk region entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph) and shattered about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above ground.

The fall caused explosions that broke glass over a wide area. The Emergency Ministry says more than 500 people sought treatment after the blasts and that 34 of them were hospitalized.

“There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people’s houses to check if they were OK,” said Sergey Hametov, a resident of Chelyabinsk, about 1500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow, the biggest city in the affected region.

“We saw a big burst of light then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound,” he told The Associated Press by telephone.

Another Chelyabinsk resident, Valya Kazakov, said some elderly women in his neighborhood started crying out that the world was ending.

Some fragments fell in a reservoir outside the town of Cherbakul, the regional governor’s office said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. It was not immediately clear if any people were struck by fragments.

The agency also cited military spokesman Yarslavl Roshupkin as saying that a six-meter-wide (20-foot-wide) crater was found in the same area which could be the result of fragments striking the ground.

Meteors typically cause sizeable sonic booms when they enter the atmosphere because they are traveling much faster than the speed of sound. Injuries on the scale reported Friday, however, are extraordinarily rare.

Interior Ministry spokesman Vadim Kolesnikov said that about 600 square meters (6000 square feet) of a roof at a zinc factory had collapsed. There was no immediate clarification of whether the collapse was caused by meteorites or by a shock wave from one of the explosions.

Reports conflicted on what exactly happened in the clear skies. A spokeswoman for the Emergency Ministry, Irina Rossius, told The Associated Press that there was a meteor shower, but another ministry spokeswoman, Elena Smirnikh, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying it was a single meteor.

Amateur video broadcast on Russian television showed an object speeding across the sky about 9:20 a.m. local time (0320 GMT), leaving a thick white contrail and an intense flash.

Donald Yeomans, manager of U.S. Near Earth Object Program in California, said he thought the event was probably “an exploding fireball event.”

“If the reports of ground damage can be verified, it might suggest an object whose original size was several meters in extent before entering the atmosphere, fragmenting and exploding due to the unequal pressure on the leading side vs. the trailing side (it pancaked and exploded),” Yeoman said in an email to The Associated Press.

“It is far too early to provide estimates of the energy released or provide a reliable estimate of the original size,” Yeomans added.

Russian news reports noted that the meteor hit less than a day before the asteroid 2012 DA14 is to make the closest recorded pass of an asteroid — about 17,150 miles (28,000 kilometers).

But the European Space Agency, in a post on its Twitter account, said its experts had determined there was no connection.

Small pieces of space debris – usually parts of comets or asteroids – that are on a collision course with the Earth are called meteoroids. When meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere they are called meteors. Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere, but if they survive the frictional heating and strike the surface of the Earth they are called meteorites.

The dramatic events prompted an array of reactions from prominent Russian political figures. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at an economic forum in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, said the meteor could be a symbol for the forum, showing that “not only the economy is vulnerable, but the whole planet.”

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the nationalist leader noted for vehement statements, said “It’s not meteors falling, it’s the test of a new weapon by the Americans,” the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the incident showed the need for leading world powers to develop a system to intercept objects falling from space.

“At the moment, neither we nor the Americans have such technologies” to shoot down meteors or asteroids, he said, according to the Interfax news agency.

February 15, 2013 Posted by | Events, News, Technical Issue | Leave a comment