Saturday December 7, 2019

City Upbringing Without Pets May Increases Risk of Mental Illness

Pet-free city upbringing raises mental illness risk: Study

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Allergies
People raised in cities without pets at risk from mental illness. Pixabay

Children raised without pets in an urban setting are more vulnerable to mental illness than those raised in a rural environment, surrounded by animals and bacteria-laden dust, says a new study.

Kids raised in rural settings may grow up to have more stress-resilient immune systems and might be at lower risk of mental illness, according to the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The study adds to mounting evidence supporting the “hygiene hypothesis,” which posits that overly sterile environments can lead to health problems.

The research also suggests that raising kids around pets might be good for mental health.

“It has already been very well documented that exposure to pets and rural environments during development is beneficial in terms of reducing risk of asthma and allergies later in life,” said study co-author, Christopher Lowry, Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the US.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“This study moves the conversation forward by showing for the first time in humans that these same exposures are likely to be important for mental health,” Lowry added.

For the study, led by Professor Stefan Reber of the University of Ulm in Germany, the scientists recruited a small group of healthy German men between ages 20 and 40. Half had grown up on a farm with farm animals. Half had grown up in a large city without pets.

On test day, all were asked to give a speech in front of a group of stone-faced observers and then asked to solve a difficult math problem while being timed.

Blood and saliva were taken five minutes before and five, 15, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after the test.

“People who grew up in an urban environment had a much-exaggerated induction of the inflammatory immune response to the stressor, and it persisted throughout the two-hour period,” Lowry said.

Also Read: Check out Instagram Profiles of Paw-some Indian Celebrity Pets!

Previous studies have shown that those with an exaggerated inflammatory response are more likely to develop depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) later in life.

Research has also shown that our immunoregulatory response to stress develops in early life and is shaped largely by our microbial environment.

More than 50 per cent of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, meaning humans are exposed to far fewer micro-organisms than they evolved with, the authors noted.

“If you are not exposed to these types of organisms, then your immune system doesn’t develop a balance between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory forces, and you can develop a chronic, low-grade inflammation and exaggerated immune reactivity that makes you vulnerable to allergy, autoimmune disease and, we propose, psychiatric disorders,” Lowry said.  IANS

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Research Shows that Narcissistic People are Less Likely to Suffer from Depression

A key finding of the research was that grandiose narcissism can increase mental toughness and this can help to offset symptoms of depression

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Narcissistic
Vulnerable Narcissistic People are likely to be more defensive and view the behaviour of others as hostile whereas grandiose narcissists usually have an over inflated sense of importance and a preoccupation with status and power. Pixabay

Researchers from the Queen’s University Belfast have found that people who have grandiose narcissistic traits were more likely to be “mentally tough”, feel less stressed and also less vulnerable to depression.

While narcissism may be viewed by many in society as a negative personality trait, the researchers have revealed that it could also have benefits, according to the study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

“Narcissism is part of the ‘Dark Tetrad’ of personality that also includes Machiavellianism, Psychopathy and Sadism. There are two main dimensions to narcissism – grandiose and vulnerable,” said study researcher Kostas Papageorgiou.

“Vulnerable narcissists are likely to be more defensive and view the behaviour of others as hostile whereas grandiose narcissists usually have an over inflated sense of importance and a preoccupation with status and power.”

According to the researchers, individuals high on the spectrum of dark traits, such as narcissism, engage in risky behaviour, hold an unrealistic superior view of themselves, are overconfident, show little empathy for others, and have little shame or guilt.

The papers include three independent studies each involving more than 700 adults in total and highlights some positive sides of narcissism, such as resilience against symptoms of psychopathology.

Narcissistic
People who have grandiose Narcissistic traits were more likely to be “mentally tough”, feel less stressed and also less vulnerable to depression. Pixabay

A key finding of the research was that grandiose narcissism can increase mental toughness and this can help to offset symptoms of depression.

It also found that people who score high on grandiose narcissism have lower levels of perceived stress and are therefore less likely to view their life as stressful.

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“The results from all the studies that we conducted show that grandiose narcissism correlates with very positive components of mental toughness, such as confidence and goal orientation, protecting against symptoms of depression and perceived stress,” Papageorgiou said. (IANS)