Saturday January 18, 2020
Home Lead Story How Americans...

How Americans Are Handling Post 9/11 Trauma

Eighteen years ago, more than 60% of Americans watched as the worst terror attack ever to occur on U.S. soil unfolded on television

0
//
empire, state, building, us, 9/11, terrorism, safety
Covered in dust, ash and falling debris on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, New York City Transit's express coach #2185 could have been written off and sent off to scrap. It was decided, however, to rebuild her as a symbol of NYC Transit’s resiliency and a rolling example of the dedication of the agency’s employees. Wikimedia Commons

Eighteen years ago, more than 60% of Americans watched as the worst terror attack ever to occur on U.S. soil unfolded on television — either in real time or in repeated replays.

That up-close view of the murders of almost 3,000 people jolted Americans out of the sense of security they’d enjoyed at least since World War II.

“I think that up until that time, perhaps people were more optimistic or certainly had a sense that it couldn’t happen here. Terrorist attacks were something that happened overseas, but not in the United States on our soil,” says Roxane Cohen Silver, professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine.

“The concept of fearing violence on a day-to-day basis just wasn’t part of the existence of most people in the United States.”

Empire State building, US, New York, 9/11, trauma, mental health
TV viewers said the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack was the all-time most memorable moment shared by television viewers during the past 50 years, according to a 2012 study. VOA

Cohen Silver, who studies the impact of collective trauma, says some individuals with no direct connection to the 9/11 attacks exhibited symptoms that experts had previously assumed were the result of direct exposure to trauma.

“Individuals who watched a great deal of television in the first week after 9/11 were more likely to exhibit post-traumatic stress symptomatology and physical health ailments years later,” she says.

Those symptoms often included anxiety and fear, as well as the onset of physical health ailments such as cardiovascular issues.

“We learned from 9/11 that large-scale events could impact people beyond the directly affected communities, that the events that occurred in New York could impact people in Kansas,” Cohen Silver says. “The second message we’ve learned from 9/11 was the important role of the media in transmitting that awareness and that potential anxiety.”

Empire State building, US, New York, 9/11, trauma, mental health
Students and others watch live television coverage of the 9/11 attacks on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, Sept. 11, 2001.
VOA

In the 18 years since 9/11, the rise of social media and smartphones has resulted in increased access to images of mass violence. In addition, there are no news editors or other middlemen to weed out potentially disturbing content. The speed with which these images reach people has also escalated.

Young Americans born after 9/11 have grown up in a world where acts of mass violence are increasingly commonplace.

More than 230 school shootings have occurred since 1999, when 13 people were killed at Columbine High School near Denver.

Mass attacks continue to occur in places that Americans commonly view as safe spaces, from the 2016 Orlando nightclub attack that killed 49; the 2017 Las Vegas concert shooting where 58 people were killed and hundreds more wounded; to last month’s shooting at a Texas Walmart that left 22 people dead.

ALSO READ: Chennai Experiences Most Cyber Attacks Among Metro Cities

“We’re so consumed with new events, you know, current events, hurricanes, mass violence events. And there are many of these that occur, and they’re all tragic,” says Cohen Silver. “But the psychological effects of September 11, 2019, cannot be directly linked to the 9/11 attacks without considering all of the rest of the things that have occurred.”

While the average American cannot control the violence around them, they can protect their mental health by not inundating themselves with images of the tragedies, which can be psychologically unhealthy.

“I believe that people can be informed without becoming immersed in the media. There’s no obvious benefit to repeated exposure to images and sounds of tragedy,” says Cohen Silver. “And so, once people are informed, I would say to practice caution in the amount of media attention that they engage and the amount of media exposure that they engage in.” (VOA)

Next Story

Consumption of Soybean Oil May Affect Neurological Conditions: Study

Soybean oil diet may trigger genetic changes in brain

0
Soybean oil
Soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes but may also affect neurological conditions. Wikimedia Commons

Widely consumed soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes but may also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and depression, report researchers from University of California Riverside, including one of Indian origin.

In a study conducted on mice, the scientists found pronounced effects of the soybean oil on the hypothalamus where a number of critical processes take place.

The research team discovered nearly 100 genes – including the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin produced in hypothalamus — affected by the soybean oil diet.

Soybean oil  brain
In a study conducted on mice, the scientists found pronounced effects of the soybean oil on the hypothalamus where a number of critical processes take place. Pixabay

“The hypothalamus regulates body weight via your metabolism, maintains body temperature, is critical for reproduction and physical growth as well as your response to stress,” said Margarita Curras-Collazo, an associate professor of neuroscience and lead author on the study published in the journal Endocrinology.

The research team has not yet isolated which chemicals in the oil are responsible for the changes they found in the hypothalamus.

“But they have ruled out two candidates. It is not linoleic acid, since the modified oil also produced genetic disruptions; nor is it stigmasterol, a cholesterol-like chemical found naturally in soybean oil,” the study noted.

Identifying the compounds responsible for the negative effects is an important area for the team’s future research.

“This could help design healthier dietary oils in the future,” said Poonamjot Deol, first author on the study.

“If there’s one message I want people to take away, it’s this: reduce consumption of soybean oil,” Deol added.

Soybean oil brain
Consumption of Soybean oil may lead to autism. Pixabay

The team compared mice fed three different diets high in fat: soybean oil, soybean oil modified to be low in linoleic acid, and coconut oil.

They believe this discovery could have ramifications not just for energy metabolism,but also for proper brain function and diseases such as autism or Parkinson’s disease.

“However, it is important to note there is no proof the oil causes these diseases,” the authors wrote.

Te same research team found in 2015 that soybean oil induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. Then in a 2017 study, the same group learned that if soybean oil is engineered to be low in linoleic acid, it induces less obesity and insulin resistance.

The team said the findings only apply to soybean oil — not to other soy products or to other vegetable oils.

“Do not throw out your tofu, soymilk, edamame, or soy sauce,” said Frances Sladek, a UCR toxicologist and professor of cell biology.

“Many soy products only contain small amounts of the oil, and large amounts of healthful compounds such as essential fatty acids and proteins”.

Also Read- Excessive Cardio Can Make you Gain Weight

This study utilized male mice. Because oxytocin is so important for maternal health and promotes mother-child bonding, similar studies need to be performed using female mice.

Coconut oil, which contains saturated fats, produced very few changes in the hypothalamic genes, said the researchers. (IANS)