Wednesday June 19, 2019

People who use Internet a lot may experience increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure when they go offline: Scientists

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Depiction of Internet. Wikimedia Commons

London, June 1, 2017: Just as a drug addict may face withdrawal symptoms, people who use the internet a lot may experience significant physiological changes such as increased heart rate and blood pressure when they go offline, scientists have found.

“We have known for some time that people who are over-dependent on digital devices report feelings of anxiety when they are stopped from using them, but now we can see that these psychological effects are accompanied by actual physiological changes,” said study lead Phil Reed, Professor at Swansea University in Britain.

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The study involved 144 participants, aged 18 to 33 years, having their heart rate and blood pressure measured before and after a brief internet session. Their anxiety and self-reported internet-addiction were also assessed.

The results showed increases in physiological arousal on terminating the internet session for those with problematically-high internet usage.

There was an average three to four per cent increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and in some cases double that figure, immediately on termination of internet use, compared to before using it, for those with digital-behaviour problems, according to the study published in the journal, PLOS ONE.

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Although this increase is not enough to be life-threatening, such changes can be associated with feelings of anxiety, and with alterations to the hormonal system that can reduce immune responses.

The study also suggested that these physiological changes and accompanying increases in anxiety indicate a state like withdrawal seen for many ‘sedative’ drugs, such as alcohol, cannabis, and heroin, and this state may be responsible for some people’s need to re-engage with their digital devices to reduce these unpleasant feelings.

However, there were no such changes for participants who reported no internet-usage problems. (IANS)

 

  • vedika kakar

    I can totally relate to this article on a personal level!

  • Esther S.

    There are no real choices now. You study via internet, work via internet, socialise via internet. We are clearly f*cked.

Next Story

Scientists Take Peek Behind Those Sad Puppy Dog Eyes and Find a Unique Muscle

Pooches use the muscle to raise their eyebrows and make the babylike expression

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Scientists, Sad, Puppy
FILE - Lexy, a therapy dog, is seen at Fort Bragg, N.C., Feb. 18, 2014. A study released June 17, 2019, suggests that over thousands of years of dog domestication, people preferred dogs that could pull off the "puppy dog" eyes look. VOA

What’s behind those hard-to-resist puppy dog eyes?

New research suggests that over thousands of years of dog domestication, people preferred pups that could pull off that appealing, sad look. And that encouraged the development of the facial muscle that creates it.

Today, pooches use the muscle to raise their eyebrows and make the babylike expression. That muscle is virtually absent in their ancestors, the wolves.

“You don’t typically see such muscle differences in species that are that closely related,” said Anne Burrows of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, an author of the study released Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists, Sad, Puppy
FILE – A female red wolf emerges from her den sheltering newborn pups at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C., May 13, 2019. VOA

Dogs differ from wolves in many ways, from having shorter snouts, smaller sizes and more expressive faces. And unlike wolves, dogs heavily rely on human eye contact, whether to know when someone’s talking to them or when they can’t solve a problem, like hopping a fence or getting out the door.

Burrows and her colleagues examined the eye muscles in the cadavers of six dogs and two wolves. They found dogs have a meaty eye muscle to lift their eyebrows and make puppy dog eyes. But in wolves, the same muscle was stringy or missing.

The scientists also recorded 27 dogs and nine wolves as each stared at a person. Pet pooches frequently and intensely pulled back their eyebrows to make sad expressions, while the wolves rarely made these faces, and never with great intensity.

The researchers believe dogs, over their relatively short 33,000 years of domestication, used this eye muscle to communicate, possibly goading people to feed or care for them — or at least take them out to play. And people, perhaps unwittingly, obliged.

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‘Profound’ implications

Dog experts not involved with the study were impressed.

“The implications are quite profound,” said Brian Hare from Duke University, who edited the article. Hare wrote in an email that these muscles almost certainly developed because they gave dogs an advantage when interacting with people, and people have been unaware of it.

“The proof has been in their puppy dog eyes all this time!” he said.

Scientists, Sad, Puppy
Over thousands of years of dog domestication, people preferred pups that could pull off that appealing, sad look. Pixabay

Evan MacLean at the University of Arizona called the findings fascinating, but cautioned that the muscle difference could be an indirect effect of other changes rather than a specific response to human influence.

Clive Wynne of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University said: “Kudos to the researchers for thinking of a cool way to investigate an important aspect of dogs’ success” with humans.

But he noted in an email that the study has a few snags, particularly the small sampling — only five dog breeds were examined and videos were mainly of Staffordshire bull terriers — and the lack of background information about each animal.

“Did these wolves regularly meet people bearing gifts that might be worth asking for with an endearing face?” he asked.

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Burrows said she planned follow-up studies to examine more breeds. (VOA)