Tuesday November 20, 2018

Spiritual, Meditative and Religious Retreats likely to have changes in Brain systems associated with Mood and Social Behaviour

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New York, March 26, 2017: Apart from enhancing well-being, people who spend their time on spiritual, meditative and religious retreats are likely to have changes in the brains systems associated with mood and social behaviour, sleep, memory, says a study.

The findings showed that the changes in the dopamine — responsible for mediating cognition, emotion and movement — and serotonin — involved in emotional regulation and mood — systems in the brains may prime the brain for spiritual experiences.

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The post-retreat scans revealed decreases in dopamine transporter (5-8 per cent) and serotonin transporter (6.5 per cent) binding, which could make more of the neurotransmitters available to the brain.

This is associated with positive emotions and spiritual feelings.

“Since serotonin and dopamine are part of the reward and emotional systems of the brain, it helps us understand why these practices result in powerful, positive emotional experiences,” said Andrew Newberg, Director of Research at the Thomas Jefferson University in Pennsylvania, US.

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In the study, post their retreats participants showed marked improvements in their perceived physical health, tension and fatigue.

They also reported increased feelings of self-transcendence which correlated to the change in dopamine binding.

“Our study raises questions about which aspects of the retreat caused the changes in the neurotransmitter systems and if different retreats would produce different results,” Newberg said. (IANS)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)