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News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Low self-esteem partners can feel vulnerable in their relationship, including feeling insecure about their partner's support and love. In a series of studies, social psychologists in the Netherlands show that people with low self-esteem end up regretting sacrifices they make in relationships because they do not feel appreciated or supported by their partner. The results appear in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science. "Low self-esteem partners desire strong interpersonal connections like everybody else but they are very sensitive to rejection and interpersonal threats," says lead author Francesca Righetti (VU University Amsterdam). "They underestimate how positively they are viewed by their partner and how much their partner loves and cares for them. They also tend to think that others are not there for them, not available to provide support when in need." These doubts can influence mood, stress, and life satisfaction. The researchers tested the idea that when low self-esteem individuals decide to sacrifice personal preferences for their relationship, they come to regret those actions, with further consequences for their wellbeing. 130 couples in the Netherlands participated in the study, first filling out emotional assessments every 2 hours for eight days and a daily dairy at the end of the day, and were then contacted a year later. The couples spoke Dutch, had no children and had been together at least 4 months. Most weren't married. The results showed that low self-esteem is related to greater regret of past sacrifices, which in turn, affects negative mood, stress and life satisfaction. "Further analyses revealed that low self-esteem individuals feel less supported by the partner after they sacrifice which helps explain why they come to regret their sacrifices," says Righetti. Based on their research, the issue isn't how much or how often they sacrifice, "People with low self-esteem sacrifice in their relationship as much as people high in self-esteem," says Righetti. "However, they are more likely to regret those sacrifices and this leads them to experience more negative mood, greater stress and lower life satisfaction, even over time." Righetti's advice, "If you have a low self-esteem partner, try to show much appreciation and gratitude after s/he sacrificed. S/he needs reassurance that you have noticed and appreciated the efforts. If you are low in self-esteem yourself, try not to assume that your partner did not notice what you have done for the relationship. Perhaps, talk together (in a constructive manner!) about what you have done for him/her and what it has entailed for you."


News Article | May 22, 2017
Site: www.sciencenews.org

Smarty-pants have 40 new reasons to thank their parents for their powerful brains. By sifting through the genetics of nearly 80,000 people, researchers have uncovered 40 genes that may make certain people smarter. That brings the total number of suspected “intelligence genes” to 52. Combined, these genetic attributes explain only a very small amount of overall smarts, or lack thereof, researchers write online May 22 in Nature Genetics. But studying these genes, many of which play roles in brain cell development, may ultimately help scientists understand how intelligence is built into brains. Historically, intelligence research has been mired in controversy, says neuroscientist Richard Haier of the University of California, Irvine. Scientists disagreed on whether intelligence could actually be measured and if so, whether genes had anything at all to do with the trait, as opposed to education and other life experiences. But now “we are so many light-years beyond that, as you can see from studies like this,” says Haier. “This is very exciting and very positive news.” The results were possible only because of the gigantic number of people studied, says study coauthor Danielle Posthuma, a geneticist at VU University Amsterdam. She and colleagues combined data from 13 earlier studies on intelligence, some published and some unpublished. Posthuma and her team looked for links between intelligence scores, measured in different ways in the studies, and variations held in the genetic instruction books of 78,308 children and adults. Called a genome-wide association study or GWAS, the method looks for signs that certain quirks in people’s genomes are related to a trait. This technique pointed out particular versions of 22 genes, half of which were not previously known to have a role in intellectual ability. A different technique identified 30 more intelligence genes, only one of which had been previously found. Many of the 40 genes newly linked to intelligence are thought to help with brain cell development. The SHANK3 gene, for instance, helps nerve cells connect to partners. Together, the genetic variants identified in the GWAS account for only about 5 percent of individual differences in intelligence, the authors estimate. That means that the results, if confirmed, would explain only a very small part of why some people are more intelligent than others. The gene versions identified in the paper are “accounting for so little of the variance that they’re not telling us much of anything,” says differential developmental psychologist Wendy Johnson of the University of Edinburgh. Still, knowing more about the genetics of intelligence might ultimately point out ways to enhance the trait, an upgrade that would help people at both the high and low ends of the curve, Haier says. “If we understand what goes wrong in the brain, we might be able to intervene,” he says. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all just a little bit smarter?” Posthuma, however, sees many roadblocks. Beyond ethical and technical concerns, basic brain biology is incredibly intricate. Single genes have many jobs. So changing one gene might have many unanticipated effects. Before scientists could change genes to increase intelligence, they’d need to know everything about the entire process, Posthuma says. Tweaking genetics to boost intelligence “would be very tricky.”


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Low self-esteem partners can feel vulnerable in their relationship, including feeling insecure about their partner's support and love. In a series of studies, social psychologists in the Netherlands show that people with low self-esteem end up regretting sacrifices they make in relationships because they do not feel appreciated or supported by their partner. The results appear in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science. "Low self-esteem partners desire strong interpersonal connections like everybody else but they are very sensitive to rejection and interpersonal threats," says lead author Francesca Righetti (VU University Amsterdam). "They underestimate how positively they are viewed by their partner and how much their partner loves and cares for them. They also tend to think that others are not there for them, not available to provide support when in need." These doubts can influence mood, stress, and life satisfaction. The researchers tested the idea that when low self-esteem individuals decide to sacrifice personal preferences for their relationship, they come to regret those actions, with further consequences for their wellbeing. 130 couples in the Netherlands participated in the study, first filling out emotional assessments every 2 hours for eight days and a daily dairy at the end of the day, and were then contacted a year later. The couples spoke Dutch, had no children and had been together at least 4 months. Most weren't married. The results showed that low self-esteem is related to greater regret of past sacrifices, which in turn, affects negative mood, stress and life satisfaction. "Further analyses revealed that low self-esteem individuals feel less supported by the partner after they sacrifice which helps explain why they come to regret their sacrifices," says Righetti. Based on their research, the issue isn't how much or how often they sacrifice, "People with low self-esteem sacrifice in their relationship as much as people high in self-esteem," says Righetti. "However, they are more likely to regret those sacrifices and this leads them to experience more negative mood, greater stress and lower life satisfaction, even over time." Righetti's advice, "If you have a low self-esteem partner, try to show much appreciation and gratitude after s/he sacrificed. S/he needs reassurance that you have noticed and appreciated the efforts. If you are low in self-esteem yourself, try not to assume that your partner did not notice what you have done for the relationship. Perhaps, talk together (in a constructive manner!) about what you have done for him/her and what it has entailed for you."


Patent
University of Manchester, U.S. National Institute on Aging, University of Cardiff, VU University Amsterdam, Ucl Business Plc and Hospital District Of Helsinki And Uusimaa | Date: 2017-08-09

The present invention relates to methods of assessing whether a subject has or is likely to develop a neurodegenerative disease comprising determining whether the subject has a mutation in the C9orf72 gene wherein said mutation prevents or disrupts C9orf72 expression relative to expression in a reference from subjects without the mutation.


Paulus W.J.,VU University Amsterdam | Tschope C.,Franklin University
Journal of the American College of Cardiology | Year: 2013

Over the past decade, myocardial structure, cardiomyocyte function, and intramyocardial signaling were shown to be specifically altered in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF). A new paradigm for HFPEF development is therefore proposed, which identifies a systemic proinflammatory state induced by comorbidities as the cause of myocardial structural and functional alterations. The new paradigm presumes the following sequence of events in HFPEF: 1) a high prevalence of comorbidities such as overweight/obesity, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and salt-sensitive hypertension induce a systemic proinflammatory state; 2) a systemic proinflammatory state causes coronary microvascular endothelial inflammation; 3) coronary microvascular endothelial inflammation reduces nitric oxide bioavailability, cyclic guanosine monophosphate content, and protein kinase G (PKG) activity in adjacent cardiomyocytes; 4) low PKG activity favors hypertrophy development and increases resting tension because of hypophosphorylation of titin; and 5) both stiff cardiomyocytes and interstitial fibrosis contribute to high diastolic left ventricular (LV) stiffness and heart failure development. The new HFPEF paradigm shifts emphasis from LV afterload excess to coronary microvascular inflammation. This shift is supported by a favorable Laplace relationship in concentric LV hypertrophy and by all cardiac chambers showing similar remodeling and dysfunction. Myocardial remodeling in HFPEF differs from heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, in which remodeling is driven by loss of cardiomyocytes. The new HFPEF paradigm proposes comorbidities, plasma markers of inflammation, or vascular hyperemic responses to be included in diagnostic algorithms and aims at restoring myocardial PKG activity. © 2013 by the American College of Cardiology Foundation.


The pattern of structural brain alterations associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) remains unresolved. This is in part due to small sample sizes of neuroimaging studies resulting in limited statistical power, disease heterogeneity and the complex interactions between clinical characteristics and brain morphology. To address this, we meta-analyzed three-dimensional brain magnetic resonance imaging data from 1728 MDD patients and 7199 controls from 15 research samples worldwide, to identify subcortical brain volumes that robustly discriminate MDD patients from healthy controls. Relative to controls, patients had significantly lower hippocampal volumes (Cohen’s d=−0.14, % difference=−1.24). This effect was driven by patients with recurrent MDD (Cohen’s d=−0.17, % difference=−1.44), and we detected no differences between first episode patients and controls. Age of onset ⩽21 was associated with a smaller hippocampus (Cohen’s d=−0.20, % difference=−1.85) and a trend toward smaller amygdala (Cohen’s d=−0.11, % difference=−1.23) and larger lateral ventricles (Cohen’s d=0.12, % difference=5.11). Symptom severity at study inclusion was not associated with any regional brain volumes. Sample characteristics such as mean age, proportion of antidepressant users and proportion of remitted patients, and methodological characteristics did not significantly moderate alterations in brain volumes in MDD. Samples with a higher proportion of antipsychotic medication users showed larger caudate volumes in MDD patients compared with controls. This currently largest worldwide effort to identify subcortical brain alterations showed robust smaller hippocampal volumes in MDD patients, moderated by age of onset and first episode versus recurrent episode status.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 30 June 2015; doi:10.1038/mp.2015.69. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited


Bouwer L.M.,VU University Amsterdam
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society | Year: 2011

A number of studies were conducted to demonstrate the best way to assess the potential influence of climate change on disaster losses was to analyze future projections in place of historical data. These studies showed that increases in exposure and wealth were the most important drivers for growing disaster losses. Most of these studies also showed that disaster losses remained constant after normalization, including losses from earthquakes They found that increases after normalization did not fully correct for wealth and population increases, or they identified other sources of exposure increases or vulnerability changes or changing environmental conditions. The analysis of these disaster loss studies showed that economic losses from various weather-related natural hazards, such as storms, tropical cyclones, floods, and small-scale weather events had increased around the globe.


Stam C.J.,VU University Amsterdam
Nature Reviews Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Modern network science has revealed fundamental aspects of normal brain-network organization, such as small-world and scale-free patterns, hierarchical modularity, hubs and rich clubs. The next challenge is to use this knowledge to gain a better understanding of brain disease. Recent developments in the application of network science to conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and epilepsy have challenged the classical concept of neurological disorders being either 'local' or 'global', and have pointed to the overload and failure of hubs as a possible final common pathway in neurological disorders. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Romero E.,VU University Amsterdam
Nature Physics | Year: 2014

The crucial step in the conversion of solar to chemical energy in photosynthesis takes place in the reaction centre, where the absorbed excitation energy is converted into a stable charge-separated state by ultrafast electron transfer events. However, the fundamental mechanism responsible for the near-unity quantum efficiency of this process is unknown. Here we elucidate the role of coherence in determining the efficiency of charge separation in the plant photosystem II reaction centre by comprehensively combining experiment (two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy) and theory (Redfield theory). We reveal the presence of electronic coherence between excitons as well as between exciton and charge-transfer states that we argue to be maintained by vibrational modes. Furthermore, we present evidence for the strong correlation between the degree of electronic coherence and efficient and ultrafast charge separation. We propose that this coherent mechanism will inspire the development of new energy technologies.


Gooren L.J.,VU University Amsterdam
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2011

A healthy and successful 40-year-old man finds it increasingly difficult to live as a male. In childhood he preferred playing with girls and recalls feeling that he should have been one. Over time he has come to regard himself more and more as a female personality inhabiting a male body. After much agonizing, he has concluded that only sex reassignment can offer the peace of mind he craves. What would you advise? Copyright © 2011 Massachusetts Medical Society.

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