Thursday, 28 July 2011

Optimism 'Reduces Stroke Risk'

“Being an optimist can cut your risk of stroke,” the Daily Mail has reported today. The newspaper says that looking on the bright side of things can have a direct positive effect on physical health.

The news is based on a large US study which had assessed various aspects of health, lifestyle and outlook in more than 6,000 elderly participants. Researchers then followed them for a two-year period to see how optimism related to their chances of experiencing their first stroke. They performed various calculations to adjust for some of the numerous health and lifestyle factors that could potentially influence the relationship. During the follow-up period, 88 strokes occurred, and the researchers found that a higher optimism score was associated with lower risk of stroke.

However, some caution should be applied when considering these results, particularly as the follow-up period was short: those who went on to develop stroke were likely to have had cardiovascular disease developing at or before the time their optimism was assessed. This means we cannot assume that a person’s outlook caused their disease.

Nevertheless, this large study’s findings are consistent with previous research and commonly held theory that a positive outlook can have beneficial effects on health and wellbeing.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by US researchers from the University of Michigan and was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio, a research fund that supports innovations in healthcare. The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, Stroke. News reports have generally reflected the findings of this research paper.

What kind of research was this?

This was a prospective cohort study which aimed to examine whether higher levels of optimism could be linked to a lower risk of stroke. Optimism has often been linked to positive health outcomes, particularly in cardiovascular disease (for example, in studies assessing people’s attitude after heart attack or heart surgery), but the researchers say that no study has investigated this theory regarding stroke, particularly in the elderly.

What did the research involve?

This research involved participants of The Health and Retirement Study, which is an ongoing, nationally representative study in the US that began in 1992. It has surveyed more than 22,000 Americans aged 50 and over every two years. This current study used psychological and health data collected in 2006 to investigate whether there was an association with the stroke outcomes collected in 2008.

In 2006, half of the study participants received an in-depth assessment with a face-to-face interview. The researchers excluded those who did not complete a psychological questionnaire, those who reported a history of stroke and those with incomplete data. This gave the researchers a final sample of 6,044 participants for inclusion in their study.

Optimism and pessimism were assessed separately, using a modified version of a test called the 6-item Life Orientation Test. The test assessed three items on each disposition, and participants were asked to use a six-point scale to rate their agreement with statements such as “In uncertain times, I usually expect the best”. The total score on the optimism score was from 3-18, with higher scores indicating greater optimism.

The researchers assessed a number of potential confounders that could have an association between both stroke and optimism:

• chronic illness - e.g. cancer, lung disease, mental health problems
• self-rated health - rated using a standard questionnaire called the Short Form 36
• social and demographic data - e.g. ethnicity, marital status, educational attainment
• lifestyle factors - e.g. smoking, alcohol, physical activity
• biological measures - e.g. BMI, blood pressure
• psychological factors - including anxiety, depression, negative mood, cynical hostility, pessimism, neuroticism

Stroke was defined as a first stroke recorded in 2008 – either by a self-reported doctor’s diagnosis if the participant was still alive, or by proxy report from another respondent if the stroke had been fatal. People who had experienced a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) were not classed as having had a stroke. TIAs, often called ‘mini-strokes’, are when the blood supply to the brain is briefly disrupted but symptoms resolve completely within 24 hours. They are usually due to a clot that temporarily blocks a blood vessel but then breaks up. While they do not cause lasting symptoms, they are a warning sign that the person is at risk of having a serious ischaemic stroke.

The researchers examined the relationship between optimism score in 2006 and stroke by 2008 using various models that took into account the numerous potential confounders that they identified.

What were the basic results?

The average age of people assessed was 68.5. Just over half were women. The average optimism score was reported to be 13.57 out of a maximum 18.
During the two-year follow-up, 88 strokes had occurred among the 6,044 participants. Each one-point increase in optimism score (possible range of 3-18) was associated with around a 10% decrease in the odds of experiencing a stroke according to the researchers’ core analysis model. This was a model that adjusted for age, gender, chronic illness and self-reported health (odds ratio [OR] 0.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.85 to 0.98).

When the researchers produced a number of more-extensive models that made full adjustment for potential confounders, it did not affect the significance of the relationship presented by the core model. The researchers had initially looked at four of these extended models. While the first core model only adjusted for age, gender, chronic illness and self-reported health, each subsequent model added adjustments to incorporate data on social and demographic factors, health-related behaviour, biological measures or cardiovascular risk factors.

In particular, the researchers were interested to see whether the association between stroke and optimism was due to an ‘absence of negative psychological factors’, i.e. that the observed reduced risk seen in optimistic people, rather than being due to optimism as a trait in its own right, might reflect a lack of negative psychological traits. To assess, this they conducted a secondary analysis looking at the correlations between optimism and each of the negative psychological factors assessed (e.g. anxiety, negative mood). As expected, they found a negative correlation between them (i.e, the higher the optimism score the lower the negative psychological measure).

The researchers then tested whether these individual negative psychological factors were themselves independently associated with risk of stroke, and found that the odds of stroke were significantly increased if people displayed anxiety, depression, low mood and neuroticism, but not so with cynical hostility and pessimism.

In a sixth and final model they added these negative psychological factors one at a time to a model that featured adjustments for all potential confounders. Again, they found that the relationship between optimism and stroke remained significant. This suggests that optimism is protective against stroke and that the relationship is not simply due to the absence of negative psychological factors.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers conclude that “optimism may play an important role in protecting against stroke among older adults”.


This cohort study aimed to examine whether optimism could have any effect on the risk of stroke, and it examined the relationship in various models adjusting for different health, lifestyle and psychological factors.

Optimism did appear to reduce the risk of stroke, but there are a few considerations to make:

• Though the sample was large, only 88 strokes occurred during follow-up, which is a fairly small sample when looking at how the optimism scores of these people compared to those who did not have a stroke.
• The assessment and follow-up are quite close in time, being only two years apart. Though the participants had no history of stroke at assessment, it is quite possible that the people who went on to develop stroke already had cardiovascular disease at the time the optimism assessment was made. In which case it would not be possible to say that their disposition had caused them to have a stroke if the disease process was already in place.
• The stroke group did not include any people who had experienced a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). While these excluded people have not yet experienced a full stroke, if a person has had a TIA it suggests that they are at high risk of experiencing a stroke and that cardiovascular disease is present. It is arguable that these people are worthy of inclusion in either their own group or as part of the stroke group given the fact that patients experiencing a TIA are likely to progress to having a full stroke in future.
• All health measures were assessed by self-report, which carries some risk of inaccuracy. However, the researchers say that self-reported health measures used in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) have been rigorously assessed and have demonstrated substantial agreement with medical records. They also say that the validity of self-reported stroke as an accurate estimate of stroke incidence has been well-documented.
• In particular, the researchers were concerned that an association between optimism and stroke would be simply due to the absence of negative psychological factors. They therefore analysed anxiety, cynical hostility, depression, negative effect, neuroticism and pessimism as separate confounders. They found that they did not affect the significance of the relationship. However, it is not possible to say from the published journal article how the presence of these factors in the individual had been measured. The paper says that details of these measures are available in the HRS Psychological Manual. This would be useful information to know in order to better see, for example, how examining an association between stroke and optimism score, while adjusting for pessimism, could have been conducted.

Nevertheless, this study’s findings are consistent with previous research and the commonly held theory that a positive outlook can have beneficial effects on health and wellbeing.

ABRAHAM -HICKS: How To Live Successfully

BBC NEWS: Measuring Happiness?

No-one has yet figured out how to measure happiness. But Rosalind Picard, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believes she is close.

Picard says feelings are a combination of two different spectrums - positive to negative and calm to excited.

If you've backed into your neighbour's car you are probably excited-negative. If you just left a yoga retreat, you're likely to be positive-calm.

She has developed and is beginning to commercialise sensors that measure these two dimensions. One, using a computer camera, scans facial features for emotions, from giggles to frowns.

The other relies on wristbands that measure the electrical conductivity of skin, an indicator of emotional arousal. An interesting conversation will generate a spike, as will encountering an obnoxious colleague. Most lectures with PowerPoint slides will lead people to flatline.

Prices for the sensors are still high, but a company Picard co-founded, Affectiva, hopes to make them available to consumers in the next year or two.

Picard says the wrist bands, which she wears constantly, have helped her. She used to get stressed by Boston's terrible drivers - until she saw how high she was spiking when behind the wheel.

by Karen Weintraub

Dr Robert Anthony: Stop Making Excuses...

A question I am asked often is, "What if others want something different than I want and I am involved with them. How does the universe decide which person gets what they want?"

My answer is when you have a vision of something and it feels like other people are shooting it down or they don't want what you want, it is not their shooting it down or what they want that is threatening your manifestation. The problem is that you are letting their vision of your vision disconnect you from your vision.

In other words, you see them as powerful players or as hindering players and you are focused on their hindrance and in doing so you are not in alignment with your vision. Then the pain you feel is not because they are hindering your vision - the pain you are feeling is because you are out of alignment with YOUR vision.

The discomfort you are experiencing is because you are invested in the outcome of your vision. You want it to come to you in the exact way you envision it. Anytime you pick a particular source, person or situation and assign it the task that it will be the vortex by which your dream will be fulfilled, you severely limit yourself.

Instead, all you have to do is hold to your dream with an attitude of appreciation and the universe will satisfy that dream in many more ways than you can imagine. You have so much more potential for your dreams to be satisfied than through that one source. And yet you use your squabble over that as your reason for not being in alignment with your dreams. So you are depriving yourself of the dream coming through that avenue or any other avenue. And all of your frustration and your anger continues to grow because you feel powerless. You are saying, "I want something I feel I can't have and the reason I feel I can't have it is because of what you're doing".

You need to understand that the universe sees you uniquely and separately and will answer your every question, your every desire and your every dream, but you have to stop making excuses and blaming others for why it cannot be fulfilled. (Continued tomorrow...)

Dr Robert Anthony

Monday, 25 July 2011

View the OMG! News report of a recent Feel Good UK 'How To Be Happy' workshop.

6 Years Of 'Failure' (Important Lesson)

I was the most disorganized person in New York.

No joke.

Add to that I was the kind of procrastination, the prince of perfectionism and as inconsistent as they come.

"Mike, share with me one really, really good idea that helped you turn it all around."

Amigo, will do.

First, let me say this.

My head was in the clouds.

Here's what I mean.

I had big financial goals and if the results didn't come fast enough, it was SOMEONE ELSE'S fault.

Not mine.

It was the opportunity. It was the product. It was something. Anything, but me.

It went on for 6 years of struggle. Living paycheck to paycheck and being mocked by people close to me.

I didn't understand something that I'm going to share with you now.

Right now.

***Every level of income demands a different you.***

Let me say that again.

***Every level of income demands a different you.***

It took me 6 years, up till 2001, to 'get a clue'.

Now over the last 10 years, this principle shines as clear as the morning sun.

You can't earn $10,000 a month in a $2,000 mind.

You can't earn $1,000,000 a year in a $25,000 a year mind.

When we push through our limited, lame, sometimes 'generational' thinking, our life can change.


Everyone is looking external.

What changed my life is when I starting looking internal.

Analyzing my thought patterns.

Becoming aware of the areas in my life I really sucked at.

Realizing I needed to make $500 a month in my business before I make $5,000 a month.

Amigo, listen to this.

There's so many levels you can get to in your life that will multiply your happiness, fulfillment, and income. There is.

Work on yourself.

Work on yourself.

Work on yourself.



***Every level of income demands a different you.***

Who do you need to BE to double your happiness?

How do you need to think to double your income?

Who do you need to hang out with to stretch your vision of what's possible for you?

Focus on pushing into and through to your next level.
Not 10 levels above where you're at now. Just the next level.

"I'm powerful."

"I believe in myself."

"I will succeed."

You see, you just said those things about yourself.

Yes, you can do it amigo.

***Every level of income demands a different you.***

Your Coach,

Mike Litman

BBC News: Tall People 'More Likely To Develop Cancer'

By James Gallagher
Health reporter, BBC News

Height is linked to cancers, but the reason why is unknown. Being tall has been linked to a greater risk of 10 common cancers by University of Oxford researchers.

For every four inches (10cm) above five feet a person was, the researchers said they had a 16% increased cancer risk.

The study of more than one million women, published in The Lancet Oncology, suggested chemicals that control growth might also affect tumours.

Cancer Research UK said tall people should not be alarmed by the findings.

The study followed 1.3 million middle-aged women in the UK between 1996 and 2001.

It linked 10 cancers to height - colon, rectal, malignant melanoma, breast, endometrial (uterus), ovarian, kidney, lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukaemia.

Those in the tallest group, over 5ft 9in, were 37% more likely to have developed a tumour than those in the shortest group, under 5ft.

Although the study looked only at women, the researchers said the height link was also present in men.

They combined 10 other research studies which showed a similar link in men.

Reason Unknown

Dr Jane Green, lead researcher and from the University of Oxford, told the BBC: "Obviously height itself cannot affect cancer, but it may be a marker for something else."

Overweight patients may have been told to lose a few inches for the good of their health in the past - this time there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Height, however, is not a universally bad thing. It is believed people are becoming taller due to better nutrition and fewer diseases in childhood.

Being tall has also been linked to reduced rates of heart disease.
It is also not the biggest contributor to cancer. A height link was greatly reduced or eliminated for some cancers in smokers - researchers said the effect of height had been "swamped".

Obesity is also a big factor, a 10 point increase in Body Mass Index increases the risk of breast cancer by around 40%.

Height might one day help doctors screen for cancer risk and it is hoped, that by furthering the understanding of cancers, the study will help researchers discover treatments.

Scientists believe that as there is a link across many cancers there "may be a basic common mechanism".

They think, but have not proved, that growth hormones - such as insulin-like growth factors - may be the explanation.

Higher levels of growth factors could do two things. They could result in more cells - taller people are made of more stuff so there are more cells which could mutate and become tumours. Alternatively, they could increase the rate of cell division and turnover, increasing the risk of cancer.

But as Dr Green admitted: "The point is we don't know."

Cancer Research UK's Sara Hiom said: "Tall people need not be alarmed by these results. Most people are not a lot taller, or shorter, than average, and their height will only have a small effect on their individual cancer risk."

Dr Caitlin Palframan, policy manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: "The big question is why this connection exists. If we can unravel why height affects the risk of cancer it will lead us closer to understanding how some cancers develop."

Cancer Rates

Shortest (under 5ft) - 7.5 cancers per 1,000 women per year
Average (5ft 3in) - 8.3 cancers per 1,000 women per year
Tallest (over 5ft 9in) - 10 cancers per 1,000 women per year

The researchers suggested that height could also have contributed to increasing cancer incidence. In Europe, average height is thought to have increased by around 1cm every decade during the 20th Century.

They argued that the height increase in that time could have resulted in a 10-15% more cancers than if heights had remained the same.


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Placebo Research Discovers Our Mind Is More Powerful Than Drugs

Our mind could be a more active healing force than the drugs we are prescribed, researchers have discovered this week.

Researchers made the discovery when they researched the ‘placebo effect’, a standard procedure in drugs research where the patient is given a ‘sugar pill’ instead of the drug, but is not told what he’s been given. The placebo is supposed to eliminate the possibility of positive thinking, and so any beneficial effect beyond that must be down to the drug itself.

But researchers from Harvard Medical School wanted to know if the placebo effect still worked when the patient knows he is taking a useless sugar pill. To find out, they gave placebo pills to 40 IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) patients, while another 40 were given nothing at all. The placebo group was told the tablets were sugar pills, and even the container had the word ‘placebo’ printed on it.

Yet after three weeks, 59 per cent of the placebo reported a significant improvement in their symptoms compared with 35 per cent of those who were not given the placebo. In other words, nearly double the number who took a placebo improved – and to an extent that was equivalent to that expected from a powerful IBS drug.

Researcher Ted Kaptchuk was baffled by the results, but thinks the placebo effect has more to do with medical ritual than merely positive thinking – even when the brain knows it is being deceived.

(Source: PLoS ONE, 2010; 5: e15591).

Anti-Depressants Double The Risk Of Another Bout Of Depression

People who take an anti-depressant are far more likely to suffer a recurring bout of depression than someone who decides on a non-drug approach.

Taking a drug almost doubles your risk of suffering a relapse, say researchers from McMaster University, after studying a range of studies that monitored the effectiveness of anti-depressants and placebos, or sugar pills, on groups of patients with major depression.

Overall, depressed people who took no drugs or were given a placebo were 25 per cent likely to suffer a further episode in the future, whereas those who took an anti-depressant were 42 per cent more likely.

The researchers believe the drugs interfere with the brain’s self-regulatory processes in coping with depression, and that it over compensates when the drug treatment stops, triggering another depressive episode.

Depression may be a natural and beneficial process as the brain works to cope with stress or loss, the researchers conclude.

(Source: Frontiers in Psychology, 2011; 2; doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00159)
"You are all perfect and expanding; you are all adored and worthy; you are all here having your exposure to experiences and doing the best that you can from where you are. You have not been sent here in a test or trial; you're here as creators as part of an expanding Universe. You can't have it both ways. You can't have, at the root of that which you are, Well-Being, and then have that same root of Well-Being have the capacity to pronounce you evil. It is vibrationally impossible. That judging, vengeful God is manufactured from humans' place of deepest despair."

Abraham Hicks

How does the Universe decide what you get? - Part 1

A question I am asked often is, "What if others want something different than I want and I am involved with them. How does the universe decide which person gets what they want?"

My answer is when you have a vision of something and it feels like other people are shooting it down or they don't want what you want, it is not their shooting it down or what they want that is threatening your manifestation. The problem is that you are letting their vision of your vision disconnect you from your vision.

In other words, you see them as powerful players or as hindering players and you are focused on their hindrance and in doing so you are not in alignment with your vision. Then the pain you feel is not because they are hindering your vision - the pain you are feeling is because you are out of alignment with YOUR vision.

The discomfort you are experiencing is because you are invested in the outcome of your vision. You want it to come to you in the exact way you envision it. Anytime you pick a particular source, person or situation and assign it the task that it will be the vortex by which your dream will be fulfilled, you severely limit yourself.

Instead, all you have to do is hold to your dream with an attitude of appreciation and the universe will satisfy that dream in many more ways than you can imagine. You have so much more potential for your dreams to be satisfied than through that one source. And yet you use your squabble over that as your reason for not being in alignment with your dreams. So you are depriving yourself of the dream coming through that avenue or any other avenue. And all of your frustration and your anger continues to grow because you feel powerless. You are saying, "I want something I feel I can't have and the reason I feel I can't have it is because of what you're doing".

You need to understand that the universe sees you uniquely and separately and will answer your every question, your every desire and your every dream, but you have to stop making excuses and blaming others for why it cannot be fulfilled.

To be continued...

Dr Robert Anthony

Ruby Wax Talks About What It Is Like To Live With Depression

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Survey Says: People Are Happier

The 2008 World Values Survey found that freedom of choice and tolerance — and not simply wealth — have lots to do with a rise in happiness.

Happiness hunters have done it again. They've used an army of pollsters and a mountain of data to uncover the world's happiest countries. But this year, there are some unexpected winners — for unexpected reasons.

The World Values Survey, which has compiled data from 350,000 people in 97 countries since 1981, found Denmark to be home to the planet's most contented citizens (again) with Zimbabwe as the most miserable (again). Classic Scandinavian front-runners like Sweden and Finland were nudged out of the top 10 by Puerto Rico and Colombia. El Salvador placed a surprising 11th, beating out Malta and Luxembourg. Further down the list came the U.S, ranked in 16th place.

Directed by University of Michigan political scientist Ronald Inglehart and administered from Stockholm, the survey found that freedom of choice, gender equality, and increased tolerance are responsible for a considerable rise in overall world happiness. The results shatter the more simplistic and traditionally accepted notion that wealth is the determining factor, says Inglehart.

Methods of Measurement

In 2006, a quite different study was conducted at Britain's University of Leicester that produced a top 10 list with many of the same countries (, 10/11/06).

The British survey compiled data from UNESCO, the CIA, the New Economics Foundation, and the World Health Organization, among others, and concluded that wealth, access to health care, and basic education were the most critical factors in determining happiness. It's no surprise that the list was top-heavy on European countries (, 10/11/06)

(For a full list that compares the 2006 study with rankings of national economic competitiveness and technology savvy, see The World's Most Competitive Countries.)

The World Values Survey, on the other hand, which has been gathering data for 27 years running, aims to measure "subjective well-being" through qualitative measure of peoples' happiness and life satisfaction. It employs just two basic questions, which have never changed: "How would you rate your happiness?" and "How satisfied are you with your life these days?"

Dramatic Mood Shift

This year, the analysts were shocked by their findings. Reported happiness had actually risen in 40 countries and decreased in just 12. Inglehart, who has been involved in this research for 20 years, says the results defied conventional wisdom on the subject of happiness, which has held that levels remain more or less static. "We knew it couldn't happen," he says. "I said to myself, 'Do I dare report this?'"

Inglehart's team figured it needed a better explanation for the data. "Most of the earlier studies, including my own, were based on economic factors, which are something you can simply pull off a bookshelf and look up," he says. "If that's all you look at, then that's all you find."

What the survey found this year is that freedom of choice and social acceptance are the most powerful forces behind national moods. "Money's pretty powerful, but it's not the whole story," says Inglehart, though he maintains that a strong correlation still exists between high standards of living and happiness measures.

It's Not Just About Money

Generally, a rising global sense of freedom in the last quarter-century has eclipsed the contribution of pure economic development to happiness, he says. This is especially evident in developed countries with stable economies, where the freedom of choice gained through wealth has made people happier — not necessarily the wealth itself.

What's more, "there are diminishing returns to economic progress," Inglehart says. In poorer countries, happiness can be linked to solidarity among tight-knit communities, religious conviction, and patriotism, which probably explains the happiness of some relatively poor Latin American countries, he says.

Social tolerance is another important factor in how happy a country rates itself. Over the last quarter-century, growing gender equality and acceptance of minorities and homosexuals has played a major role in those European countries found to be the most content. No. 7-ranked Switzerland, for instance, has elected two women as head of state in the last 10 years, while No. 4-ranked Iceland has recently passed laws guaranteeing virtually all the same rights to gay couples that married couples enjoy. "The less threatened people feel, the more tolerant they are," says Inglehart. Tolerance simply has a rippling effect that makes people happier.

Gratitude Improves Attitude

While Inglehart does not profess to know the true secrets of happiness, he says that this most recent study has made the picture a bit clearer. In his opinion, benevolence and expressions of gratitude appear to be subtle but powerful ways to bring happiness into one's life and to extend it. Religion and solidarity in the community play a big role in this, he says, but any positive belief system can help. "Latin America seems to understand this," he says.

"In the old days I would have told you to work hard and save your money," says Inglehart. "It's different today. I just haven't nailed it down yet."

By Matt Mabe -

They Teach Happiness at Harvard

In Tal Ben-Shahar's positive psychology class, students learn that happiness isn't just an accident, it's a science.

An entire industry has been built up around the pursuit of happiness. A stroll past any bookstore window demonstrates the explosive popularity of the feel-good, self-help movements of recent years. And whether these products are genuine paths to ultimate happiness or just pleasure-peddling scams, the trend seems likely to hold.

Now, even the Ivy League is getting in on the act, layering serious academic research onto the pop-psychology phenomenon to develop a "science of happiness." Known as "positive psychology," the field was pioneered at the University of Pennsylvania and came to Harvard a decade ago when an elective course on the topic was first taught.

Why Students Flock to Class

Since then, Positive Psychology has become the most popular undergraduate course at Harvard, eclipsing the previous longtime title holder, Introduction to Economics. The success of the course, which focuses on the psychological aspects of a fulfilling and flourishing life, indicates a growing desire by young people to make their lives more meaningful, says Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard psychologist who has taught the class since 2004.

"Students are attracted to this kind of class because they feel that it's making a real difference in their lives," says Ben-Shahar, whose charismatic personality and compelling lectures helped drive explosive growth in enrollment after he began teaching the course. Ben-Shahar says the quest for happiness has always been an innate human yearning, dating back to the times of Confucius and Aristotle. "The difference today is that for the first time we have a science of happiness."

To be sure, the course has its doubters. James Coyne, a psychologist and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says that Harvard's class and others like it offer little more to increase happiness than does a motivational speaker on a lecture circuit. The sense of euphoric bliss after a compelling presentation is natural, he says, but rarely lasts. "People always readjust to their baseline and go back to normal," says Coyne.

But the point of Positive Psychology is to combine the fun of popular psychology with academic rigor. The course's syllabus reads like a 12-step recovery program with lesson titles such as "Can We Change?" "Setting Goals," "Relationships," and "Self-Esteem." But the list of course readings dispels any notion that the class is what Harvard students call a "gut," or easy credit. Articles, essays, and research reports from vaunted science publications like the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy and Psychology Today are juxtaposed with Ben-Shahar's own book on the subject, Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment.

Despite the heavy workload, the popularity of Positive Psychology has soared. In 2006, more than 850 students filed into the auditorium for the semester's first lesson, up from just 20 in 1999 when the course was launched. Many credit the class's success to Ben-Shahar himself, whose on-campus popularity coupled with media attention has made him a quasi-celebrity in the field of psychology. (He even appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2007.) But Ben-Shahar insists it's the science that is the real draw.

A Skeptic's Conversion

Elizabeth Johnston, who was in Ben-Shahar's section in 2004, began the course with skepticism. "I was one of the naysayers," she recalls. "I said this is crazy, I can't believe this; I want a real psychology class." But as the semester progressed, Johnston says she became a believer. She was fascinated partly by the course literature and message, and partly by Ben-Shahar's colorful personal anecdotes, which she says were inspirational.

Before taking Positive Psychology, Johnston was obsessed with grades and focused completely on her future. She says the class taught her to enjoy living for the moment and to express gratitude more openly, among other things. "A lot of people think positive psychology means walking around with a smile on your face," says Johnston, who went on to earn a master's degree in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's not that. It's learning to take the good with the bad and learning to make the most of your life."

The phenomenon of positive psychology appears to be catching on. Today, more than 200 courses on the subject are taught across the U.S. and Ben-Shahar has given seminars about it as far away as China. "The role of a university is ultimately to improve the quality of people's lives," he says, adding that that is precisely what positive psychology is intended to do.

By Matt Mabe - a reporter in BusinessWeek's Paris bureau.

Abraham-Hicks: On Television, The Media And The Law Of Attraction

Dr Robert Anthony: Are You Worried About Money?

Life is here to serve you, not put obstacles in your way.

Everything you desire will show up or not show up in response to your vibration. And if something else shows itself to you that you prefer, life can give you that too. You're calling your own shots.

The key is to feel good no matter what. Tell the story the way you want it to be.

Sometimes we worry because what we want requires so much of our attention or so much is happening in our lives that it is hard to hold a stable position - but you can. Just keep telling yourself, "I am in charge here. I am in charge of my life. I am in charge of what comes. And more importantly, I am in charge of how I FEEL."

When it comes to money, the reason most people want a lot of it is because of fear (which dams up the stream). There is nothing wrong with having money, but the big mistake is asking for the security that comes from promises of others. You want your security to come through your awareness of knowing how the laws of the universe work. You know how to focus on what you desire and you know how this focus will always bring you the good things in life, including money.

Don't try to see so far down the road. Don't demand that promises be made by others to give you the security you need. This is the thing that makes the difference between someone who can stand in an attitude of belief and trust and someone who cannot.

You have a lot of evidence in your life that supports the power of your focus. Don't try to figure it all out at once. Just feel more appreciation for what you have already and more will come to you.

Here is one of my favorite affirmations. Use this every time you feel you need to know the outcome of any situation.

"I figure it out as I go. I don't need to know, I figure it out as I go".

With that affirmation, say to yourself, "The universe is yielding to me. Good things are lined up for me. All good things come to me. There is not a reason in the world for me to worry.
When I worry it is nothing more than old patterns of thought that have nothing to do with my ability to create what I desire. I have nothing to worry about. Everything comes to me at the right time in the right way. I figure it out as I go. I don't need to know, I figure it out as I go".

Abraham Hicks: The Solution To Every Life Problem = Get Happy!

Is life really this simple?

Happy People Don’t Get Heart Disease

Accentuating the positive can help you live longer.

People who are generally happy and satisfied with their lives are far less likely to develop heart disease – and the happier you are, the lower the risk goes.

The effect is so significant – people satisfied with their lives are 13 per cent less likely to develop coronary heart disease – that the researchers believe it is an approach that has genuine therapeutic value.

It could be especially effective in people who are currently at greater risk of heart disease, because of their weight, diet or lifestyle.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health assessed the happiness of around 8000 British civil servants, who were measured for their levels of satisfaction on their job, family life, sex life and themselves.

(Source: European Heart Journal, 2011; doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehr203).


Be My Valentine: How Love Can Protect You Against Heart Disease

Here’s a good message for everyone on Valentine’s Day: feeling loved can be one of the best protections against coronary heart disease. It even works if you have a health problem, or if you’re depressed.

Scientists discovered the importance of love when they tracked the health of 6,025 men and women without heart disease for 15 years. Overall, 1,141 participants developed heart disease over the lifetime of the study, but those who had a positive outlook, and who were in a loving relationship, reduced their risk considerably.

The researchers assumed that the effect was due to the possibility that people with a positive outlook might adopt good health habits, but the same protective qualities were enjoyed even by those who did little to maintain a good health regime.
So – Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all!

(Source: Archives of General Psychiatry, 2007; 64: 1393-1401).

A Positive Outlook Really Does Help You Live Longer And Healthier

A positive outlook doesn’t just make you feel better – it has a profound influence on your body, your health and your longevity, researchers have discovered.

Positive thoughts create more telomerase, an enzyme that help maintain the long-term health of the cells in our body. Cells die when levels of the enzyme are too low.

Meditation is one technique for achieving an immediate change in our mood and thoughts – and increase telomerase activity, say researchers from the University of California at San Francisco.

They tested 30 participants at a meditation retreat at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, who were taught Buddhist meditation techniques, and compared them with 30 similar controls, who did not meditate.

(Source: Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2010; doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen,2010.09.010).

Abraham Hicks says just get happy, happy, happy!

BBC News: Mum's Stress Is Passed To Baby In The Womb

A mother's stress can spread to her baby in the womb and may cause a lasting effect, German researchers propose.

They have seen that a receptor for stress hormones appears to undergo a biological change in the unborn child if the mother is highly stressed, for example, because of a violent partner.
And this change may leave the child less able to handle stress themselves.

It has already been linked to mental illness and behavioural problems.

The findings, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, are based on a small study of 25 women and their children, now aged between 10 and 19.

And the researchers point out that the women involved in the study had exceptional home circumstances and that most pregnant women would not be exposed to such levels of stress day in and day out.

Furthermore, the researchers say the findings are not conclusive - many other factors, including the child's social environment while growing up, might be involved.

But they suspect it is the child's earliest environment, the womb, that is key. For their study, they looked at the genes of the mums and the adolescents to find any unusual patterns. Some of the teens had changes to one particular gene - the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) - that helps regulate the body's hormonal response to stress.

Such genetic alterations typically happen while the baby is still developing in the womb.
And the scientists believe they are triggered by the mum-to-be's poor state of emotional wellbeing at the time of the pregnancy.

Sensitive Window

In the study, these mums had been living with the constant threat of violence from their husband or partner. And it would appear this continued stress took its toll on the pregnancy. When the babies were followed up one to two decades later as adolescents, they had changes in the genetics of their GR that other teenagers did not.

This "methylation" of GR appears to make the individual more tuned in or sensitised to stress, meaning that they will react to it quicker both mentally and hormonally.

As people, they tend to be more impulsive and may struggle with their emotions, explain the researchers, who carried out detailed interviews with the adolescents.

Professor Thomas Elbert, one of the lead researchers at the University of Konstanz, said: "It would appear that babies who get signals from their mum that they are being born into a dangerous world are faster responders. They have a lower threshold for stress and seem to be more sensitive to it."

The investigators now plan to carry out more detailed investigations following larger numbers of mothers and children to see if they can confirm their suspicions.

Dr Carmine Pariante, an expert in the psychology of stress at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, said: "This paper confirms that the early foundation years start at minus nine months."

He added: "Pregnancy is uniquely sensitive to a challenging maternal psychosocial environment - much more than, for example, after the baby is born. As we and others have been advocating, addressing maternal stress and depression in pregnancy is a clinically and socially, important strategy."


An audio on babies in the womb from Abraham-Hicks.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

"It is very difficult to understand what anybody else's experience is. There aren't enough words to really understand what anybody else is living. Physical beings want things to be the same. They want people to think the same. You work rather hard at sameness, but you will never win that battle because, from Nonphysical, diversity is known to be the most beneficial part of the game." - Abraham

Excerpted from the workshop in Maui, HI on Sunday, December 14th, 1997

Abraham-Hicks: Why Stray From Your Well Being?

A powerful audio from Abraham-Hicks.

Dr Robert Anthony: The thought that feels best...

In every moment you have the opportunity to choose what you focus your attention on. To start deliberately creating the life you desire right now, I want you to focus on one thing and that is always choosing the thought that feels best!

Try it - you'll be amazed!

Truly Caring for Your Success!

Dr. Robert Anthony

Monday, 11 July 2011

Think Like Superman!

I want you to start thinking like you are Superman.

Sound Crazy?

It's powerful. Here's why...

It's based in quantum physics science.

It will change your life.

Read on.....

If there was any person real or fictional whose
qualities you could instantly possess, who would that
person be?

I would like to put forth the proposition that
"Superman" would be the perfect person.

Now you are probably thinking I have lost it right?

Read on, I think you will like what you are about to

Superman is a fictional Action comic book superhero
widely considered to be one of the most famous and
popular of such characters and an American cultural

He is indestructible, the man of steel, he can stop a
freight train in its tracks....great powers to have in
this day and age, wouldn't you say?

This is where it gets fun.

(For all my female subscribers don't worry we have not
left you out. There is also a female version of comic
book Superman, named Supergirl she has the same powers
that Superman has, you will refer to her as you do this
mental exercise.)

This is where you will learn about the
scientific marvels of the human body.

First let's look at the qualities that
Superman/Supergirl possess, that you want to make
yours. I will refer to Superman for the rest of this
article, just replace with "Supergirl" if you are of
the female gender.

1. Superman is powerful.
2. Superman is virtually indestructible
3. Superman can stop bullets.
4. Superman has supernatural powers.
5. Superman can stop a speeding freight train.
6. Superman jumps into immediate action when troubles

OK, we know that Superman has incredible supernatural
powers, how can that help us?

What good will it do us to simply think we are

Here is where science comes in.....this is the part
where you will be AMAZED when you learn about the
supernatural powers "YOU" already possess!

Best-Selling author and M.D. Dr. Deepak Chopra tells us
that our brains make certain chemicals called Neuro
Peptides . These are literally the molecules of
emotion. (Fear, Joy, Love, Etc.)

These molecules of emotion are not contained in your
brain only, they actually circulate throughout your
entire body.

Your immune cells which are protecting you from
diseases like infection and cancer, and many other
illnesses are also contained throughout your body.

Deepak tells us that the amazing part about of these
cells of emotion and immune system support is that they
are intelligent cells.

They are thinking cells!

He also tells us that these immune cells which are
protecting you from disease are constantly
eavesdropping on the conversation that you are having
with yourself.

...Your self-talk.

They listen in and adjust their behavior based on what
they hear from you....their master.

So imagine what would happen if you started to think
like Superman.

Here are some of the thoughts you might have during the

" I am indestructible"

" The challenges I face day to day are easily overcome,
after all I am Superman/Supergirl"

" I have supernatural powers."

" I have incredible strength."

"Nothing can stop me.....nothing."

The billions of thinking cells in your body listen.

Their mission is to complete the picture of you they
see when they hear yourself talk.

They must obey.

Since you are "Superman" you cannot get sick.
Your immune system cells are now fortifying themselves
to make sure of that.

They are making you stronger everyday!

You have the ability to fight off all attacks,
physical, disease, illness, etc.

Superman is confident, your cells of emotion relating
to confidence will now create more Neuro Peptide
chemicals that promote feelings of power.

Superman is fearless so your cells of the emotion
relating to fear will now create more Neuro Peptide
chemicals that promote feelings of well being...

A feeling that you fear nothing.

From Daily Success Update

Dr Robert Anthony: The Solution Exists To Every Problems

I want to help you understand that every question has an answer, every problem has a solution and every answer and solution is right at your fingertips if you will just BE solution oriented and answer oriented rather than focusing on the problem. If you are solution oriented, everything that is not working right in your life would begin coming into alignment.

You have this long list of problems or a long list of what you want to be different and I want you to understand that the universe is all lined up orchestrating and standing by, ready to do anything and everything you want PROVIDED you are a vibrational match to it.

But you have to clean up your vibration - which means simply you have to focus on what you desire and where you are going. You have to tell the story of your life the way you want it to be and not the way it is. Forget about "WHAT IS". Stop looking for sympathy and for people to agree with you. When you turn your list of desires over to other people and want them to become the vortex by which your desires come to you, that's when the trouble begins.

Do not give your power over to other people in an effort to bring you what you desire. Give your list to the Universe because it will get it for you EVERY SINGLE TIME.

You get to decide how far you want to reach beyond "WHAT IS". You have so much power because you come with the non-physical energy that is moving downstream in such a powerful way. The problem is most of the time you are trying to go way downstream with a net and gather up all the good stuff and bring it all into your life right now with the attitude, "if I don't go get it all now it will get away from me".

But the truth is it won't get away from you. It will keep reappearing and reappearing because it is a never-ending stream.

Your ship won't come in and have you miss it, or you won't take one ship and miss another one. You can take any ride you want and in the middle of that ride you can keep asking for more. There is nothing you cannot have if you flow WITH the stream and don't try to dam it up out of fear. There is no need to build a dam because the Flow never stops.

Only You Can Cure Yourself - by Ann Lawson, UK

Mental illness has an extremely poor image. It’s been called the last taboo. Unfortunately those who suffer or have suffered from being diagnosed with a mental illness tend to be dragged down by this image. Once you have been diagnosed or initially admitted to an institution for treatment, it is almost impossible to escape the stigmatization which automatically follows. Nor is it only those on the outside of the caring professions who carry these prejudices. Blind ignorance is also rife within psychiatry. There is currently a research article which connects schizophrenia to the incidence of being cross-eyed or being born in a month with particularly intemperate weather. It seems we have progressed little from when entrails were read in Ancient Rome to anticipate events. The fact is no one has a clue about what causes schizophrenia, although as with most things these days a genetic cause is being sought, so far with little success. The most widely held theory for nearly all kinds of mental illness is it is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.

I find this fascinating since no patient these days avoids the use of chemicals from first diagnosis, often till death. So how do psychiatrists' determine that there is a chemical imbalance when the brains of mental patients have been bombarded with powerful chemicals from the beginning? What is even more disturbing about this theory is that if the drugs themselves have caused this imbalance, is that not good reason for stopping them?

Psychiatric drugs do not in any way cure the patient or even make him or her feel better. The side effects are appalling. They include the onset of neurological disorders. They include diabetes due to weight gain and innumerable minor and not so minor discomforts. It is seldom claimed that the drugs are therapeutic: they merely mask symptoms - symptoms which probably were less troubling than the effects of the drugs. The drugs do this by crudely interfering with the normal chemical makeup of the brain, making thought processes difficult and sleep (or unconsciousness that appears to be sleep) hard to avoid. Did you ever wonder why mental patients are like zombies? Well, there’s your answer. Psychiatric drugs are making them feel ill and cause them to see the world with only half a brain. Drugs are the current historical sequel to long term institutionalization and chains - and lobotomy. Basically psychiatry is a violent and intrusive way of controlling people who do not conform to other people's expectations - or those who are vulnerable. Remember that treatment is not voluntary once force is used. Mental patients do not have meaningful civil rights. In the UK, often they are not even allowed to vote. In "hospitals," "medication" is routinely administered by force if the patient refuses or is "non-compliant". Mental patients have no right to privacy even when living in the community: "Health" workers may go round neighbors asking about the "patient's" behavior, among other ploys. Medication is usually administered for a lifetime. There is no way anyone ever gets ‘better’ on psychiatric drugs. Being ‘mentally ill’ is a social status, not a medical condition. And the hospitals are merely prisons.

Why has psychiatry not been abandoned, since it is based on overt ignorance and involves obvious abuse? Why does the myth of mental illness persist?

Of course, we all suffer from time to time - usually depression resulting from life experience. There are various strategies which can be used to lift ones spirits and improve one’s health. They include exercise and diet. However the idea of the mentally ill as a category of persons distinct from the rest of the human race continues. I think this happens partly because of vested interests: the companies that market the drugs, which are the current treatment, make vast profits exceeded only by share prices for Internet companies. It is in the interest of these drug companies and their shareholders, which include many doctors, that psychiatry widen its net, constantly bringing more and more people into the sphere of those who are forced to ingest psychiatric drugs for the rest of their lives. Their motives and their lack of a sense of social responsibility are like those of the tobacco companies.

A drug has recently been developed which makes people less shy. Suddenly a new illness, a new diagnosis, was created to make use of this drug: "social phobia." Now people are being diagnosed with this and - surprise! surprise! - are prescribed this new drug. The need to sell this drug and make a profit actually created the diagnosis! Tobacco companies do not need to force their customers to smoke since tobacco is highly addictive. Most people find psychiatric drugs almost intolerable. So drug advocates create such fear and paranoia concerning mentally ill people (who are statistically considerably less dangerous to others than the general population) that a hysterical policy of containment and pharmacological control of mental patients is adopted and enforced.

Some researchers search for the causes of mental illness, particularly schizophrenia, ad infinitum. Science is no where nearer to understanding it than when it was first defined. Based on considerable experience and with great confidence, I argue that the whole course of this "illness" is created by the way it is "treated." It is the confinement, the stigmatization, the ignorance, the physical and emotional abuse, the drugs, the prejudice of employers and consequent poverty, and the overbearing attitude of psychiatrists and others that cause this "illness." For most people, mental illness has a career path from which there is no escape. There is a vast industry profiting financially from the abject misery of mental patients whose problems are exacerbated by an effort to create hysteria, thereby making them outcasts. This makes sense of the otherwise cruel and senseless profession of psychiatry. The mentally ill are an essential part of what supports a very profitable psychiatric drug manufacturing industry. And psychiatry maintains the status quo by drugging into oblivion those who challenge it.

I’m not saying there are not vulnerable individuals, individuals with problems, and unhappy people - even people who are not healthy. But I am saying that conventional western psychiatry does not even attempt to cure them but simply to contain them and perpetuate them as "patients." Secondly, western psychiatry often creates problems, such as in the case of schizophrenia, where there were none before, by its attitude and it's "treatment." The widening grip of psychiatry also has been at the expense of less intrusive, more friendly and wholesome approaches to helping mentally or emotionally troubled people. What might be a temporary problem due to some minor upset or even a mistaken diagnosis, psychiatry can and usually does convert into a dramatic condition which requires a lifetime of treatment. This damages the individual to the core of his being. The mentally ill are not more dangerous than anyone else despite the way they are mistreated. Paranoid schizophrenia is a logical response to psychiatric treatment and not the result of some unfortunate genetic modification. Any fool should be able to understand this, but try explaining it to a psychiatrist! It makes more sense to them what the temperature was outside when you were born. Who is mad here - psychiatry's patients or its defenders?


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Abraham-Hicks: The Power Of Deep Breathing

Abraham Hicks: Healing Traumas From The Past

BBC NEWS: Mobile Phones 'Unlikely' To Cause Cancer

Mounting evidence suggests there is no link between mobile phones and brain cancer, according to a review by the Institute of Cancer Research.

It stated that despite near universal mobile phone use, there had been no jump in the number of tumours.

Its report, in Environmental Health Perspectives, also identified flaws in many studies investigating a link.

A few weeks ago the World Health Organization said mobiles were "possibly carcinogenic".

The decision by the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) put mobile phones in the same category as coffee, in which a link could not be ruled out, but it could not be proved either.

Heavy Users

One of the biggest studies into a link was Interphone, a comparison of 2,708 patients with a brain tumour (glioma) with a similar number of people without.

The study concluded that mobile phone users were less likely to get brain tumours, but heavy users had an increased risk.

Professor Anthony Swerdlow, from the Institute of Cancer Research, said there was a risk of bias when patients with brain tumours answered questionnaires about their phone use.

Ten patients in the study said they were on the phone for more than 12 hours per day.

He added that in the space of 20 years, mobile phone use had gone from being rare to 4.6 billion users worldwide.

Yet evidence from many Western countries showed "no indication of increases in brain tumour incidence".

Professor Swerdlow said: "The trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumours in adults."

Childhood Exposure

The report admits that there is still some uncertainty.

“Continued research is needed... but the news so far is good”
Professor David Coggon - University of Southampton

Studies have looked at a link associated with 10 to 15 years of mobile phone use and it remains a possibility that longer exposure could cause cancer.

However, Professor Swerdlow argues that if studies looking at longer exposure produce similar results, then a link will become "increasingly implausible".

He adds that "there is far less evidence of the effect of childhood exposure, but there is no reason to believe it causes tumours".

Cancer Research UK's Dr Joanna Owens said: "Although these researchers admit that we can't entirely rule out the idea of a link between mobile phones and brain cancer, they remind us that in most of the research, including their large international study, mobile phone users don't seem to be at increased risk.

"We don't yet have data on very long-term use of mobile phones, or for the effects on cancer risk in children, so it is probably wise to encourage children to limit their mobile phone call time."

Professor David Coggon, University of Southampton, said: "This is a carefully considered review, and the conclusions are justified.

"Mobile phones appear not to cause brain cancer in the first 10-15 years after people start using them.

"Continued research is needed in case there are harmful effects in the longer term, but the news so far is good."


Friday, 1 July 2011

Abraham Hicks: We Are All The God Energy

Abraham Hicks On Weight Loss

An interesting audio revealing the root cause of obesity is self hatred. It is not about the eating of wrong foods (which is a negative perspective).

Abraham Hicks: On Smoking

Listen to this (some would say) controversial audio about smoking.

BBC NEWS: Sleeping Longer 'Helps Athletes Reach Peak Performance'

The value of sleep has been reinforced by yet another scientific study.

Research published in the journal Sleep suggests that sleeping longer can markedly improve physical performance.

When Stanford University's male basketball team was asked to sleep for 10 hours a night for around six weeks, their shooting accuracy improved by 9%.

The study at the US university found that getting enough sleep and rest was as important as training and diet for elite athletes.

Cheri Mah, researcher at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory, who worked with the basketball players, said that sleep was often overlooked.

"Intuitively many players and coaches know that rest and sleep are important, but it is often the first to be sacrificed," she said.

The researchers asked the players to maintain their normal night-time schedule (sleeping for six to nine hours) for two-to-four weeks and then aim to sleep 10 hours each night for the next five-to-seven weeks.

“Many athletes testified that a focus on sleep was beneficial to their training and performance.” Cheri Mah - Stanford University

During the study period, players stopped drinking coffee and alcohol. They were also asked to take daytime naps when travel prevented them from getting 10 hours of night-time sleep.

The study found that the players ran faster timed sprints (16.2 seconds at the start of the study compared with 15.5 seconds at the end), their shooting accuracy improved by 9% and their fatigue levels decreased.

The athletes also reported improved performance during competitive basketball games.

The findings suggest that it is important for sleep to be prioritised over a long period of time, not just the night before match-day, Mah says.

Sleep debt

She called optimal sleep an "unrecognised, but likely critical factor in reaching peak performance".

She said the findings may be applicable to recreational athletes as well as those performing at school or at a higher level.

Before the study began, Mah and colleagues also discovered that many of the athletes felt sleepy during the day.

This indicated that they were carrying sleep debt accumulated from chronic sleep loss, she said.

"The athletes were unaware that it could be negatively impacting their performance.

"But as the season wore on and they reduced their sleep debt, many athletes testified that a focus on sleep was beneficial to their training and performance."

Derk-Jan Dijk, professor of sleep and physiology at the University of Surrey, said we should look at sleep in the same way as exercise.

"We should look at sleep as an active process. Getting enough sleep is a positive thing which will help you perform in all aspects of life.

"It may be that extra sleep leads to more effective training routines and helps us learn patterns better. Practice makes perfect - and that happens more quickly if you get enough sleep."


BBC NEWS: Babies Can 'Hear' Emotion As Early As Three Months Old

Babies can respond to emotions in a human voice at just three months old - earlier than previously thought - researchers believe.

The results of scans on 21 sleeping babies suggested the brain responded to the type of sounds being played.

Researchers said it had previously been unclear when human brains developed the ability to process voices and emotions.

Scientists hope to learn the difference between the way autistic and non-autisitc brains develop as a result.

They used functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI) to record how babies responded to tapes playing "emotional sounds", such as laughing and crying, as well as background noises, like water or toys.

A part of the brain - the temporal cortex - was activated when human voices were played - the same region as in adults.

'Advance in understanding'

The limbic brain region responded strongly to negative or sad sounds, but did not differentiate between neutral and happy sounds.

Professor Declan Murphy, from King's College London, said: "This discovery fundamentally advances our understanding of infant development."

Dr Evelyne Mercure, of University College London, said: "It is a rare demonstration that specialised areas exist in the brain very early in development."

The researchers hope the study will allow them to compare what happens in autistic and non-autistic brains.

Professor Murphy told the BBC: "By identifying when brain systems come on stream, we can understand where it goes wrong."

The researchers are also scanning the brains of babies thought to be at risk of developing autism, such as those who have a sibling with the condition.

They are investigating when differences can be detected.