Be M'EYE Valentine

For most people, Valentine’s day means going out for dinner and sitting across from each other…with no third person distractions. This also means the potential for increased eye contact. Looking into another’s eyes can be a very intimate and/or threatening experience. If you’re having trouble in your relationship, the avoidance of eye contact through dinner will reflect the difficulty of looking at the current truths in your relationship. If, on the other hand, you’re relationship is going well, the opportunity to look into your lover’s eyes will be a welcome part of the intensity and intimacy you’re feeling.

Psychologists have studied eye contact for many years. Recent research from Aberdeen University psychologist, Dr. Ben Jones, suggests that people who make eye contact and smile are more likely to be seen as attractive. Dr. Jones’ study involved having subjects look at a series of photographs and rate the attractiveness of the people in them. Men and women in the study were given flash cards to look at with different facial expressions – making eye contact or not and smiling or not. The results showed the people in photos making eye contact and smiling were rated as more attractive.

You can read more here.

What has your Valentine’s Day experience been like? Was the lack of distractions and opportunity for direct eye contact a welcome expereince reassuring you of your love, or a painful reminder of how poorly things are going? Tell us what you think. Leave us a comment!

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Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for information only. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.

Anatomy of Cliques (Episode 140)

clique
cliques

Photo by Karin Vlietstra (via Flickr)

Doctors Brian and Giuseppe talk about the pros and cons of cliques, including:

  • Are all cliques necessarily bad?
  • Why do teenagers join cliques?
  • What happens to kids who spend their time with antisocial friends?
  • What can parents do if their child is rejected by a clique, or if they become connected with an inappropriate group?

Find out what we think this week!

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Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor. Doctors Brian and Giuseppe discussed kids in general in this episode, but every child is unique; your experience may vary from that discussed in this episode.

Play

Do younger dads have healthier kids?

Dr. Mark Weiser from Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine has found in several studies that older men have an increased risk of having children with autism, a lower IQ, or social skills deficits. Interviews with 450,000 Israeli male teens were examined; those whose fathers were 45 years old or older when the boys were born had a 50% greater likelihood of poor social functioning. Dr. Weiser hypothesized that fathers with poor social skills might get married at a later age and then pass social difficulties on to their children. However, the researchers attempted to control for this by studying brothers. It might also be possible that older fathers might have greater access to medical support, resulting in an increase in diagnoses.

The researchers noted that most of the increased risk was related to fathers in their 50s, as the difference in risk between 35 and 45 year-old fathers was extremely small. In fact, even the increased risk remained small; Dr. Weiser suggested that older men shouldn’t change their minds about having kids.

You can read more here.

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Borderline Personality Disorder Caused by Genetic Material on Chromosome 9

DNA by Keith Ramsey

Recent research from the National Institute of Mental Health indicates that “genetic material on chromosome nine was linked to BPD features”. This research, while valuable, is misleading (more on that later). First, what is Borderline Personality Disorder? People who experience BPD are highly emotionally reactive and their moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image and behaviour are very unstable and irratic. Their black and white thinking patterns are reflected in their tendency to idealize others and then become extremely disillusioned with that same person due to acute abandonment fears. Self-harm, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse are some of the typical co-occuring difficulties. According to this new research, “genetic factors play a major role in individual differences of borderline personality disorder features in Western society”. What is not mentioned in the article is the fact that 40 to 71 percent of people diagnosed with BPD have been abused as children. The article also fails to mention that 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are female. While a number of factors may contribute to the development of BPD, the role of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and the fact that it is seen predominantly in women, is neither new or controversial and should be mentioned as part of the BPD context. Not mentioning these long established facts creates a false impression, and a misguided hope for a genetic cure. It also neglects the painful background experiences plaguing people who experience BPD and takes the focus off abuse prevention  and the need to support abuse victims who wish to come forward.

You can read more here and here.

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Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.