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The Politics of Fear -- ScienceNOW

Science & Tech  (tags: politics, usa, left, right, republican, democrat, iraq, war, fear, abortion, immigration, gay rights, capital punishment, school prayer, psychology, research, attitudes )

- 3957 days ago -
Why do people have the attitudes they do toward social issues such as welfare, abortion, immigration, gay rights, school prayer, and capital punishment? The conventional explanations have to do with their economic circumstances, families, friends, and


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Ceci Blaugrane (563)
Saturday September 20, 2008, 12:56 pm
I think this is basic psychology... People who are easily scared want to restrict things, want more severe punishment, fear a society that has several, different values, are scared of multi-culturalism. They are control freaks and wanting to have guns to protect themselves is only one part of their politics of fear. They are afraid of the freedom to choose.

Richelle R (62)
Saturday September 20, 2008, 7:58 pm
I respect psychology. I majored in psychology. But what about just being pissed off because something doesn't seem fair?

Thelma Sumpter (30)
Saturday September 20, 2008, 9:19 pm
noted..very interesting..Cissy

Judy C (83)
Sunday September 21, 2008, 9:53 am
An exagerated startle response is often due to a magnesium deficiency. I think there are just too many variables to make a judgment on this one.

"Magnesium is a must. The diets of all Americans are likely to be deficient........Even a mild deficiency causes sensitiveness to noise, nervousness, irritability, mental depression, confusion, twitching, trembling, apprehension, insomnia, muscle weakness and cramps in the toes, feet, legs, or fingers."

Adelle Davis, writing in Let's Have Healthy Children

Ceci Blaugrane (563)
Sunday September 21, 2008, 10:04 am
I don't think this has anything to do with magnesium... The Science magazine is an excellent one, it's a magazine that only published Nobel-level research, so I really do think this has got anything whatsoever to do with deficiencies.. except for the intellectual / psychological kind, maybe...

Judy C (83)
Sunday September 21, 2008, 10:19 am
You overlook the mind-body connection as if the brain is autonomous. How well your brain works and what it does, is a mixture of genetics and environment.

While there probably is a genetic component to how fearful a person is, it most likely based on complex biochemical factors. We know that individual needs can vary greatly within litters of research animals bred to be as uniform as possible. Can you imagine how diverse the human population is?

We know that needs for certain nutrients, like B6 which depends on magnesium as a co-factor, can be exaggerated in certain families. Psychologists can only work at a comparatively shallow level of investigation. There are many factors involved in personality and biochemical factors, either genetic or environmental, play a big part in how we act.

Ceci Blaugrane (563)
Sunday September 21, 2008, 10:24 am
Judy, it's not me who's overlooking anything... According to you, it's these scientists... Douglas R. Oxley, Kevin B. Smith, John R. Alford, Matthew V. Hibbing, Jennifer L. Miller, Mario Scalora, Peter K. Hatemi, and John R. Hibbing. It would be interesting to know what level of a scientist you are. Do you have any credentials or published works? If you're convinced of your magnesium theory being the correct one, why not email the Science magazine? I'm sure they'd appreciate your input.

Judy C (83)
Sunday September 21, 2008, 11:08 am
I'm not at odds with their findings and I don't "have a theory" I'm just elaborating on their findings. One of the genetic differences is how much B6/magnesium different groups need.
Magnesium is involved in the startle response.

They are just starting their investigation into the question having found a link between genetic predisposition and politics.

"These findings are extremely important," says political scientist James Fowler at the University of California, San Diego, who has been doing research linking certain gene variations to political activity. "In essence, the authors have filled in a 'missing link' between genes and brains on the one hand and psychological personalities and political attitudes on the other." He adds that the subject pool is limited to "a handful of white subjects from Nebraska, ... but many great ideas start with a simple test."

Ceci Blaugrane (563)
Sunday September 21, 2008, 11:13 am
So do you mean that right-wing conservatives have a magnesium deficiency? Hmmm... Interesting! Again, I state that the Science magazine is one of the best in the world, and one of the most respected. They do not publish research that has no basis in truth and that's not backed up scientific data.

Judy C (83)
Sunday September 21, 2008, 12:33 pm
Conservative people may a a genetic requirement for more magnesium than food and water deliver.

There is nothing wrong with the research. It pinpoints something worthy of more investigation, but probably more in the realm of genetics and biochemistry than behavioral psychology, that's all.

Anxiety and Psychiatric Disorders

Magnesium deficiency causes increased levels of adrenaline, which can lead to a feeling of anxiety. Rats who become magnesium deficient have an increased level of urinary catecholamine excretion (a by-product of adrenaline).

People who have mitral valve prolapse have also been found to have an increased state of anxiety and have an increased level of urinary catecholamine excretion, the exact same condition found in rats who are Mg deficient.

It is not surprising then, to find that people with mitral valve prolapse are usually low in magnesium, and that magnesium supplementation alleviates the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse and reduces the level of urinary catecholamine excretion, i.e. it also reduces the anxiety symptoms.

Researchers in Spain found a correlation between anxiety disorders and hypermobility. In fact, they found that patients with anxiety disorder were over 16 times more likely than control subjects to have joint laxity. If you put the study results together, then there's a link between anxiety and hypermobility, a link between anxiety and mitral valve prolapse, and a link between mitral valve prolapse and hypermobility.

These studies tell us that anxiety disorders occur in many people who simply have mitral valve prolapse and/or joint hypermobility, meaning anxiety disorders are not specific to EDS or any particular connective tissue disorder. Marfans also have mitral valve prolapse and joint hypermobility which would lead one to conjecture that they, too, have anxiety related disorders. As it turns out, a connection between Marfans and anxiety related disorders has been noted.

A study in Bulgaria also found magnesium abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia and depression. The authors thought the schizophrenia and depression caused the magnesium deficiencies, but I disagree that that was necessarily the case. When you look at this study within the context of all the other studies mentioned in this section, it is more likely that the magnesium abnormalities caused the mental illness. (There are quite a few studies on magnesium and mental illness on Medline. I just included a few to highlight my points.)

In a study from England, there was a strong association for more disturbed and excitable patients to have abnormal (either high or low) Mg levels. The authors thought that the patients who seemed most disturbed may have some abnormality of magnesium metabolism.

To read up on the link between cholesterol levels and anxiety and depression, see my web page on low cholesterol levels.

For more on this topic, see my section on Anxiety and Depression - overlooked nutritional causes.

low beng kiat (128)
Sunday June 27, 2010, 9:11 pm
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