Stress and Your Body
The effects of stress are wide-reaching
Romantic relationships establish special bonds between partners. Oftentimes, passionate rapport leads to permanent partnerships, and ultimately, the start of families.
Sometimes, however, one or both partners place too much emotional weight on their relationship. As a result, men or women may tend to evaluate their self-worth solely based on the outcomes of their romantic interactions. This is what psychologists term as relationship-contingent self-esteem (RCSE), and, according to University of Houston researcher Chip Knee, it's an unhealthy factor in romantic relationships.
"Individuals with high levels of RCSE are very committed to their relationships, but they also find themselves at risk to become devastated when something goes wrong -- even a relatively minor event," said Knee, UH assistant professor of psychology and director of the university's Interpersonal Relations and Motivation Research Group. "An overwhelming amount of the wrong kind of commitment can actually undermine a relationship."
Knee added that RCSE can trigger depression and anxieties during even the most minor or common relationship-based incidents, such as miscommunication, short spats over noncritical matters or a critique of one's personality or appearance.
It also factors into one or more partners developing manic, obsessive (or needy) behaviors with regard to love.
RCSE might place one at risk for serious mood changes after break-ups, divorce or threats to one's relationship. Identifying it during the early stages of a relationship can prevent such negative outcomes or help partners recognize that they are incompatible.
Knee and a group of researchers observed the impact of RCSE among heterosexual college students in a series of studies. Their findings were presented in the paper "Relationship-Contingent Self-Esteem - The Ups and Downs of Romantic Relationships," published in the flagship Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Cold sore virus could cause Alzheimer's
The virus that causes cold sores may be a major cause of Alzheimer's disease and existing drugs could be used to treat the degenerative condition, researchers have claimed.
By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:51PM GMT 06 Dec 2008
British scientists had already identified a link between the cold sore virus - known as herples simplex virus 1 (HSV1) - and Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, affecting more than 400,000 people in Britain.
Previous trials had found the virus was often present in the DNA of patients with Alzheimer's, but different theories have been posed about why this might be so. The new research, published in the Journal of Pathology, adds weight to the theory that HSV1 could be a major cause of Alzheimer's; it found that the virus was most often found within the protein plaques in the brain which are believed to be the disease's main cause.
Scientists from the University of Manchester said their early findings suggested the cold sore virus was present in 60 per cent of cases of Alzheimer's.
Although they were not able to prove that the virus had caused the disease, their study concluded that alternative explanations appeared unlikely.
Lead researcher Professor Ruth Itzhaki said the findings suggested drugs already used to tackle cold sores, could form the basis of treatment or preventative vaccines for Alzheimer's in future.
Drugs to treat cold sores, including Zovirax have been on the market for many years, and most are available over the counter.
Professor Ruth Itzhaki, who led the research, said: "One thing that is exciting about our research is that we already have drugs that have been used for a relatively long time against HSV1, which are cheap and well tolerated."
"If we are right, there is a good chance we could make progress quite quickly," she added.
The HSV1 virus affects about 80 per cent of adults, causing cold sores in 20-40 per cent those who have it. The findings do not indicate that most cold sore sufferers would develop Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, which affects one in three people by the time they die. If the link is proven, it would be one of several factors, some of which are genetic, which combine to cause the disease.
The next step for the scientists would be to test the theory in animal models. Prof Itzhaki said she believes the link could be proved within a year, if the group can obtain funding for this next stage of research, before testing antiviral drugs on patients in the early stages of the disease in clinical trials.
The planets aligned—an event known as a conjunction—Sunday night, and were joined by a thin sliver of moon on Monday.
(Related: "Sky Show December 1: Jupiter, Venus, Moon Make 'Frown'" [December 1, 2008].)
The rare planetary meeting was visible from all parts of the world, even from light-polluted cities such as Hong Kong and New York.
People in Asia witnessed a smiley face (above, photographed from Manila, Philippines), while skywatchers in the United States saw a frown.
The three brightest objects in the sky were so tightly gathered that one could eclipse them with a thumb, according to NASA's Web site.
The next visible Venus-Jupiter conjunction will be on the evening of March 14, 2012, but the two planets will appear farther apart in the sky.
Photograph by Bullit Marquez/AP
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