Girls Who Suffered Abuse At Greater Risk For Heart Disease, Diabetes Later In Life

Middle-aged women who report having been physically abused as children are about two times more likely than other women their age to have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, a larger waistline and poor cholesterol levels, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

These women are diagnosed as having metabolic syndrome which, according to previous research, places them at an increased risk of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. This link between physical abuse and metabolic syndrome persisted beyond traditional risk factors, suggesting physical abuse is a unique factor in women's cardiovascular health, according to the study. It is the first study to show that a history of childhood physical abuse is related to the development of metabolic syndrome in women at mid-life, according to the authors. It was published online in the APA journal Health Psychology.

"Our research shows us that childhood abuse can have long-lasting consequences, even decades later, on women's health and is related to more health problems down the road," said study co-author Aimee Midei, MS, from the University of Pittsburgh.

Participants in the study were 342 women, 113 black and the remainder white, from the Pittsburgh area. They were between the ages of 42 and 52 when the study began. Each completed a childhood trauma questionnaire that assessed past physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Approximately 34 percent of the participants reported experiencing some type of childhood abuse.

Metabolic syndrome was identified by measuring the women's waist circumference, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and fasting glucose levels annually during the seven-year study. Other traditional risk factors for metabolic syndrome were also assessed, such as smoking, physical activity, menopause, alcohol use, depressive symptoms and childhood and adult socioeconomic status. At baseline, 60 women were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome and 59 more were identified over the course of the study.

Results showed that physical abuse was strongly associated with metabolic syndrome, even after controlling for ethnicity, age, menopause and other traditional risk factors. Sexual abuse and emotional abuse were unrelated to metabolic syndrome, according to the findings.

The authors further examined individual components of the metabolic syndrome and found that physical abuse was particularly associated with larger waist circumference and fasting glucose, both of which are precursors to Type 2 diabetes. "It's possible that women with histories of physical abuse engage in unhealthy eating behaviors or have poor stress regulation," said Midei. "It appears that psychology plays a role in physical health even when we're talking about traumatic incidents that happened when these women were children."

NLP - Eye Movements Don't Indicate Lying

NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming,
is a behavioral science that some consider a little far-fetched. TV shows like The Mentalist have pushed NLP ideals somewhat into the realms of fiction, while popularizing the ideal that it's possible to assess whether a person is lying; even influence their behavior.

A lot of research has been done to establish whether there is a link between behavior and lying, but no one has looked into the popular notion that eye movement relates to whether a person is being truthful or not.

NLP advocates maintain that a person who is lying often looks up and to the left as you look at them, while a person telling the truth tends to look to the right. The relationship between eye movement and thought is an important part of the NLP framework, which is not only about reading other people but also learning to relate better to people, by having better communication skills.

Researchers say eyes do not reveal truthfulness or deceit

The connection between telling the truth and eye movement is claimed to be due to the person having to recall memories instead of constructing imaginary thoughts. The new research published in PLoS ONE seems to show the claim as unfounded, and the researchers go so far as calling for the idea to be abandonded.

Professor Richard Wiseman (University of Hertfordshire, UK) and Dr Caroline Watt (University of Edinburgh, UK) investigated the idea by filming volunteer test subjects, as they either lied or told the truth. Their eye movements were then assessed in detail following a predefined method of describing their movement.

In their second study, a different group of people were asked to watch the video recordings and see if they could detect the lies based on the volunteers' eye movements.

Wiseman described the findings as conclusive:

"The results of the first study revealed no relationship between lying and eye movements, and the second showed that telling people about the claims made by NLP practitioners did not improve their lie detection skills."

The researchers conducted another trial to cross-check their findings in the real world. They examined press conferences where people were claiming to be victims of crimes or appealing for missing people, where the outcomes were already known.

Dr Leanne ten Brinke noted that:

"Our previous research with these films suggests that there are significant differences in the behavior of liars and truth tellers ... however, the alleged tell-tale pattern of eye movements failed to emerge."

While Watt concluded that:

"A large percentage of the public believes that certain eye movements are a sign of lying, and this idea is even taught in organizational training courses. Our research provides no support for the idea and so suggests that it is time to abandon this approach to detecting deceit"
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