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10-01-2016, 02:28 AM
:bism: (In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful)

Woman With No Fear Intrigues Scientists
By Jeanna Bryner, Live Science Managing Editor | December 16, 2010 04:56am ET

A 44-year-old woman who doesn't experience fear has led to the discovery of where that fright factor lives in the human brain.

Researchers put out their best foot to try to scare the patient, who they refer to as "SM" in their write-up in the most recent issue of the journal Current Biology. Haunted houses, where monsters tried to evoke an avoidance reaction, instead evoked curiosity; spiders and snakes didn't do the trick; and a battery of scary film clips entertained SM.

The patient has a rare condition called Urbach–Wiethe disease that has destroyed her amygdala, the almond-shaped structure located deep in the brain. Over the past 50 years studies have shown the amygdala plays a central role in generating fear responses in various animals from rats to monkeys.

The new study involving SM is the first to confirm that brain region is also responsible for experiencing fear in humans. "This is the first study to systematically investigate the experience or feeling of fear in humans with amygdala damage," lead author Justin Feinstein told LiveScience.

The finding, the researchers say, could lead to treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers and others. "My hope is to expand on this work and search for psychotherapy treatments that selectively target and dampen down hyperactivity in the amygdala of patients with PTSD," said Feinstein, who is a doctoral student studying clinical neuropsychology at the University of Iowa.

Over the past year, Feinstein has been treating PTSD in veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, seeing first-hand the effects.

"Their lives are marred by fear, and they are oftentimes unable to even leave their home due to the ever-present feeling of danger," Feinstein said. In contrast, SM is immune to this stress. "Traumatic events leave no emotional imprint on her brain," he said.

The new study involving SM is the first to confirm that brain region is also responsible for experiencing fear in humans. "This is the first study to systematically investigate the experience or feeling of fear in humans with amygdala damage," lead author Justin Feinstein told LiveScience.

The finding, the researchers say, could lead to treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers and others. "My hope is to expand on this work and search for psychotherapy treatments that selectively target and dampen down hyperactivity in the amygdala of patients with PTSD," said Feinstein, who is a doctoral student studying clinical neuropsychology at the University of Iowa.
Over the past year, Feinstein has been treating PTSD in veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, seeing first-hand the effects.

"Their lives are marred by fear, and they are oftentimes unable to even leave their home due to the ever-present feeling of danger," Feinstein said. In contrast, SM is immune to this stress. "Traumatic events leave no emotional imprint on her brain," he said.

Are you scared?

Previous studies with this patient revealed she can't recognize fear in facial expressions, but it was unknown if she had the ability to experience fear herself.

To find out, Feinstein and his colleagues measured the patient's experience of fear with several standardized questionnaires that probed different aspects of fear, ranging from the fear of death to the fear of public speaking. [Fear of Spiders & 9 Other Phobias]

In addition, for three months SM carried a computerized emotion diary that randomly asked her to rate her current fear level throughout the day. The diary also had her indicate emotions she was feeling from a list of 50 items. Her average score of fear was 0 percent, while for other emotions she showed normal functioning.

Across all of the scenarios, she showed no fear. Looking into her past, the researchers found lots of reasons for her to react with fear. In fact, she told them she didn't like snakes, but when brought into contact with the two characters, she was fearless.

The good and bad of being fearless

Her eldest son (she has three children) in his early 20s recalls this instance: "Me and my brothers were playing in the yard and mom was outside sitting on the porch. All of a sudden we see this snake on the road. It was a one lane road, and seriously, it touched from one end of the yard all the way to the other side of the road. I was like, 'Holy cow, that's a big snake!' Well mom just ran over there and picked it up and brought it out of the street, put it in the grass and let it go on its way…"

That's not all. She has been held up at knife point and at gun point, physically accosted by a woman twice her size, nearly killed in an act of domestic violence, and on more than one occasion explicitly threatened with death, the researchers wrote in the journal article. Police reports corroborated these experiences and revealed the poverty-stricken area where she lived. SM has never been convicted of a crime.

"What stands out most is that, in many of these situations, SM's life was in danger, yet her behavior lacked any sense of desperation or urgency," the researchers wrote.
And when she was asked to recollect how she felt during those situations, SM said she didn't feel fear but did feel upset and angry about what happened. "Without fear, it can be said that SM's distress lacks the deep heartfelt intensity endured by most survivors of trauma," the researchers wrote.

Essentially, due to the amygdala damage the woman is "immune to the devastating effects of posttraumatic stress disorder," they wrote.

As always, there are tradeoffs as such an inability to detect and avoid threatening situations likely contributed to the frequency with which she's had life-threatening run-ins, the researchers suggest.

To firm up the phenomenon, Feinstein says studying other patients with damaged amygdalas would be great. "Unfortunately, such patients are so rare that it is nearly impossible to find them," he said, adding that there is much to be learned from a single patient.

The National Institutes of Health and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship provided funding for the study.

  • What Really Scares People? Top 10 Phobias
  • 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Brain
  • Top 10 Controversial Psychiatric Disorders


You can follow LiveScience Managing Editor Jeanna Bryner on Twitter @Jeannabryner
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Eric H
10-01-2016, 05:34 AM
Greetings and peace be with you Search; and thanks for sharing,

Ok, I am not as fearless as SM, but I have come to understand a couple of things about fear.

I would rather be hit, than live in fear of being hit.

In fearful situations, I can pray for the wisdom, peace and serenity to do God's will.

When we go out with the Street Pastor teams until 3 - 4 am, we come into contact with quiet a lot of angry and violent situations. One night we saw about a dozen people fighting, as we approached, I saw a man punched to the ground, another man was being kicked as he lay on the ground, and I saw a woman punched in the face. I can only say that we walked in the middle of all this violence, trying to bring about a peaceful resolution. I was conscious of people fighting behind me, at the side and in front, I knew that I could also be hit. The fight came to an end, and we stopped with them for about twenty minutes or so trying to restore some kind of calm. Most of the protagonists shook our hands and gave us a hug before leaving.

I cannot understand the profound sense of peace I experienced, I should have felt worried and fearful, but then I had two wonderful ladies looking after me, one was nearly seventy, and the other was nearer eighty. And of course there were people who had been praying for us when we went out.

In the training, we were told, 'You will never look into the eyes of anyone who does not matter to God, and we are to look for the good in all people.'

I guess in the fullness of time you reflect on these events, were we just lucky? could we have been hurt? what happens if I see another fight? all we can do is leave these questions in God's hands and go out one more time, it will be nine years next February.

In the spirit of praying for a peace that transcends all understanding.

Eric
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Search
10-01-2016, 06:19 AM
:bism: (In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful)

:sl: (Peace be upon you)


Originally Posted by Eric H
Greetings and peace be with you Search; and thanks for sharing,

Ok, I am not as fearless as SM, but I have come to understand a couple of things about fear.
Thank you for sharing, brother Eric H. :)

I think your spiritual understanding is correct which is why you experienced serenity in moments wherein you could have been experiencing fear.

Abu al-‘Abbas ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas(ra) reported: “One day I was riding (a horse/camel) behind the Prophet, :saws: peace and blessings be upon him, when he said, ‘Young man, I will teach you some words. Be mindful of God, and He will take care of you. Be mindful of Him, and you shall find Him at your side. If you ask, ask of God. If you need help, seek it from God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together in order to help you, they would not be able to help you except if God had written so. And if the whole world were to gather together in order to harm you, they would not harm you except if God had written so. The pens have been lifted, and the pages are dry.’”

And I note that Ali :ra: (may God be pleased with him) during the battle with Muawiya was making rounds after sunset in the tents. They were surprised as to why he would be making rounds in the darkness alone without even the benefit of bodyguards for protection when he knew that anything could happen. When Ali :ra: was queried on the matter, he replied that God's angels protect the servants of God from behind and front of any harm until they know to remove themselves so that the divine Arrow of Destiny can bring the appointed death to the servant.

When I was an atheist, I'd seen an American program on sleepwalking in which strangely a person had sleepwalked off of the railing and fallen from the fourth floor (from what I can recall); the television program said that he could have died but that he'd remarkably survived. Now, as a theist, I know that it simply wasn't his time and so he'd not died, and the only remarkable thing is that we as human beings should continue to wonder at such things when God has already informed us that nothing happens without Divine will.

And yes, all human beings matter to God, whether the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Jain, the animist, the Christian, the Jew, the Muslim, the atheist, the agnostic; if we didn't, we wouldn't exist. The Quran says (17:70), "We have honoured the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of our creation."

That is why one of the prayers and reminders I like to use for myself is as follows, "Allah is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs for us" (Quran 3:173).

:wa: (And peace be upon you)
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ardianto
10-02-2016, 06:29 PM
:sl:

The part about snake in the article remind to my experience when I was walking on grass field. When I looked at down I saw Malayan Krait snake beside my right foot. So I stopped my step and I let that snake passed. That snake touched my feet before disappeared in the grass. But I was not panic. And then I walked again.

Fearless?. No!. I was just able to control my fear. But I still felt fear. That's why I didn't think to catch that snake. I didn't know the proper way to catch a snake, so I was afraid that deadly venomous snake would bite me if I catch him.

I was motocross racer and also rally driver. These activities made me intentionally train my ability to control fear because I really need this ability in racing. But to be honest, my ability in controlling fear actually was not as good as some other racers who could reach pro level.

So, is it good if I had no fear?. When I was still active in racing I thought that's good. I thought if I could become fearless, then I would more dare to take a maneuver in race. However, after I grow mature and wiser, I began to thinking differently. Human still need fear, because have no fear will make human not hesitate to do something without thinking.

Imagine if I had no fear when I walked on that grass field?. I would not hesitate to catch that snake although I didn't know the proper way to catch a snake. And you can imagine what would happen if that deadly venomous snake bite me?.

We need fear because fear save our lives. But we must also have ability to control fear because this ability will make us still can thinking what we should do in dangerous situation.
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