STRESSED AT BIRTH

An article in the January, 2000, issue the The Lancet found that birth trauma (assisted delivery) sets up an infant to become more sensitive to pain. The normal vaccinations which are given eight weeks after birth resulted in babies crying longer and having higher levels of stress hormones. Babies born through a Caesarean intervention did not cry longer.

The research consisted of comparing 46 babies born vaginally with 20 babies born with assisted delivery with 10 babies born by caesarean. It was found that cortisol, a stress hormone, and levels of crying were higher in the assisted deliveries.

An interesting follow-up study would be to see if the stress set-point is permanently altered.
-- John A. Speyrer


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Child Sexual Abuse Is Higher In Female Inmate Population

In 1999 the U. S. Justice Department released statistics which showed that child sexual abuse was much higher in female inmates compared to male prison inmates.

  • In state prisons and jails women reporting sexual abuse at age 17 or younger:

    • Over 36% of women compared to about 14 percent of men.

    • About 12% of overall female population compared to about 5 to 8 percent of the overall male population.

    • It was found that almost half of the women had been raped before being jailed; this compares to about 10 percent of the men.

  • In the non-prison population 16 studies showed that between 12 and 27 percent of women were reported to have been sexually abused.

  • Abused prisoners in state jails were more likely than those not abused to have previously served time for violent crimes

    • Males: 76 percent of those abused and only 61 percent of thsoe not abused had a present or past sentence for a violent offense.

    • Females: 45 percent of those abused compared with only 29 percent of those not abused had a present or past sentence for a violent offense.


-- John A. Speyrer


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RAT PUPS RESPOND FAVORABLY TO MATERNAL ATTENTION
Study Findings May Be Applicable to Humans

A Canadian study which appeared in the August, 2000, issue of Nature Neuroscience implied that a loving mother could influence the learning ability of her child. The study was on rats and showed enhanced learning abilities in intelligence and memory tests.

Even though many agree that genes are an important factor in intelligence, Michael Meany, a neuroendocrinologist at McGill University, who led the study, was quoted as saying: "Activity of the genes is always influenced by the environment. And the most important feature of the environment for an infant is mother."

The study was not about parental abuse since all of the rat "mothers" were in "normal" range. There were two groups of 16 rat mothers each. One group provided grooming, licking, attentive nursing, and stroking to their pups while the other group had mothers which were more indifferent. In a swimming maze searching test the "loved" rats scored higher than the ones which had "indifferent" mothers.

Upon extraction of hippocamus (an area important in learning and memory) brain cells, it was found that the "loved" rat pup cells had many more synapses. There was also more receptors for the NMDA neurotransmitter cells which also is vital in learning. The neglected rat pups did not show such a high level of synapses and receptors.

Professor Meany said that "(t)here is evidence for a direct relationship between maternal care and hippocampal development, and spatial learning in adulthood."

In the second phase of the test, the experimenters switched the pups between the good and neglectful mothers. The pups raised by the good mothers, but born to the neglecting mothers scored well on the maze test and showed the same anatomical results.

The results further reinforce the conclusions reached by Dr. Arthur Janov in The Biology of Love, in which he wrote that love critically influences developing brain structure of the neonate. The rat study results, social scientists remarked, helped to explain how the mother-child relationship can have neuro-anatomical benefits. Bruce Hershfield of the Child Welfare League of America was quoted: "Young babies respond to the holding, the hugging, the touching. . . . Neglect is a form of abuse."

-- John A. Speyrer


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Early Physical Pain Causes Increased Perception of Pain As Adults (well, in rats anyway!)

An August, 2000, issue of Science magazine contained information about a study which raised concerns about a practice in medcine which had been prevalent for many years. It was not until the early 1980s that newborn babies underwent surgery sans anesthesia. The study was about baby rats but the implications were clear.

By inducing continuous inflamation of the left hind paws of newborn rats it was shown that the pups as adults showed more sensitivity to pain. The scientists explained that the continuous pain the baby rats felt caused their brains to produce more pain receptors with the result being increased sensitivity to pain later in their life. Their brains had been permanently changed.

The scientists said that the results of the experiments made them concerned about how infants and particularly premature babies are treated.

The study only concerned physical pain receptors and sometimes it's uncertain when the data is extrapolated to humans, but both are mammals, so the results can probably be considered valid for human babies also. Even more important than the physical results are the psychological imprints which babies, especially those in a neonatal ward who are there as a result of their premature birth. Premies are assulted with 24 hours of continuous overhead light, ward noise and continuous pin pricks for monitoring purposes.

News releases concerning the study quoted Dr. Patricia A. McGrath, a pain research and pediatrics professor at the University of Western Ontario saying that about ten years ago "there was a real belief that the pain system in premature babies was not developed and that these infants would really not feel as much pain."

It was believed by many physicians that the babies physiology might not allow for the clearing of pain medication so rather than administer pain relief most doctors preferred that necessary surgery be performed without pain relief.

Yikes!

-- John A. Speyrer


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Stress in Mother Has Learning Deficit In Offspring (well, in rats anyway II)

Experiments in France showed that rats born to stressed mother have difficulty in performing certain learning experiments. The study is reproduced in the latest issue of Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences.

The mother rats were stressed by being confined in small cylinders under bright lights a few times each week during their last week of pregnancy. After weaning and after the rats were four months old they were tested to determine how well they could find an underwater platform.

The offspring of the stressed mothers took longer to find the platform. The brains of the baby rats were studied and it was noticed that cells in the hippocampus had multiplied less than normal. Brain physiology has detrmined that the hippocampus is an important factor for memory.

-- John A. Speyrer


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An Association for Prenatal & Peri-Natal Psychology & Health Benefit in Georgia On the Control of Gene Expression

A one-day seminar, organized by APPPAH's president Barbara Findeisen, will be held in Atlanta, Georgia on October 28th, 2000.

Speakers will include Dr. Bruce Lipton, cellular biologist, whose inspiring message is sure to invigorate listeners.

Lipton will explain how conventional science assurnes that genes 'control' an individual's development and fate, a concept termed 'genetic determInIsm.' A belief that relegates parents to the limited role of providing metabolic support during the prenatal period. Exciting new studies on 'adaptive' mutations and epigenetics (controlling gene expression without changing the DNA code) reveal that nature incorporates the 'environmental experiences' of parents into the genetic programming of the offspring. In what amounts to nature's head-start program, parent's emotions, attitudes and beliefs influence how the DNA endowment manifests in their children.

On the psychology front, therapist and teacher Barbara Findeisen shares the latest prenatal and perinatal psychology studies on the impact of early imprinting on later attitudes, behavior, and emotions.

In describing the main focus of this seminar Barbara Findeisen says:

"The seeds of relationship are sown prenatally, later to be nurtured or damaged by birth, bonding and subsequent care. What was learned then has a long-term impact on our lives. Relationship begins at the beginning, and what is learned there forms a template, which colors subsequent feelings and attitudes about our relationships, including our relationship with our self and with Spirit. It is possible to prevent further harm as well as heal the places in our hearts and minds where there has been damage.

The denial or poisoning of the powerful psycho-biological connection and relationship influences the mental and physical health of all individuals throughout their lives. Families, schools, communities, and society are formed by people who are living out the patterns of their earliest experiences."

The meeting promises to be enjoyable and valuable to everyone interested in mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

For more information and registration call: (831) 662-2765

All proceeds from this seminar are being donated to APPPAH to help support educational and research efforts.

-- From The APPPAH Newsletter - Official Bulletin of the Association for Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health, Fall 2000


APPPAH Office: 340 Colony Road - Box 994 - Geyserville - CA 95441 Tel: (707) 857-4041 - Fax: (707) 857-4042 - E-mail: apppah@)aol.com


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Stress and Meditation

An interesting article which appeared many years ago (July, 1982 issue of Health magazine) concerned the use of meditation to ease the effects of stress. The article explained that by comparing a group of meditators with non-meditators it was found that under stress the meditators had a higher concentration of norepinephrine than non-meditators.

This study backs up the primal position that meditation (at least some types) is a method for increasing repression. The presence of more norepinephrine in the bloodstream of the meditators, points to a more active brain, a brain working to hold back the uncomfortable effects of repressed trauma.

It was speculated that the higher norepinephine levels, usually assodated with stress, were prevented from binding to their usual sites to bring on the fight-or-flight response. It was believed by those who conducted the study that that the altered response allowed the meditators to stay calmer and protected them from harmful stress.

Perhaps a more reasonable conclusion might be that higher norepinephrine levels are associated with an unconsciously busier brain; a brain more actively serving as a defense and deluding us into believing that since we feel calmer, we are calmer, while our body is actually under stress.

John A. Speyrer


















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Fetuses Might Feel Pain As Early As 20 Weeks

According to a Reuters Health news release medical researchers at Edinburg University in the U.K have found that it is possible that fetuses might be capable of feeling pain as early as 20 weeks of gestation. Professor Eve Johnstone of Edinburgh University, was quoted as saying that this "finding could have important implications for the treatment of thousands of very premature infants born every year." It was felt that painful procedures such as heel pricks can lay the foundation for emotional and behaviorial problems in later child and adulthood. The researchers wrote that "(t)he existing evidence that inadequately treated pain may cause long-term problems makes it necessary to investigate the best approaches to pain relief and sedation of prematurely born babies. This is a delicate task, and great care needs to be taken so that the immature brain does not suffer more from the effects of powerful drugs than from the pain itself." In 1996 it had been found suggestedthat fetuses only feel pain at 26 weeks.

Those of us in the regressive therapies know that it is possible to feel physical and mental pain even earlier than 20 weeks.

John A. Speyrer














Crohn's Disease, Sick Cows and Contamined Milk


In a WorldNetDaily.com article by Clovis Bennett, the author writes:

"Medicine in the United States has a sad history of hanging onto foolish disease paradigms, despite compelling evidence to the contrary. In the recent past, gastroenterologists waited as long as 15 years before recognizing that ulcers are not caused by stress, but are actually caused by another unusual slow-growing bacteria Helicobacter pylori."

It is possible to confuse cause and effect in analyzing a problem.

If a person has a lot of very repressed rage -- and that very strong and very repressed rage is "elevated" by situations in the present -- but not expressed in any cathartic way -- then certain damage may occur to the stomach and the immune system of the stomach -- allowing certain opportunistic bacteria to flourish -- which may then directly be the final "cause" and/or be intimitely associated with ulcers.

I'm not saying this is so, but I'm using it as an example to propose an alternate hypothesis to consider for ailments that appear to some people to be caused only by bacteria.

Some of the people who want to market antibiotics may want to see only the bacterial "cause".

Some of the people who market tranquilizers may only want to see what they consider to be "stress" in the present as the "cause", and want to market their tranquilizers to help alleviate it.

And some other people may want to see the repressed old pain as the "primary cause" of the problem, because of their particular take on things.

Is it possible that someone with a lot of deeply repressed rage, who never gets angry, could be aggravated by difficult situations in the present, and have their immune system compromised by hightened repressed, but un-expressed rage, and an oversecretion of stomach acid, so that certain opportunistic bacteria can take hold as part of the process of ulcer formation? And that this wouldn't happen among people without that kind of repressed rage?

If so, what then is the real cause?

Sure, perhaps certain anti-biotics could help, and perhaps cetain tranquilizers could help, but the ultimate cause could still be repressed feelings, and if that could be alleviated, then perhaps you would be really dealing with the real "cause". (Although treatment with anitbiotics and tranquilizers might still be indicated in severe cases.)

Since almost everyone drinks milk, why doesn't almost everyone have Crohn's disease?

Is it a genetic difference? Possibly.

But like post traumatic stress syndrome, is it possible that certain kinds of repressed pain make people vulnerable to certain bacteria because their immune systems have already been compromised in certain specific ways, so that they are overwhelmed by something -- namely the bacteria -- that most other people can handle?

In many sitautions there are primary causes and secondary causes.

I am a layman, and I haven't seen enough of the research in ulcers and Crohn's Disease to even form a theory, but I can imagine many different hypothetical scenarios based on what I already know.

--Anonymous


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Abuse Victims Perceive Anger When None Exists

Seth Pollack, co-author of a study of the sensitivity of child abuse victims recently reported that he found that such victims saw anger and hostility in the images of facial expressions even when anger was not present. These children misinterpreted the amount of anger present in a computer image. Such hypersensivitity to anger may well serve a child in a hostile environment, but may make them see anger when none is actually present.

Pollack and the other co-author Doris Kistler believe that this helps to explain why such abused children may lash at or withdraw from their fellow students and teachers.

The study appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (June, 2002)

John A. Speyrer











Impatience = High Blood Pressure

It seems that people who hate to wait in line, become exasperated at those who drive too slowly, who feel they never have enough time are susceptible to hypertension. This proneness to high blood pressure is even common among those who eat quickly or feel that the twenty-four hour day is not long enough.

This tendency to high blood pressure in anxious people was studied at Northwestern University and at two other institutions who were trying to discover the links between anxious personalities and heart disease. The studies concentrated on that portion of anxiety which results in "impatience."

The study also considered the effects of other causes of hypertension and these were eliminated to zero in on "impatience." After removing other confounding influences it was found that impatient individuals have twice the risk of developing high blood pressure.


What makes people impatient? Certainly, one who is anxious is impatient. According to both Drs. Arthur Janov and Stanislav Grof. the ultimate cause of anxiety is early trauma -- often birth trauma. Dr. Grof believes that presence of any psychophysiological condition is from the trauma of being born or even an intrauterine trauma.

-- John A. Speyrer



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HAZARDS OF RAISING A CHILD ALONE

According to a late January, 2003 release by the AP, a Swedish study found that children raised in a one-parent home were twice as likely to suffer from depression, psychiatric disorders and additive disorders, in later life, than those from two-parent homes. The study reported in the British medical journal, Lancet, tracked about 1 million children for 10 years - up to their twenties. The unprecedented size of the sample makes the study unusually valid.

At first it was hypothesized that the financial factor was the variable between the two groups. However, that was later discounted. It was stressed that the quality of parenting received was the factor which made the difference in the study. Because of a general rising in the standard of living and government support payments, finances were thought to be less important as a factor than first considered. 60,000 children were living with their mothers and 5,500 with their fathers.

Girls were three times more likely to become drug addicts and boys four times more likely than their cohorts. Sara McLanahan, a sociology professor at Princeton, who had no connection to the study, said, "It makes you think that what you're seeing is just the most dysfunctional families having these problems, rather than the low income. The money is really an indicator of something else." She pointed out that if it were simply a question of low income, then Swedish single parents would do much better that British or U. S. parents, but they don't. Poverty levels in Europe have been greatly reduced, but not psychiatric problems.

Dr. Stephen Scott, a child health researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry in England, agreed that the quality of the parenting is the issue, not so much being a single parent. He is quoted in the AP release, "The kind of people who end up as single parents might not have done well by their kids, even if they hadn't ended up alone. They tend to be more critical in their relationships, more derogatory toward other people." He also believes that it is more difficult to be a warm, loving parent when you're bringing up a child without a mate.

-- John A. Speyrer


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CLONING AND THE NATURE VS. NUTURE DEBATE

Reports of a study of the characteristics of a one-year old cloned cat at Texas A&M University emphasized that the copy definitely does not behave like the original or even have its appearance. While farm mammals had been cloned before, this was the first time a clone had been made of a house pet, one whose personality characteristics were much more obvious than those of a farm animal.

This result shows the significance of the environment in molding not only personality but actual appearance. Cloning can never make a carbon copy of an animal, although the identical genes are in both animals. So far, cloning dogs have not been successful. In any event, you'll definitely have to teach the new dog old tricks.

The implication is that when humans are cloned we may have the necessary information to more fully understand the question of heredity versus environmental factors in the genesis of schizophrenia, ADDAH and a score of other diseases.

-- John A. Speyrer

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From the Psychohistory Discussion List

TRAUMAS AND CHILDREARING

. . . Remember that the first life experiences, good or bad, for every one of us will have been with our mothers: specifically, our life in the womb and the type of birth we have experienced. As Arthur Janov has written: "For most of us, our birth is our first life-and-death experience." So if unconsciously, we were to associate our earliest life-and-death experiences with our mothers, I expect this would lay the foundations for a 'Killer Mommy' alter, as opposed to a 'Killer Parent' one.

There is in fact plenty of evidence that clearly shows how our life in the womb and the way our birth goes can have lifelong effects. This seems particularly the case if these experiences are followed by a traumatic childhood. Conversely, a more loving home life will have a mitigating effect against the earlier pre-natal and birth traumas.

For example, a retrospective study by Jacobson, Nyberg et. al. in 1990 found that if mothers were given barbiturates, opiates or larger doses of nitrous oxide during labour, then the risk of their child becoming addicted to opiates later in life was increased 4.7 times. And in a study of 52 adolescents who committed suicide, comparing them to 104 controls, Lee Salk et. al. found that one of the main predisposing factors for suicide before the 20th birthday was resuscitation at birth.

The great natural childbirth pioneer Michel Odent has written how when he is visiting a foreign city, in order to judge whether or not it is safe for him to walk the streets at night, he looks at the local birth statistics. He writes:

"My rule of thumb is that the rates of criminality are correlated with the rates of obstetrical intervention. This means, for example, that I'll be extremely cautious in places such as Sao Paolo, Mexico City, Rome or Athens, where the rates of caesarean sections are astronomical. On the other hand I'll be more relaxed on the streets of Tokyo, Stockholm or Amsterdam, where they have maintained comparatively low rates of obstetrical intervention."

Odent goes on to state: "This rough common-sense approach is on the verge of being supported by scientifically established correlations."

So if birth trauma can be a significant factor in causing drug addiction, suicide or criminality, then birth is clearly a very important event in our lives that has a great impact upon us even into adulthood.

Of course, the type of parenting an individual receives is also very important. This has been illustrated by a study reported by Emmy Werner, of 698 infants on the Hawaiian island of Kauai who were assessed over a thirty-year period. It was found that children who had experience birth trauma AND childhood rejection were twice as likely as the group average to receive mental health treatment for behavioural or learning problems before the age of ten. However, if the child was able to form a close bond with at least one caretaker then the effects of the earlier trauma diminished over the years. In other words, if the individual received good childrearing, then this seemed to mitigate the effects of birth trauma.

Also, Raine, Brennen and Mednick studied over 4,200 consecutive births in Copenhagen. They found that birth complications, when combined with maternal rejection and extended separations in the first year of a child's life, predispose an individual towards violent crime. They said that one factor alone didn't affect the risk of committing violent crime much, but the two together were "almost like a chemical reaction." This again shows the importance of both the level of childrearing a person receives and their birth experience.

Matt Everett


If you wish to join the Psychohistory Discussion List, send a blank e-mail to psychohistory-subscribe@topica.com

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Number of Doctor Visits by Adults Abused or Neglected As Children Is Higher Than Others

From England comes a study which found that those adults who were neglected in their upbringing have a higher rate of doctor visits. The study quoted physician and researcher Francis Creed of the University of Manchester. "Many patients visit doctors with symptoms that cannot be explained by underlying physical disease." He goes on to write that, "(c)ommon examples are headache, abdominal and chest pains and constant tiredness." Dr. Creed touts anti-depressants and talk therapy (cognitive behavior therapy) as beneficial to those patients. He believes that their use would help in changing the person's attitude by enabling them to be able to recognize normal body sensations.

The study report appears in the journal, General Hospital Psychiatry, and comprised 129 adults treated at outpatient clinics at two teaching hospitals. 58 of the adults had symptoms which could not be medically explained.

Dr. Stanislav Grof writes In Beyond the Brain, ( p. 282-283) that the symptoms of those patients which had no medical explanation are real even if their origin is not in a medical problem. He believes that "(t)heir symptoms are a surfacing organismic memory of serious physiological difficulties from the past, such as diseases, operations, or injuries -- and particularly the trauma of birth."

He continues:

"These involve pains, pressures and cramps in other forms of unusual phenomena. They can also show signs of dysfunction of various organs, such as breathing difficulties, dyspepsia, nausea and vomiting, constipation and diarrhea, muscular tremors, general malaise, weakness and fatigue. Repeated medical examinations fail to detect any objective indications of actual physical disease. . . . Patients with these sooner or later become a real menace in doctors' offices who frequently treats them as somewhere on the continuum between malingerers and hysterics.

In many instances, they continue to be seen by internists, neurologists, and specialists from other disciplines. According to some statistics and estimates, patients of this sort could represent as many as 30 percent of the clientele treated by internists." (op.cit., p. 282)

The article in General Hospital Psychiatry reported that 41 percent of the 129 patients reported at least one childhood incident which was either physical, sexual or psychological. Also included was severe parental neglect or indifference. The ones who report one or more incidents of adversity in childhood as adults visited the doctor about 16 times; those who were free of adverse situations visited physicians an average of 10 times.

Those subjected to adverse situations "also had higher levels of depression and greater concerns about illness and reported more symptoms. . . . Childhood sexual abuse and parental neglect appeared to have the strongest effect on how often patients with unexplained symptoms visited doctors."


My Comments

Unfortunately, the study had no way of knowing that some of those who reported a happy childhood, had repressed trauma and really did believe that their childhood experiences were pleasant. Because of the strength of repression one can be almost certain that some members of the group who reported a stress free childhood with loving parents had severe birth trauma and less than loving optimal care in their early years.

-- John A. Speyrer


















Cry Babies and Birth Traumatized Babies

"Every institution is a womb, every boundary is a potential cervix
and every change is a little birth."
--- David Wasdell

From Australia comes a news story which tells us to beware of excessive crying in babies. The story tells us that such behavior foretells future mental health problems.

Researcher, Dr. Mary Brown, (Melbourne University) studied the present and future of 75 babies who were hospitalized for severe crying. 80% cried over 3 hours a day and no medical tests revealed the source of their bawling.

The typical advice was that the babies would grow out of the crying -- and they did, Dr. Brown reported. However, others became mentally ill.

When the children were between 5 and 8, one in five had "a clinically significant mental health disorder, including behavioural problems and depression." and "Just over a quarter of them had a separation anxiety disorder by the time they went to school."

And here is where the psychopathological body system reveals its source:

"Two children were so depressed they said they wanted to die."(my emphasis).

Dr. Brown says further research is needed. Don't all researchers say that?

This is from Australia which has already made significant contributions to the examination of the relationship between birth trauma, suicidality and child abuse. The other studies were not acted upon so why should this or future studies get a better reception?

Hey, you guys down under, quit the studies, and apply the knowledge which two of your compatriots, Dr. Graham Farrant, psychiatrist, and Dr. John Spensley, paediatrician, have already contributed towards an understanding why some babies cry so much. They knew about it decades ago. Explaining that one of their symptoms can turn into "separation anxiety" won't help all those newly traumatized babies when they begin school.

Even though those children might not be crying as much by the time they enter the first grade, Dr. Arthur Janov writes that the pain of the original trauma has to go somewhere. Dr. Aletha J. Solter writes that the adolescent will have given up his pacifier by the time he graduates from high school. That's not their points. Their points being that symptoms come and go and defenses rise and fall. The points are that, in one form or another, birth trauma has incredible staying power.

And, in my case, the crying was still around on that first day of school. I still can remember a lot of crying and fear from me on that day in the first grade way back in 1937. Indeed, on that day, my mother had to remain in the classroom with me. After the other mothers had left, my mother remained as I continued to need her presence and reassurance.

I personally know that Dr. Farrant understood that "Kids . . . who had a traumatic birth will find it difficult to go to school." It really resonated with me when I heard Graham say that on a WXYT radio talk show, in Detroit, Michigan, in July of 1987.

The article mentions nothing about how some babies have had such severe birth trauma that they become totally dissociated from their pain. These babies hardly ever cry because their trauma was so overwhelming that instead, they simply split from their painful reality. Blessed be the babies that cry much that they may thereby resolve a modicum of their birth traumas. Amen. The ones that don't cry might actually be sicker than the others. Yet, they are considered "good babies." They don't disturb anyone; all they want to do is die.
-- John A. Speyrer
















Nose and Sinus Congestion: Their Roots

A chronic congestion of the nose and sinuses is a common psychosomatic symptom. Many physicians believe that common nasal congestion origins are allergic reactions to pollen, etc. and prescribe anti-histamines in cases other than infections. Acetylcholine is produced during the parasympathic phase of autonomic nervous system innervation and one sympton of its experimental injection is immediate nasal congestion. That points to its origins as probably psychosomatic. (Holden)

According to Dr. E. Michael Holden, who was the first medical director of the Primal Institute, nasal congestion is often one of the earliest and easiest symptoms which patients in primal therapy resolve. (The Journal of Primal Therapy, Symptom Formation in Neurosis, p. 12, Vol. III, Nr. 1) In my case, I had blessed relief from this symptom less than three months after having begun the primal process. I had used literally hundreds of bottles of nasal decongestant and kept a bottle on the night stand next to my bed, in my automobile and at my office. That was one symptom which was soon dispatched by primalling and which returns only infrequently.
--John A. Speyrer

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Pain Perception in Premature Babies

A new study by Dr. K. S. Anaud, director of a Pain Neurobiology Lab in Arkansas was recently published in the professional journal, Pain.

His new study involved recording the responses of premature babies to pain. Both positive and negative stimulus in response to change in heart rate, facial expression and blood pressure were made. His findings back up the primal contention that babies, even fetuses can consciously feel and process physical and emotional pain. The babies had reacted to pain and lack thereof through both negative and positive stimuli.

His first study on the feelability of neonatal pain was published in 1987 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The conclusions of that study were backed up by this more recent examination of his earlier findings.

For too long researchers, including surgeons, believed that the pain response in new born babies and preemies was simply a reflex and not consciously felt, hence circumcision sans anaethesia and other similar atrocities were common.

"This is the first study to report that when a premature baby feels pain, that acute pain activates the sensory cortex, the highest center of pain processing in the brain," Anand said. "These results prove that babies consciously feel pain, rather than simply reacting to it." Check the web for the experimental protocols.
-- John A. Speyrer












Infantile Behavior: Intuitive or Learning Based?

A study which recently appeared in Nature magazine, concerned babies and their perception of the world around them. Kiley Hamlin, a doctoral candidate in development psychology at Yale University in New Haven, said that "We wanted to see whether or not babies, like adults, have evaluative mechanisms for other people based on behavior,"

Her adviser/co-authors conducted the experiment with 6 to 10 months old infants. She felt that the results of the experiment showed that infants have intuitive knowledge and prefer those who "help" rather than those who "hurt" as early as 6 months. "Our results suggest that infants have a pretty advanced evaluating system that doesn't need much outside input to develop. . . it's incredibly unlikely that parents are explicitly teaching them anything about this."


Babies, like others, make decisions based on their learning experiences. So even if the parents were not "explicitly" teaching their babies, they had developed an "evaluating system" from their life experiences with their parents - centered around the love or lack of love they had received from them. Based on these early learning experiences, the babies were drawn to the "helper" puppets and not to the "hurter" puppets.

Check out how puppets were used by the Yale University team at Medline Plus, Babies Can Tell Friend From Foe
--John A. Speyrer













The Relationship of Childhood Abuse to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults

In the May 1998 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Felitti et. als. sought to find, in a survey of 13,494 adults, if there was a relationship between multiple risk factors for causes of death and the degree of childhood abuse and living in dysfunctional households.

"Seven categories of adverse childhood experiences were studied: psychological, physical, or sexual abuse; violence against mother; or living with household members who were substance abusers, mentally ill or suicidal, or ever imprisoned. The number of categories of these adverse childhood experiences was then compared to measures of adult risk behavior, health status, and disease. . . .Persons who had experienced four or more categories of childhood exposure, compared to those who had experienced none, had 4- to 12-fold increased health risks for alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicide attempt."

[From Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults.]

It was found that such abuse was prevalent in those who were later to suffer from ischemic heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, obesity and liver disease. Some other diseases which were attributable to risk exposure included sexually transmitted disease, alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and suicide.
--John A. Speyrer













Maternal Bad News in the First Trimester Leads to Increased Susceptibility to Later Schizophrenia


A Danish study published in the Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65:146-152 showed a significantly increased risk for schizophrenia in those born to a mother who suffered an "adverse life event" during the first trimester of her pregnancy. In the past, other studies have shown that such conceptuses were to suffer from pre-mature births, malformations, and low birthweight. This study, headed by Hien T. Nghiem, M.D., was extensive in that the group consisted of 1.38 million births from 1973 to 1995. If a close member of the mother-to-be's family died, had a heart attack, stroke or diagnosis of cancer, the mother was considered to have had an adverse life event during her pregnancy.

What was measured was the rate of schizophrenia in the offspring. 7,331 of the birth cohorts were later diagnosed with the psychosis. It was found that "loss of a close relative during the first trimester seemed to have a significant effect on the risk for schizophrenia in the offspring who had had no family history of mental illness." After adjusting for confounding factors, a 67% higher rate of developing schizophrenia was found. Coauthor, Philip N. Baker, DM, said that "the study provides further evidence of just how important the intrauterine environment is in programming childhood and adult health."

However, "death of a relative during other trimesters or up to 6 months before pregnancy were not linked with a higher risk for schizophrenia." The abstract of the study appeared on the internet in Medscape Medical News (registration subscription is required).


Psychiatrist Frank Lake (1914-1982), originated the theory of the Maternal-Fetal Distress Syndrome, which emphasized the significance of the sometimes negative implications of the first trimester of pregnancy to the conceptus. He wrote,

"What we had not known, and even now are somewhat terrified to know as clearly and rigorously as we in fact do, is the contribution to this soul-destroying pain and heart-breaking suffering that comes from the distress in the womb when the mother herself is distressed. The focus for psychopathology is now, for us, the first trimester of intra-uterine life. These first three months after conception hold more ups and downs, more ecstasies and devastations than we had ever imagined." [Lake's emphasis] (Tight Corners in Pastoral Counselling, 1981, pps. vii-viii) From Dr. Stephen J. Maret's doctoral dissertation about the MFDS, a large part of which appears on this website.

(Note: Dr. Lake began using LSD as a regressive agent in 1953. Upon Dr. Janov's discovery of primal therapy in the 1960s, Lake switched to a primal-oriented psychotherapy).
--John A. Speyrer


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Sleep, Cancer, Depression and Birth

For a long time it was believed that the relationship between sleep and cancer was one of cause and effect in that the pain and depression in cancer patients were the result of having the disease. However, some researchers found that sleep problems seemed to be the cause rather than the effect of the depression. It was found that resolving the sleep issues would treat the tiredness and depression that 25% of the studied cancer pain patients had experienced. Less sleep meant more pain. ( Information from: Medline Plus, Sleep May be Cause, Not Consequence, of Cancer Issues - April 15, 2009)

There is another important variable which was not considered. According to clinical psychologist, Arthur Janov, Ph.D., insomnia is a common symptom in those who have undegone severe birth trauma. "If you've got a lot of insomnia, chances are you've got a lot of birth trauma. . ." he said on Larry Mantle's Radio Talk Show (Radio Station KPCC/ Feb 2, 1997). So rather than insomnia being the cause of some cancer patient problems, it is possible that both their sleep problems and accompanying depression may be the effect of their birth traumas.

In his book, Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience, in Chapter 8, The Long Reach of Birth: One Road to Cancer and Epilepsy (1983), Janov implicates birth traumas themselves as a cause of cancer. On page 203 of that chapter, he writes that a possible negative effect of such traumas is the compromising of our immune system.
-- John A. Speyrer

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