How Do Hormones Affect Emotions?

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How Do Hormones Affect Emotions?

Ray Schilling:

1. Serotonin production in the brain is important to prevent depression. Datis Kharrazian’s book Why isn’t my brain working? offers several scenarios that can cause depression and he has examples of cases that were cured of depression. He points out that deficiencies in two major brain transmitters can cause depression: serotonin and dopamine.

Serotonin is produced in the midbrain from the amino acid tryptophan in two biochemical steps. These biochemical conversions require iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, folic acid, and magnesium as co-factors. But you also need the “large neutral amino acid transporter” (LNAA) to transport tryptophan through the blood-brain barrier into the brain.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is produced in the frontal lobes of the brain. It is also necessary for learning. Dopamine is synthesized by the brain from tyrosine, which has to be manufactured in the liver from the amino acid phenylalanine. You need to have a healthy liver to produce tyrosine, which needs to be transported through the blood-brain barrier into the brain; similar to tryptophan this requires the “large neutral amino acid transporter” (LNAA). People with hepatitis, fatty liver, insulin resistance or diabetes may have problems with the LNAA transporter, which can cause dopamine deficiency. But as mentioned earlier they may also have low serotonin because tryptophan was not transported into the brain. This will happen with sugar overconsumption, as insulin resistance develops and affects the LNAA transporter resulting in both low serotonin and dopamine.

2. When testosterone is missing in an aging man, this causes low energy, depression, a lack of drive, and erectile dysfunction. You replace testosterone in appropriate doses and all of that normalizes. The reason for that is that many key organs including the brain have testosterone receptors. They need to be activated regularly by testosterone for normal organ function. Women need a small amount of testosterone as well to feel normal.

3. Estrogen hormones are the female hormones. If they are normal and balanced by progesterone (from the corpus luteum in the second half of the menstrual cycle) a woman feels well. There is a condition called estrogen dominance where too much estrogen is circulating in relation to progesterone, and these women have the following symptoms:

  • Irregular or otherwise abnormal menstrual periods
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Bloating (water retention)
  • Breast swelling and tenderness.
  • Fibrocystic breasts.
  • Headaches (especially premenstrually)
  • Mood swings (most often irritability and depression)

If the ratio can be normalized between progesterone and estrogen by the use of bioidentical progesterone, these symptoms disappear and the woman feels normal. Again it is the stimulation of the hormone receptors in just the right manner, which stabilizes the mood and leads to normal body function.

4. If thyroid hormones are missing, the person gets depressed and has a lack of energy. Thyroid hormones are stimulating cell function in all the body cells including the brain. Again this is transmitted by hormone receptors in the cells. It is easy for a physician to measure thyroid hormone levels (TSH and thyroid hormone levels) and to rectify the situation by ordering the right amount of thyroid hormones. When thyroid hormone receptor stimulation is normalized, all of the symptoms disappear and the person will feel normal again.

Conclusion

Hormones do not act in isolation, but in concert. Thyroid hormones give the body cells energy. Other hormones add to this and at the end we feel normal.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

What's the Difference Between Pigeons and Doves?

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To the layman, the difference between pigeons and doves has something to with color, maybe. Or location. Or general appeal (doves usually get much better press than pigeons do). But what’s the actual, scientific difference between doves and pigeons?

As it turns out, there isn’t one. Paul Sweet, the collection manager for the department of ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History, says the difference is more linguistic than taxonomic.

“The word dove is a word that came into English from the more Nordic languages, whereas pigeon came into English from French,” Sweet tells Mental Floss.

Both dove and pigeon refer to the 308 species of birds from the Columbidae family, Sweet says. There’s no difference between a pigeon and a dove in scientific nomenclature, but colloquial English tends to categorize them by size. Something called a dove is generally smaller than something called a pigeon, but that’s not always the case. A common pigeon, for example, is called both a rock dove and a rock pigeon.

“People just have their own classification for what makes them different,” Sweet says. “So in the Pacific, for example, the big ones might get called pigeons and the smaller ones might be called doves, but they’re actually more closely related to each other than they are to other things in, say, South America, that are called pigeons and doves.”

The difference boils down to linguistic traditions, so feel free to tell people you’re releasing pigeons at your wedding or that you’re feeding doves in the park. Scientifically speaking, you’ll be correct either way.

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What Is the Wilhelm Scream?

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What do Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Toy Story, Reservoir Dogs, Titanic, Anchorman, 22 Jump Street, and more than 200 other films and TV shows have in common? Not much besides the one and only Wilhelm Scream.

The Wilhelm Scream is the holy grail of movie geek sound effects—a throwaway sound bite with inauspicious beginnings that was turned into the best movie in-joke ever when it was revived in the 1970s.

Just what is it? Chances are you’ve heard it before but never really noticed it. The Wilhelm Scream is a stock sound effect that has been used in both the biggest blockbusters and the lowest low-budget movies and television shows for over 60 years, and is usually heard when someone onscreen is shot or falls from a great height.

First used in the 1951 Gary Cooper western Distant Drums, the distinctive yelp began in a scene in which a group of soldiers wade through a swamp, and one of them lets out a piercing scream as an alligator drags him underwater.

As is the case with many movie sound effects, the scream was recorded later in a sound booth with the simple direction to make it sound like “a man getting bit by an alligator, and he screams.” Six screams were performed in one take, and the fifth scream on the recording became the iconic Wilhelm (the others were used for additional screams in other parts of the movie).

Following its debut in 1951, the effect became a regular part of the Warner Bros. sound library and was continually used by the studio’s filmmakers in their movies. Eventually, in the early 1970s, a group of budding sound designers at USC’s film school—including future Academy Award-winning sound designer Ben Burtt—recognized that the unique scream kept popping up in numerous films they were watching. They nicknamed it the “Wilhelm Scream” after a character in the first movie they all recognized it from, a 1963 western called The Charge at Feather River, in which a character named Private Wilhelm lets out the pained scream after being shot in the leg by an arrow.

As a joke, the students began slipping the effect into the student films they were working on at the time. After he graduated, Burtt was tapped by fellow USC alum George Lucas to do the sound design on a little film he was making called Star Wars. As a nod to his friends, Burtt put the original sound effect from the Warner Bros. library into the movie, most noticeably when a Stormtrooper is shot by Luke Skywalker and falls into a chasm on the Death Star. Burtt would go on to use the Wilhelm Scream in various scenes in every Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie, causing fans and filmmakers to take notice.

Directors like Peter Jackson and Quentin Tarantino, as well as countless other sound designers, sought out the sound and put it in their movies as a humorous nod to Burtt. They wanted to be in on the joke too, and the Wilhelm Scream began showing up everywhere, making it an unofficial badge of honor. It's become bigger than just a sound effect, and the name “Wilhelm Scream” has been used for everything from a band name, to a beer, to a song title, and more.

But whose voice does the scream itself belong to? Burtt himself did copious amounts of research, as the identity of the screamer was unknown for decades. He eventually found a Warner Bros. call sheet from Distant Drums that listed actors who were scheduled to record additional dialogue after the film was completed. One of the names, and the most likely candidate as the Wilhelm screamer, was an actor and musician named Sheb Wooley, who appeared in classics like High Noon, Giant, and the TV show Rawhide. You may also know him as the musician who sang the popular 1958 novelty song “Purple People Eater.”

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