By Christy Barritt
Loneliness Is a Disease
A new study suggests that loneliness isn’t a symptom of a greater problem, but that loneliness itself is a disease. Loneliness expert John Cacioppo, who’s known as a pioneer in the field of social neuroscience, coauthored the study. His new research shows that the lonely brain is structurally and biochemically different than the non-lonely brain. These underlying differences are not merely symptoms, but they’re the cause of additional problems.
One difference that Cacioppo noted was that the brain of lonely people had a suppressed neural response to positive stimuli. The lonely brain also shows less activity when attempting to predict what others are thinking.
His conclusion was that loneliness accompanies a host of problems. Whatever the cause of one’s loneliness, the condition changes the brain in significant ways, and those changes can trigger other symptoms.
ISIS Using Children to Further Deadly Agenda
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, (ISIS), is figuring out new ways to use children while waging war. According to a report by the United Nations, the militant group is now forcing children to donate blood to injured militants, among other things.
Some children cook, clean, and bring water to the wounded. Others, however, are being used as human shields, messengers, spies, and guards. The Human Rights Report also claims that children are being trained to act as suicide bombers and that militants are even going as far as to drug the children to lessen their inhibitions. Experts have said that brainwashing kids at a young age is another strategy the terrorist group is using to ensure the organization’s longevity.
The United Nations estimate that more than 5 million children’s lives have been affected in Syria as a result of the jihad there. The use and recruitment of children as soldiers is a war crime. Yet ISIS has boasted of the practice in numerous videos and other propaganda.
Church Gives $500 to Each Member to Bless Others
LaSalle Street Church in Chicago gave its members $500 each so congregants could then turn around and bless others. Pastor Laura Truax said that the heart and money are completely connected and where people’s hearts were was how they would spend the money.
One couple at the church donated their portion to a health food program that provides meals to people in the city. Another member used the money to help fund an afterschool program. A single mom went to various thrift stores, purchased used children’s books, cleaned them, and then donated them to various libraries and preschools in low-income areas. Others gave money to missionaries.
This idea came about when the church received $1.6 million from a real estate deal and decided to distribute 10 percent to the congregation.
Americans Evenly Split on Legalizing Gay Marriage
The exit polls from the 2014 midterm elections found that voters were evenly divided on the issue of gay marriage.
According to NBC exit polling results, 48 percent of those who voted in November said they think same-sex marriage should be legally recognized in their home state. The same amount of voters said they are opposed to legally recognizing gay marriage.
The current poll yields similar results to the exit poll after the 2012 election.
As of this past November, 35 states legally recognize same-sex marriages.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author in Chesapeake, Virginia (christybarritt.com). She and her husband, Scott, have two sons.