Men who report watching a lot of pornography tend to have less volume and activity in regions of the brain linked to rewards and motivation, says a new German study. The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, can’t say watching porn caused the decrease in brain matter and activity, however. It’s not clear, for example, whether watching porn leads to brain changes or whether people born with certain brain types watch more porn, said Simone Kühn, the study’s lead author from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.  “Unfortunately we cannot answer this question based on the results of the present study,” Kühn said.

The results provide the first evidence for a link between pornography consumption and reductions in brain size and brain activity in response to sexual stimuli. For the study researchers recruited 64 healthy men between the ages of 21 and 45 years and asked them questions about their porn-watching habits. They also took images of the men’s brains to measure volume and to see how their brains reacted to pornographic pictures. “We found that the volume of the so-called striatum, a brain region that has been associated with reward processing and motivated behaviour was smaller the more pornography consumption the participants reported,” Kühn said.

“Moreover we found that another brain region, that is also part of the striatum that is active when people see sexual stimuli, shows less activation the more pornography participants consumed,” she added. What’s more, the researchers found that the connection between the striatum and prefrontal cortex, which is the outer layer of the brain associated with behaviour and decision making, worsened with increased porn watching. Because the study can’t prove that porn caused the changes to the brain, Kühn said it’s not possible to say whether watching porn is actually harmful.

Dr. Gregory Tau of the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York who was not involved with the study agreed that more research should be done in this area and that longer studies would be needed to find out if porn leads to brain changes. “It is possible that there are individuals with a certain kind of brain that are more susceptible to these kinds of behaviours,” he said. “Or, it’s possible it’s the excessive use of porn is causing brain changes. Or, it could be both.” Kühn said other behaviours, such as driving a taxi, are linked to changes to brain size and functioning. “Basically everything that people do very frequently can shape their brain structure and function,” she said.

In response to the survey results, FamilyVoice Australia Victoria state officer Peter Stevens said “it is one more reason why we need ISP filters to block harmful Internet sites.” In the UK, internet service providers are now required to provide filters with ‘on’ as the default.  All new mobile phones are also expected to have porn filters. “So many marriages have been damaged by pornography addiction,” Pastor Stevens said.  “Worse, children as young as six are being exposed to hardcore porn on smart phones in the school yard, and are copying what they see on other young victims!  There is no reason why Australia cannot follow the UK’s example. Surely our children are worth it!”

Source: Family Voice Australia

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Suicide rates in the Northern Territory are the highest in Australia and nearly double the national average. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in 2012, 48 Territorians took their lives. This was calculated as a death rate of 18.1 compared to 10.8 for the same period across the country. Tasmania was second with a rate of 14.1 and Western Australia and Victoria, 13.5 and 13 respectively. Younger people are taking their own lives more often across the country. Rates of suicide among 15-19 year olds increased from 17.9 in 2003 to 25.8 in 2012. Female are also suiciding at a higher rate than before with 634 deaths recorded across the country in 2012 compared to 477 in 2003.

The federal Human Rights Commission has announced it will launch a national inquiry into bullying and suicide among children and teenagers.  Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell said those aged 15 to 24 were more likely to suicide than die in a car crash. “It’s hard to be a teenager today as kids are exposed to lots of things in the modern world that put them under pressure — relationships, family conflicts, stresses to achieve or the scourge of bullying in society,” she said. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were five times more likely to commit suicide than other Australian kids. The Northern Territory’s Children’s Commissioner Howard Bath said violence was a key contributor to suicide.

“Rates of suicide seem to be related to issues around disadvantage, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence,” Mr Bath said. “A lot of those issues have increased over the last few years, particularly in disadvantaged areas.”  Before the 1980s, the Territory’s incidence of suicide was at a similar level to the rest of the country, but it has risen to surpass the national average. Mr Bath said “Research done in the NT reflects the different demographics in the NT — 43 per cent of our children are indigenous. “The national inquiry will consider different population groups in particular vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. We can obviously contribute to that because of the research done in the NT.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has said that he is not opposed to the notion of legalising adoption of children by same-sex couples in the state. The Premier stated that though he was waiting for some “proper science” before making the decision about whether to amend the law, he was not philosophically opposed to the idea.  “The modern family today is quite different to the nuclear family of the 1950s,” he said. Napthine’s comments come just days after the Victorian state Labor Party endorsed a policy platform supporting same-sex couples to be allowed to adopt.

Source: Christian Today Australia

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