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The science behind Love



When we think of the scientific basis of how love works on our body, we often tend to think a few questions, for example- Why do you fantasize someone? What does ‘love’ do to your body, and is falling in love just nature’s way to make our species survive? Well, by the end of this post, all such queries shall be answered.

When in love…
Its not uncommon to find flushed cheeks, a racing heart beat and clammy hands as open signs of being ‘in love’. Everyone calls it ‘love’, the most exhilarating of all human emotions is probably nature’s beautiful way of keeping the human species alive and reproducing.
When it comes to love it seems we are at the mercy of our biochemistry. In the body, there are sure-shot chemical signs when that cupid has seemingly fired his red arrow. With an unimaginable mix of biochemicals, our brain entices us to go ahead with this silly but ecstatic thing. A person believes that they’re choosing a potential partner. But they may be mere crazy victims of the Almighty’s amazing plan.
How does it really happen?
It’s not about what you speak or do.
Psychologists noticed that it takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to figure out if you like someone ‘that way’.
Research has shown this has little to do with what is said, rather
55% is via body language.
38% is the speech tone and speed.
Only 7% was through what they said.
When a person is attracted to somebody, it could be because subconsciously their genes look appealing. Smell could be implicated as well, when it comes to the X-factor. There’s something very endearing about the look and fragrance of people who are most like our kins.

The 3 stages of love.
One cool research in this field has been done by a certain Dr. Helen Fisher of Rutgers University, New Jersey. She proposed that humans fall in love in three stages, each involving different body hormones.

Stage 1: Lust
This first stage of love is driven by the sex hormones, testosterone and oestrogen in both sexes.

Stage 2: Attraction
When you are truly love-struck and can think of little else, its a feeling of being on cloud 9. Scientists figured that three predominant neurotransmitters involved in this stage are adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.

A) Adrenaline
The initial stages of falling in love activates the innate fight or flight response, increasing levels of adrenalin and cortisol in blood. This has the funny effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, heart beats faster and mouth goes dry.

B) Dopamine
Helen Fisher made newly ‘love struck’ couples to get examined and discovered they have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ feeling by triggering an intense rush of pleasure with increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this new found feeling. It has a similar effect on the brain as taking some narcotic drug!

C) Serotonin
Undoubtedly, one of love’s most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re ‘falling in love’, your new lover keeps flashing on and off in every little while in your thoughts like strobe lights.

Stage 3: Attachment
Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together long enough for them to have and raise progeny. Scientists think there might be role of two main hormones in this; oxytocin and vasopressin.

A) Oxytocin
This so called ‘cuddle hormone’ is a powerful hormone released by men and women while orgasm. It may deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have sexual intercourse. There’s also a hypothesis that it deepens the bond after each sexual act. It otherwise functions to assist natural childbirth process, and later is released for breastfeeding and to help cement the strong bond between mother and baby.

B) Vasopressin
Another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.

Does love change the way you think?
A pioneer experiment in Pisa, Italy showed that initially, love (the attraction phase) does change the manner in which you may otherwise normally think.

Psychiatrist Dr. Donatella Marazziti at the University of Pisa called twenty couples who were ‘madly’ in love in less than past six months to see if the brain mechanisms that cause them to constantly think about their lover, were anyway related to the brain mechanisms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). On studying blood samples from the lovers, she discovered that their serotonin levels were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of OCD patients.

Does Love needs to be blind?
Honestly, yes! Psychiatrists stated that truly smitten lovers, who are new to all this madness, often idealise their partners by magnifying their virtues and sidelining their flaws. They even exalt their relationship itself. Its common to think they have a relationship that’s closer and more special than anyone else’s. Psychologists think this rosy view is really needed to makes us want to stay together and finally want commitment.
Role of genes?
When it comes to choosing ‘the one’, we seem to be have to just rely on our subconscious. Researchers studying the science of attraction have tried to explain how humans pick their mates. When we look at a potential mate, we are assessing whether we would like our children to have their traits. There are two ways of doing this that are currently being studied, pheromones and appearance.
In the end, depends on our choice to judge and mate with somebody with the best possible genes. In a way, its an added advantage as only the chosen genes will then be passed on to our children, somewhat ensuring that we have good kids, who will in turn pass down the familial genes to our future generations.
Albeit there are many benefits of being single, there is no denying that truly falling in love is an intense emotion, and one that most of us find ecstatic. So, the next time someone you know starts to comment on the outdoors being more fragrant and refreshing than usual, or you notice that they smile often, especially when staring at a screen while reading messages of someone, they are definitely dating or may be they are possibly ‘falling in love’. Yet, discretion is always advised!
Dr Aafreen Kotadiya
MGM University

Author is a young and energetic MD specialized in Immuno-hematology and Transfusion Medicine from Mumbai, India. Besides being from amongst the top performers since her med school days, she remains a humble and charitable human and Editor-in-chief at the Times of Youth.

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“Everyone in Pakistan is so friendly” -Jeremy McLellan



Biryani-loving comedian Jeremy McLellan is finally in Pakistan

McLellan is known for often writing about his love for biryani and his humourous commentary on American politics, immigration, Islamophobia and race. His understanding of Islam, diversity of Muslims and Pakistani culture has made him popular among Pakistanis and it’s not uncommon to see a myriad of comments from Muslims and Pakistanis on his Facebook status updates.

Jeremy Facebook Status Updates From Pakistan

Everyone in Pakistan is so friendly. If I accepted every offer I’ve received to come to people’s houses for dinner or tea I would be here for 10 years and gain 1,000 pounds.
Power keeps going out. Not a big deal for me, but whoever fixes the electrical grid would improve things by a lot.
I’m used to having a lot of personal space. Not much of that here. Takes a while to get used to. Thankfully it’s all friendly.
Weather is nice, especially on rooftops. Felt like Charleston. Way better than Dubai.
Dinner at Haveli was amazing, and the view of the Badshahi mosque took my breath away.
Finally got to see my reporter friend Usman from Pakistan Today who wrote the first articles about me in Pakistan. Great guy.
Jet lag made me sleep in too much. Hope to see more tomorrow. So far I love it.

“After two years of planning, two weeks of very little sleep, and two days of travel, I have now officially landed in Pakistan. What a blessed and fortunate life I have. Thank you to everyone. My body is tired but my heart is full.”

Dinner at Haveli Restaurant overlooking the Badshahi mosque.

Hanging out at Emporium in Lahore!

Jeremy McLellan Official Facebook Page

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Beat the Heat – tips and tricks to cool it this summer!



The cold winter months may come with its own set of headaches, but summer is no less. It’s a constant battle towards hydration, layered with the right portion of sun-block, all of this while trying to keep cool, mentally and physically.

Reports of increasing global warming make it seem that every summer the temperature is and would be getting harder to endure. Thus, as a medico and concerned citizen, I had to finally compile a list of DIY’s and other simple, efficient ways to keep one cool and happy during this hot season.

  1. Be Hydrated. As you lose water by perspiration, your body temperature rises. Replacing fluids is hence essential to keep the body cool. To replace the water that you lose by sweating, be sure to drink a lot of fluids, especially water and cool fruit juices. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar, which are dehydrating. Also opt for hydrating foods like a smoothie for lunch, and add more fresh fruits and vegetables to all your meals. Watermelon has the greatest water content as compared to all other foods.

  2. Eat light. The reason we reach for salads in the summer is owing to their easier digestibility than, say, a cheese pizza or lardaceous burgers, which leaves you feeling sluggish in the high heat. Instead, go for fruits and vegetables, which are water-rich and help keep you hydrated and cooler. You could also freeze tiny slices of your favorite fruits in ice cube trays with a little water and add to your regular glass of water later for mildly flavored water or simply suck on them for the cooling effect.

  3. Apply cold water. In order to lower body temperature by lowering the blood temperature in the veins directly, apply a bottle with ice-cold water on pulsation points like your ankles, wrists, or behind the knees.

  4. Breathe like Yogis. Feeling overheated again with no cold water around? No problem. Do a few minutes of yogic breathing by curling your tongue by pulling both side edges upward toward the middle forming an O, then breathe in through your mouth. Hold your breath, and slowly exhale through your nose. Repeat five to 10 times. This age old technique should help cool you naturally.

  5. Cool that Sheet. Put soft gel ice packs on top of the mattress and underneath the sheets; try under your legs, neck, or lower back for maximum comfort. You could also try freezing a cotton sock filled with rice, then slipping it between the sheets. The rice will hold a chill longer due to its starch content. Or just simply chill your bed by folding sheets and pillowcases, placing them in plastic bags, and sticking them in the freezer for a few hours to make up the bed just before you go to sleep for a sound slumber.

  6. DIY Air Cooler. Freeze a couple of water bottles or even a shallow bowl filled with ice and place in front of a floor or desk fan, and enjoy a pleasing breeze when the ice melts and evaporates with your makeshift air-conditioner/cooler. Adding salt to the water before freezing can beat the heat for longer period.

  7. Hello Aloe. Pick up an aloe vera plant from a local plant nursery and get some cut and peeled. Aloe vera gel has a cooling effect when applied on the sun burnt skin. After a long day under the sun it can naturally soothe sunburns without spoiling skin texture or any fear of side effects.

  8. Spice it up. If you’re already sweating, why would you want to sweat more? The answer lies in this explanation. Eating spicy food increases blood circulation and makes you sweat, so as the sweat dries, you’ll feel cooler and have some brief relief. The substance which produces the hot taste in chilies, capsaicin, encourages your body to sweat more without raising your body temperature. It is a tried and tested technique by people who have lived in scorching climates since ages!

  9. Put Up Sun Blockers. The air outside when dry and cooler than that inside, one can hang a damp sheet in an open window. Incoming air will be cooled by the evaporating water. Shutting curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white surface on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat passing into your home by as much as 40-45 percent.

  10. Squirt, Spritz. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and whenever its hot. squirt some cool goodness. For ideal thermal regulation, try to begin with wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through their veins. Spraying on some watery mist over your bed-sheets and room walls would also seemingly bring down the temperature of the room immediately for a while. Take it from me, it is a wonderful experience!

  11. Fan it right. If the day’s heat is trapped inside your home, try a little ventilation at night. A window fan with blades facing outside sucks warm air out of the house and pulls cooler air in. Attaching frozen water bottles on the back of the fan will accentuate the coolness further.

  12. Dress right. Coolmax and Nano-Tex are not just for athletes anymore. Wear one of the widely available synthetic fabrics designed to wick away sweat and that sticky feeling. If cotton is preferred, it should be thin, light colored, and, most of all, loose. The best thing is to have sweat evaporate directly from skin to air, the next best thing is for the sweat to move quickly from your skin to clothing and then evaporate. Loose, billowy clothes allow air movement next to the skin and help with sweat evaporation, and thus cool the body.

13.Think Cool. Relax with A Winter’s Tale, The Call of the Wild, Doctor Zhivago, or Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Reading about cold can take your mind off the heat, evoking one’s own experience of ice and snow. Could say it is like a bit of self-hypnosis. Although this needs a little determination, but may be mastered by constancy.

Written by 
Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

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‘Health is Wealth’ – Explained



As the old saying goes ‘health is wealth’, have you ever wondered why they say so? Mahatma Gandhi also says, “It is health which is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver”. So basically, it means that there is nothing in our life that is more valuable than good health. Health is more valuable than money, as the latter can never buy healthiness and happiness. But a healthy person remains in a state of bliss despite of being poor. Without health there is no happiness, no peace and no success. A person with bad health cannot enjoy the pleasure of being wealthy.

By health we do not mean the absence of physical troubles only. WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Thus, a healthy person is completely free from any illness or injury. A person with sound health enjoys a stability that also includes a healthy mental condition. Our health depends upon several factors, such as food habits, hygiene, fetishes, pollution, sleeping habits, mental condition, air, water, sunlight etc. Some of them are elaborated further below.

Importance of light, air and water: Fresh air and sunlight are very important for our health. Brisk morning walks are very helpful for the fitness of our mind and body. Breathing the fresh air each morning rejuvenates the mind and soul and surmounts the energy that one would need to keep going throughout the day. Sunlight helps our body to produce vitamin-D. A dirty and damp atmosphere breeds a lot of diseases. Fresh and pure drinking water is also necessary for good health. Impure drinking water causes many ailments. So, we must take care of these things.

Food:  Good food, too, is essential for the body. A healthy fiber-filled breakfast each morning is imperative for a good start of the day. Fiber rich foods such as oats, whole grain wheat, bran rice, etc. help us improve our digestive system. Nutritious foods helps us to maintain good health. We all should know, how, when and what to eat.
We should always include a portion of green vegetables, fresh fruits or salads with minimal dressing in our meal. All of these are sources of vital macro and micro nutrients. A balanced and nutritious diet helps the proper growth of the body. But we must remember that we eat to live and not that we live to eat.

Physical exercise and sports: We all know the proverb, “A sound mind in a sound body”. In order to keep the body healthy, we need to keep the mind sound. Physical exercises keep us fit. There are varous kinds of physical exercises. We may walk a kilometer or two every day. We may take some yogic or aerobic exercises or even zumba, dancing and swimming. At the same, games and sports are very useful for health.

Cleanliness: Cleanliness is crucial for good health. Without cleanliness, it is very difficult to maintain fitness. We should clean our house and the surrounding areas every day. Alhough bathing  should ideally be twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, yet once atleast is mandatory. After eating food, we should clean our hands with soap. Various types of diseases erupts from unclean surroundings. We should always throw the garbage in the dustbin. Cleanliness is the key to great health.

Some rules of hygiene: We must know some simple rules of hygiene. Our house must be airy and sunny. Apart from all this, we must form good habits. We should keep ourselves free from  unwanted cares and anxieties. Early rising and early to bed is equally necessary for good health. So we must try to keep fit.

We should take proper care of our health so that we can enjoy our life completely because when we are ill, we do not want to play or work. Our bad health robs us of our daily efficiency, sound sleep and appetite. Life becomes a burden if one  is constantly ailing. Life is left with little charm then. He feels tired of life, always bickering about one thing or the other. On the other hand, one with good health enjoys his life. A healthy person is mindful of all food he eats and enjoys sound sleep.  A healthy person is able enough to sing the glory of life and works hard to realize his dreams. He is cheerful and hardly complains. He may be poor, with limited income and may have to work very hard to earn a living, but even the richest man if ill would envy him for his good health and cheerfulness. A  person with sound health can lead a happy and enjoyable life. A rich person can afford various luxuries of life such as a costly car, posh house, branded accessories, air-conditioners, good furniture, trendy clothes, delicacy foods etc. But, he can enjoy these luxuries only if his health is good. Health is, thus, definitely much more important than wealth. Health is a greatest treasure and  the highest blessing.

Let us plan now to cherish the health we are blessed with, and try to give this gift to all we know so they, too, would enjoy the wonders of this life while being grateful.

Written by Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

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