Brian Sullivan

I was going to ask you about your Valentine’s Day. I wanted to ask you if you were able to give your lover what they moist yearned for.
Did you enjoy a beautiful, caring and sharing time together in intimate serenity was thepurpose of this message.
I wish I could tell you my Valentine’s Day was wonderful,
Valentine’s Day, day of love and a celebration of appreciation for all things beautiful in your partner, was for me saddened by an explosion.
The Indian city of Pune, my fiancé Rachana’s home city, was rocked by an explosion in a popular German Bakery on the evening of the 13th. The suburb of Koregaon Park houses the Osho Ashram and a Jewish prayer house led by Chabad emissary Rabbi Kupchik.
Rachana is safe and there is no point asking why on a personal level. Knowing the reasons behind the attack may help discover the perpetrators of nine murders.
However, it will not heal the 60 injured.
There is a lot to be gained by asking What Next? How can I turn this emotional sledging into a powerful to be a better partner, husband, lover and friend.
I had initially intended this news letter to be about Valentine’s Day. I wanted to ask you how did you celebrate (– by the way please let us know!) I want to know what you do to get your man and keep him.
However, in all relationships there are challenges. Some are caused by distance, others by circumstance and more often we harm ourselves.
It seems to me that the lesson to be learned is the power of appreciation.
Marketing professor Jeff Galak of Carnegie Mellon University claimed lover are like little children who suffer from “variety amnesia” and like forget the past variety and excitement of their past shared love.
Dr David Sanford goes so far as to suggest that a marriage that has lulled into a void of routine may lack fights, but then if it lacks the excitement of emotional exchange it can be just as dead.
While I think there are better ways to handle love than argue he makes a strong point
‘”No troubles at all” may mean no challenge, no emotion, no surprises, no change; in other words boring. Some marriages do die of boredom he states.
That is why some ‘perfect’ marriages just seem to end.
However, as an aside, most infidelity comes in the first two years of a relationship and not when marriage has become tired and boring.

So how can you love thrive under challenge?
Dana Hudapohl asked a bunch of experts for Redbook and listed five important ingredients.
You see it seems that it’s more common to unintentionally wind up in an affair.
Now before you email me with the obvious ‘Surely an affair is no accident!’ line, couples therapist and psychology professor Douglas Snyder explains that when people are suffering the inevitable distress reaching out needing consolation when it seems that their lover is unavailable.
Perhaps you have had a fight and the young girl in the office just seems to understand her maternal caring spirit is awaken to your need for nurture.
Or you are met by a very sympathetic – and good looking tradesperson who sympathizes in your moments of isolation.
“People who have accidental affairs have no thoughts of being unfaithful,” says Snyder. “It’s not even consistent with their values system, but the opportunity presents itself.”
While I assure you no Pune bomb will tempt me into the arms of another, it is important to find solace in your lover rather than to seek greener pastures.
Rather than pretend it will never happen to me, one of the best way to resist temptation is self analysis.
“Here’s the best way to prevent affairs” says marriage therapist Barry McCarthy. “Rather than saying, ‘We will never have one,’ instead think of the kind of person, situation and mood that would make you vulnerable,”
We must know what situations to avoid and what qualities to develop.
Dana Hudapohl advises
1. Be each other’s number one confidant. Emotional intimacy should remain with your partner alone, not a shared confidant of the opposite sex.
2. Make time to connect on a regular basis.
3. Don’t let family time squeeze out just-the-two-of-you time..
4. Recognize when you’re temporarily attracted to someone else. It doesn’t mean you r marriage is doomed – you simply don’t act on it.
5. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your relationship. If you need a confidant, have friend who will support and encourage you to stick together, not a worry buddy who will let you spill your guts about your lover.
While the above advice is mostly relationship protective, how can you build on the emotional glue to love?
There is a great danger in developing negative neurological associations with your lover. In a relationship where you see each other daily, this is so easy to do.
Fear can add to the problem.
For some reason, you are angry with your spouse. You have a choice, talk about it, or bottle it up.
One way may seem counterintuitive.  If you feel upset with your partner bottling it up will only numb your emotional flexibility, said David Sanford.
While It may prevent a potential issue at first, it is better to express your feeling appropriately.
Otherwise, we will develop a well of negative association with our partner.
How can you talk to a woman when you unexplainably numbed in her presence?
Suddenly the mere name of your lover, that once excited passionate heaven sent ecstasy, now  recalls a numbed fear based uncertainty that is anchored in your neurology.
She becomes a function of life – the peripheral ‘mother of my children’ or he is  ‘the old man.’
Work, while important to sustain the family, becomes our a source of satisfaction, with family placed a distant second or third.
The multidimensional facet’s of dynamic love life, more faceted than the moist beautiful diamond ring, becomes a one dimensional flat façade. We sleep, eat even have sex together, but love becomes a vague hazy memory.
Predictable and boring the love that set us free in the heavens can crash land in mediocrity.
Or we can look within and find the stimulating energy that empowers yourself and refuels your love.
“Finally, you are forced to suffer a boring marriage when you don’t know how to make it interesting” said David Sanford.
“As a nation, we have become so dependent on the “entertainment industry” for stimulation that we have lost the ability to stimulate ourselves and, thus, to draw forth what is interesting in our partners.”
So whether you Valentine’s was perfect, or was explosively disrupted, can you – Both of you – empower  the creative imaginative flare within each other?
Remember, if fear can be anchored in to your neurology, so can excitement and love.
When we first are attracted to someone, what was that magical spark that caught your eye? Usually it was something vibrant and exciting.
Have you ever watched a man or woman worth animal magnetism?
They find energy, begin a conversation , keep the energy high and never allow a potential suitor to experience an awkward silence or negative feeling with them.
They enjoy an inner game of psychological mastery that is irresistible. The trick is to retain those skills in normal family life.
They anchor, layer upon layer, positive feelings about themselves. Soon they appear irresistible.
However, the reverse is also true. Relationships may survive big drama’s – but it’s the constant destroying negativity that eats away at love. Those little, and often ignored, feelings that numb us.
So layer love and joy with your soul mate. Find in every joyful smile a moment to celebrate. Seek in his actions every little moment to show gratitude and build stitch by stitch, kindness by kindness, the majestic cloak of love – a royal raiment of devotion crowned by love, appreciation and passion.
Don’t just get your woman, or get your  man.
Find the woman of your dreams, layer appreciation and gratitude upon her in every word you speak. Every time she thinks of you will bring back a smile to her face and renew in that moment your passion and devotion.

Better by far you forget and smile than you should remember and be sad - Christina Rosetti
Brian Sullivan

People have typically viewed the benefits that accrue with social status primarily from the perspective of external rewards. A new paper
in the February 1st issue of Biological Psychiatry, published by Elsevier suggests that there are internal rewards as well.

Dr. Martinez and colleagues found that increased social status and
increased social support correlated with the density of dopamine D2/D3
receptors in the striatum, a region of the brain that plays a central
role in reward and motivation, where dopamine plays a critical role in
both of these behavioral processes.

The researchers looked at social status and social support in
normal healthy volunteers who were scanned using positron emission
tomography (PET), a technology that allowed them to image dopamine type
2 receptors in the brain.

This data suggests that people who achieve greater
social status are more likely to be able to experience life as
rewarding and stimulating because they have more targets for dopamine
to act upon within the striatum.

Dr. Martinez explains their findings: "We showed that low
levels of dopamine receptors were associated with low social status and
that high levels of dopamine receptors were associated with higher
social status. The same type of association was seen with the
volunteer's reports of social support they experience from their
friends, family, or significant other."

Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry
commented, "These data shed interesting light into the drive to achieve
social status, a basic social process. It would make sense that people
who had higher levels of D2 receptors, i.e., were more highly motivated
and engaged by social situations, would be high achievers and would
have higher levels of social support."

These data also may have implications for understanding the
vulnerability to alcohol and substance abuse, as the work of Dr. Nora
Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and
colleagues suggests that low levels of D2/D3 receptors may contribute
to the risk for alcoholism among individuals who have family members
who abuse alcohol. The current data suggest that vulnerable individuals
with low D2/D3 receptors may be vulnerable to lower social status and
social supports, and these social factors have previously been
suggested as contributors to the risk for alcohol and substance use.

These findings are particularly exciting because they put
human neurobiology into a social context, and we humans are
fundamentally social creatures. It is in these social contexts that the
biological effects on behavior obtain their real meaning.

Martinez et al. "Dopamine Type 2/3 Receptor Availability in the Striatum and Social Status in Human Volunteers." Biological Psychiatry, 2010; 67 (3): 275 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.07.037
Brian Sullivan

Why do people succeed? Is it because they're smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of

"This is really a two hour presentation I give to high school students, cut down to three minutes.
And it all started one day on a plane, on my way to TED, seven years ago. And in the seat next to me was a high school student, a teenager, and she came from a really poor family. And she wanted to
make something of her life, and she asked me a simple little question.
She said, "What leads to success?" And I felt really badly, because I couldn't give her a good answer. So I get off the plane, and I come to TED. And
I think, jeez, I'm in the middle of a room of successful people! So why don't I
ask them what helped them succeed, and pass it on to kids?
So here we are, seven years, 500 interviews later, and I'm gonna tell you what really leads to success and makes TED-sters tick.

And the first thing is passion. Freeman Thomas says, "I'm driven by my passion." TED-sters do it for love, they don't do it for money.

Carol Coletta says, "I would pay someone to do what I do." And the interesting thing is, if you do it for love, the money comes anyway.

Work! Rupert Murdoch said to me, "It's all hard work. Nothing comes easily. But I have a lot of fun." Did he say fun? Rupert? Yes! TED-sters do have fun working. And they work hard. I figured, they're not
workaholics. They're workafrolics. Good!

Alex Garden says, "To be successful put your nose down in something and get damn good at it." There's no magic, it's practice, practice, practice.

And it's focus. Norman Jewison said to me, "I think it all has to do with focusing yourself on one thing"

And push!

David Gallo says, "Push yourself. Physically, mentally, you've gotta push, push, push." You gotta push through shyness and self-doubt.

Goldie Hawn says, "I always had self-doubts. I wasn't good enough, I wasn't smart enough. I didn't think I'd make it." Now it's not always easy to push yourself, and that's why they invented mothers.

Frank Gehry -- Frank Gehry said to me, "My mother pushed me."


Sherwin Nuland says, "It was a privilege to serve as a doctor." Now a lot of kids tell me they want to be millionaires. And the first thing I say to them is, "OK, well you can't serve yourself, you
gotta serve others something of value. Because that's the way people really get


TED-ster Bill Gates says, "I had an idea -- founding the first micro-computer software company." I'd say it was a pretty good idea. And there's no magic to creativity in coming up with ideas, it's just doing
some very simple things. And I give lots of evidence.


Joe Kraus says, "Persistence is the number one reason for our success." You gotta persist through failure.

You gotta persist through crap! Which of course means "Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure." (Laughter)

So, the big -- the answer to this question is simple: Pay 4,000 bucks and come to TED. Or failing that, do the eight things -- and trust me, these are the big eight things that lead to success.

Thank you TED-sters for all your interviews!
Brian Sullivan

Even with the best of available treatments, over a third of patients with depression may not achieve a satisfactory antidepressant response. Deep brain stimulation (DBS), a form of targeted electrical stimulation in the brain via implanted electrodes, is now undergoing careful testing to determine whether it could play a role in the treatment of patients who have not sufficiently improved during more traditional forms of treatment.

A major challenge of this work is determining the best region of the brain to stimulate. Some researchers stimulate the subgenual prefrontal cortex, a brain region implicated in depressed mood states, while others stimulate a region called the "anterior limb of the internal capsule", a nerve pathway that passes through the basal ganglia, a lower brain region.

Physicians publishing a new report in Biological Psychiatry now describe findings related to the stimulation of the nucleus accumbens, a brain region the size of a hazelnut associated with reward and motivation that is implicated in processing pleasurable stimuli, sometimes referred to as the "pleasure center" of the brain.

The inability to experience pleasure is a key symptom of depression and previous studies have shown that functioning of the nucleus accumbens is impaired in depressed individuals.

Bewernick and colleagues administered DBS treatment in ten patients with severe long-term depression who had not responded to multiple other antidepressant treatments, including psychotherapy, drug treatments and electroconvulsive treatment.

After one year of DBS, all patients showed some improvement, and half of them experienced significant improvement in their symptoms of depression, astonishing considering they had not responded to any prior antidepressant treatment. In addition, the patients showed reduced ratings of anxiety and had only minor side effects.

Importantly, none of their overall brain functioning was impaired by the DBS treatment.

"The nucleus accumbens is a brain region that animals will seek to stimulate even if they do not appear depressed and this is one reason that it is sometimes referred to as a reward center" said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.
"It is interesting to note that the patients in this study did not simply feel stimulated or euphoric; instead, there appeared to be reductions in depressed mood that paralleled an increase in the capacity for pleasure" he said.

"This finding will stimulate further study on the role of the nucleus accumbens in depression and its treatment."

The authors caution that because they studied only a small number of people, further research is necessary before DBS could be considered a clinically useful treatment for treatment-resistant depression.

There are also important ethical considerations, since DBS treatment first requires potentially risky brain surgery. However, these preliminary findings are promising that DBS may provide relief to individuals with severe treatment-resistant depression.
Brian Sullivan

 "Since he was adopted by staff members as a kitten, Oscar the Cat has had an uncanny ability to predict when residents are about to die. Thus far, he has presided over the deaths of more than 25 residents on the third floor of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island. His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death, allowing staff members to adequately notify families. Oscar has also provided companionship to those who would otherwise have died alone. For his work, he is highly regarded by the physicians and staff at Steere House and by the families of the residents whom he serves."
- New England Journal of Medicine

Oscar, an aloof cat kept at a US nursing home, regularly predicted patient's deaths by snuggling alongside them in their final hours, a scientist says.
Dr David Dosa says he initially was sceptical but his doubts disappeared after he and his colleagues tallied about 50 correct calls made by Oscar over five years.
The process is the subject of a new book - Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat.
The feline's bizarre talent astounds Dosa, but he finds Oscar's real worth in his fierce insistence on being present when others turn away from life's most uncomfortable topic: death.
"People actually were taking great comfort in this idea, that this animal was there and might be there when their loved ones eventually pass," Dosa said.
"He was there when they couldn't be."
Dosa, 37, is a geriatrician and professor who treats patients with severe dementia. It's usually the last stop for people so ill they cannot speak or recognise their spouses, and so spend their days lost in fragments of memory.
He once feared that families would be horrified by the furry grim reaper, especially after Dosa made Oscar famous in a 2007 essay in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Instead, he says many caregivers consider Oscar a comforting presence, and some have praised him in newspaper death notices and eulogies.
"Maybe they're seeing what they want to see," he said, "but what they're seeing is a comfort to them in a real difficult time in their lives".
The nursing home adopted Oscar, a medium-haired cat with a grey and brown back and white belly, in 2005 because its staff thinks pets make the Steere House a home. They play with visiting children and prove a welcome distraction for patients and doctors alike.
After a year, the staff noticed that Oscar would spend his days pacing from room to room. He sniffed and looked at the patients but rarely spent much time with anyone - except when they had just hours to live.
He's accurate enough that the staff - including Dosa - know it's time to call family members when Oscar stretches beside their patients, who are generally too ill to notice his presence.
If kept outside the room of a dying patient, he'll scratch at doors and walls, trying to get in.
Nurses once placed Oscar in the bed of a patient they thought gravely ill. Oscar wouldn't stay put, and the staff thought his streak was broken. Turns out the medical professionals were wrong, and the patient rallied for two more days. But in the final hours, Oscar held his bedside vigil without prompting.
Dosa does not explain Oscar scientifically in his book, although he theorises the cat imitates the nurses who raised him or smells odours given off by dying cells, perhaps like some dogs who scientists say can detect cancer using their sense of scent.
Dosa says several patients in his book are partly fictional, though the names and stories of the caregivers he interviews are real and many feel guilty.
Donna Richards told Dosa that she felt guilty for putting her mother in a nursing home. She felt guilty for not visiting enough. When caring for her mother, Richards felt guilty about missing her teenage son's swimming lessons.
Richards was at her mother's bedside nonstop when she knew she was nearing her end. But after three days, a nurse persuaded her to go home for a brief rest. Despite her misgivings, Richards agreed. Her mother died a short while later.
But she didn't die alone. Oscar was there.
(Source: Adapted from yahoonews)

Better by far you forget and smile than you should remember and be sad - Christina Rosetti