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Cipher in the snow

  1. Mar 24, 2006 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Have you ever seen the movie? It was required for us to watch this as kids. The thesis: This boy died because he wasn't loved.

    Is this possible?



    Funny!!! I just noticed that this was put out by LDS video - the mormons. It was required viewing in our Catholic school. Imagine that!!! :biggrin:
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2006
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  3. Mar 24, 2006 #2


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    I have not seen the movie, but I read some of the info in the links and I get the jist. It's hard for me to believe that "lack of love" would be the direct causal event that killed the boy (if the story is indeed true). I can however produce evidence that lack of interaction and maternal care can elicit some rather serious responses in developing animals that could potentially lead to morbidity, illness or worse. A search of the literature on maternal and/or social deprivation, isolation rearing, etc, especially in infants or young animals (we're talking monkeys for the most part, but some studies were done on human orphans) reveals decrements in immune, neuronal and hormonal systems that could potentially result in permanent behavioral alterations or weaken the organism enough to allow easily combated or avoided pathogens to cause damage. Here are a few:

    Laudenslager, ML, Reits M., Harbeck, R. (1982). Suppressed immune response in infant monkeys associated with maternal separation. Behav Neural Biol 36:40-48.

    G.R. Lubach et al., "Effects of early rearing environment on immune responses of infant rhesus monkeys," Brain Behav Immun 9, no. 1 (Mar 1995): 31–46.

    Cortisol (stress hormone) elevations
    M.L. Laudenslager et al., "Total cortisol, free cortisol, and growth hormone associated with brief social separation experiences in young macaques," Dev Psychobiol 28, no. 4 (May 1995): 199–211.

    L.J. Luecken, "Childhood attachment and loss experiences affect adult cardiovascular and cortisol function," Psychosom Med 60, no. 6 (Nov–Dec 1998): 765–72.

    M. Carlson and F. Earls, "Psychological and neuroendocrinological sequelae of early social deprivation in institutionalized children in Romania," Ann N Y Acad Sci 807 (Jan 15, 1997): 419–28.

    Granted I haven't fully reviewed each of these but they are suggestive as to the immediate and potentially longterm impact which isolation can have on the developing child. Whether you want to associate terms like maternal care and social interaction with "love" is up to you.
  4. Mar 24, 2006 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    It also calls into play the notion of having a "will to live". Is there a biological interpretation of this idea?
  5. Mar 24, 2006 #4


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    I think we all have fear of death, even those who are convinced they don't. I know I'm never giving up.
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