Friday, May 25, 2012

Oxytocin [ok-si-toh-suhn]

A native English speaker once corrected my pronunciation of oxytocin, making me say "oxytoxin" [ok-si-tok-suhn] instead of [ok-si-toh-suhn]. I just checked, and the hormone of love does not have a "toxin" inside. what a relief... :)
From Wikipedia:
Oxytocin (Oxt) ( /ˌɒksɨˈtoʊsɪn/) is a mammalian hormone that acts primarily as a neuromodulator in the brain.
Oxytocin is best known for its roles in sexual reproduction, in particular during and after childbirth. It is released in large amounts after distension of the cervix and uterus during labor, facilitating birth, and after stimulation of the nipples, facilitating breastfeeding.
Recent studies have begun to investigate oxytocin's role in various behaviors, including orgasm, social recognition, pair bonding, anxiety, and maternal behaviors.[1] For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the "love hormone." The inability to secrete oxytocin and feel empathy is linked to sociopathy, psychopathy, narcissism[citation needed] and general manipulativeness.[2]
The word oxytocin was derived from the Greek ὼκυτοκίνη, ōkytokínē, meaning “quick birth”, after its uterine-contracting properties were discovered by British pharmacologist Sir Henry Hallett Dale in 1906.[3] The milk ejection property of oxytocin was described by Ott and Scott in 1910[4] and by Schafer and Mackenzie in 1911.[5] The nine amino acid sequence of oxytocin was elucidated by Vincent du Vigneaud et al. and by Tuppy in 1953.[6] and synthesized biochemically soon after by du Vigneaud et al. in 1953.[7][8] Oxytocin was the very first polypeptide hormone to be sequenced and synthesized. Du Vigneaud states in his publication of 1954 "This synthesis thus constitutes the first synthesis of a polypeptide hormone".[9]

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Monkey Mama

In the Monkey Forest in Bali, I saw a mom-monkey with a little toddler-monkey. The toddler monkey was repeatedly trying to escape from his mom, and every time his mom would silently pull him back by his tail with the most calm and gentle touch. Her aplomb was remarkable. Then, I turned my head and another monkey mama was screaming shrilly at her baby who managed to escape. I felt so human and so primate walking hand in hand with my two-year-old daughter.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rock'n'Roll Mama

"We played with the band several times while I was pregnant. I remembered Kim Gordon, the bass player of Sonic Youth, did a tour with the band while pregnant and performed on stage with the bass over her five months pregnant belly. It was reassuring. One week before giving birth, we had a gig close to where we lived. I was all geared up, with my belly under my nose. We rocked for two hours and I didn’t feel tired at all. I felt strong and powerful."
(from Memoirs of a Singing Birth) — with Bluebird & Skoko.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A "Telephone Wire"

"Within two days, the cord drained. It happened suddenly; it collapsed and turned brown in a few hours. Now, there was a less flexible “telephone wire” sticking out of the navel. It became more complicated taking care of the baby and her components. However, the feeling of fragility was only apparent. The navel and the cord were holding tightly to each other even though their relationship was obviously drying up."
(from Memoirs of a Singing Birth)