Can Religion Make You Healthier?

While purported health benefits are hardly a sound basis for religious beliefs and practices, and the question of religiosity’s medical effects do not lend themselves easily to scientific analysis, a number of studies have tried to measure the impact of religion on psychological and even physiological well-being. Jonathan Ford Hughes points to several that make the case that both faith and ritual can be salubrious:

The American Journal of Epidemiology surveyed a group of youths and found that those who had a more religious upbringing were 18-percent more likely to report a higher sense of happiness as young adults than those who didn’t. Those who prayed or meditated daily as children were also reported as being 16-percent happier as young adults than those who didn’t pray daily, and were 29-percent more likely to volunteer for community service.

Childhood religious upbringing was also shown to have a bearing on brain activity. In 2019, Next Avenue, a PBS-supported news resource for older Americans, reported on the neurological effects of prayer in the brain. While undergoing a brain scan, a rabbi and a researcher sang a Jewish prayer. The rabbi’s scan showed activation in areas of the brain that indicate focus and a sense of letting go. The researcher’s scan did not. Similar scans of Buddhists and nuns during meditation and prayer, respectively, found increased activity in their frontal lobes as well.

In addition, religion can also affect physical health. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, religious individuals have far fewer physical health issues than those who are not religious. This may be attributable to the fact that religious individuals are happier because of their beliefs, which has a huge influence on physical health. . . . Religion also appears to lead to a lifestyle with lower risk of venereal diseases, drug use, and early pregnancy, [and so forth], according to the American Journal of Epidemiology Study.

Read more at MDLinx

More about: Medicine, Psychology, Religion

 

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security