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Mon, 25 Oct 2021
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Science of the Spirit


Gut bacteria influence brain development

Brain Development
© Seki et al., 2021)
Seki et al. have established a comprehensive, time-resolved profile of microbiota, immune, and neurophysiological development in premature infants. Their research linked early-life microbiome establishment to immunological and neurological development, identifying candidate biomarkers of perinatal brain injury. In summary (left), their results showed that pro-inflammatory T cell response correlates with suppressed electro-cortical maturation. γδ T cells seemed to have central implications for this suppression and the pathogenesis of brain injury. Furthermore, Klebsiella overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract was highly predictive for brain damage. To the right, manifestations of such brain injuries are shown as representative cranial magnetic resonance (cMRI) images at term-equivalent age for intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH; upper right corner) and periventricular leukomalacia (PVL, lower right corner).
Researchers discover biomarkers that indicate early brain injury in extreme premature infants

Extremely premature infants are at a high risk for brain damage. Researchers at the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna have now found possible targets for the early treatment of such damage outside the brain: Bacteria in the gut of premature infants may play a key role. The research team found that the overgrowth of the gastrointestinal tract with the bacterium Klebsiella is associated with an increased presence of certain immune cells and the development of neurological damage in premature babies. The study is now published in journal Cell Host & Microbe.

Complex interplay: the gut-immune-brain axis

The early development of the gut, the brain and the immune system are closely interrelated. Researchers refer to this as the gut-immune-brain axis. Bacteria in the gut cooperate with the immune system, which in turn monitors gut microbes and develops appropriate responses to them. In addition, the gut is in contact with the brain via the vagus nerve as well as via the immune system. "We investigated the role this axis plays in the brain development of extreme preterm infants," says the first author of the study, David Seki. "The microorganisms of the gut microbiome - which is a vital collection of hundreds of species of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes - are in equilibrium in healthy people. However, especially in premature babies, whose immune system and microbiome have not been able to develop fully, shifts are quite likely to occur. These shifts may result in negative effects on the brain," explains the microbiologist and immunologist.

Patterns in the microbiome provide clues to brain damage

"In fact, we have been able to identify certain patterns in the microbiome and immune response that are clearly linked to the progression and severity of brain injury," adds David Berry, microbiologist and head of the research group at the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science (CMESS) at the University of Vienna as well as Operational Director of the Joint Microbiome Facility of the Medical University of Vienna and University of Vienna. "Crucially, such patterns often show up prior to changes in the brain. This suggests a critical time window during which brain damage of extremely premature infants may be prevented from worsening or even avoided."

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Why words become harder to remember as we get older

© Pexels.com
Not only in games, but also in conversation, we sometimes run out of words. In old age, it takes increasingly longer to find a certain word. Researchers have discovered that this is due to a change in the use of certain networks in the brain.
As we get older, we find it increasingly difficult to have the right words ready at the right moment - even though our vocabulary actually grows continuously over the course of our lives. Until now, it was unclear why this is. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the University of Leipzig have now found out: It is the networks in the brain that change their communication over time. This makes them more inefficient.

The researchers investigated these connections with the help of two groups - younger study participants between the ages of 20 and 35 and older ones between the ages of 60 and 70. Both groups were asked to name words in the MRI scanner that belong to certain categories, including animals, metals or vehicles.


New reward circuitry discovered

In a paper published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers pushed the science forward on our reward pathways.
Reward Circuitry
© Getty Images
The process of better understanding the brain is like building a puzzle whose pieces grow in number over time.
The key to overcoming addictions and psychiatric disorders lives deep inside the netherworld of our brains and the circuitry that causes us to feel good. Just like space, this region of the brain needs more exploration.

The oldest and most known reward pathway is the mesolimbic dopamine system, which is composed of neurons projecting from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the nucleus accumbens -- a key structure in mediating emotional and motivation processing,

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released when the brain is expecting reward. A spike in dopamine could come be from eating pizza, dancing, shopping and sex. But it can also come from drugs, and lead to substance abuse.

In the search for new therapies to treat addiction and psychiatric illness, researchers are examining pathways beyond dopamine that could play a role in reward and reinforcement.

In a paper published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers from the Bruchas Lab at UW Medicine pushed the science forward on our reward pathways and found another such pathway.


Hearing mother's voice can lessen pain in premature babies, study suggests

neonatal nurse premature baby
© Hannah McKay/Reuters
A neonatal nurse caring for a premature baby. The author of the study said the team focused on voice because it was not always possible for parents to hold their babies in intensive care.
Researchers measured pain responses in preterm babies during routine procedures in neonatal unit.

Premature babies appear to feel less pain during medical procedures when they are spoken to by their mothers, researchers have found.

Babies that are born very early often have to spend time in neonatal intensive care units, and may need several painful clinical procedures. The situation can also mean lengthy separation from parents.

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Are incels a violent terrorist subculture, or collection of disenfranchised, misguided souls who need compassion and treatment?

Gravesite stuff
© AFP/Niklas Halle'n
North Down Crescent Park in the Keyham area of Plymouth, southwest England
August 14, 2021
Britain has been rocked by a rare mass shooting, carried out by an incel. The US has already witnessed several attacks by incels. But why are they happening and are tougher laws the answer?

A three-year old girl, her father, two passers-by, and the gunman's mother were murdered in cold blood in Plymouth, southwest England last week. Mainstream reports attributed the blame to Jake Davison identifying as an incel, a term short for involuntary celibate.

According to them, the subculture is creating dangerous killers.

As proof of how that narrative is being consumed by the public, an online petition was created to have incels formally recognised as a terrorist group in the UK. The direct link with terrorism was repeated by platforms such as Sky News and The Guardian, which wrote that previous shootings should have "brought misogynist terrorism into the awareness of law enforcement around the world."

It's true there have been several high profile incidents, most notably when Eliot Rodger killed six people in a stabbing spree in California, back in 2014 and when Alek Minassian took 10 lives by driving into pedestrians in Toronto in 2018.

But the reality is, incel culture is vastly misunderstood.

Evil Rays

Mass Psychosis: How to Create a Pandemic of Mental Illness

insane crowd mass psychosis
The 20-minute video above, "Mass Psychosis — How an Entire Population Becomes Mentally Ill," created by After Skool and Academy of Ideas,1 is a fascinating illustration of how mass psychosis can be induced.

Mass psychosis is defined as "an epidemic of madness" that occurs when a "large portion of society loses touch with reality and descends into delusions."

One classic historical example of mass psychosis is the witch hunts that occurred in the Americas and Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, when tens of thousands of people, mostly women, were tortured, drowned and burned alive at the stake. The rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century is a more recent example of mass psychosis.

Eye 1

Gaslighting: The psychology of shaping another's reality


Still from 1942 movie Gaslight
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

- Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
We are living in a world where the degree of disinformation and outright lying has reached such a state of affairs that, possibly for the first time ever, we see the majority of the western world starting to question their own and surrounding level of sanity. The increasing frenzied distrust in everything "authoritative" mixed with the desperate incredulity that "everybody couldn't possibly be in on it!" is slowly rocking many back and forth into a tighter and tighter straight jacket. "Question everything" has become the new motto, but are we capable of answering those questions?

Presently the answer is a resounding no.

Comment: See also: Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Echoes of Nazism - Governments' Vaccine Passports Spark Mass Disobedience

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MindMatters: The Postmodern Bible: An Interpretation for Everyone!

bible multilevel book
For some it is the holiest book, they only one you'll ever need. For others it is a tool of conquering. Some find in it the loftiest values, others only the basest superstitions. Today on MindMatters we delve into this contradictory world of interpretations: religion as a source of extrinsic morality, or a call to the spark of divinity within, or somewhere in between. Perhaps, just like humanity, the Bible is multilevel in nature, with a little something for everyone, from saints to psychopaths.

MindMatters on odysee.

Running Time: 01:18:39

Download: MP3 — 108 MB


Why Do Some People Support Tyranny While Others Defy It?

There is a fundamental question that haunts the pages of history and it is one that has never been addressed in a satisfactory manner. There are many schools of thought on why and how tyranny rises in any given society and all of them miss the mark in terms of explanations, primarily because they all allow their biases to rule their conclusions and blind them to the deeper aspects of power and conspiracy. In other words, they are willing to go down the rabbit hole only so far, and then they deny that the rabbit hole even exists.

The common assumption when it comes to autocracy or oligarchy is that people are "stupid" and easily manipulated into following compelling personalities that make promises they never intend to keep. This is a foolish oversimplification. In truth, the level of manipulation needed to lure a majority of people into dictatorship is so complex that it requires an advanced understanding of human psychology.

In our modern era, people cannot merely be ordered to submit at gunpoint, at least not right away. They must be tricked into conforming, and not only that, but they must be made to think that it was THEIR IDEA all along. Without this dynamic of self censorship and self enslavement, the population will eventually rebel no matter how oppressive the regime. A thousand year tyranny cannot exist unless a number of people are conned into applauding it, or, they directly benefit from it.


Our brains perceive our environment differently when we're lying down

woman lying down
© shutterstock
You're agitated by the sound of a mosquito buzzing around your head. The buzzing stops. You feel the tiny pinprick and locate the target. Whack! It's over.

It's a simple sequence, but it demands complex processing. How did you know where the mosquito was before you could even see it?

The human body is covered in about two square metres of skin, but somehow even before looking you knew the precise location of the spindly predator. After visual confirmation, your hand found its way to the scene of the crime and applied fatal force to the bug, but you didn't hurt yourself in the process.

What did it take for all that to happen? Good question.

For all the advancements the world has seen in every field of science, including neuroscience, the mechanics of perception and thinking still elude complete understanding.

Even the list of basic human senses is still up for debate: beyond the five traditional senses, many argue that balance — the body's mechanism for orienting itself in space — should have been included long ago.