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Sun, 23 Oct 2016
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Health & Wellness


Video breakthrough opens door to study hallucinations scientifically

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Although commonly associated with psychiatric disorders, healthy people can also have visual hallucinations after taking drugs, being sleep deprived or suffering migraines.
A new method for inducing, modelling and measuring visual hallucinations in healthy individuals suggests these complex experiences share a common underlying mechanism with normal visual perception, UNSW researchers say.

Although commonly associated with psychiatric disorders, healthy people can also have visual hallucinations after taking drugs, being sleep deprived or suffering migraines. These involuntary experiences are thought to arise when spontaneous changes in the brain temporarily hijack visual function, but the exact causes and underlying mechanisms aren't fully understood.

"We have known for more than 100 years that flickering light can cause almost anyone to experience a hallucination," says UNSW Associate Professor Joel Pearson from the School of Psychology.

"However, the unpredictability, complexity and personal nature of these hallucinations make them difficult to measure scientifically," he says.
Nobody has been able to do this before, because they haven't been able to overcome this key challenge.


U.S. kids are among the least fit in the world according to British study

© Lev Dolgachov/IStock Photo
U.S. kids would come in near the back of the pack in a global race, research shows.
Cue the sad trombone. America's kids ranked 47 out of 50 countries measuring aerobic fitness — a key factor for overall health — in a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. By comparison, Tanzania, Iceland, Estonia, Norway and Japan raced away with the top five slots. The least fit country: Mexico.

Research teams from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the University of North Dakota analyzed data on more than 1.1 million kids aged 9 to 17. Subjects were evaluated using a multi-stage fitness test also known as the "beep" test. How it works: You run back and forth between two points 66 feet apart to synchronized beeps. The point where you can't reach the line before the beep, that's your level.

Comment: It seems that income inequality has all kinds of detrimental effects on children:

Being poor can change your genes and increase chances of depression, mental illness and drug abuse


The Adderall generation

© Credit Illustration by Chad Wys. Source image from the Getty’s Open Content Program.
“Portrait of Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth,” by Peter Lely.
Like many of my friends, I spent years using prescription stimulants to get through school and start my career. Then I tried to get off them.

Have you ever been to Enfield? I had never even heard of it until I was 23 and living in London for graduate school. One afternoon, I received notification that a package whose arrival I had been anticipating for days had been bogged down in customs and was now in a FedEx warehouse in Enfield, an unremarkable London suburb. I was outside my flat within minutes of receiving this news and on the train to Enfield within the hour, staring through the window at the gray sky. The package in question, sent from Los Angeles, contained my monthly supply of Adderall.

Adderall, the brand name for a mixture of amphetamine salts, is more strictly regulated in Britain than in the United States, where, the year before, in 2005, I became one of the millions of Americans to be prescribed a stimulant medication.

The train to Enfield was hardly the greatest extreme to which I would go during the decade I was entangled with Adderall. I would open other people's medicine cabinets, root through trash cans where I had previously disposed of pills, write friends' college essays for barter. Once, while living in New Hampshire, I skipped a day of work to drive three hours each way to the health clinic where my prescription was still on file. Never was I more resourceful or unswerving than when I was devising ways to secure more Adderall.


New study reveals antidepressants double the risk of suicide and violence

A review of trials of antidepressants taken by healthy adults with no signs of a mental health disorder has found the drugs used to treat the illness doubled the harms related to suicide and violence.

Experts working on the study said the analysis was undertaken because the harms of antidepressants, including the risk of suicide, are often explained away as if they are disease symptoms or only a problem in children.

Professor Peter Gøtzsche, of the Nordic Cochrane Centre and lead author of the study, said: "While it is now generally accepted that antidepressants increase the risk of suicide and violence in children and adolescents, most people believe that these drugs are not dangerous for adults.

"This is a potentially lethal misconception."

He added: "The reporting of harms in drug trials is generally poor.

Comment: Further reading:


Hidden poison: Sugar hides under many different names on food labels

© iStock
Your body gets all the sugar it needs from natural sources in fruits and vegetables. When combined with additional fiber, vitamins and minerals, natural sugar is processed slightly differently than added refined white sugar or the myriad of other names the industry is using to disguise sugar in your food.

Avoiding foods laced with sugar is easier said than done, unless you have switched to a diet of almost exclusively whole foods. Many processed foods come with the addition of sweetener to tempt your palate.

Sugar is one of the most damaging substances to your body and can trigger an addiction that's hard to break. This addiction is rampant in adults and children alike, and is planned for by manufacturers through defining a specific "bliss point" for their products that brings customers back for more.1

This scientific calculation of ingredients designed to make you crave their product may also be your downfall. The truth the junk food industry doesn't want you to know is that sugar has significant and deadly effects on your health. Unfortunately, you may not always know what you're eating.

The Food Label May Not List Sugar

In 1812, people ate approximately 45 grams of sugar every five days.2 That's about the amount in one can of soda. By 2012, most Americans were consuming sugar to the equivalent of 17 cans of soda every five days.

That's a huge jump! Unfortunately, not everyone recognizes they're eating that much sugar, as it hides under names you may not know.

Comment: Processed 'foods' are scientifically engineered to create physical and psychological dependency. Because sugar is naturally so desirable to human beings, many products are loaded with sweeteners in order to boost their appeal, including many well-known foods that never used to be sweet at all, creating an expectation that everything should be sweet.


Coffee enema - a viable health solution

Drinking coffee in excessive amounts every day may not be the healthiest habit. But what if there was a way of regularly consuming a quart (950 ml) of coffee without detrimental effects? Not only that, but also deriving health benefits from it?

That's right — coffee enemas. Admittedly, the way in which to consume said coffee may not seem attractive at first, but after doing a few times, you'll be a total pro administering your coffee enema in the comfort of your own home. No, there are no take-aways for this one. And no milk and sugar, either. Just black coffee, and preferably organic, at body temperature...

Why Coffee Enema?

When it comes to coffee enemas, one observes two distinct factions: passionate proponents and equally passionate opponents. Some people swear by coffee enemas and apply them regularly for felt benefit, others herald them as meaningless or even dangerous quackery. Naturally, I wondered what it's all about, and as so often stumbled upon a somewhat deep rabbit hole. Who would have thought that coffee taken up the rear could cause such hiccups? This article summarizes my findings of looking into the matter, inevitably involving much more than coffee enemas, as you'll see. Of course, as always, the interested and open minded reader is invited and encouraged to draw their own conclusions upon viewing the thoughts and evidence provided here and elsewhere. And with that, let's take a look...

Comment: Coffee enemas: A powerful tool for detoxification and pain relief


For real life, brain games don't work

© mindgames.com
Brain games promise some big benefits to your cognitive functions. Have trouble concentrating? Spend some time online sharpening that up. Can't remember what you ate this morning for breakfast? Again, internet games have your back.

But new research shows those promises may only be true in as much as they help you concentrate on the game itself. In real life? Not so much.

The new conclusion on brain games — which include things like quizzes and mental challenges — comes after a wide-ranging review of 400 studies on brain training published this week in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest. The researchers found none of the studies analyzing the games followed best scientific practices and weren't calibrated to make sure the control groups weren't somehow tainted.

"What we found is that there's really no compelling evidence that these sorts of interventions lead to objectively measured real-world improvements," Daniel Simons, the first author of the review and a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told the Wall Street Journal.

Comment: Study: Brain Games Don't Make You Smarter


Being poor can change your genes and increase chances of depression, mental illness and drug abuse

'These small daily hassles of scraping by are evident in changes that build up and affect children's development'

Living in poverty can cause changes to people's DNA that make them more likely to become depressed, anxious and possibly take drugs, according to a ground-breaking new study.

Researchers in the United States found that teenagers from deprived backgrounds tended to undergo changes to a gene that increases the activity of a part of the brain involved in the 'fight or flight' response and panic attacks. This increased activity in the amygdala has been linked to a greater risk of depression.

They also found that a low socio-economic status was associated with low levels of serotonin, sometimes referred to as the happiness hormone.

In recent years, studies have shown that not only can genes be changed by the environment and even social interactions, but these 'epigenetic' changes can then be passed on to the next generation.

Cardboard Box

GMO's & the mentality of propaganda control

The evidence for genetically modified organism (GMOs) safety for human consumption and its environmental risks remains one of the nation's most contentious, controversial and debated subjects. Throughout the world, governments, national health ministries and their populations have been led to believe that there is no reason to critically object to GMOs. American mainstream media, which have now been fully absorbed into the agendas of large multinational corporate chemical and food sponsors, claim GMOs are completely harmless. We are sold a promise that they are urgently needed for feeding the world. Consequently, in the absence of critical journalism, aside from independent media, the spread of GMOs has become widespread.

Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, and Bayer dominate the global GMO market.

Corn is the US' number one crop with eighty-nine percent being genetically modified. Ninety-three percent of American soybeans are GMO. GM sugar beets, certain squashes, canola, alfalfa, papaya (77% of Hawaii's crop), and new apple strains are genetically engineered.

Many more GM vegetables and fruits are in the pipeline.

Only during the past 15 years have voices within the environmental and public health movements, and free-thinking scientists and researchers in molecular biology, genetics and agriculture turned vocal to publicly challenge GMO safety and their exaggerated promises. One especially unfounded promise, often promulgated by Monsanto and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the GMO revolution's ability to feed the world. Yet as a senior economic analyst at the Environmental Working Group in Washington DC has reported, "this is simply a myth adopted and deployed by US agribusiness to distract the public from reality."[1]


Once again the FDA wants to define 'healthy'

As usual, the agency is using outdated science and is heavily influenced by industry.

Following the recent update to the Nutrition Facts label and the approval of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the FDA is proposing to update the definition of "healthy" and in federal regulations. The idea is to harmonize the regulatory definition of "healthy" (as well as related terms) with the "latest nutrition science," presumably contained in the newly approved guidelines.

Surprisingly, the FDA believes what is contained in the Dietary Guidelines is the most up-to-date science—but, as usual, they are woefully incorrect. When the guidelines came out, we outlined in detail the problems with the panel's recommendations.

Comment: The reality is that the FDA really doesn't care about your health! The lack of scientific expertise, rampant conflicts of interest, ongoing attempts to ban supplements, Big Pharma collusion and nominating the ultimate industry insider, Robert Califf to run the organization speaks volumes about the FDA's ability to give any meaningful health advice!
The stated mission of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to protect and promote public health through the regulation of everything from food products to pharmaceutical drugs. Based on the agency's actions (or perhaps their severe lack of real action) however, it is quite apparent that this government organization has a blatant disregard for your health and is most certainly not in the business of 'promoting' health.