New Studies Indicate Exposure to Fluoride Affects IQ of Infants, Sleep Patterns

By Derrick Broze

Fluoride exposure may be associated with changes in the pineal gland which can affect sleep cycle regulation among older adolescents, according to new research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Another study published in the journal Environment International found that exposing infants to increasing levels of fluoride in tap water may result in diminished non-verbal intellectual abilities, with a stronger effect found among formula-fed children.

These two studies are only the latest research produced in recent years which call into question the safety of water fluoridation.

The Mount Sinai team examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey looking for adolescents who had measurable amounts of fluoride in their water and plasma. The researchers were investigating the relationships between fluoride exposure and self-reported sleep patterns. The researchers state that their study is the first to explore the connection between fluoride and sleep patterns in humans or animals. A sample of adolescents at an average age of 17 who live in the United States was used for the study due to the nation’s water fluoridation program.

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While fluoride has been regarded as a major public health achievement, the toxin accumulates in the pineal gland where melatonin is produced, according to the researchers. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

“The high accumulation of fluoride in pineal gland hydroxyapatite (among those chronically exposed) points to a plausible mechanism by which fluoride may influence sleep patterns. In adults, pineal gland fluoride concentrations have been shown to strongly correlate with degree of pineal gland calcification,” explained the authors. “Interestingly, greater degree of pineal calcification among older adolescents and/or adults is associated with decreased melatonin production, lower REM sleep percentage, decreased total sleep time, poorer sleep efficiency, greater sleep disturbances and greater daytime tiredness.”

The study also found that water fluoride concentrations were associated with higher odds of reports of snorting, gasping, or stopping breathing while sleeping at night. The higher water fluoride concentrations may be associated with frequent daytime sleepiness as well as an association with a later bedtime by 24 minutes and a later morning wake time by 26 minutes.

“Our findings also showed that fluoride exposure may be associated with shifts in the sleep-wake cycle, as higher water fluoride concentrations were associated with later weekday bedtime and wake time, but not sleep duration,” the researchers explain in Environmental Health. The researchers caution that additional studies must to be conducted “in order to investigate the effects of fluoride on sleep patterns and to identify windows of vulnerability for potential effects.”

Meanwhile, another team of researchers published the study “Fluoride exposure from infant formula and child IQ in a Canadian birth cohort,” examining the association between fluoride exposure in infancy and intellectual ability in children who lived in fluoridated or non-fluoridated cities in Canada. The researchers note that infants who consume formula reconstituted with fluoridated water are likely to have an excessive fluoride intake while breastfed infants tend to receive a very low intake of fluoride.

The team compared IQ scores in 398 children who were formula-fed versus those who were breastfed during infancy. They found that “IQ scores were lower with higher levels of fluoride in tap water“ and the effects were “more pronounced among formula-fed children, especially for nonverbal skills.” In an earlier version of the study the researchers concluded, “These findings indicate the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.”

This study is not the first to identify an association between exposure to fluoride and lower IQ in children.

In 2012, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and China Medical University in Shenyang published a meta-analysis in Environmental Health Perspectives which found strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. The authors warned that this risk should not be ignored and that more research on fluoride’s impact on the developing brain is necessary.

The Mind Unleashed will continue to monitor future findings on the health impacts of fluoride.

Background: What is Fluoride?

The substances added to municipal water supplies known by the name fluoride are actually a combination of unpurified byproducts of phosphate mining, namely hydrofluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. In the United States, thousands of tons of fluorosilicic acid is recovered from phosphoric acid plants and then used for water fluoridation. During this process the fluoride ion is created.

This process of taking waste from the phosphate industry and putting it into drinking water has long been criticized for its effects on human health and that of the environment. It is well known that water fluoridation has led to dental fluorosis for millions of children. This discoloring of the teeth was called “cosmetically objectionable” by the Centers for Disease Control. But beyond the cosmetic effect there have been a number of studies indicating health issues ranging from arthritisbrain problemsreduced thyroid or overactive  thyroidkidney problems, and bone cancers.

While proponents of water fluoridation have long pointed to an apparent drop in tooth decay in fluoridated nations as proof of its validity, those claims have been proven wrong by the World Health Organization (WHO). While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated the fluoride in the water is directly related to better teeth quality, the WHO released its own study showing that tooth decay rates have dropped in all western nations, whether water is fluoridated or not.

The reasons for opposing water fluoridation include: fear of a variety of health concerns; the belief that it is forcibly medicating the population without their approval; financial waste; and environmental concerns related to phosphate mines where the chemical is found.


By Derrick Broze | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Editor’s note: We may not all be scientists here at the Mind Unleashed but we are dedicated journalists willing to dig deep so you don’t have to, even on the most controversial of topics. Unfortunately there is significant controversy when it comes to the fluoridation of water despite the fact that numerous studies on the topic exist. We are committed to publishing content that is backed up by scientific evidence but we do not purport to be scientists ourselves. We are likewise committed to reporting on the topics that our audience is most interested in, including the use of fluoride. If you want to learn more about water fluoridation and the effects mentioned above please click on the scientific studies and articles linked within this article.

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Facts About Lucid Dreaming & Tips For Inducing One

By Arjun Walia

  • The Facts: When you’re having a lucid dream, you might be aware that you are dreaming and may be able to create as you go. In a sense, you can control your dream.
  • Reflect On: What is the purpose of our dreams? Can they provide any insight into our lives? Our subconscious mind and our physical material reality? Who is to say they are not real in some sense?

Lucid Dreaming is a state of dreaming where you can control your dreams, and sort of create as you go. It is a fascinating topic, and has long been spoken of in the realms of philosophy. But in recent years as scientific technology has developed, studies have allowed humanity to view what’s happening in the brain while a lucid dream is occurring. Now, this doesn’t mean that activity in the brain is responsible for lucid dreaming, although it’s not uncommon for conventional scientists to view activity in the brain as the cause of an individual’s experience, rather than a consequence of it. But indeed, there is evidence that our emotional states that are caused by something else can trigger different areas and activity generation in the brain.

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It boils down to the question of consciousness, and whether or not it’s something that comes from our physical brain, or if consciousness exists as a separate entity outside of the brain. Based on quantum physics, neuroscience, and especially declassified and emerging studies within non-material science and parapsychology, I believe that there should be no question that what we call consciousness originates and exists as something separate from physical reality. It’s time to acknowledge the existence of non-material reality.

Studies Of Lucid Dreaming

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Lucidity Institute investigated how chemicals known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) could induce or help promote lucid dreaming. The new method used in the study, according to psychologist Denhold Aspy from the University of Adelaide in Australia, one of the researchers, helped them “to be able to properly do research on lucid dreaming,” he told  New Scientist.

Lucid dreaming is a remarkable state of consciousness in which one is aware of the fact that one is dreaming while continuing to dream. Based on the strong relationship between physiological activation during rapid eye-movement sleep and lucid dreaming, our pilot research investigated whether enhancing cortical activation via acetylcholinesterease inhibition (AChEI) would increase the frequency of lucid dreams and found AChEI to be a promising method for lucid dream induction. (study)

They point out how a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine could help modulate REM sleep, and this group of chemicals (AChEls), could help by releasing a certain enzyme that in turn activates this neurotransmitter. They noted that a common drug used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, galantamine (an AChEI) could be used to induce lucid dreaming, and it worked.

These results show that galantamine increases the frequency of lucid dreams in a dose-related manner. Furthermore, the integrated method of taking galantamine in the last third of the night with at least 30 minutes of sleep interruption and with an appropriately focused mental set is one of the most effective methods for inducing lucid dreams available today.

Participants took higher doses of the drug each night, but when combined with cognitive therapy (a more natural way to induce lucid dreaming), things really started to speed up. But the study shows how increased dosage of the drug every night, combined with the steps, really did something. When the dosage was increased to 8 mg from 4 mg, lucid dreaming rose from 27 to 42 percent.

Impacts of Lucid Dreaming

Science Alert points out,

In addition to helping people enjoy fantastic dreams where they can help control what happens, the research could also help explain the links between lucid dreams and consciousness, and help people to confront their fears and process trauma while safely asleep.

A  study conducted in 2009 at the Neurological Laboratory in Frankfurt shows how lucid dreamers produce the fastest brainwave frequencies ever recorded, gamma brainwaves that operate at 40Hz +(source).  This suggests that lucid dreamers are more self-aware, and are more conscious in this state than compared to a normal state of wakefulness. We don’t operate anywhere near that frequency (with regards to brain waves) when in our normal wakeful state, and we operate at even lower frequencies during other sleep states.

Some researchers suggest that the existence of gamma brainwaves indicates a totally conscious experience, so the experience of being awake within a dream is a very real phenomenon. This begs the question, which state is actually real? Could what we perceive as being fully aware and awake be the real dream? Or are these just different aspects of reality that we are jumping to and from?

Questioning The Need For Drugs

Not to be forgotten is the fact that potentially harmful drugs were used in this study. Although they are said to have minimal side effects, prescription drugs kill many people all over the world every single year, and they are not needed as much as we are made to believe they are. There are many other methods available, but the medical industry is a separate topic in itself.

When it comes to lucid dreaming, the cognitive method has given many people tremendous success. This includes getting a good night’s sleep, and being able to record every single dream you have in a dream journal. You need to practice how to remember your dreams to start off with. Before you go to bed, do some affirmations to yourself. Tell yourself that you are going to have a lucid dream, and ask yourself throughout the day, “am I dreaming?” Visualize your dreams. Here is a list of 6 essential things you could try doing.

For scientific purposes, this study is interesting and could certainly help advance knowledge in the field:

As one of the challenges for conducting scientific research on lucid dreaming is its relative infrequency, making the state more accessible would increase the efficiency of the collection of larger datasets, which would greatly facilitate research in this field. (study)

But while this particular study was done under controlled conditions by people who knew what they were doing, it’s still important to mention that other natural methods like the ones mentioned above are giving a lot of people success.


Article source: Collective Evolution

Arjun Walia — I joined the CE team in 2010 shortly after finishing university and have been grateful for the fact that I have been able to do this ever since 🙂 There are many things happening on the planet that don’t resonate with me, and I wanted to do what I could to play a role in creating change. It’s been great making changes in my own life and creating awareness and I look forward to more projects that move beyond awareness and into action and implementation. So stay tuned 🙂 arjun@collective-evolution.com

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Air Pollution from Brake Dust may be as Harmful as Diesel Exhaust — New Study

By Liza Selley, University of Cambridge

The harmful impact of air pollution caused by diesel exhaust fumes on our health is well known. It’s responsible for causing everything from respiratory problems to dementia and even certain types of cancers. But what most people don’t realise is that exhaust fumes aren’t the only cause of air pollution. In fact, up to 55% of roadside traffic pollution is made of non-exhaust particles, with around 20% of that pollution coming from brake dust. And as our latest research reveals, these particles may be just as damaging to our lungs as exhaust fumes.

Composed of iron particles, brake dust is caused by friction between the iron brake rotor grinding on the brake pads when a vehicle slows down. This brake dust is then worn away and becomes airborne. And as recent research conducted by me and my colleagues found, brake dust triggers inflammation in the lung cells with the same severity as diesel particles.

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By adding brake dust particles to macrophages – the cells responsible for clearing the lungs of invading germs, waste and debris – we saw a nearly 185% increase in the cell’s inflammatory activity. Not only that, we also found brake dust prevented the immune cells from destroying Staphylococcus aureus – a species of bacteria responsible for pneumonia. Once again, the brake dust was found to be as toxic as diesel particles.

This discovery might mean that pollution from brake dust might be contributing to the high numbers of chest infections and froggy “city throats” that are reported by people living and working in urban areas. However, because the isolated cells that we used in our experiments can act differently to cells found in a living human’s lungs, further research is needed to confirm whether particle exposure contributes to infection risk in people.

Toxic brake dust

Intrigued by this new finding, our team wanted to know which features of brake dust makes it so toxic. Traffic pollution particles can contain many thousands of materials, including carbon, hydrocarbons and bacterial toxins. But because of the materials that modern brakes are made of, the dust that wears from them is highly metallic – including many types of metal, such as iron, copper, titanium and magnesium that studies have shown cause stress and harm to human cells.

Our team identified these metals as the culprits by blocking them chemically. This made it so that they could no longer take effect when the brake dust or diesel exhaust particles were added to the cells. With the metals out of action, the macrophages continued to destroy bacteria and did not ramp up their inflammatory signalling after being exposed to brake dust or diesel exhaust particles.

While we expected to see this cell response happen for highly metallic brake dust, we were surprised to find that metals caused the toxicity of diesel exhaust fumes as well. This is because diesel exhaust particles contain considerably fewer metallic species than brake dust – just three compared with the fourteen that we found in brake dust. Vanadium was the only metal that interacted with the macrophages and was also present in both brake dust and diesel exhaust particles. We wondered if it was responsible for causing these inflammatory effects.

Our research shows that non-exhaust particles have the potential to be as detrimental to our health as exhaust emissions. Brake dust is a major component of air pollution, contributing up to 20% of traffic-related particles. This number is only expected to increase as policies and technologies being introduced focus only on reducing exhaust emissions. While reductions in exhaust emissions are an important aim for public health, our findings show that we need ways to reduce non-exhaust pollutants, like brake dust, too.

However, many vehicles, including electric ones, contain metallic components in the clutch, engine and brakes. Designing technologies that are resistant to friction and wear may be important in reducing these harmful pollutants.

Cycling or walking more, grabbing the bus or car-sharing might reduce congestion in the areas that we live and work. Doing this might be one way of reducing the number of vehicles that have to creep along in traffic – and may also ease the strain on their clutches, tyres and brakes and ultimately reduce the pollution burden on our lungs.The Conversation


Liza Selley, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Cambridge

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image: Pixabay

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Low-Fat Diet Linked to Lower Testosterone Levels in Men

For the many men diagnosed with testosterone deficiency, losing weight can help increase testosterone levels. But certain diets – specifically a low-fat diet – may be associated with a small but significant reduction in testosterone, suggests a study in The Journal of Urology®, Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA). The Journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

“We found that men who adhered to a fat restrictive diet had lower serum testosterone than men on a nonrestrictive diet,” according to the report by Jake Fantus, MD, of the Section of Urology, Department of Surgery, University of Chicago Medicine and colleagues from the Department of Urology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and the Department of Surgery, NorthShore University Health System. “However,” the researchers add, “the clinical significance of small differences in serum T across diets is unclear.”

Best Diet for Low Testosterone? No Single Right Answer Yet

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Dr. Fantus and colleagues analyzed data on more than 3,100 men from a nationwide health study (the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES). All participants had available data on diet and serum testosterone level.

Based on two-day diet history, 14.6 percent of men met criteria for a low-fat diet, as defined by the American Heart Association (AHA). Another 24.4 percent of men followed a Mediterranean diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains but low in animal protein and dairy products. Only a few men met criteria for the AHA low-carbohydrate diet, so this group was excluded from the analysis.

The average serum testosterone level was 435.5 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter). Serum testosterone was lower in men on the two restrictive diets: average 411 ng/dL for those on a low-fat diet and 413 ng/dL for those on the Mediterranean diet.

The associations were adjusted for other factors that can affect testosterone, including age, body mass index, physical activity, and medical conditions. After adjustment, the low-fat diet was significantly associated with reduced serum testosterone, although the Mediterranean diet was not.

Overall, 26.8 percent of men had testosterone levels less than 300 ng/dL. Despite the difference in average testosterone levels, the proportion of men with low testosterone was similar across all diet groups.

Low testosterone is highly prevalent in the United States, as approximately 500,000 men are diagnosed with testosterone deficiency each year. Testosterone deficiency can lead to problems, including decreased energy and libido, along with physiological alterations, including increased body fat and reduced bone mineral density.

In addition to medications, treatment for low testosterone often includes lifestyle modifications, such as exercise and weight loss. But the effects of diet on testosterone levels have been unclear. Because testosterone is a steroid hormone derived from cholesterol, changes in fat intake could alter testosterone levels. This new analysis of how diet affects serum testosterone provides evidence that a low-fat diet is associated with lower testosterone levels, compared to an unrestricted diet.

So what diet is best for men with testosterone deficiency? The answer remains unknown, according to the authors. In overweight or obese men, the health benefits of a low-fat diet likely far exceed the small reduction in serum testosterone. In contrast, for men who are not overweight, avoiding a low-fat diet “may be a reasonable component” of a multifaceted approach to increasing serum testosterone.

Dr. Fantus and coauthors note that further studies will be needed to corroborate their findings, and to clarify the mechanism by which restrictive diets reduce testosterone. But due to the difficulties of large-scale dietary studies, definitive trials are unlikely to be performed. “Therefore, our data represent a valuable approach towards answering this important question,” the authors conclude.

Sources:
WOLTERS KLUWER HEALTH
Journal Article

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Want to Reverse Aging? Try Running a Marathon

The new year means it’s time to set resolutions for 2020 and new research from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests running a marathon for the first time could have several health benefits. The study found that for first-time marathon runners, training and completion of the marathon was associated with reductions in blood pressure and aortic stiffening in healthy participants that were equivalent to a four-year reduction in vascular age, with the greatest benefits seen in older, slower male marathon runners with higher baseline blood pressure.

“As clinicians are meeting with patients in the new year, making a goal-oriented exercise training recommendation–such as signing up for a marathon or fun-run–may be a good motivator for our patients to keep active,” said senior author Charlotte H. Manisty, MD, of the Institute of Cardiovascular Science at University College London and Barts Heart Centre in London. “Our study highlights the importance of lifestyle modifications to slow the risks associated with aging, especially as it appears to never be too late as evidenced by our older, slower runners.”

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Arterial stiffening is a normal part of aging, but it also increases cardiovascular risk in otherwise healthy individuals by contributing to increased pulse pressure and ventricular overload, which are associated with dementia and cardiovascular and kidney diseases, even in the absence of plaque in the arteries. While blood pressure medication can modify arterial stiffness in established heart disease, more cardiovascular events occur in individuals without diagnosed high blood pressure.

Regular aerobic exercise is a lifestyle modification that has real-world implications, particularly with the growth in mass participation running as an increasingly popular form of non-prescribed exercise. The researchers used a cohort of 138 healthy, first-time marathon runners from the 2016 and 2017 London Marathon. They examined the participants before training and after marathon completion to determine if age-related aortic stiffening would be reversible with real-world exercise training.

Participants had no significant past medical or cardiac history and were not running for more than two hours per week at baseline. On average, participants were 37 years old and 49% were male. Exclusion criteria included pre-existing heart disease during the preliminary investigations or contraindication on a cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging scan.

The researchers conducted all measurements before training started six months prior to the marathon and repeated them all within three weeks of completing the London Marathon, but no earlier than one week after the marathon to avoid any acute effects of exercise. Assessments included blood pressure measurements and measurements of aortic stiffness by cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging. Biological aortic age was determined from the relationship between the participant’s age and aortic stiffness at three levels of the aorta.

All participants were recommended to follow the “Beginner’s Training Plan” provided by the marathon, which consists of approximately three runs per week that increase in difficulty for a 17-week period prior to the marathon. However, the researchers did not discourage participants who wished to use alternative training plans. The average marathon running time was 5.4 hours for women and 4.5 hours for men. When compared to training data and marathon completion times from 27,000 runners, these times were found to be consistent with a training schedule of six to 13 miles per week.

Training decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 4 and 3 mmHg, respectively. Overall, aortic stiffness reduced with training and was most pronounced in the distal aorta with increases in distensibility–the capacity to swell with pressure–of 9%. This amounted to the equivalent of an almost four-year reduction in ‘aortic age.’ Older patients had greater changes with exercise training, with males and those running slower marathon times deriving greatest benefit.

“Our study shows it is possible to reverse the consequences of aging on our blood vessels with real-world exercise in just six months. These benefits were observed in overall healthy individuals across a broad age range and their marathon times are suggestive of achievable exercise training in novice participants,” Manisty said.

Although the study only recruited healthy participants, those with hypertension and stiffer arteries might be expected to have an even greater cardiovascular response to exercise training.

In an accompanying editorial, Julio A. Chirinos, MD, PhD, from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, said “Despite some limitations, including its observational nature, the study adds to the body of evidence supporting beneficial effects of exercise on multiple aging phenotypes. Given the profound implications of arterial stiffness for human health, this study is important and should stimulate further research to identify potential molecular mechanisms by which exercise reduces aortic stiffness. In addition, training for marathons usually involves various concomitant approaches such as better sleep and dietary patterns, and in some instances, over-the-counter supplements, that may confound or interact with exercise training per se. More research to identify optimal integrated training regimens is needed.”

Sources:

American College of Cardiology

Journal article

Image: Pixabay

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Study Analyzes 48 Million People & Concludes Good Health Is More Prevalent Closer To The Coast

By Richard Enos

  • The Facts: There are many reasons that most of us feel more relaxed, happy, even creative after spending some time near the ocean.
  • Reflect On: What can we learn about ourselves and what we need in our lives by examining the impact that being near the ocean, or water, usually has on us?

It is not a big stretch to say that we know ‘intuitively’ that being near the ocean can lead to improvements in our health and well-being, because so many of us have had the actual experience when we have gone to the beach. Feelings of serenity, calm, happiness and balance seem to arise in us as naturally as the waves that crawl rhythmically onto the shore and immerse our toes with refreshment.

There is some science to support this. An English study analyzed data from 48 million people ‘which indicate that good health is more prevalent the closer one lives to the coast.’

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Water Is Essential To Life

To say that water is essential to life, as we know it, is not an overstatement, it is a fact. That’s why NASA’s motto in the hunt for extraterrestrial life has been “follow the water.” And here at home, water is the conduit for many of the processes essential for complex biological life. For human beings, it makes up over half of what we are physically. Up to 60% of the adult body is water, with the brain and heart at 73%, and the lungs at about 83%.

It’s no wonder that we are drawn to water, even as being fully immersed in it would cause us to drown. We have the need to be close to water at times just to feel good, to see it, to touch it, to drink it, to have it splash upon our body. If I ever get blocked or feel my thoughts getting confused while writing, my healing salve is a warm shower. It inevitably returns me to calm clarity, where my ideas become more supple, integrated, and ultimately creative.

The Ocean

Being in the presence of the ocean, then, would seem to be the quintessential place of healing and rejuvenation. It’s why people have always flocked to the beach. Yes, many like to lie on the sand and take in the sun, but far fewer people would take the trouble to go to the desert to do that. There is a feeling that sun-worshiping usually goes hand in hand with a refreshing plunge in the water, if only a brief one.

And even if one is laying down with eyes closed, there is the rhythmic sound of the waves advancing and receding, that attunes us to the in-and-out cadence of our breathing, our source of life. This immense presence is there, and we can feel it even when we don’t look at it. There is a gravity, a pull from the center of this big body, and the feeling that we are resting with this gentle pull upon us is both relaxing and energizing.

By The Shore

Many, many go to the beach to simply walk for miles and miles along the shore, the meeting point of earth and water. This meeting point seems like home for many of us, as we experience our human lives as occurring in a meeting point between conscious and unconscious, between matter and spirit. The water inside of us is put into calm and balanced movement, and entrains itself to the rise and fall of water on the shore that we see and feel.

Just looking out at its immensity seems to give us comfort, a feeling that we are part of something much bigger, something that connects us all. It both reminds us that we ourselves are not as significant as our worries would have us believe, and yet confirms that we are much deeper and more vast than we appear.

Then of course there is the deep blueness of the ocean, which of all the colors in the spectrum is known to most evoke happiness and creativity. Ernest Hemingway loved to look out at and be near the ocean to help foster his creativity and imagination. Marine Biologist Wallace J. Nichols also notes that looking out on the ocean,

…the visual input is simplified. When you stand at the edge of water and look out on the horizon, it’s visually simplified relative to the room you’re sitting in right now, or a city you’re walking through, where you’re taking in millions of pieces of information every second.

If You Can’t Reach The Ocean

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of living Oceanside or even has the means to visit the ocean on a regular basis. Still, we can take many clues from what the ocean provides us and how it makes us feel to understand what we need in our lives to live in a balanced and happy way. Lakes, rivers, even ponds have something to offer us, and we may want to take more opportunities in our busy lives to sit quietly near them and gaze upon them, in a state of openness and curiosity about what the experience has to offer us.


This article was sourced from Collective Evolution.

Richard Enos — My Master’s thesis on “The Anatomy of Self-Overcoming in Nietzsche” was only the beginning of my journey of exploration into consciousness. I have since lived and taught in Korea, studied yoga in India, written a book entitled “Parables for the New Conversation”, built a film and theater production company (pandorasboxoffice.ca), and started a family. While I endeavor to foster positive change in the world through my works, I hold fast to CE’s maxim ‘Change starts within’. I am humbled and grateful to have joined the CE team as of April 2018 as a contributing writer. You can reach me at richard@collective-evolution.com

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Study: Petroleum-Based Additives Are Being Heavily Used In Popular Children’s Foods & Candy

By Arjun Walia

  • The Facts: A study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics outlines the prevalence of artificial food coloring in a high percentage of foods sold at a conventional grocery store.
  • Reflect On: How often do you take the time to read food labels? In this day and age, if you want to be more health conscious it’s a necessary step to take.

Parents who wish to eliminate AFCs from their children’s diets face a challenge, as the current research found that about 4 in 10 packaged items in grocery store products marketed to children contain at least one AFC. Moreover, in some food categories almost all of the products contain AFCs, making it difficult for families to purchase those products without AFCs. Clinicians can educate parents about reading ingredient lists and avoiding certain products or categories, at least until companies implement policies to limit marketing of products containing AFCs. More effective, however, would be for the government to eliminate AFCs from all foods or, at the very least, require a warning notice on packages.

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That’s the conclusion of a study that was published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics that examined artificial food colors in food. The study found these chemicals, which are dangerous to human health for short and long term health, in 96.3 percent of candies, 94 percent of fruit-flavoured snacks and 89.7 percent of drink mixes and powders. 43.2 percent of children’s and adult foods combined actually contain artificial colors, and fresh produce was the only food category not made with artificial colors, which means that some meat, dairy and baked products also contain fake color.

Shockingly, this may be the only study to document the percentage of child-oriented products with AFCs.

As CancerNews points out,

The most egregious class of additives is certainly artificial colors, for which a strong body of evidence exists linking them to direct harm to children’s nervous systems. Evidence that artificial colors can produce hyperactive behavior in children has already led European countries to require warning labels on foods containing these ingredients. In fact, the same companies that use artificial colors in children’s products in the U.S. typically use naturally based colors for the same products in Europe.

On food labels, watch out for anything labeled a “dye” — a synthetic, petroleum-based coloring chemical, or a “lake” — the same color, but reformulated to be water-insoluble for use in dry or fatty foods. According to Center for Science in the Public Interest, the best policy is to avoid all foods made with artificial colors, not just because of the potential for health risks, but because artificially colored foods are typically low in nutritional value.

In fact, AFCs were originally manufactured from coal tar, which comes from coal. Early critics of artificial food colorings were quick to point this out. Today, most synthetic food dyes are derived from petroleum, or crude oil. Some critics will argue that eating oil is no better than eating coal. (source)

According to CancerNews, the most dangerous colors to watch out for are:

  • Red 40: This is the most widely used artificial color, found in soft drinks, candy, gelatin desserts, pastries and even sausages. Although red 40 is one of the most thoroughly tested dyes, the major studies that the FDA used to pronounce it safe are considered to be flawed — even by the FDA! Red 40 is known to cause allergic reaction in some people.
  • Blue 1: The second-most common dye, found in beverages, candy and baked goods. Studies have suggested that blue 1 may increase cancer risk and cause damage to neurons. It is also a known allergen.
  • Yellow 5: The third-most common dye, used in candy, baked goods and gelatin desserts. It has been shown to cause allergic reactions in some people, particularly those sensitive to aspirin, and is regularly contaminated with the carcinogens benzidine, 4-aminobiphenyl and their biological precursors.
  • Yellow 6: The last of the common dyes, found in beverages, candy and baked goods. Even industry-funded studies have linked it to kidney and adrenal gland tumors. It is also known to be contaminated with the same carcinogens (and precursors) as yellow 5.

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The study concludes that,

Parents who wish to eliminate AFCs from their children’s diets face a challenge, as the current research found that about 4 in 10 packaged items in grocery store products marketed to children contain at least one AFC. Moreover, in some food categories almost all of the products contain AFCs, making it difficult for families to purchase those products without AFCs. Clinicians can educate parents about reading ingredient lists and avoiding certain products or categories, at least until companies implement policies to limit marketing of products containing AFCs. More effective, however, would be for the government to eliminate AFCs from all foods or, at the very least, require a warning notice on packages.

In today’s day and age, it’s important for consumer, especially for parents, to actually read the labelling on foods and do their research into different food companies. It’s easy to simply grab something off of the shelf, but if you’re looking to be more health conscious, it’s a good practice to start reading food labels.


This article was sourced from Collective Evolution.

Arjun Walia — I joined the CE team in 2010 shortly after finishing university and have been grateful for the fact that I have been able to do this ever since 🙂 There are many things happening on the planet that don’t resonate with me, and I wanted to do what I could to play a role in creating change. It’s been great making changes in my own life and creating awareness and I look forward to more projects that move beyond awareness and into action and implementation. So stay tuned 🙂 arjun@collective-evolution.com

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What You Get For $360 Per Day In U.S. Hospice Care

Op-Ed by Catherine J. Frompovich

This probably will be my last OP-ED and/or article to NaturalBlaze.com / ActivistPost.com, which means I know what I talk about as I am spending my last time on Earth in a hospice facility in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

At $360+ per day I find life living here is not according to holistic principles, which should not be!

No.1 No organically grown food almost all of the time – most of the time just canned starches, which are totally unacceptable to me.

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No.2 I “live” in a completely electrified hospital bed.

No.3 The night crew is mean to me; they don’t answer my call bells.

No.4 I think my readers ought to know that all of the above is not acceptable, as I have lived a holistic lifestyle for almost 50 years.

No.5 I hope and pray I will not be in this position much longer, but I want my international readers to know what has happened to me.

No.6 I am having this dictated because of the health problems that happened in mid-December, 2019: brain tumor, glaucoma, cataracts, breast cancer, and breast cancer before; all of which I feel and believe have been instituted and progressed from an electric smart meter by the mandate of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s (PA PUC) Administrative Law Court in May, 2018.

No. 7 This is a warning about 5G and the Federal Communications Commission’s non-responsibility and the irresponsibility of those who are promoting smart meters, smart appliances, Artificial Intelligence (AI), genetically modified food (GMO), and gigahertz technology.

Please remember these warnings after I’m gone.

In loving respect for Nature and Nature’s God,
Catherine J. Frompovich


Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice, plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer health ​issues researcher ​and holistic health advocate since the late 1970s; she continues researching and writing in retirement. Her career in holistic healthcare began in the early 1970s when she had to save, and restructure, her life resulting from having “fallen through the allopathic medical paradigm cracks.”

Catherine has written numerous books. The following can be purchased on Amazon books:

Eat To Beat Disease, Foods Medicinal Qualities (2016)
Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines (2013)
A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments (2012)
Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009)
Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008)

Image credit: Pixabay

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Science Shows What Happens To Your Brain When You Complain Too Much

By Alanna Ketler

  • The Facts: The more we complain, the more we wire our brain to focus on the negative aspects of our lives. Luckily this is a two-way street, and we can undo the damage and begin to step into a more positive mindset and outlook.
  • Reflect On: How much do you complain? The first step towards fixing this issue is by becoming aware of it. Be honest with yourself, and take note of your thoughts, and what you are choosing to talk about.

We all know those types of people who always find something to complain about, maybe we are even one of them! How much of an effect does complaining actually have on the brain and what can we do about it? New research shows exactly how complaining every day might be affecting our brain and because the brain is an amazing and resilient organ we can even reverse these effects. The first step is becoming aware of the issue.

What is your first thought when you wake up in the morning? Are you already dreading the day ahead? Is it cloudy, and thus right out of bed, you find yourself in a grumpy mood? Well, if this is you, know that it is not too late to make a change. Complaining can become a habit, and the more we do it, the more we continue to do it. With some effort, we can break this habit and start to see the world in a more positive light, if we choose to take action.

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Neuroplasticity

Within the past couple of decades, thanks to the development of brain imaging and neuroscience, we can now clearly see that the brain is indeed capable of rewiring itself. It is up to us, however, to make these necessary adjustments in order to allow for this to happen. Neuroplasticity means the brains ability to change and form new neural pathways and synapses, this is what allows us to break old habits, form new ones, learn new skills, grow, change and essentially, evolve.

Because of neuroplasticity, we have the capability to:

  • Increase our intelligence
  • Learn new and life-changing skills.
  • Recover from certain types of brain damage
  • Become more emotionally intelligent
  • Unlearn harmful beliefs, habits and behaviors

For Better Or For Worse

“Neurons that fire together, wire together.”

It is important to know, that there are two sides of the coin and we can indeed rewire our brains for the worse, if we pick up habits and behaviors that are detrimental to our well being, such as complaining.

According to Alex Korb, Ph.D., and author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change At A Time,

In depression, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the brain. It’s simply that the particular tuning of neural circuits creates the tendency toward a pattern of depression. It has to do with the way the brain deals with stress, planning, habits, decision-making and a dozen other things — the dynamic interaction of all those circuits. And once a pattern starts to form, it causes dozens of tiny changes throughout the brain that create a downward spiral.

How Does Complaining Affect The Brain?

When we get caught up in the habit of continually complaining, in the form of thoughts in our heads or out loud to anyone and everyone we come into contact with, it will directly alter our thought processes. Altered thoughts lead to altered beliefs, which will inevitably lead to a change in behavior.

In fact, our brain possesses something that is called the negativity bias, meaning that the brain has a tendency to focus more on what’s wrong, not what’s going right or the positive events in our life. These negative thoughts can actually drown out the positive experiences over time so that you aren’t able to even see the positive events that are taking place in your life.

Neuroscientist, Dr. Rick Hanson sums up the negativity bias quite nicely,

Negative Stimuli produce more neural activity than do equally intensive positive ones. They are also perceived more easily and quickly.

So, by continually allowing ourselves to complain we are strengthening this behavior, as mentioned above, the first step towards changing this is to become aware of the problem. That alone, will make see the issue and likely ponder on your negative thoughts.

How Can We Change Our Brain?

This isn’t to say that we always need to “think positive” a common new-age misconception, but we should take the necessary action steps to counteract the effects of thinking negatively all the time.

A simple and effective technique is to wear a complaining bracelet, this is a tactic that I learned from watching an episode of Oprah years ago. You simply wear a bracelet, any kind that can easily come off, and every time you catch yourself complaining about something, in your head or out loud to someone else, you switch wrists. To hold yourself accountable, let your family, friends, and co-workers know of your challenge so in case you don’t realize that you’re complaining, they can call you out too. The goal is to see how long you can go without having to switch the bracelet, but this technique is also powerful for showing you how much you are actually complaining in the first place.

Meditation & Mindfulness Practices

Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher and her colleagues from the University of North Carolina showed how people who meditate daily have more positive emotions that those who don’t.

After a three-month experiment, Fredrickson’s team found that “people who meditated daily continued to display increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support and decreased illness symptoms.”

If you are new to meditation, there are a ton of resources available to help get you started. Just 15 to 20 minutes a day could be enough to change your brain and your entire life, for the better!

What About Gratitude?

Scientists have discovered that feelings of gratitude can actually change your brain. Feeling gratitude can also be a great tool for overcoming depression and anxiety. Furthermore, scientists have discovered that the heart sends signals to the brain.

You can read more about that, in detail, here.

Meditation Resources


This article was sourced from Collective Evolution.

Hi, I’m Alanna! My journey really began in 2007 when I began to question what was being presented to me, my path led me to Collective Evolution and I joined the team in 2010. Wow, has it been an incredible journey so far! I am extremely passionate about learning new information! I aim to have a voice for animals and animal rights, I also enjoy writing about health, consciousness and I am very interested in psychedelics for healing purposes! I strongly believe that knowledge is power, and the first step to creating change on this planet is by raising awareness. “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” – Jack Kornfield Questions or comments? Email me alanna@collective-evolution.com

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Ecotherapy Aims to Tap into Nature to Improve Your Wellbeing

By Carly Wood, University of Westminster

As many as one in six adults experience mental health problems like depression or anxiety every week. And not only is mental ill-health one of the most common causes of disease worldwide – it’s also on the rise. Finding ways to improve mental health is therefore essential.

One type of therapy that is starting to become more popular is “ecotherapy”; which advocates claim can improve mental and physical wellbeing. Sometimes referred to as green exercise or green care, this type of formal therapeutic treatment involves being active in natural spaces. It’s also sighted to be one of 2020’s biggest wellness trends, though the practice is far from new.

Although definitions of ecotherapy vary, most agree it’s a regular, structured activity that is:

  1. therapist led
  2. focuses on an activity (such as gardening), rather than a health outcome
  3. takes place in a natural environment
  4. involves interacting with and exploring the natural world, and
  5. encourages social interaction.
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However, the key difference between ecotherapy and recreation is the presence of a trained practitioner or therapist. The role of the therapist is often overlooked, however they are key to facilitating the clients interactions with both the natural and social environment and setting clinical aims for the session. Examples of ecotherapy activities might include gardening, farming, woodland walks, and nature art and crafts. Like the client, the therapist actively takes part in the ecotherapy session; in fact, it’s often difficult to distinguish between the client and therapist.

But why do people believe ecotherapy is so beneficial to mental health? The scientific basis for ecotherapy comes from past research which has shown that natural settings are good for both mental and physical health. One systematic review analysed the benefits of natural environments for health and found that interacting with natural settings – such as walking or running in a public park – can provide a range of health benefits, including reduced stress and improved mood, wellbeing, and self-esteem.

Research has also shown that natural settings also encourage physical activity. For example, an ecotherapy gardening session not only involves interacting with nature but also the moderate-vigorous physical activity associated with gardening. Studies show that physical activity in natural settings has greater health benefits compared to physical activity in other environments. Some of these benefits include lower stress and improved mood.

Ecotherapy might also provide opportunities to socialise, giving another reason for its use as a mental health treatment. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to health as obesity. They’re also more harmful than physical inactivity and are as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes daily. Socialising is also associated with higher life expectancy, with research indicating a 50% increased likelihood of survival in elderly people who have strong social relationships.

Increased socialisation during ecotherapy sessions is beneficial to mental health. Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Ecotherapy can also give people a sense of achievement and purpose. It can provide structure and routine to people who might not have these in their lives, perhaps because of their poor mental health. Having structure and routine is one aspect of being employed that research shows is beneficial to mental health.

The therapist is not only key to facilitating the clients involvement in the natural and social environments; but also ensuring that each of the ecotherapy sessions have a defined purpose. It is common for both the client and therapist to be working towards achieving this aim. For example, in the case of an ecotheraphy gardening project the aim might be to develop a community garden. In recreation activities the specific environment, types and frequency of social interaction and purpose of the chosen activity are all driven by the participant.

The evidence for ecotherapy

Currently, much of the evidence showing the benefits of ecotherapy comes from qualitative data. For example, one study interviewed people referred to mental health services to understand the effects of ecotherapy. The programme reportedly improved physical and mental health, and provided daily structure and routine. It also allowed participants to learn new skills and socialise. But, there was no statistical data to support these findings. This means the study’s findings were based solely on the reported experiences of the participants, which might not provide an accurate picture of the effect ecotherapy would have on the wider population.

Despite this, research into ecotherapy’s benefits is growing. One in-depth analysis looked at nine different ecotherapy programmes. It found that people who had participated in any type of ecotherapy programme had significant improvements in self-esteem, wellbeing and social inclusion from the start of their treatment, and also felt more connected to nature. Participants also had significant improvements in mood, with feelings of anger, tension, depression, and confusion reduced after just one ecotherapy session.

Other studies have suggested reduced physiological stress, and improvements in anxiety, depression, mood, and self-esteem in people with a range of psychiatric illnesses, including bipolar disorder, major depression, and better wellbeing and increased social engagement for people with dementia who took part in a gardening programme.

Despite increasing reports of the health benefits of ecotherapy, there is still a need for high quality scientific evidence to better support its effectiveness. However, large-scale, randomised, and rigorously controlled research is difficult, as all ecotherapy projects are unique. Each involve different activities and environments, varying exercise intensities, and participants may have a range of health needs. However, the versatility and uniqueness of these programmes might be the very thing that contributes to positive health outcomes.The Conversation

 


Carly Wood, Lecturer in Nutrition and Exercise Science, University of Westminster

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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