Brain area found to help spot bad decisions.


Ball of tissue named lateral frontal pole found to be crucial in analysing alternative decisions – and may be unique to humans
  • The Temptation of Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve: possible victims of an underdeveloped lateral frontal pole. Illustration: Corbis

A new brain region that appears to help humans identify whether they have made bad decisions has been discovered by researchers.

The size and shape of a large Brussels sprout, the ball of neural tissue seems to be crucial for the kind of flexible thought that allows us to consider switching to a more promising course of action.

While other brain parts keep track of how well, or not, our decisions are working for us, the new structure is more outward-looking, and mulls over what we might have done instead.

Scientists spotted the region, named the lateral frontal pole, after scanning the brains of healthy humans in two different ways. Further scans failed to find any comparable region in monkeys, suggesting the area is exclusive to humans.

“We know there are differences between humans and monkeys. But it is surprising how many similarities there can be, and how a couple of differences can mean our behaviour is so far removed from them,” said Matthew Rushworth, a professor of cognitive neuroscience, who led the study at Oxford University.

“There are a few brain areas that monitor how good our choices are, and that is a very sensible thing to have. But this region monitors how good the choices are that we didn’t take. It tells us how green the grass is on the other side of the fence.”

The remarkable finding highlights how much scientists have to learn about the human brain and how cutting-edge lab techniques are redrawing the map of the most complex organ in the known universe.

One expert who spoke to the Guardian said the work was “stunning” and could pave the way for fresh advances in understanding psychiatric diseases. Details of the work are published in the Neuron journal.

The Oxford team recruited 25 healthy people for the study and scanned each person twice. One scan, called diffusion-weighted MRI, revealed the neural pathways that connect different parts of the brain. The other, called functional MRI (fMRI), showed which areas of the brain were most active when the patients were resting.

The combination of scans allowed the scientists to work out in exquisite detail how each part of the ventrolateral frontal cortex (vlFC), a region crucial for language and cognitive flexibility, was connected with any other part of the brain. From this, they identified 12 distinct areas of the vlFC that worked in different ways.

For the next stage of the study, the researchers took fMRI scans of the ventrolateral frontal cortex in macaques. These revealed 11 regions that closely matched those seen in humans. But the lateral frontal pole was missing. Humans have two, one above and behind each eyebrow.

“It might seem a bit pointless, but one of the ways to do something effectively is to monitor the other ways you could be doing something. People who have a bigger signal in this area are better at switching tack,” said Rushworth.

Overall, the brain scans from humans and monkeys showed remarkable similarities. But another key difference was seen in the auditory areas of the brain. In humans, parts of the brain that help us understand spoken words were strongly connected to the vlFC. In monkeys, the same areas were connected to the part of the brain that deals with social and emotional responses. The difference may go some way to explaining why humans speak and monkeys don’t.

“This is stunning work,” said Karl Zilles, a neuroscientist at the Institute for Neuroscience and Medicine in Jülich, Germany. “It is the first time that modern MRI techniques have been combined to study differences in these parts of the brain in monkeys and humans.”

“I am quite sure that this will turn out to be of great importance in studying psychiatric disease. What we understand now is the connectivity within the brain. We know the cables and the connections. What we have to do now is combine all this with how information is processed in the different brain areas,” he added.

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Stem cell ‘major discovery’ claimed


Petri dishes filled with stem cells

 

Stem cell researchers are heralding a “major scientific discovery”, with the potential to start a new age of personalised medicine.

Scientists in Japan showed stem cells can now be made quickly just by dipping blood cells into acid.

Stem cells can transform into any tissue and are already being trialled for healing the eye, heart and brain.

The latest development, published in the journal Nature, could make the technology cheaper, faster and safer.

The human body is built of cells with a specific role – nerve cells, liver cells, muscle cells – and that role is fixed.

However, stem cells can become any other type of cell, and they have become a major field of research in medicine for their potential to regenerate the body.

Embryos are one, ethically charged, source of stem cells. Nobel prize winning research also showed that skin cells could be “genetically reprogrammed” to become stem cells (termed induced pluripotent stem cells).

Acid bath

Now a study shows that shocking blood cells with acid could also trigger the transformation into stem cells – this time termed STAP (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency) cells.

Dr Haruko Obokata, from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Japan, said she was “really surprised” that cells could respond to their environment in this way.

She added: “It’s exciting to think about the new possibilities these findings offer us, not only in regenerative medicine, but cancer as well.”

The breakthrough was achieved in mouse blood cells, but research is now taking place to achieve the same results with human blood.

Chris Mason, professor of regenerative medicine at University College London, said if it also works in humans then “the age of personalised medicine would have finally arrived.”

He told the BBC: “I thought – ‘my God that’s a game changer!’ It’s a very exciting, but surprise, finding.

“It looks a bit too good to be true, but the number of experts who have reviewed and checked this, I’m sure that it is.

“If this works in people as well as it does in mice, it looks faster, cheaper and possibly safer than other cell reprogramming technologies – personalised reprogrammed cell therapies may now be viable.”

For age-related macular degeneration, which causes sight loss, it takes 10 months to go from a patient’s skin sample to a therapy that could be injected into their eye -and at huge cost.

Prof Mason said weeks could be knocked off that time which would save money, as would cheaper components.

‘Revolutionary’

The finding has been described as “remarkable” by the Medical Research Council’s Prof Robin Lovell-Badge and as “a major scientific discovery” by Dr Dusko Ilic, a reader in stem cell science at Kings College London.

Dr Ilic added: “The approach is indeed revolutionary.

“It will make a fundamental change in how scientists perceive the interplay of environment and genome.”

But he added: “It does not bring stem cell-based therapy closer. We will need to use the same precautions for the cells generated in this way as for the cells isolated from embryos or reprogrammed with a standard method.”

And Prof Lovell-Badge said: “It is going to be a while before the nature of these cells are understood, and whether they might prove to be useful for developing therapies, but the really intriguing thing to discover will be the mechanism underlying how a low pH shock triggers reprogramming – and why it does not happen when we eat lemon or vinegar or drink cola?”

Neanderthals gave us disease genes


Gene types that influence disease in people today were picked up through interbreeding with Neanderthals, a major study in Nature journal suggests.

They passed on variants involved in type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and – curiously – smoking addiction.

Genome studies reveal that our species (Homo sapiens) mated with Neanderthals after leaving Africa.

But it was previously unclear what this Neanderthal DNA did and whether there were any implications for human health.

Tabun Neanderthal

“Start Quote

When Neanderthals and modern humans met and mixed, they were at the very edge of being biological compatible”

Prof David ReichHarvard Medical School

Between 2% and 4% of the genetic blueprint of present-day non-Africans came from Neanderthals.

By screening the genomes of 1,004 modern humans, Sriram Sankararaman and his colleagues identified regions bearing the Neanderthal versions of different genes.

That a gene variant associated with a difficulty in stopping smoking should be found to have a Neanderthal origin is a surprise.

It goes without saying that there is no suggestion our evolutionary cousins were puffing away in their caves.

Instead, the researchers argue, this mutation may have more than one function, so the modern effect of this marker on smoking behaviour may be one impact it has among several.

Pastures new

Researchers found that Neanderthal DNA is not distributed uniformly across the human genome, instead being commonly found in regions that affect skin and hair.

This suggests some gene variants provided a rapid way for modern humans to adapt to the new cooler environments they encountered as they moved into Eurasia. When the populations met, Neanderthals had already been adapting to these conditions for several hundred thousand years.

The stocky hunters once covered a range stretching from Britain to Siberia, but went extinct around 30,000 years ago as Homo sapiens was expanding from an African homeland.

Neanderthal ancestry was found in regions of the genome linked to the regulation of skin pigmentation.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

I think what we’re seeing to a large extent is the dying remains of this extinct genome as it is slowly purged from the human population”

Joshua AkeyUniversity of Washington

“We found evidence that Neanderthal skin genes made Europeans and East Asians more evolutionarily fit,” said Benjamin Vernot, from the University of Washington, co-author of a separate study in Science journal.

Genes for keratin filaments, a fibrous protein that lends toughness to skin, hair and nails, were also enriched with Neanderthal DNA. This may have helped provide the newcomers with thicker insulation against cold conditions, the scientists suggest.

“It’s tempting to think that Neanderthals were already adapted to the non-African environment and provided this genetic benefit to (modern) humans,” said Prof David Reich, from Harvard Medical School, co-author of the paper in Nature.

But other gene variants influenced human illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, long-term depression, lupus, billiary cirrhosis – an autoimmune disease of the liver – and Crohn’s disease. In the case of Crohn’s, Neanderthals passed on different markers that increase and decrease the risk of disease.

Asked whether our ancient relatives actually suffered from these diseases too, or whether the mutations in question only affected the risk of illness when transplanted to a modern human genetic background, Mr Sankararaman said: “We don’t have the fine knowledge of the genetics of Neanderthals to answer this,” but added that further study of their genomes might shed light on this question.

Joshua Akey, from the University of Washington, an author of the Science publication, added: “Admixture happened relatively recently in evolutionary terms, so you wouldn’t expect all the Neanderthal DNA to have been washed away by this point.

“I think what we’re seeing to a large extent is the dying remains of this extinct genome as it is slowly purged from the human population.”

Desert regions

However, some regions of our genomes were discovered to be devoid of Neanderthal DNA, suggesting that certain genes had such harmful effects in the offspring of modern human-Neanderthal pairings that they have indeed been flushed out actively and rapidly through natural selection.

“We find that there are large regions of the genome where most modern humans carry little or no Neanderthal ancestry,” Mr Sankararaman told BBC News.

“This reduction in Neanderthal ancestry was probably due to selection against genes that were bad – deleterious – for us.”

The Neanderthal-deficient regions encompass genes that are specifically expressed in the testes, and on the X (female sex) chromosome.

This suggests that some Neanderthal-modern human hybrids had reduced fertility and in some cases were sterile.

“It tells us that when Neanderthals and modern humans met and mixed, they were at the very edge of being biologically compatible,” said Prof Reich.

Another genome region that lacked Neanderthal genes includes a gene called FOXP2, which is thought to play an important role in human speech.

Joshua Akey said his team’s results were compatible with there having been multiple pulses of interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals.

How Solar Flares Are Affecting Our Bodies.


Dena Ventrudo is the Assistant Editor & Photographer of Merlian News. She is a published poet and creative writer, most recently published in “Trails Through The Greenbelt” by Jack M. Freedman. Dena has a BA in Liberal Studies from SUNY Purchase College but also spent time there as a Dramatic Writing, Literature and Women’s Studies major.

What Is A Solar Flare?

Recently we are experiencing an intensive amount of solar activity on the Sun which is affecting both the Earth and Humans.

According to Wikipedia, “A solar flare is a sudden brightening observed over the Sun surface or the solar limb, which is interpreted as a large energy release… (about a sixth of the total energy output of the Sun each second). The flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona into space. These clouds typically reach Earth a day or two after the event.

Solar flares affect all layers of the solar atmosphere (photosphere, chromosphere, and corona), when the medium plasma is heated to tens of millions of kelvins and electrons, protons, and heavier ions are accelerated to near the speed of light. They produce radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum at all wavelengths, from radio waves to gamma rays, although most of the energy goes to frequencies outside the visual range and for this reason the majority of the flares are not visible to the naked eye…

Flares occur in active regions around sunspots… Flares are powered by the sudden (timescales of minutes to tens of minutes) release of magnetic energy stored in the corona. The same energy releases may produce coronal mass ejections (CME)…

X-rays and UV radiation emitted by solar flares can affect Earth’s ionosphere and disrupt long-range radio communications. Direct radio emission at decimetric wavelengths may disturb operation of radars and other devices operating at these frequencies.

Solar flares are classified as A, B, C, M or X according to the peak flux…Within a class there is a linear scale from 1 to 9, so an X2 flare is twice as powerful as an X1 flare, and is four times more powerful than an M5 flare. The more powerful M and X class flares are often associated with a variety of effects on the near-Earth space environment.” wikipedia.org

How Solar Flares Affect Our Bodies

From my research I have deduced that there is some connection between the Sun’s solar storms and our human biology, especially after an M or X class solar flare. These flares effect the magnetic field and impact Earth’s weather. Human beings also have a physical magnetic field, so it stands to reason that we too are impacted by solar activity.

After strong solar activity on the sun, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wind storms appear to occur more frequently.

 

Now, reversing adult cells to stem cells becomes easy .


Oxford University researchers have identified an area of the human brain that appears unlike anything in the brains of some of our closest relatives.

The  area pinpointed is known to be intimately involved in some of the most advanced planning and decision-making processes that we think of as being especially human. 
‘We tend to think that being able to plan into the future, be flexible in our approach and learn from others are things that are particularly impressive about humans. We’ve identified an area of the brain that appears to be uniquely human and is likely to have something to do with these cognitive powers,’ says senior researcher Professor Matthew Rushworth of Oxford University’s Department of Experimental Psychology.

MRI imaging of 25 adult volunteers was used to identify key components in the ventrolateral frontal cortex area of the , and how these components were connected up with other . The results were then compared to equivalent MRI data from 25 macaque monkeys.

This ventrolateral frontal cortex area of the brain is involved in many of the highest aspects of cognition and language, and is only present in humans and other primates. Some parts are implicated in psychiatric conditions like ADHD, drug addiction or compulsive behaviour disorders. Language is affected when other parts are damaged after stroke or neurodegenerative disease. A better understanding of the neural connections and networks involved should help the understanding of changes in the brain that go along with these conditions.

The Oxford University researchers report their findings in the science journal Neuron. They were funded by the UK Medical Research Council.

Professor Rushworth explains: ‘The brain is a mosaic of interlinked areas. We wanted to look at this very important region of the frontal part of the brain and see how many tiles there are and where they are placed.

‘We also looked at the connections of each tile – how they are wired up to the rest of the brain – as it is these connections that determine the information that can reach that component part and the influence that part can have on other brain regions.’

From the MRI data, the researchers were able to divide the human ventrolateral frontal cortex into 12 areas that were consistent across all the individuals.

‘Each of these 12 areas has its own pattern of connections with the rest of the brain, a sort of “neural fingerprint”, telling us it is doing something unique,’ says Professor Rushworth.

The researchers were then able to compare the 12 areas in the human brain region with the organisation of the monkey prefrontal cortex.

Overall, they were very similar with 11 of the 12 areas being found in both species and being connected up to other brain areas in very similar ways.

However, one area of the human ventrolateral frontal cortex had no equivalent in the macaque – an area called the lateral frontal pole prefrontal cortex.

‘We have established an area in human  which does not seem to have an equivalent in the monkey at all,’ says first author Franz-Xaver Neubert of Oxford University. ‘This area has been identified with strategic planning and decision making as well as “multi-tasking”.’

The Oxford research group also found that the auditory parts of the brain were very well connected with the human , but much less so in the macaque. The researchers suggest this may be critical for our ability to understand and generate speech.

 

The megatons to megawatts programme.


The warheads contain substantial amounts of valuable material that can be processed for use in commercial nuclear power plants

When supply is more than demand, price of any commodity will fall. This is true whether it is onion or tomato, potato or uranium. It happened in the 90s. This was one of the reasons for Dr. Thomas Neff, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to propose what was later called the Megatons to Megawatts programme in an editorial titled “A Grand Uranium Bargain” in The New York Times on October 24, 1991.

Highly enriched uranium may be down-blended or diluted so that the amount of U235 is low enough to be suitable for commercial reactors.

Dr. Neff noted that “the Soviets have been selling increasing amounts of natural and enriched uranium in Western commercial markets, feeding a downward price spiral that has driven some uranium producers out of business and threatened the uranium enrichment business of America’s Energy Department, the world’s largest supplier of commercial fuel.”

“The Soviet Government is struggling to transform itself economically and politically while maintaining control of more than 24,000 nuclear weapons in the newly independent republics,” he cautioned

Russians wanted to dismantle a few thousand; they had little cash to do it safely so that the material would not fall into wrong hands. It was vital to carry out the programme cautiously keeping its non proliferation objectives intact.

“The warheads contain substantial amounts of valuable material that can be processed for use in commercial nuclear power plants. It may be advantageous for the U.S. to buy or barter for such materials and turn them safely to commercial use. This can be done in ways that protect Western and Soviet commercial and security interests,” Dr. Neff proposed.

Natural uranium contains 0.71 per cent of Uranium-235. Enriching uranium increases the amount of Uranium-235. The nuclear fuel used in the majority of reactors contains about 3 per cent to 5 per cent of Uranium-235. Enrichment to levels of 20 per cent or greater produces highly enriched uranium which is used in research reactors and military applications. Highly enriched uranium may be down-blended or diluted so that the amount of U is low enough to be suitable for commercial reactors. The Megatons to Megawatts programme was successful; it organised the down-blending of Russia’s surplus, highly enriched uranium commercially.

In the NYT editorial, Dr Neff warned that if U.S. does not buy the material, agents in the former Soviet Union, perhaps uncontrolled by central authority, may flood commercial nuclear-fuel markets with material from arms programs or even seek to sell weapons-grade materials to the highest bidders!

The possibility that such a strategically important material may be virtually auctioned in the open market will unnerve any one. Dr Neff deftly played the economics and commercial card as well.

He estimated that a typical nuclear warhead might yield nuclear fuel worth $200,000/- A back of an envelope calculation shows that 10,000 warheads would bring in $2 billion.

The U.S. and Russian negotiators initialled the 20-year agreement in Moscow on August 28, 1992; President George W. Bush announced the agreement three days later. President Clinton signed and initiated the agreement in 1993.

Under the proposal, Russia down-blended 500 tons of enriched uranium into 15,259 tonnes of reactor -grade uranium over a period of 20 years.

The U.S. gave back to Russia a similar quantity of natural uranium to that used to down-blend the highly enriched uranium (HEU). U.S. paid to Russia the charges to down-blend or dilute the highly enriched uranium

The US Enrichment Corporation and Techsnabexport (Tenex), acted as agents for the US and Russian governments respectively and executed the project.

Russia shipped the down-blended fuel for the first time in 1995.

For Russia, it was a rich bonanza of about $ 13 billion. USA also benefited; uranium from 20,000 warheads fuelled the US nuclear power reactors and provided 10 per cent of electricity produced in USA over the past 20 years. The Nuclear Energy Institute, a nuclear advocacy group claimed that the fuel produced under the programme was enough to power the entire USA for two years.

This historic project which concluded on December 31, 2013 is the largest and most successful nuclear non-proliferation program to date. Dr Thomas Neff proposed the grand uranium bargain at the right time and was a win-win programme for everyone.

 

End the Ban on Psychoactive Drug Research.


 

Discovery of new psychiatric medication, whether for the treatment of depression, autism or schizophrenia, is at a virtual standstill. As just one example, the antidepressants on the market today are no more effective at reversing the mood disorder than those that first became available in the 1950s.New thinking is desperately needed to aid the estimated 14 million American adults who suffer from severe mental illness. Innovation would likely accelerate if pharmacologists did not have to confront an antiquated legal framework that, in effect, declares off-limits a set of familiar compounds that could potentially serve as the chemical basis for entire new classes of drugs.LSD, ecstasy (MDMA), psilocybin and marijuana have, for decades, been designated as drugs of abuse. But they had their origins in the medical pharmacopeia. Through the mid-1960s, more than 1,000 scientific publications chronicled the ways that LSD could be used as an aid to make psychotherapy more effective. Similarly, MDMA began to be used as a complement to talk therapy in the 1970s. Marijuana has logged thousands of years as a medicament for diseases and conditions ranging from malaria to rheumatism.National laws and international conventions put a stop to all that. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 declared that these drugs have “no currently accepted medical use” and classified them in the most stringently regulated category of controlled substances: Schedule I. The resulting restrictions create a de facto ban on their use in both laboratories and clinical trials, setting up a catch-22: these drugs are banned because they have no accepted medical use, but researchers cannot explore their therapeutic potential because they are banned. Three United Nations treaties extend similar restrictions to much of the rest of the world.The decades-long research hiatus has taken its toll. Psychologists would like to know whether MDMA can help with intractable post-traumatic stress disorder, whether LSD or psilocybin can provide relief for cluster headaches or obsessive-compulsive disorder, and whether the particular docking receptors on brain cells that many psychedelics latch onto are critical sites for regulating conscious states that go awry in schizophrenia and depression.

In many states, doctors can now recommend medical marijuana, but researchers cannot study its effects. The uneasy status quo leaves unanswered the question of whether the drug might help treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, nausea, sleep apnea, multiple sclerosis and a host of other conditions.

A few privately funded studies of these compounds have yielded tantalizing hints that some of these ideas merit consideration. Yet doing this research through standard channels, as psychopharmacologist David J. Nutt of Imperial College London and his co-authors noted in a recent article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, requires traversing a daunting bureaucratic labyrinth that can dissuade even the most committed investigator. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) It can take years to receive approval for a clinical trial from both regulators and hospital ethics committees, even while tallying thousands of dollars in licensing fees and tens of thousands to obtain drugs that are, of course, unavailable from a chemical supply catalogue.

The endless obstructions have resulted in an almost complete halt in research on Schedule I drugs. This is a shame. The U.S. government should move these drugs to the less strict Schedule II classification. Such a move would not lead to decriminalization of these potentially dangerous drugs—Schedule II also includes cocaine, opium and methamphetamine, after all—but it would make it much easier for clinical researchers to study their effects.

If some of the obstacles to research can be overcome, it may be possible to finally detach research on psychoactive chemicals from the hyperbolic rhetoric that is a legacy of the war on drugs. Only then will it be possible to judge whether LSD, ecstasy, marijuana and other highly regulated compounds—subjected to the gauntlet of clinical testing for safety and efficacy—can actually yield effective new treatments for devastating psychiatric illnesses.

 

World’s tallest woman saved from paralysis and going blind after doctors remove huge tumour from her brain.


  • Siddiqa Parveen, from West Bengal, India, is estimated to be 7ft 8in
  • The 28-year-old has had life-saving surgery as tumour is removed
  • It is hoped that she will now stop growing and that her sight is safe

The world’s tallest woman might finally stop growing after doctors removed a tumour from her brain.

Siddiqa Parveen, who is estimated to be 7ft 8in tall, travelled nearly 1,000 miles from her village in West Bengal for doctors in Delhi to save her life.

Before the operation, the 28-year-old had a spine ‘on the verge of breaking’ and was losing her sight as a result of her continuous growth.

Tall order: Gigantism sufferer Siddiqa Parveen, pictured with her parents, from south Dinajpur, West Bengal, is estimated to be 7ft 8in tall as a result of a tumour on the pituary gland
Tall order: Gigantism sufferer Siddiqa Parveen, pictured with her parents, from south Dinajpur, West Bengal, is estimated to be 7ft 8in tall as a result of a tumour on the pituary gland

Siddiqa suffered from gigantism brought on by the tumour, which was located on the pituitary gland, causing it to produce excess growth hormone.

She already had fractures in her spine and has been unable to stand up straight for years – and doctors in India believed if left untreated her increasing weight would cause her back to snap.

They also feared the ‘massive’ tumour would cause her to go blind, forcing them to transport her from her remote village in West Bengal to Delhi.

Neurosurgeon Dr Ashish Suri, of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where Siddiqa was operated on, said the operation had been a success.

‘The tumour had to be taken out through the nose by inserting an endoscope through the nostrils,’ he said.

Daddy's big girl: Siddiqa is pictured with her father who still cares for his adult daughter

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Daddy’s big girl: Siddiqa is pictured with her father who still cares for his adult daughter

Siddiqa, 28, already had fractures on her spine as a result of her heavy body and is hoped she will be able to stand up straight again after the tumour has been removed

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Siddiqa, 28, already had fractures on her spine as a result of her heavy body and is hoped she will be able to stand up straight again after the tumour has been removed

Saved: Siddiqa travelled nearly 1,000 miles to undergo the life-saving operation in Delhi where the tumour was removed

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Saved: Siddiqa travelled nearly 1,000 miles to undergo the life-saving operation in Delhi where the tumour was removed

‘She suffered significant blood-loss during the operation as the tumour was a vascular one. But she coped well.’

Siddiqa’s size saw her recently crowned the world’s tallest woman by Guinness Book of Records – but it caused significant medical challenges.

Dr Suri said: ‘As her body frame was huge, it required a large operation table for which we had to join additional trolleys.’

Dr PK Bithal, head of neuroanesthesiology told The Indian Express: ‘Our maximum bed size is six feet, both in the operation theatre and ICU, so positioning her appropriately for surgery was a big problem.

Condition improving: Staff at the Delhi hospital where Siddiqa is recovering have had to lengthen her bed with trolley

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Condition improving: Staff at the Delhi hospital where Siddiqa is recovering have had to lengthen her bed with trolley

Going the distance: Siddiqa is in a stable condition following the operation

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Going the distance: Siddiqa is in a stable condition following the operation

Doctor Ashish Suri, who did the surgery to remove the brain tumour from the world's tallest girl, seen during a press conference at the AIIMS hospital today

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Doctor Ashish Suri, who did the surgery to remove the brain tumour from the world’s tallest girl, seen during a press conference at the AIIMS hospital today

Hard to fit: Siddiqa Parveen, seen recovering after the successful operation which removed her tumour

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Hard to fit: Siddiqa Parveen, seen recovering after the successful operation which removed her tumour

‘Her head size was enlarged, which made access of the tumour with our instruments, like endoscopes, extremely difficult.

‘Anaesthetising her would be a problem with her head size, since we did not have endotracheal tubes of her head size, and she had difficulty lying down with the multiple fractures in her spine.’

Doctors have declared the surgery, which took place on January 16, a success. But authorities at the hospital say it is ‘the first of multiple steps in her road to complete recovery’.

Siddiqa, who weighs 285lbs and has enlarged hands and feet, has now been released from the intensive care unit but remains in hospital.

However, her problems are not just physical and doctors say she will need to be treated for a ‘psychosocial crisis’ – having been isolated for much of her life.

Tall tale: The 28-year-old's condition has seen her hands and feet grow abnormally large, seen here compared to her father

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Tall tale: The 28-year-old’s condition has seen her hands and feet grow abnormally large, seen here compared to her father

Coming back: Doctor's say that Siddiqa also needs psychological rehab to learn to integrate with others in her village now that the tumour is gone

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Coming back: Doctor’s say that Siddiqa also needs psychological rehab to learn to integrate with others in her village now that the tumour is gone

Dr Suri said: ‘She has been confined to her house for the major part of her life. An old teacher from her area is the only one she communicates with.’

It was also revealed that it took doctors weeks to communicate properly with Parveen, who hails from a poor family in south Dinajpur district of West Bengal and speaks only in Bengali.

‘She has been silent for so long, it will take us a long time to ensure her complete recovery,’ said Dr Tandon.

Siddiqa was mentioned in the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records as the new record holder after after the 2012 death of Yao Defen from China who, at 233.3 cm (7 feet 7 inches) was the tallest woman on earth.

 

What makes us human? Unique brain area linked to higher cognitive powers.


Oxford University researchers have identified an area of the human brain that appears unlike anything in the brains of some of our closest relatives.

The  area pinpointed is known to be intimately involved in some of the most advanced planning and decision-making processes that we think of as being especially human.

Stress-induced pluripotent cells of mice generated an entire mouse foetus body. -- Photo: Haruko Obokata

‘We tend to think that being able to plan into the future, be flexible in our approach and learn from others are things that are particularly impressive about humans. We’ve identified an area of the brain that appears to be uniquely human and is likely to have something to do with these cognitive powers,’ says senior researcher Professor Matthew Rushworth of Oxford University’s Department of Experimental Psychology.

MRI imaging of 25 adult volunteers was used to identify key components in the ventrolateral frontal cortex area of the , and how these components were connected up with other . The results were then compared to equivalent MRI data from 25 macaque monkeys.

This ventrolateral frontal cortex area of the brain is involved in many of the highest aspects of cognition and language, and is only present in humans and other primates. Some parts are implicated in psychiatric conditions like ADHD, drug addiction or compulsive behaviour disorders. Language is affected when other parts are damaged after stroke or neurodegenerative disease. A better understanding of the neural connections and networks involved should help the understanding of changes in the brain that go along with these conditions.

The Oxford University researchers report their findings in the science journal Neuron. They were funded by the UK Medical Research Council.

Professor Rushworth explains: ‘The brain is a mosaic of interlinked areas. We wanted to look at this very important region of the frontal part of the brain and see how many tiles there are and where they are placed.

‘We also looked at the connections of each tile – how they are wired up to the rest of the brain – as it is these connections that determine the information that can reach that component part and the influence that part can have on other brain regions.’

From the MRI data, the researchers were able to divide the human ventrolateral frontal cortex into 12 areas that were consistent across all the individuals.

‘Each of these 12 areas has its own pattern of connections with the rest of the brain, a sort of “neural fingerprint”, telling us it is doing something unique,’ says Professor Rushworth.

The researchers were then able to compare the 12 areas in the human brain region with the organisation of the monkey prefrontal cortex.

Overall, they were very similar with 11 of the 12 areas being found in both species and being connected up to other brain areas in very similar ways.

However, one area of the human ventrolateral frontal cortex had no equivalent in the macaque – an area called the lateral frontal pole prefrontal cortex.

‘We have established an area in human  which does not seem to have an equivalent in the monkey at all,’ says first author Franz-Xaver Neubert of Oxford University. ‘This area has been identified with strategic planning and decision making as well as “multi-tasking”.’

The Oxford research group also found that the auditory parts of the brain were very well connected with the human , but much less so in the macaque. The researchers suggest this may be critical for our ability to understand and generate speech.

Remove Toxic Heavy Metals from the Body in 5 – 7 Hours.


The safe removal of heavy metals is becoming one of the modern world’s biggest health issues. Heavy metals surround us; chemtrails,vaccinations, air and water pollution, living or working near a smelter or mine, dental fillingsand of course, the kingpin of all, fluoridated water. Hydrofluosilicic acid, the chemical often used to fluoridate drinking water, is an industrial waste that contains lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum, benzene and radioactive waste material. A fact that boggles the mind and poses the question…

How did we let this end up in our water?

Heavy metals poisoning

“In my clinical experience, everyone has excessive amounts of some, or all of the toxic metals” says Lawrence Wilson, MD.

 No one in the industrial world is untouched, and the effects of heavy metals are nothing short of frightening, with links to impaired brain and motor function, Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart disease and genetic defects.

Heavy metals replace the body’s needed minerals, for instance, lead will replace calcium in the bones, weakening them and causing osteoporosis. Lead also replaces calcium in the blood cells, damaging the blood and causing a severe form of anemia.

It then goes to the brain, where it replaces calcium, iron magnesium and other vital elements that are found there. Cadmium will replace zinc in a male’s testicles as well as in a woman’s ovaries, causing countless reproductive issues. Male and female sexual fluids are rich in zinc, this can cause low sperm counts, impotence in men, reduced fertility in women, and increased libido in women.

“Cadmium is so toxic to the brain that it causes what might be called ‘a small rebellion’ in the tissues of the brain, which results in violent thoughts.  One notices this as one removes cadmium, that violent thoughts and even one’s violent impulses diminish” Lawrence Wilson, MD.

Mercury is one of the most toxic minerals known to man, and yet it is also one of the most common heavy metal’s used today. It’s even used in children’s vaccines as a preservative in the form Thimerosal.

“If you inject thimerosal into an animal, it’s brain will sicken. If you apply it to living tissue, the cells die. If you put it in a petri dish the culture dies. Knowing these things, it would be shocking if one could inject it into an infant without causing damage.”

Boyd Haley PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry, University of Kentucky.

The list of debilitating illnesses associated with mercury is incredibly vast and mercury exposure should be avoided at all costs.

(Further reading: The Consequences of Toxic Metals and Chemical Aerosols on Human Health)

When heavy metals are present and needed minerals are low, the body will use heavy metals for enzyme creation. As this occurs, the metals inhibit, overstimulate or otherwise alter thousands of enzymes. An affected enzyme may operate at 5% of normal activity. This may contribute to countless health conditions.

The importance of enzymes can not be underestimated. Some health professionals believe them to be the key to good health and longevity. “The length of life is inversely proportional to the rate of exhaustion of the enzyme potential of an organism.” (The Enzyme Nutrition Axiom formulated by Dr Edward Howell).

Now for the good news!

Natural mineral compound zeolite, specifically clinoptilolite – which is found in Natural Cellular Defensepure liquid zeolite – has the perfect structure for removing heavy metals and will do it quickly and safely.

Clinoptilolite is shaped like a cage and is one of only a few minerals in nature that carries a negative charge. It’s this amazing combination that allows the zeolite to capture toxic heavy metals containing a positive charge including mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, bismuth, antimony, barium, depleted uranium and many others. Zeolite will then remove them from the body; once the toxins are trapped in the zeolite molecule they are almost impossible for them to escape this bond.

zeolite 1Zeolite is incredibly fast-acting and is completely removed from the body in 5-7 hours and in turn, so are the trapped toxins and heavy metals. Zeolite is removed through normal bodily processes and due to it trapping toxic material it greatly reduces the burden on liver and kidneys.

A full body detox to remove built up metals will take approximately 4-9 weeks depending on age, general health and diet. There are always extremes in any situation of course, and it can take many months in some cases, the process however can be sped up dramatically when combined with green juice fasting as seen in astudy by Dr Gabriel Cousens where 88% of the over 800 toxins were removed in 1 week and 100% removed in 2 weeks.

If the zeolite is properly micronized, meaning the particle’s have been ground to a microscopic size, it will be able to break the blood brain barrier and clean out toxins like mercury and lead from the brain. It’s important that you see 3rd Party Particle Testing to verify the particle’s size before buying any zeolite product. All zeolite’s will still work, but mainly in the intestine, similar to bentonite clay.

Zeolite has some other incredible benefits, there is evidence that it can also destroy cancer cells directly by triggering the P-21 gene.

“When NCD’s molecular cages contain a heavy metal ion they have a polarized charge and as this polarized cage goes near a cancer cell their polar charge makes it easy for them to go through cancer cell membranes but not normal cell membranes. But when the cancer cell identifies the zeolite in the cell it realizes that something may be wrong for it to be there in the first place and switches on the P21 gene that self-destructs the cancer cell.”

Biochemist Rik Deitsch.

Once the heavy metal concentrations have been reduced, the zeolite latches on to viral pieces or components. Because viruses replicate by first manufacturing viral components and then assembling them into a complete virus, pure liquid zeolite, in essence, removes parts from the assembly line and blocks viral replication.

It will also buffer blood PH, as a slightly alkaline body pH (7.35 – 7.45) is essential for good health and optimal immune function. Liquid zeolite attracts and then buffers excess protons which cause acidity and in this way can help many conditions ranging from acid reflux to Candida and arthritis. In the same way that liquid zeolite can buffer excess protons and thus help balance body pH, it can also buffer excess glucose by its negative charge and therefore helps reduce blood sugar spikes and lowers insulin dependency.

The cage-like structure of liquid zeolite traps free radical molecules, making it an effective antioxidant. This is not to say that liquid zeolite is a substitute for more conventional antioxidants such as Vitamins C, E and A, lutein and selenium, all of which have other vital roles to play in the body.

Liquid zeolite also captures some of the allergens and antigens that trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma, and helps to reduce symptoms. Liquid zeolite increases immune system function by removing the toxins and pathogens that depress immune function and interfere with hormone balance. It effectively stimulates the immune system, which further helps deal with toxins, viruses, yeasts, bacteria and fungi. As a result, many people report feeling increased energy, clarity and vitality of life.

Is Zeolite safe?

The removal of heavy metals and toxins is paramount in any health regime. Whether you are trying to treat a disease, looking to prevent disease or just remove the toxic burdens all around us, zeolite is an amazing tool that will make a huge difference.

You may be asking “well won’t it remove all the good metals? And won’t it make me iron deficient?”

The answer is NO. Interestingly, people taking zeolite show a net increase in iron levels and other beneficial minerals – due to the removal of the dangerous heavy metals that will block their absorption and storage. Zeolite is somewhat selective as it will go after the particles with the highest charge first, for example mercury and lead. It is recommended that you supplement your diet with a good quality broad spectrum colloidal mineral to make sure you replace all the things you’ve been missing.

In over 800 years of use throughout the world, there has never been any side effects to zeolite recorded. However, slight dehydration can occur so be sure to drink plenty of water during the detoxification process.

Natural Cellular Defense from Pure Liquid Zeolite has also been safely used by pregnant women, nursing mothers and small children. It is safe to take with most medication, and has been granted a status of GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the United States FDA (Food & Drug Administration).

“With liquid zeolite, we have returned to the basic healing approach for all chronic diseases, which is to free up and activate the vital life force. Liquid Zeolite is truly an alchemical gift from the Divine”

Gabriel Cousens M.D.

The safe removal of heavy metals from the body is becoming one of the modern world’s biggest health issues. I truly believe Pure Liquid Zeolite to be one of the keys to achieving good health in the 21st century.

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