What Happens to Your Brain on Sugar, Explained by Science.


what, happens, to, your, brain, on, sugar,, explained, by, science, What Happens to Your Brain on Sugar, Explained by Science
On the left is your brain on sugar. On the right side is your brain on drugs. Notice the similarities?

what, happens, to, your, brain, on, sugar,, explained, by, science,

For comparison, this image shows PET scans of obese and cocaine-addicted brains.

 

Notice that the normal brain has a lot more red stuff highlighted in it — called Dopamine. This chemical is produced in the part of the brain that is associated with reward. When someone experiences a reward — say while eating a really good meal — their Dopamine (red stuff) level spikes. For addicts, the opposite is true: That spike in Dopamine only comes in anticipation of the reward, as opposed to the actual reward itself. Later, once the reward is gotten, the effects are blunted because the brain has been flooded with dopamine as it thought about eating.
This PET brain scans show chemical differences in the brain between addicts and non-addicts. The normal images in the bottom row come from non-addicts; the abnormal images in the top row come from patients with addiction disorders. These brain scans show that that addicts have fewer than average dopamine receptors in their brains, so that weaker dopamine signals are sent between cells.

This is what sugar does to your brain — the exact same thing smoking, alcohol and cocaine do.

Just how bad is America’s addiction to sugar?

The Centers for Disease Control project a double- or triple-fold increase in the proportions of Americans with diabetes by 2050. On the low end, a study published in Population Health Metrics projects 21% of Americans will have diabetes. On the high end … 33%.

In 2013, student-faculty research at Connecticut College found that in lab rats, Oreos, rich in sugar and fat, may be just as addictive as cocaine. Given the option of Oreos and rice cakes, the test rats spent as much time eating cookies as getting high on cocaine or morphine. Furthermore, the rats given Oreos were subjected to a test that measured expression of a protein called c-Fos, a known marker of neuronal activation in the part of the brain that controls the feeling of pleasure. The result was alarming: Oreos beat out both drugs by a significant margin.

“Our research supports the theory that high-fat/high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” said Joseph Schroeder, director of the college’s behavioral neuroscience program. “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”

Student Jamie Honohan, who contributed to the study, added that “Even though we associate significant health hazards in taking drugs like cocaine and morphine, high-fat/ high-sugar foods may present even more of a danger because of their accessibility and affordability.”

So basically, Oreos are legal crack. A 2013 profile in the New York Times revealed the massive amount of scientific research big food companies have poured into developing tastier, more addictive products. Even the way they talk about marketing sugar-filled foods can sound an awful lot like discussing business with a drug dealer.

Former Coca-Cola executive and COO Jeffrey Dunn explains the sales logic they’d use: “How many drinkers do I have? And how many drinks do they drink? If you lost one of those heavy users, if somebody just decided to stop drinking Coke, how many drinkers would you have to get, at low velocity, to make up for that heavy user? The answer is a lot. It’s more efficient to get my existing users to drink more.”

The tipping point, he claimed, was when he began making frequent marketing trips to Brazil and realized, “these people need a lot of things, but they don’t need a Coke.”

And just like illegal drugs, large amounts of sugar can be very bad for you. In addition to obesity and diabetes, sugar can deeply affect your metabolism, impair brain function and make you more susceptible to heart disease and cancer. It can even form premature wrinkles.

Given all this, it’s pretty likely you’re over-consuming. Almost 40% of children’s diets now come from added sugars and unhealthy fats. To put it in perspective, this infographic from OnlineNursingPrograms.com shows just how much sugar the average American consumes.

 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to limit your sugar intake, even if the sheer amount of sugary goods on the market makes the sweet stuff nearly impossible to cut out entirely. Brian Wansink and colleagues at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that decreasing visibility and convenience helped participants consume less chocolate. Putting it in a drawer, for example, lowered consumption by a third. And these and other findings linking visibility and low barriers to access have major implications for national policy, like removing candy and junk food machines from school. They may be small steps, but they’re something. And if the consumption numbers are any indication that change needs to happen, something’s better than nothing.

A new film called Fed Up, produced and narrated by Katie Couric and opening on May 9, hopes to shed some light on the massive junk food industry that’s fueling America’s obesity crisis.

“There are 600,000 food items in America. 80% of them have added sugar,” warns the trailer’s Dr. Robert Lustig, the University of California in San Francisco’s professor of pediatric medicine. Another warns that ours is the first generation of U.S. children expected to live shorter lives than their parents. By 2050, it warns, a third of us will have diabetes.

 

What are some of the myths – and facts – about vaccination?


 

Q: What are some of the myths – and facts – about vaccination?

A: Myth 1: Better hygiene and sanitation will make diseases disappear – vaccines are not necessary. FALSE
Fact 1: The diseases we can vaccinate against will return if we stop vaccination programmes. While better hygiene, hand washing and clean water help protect people from infectious diseases, many infections can spread regardless of how clean we are. If people are not vaccinated, diseases that have become uncommon, such as polio and measles, will quickly reappear.

Myth 2: Vaccines have several damaging and long-term side-effects that are yet unknown. Vaccination can even be fatal. FALSE
Fact 2: Vaccines are very safe. Most vaccine reactions are usually minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. Very serious health events are extremely rare and are carefully monitored and investigated. You are far more likely to be seriously injured by a vaccine-preventable disease than by a vaccine. For example, in the case of polio, the disease can cause paralysis, measles can cause encephalitis and blindness, and some vaccine-preventable diseases can even result in death. While any serious injury or death caused by vaccines is one too many, the benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh the risk, and many, many more injuries and deaths would occur without vaccines.

Myth 3: The combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) and the vaccine against poliomyelitis cause sudden infant death syndrome. FALSE
Fact 3: There is no causal link between the administering of the vaccines and sudden infant death, however, these vaccines are administered at a time when babies can suffer sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).,. In other words, the SIDS deaths are co-incidental to vaccination and would have occurred even if no vaccinations had been given. It is important to remember that these four diseases are life-threatening and babies who are not vaccinated against them are at serious risk of death or serious disability.

Myth 4: Vaccine-preventable diseases are almost eradicated in my country, so there is no reason to be vaccinated. FALSE
Fact 4: Although vaccine preventable diseases have become uncommon in many countries, the infectious agents that cause them continue to circulate in some parts of the world. In a highly inter-connected world, these agents can cross geographical borders and infect anyone who is not protected. In western Europe, for example, measles outbreaks have occurred in unvaccinated populations in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom since 2005. So two key reasons to get vaccinated are to protect ourselves and to protect those around us. Successful vaccination programmes, like successful societies, depend on the cooperation of every individual to ensure the good of all. We should not rely on people around us to stop the spread of disease; we, too, must do what we can.

Myth 5: Vaccine-preventable childhood illnesses are just an unfortunate fact of life. FALSE
Fact 5: Vaccine preventable diseases do not have to be ‘facts of life’. Illnesses such as measles, mumps and rubella are serious and can lead to severe complications in both children and adults, including pneumonia, encephalitis, blindness, diarrhoea, ear infections, congenital rubella syndrome (if a woman becomes infected with rubella in early pregnancy), and death. All these diseases and suffering can be prevented with vaccines. Failure to vaccinate against these diseases leaves children unnecessarily vulnerable.

Myth 6: Giving a child more than one vaccine at a time can increase the risk of harmful side-effects, which can overload the child’s immune system. FALSE
Fact 6: Scientific evidence shows that giving several vaccines at the same time has no adverse effect on a child’s immune system. Children are exposed to several hundred foreign substances that trigger an immune response every day. The simple act of eating food introduces new antigens into the body, and numerous bacteria live in the mouth and nose. A child is exposed to far more antigens from a common cold or sore throat than they are from vaccines. Key advantages of having several vaccines at once is fewer clinic visits, which saves time and money, and children are more likely to complete the recommended vaccinations on schedule. Also, when it is possible to have a combined vaccination, e.g. for measles, mumps and rubella, that means fewer injections.

Myth 7: Influenza is just a nuisance, and the vaccine isn’t very effective. FALSE
Fact 7: Influenza is much more than a nuisance. It is a serious disease that kills 300 000-500 000 people worldwide every year. Pregnant women, small children, elderly people with poor health and anyone with a chronic condition, like asthma or heart disease, are at higher risk for severe infection and death. Vaccinating pregnant women has the added benefit of protecting their newborns (there is currently no vaccine for babies under six months). Vaccination offers immunity to the three most prevalent strains circulating in any given season. It is the best way to reduce your chances of severe flu and of spreading it to others. Avoiding the flu means avoiding extra medical care costs and lost income from missing days of work or school.

Myth 8: It is better to be immunized through disease than through vaccines. FALSE
Fact 8: Vaccines interact with the immune system to produce an immune response similar to that produced by the natural infection, but they do not cause the disease or put the immunized person at risk of its potential complications. In contrast, the price paid for getting immunity through natural infection might be mental retardation from Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), birth defects from rubella, liver cancer from hepatitis B virus, or death from measles.

Myth 9: Vaccines contain mercury which is dangerous. FALSE
Fact 9: Thiomersal is an organic, mercury-containing compound added to some vaccines as a preservative. It is the most widely-used preservative for vaccines that are provided in multi-dose vials. There is no evidence to suggest that the amount of thiomersal used in vaccines poses a health risk.

Myth 10: Vaccines cause autism FALSE
Fact 10: The 1998 study which raised concerns about a possible link between measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism was later found to be seriously flawed, and the paper has been retracted by the journal that published it. Unfortunately, its publication set off a panic that led to dropping immunization rates, and subsequent outbreaks of these diseases. There is no evidence of a link between MMR vaccine and autism or autistic disorders.

Related links
More on immunization
Decade of Vaccines ― Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020
WHO’s work on immunization, vaccines and biologicals

The Shocking Story of How Aspartame Became Legal.


Did you know that Aspartame was banned by the FDA twice?

How is this product legal now?

The bittersweet argument over whether Aspartame is safe or not has been going on for a long time. On one side we have medical evidence that suggests we should avoid using it and on the other side we lean on the FDA’s approval that suggests it is safe. Since generally that seems to be the factor that many continue to hold trust based upon, I thought we could look into the Aspartame story to find out how it came to be accepted as safe by the FDA. You would think that something so widely used and so well accepted would have quite the pristine story leading to its acceptance. I imagine one will discover otherwise after reading this post. It all starts in the mid 1960′s with a company called G.D. Searle. One of their chemists accidentally creates aspartame while trying to create a cure for stomach ulcers. Searle decides to put aspartame through a testing process which eventually leads to its approval by the FDA. Not long after, serious health effects begin to arise and G.D. Searle comes under fire for their testing practices. It is revealed that the testing process of Aspartame was among the worst the investigators had ever seen and that in fact the product was unsafe for use. Aspartame triggers the first criminal investigation of a manufacturer put into place by the FDA in 1977.

The Shocking Story of How Aspartame Became Legal

By 1980 the FDA bans aspartame from use after having 3 independent scientists study the sweetener. It was determined that one main health effects was that it had a high chance of inducing brain tumors. At this point it was clear that aspartame was not fit to be used in foods and banned is where it stayed, but not for long. Early in 1981 Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld (who is a former Secretary of Defense.. surprise surprise) vowed to “call in his markers,” to get it approved. January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, Searle took the steps to re-apply aspartame’s approval for use by the FDA. Ronald Reagans’ new FDA commissioner Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr., appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry’s decision. It did not take long for the panel to decide 3-2 in favor of maintaining the ban of aspartame. Hull then decided to appoint a 6th member to the board, which created a tie in the voting, 3-3. Hull then decided to personally break the tie and approve aspartame for use. Hull later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety, served briefly as Provost at New York Medical College, and then took a position with Burston-Marsteller. Burstone-Marstella is the chief public relations firm for both Monsanto and GD Searle.

Since that time he has never spoken publicly about aspartame. It is clear to this point that if anything the safety of aspartame is incredibly shaky. It has already been through a process of being banned and without the illegitimate un-banning of the product, it would not be being used today. Makes you wonder how much corruption and money was involved with names like Rumsfeld, Reagan and Hull involved so heavily. In 1985, Monsanto decides to purchase the aspartame patent from G.D. Searle. Remember that Arthur Hull now had the connection to Monsanto. Monsanto did not seem too concerned with the past challenges and ugly image aspartame had based on its past. I personally find this comical as Monsanto’s products are banned in many countries and of all companies to buy the product they seem to fit best as they are champions of producing incredibly unsafe and untested products and making sure they stay in the market place. Since then, aspartame has been under a lot of attack by scientists, doctors, chemists and consumers about it’s safety and neurotoxic properties. Piles of comprehensive studies have been completed that show aspartame is a cause for over 90 serious health problems such as cancer, leukemia, headaches, seizures, fibromyalgia, and epilepsy just to name a few. We have written several articles discussing various affects of aspartame. Aspartame Leukemia Link. Aspartame and Brain Damage. Full Timeline on Aspartame’s Legal and Safety Battles December 1965– While working on an ulcer drug, James Schlatter, a chemist at G.D. Searle, accidentally discovers aspartame, a substance that is 180 times sweeter than sugar yet has no calories. Spring 1967– Searle begins the safety tests on aspartame that are necessary for applying for FDA approval of food additives. Fall 1967– Dr. Harold Waisman, a biochemist at the University of Wisconsin, conducts aspartame safety tests on infant monkeys on behalf of the Searle Company. Of the seven monkeys that were being fed aspartame mixed with milk, one dies and five others have grand mal seizures. November 1970– Cyclamate, the reigning low-calorie artificial sweetener — is pulled off the market after some scientists associate it with cancer. Questions are also raised about safety of saccharin, the only other artificial sweetener on the market, leaving the field wide open for aspartame. December 18, 1970– Searle Company executives lay out a “Food and Drug Sweetener Strategy’ that they feel will put the FDA into a positive frame of mind about aspartame. An internal policy memo describes psychological tactics the company should use to bring the FDA into a subconscious spirit of participation” with them on aspartame and get FDA regulators into the “habit of saying, “Yes”.” Spring 1971– Neuroscientist Dr. John Olney (whose pioneering work with monosodium glutamate was responsible for having it removed from baby foods) informs Searle that his studies show that aspartic acid (one of the ingredients of aspartame) caused holes in the brains of infant mice. One of Searle’s own researchers confirmed Dr. Olney’s findings in a similar study. February 1973– After spending tens of millions of dollars conducting safety tests, the G.D. Searle Company applies for FDA approval and submits over 100 studies they claim support aspartame’s safety.

March 5, 1973– One of the first FDA scientists to review the aspartame safety data states that “the information provided (by Searle) is inadequate to permit an evaluation of the potential toxicity of aspartame”. She says in her report that in order to be certain that aspartame is safe, further clinical tests are needed. May 1974– Attorney, Jim Turner (consumer advocate who was instrumental in getting cyclamate taken off the market) meets with Searle representatives to discuss Dr. Olney’s 1971 study which showed that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of infant mice. July 26, 1974– The FDA grants aspartame its first approval for restricted use in dry foods. August 1974– Jim Turner and Dr. John Olney file the first objections against aspartame’s approval. March 24, 1976– Turner and Olney’s petition triggers an FDA investigation of the laboratory practices of aspartame’s manufacturer, G.D. Searle. The investigation finds Searle’s testing procedures shoddy, full of inaccuracies and “manipulated” test data. The investigators report they “had never seen anything as bad as Searle’s testing.” January 10, 1977– The FDA formally requests the U.S. Attorney’s office to begin grand jury proceedings to investigate whether indictments should be filed against Searle for knowingly misrepresenting findings and “concealing material facts and making false statements” in aspartame safety tests. This is the first time in the FDA’s history that they request a criminal investigation of a manufacturer. January 26, 1977– While the grand jury probe is underway, Sidley & Austin, the law firm representing Searle, begins job negotiations with the U.S. Attorney in charge of the investigation, Samuel Skinner. March 8, 1977– G. D. Searle hires prominent Washington insider Donald Rumsfeld as the new CEO to try to turn the beleaguered company around. A former Member of Congress and Secretary of Defense in the Ford Administration, Rumsfeld brings in several of his Washington cronies as top management. July 1, 1977– Samuel Skinner leaves the U.S. Attorney’s office and takes a job with Searle’s law firm. (see Jan. 26th) August 1, 1977– The Bressler Report, compiled by FDA investigators and headed by Jerome Bressler, is released. The report finds that 98 of the 196 animals died during one of Searle’s studies and weren’t autopsied until later dates, in some cases over one year after death. Many other errors and inconsistencies are noted. For example, a rat was reported alive, then dead, then alive, then dead again; a mass, a uterine polyp, and ovarian neoplasms were found in animals but not reported or diagnosed in Searle’s reports.

December 8, 1977– U.S. Attorney Skinner’s withdrawal and resignation stalls the Searle grand jury investigation for so long that the statue of limitations on the aspartame charges runs out. The grand jury investigation is dropped. June 1, 1979– The FDA established a Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) to rule on safety issues surrounding NutraSweet. September 30, 1980– The Public Board of Inquiry concludes NutraSweet should not be approved pending further investigations of brain tumors in animals. The board states it “has not been presented with proof of reasonable certainty that aspartame is safe for use as a food additive.” January 1981– Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle, states in a sales meeting that he is going to make a big push to get aspartame approved within the year. Rumsfeld says he will use his political pull in Washington, rather than scientific means, to make sure it gets approved. January 21, 1981– Ronald Reagan is sworn in as President of the United States. Reagan’s transition team, which includes Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of G. D. Searle, hand picks Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. to be the new FDA Commissioner. March, 1981– An FDA commissioner’s panel is established to review issues raised by the Public Board of Inquiry. May 19, 1981– Three of six in-house FDA scientists who were responsible for reviewing the brain tumor issues, Dr. Robert Condon, Dr. Satya Dubey, and Dr. Douglas Park, advise against approval of NutraSweet, stating on the record that the Searle tests are unreliable and not adequate to determine the safety of aspartame. July 15, 1981– In one of his first official acts, Dr. Arthur Hayes Jr., the new FDA commissioner, overrules the Public Board of Inquiry, ignores the recommendations of his own internal FDA team and approves NutraSweet for dry products. Hayes says that aspartame has been shown to be safe for its’ proposed uses and says few compounds have withstood such detailed testing and repeated close scrutiny.

October 15, 1982– The FDA announces that Searle has filed a petition that aspartame be approved as a sweetener in carbonated beverages and other liquids. July 1, 1983– The National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) urges the FDA to delay approval of aspartame for carbonated beverages pending further testing because aspartame is very unstable in liquid form. When liquid aspartame is stored in temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it breaks down into DKP and formaldehyde, both of which are known toxins. July 8, 1983– The National Soft Drink Association drafts an objection to the final ruling which permits the use of aspartame in carbonated beverages and syrup bases and requests a hearing on the objections. The association says that Searle has not provided responsible certainty that aspartame and its’ degradation products are safe for use in soft drinks. August 8, 1983– Consumer Attorney, Jim Turner of the Community Nutrition Institute and Dr. Woodrow Monte, Arizona State University’s Director of Food Science and Nutritional Laboratories, file suit with the FDA objecting to aspartame approval based on unresolved safety issues. September, 1983– FDA Commissioner Hayes resigns under a cloud of controversy about his taking unauthorized rides aboard a General Foods jet. (General foods is a major customer of NutraSweet) Burson-Marsteller, Searle’s public relation firm (which also represented several of NutraSweet’s major users), immediately hires Hayes as senior scientific consultant.

Fall 1983– The first carbonated beverages containing aspartame are sold for public consumption. November 1984– Center for Disease Control (CDC) “Evaluation of consumer complaints related to aspartame use.” (summary by B. Mullarkey) November 3, 1987– U.S. hearing, “NutraSweet: Health and Safety Concerns,” Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Senator Howard Metzenbaum, chairman.

 

Sources for this article: http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-side-effects.htmlhttp://rense.com/general33/legal.htmhttp://dorway.com/ Read More: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/07/the-shocking-story-of-how-aspartame-became-legal.html

Human Neural Stem Cells Become Neurons in Monkey Brains.


A team of scientists based in Korea and Canada who transplanted human neural stem cells (hNSCs) into the brains of nonhuman primates (NHPs) report that the hNSCs had differentiated into neurons at 24 months and did not cause tumors. The study is scheduled to be published in Cell Transplantation.

Breakthrough: Human Neural Stem Cells Become Neurons in Monkey Brains

The hNSCs were labeled with magnetic nanoparticles to enable them to be followed by magnetic resonance imaging. The researchers, who did not use immunosuppressants, claim their study is the first to evaluate and show the long-term survival and differentiation of hNSCs without the need for immunosuppression.

“None of the grafted hNSCs were bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-positive in the monkey brain indicating that hNSCs did not replicate in the NHP brain and did not cause tumor-formation,” write the investigators in an unedited, available-online copy of the manuscript. “This study serves as a proof-of-principle study to provide evidence that human NSCs transplanted in NHP brain could survive and differentiate into neurons in the absence of immunosuppression, and also serves as a preliminary study in our scheduled preclinical studies of human NSC transplantation in NHP stroke models.”

The researchers maintain that hNSCs could be a key a source for cell replacement and gene transfer for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and stroke.

“Stroke is the fourth major cause of death in the U.S. behind heart failure, cancer, and lower respiratory disease,” said study co-author Seung U. Kim, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia Hospital’s department of neurology. “While tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) treatment within three hours after a stroke has shown good outcomes, stem cell therapy has the potential to address the treatment needs of those stroke patients for whom tPA treatment was unavailable or did not help.”

Dr. Kim and colleagues injected hNSCs into the frontal lobe and the putamen of the monkey brain because they are included in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory, which is the main target in the development of the ischemic lesion in animal stroke models. “Thus, research on survival and differentiation of hNSCs in the MCA territory should provide more meaningful information to cell transplantation in the MCA occlusion stroke model,” he explained.

The researchers said that they chose NSCs for transplantation because the existence of multipotent NSCs “has been known in developing rodents and in the human brain with the properties of indefinite growth and multipotent potential to differentiate” into the three major CNS cell types (neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes).

HOW TO TELL WHEN SOMEONE IS LYING.


On January 27, 2008, Penny Boudreau’s twelve-year-old daughter, Karissa, went missing in her hometown of Bridgewater, Canada. That afternoon, mother and daughter had had a fight in a grocery-store parking lot. They’d been having a “heart-to-heart” about “typical teen-age things,” Boudreau said. At 7:30 P.M., Boudreau, worried, called a few friends and teachers—none had heard a thing—and notified the police. By the following day, Karissa was still unaccounted for and the Bridgewater police began notifying other precincts. They issued a media alert and began a full search effort.

On January 29th, the police station held a press conference. Penny, distraught, pleaded for her daughter to return, in a widely televised appeal. On February 1st, she repeated her plea. Anyone with any knowledge of her daughter’s whereabouts, she begged, should make immediate contact. The search parties widened, and local residents joined law enforcement to help track the girl they were now calling “Bridgewater’s daughter.” Still, Karissa remained missing.

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On February 9th, two weeks after her disappearance, Karissa was finally found. A woman had pulled over along the side of Highway 331—the road that makes its way along the LaHave River, through Bridgewater—to let her nine-year-old son go to the bathroom out of sight of the passing cars. She rushed to his side when he began screaming: out of the snow, right on the bank of the river, he could see a set of human toes. Bridgewater police soon positively identified the body as Karissa Boudreau. She was naked from the waist down, her body frozen solid by the winter cold, a pair of white Winnie-the-Pooh underwear down below her knees. Five days later, the police announced that the missing-person case had officially become a homicide investigation.

* * *
People lie all the time. According to the psychologist Robert Feldman, who has spent more than four decades studying the phenomenon, we lie, on average, three times during a routine ten-minute conversation with a stranger or casual acquaintance. Hardly anyone refrains from lying altogether, and some people report lying up to twelve times within that time span. I might open a conversation, for instance, by saying how nice it is to meet someone—when I’m really not at all happy about it. I might go on to say that I grew up in Boston—a lie, technically, since I really grew up in a small town about forty minutes outside the city. I could say that the person’s work sounds fascinating, when it’s no such thing, or compliment him on his (drab) tie or his (awful) shirt. And if the person mentions loving a certain downtown restaurant where I’ve had a terrible experience? I’m likely to just smile and nod and say, Yes, great place. Trust me: we often lie without giving it so much as a second thought.

We lie in most any context—Feldman’s work has turned up frequent lies in relationships ranging from the most intimate (marriage) to the completely casual. Some lies are small (“You look like you’ve lost a bit of weight”) and some bigger (“I did not have sex with that woman”). Sometimes they are harmless, and sometimes they are not.

Many of us believe that we can tell when someone else is lying, and, over the years, a folklore has developed around the facial and physical cues that can give someone away. Liars don’t look you straight in the eye. When someone is lying, he looks up and to the side, as if searching for something. A liar fidgets and seems somehow nervous. Sometimes, he’ll scratch or pull his ear. He’ll hesitate, as if he’s not sure he wants to tell you something. These, however, are all “old wives’ tales,” Leanne ten Brinke, a psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley whose work focusses on detecting deception, told me. “The empirical literature just doesn’t bear that out.”

The mismatch between our conception of a liar and the reality—that there’s no “Pinocchio’s nose,” as ten Brinke put it—is surely one reason that, despite our confidence, our ability to tell a lie from the truth is hardly different from chance. The psychologist Paul Ekman, professor emeritus at U.C. San Francisco, has spent more than half a century studying nonverbal expressions of emotion and deception. Over the years, he has had more than fifteen thousand subjects watch video clips of people either lying or telling the truth about topics ranging from emotional reactions to witnessing amputations to theft, from political opinions to future plans. Their success rate at identifying honesty has been approximately fifty-five per cent. The nature of the lie—or truth—doesn’t even matter.

Over time, Ekman did find that one particular characteristic could prove useful—microexpressions, or incredibly fast facial movements that last, on average, somewhere between one-fifteenth and one-twentieth of a second and are exceedingly difficult to control consciously. Those, however, were too fleeting and complex for any kind of un-trained expert to spot: out of Ekman’s fifteen thousand subjects, only fifty people could consistently point them out.

To ten Brinke, something about the existing narrative of deception didn’t quite make sense. Why would we be so bad at something that was so necessary? If the only predictive signs of deception took so much time and energy to learn, that wouldn’t make them of much use. “It didn’t fit well with our evolutionary perspective of human development,” ten Brinke says. “Wouldn’t it have been helpful for us to be able to detect lies and cheats?”

Maybe the untrained “us” wasn’t so bad at lie detection as all that. It could instead be the case that researchers had simply been asking the wrong questions. It wasn’t conscious lie detection, a forced, yes-or-no judgment, that mattered. Maybe, instead, our ability lay in our unconscious perception: in our sensing something if we weren’t looking for it, something that might disappear if we tried to probe it head on. “For lie detection to be an adaptive skill, that helps us to avoid liars and befriend truth-tellers, it doesn’t have to be conscious alarm bells. It could be more subtle,” ten Brinke says. “More of a feeling that you don’t really want to lend this person twenty dollars, that you’re not excited to go on a second date with this guy.” Ten Brinke and her colleagues decided to focus their efforts on finding evidence for unconscious lie detection.

In a series of studies, out this month in the journal Psychological Science, the Berkeley team had students watch a video of a possible criminal who was being questioned about stealing a hundred dollars. As in an actual interrogation, the suspect responded to both baseline questions (“What are you wearing?” “What’s the weather like outside?”) and target questions (“Did you steal the money?” “Are you lying to me right now?”). Half of the potential criminals were lying; half were telling the truth. Each participant watched one truthful and one deceptive video.

Next, the students completed a simple assessment: Were the pleaders in the videos telling the truth? Just as in prior studies, ten Brinke’s subjects, when asked direct questions, did no better than chance at determining who was truthful and who wasn’t.

But then the students participated in one of two unconscious lie-detection tasks. In each, they saw still photos of the two pleaders alongside words that were associated with either truth, such as “honest” and “genuine,” or lies, such as “deceitful” and “dishonest.” Their goal was to categorize the words as indicative of either truth or lies, as quickly and accurately as possible, regardless of the face they saw along with it. If “genuine” flashed on the screen, they would press a button to classify it as a truth-category word as soon as possible.

When the researchers dug deeper, they saw that the participants’ unconscious instinct fared far better: in both studies, they were significantly faster at properly categorizing lie- and truth-related concepts when those concepts were presented with the lying or truthful face, respectively, from the video. Seeing a liar’s face made people faster at classifying lie-related words than truth-related words—and seeing a truth-teller had the opposite effect. “When you see a liar’s face, the concept of deception is activated in your mind even if you’re not consciously aware of it,” ten Brinke hypothesizes. “It’s still unclear just how high a percentage of lies our unconscious mind is able to sense accurately, but discrimination is definitely occurring.”

Unconscious discrimination seems to play out in more life-like scenarios, too. In a series of prior studies, conducted by an unrelated group at the University of Manheim, the psychologist Marc-André Reinhard and his colleagues found that the ability of student judges to detect deception improved drastically if they were given time to think—but only if, in that time frame, they thought about something other than the case they were judging. If they had to make an immediate judgment, they did no better than chance. The same was true if they were allowed to deliberate consciously. But when they were kept from consciously deliberating, by, for example, completing a demanding word-search puzzle, their accuracy improved significantly. Reinhard concluded that, in the unconscious-deliberation condition, the brain had had time to integrate the subtle cues that our conscious mind can’t quite perceive into a more complete judgment.

* * *
In 2008, ten Brinke was still working on her master’s degree, at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, about an hour from Bridgewater. For the past year, she had been researching signs of deception in people who turned to television for help in finding a loved one. She had collected dozens of tapes, along with the eventual outcomes of their cases—approximately half the time, it turned out that the pleader was, in fact, guilty of the crime in question. She and her adviser, Steven Porter, had been working on compiling the characteristics of those who were genuinely emotionally distressed—and of those who were faking it. Over time, they had been able to build up a list of behavioral signals that differed consistently in the two groups.

On the afternoon of January 29, 2008, ten Brinke was alone in her office, a small, windowless room tucked in the back corner of the psychology department. She turned to the local news, and there, in the middle of her screen, was Penny Boudreau, pleading tearfully for her daughter’s safe return. Ten Brinke frowned. Something felt—off. “Something is not right,” ten Brinke recalls thinking. “Penny raised some red flags for me.”

Concerned, ten Brinke shared her observation with her adviser. He agreed—but their data was still incomplete and largely unproven. Ten Brinke had been going on a subtle hunch and not much else; she didn’t feel at all confident in her intuition. They waited to see how the case would progress.

On June 14th, after four months of intensive investigation, Bridgewater Police Chief Brent Crowhurst announced that, at long last, the department had more news: Penny Boudreau had been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Today, Boudreau is serving a life sentence. She confessed to murdering Karissa—she wanted to save her faltering relationship with her boyfriend, she told the court, and he’d told her that she would have to choose between him and the child—and described in quiet detail her daughter’s final moments. (“Mommy, don’t,” Boudreau says, were Karissa’s last words, as Boudreau straddled her chest and strangled her with twine.)

Would ten Brinke have gone to the police with her hunch today? “I would have much more data to back up my assessment now,” she told me. “And yes, it might be helpful to share with police to aid them in directing their investigation. But it isn’t a silver bullet.” All cues of lying are just that: cues. They are fallible, and they are misleading. No matter how much data you have and how many thousands of hours of training you acquire, you will never have the certainty of a Pinocchio to guide you. And the worst thing you can do? Become so confident in your ability to tell a lie that your conscious certainty gets in the way of your unconscious perceptions. We can tell who’s lying—as long as we don’t think about it too much.

The 10 Inventions of Nikola Tesla That Changed The World.


I would also point you to Rand Clifford’s 3-part series: Nikola Tesla: Calling All Freethinkers! which has a wealth of different information than what you will read below. Also, Dave Hodges’ new article: Harnessing Quantum Entanglement Is Humanity’s Secret Weapon highlights the importance of the cover-up that has kept Tesla’s true genius from the world for far too long. Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point of the universe.

Throughout space there is energy. — Nikola Tesla, 1892 Nikola Tesla is finally beginning to attract real attention and encourage serious debate nearly 70 years after his death. Was he for real? A crackpot? Part of an early experiment in corporate-government control? We know that he was undoubtedly persecuted by the energy power brokers of his day — namely Thomas Edison, whom we are taught in school to revere as a genius. He was also attacked by J.P. Morgan and other “captains of industry.”

 

The 10 Inventions of Nikola Tesla That Changed The World

Upon Tesla’s death on January 7th, 1943, the U.S. government moved into his lab and apartment confiscating all of his scientific research, some of which has been released by the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act. (I’ve embedded the first 250 pages below and have added a link to the .pdf of the final pages, 290 in total). Besides his persecution by corporate-government interests (which is practically a certification of authenticity), there is at least one solid indication of Nikola Tesla’s integrity — he tore up a contract with Westinghouse that was worth billions in order to save the company from paying him his huge royalty payments. But, let’s take a look at what Nikola Tesla — a man who died broke and alone — has actually given to the world. For better or worse, with credit or without, he changed the face of the planet in ways that perhaps no man ever has. 1. Alternating Current — This is where it all began, and what ultimately caused such a stir at the 1893 World’s Expo in Chicago. A war was leveled ever-after between the vision of Edison and the vision of Tesla for how electricity would be produced and distributed.

The division can be summarized as one of cost and safety: The DC current that Edison (backed by General Electric) had been working on was costly over long distances, and produced dangerous sparking from the required converter (called a commutator). Regardless, Edison and his backers utilized the general “dangers” of electric current to instill fear in Tesla’s alternative: Alternating Current. As proof, Edison sometimes electrocuted animals at demonstrations. Consequently, Edison gave the world the electric chair, while simultaneously maligning Tesla’s attempt to offer safety at a lower cost. Tesla responded by demonstrating that AC was perfectly safe by famously shooting current through his own body to produce light. This Edison-Tesla (GE-Westinghouse) feud in 1893 was the culmination of over a decade of shady business deals, stolen ideas, and patent suppression that Edison and his moneyed interests wielded over Tesla’s inventions. Yet, despite it all, it is Tesla’s system that provides power generation and distribution to North America in our modern era. 2. Light — Of course he didn’t invent light itself, but he did invent how light can be harnessed and distributed. Tesla developed and used florescent bulbs in his lab some 40 years before industry “invented” them. At the World’s Fair, Tesla took glass tubes and bent them into famous scientists’ names, in effect creating the first neon signs. However, it is his Tesla Coil that might be the most impressive, and controversial. The Tesla Coil is certainly something that big industry would have liked to suppress: the concept that the Earth itself is a magnet that can generate electricity (electromagnetism) utilizing frequencies as a transmitter. All that is needed on the other end is the receiver — much like a radio. 3. X-rays — Electromagnetic and ionizing radiation was heavily researched in the late 1800s, but Tesla researched the entire gamut. Everything from a precursor to Kirlian photography, which has the ability to document life force, to what we now use in medical diagnostics, this was a transformative invention of which Tesla played a central role. X-rays, like so many of Tesla’s contributions, stemmed from his belief that everything we need to understand the universe is virtually around us at all times, but we need to use our minds to develop real-world devices to augment our innate perception of existence. 4. Radio — Guglielmo Marconi was initially credited, and most believe him to be the inventor of radio to this day. However, the Supreme Court overturned Marconi’s patent in 1943, when it was proven that Tesla invented the radio years previous to Marconi. Radio signals are just another frequency that needs a transmitter and receiver, which Tesla also demonstrated in 1893 during a presentation before The National Electric Light Association. In 1897 Tesla applied for two patents US 645576, and US 649621. In 1904, however, The U.S. Patent Office reversed its decision, awarding Marconi a patent for the invention of radio, possibly influenced by Marconi’s financial backers in the States, who included Thomas Edison and Andrew Carnegie. This also allowed the U.S. government (among others) to avoid having to pay the royalties that were being claimed by Tesla. 5. Remote Control — This invention was a natural outcropping of radio. Patent No. 613809 was the first remote controlled model boat, demonstrated in 1898. Utilizing several large batteries; radio signals controlled switches, which then energized the boat’s propeller, rudder, and scaled-down running lights. While this exact technology was not widely used for some time, we now can see the power that was appropriated by the military in its pursuit of remote controlled war. Radio controlled tanks were introduced by the Germans in WWII, and developments in this realm have since slid quickly away from the direction of human freedom. 6. Electric Motor — Tesla’s invention of the electric motor has finally been popularized by a car brandishing his name. While the technical specifications are beyond the scope of this summary, suffice to say that Tesla’s invention of a motor with rotating magnetic fields could have freed mankind much sooner from the stranglehold of Big Oil. However, his invention in 1930 succumbed to the economic crisis and the world war that followed. Nevertheless, this invention has fundamentally changed the landscape of what we now take for granted: industrial fans, household applicances, water pumps, machine tools, power tools, disk drives, electric wristwatches and compressors. 7. Robotics — Tesla’s overly enhanced scientific mind led him to the idea that all living beings are merely driven by external impulses. He stated: “I have by every thought and act of mine, demonstrated, and does so daily, to my absolute satisfaction that I am an automaton endowed with power of movement, which merely responds to external stimuli.” Thus, the concept of the robot was born. However, an element of the human remained present, as Tesla asserted that these human replicas should have limitations — namely growth and propagation. Nevertheless, Tesla unabashedly embraced all of what intelligence could produce. His visions for a future filled with intelligent cars, robotic human companions, and the use of sensors, and autonomous systems are detailed in a must-read entry in the Serbian Journal of Electrical Engineering, 2006 (PDF). 8. Laser — Tesla’s invention of the laser may be one of the best examples of the good and evil bound up together within the mind of man. Lasers have transformed surgical applications in an undeniably beneficial way, and they have given rise to much of our current digital media. However, with this leap in innovation we have also crossed into the land of science fiction. From Reagan’s “Star Wars” laser defense system to today’s Orwellian “non-lethal” weapons’ arsenal, which includes laser rifles and directed energy “death rays,” there is great potential for development in both directions. 9 and 10. Wireless Communications and Limitless Free Energy — These two are inextricably linked, as they were the last straw for the power elite — what good is energy if it can’t be metered and controlled? Free? Never. J.P. Morgan backed Tesla with $150,000 to build a tower that would use the natural frequencies of our universe to transmit data, including a wide range of information communicated through images, voice messages, and text. This represented the world’s first wireless communications, but it also meant that aside from the cost of the tower itself, the universe was filled with free energy that could be utilized to form a world wide web connecting all people in all places, as well as allow people to harness the free energy around them. Essentially, the 0’s and 1’s of the universe are embedded in the fabric of existence for each of us to access as needed. Nikola Tesla was dedicated to empowering the individual to receive and transmit this data virtually free of charge. But we know the ending to that story . . . until now? Tesla had perhaps thousands of other ideas and inventions that remain unreleased. A look at his hundreds of patents shows a glimpse of the scope he intended to offer. If you feel that the additional technical and scientific research of Nikola Tesla should be revealed for public scrutiny and discussion, instead of suppressed by big industry and even our supposed institutions of higher education, join the world’s call to tell power brokers everywhere that we are ready to Occupy Energy and learn about what our universe really has to offer. The release of Nikola Tesla’s technical and scientific research — specifically his research into harnessing electricity from the ionosphere at a facility called Wardenclyffe — is a necessary step toward true freedom of information. Please add your voice by sharing this information with as many people as possible.

Read More: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/07/the-10-inventions-of-nikola-tesla-that-changed-the-world.html

Space Radiation Remains Major Hazard for Humans Going to Mars.


During a conference this week in Washington D.C., enthusiasts are attempting to rouse support for a manned mission to Mars sometime in the next two decades. NASA is there, as are many key players in the spaceflight community. But there continue to be major obstacles to manned Mars missions.

STS-135_final_flyaround_of_ISS_1

A new study highlights one of the big problems with extended space travel: galactic cosmic ray radiation. According to the report, astronauts on the International Space Station would receive doses that exceed their lifetime limits after just 18 months for women and two years for men. A Mars mission crew would be spending at least this long in the harsh radiation of deep space.

Cosmic rays are a unique type of radiation in that they are difficult to shield against. And the new research points out that the cancer an astronaut could contract after too much cosmic ray radiation is bound to be very dangerous.

“The type of tumors that cosmic ray ions make are more aggressive than what we get from other radiation,” said Francis Cucinotta a radiation expert at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and author of the new report published Apr. 23 in PLoS One.

The news isn’t all doom and gloom. During certain periods in the solar cycle, galactic cosmic rays are reduced. Biologists are also working out exactly what kinds of medicine, from antioxidants to aspirin, could help deal with cosmic ray damage in the body. But more than anything, Cucinotta and other radiation experts recommend that NASA gather far more data about the health risks their astronauts are exposed to.
Approximately 41 percent of people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with some type of cancer at some point in their lives. Certain types of work—like cleaning up after nuclear disasters or flying in space—will increase your risk of contracting it. NASA’s guidelines prohibit its astronauts from increasing their probability of dying from cancer by more than 3 percent. If you’ve flown out in space too many times and accumulated too much radiation, that’s it, you’re grounded.

The problem is that nobody knows exactly how much is too much. We have information about your odds of getting cancer after a nuclear explosion but that’s because we have historical data on large populations that have been exposed. Just over 500 people have flown in space, a sample size too small for epidemiological studies. And the most harmful type of radiation in space is very different from that which people are exposed to after an atomic bomb. Astronauts are exposed to galactic cosmic rays, the nuclei of atoms careening through space with incredible speed and energy. If they hit an important cellular structure, like DNA, they can generate mutations.

Because they move so fast, galactic cosmic rays aren’t stopped much by shielding. And there are a lot of them. Out in space, it is estimated that it would take about three days for every single one of your trillions of body cells to be hit by a high-energy proton (the lightest and most common galactic cosmic ray). Over the course of a year, each of your cells would likely have encountered at least one heavy and damaging iron nuclei. Other types of radiation are relatively weak and diffuse, sort of like a BB pellet, making a galactic cosmic ray a cannonball – large, weighty, and packing a punch.

One way to reduce astronauts’ exposure to galactic cosmic rays could be to send them to space only during the peak of the sun’s natural 11-year solar cycle. During solar maximum, the sun’s radiation blows counteractively against the cosmic rays streaming in to our solar system, reducing an astronaut’s exposure. Of course, being in space during this time also means the sun could unleash a potentially deadly solar flare, frying astronauts in their spaceship.

What kinda of extra exposure are astronauts normally dealing with? People living in the U.S. are exposed to about 3 millisieverts of radiation from natural background sources each year (millisieverts are units of radiation exposure in the human body). A nuclear accident, like Fukushima, might raise this by about 1 millisievert. An astronaut on a round-trip, two-and-a-half-year Mars mission, by contrast, can expect to receive around a sievert of cosmic ray radiation, nearly 1,000 times more.

If 41 percent of people in the U.S. can expect to be diagnosed with cancer that means, out of 100 people, on average 41 of them will get cancer. If you exposed 100 people to the 1 sievert of cosmic ray radiation that a Mars astronaut would get, there would now be 61 total incidents of cancer, an increase of 20, according to reports from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (.pdf) and United Nations Scientific Committee on Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). About half of those tumors would result in death.

Certain types of cancer, including lung, breast, and colorectal cancer, are the most likely to appear from cosmic ray radiation and tend to be more aggressive than normal. Cucinotta estimates that an astronaut’s lifespan after exposure to radiation on a Mars trip would be shortened between 15 and 24 years from the average.

So the concerns from radiation are very real. But there could be a number of biological ways to mitigate cancer for long-duration spaceflight, said oncologist and cell biologist Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff of NYU, who was not involved in the recent study. Radiation doesn’t just damage DNA; it also seems to change the ways that cells signal to one another. Tumor cells are helped along, for instance, by impairment in the immune system’s macrophages, which seek out and destroy defective cells. If macrophages aren’t doing their job, it can promote the tumor’s growth, allowing it to invade and metastasize in the body.

These kinds of immune response changes are similar to those in chronic inflammatory diseases, which produce oxidants that mess up intercellular signaling. It’s possible that antioxidants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin, taken during spaceflight could help hold back some of the worst effects of cancer, said Barcellos-Hoff. There will always be a higher chance of developing tumors during a deep-space mission, “but getting into a rocket and shooting to Mars is not exactly a risk-free activity,” she said.

NASA is planning one-year stays on the ISS (astronauts currently take six-month shifts) and mulling over the idea of sending humans to an asteroid or beyond. A recent report from the Institute of Medicine stated that NASA should develop an ethical framework for exposing its astronauts to the health hazards of long-term spaceflight.

One of the major problems in our understanding of cancer risks for astronauts is the high amount of uncertainty. Cucinotta’s data is based on studies where mice here on Earth were exposed to heavy ions from particle accelerators. These mice tend to be engineered to be more susceptible to certain tumors and are often inbred, which most humans are not.

These are all complicating factors in making the most recent cancer risk estimates for astronauts. The most important thing for him would be to simply get more and better data. NASA has not done a great deal of studies on the biology of radiation. Some were conducted decades ago. But our knowledge of cancer is constantly being renewed and studies from more than ten years ago tend to be out of date.

Before humans are sent to the Red Planet, NASA should do a focused decade-long study on all the potential health problems that radiation could cause. Hopefully, this would bring up new ways to combat some of the worst effects.

“Once we know better, we can find the true answer, and it could lower our risk estimate,” said Cucinotta.

Centenarian blood provides clues that could help find ‘fountain of youth’.


Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper died at the ripe age of 115, but she did something for us all – she bequeathed her body to science.

Henny, as friends and family called her, was once considered the oldest person alive, and till her very last day of her life she had a sharp mind and was reasonably healthy.

hendrikje_io9
Why did she live that long?
A new study suggests that as long as our stem cells have the capacity to keep on diving, our tissues are able to renew, but once the stem cells reach exhaustion, our body stops regenerating and eventually dies out.
When the famous centenarian died she only had two-thirds of the white blood cells remaining in her body and researchers have confirmed these originated from just surviving two stem cells, which means most of her blood stem cells were gone, reports NewScientist. Hendrikje’s blood telomeres were 17 times shorter than those found on brain cells, which also suggests her blood stem cells were exhausted.
The lack of dangerous mutations in her blood cells also suggests that this woman may had a system that excelled at getting rid of mutations that could lead to cancer or other diseases.
The study, published in Genome Research, is the first to explore how somatic mutations accumulate in elder individuals and the findings can help researchers identify a range of somatic mutations in normal tissues.
The results, however, won’t help us find the fountain of youth.
Although there is evidence of re-juvenation with re-injection of stem cells saved from birth, this may not work for all tissues. “If I took a sample now and gave it back to myself when I’m older, I would have long telomeres again – although it might only be possible with blood, not other tissues”, explained Henne Holstege of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam to NewScientist.
There are about 65 individuals over the age of 110 in the world, and they are considered supercentenarians. The first case appeared in the 1960s and studies suggest that 15% of them have no clinically demonstrable disease at age 100. A study from 2006, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that 41% of supercentenarias aged 110-119 require minimal assistance or were independent, and only 25% had a history of cancer (but all were cured!).
Some of them, such as Walter Breuning and Jeanne Calment smoked most of their lives, further demonstrating the incredible capacity of supercentenarian bodies to keep on churning new cells to keep their bodies reasonably heathly.

4 Skin Care Ingredients You Should Avoid At All Costs.


Pop Quiz: What is the largest organ in the human body? Answer: Skin.

When I learned that fun fact I was surprised, then horrified. Surprised because I hadn’t thought of our skin as an organ, which in my mind was reserved for internal essentials like the heart or liver. Yet, it turns out the 22-square-foot (on average) external organ that is our skin not only gives us a presentable appearance, but keeps us from evaporating, guards the body from damaging sun rays, and acts as a semipermeable membrane that allows us to absorb vitamins, minerals, and — here’s where the horrified piece comes into play — chemicals!

In an effort to keep our skin healthy, happy, and (let’s be real) youthful, we’ve all slathered on any number of lotions and potions. While our favorite beauty brands proudly highlight natural ingredients and plant-derived anti-aging champions, they likely hide some of the less appealing ingredients on the back of the bottle. Ingredients like ethanolamines (DEA, MEA, ETA), parabens, sulfites and triclosan are common culprits that not only add foaming, stabilizing, or antibacterial properties to our products, but are hormone disrupters with carcinogenic characteristics.

Unfortunately, those are just a few ingredients to avoid, and the list goes on and on. What’s worse, is because these chemicals are present in the products we apply to our skin, we absorb them directly into our blood stream and circulate them throughout our bodies without their first being filtered through the liver or other organs that help clean ingested toxins.

So, how can we keep our bodies clear, and clean up our beauty product purchases? Going green in the beauty department has various possible approaches. If you’re not ready to jump into the deep end (and throw out all your products to start fresh with the purest of the pure), I suggest a gradual wade-in approach that starts with avoiding the four most toxic beautifying ingredients:

 

With their significant side effects, steering clear of these known carcinogens could be the best thing you ever do. If you find it hard to remember these chemically concocted names, take a picture of the table above on your smartphone and reference it when you are out shopping. Once you’ve firmly placed these four ingredients on the “no go” list, you can expand into purer pastures by researching products and ingredients on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

The beauty chapter in Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe also outlines the good, bad and ugly ingredients in our everyday products, and provides brand suggestions in every category to help smoothly transition into pure products without sacrificing performance. As we apply wellness methods to the various areas of our lives, nontoxic beauty claims its rightful place. Nurture yourself with good food, exercise, meditation, and products that bring positive impact from the outside in.

Are You Giving Your Energy To Things That Don’t Deserve It?


A great f*cking shirt but would’ve been better if they spelled “sense” correctly. Nonetheless. Faak, indeed. ps, if this offends you, you probably liked the wrong page before going about my day.

Naturally, because it is funny, it got shared a lot and received many likes. But there were a couple of hateful comments. One of which I read because it seemed its author and I had some mutual Facebook friends. When I clicked on her page, I saw that she had posted a whole rant about my silly little comment.

I wondered about the energy it took to comment on something she didn’t like instead of just taking note and going back to folding the laundry.

I like to look at myself whenever I get hooked by something, whenever I make something a big deal when it isn’t. (Like um, why did I bother clicking on her page? That took up my time and energy and gave focus to something that didn’t need focusing on.)

Where do I stew on something small and possibly irrelevant until it becomes a looming thing, larger than life, lurking in my body like an ache? Where do I take myself too seriously? Where do I judge? Where do I decide I don’t like something or someone and then go on to give them more energy than what I do like?

It’s something we’re all prone to doing. That’s why I always ask my workshops and retreats a question that I call The 1 and 100.

I ask, “If there is a room with 100 people and they all love you, except one, who do you focus on?”

Almost everyone says the 1.

Yea, me too. It’s a thing we do, isn’t it? So we put our energy into getting the “1” to love us. All that precious energy focused on someone simply because we think it means something about who we are in the world when someone decides they don’t like us for whatever reason they’ve chosen.

We give our attention and energy to someone who may not give a flying rat’s ass (as my mom would say) about us.

It’s not always fun to look at ourselves. Especially when you realize that the very thing you are bothered by exists in you somewhere, even if in the smallest part of you.

Most of us take ourselves too seriously. Hey, I didn’t say all. If you are one of the people who doesn’t take yourself too seriously, who realizes that most of the stuff we get upset by (traffic, gossip, hurt ego, etc. )won’t matter in a year, can we maybe have lunch?

I would like to surround myself with more of that. I would like that to rub off on me more because you know, we are all contagious beings. Like I say in my poem called “How To Make A Life,”

Let your joy be contagious.
Let it spread through your home, your job, your children,
So that every once in a while, when you forget it,
You’ll catch it from someone else.

We’re totally contagious beings, so when we get our panties all in a twist, we spread that twistedness and upset and drama.

What I am saying is this: Lighten up.

Seriously. We could probably all use this message. I know I can.

This is why I have the rule in my yoga class that “If you fall you must laugh.” So many people stumble and look like they’ve just gotten fired. It’s. Not. That. Big. Of. A Deal. It’s just a tree pose, yo. Lighten up.

That lightness will actually help us balance. That’s the irony.

Take note of the things that offend you. Take note as to where you are putting your beloved energy. I hope it’s worth it.

I’ll do the same.