Blueberries May Help Combat PTSD .

Blueberries are not only scrumptious – they may be able to protect us from cardiovascular disease, cancer, memory loss, and maybe even PTSD in the future.

Picture of blueberries

Bears go bats over blueberries. In blueberry season, bears will travel miles just to get their paws – well, lips – on a ripe and scrumptious blueberry patch. And an increasing amount of scientific evidence indicates that we should all be as pro-blueberry as the bears.

Blueberries these days are touted as a superfood – an unofficial term that refers to low-calorie edibles with greater-than-average (even super) nutritional and health benefits. Among these – along with the yummy blueberries – are broccoli, kale, kiwi fruit, pomegranates, beans, salmon, and sardines.

The notable health value of blueberries derives in part from their lush content of antioxidant flavonoids – compounds that not only make blueberries blue, but also act to mop up free radicals.

Picture of blueberry fields

Free radicals are highly reactive molecules with the potential to damage cell integrity and mess with our all-important DNA. These are products of normal body metabolism – each of our body’s cells generates about 20 billion every day – and we also pick up a good many from pollutants and radiation in the environment. Free radicals, as destructive as molecule-gobbling Pac Men, have been implicated in everything from cardiac disease to cancer, memory loss, autoimmune disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Our bodies do their best to beat these off – we have a couple of enzymes tailor-made to combat and eliminate free radicals – but with age and environmental exposure, they can begin to overwhelm us. We can help protect ourselves with antioxidant-enriched foods – and when it comes to antioxidants, blueberries are at the top of the food heap. According to the U.S.Department of Agriculture, blueberries, antioxidant-wise, out-rank everything but red beans – and red beans aren’t ahead by much.

The latest in the array of blueberry bennies is their possible potential to combat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). About 8 percent of the American population suffers from PTSD at some point in their lives, due to emotional or physical trauma, and – at an estimate – PTSD afflicts up to 20 percent of veterans. Current, but not particularly effective, treatments for PTSD are drugs known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or SSRIs – that is, medications that boost levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood disorders.

Illustration of a blueberry sprig

Some recent research, however, indicates that blueberries may be a helpful alternative, at least in rats. Experiments conducted by Philip Ebenezer and colleagues at Louisiana State University involved rats which developed PTSD after being (deliberately) terrified by cats. The researchers found that rats who were fed blueberries following their traumatizing experience had markedly higher serotonin levels than rats fed a blueberry-less control diet, suggesting a better recovery. If blueberries have similar effects on neurotransmitter levels in human beings, they may help alleviate the problems of the severely traumatized.

Other health benefits of blueberries have been in the news for a while. A cup of blueberries a day, according to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Other studies indicate that blueberries decrease the risk of prostate cancer, combat urinary tract infections, reduce age-related memory loss, and promote brain healthVarious experiments have shown that blueberries boost brain power, variously upping memory, learning, and cognitive functions – among these reasoning skills, decision making, verbal comprehension, and numerical ability. To be fair, there are other foods that are also excellent sources of brain-bolstering flavonoids – among them wine, tea, dark chocolate, and tofu. But blueberries are also great sources of vitamin C – and, since a cup of blueberries adds up to a mere 80 calories, they’re not about to make you fat.

What to make of all of this? Scientists tell us not to go overboard. Popular claims for superfoods can be exaggerated; and chances are that blueberries aren’t a universal panacea.

But a cup a day sure can’t hurt.

Artificial bee brain used for vision system of a drone .

The Green Brain Project is located in Sheffield, England, and it has one key focus: to simulate a functioning honeybee brain in software. Using a mix of neuroscience modeling, decision theory, parallel computing, and robotics, they are working towards that goal. So far, they’ve got the vision and olfactory (sensory) systems working in basic form, and they’ve already been hooked up to a drone.

Recreating an entire brain, however simple, is a massive undertaking and will take many years to achieve. But as different parts of the brain come online they can be put to good use with surprisingly positive results. In the case of this drone, the artificial bee brain’s vision was used to allow the drone to see. With the software running on the drone, and cameras used as eyes, it was able to fly down a corridor successfully.

Of course, even this vision system is in the early stages of development. It can currently detect motion but not colors or shapes–those will come in time.

As the bee brain development continues, more will be learned about the best ways to create an artificial brain while unlocking new functionality. The ultimate goal at The Green Brain Project is a fully functioning bee brain that can’t be told apart from the real thing. After that, there’s nothing to stop it being uploaded to a tiny drone that actually carries out the same daily duties of a real honeybee. Of course, for that to happen robot development has got to progress a few more generations, too.

When we say that robots will one day take over the world we usually link it to some sort of apocalypse. However, with bee numbers on the decline and their function in nature being so vital, millions of drone bees may actually be a vital part of a future with humans still in it.

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Caesarean sections should only be done out of medical necessity, WHO says

World Health Organisation says procedure carries health risks, but does not improve mortality rates in countries where high numbers are performed

A caesarean section is performed at Queen Charlotte’s hospital in London.
A caesarean section is performed at Queen Charlotte’s hospital in London. Photograph:

Caesarean sections should only be carried out when medically necessary, according to the World Health Organisation, which says the surgical procedure can put the health of women and their babies at risk.

The WHO reiterates the view of its health experts, who have said since 1985 that the “ideal rate” for caesarean sections is between 10% and 15% of births. Caesareans save lives for example when women are in obstructed labour or their babies are in distress. But two new studies show that in countries where they account for more than 10% of births, “there is no evidence that mortality rates improve”, the WHO said.

About 25% of UK births are through caesarean section, up from 12% in 1990. The rise is worldwide and thought to be a combination of doctors believing surgery is safer in potentially difficult births and women choosing not to undergo labour. More than half of women giving birth have caesarean sections in Brazil and the figure rises to over 80% in private hospitals.

There are risks in any surgical procedure. According to the National Institute of Healthcare and Clinical Excellence (Nice), a caesarean increases the risk that a baby will end up in intensive care and that women will stay longer in hospital, have a hysterectomy or a cardiac arrest. Its 2011 guidelines, however, state that women who want a caesarean should get one, even if it is not for medical reasons.

The WHO says the full effects of a caesarean on mother and child are not yet clear. “Across a population, the effects of caesarean section rates on maternal and newborn outcomes such as stillbirths or morbidities like birth asphyxia are still unknown. More research on the impact of caesarean sections on women’s psychological and social wellbeing is still needed,” it said.

There are many countries in the developing world, however, where women and their babies are dying for want of a caesarean section. The WHO says that decisions about whether to operate should be made on a case by case basis, and not according to target figures.

Plaque-busting nanoparticles could help fight tooth decay

Nanotechnology might soon save you a trip to the dentist. Researchers have developed tiny sphere-shaped particles that ferry a payload of bacteria-slaying drugs to the surface of the teeth, where they fight plaque and tooth decay on the spot. The approach could also be adapted to combat other plaquelike substances, known as biofilms, such as those that form on medical devices like orthopedic implants.

“It’s quite clever,” says oral microbiologist Robert Allaker of Queen Mary University of London, who was not involved with the research. “I think it was an innovative piece of work.”

Plaque is a film made up of bacteria and a matrix of polymers composed of linked sugars, which clings tenaciously to teeth. When bacteria digest sugars in the mouth, they produce acid as a byproduct, which eats away at teeth, eventually causing decay. Topical antibacterial drugs don’t work well on plaque because saliva quickly washes them away.

Nanoparticles can solve this problem by clinging to the surface of teeth and carrying drugs along with them. Although this is not the first technique to employ such a strategy, the research improves upon previous methods, because these particles attach not only to the tooth, but also to the plaque biofilm.

To build their nanoparticles, the researchers assembled spheres of polymers composed of two segments with different characteristics. The outer segments are positively charged, allowing the spheres to attach to negatively charged sites of both the plaque biofilms and tooth enamel. The inner core reacts to high acidity in the mouth, which loosens up the nanospheres and preferentially releases their contents—the antibacterial drug farnesol—in decay-prone regions where it’s needed most.

The researchers initially tested the nanoparticles by creating a laboratory setup that mimicked plaque-covered teeth, using disks of a mineral found in tooth enamel, and culturing them with Streptococcus mutans, bacteria commonly found in plaque and one of the main culprits behind tooth decay. The team found that treatment with farnesol-carrying nanoparticles weakened the plaque’s grip. Using a specially designed device to shear plaque off the disks, the researchers removed more than twice as much plaque from surfaces treated with farnesol-carrying nanoparticles as compared with those treated with farnesol alone.

In separate tests on rats infected with S. mutans, the team found that twice-daily applications of the nanoparticles reduced the severity and number of cavities plaguing the rodents’ teeth. Applying farnesol alone had negligible impact, the researchers report in ACS Nano.

This is the first time such a technique has been shown to be effective in animals, notes pharmaceutical scientist Dong Wang of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, who was not involved with the research. “That’s a huge step forward.”

Still, the method does have possible drawbacks, Wang cautions. Because the nanoparticles attach to biofilms instead of just to teeth, they could also bombard biofilms on the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth, where they may have damaging effects on beneficial bacteria. “We want to kill the bad guys but we don’t want to wipe out those that are helping us,” he says.

On the other hand, because the nanoparticles are nondiscriminating in their attraction to biofilms, the method could be generalized for tackling other dangerous biofilms, for instance, those that form on orthopedic implants or catheters, Wang says.

Before the nanoparticles make their way onto pharmacy shelves, they first must pass muster in human tests. Because the nanoparticles would likely be swallowed after they’ve done their work, researchers would have to ensure they didn’t cause any ill effects.

Still, “it’s exciting to think about the possibilities,” says biomedical engineer Danielle Benoit of the University of Rochester in New York, one of the senior authors on the study. She suggests that these nanoparticles could be added to mouthwash, toothpaste, or gels that would be applied to the teeth. “We really believe that given a couple weeks [or months] of treatment, you would be able to get rid of the biofilm altogether,” reducing the need for dentists to scrape away plaque, Benoit says, “which would be awesome.”

The Chakras – The Cosmic Keys of Balance

What Are Chakras?

Chakras are vortices of energies that relate to our individual and collective connection to each other on the microcosmic level and our connection to the earth and multiverse on a macrocosmic level. These cosmic pin-wheels rotate like two cyclones that are connected at their funnel spout, creating a tidal ebb and flow through each conic side of its toroidal structure. The chakra energy is absorbed through the yin/ida channels and emitted through the yang/pingala channels.

The Subtlety Of Expansion Versus The Dogma Of Contraction

There are many different systems and interpretations that vary from continent to continent and the various schools of philosophy in the east. While the seven chakra system is largely associated with India, this life-force energy system is known by many different names around the world. It is important to mention such diversity, to remind people to leave any agenda that seeks to define which system of understanding is “the best,” “the original,” or “most authentic,” out of the discussion. Think of this topic like politics and/or religion, you will have to agree to disagree for the sake of being constructive.  Instead, consider looking at this article as a call for unity in collective research, learning and sharing with the emphasis being placed upon the many facets of opportunity that stem from diversity in education.

Have fun with this approach. The idea is not to challenge your beliefs as much as it is to inspire you to reflect and expand upon your previous notions. Each one of us plays the role of Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew or Scooby Do. Perhaps an alliance premised upon seeking out the answers may provide more substance for growth over determining  that which is “right” versus that which is “wrong?” Going beyond the contracting ego-centered or “*Saturnian” definitions of the chakras, may free us from divisive dogma by placing our collective aim onto the co-creative, expansive and jovial path of Jupiter and its outcome of group success. Since chakras are subtle three-dimensional objects, there will be much that cannot properly be discussed without 3D models.

The World Of Chakras, Abstract Thinking And Dimensionality

Like the “Book of Change,” known as The “I-Ching,” (pronounced yee-jing), the chakra system is animated by the masculine and feminine forces that keep our known reality in balance. Yang is very similar to Pingala and represents the masculine force of heaven, while yin and Ida are the feminine forces that represent the earth. Why do I mention these two concepts of the divine sacred masculine and feminine? Because these energies are polar opposites that need each other to create and sustain growth and/or CHANGE.

The common denominator is the subtle life force energy that circulates through both the masculine and feminine alike. Like Chi, Qi, Rei-ki, Ka, Ase/Asha and Kul/Teotl, the life-force we call “prana” drives the chakras is the same energy that flows through subtle energetic rivers of energy called “the meridians” or “nadis.” This Kundalini energy activates each chakra like a fiery serpent as it ascends its way from the lower physical chakras to the higher spiritual channels.

Each chakra is supposed to be in alignment with the spine and head, which serve as the body’s tuning fork and bridge between the senses and the cosmos. Each chakra is distinguished by its number of lotus petals. So every chakra has its own sound and frequency that connects to the body’s auric field. Each auric field has its own subtle path around your body that is very similar to the structure of the earth’s Van Allen’s belts. Kundalini serve as a conductor of flow from our lower chakras of survival through our transcendent and universal chakras activating each chakra so that it emits its own subtle light and solfeggio frequency.

Each of your chakras, like your physical senses, can be see as its own subtle dimensional gate with the spine serving as a conductor. Imagine a funnel of energy pulling in energy on one side of your spine and emitting it rotating the opposite direction once it passes through the center. Just like the theory that black holes swallows all light and matter on one plane, they are said to expel light and life on the other side of the toroidal structure. As human beings on the electromagnetic spectrum, we can only perceive of a range of frequencies without the aid of scientific tools. However, the chakra system is a clear example that humanity has known about the connection of the macrocosm and microcosm since antiquity. The microcosm starts with the red root chakra and flows through the violet/white/rainbow energy of the macrocosm solidifying the concept of “as above, so below!”

Like the I-Ching, you read chakra’s from the bottom (earth) to the top (heaven, nirvana or whatever you equate to “beyond”). The three chakras on the bottom are the lower vibrating frequencies connecting us to the material reality of earth, our bodies and our blood bone and skin. This is why the first chakra is the element of earth known as the hexahedron. Just like the elements and modes of the zodiac, we move through solid, liquid and gaseous states in the same familiar cycle as fire, earth, water and air or cardinal, fixed and mutable.

The Root Chakra Four Petals

The Muladhara  or “Root Chakra” is red in color and originates at the tip of the spine and gonads. This is the chakra that connects our innermost auric field to our material or physical body. The innermost field is the field of the etheric body.  The earth’s root chakra is said to be at Mt. Shasta.  Coordinates are here. In Astrology we associate the root chakra with Saturn, and the element of Earth. In classical astrology you could also include Aquarius in some schools of thought because Aquarius shares Saturn with Capricorn. In music, its tone is C Major and its solfeggio frequency is 396 Hertz.



The Sacral Chakra Six Petals

The Sacral Chakra covers the sacrum of human anatomy, is associated with the color orange, the  adrenal glands, the navel and that area between the genitals and rectum called the perineum. Some chakra systems associate this chakra with Virgo because of its association with the body’s nerves, stomach and circulation. This is the bio-electrical conductor that is your body’s system of communications in the same context as Mercury is a herald for the zodiac.  The earth’s Svadhisthana chakra is said to be at

Lake Titicaca in Peru/Bolivia. Coordinates are here.

This vortex of subtle energy is supposed to be two fingers below the navel and serves as a grounding presence that is linked with sexual/sensual pleasure and satisfaction. This vortex is associated with the moon, water (liquid state/icosahedron) and Cancer. Because of it association with water, arguments can be made to connect any of the water signs here with Cancer. I emphasize Cancer because like the serpent association with kundalini, Cancer is associated with Ouroboros, the dragon that symbolizes eternal cycles by biting its own tail. Cancer is the initiating fire or Cardinal of the water signs. This “fire of water” sign is known for its powerful intuition that is believed to be derived from it emotions. This is one of many reasons that this is a perfect fit for the second innermost auric field that is our magnetic field for emotions. In music, its tone is D Major and its solfeggio frequency is 417 Hertz.


The Solar Plexus Chakra 10 Petals

The Solar Plexus or chest chakra is considered the seat of the life force. The planetary association with the Manipura chakra is Mars, but research has shown me that it is also associated with LEO. Since this is an action or fire chakra, a case can be made to associate this chakra with all fire signs as well as Scorpio due to its connection to Mars. This chakra is about self-expression, wellness, vitality and athletic vigor. Not only does this chakra help you stay energetic, it helps to balance and regulate surplus energy so that it can be emitted at a time of your choosing. The earth’s Manipura chakra is said to be at Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Coordinates are here.

This is the chakra of creation and destruction as well as the chakra of fear versus courage. This chakra is anchored to the lumbar part of the spine and is associated with the pancreas. This is where our most explosive athletic and sexual energy emanates as it is the last of the physical chakras of the body before the heart chakra bridges us to spirituality. Since Aries is the cardinal fire sign and Mars’ first natural ruler, it is clear why keeping this chakra balanced could impact your potential for great courage.

This chakra is connected to the tetrahedron that faces downward with flames emanating upward creating the bottom circle of the vesica piscis that surrounds the merkaba or star tetrahedron of the heart chakra. The Manipura is the third innermost auric field that is the magnetic field that connects with our lower mental body translating thought into action and creation. This chakra is the first manifestation of will and self-determination. In music, its tone is E Major and its solfeggio frequency is 528 Hertz.

The Heart Chakra 12 Petals

The Heart chakra or “Anahata” is the green chakra (sometimes its pink, like rose quartz,) that functions as a balance between the divine sacred masculine and the divine sacred feminine in the form of a star tetrahedron. The heart chakra is connected to the thymus gland and your cardiac muscles. This chakra is of the air element, so naturally it is connected to the octahedron and is considered both a gas and a liquid. What are clouds anyway but oceans in the sky? The earth’s Anahata chakra is said to be at Glastonbury and Shaftesbury. Coordinates are here.

The Anahata is associated with Venus, the goddess of love. So naturally, this chakra is about unconditional love for yourself and for others. I cannot mention the heart chakra’s connection to Venus, without mentioning its connection to the Zodiac sign of Libra and its sibling sign Taurus. Of course, since this is the element of air, one could make a case for an association to Gemini and Aquarius as well.

The heart chakra is like the conductor of the symphony of your body’s meridians. Look at this chakra as the motherboard of a computer or a star in a solar system. Eastern Medicine, with its body clock, emphasizes the development of the kidney first to show us how important water is for the formation of the heart. Meanwhile, the institute of heart math discusses the importance of the heart and its energy matrix. The heart chakra connects with the auric field that is supposed to be our bridge to the astral plane. So if you have done any astral projections or experienced lucid dreams, your heart chakra was doing its job. In music, its tone is F Major and its solfeggio frequency is 639 Hertz.


The Throat Chakra 16 Petals

The Throat Chakra or Vishuddha is the blue chakra vortex associated with speech, the thyroid glands, the center of the throat, Mercury, and the ether. This is the first official “spiritual” chakra as it is connected to sound and the fifth element that many people call ether/aether or akasha. This is literally where people that are considered spiritual channels have a considerable connection to the akashic frequencies or records of the earth and collective consciousness. How fitting, considering that Mercury is the planet of communication who happens to be the messenger or herald of the gods.

On a planetary level, the substance of sound along with Mercury makes this chakra native to both Gemini and Virgo. However on a zodiacal level, it is well known to be ruled over by the sign of Taurus. One could make arguments for Neptune, Saturn and even a little bit of Chiron to go with the heart chakra from the previous activation. Since this is the biggest jump towards awakening and cosmic consciousness, most people who operate from their throat chakra or gifted with “stream of consciousness” flow that melds their intelligence with their intuition that create waves of unity to those that are listening. The earth’s Vishuddha chakra is said to be at  Great Pyramid, Mt. Sinai, and Mt. of Olives. Coordinates are here.

Speaking through the throat chakra helps us to align our own personal will and ego to that of divine order. This chakra connects to the 5th innermost auric field helping us to transmit our higher minded thinking and purpose. In music, its tone is G Major and its solfeggio frequency is 741 Hertz.


The Third-Eye/Brow Chakra 96 petals (2 Petals of 48 on each side)

The “Ajna” or third eye chakra is supposed to be the perfect combination of the intuition and the soul seated in the consciousness of your brow. This indigo chakra is supposed to be the mind’s eye that we see when our physical eyes are open or closed. The third eye chakra is supposed to be connected to the pituitary gland. This chakra is supposed to help up discern the truth for ourselves, follow our instincts and connect up with the bigger picture of spiritual ecstasy that is reached  when we choose divine love and trust our insight. Its element is light and it is associated with the Planet Jupiter and its relationship to the mutable signs Sagittarius and Pisces.

Other cosmic bodies such as the sun, the moon or Pluto can be associated with this chakra and its connection to the underworld or anything “other-worldly” in general. This is the chakra that gives human beings their psychic insights and clairvoyance in the material world. This chakra can also easily be linked to Uranus, Aquarius’ higher minded ruler, especially considering that Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury. (Octave, think of sound coming at you at 400 hertz a second, then increase it to 800 hertz a second, you will hear the same note, only higher. This chakra corresponds to the 6th innermost auric field which is presumably is the “buddhic” you that exist outside the time-space matrix.

The earth’s Ajna chakra is said to be at The Aeon Activation Centre, mobile. It keeps moving, so there are no coordinates. In music, its tone is A Major and its solfeggio frequency is 852 Hertz.


The Crown Chakra 1,000 Petals

The Sahasrara, commonly known as the “crown” chakra, is the last stop of energetic transcendence. The dance of the sun channel and the moon channel that started in the root chakra emits from the crown chakra and the outermost auric field. This final activation of the seven chakra system ends with the 1,000 petal  lotus of subtle energy.

The subtle violet or white light, sits right above the head. The crown chakra is believed to be the place where one becomes connected to the “divine” mind and subsequently begins to better understand the greater universal patterns and cycles of existence. Because of the culmination of both the sun and moon channels, many believe this chakra to be associate with Cancer (ruled by the moon) and Leo (ruled by the sun).

When one reaches this stage they often feel a sense of clarity, peace and divine acceptance of order. This is also a state of being that is referred to as “self-actualization,” according to psychologist Abraham Maslow. Self-Actualizationis a stage that is reached when all of your other needs are met, or in this case balanced so that you can now help make improve things for others in your community or the world. Such altruism is why the Sahasrara stage is often equated with Aquarius and its ruler Uranus.

This is the stage of forward thinking progress that can be sudden and is usually both unique and authentic. This chakra is in the element of thought and corresponds to the 7th auric field which is considered to be the spiritual plane.

The earth’s Sahasrara chakra is said to be at Mount Kailas, Tibet. Coordinates arehere. In music, its tone is B Majorand its solfeggio frequency is 963 Hertz.


As we move past the equinox into Libra season, we are sharing a collective reminder of the role of balance and order. Each chakra vortex has a negative pole where it absorbs energy, and a positive pole where it **emits energy. This is why the root chakra is a negatively charged vortex oriented at the earth, and the crown chakra is a positively charged vortex aimed towards the sky. When our chakras are blocked or unbalanced it usually means that we are not absorbing enough cosmic energy through, the elements, diet and exercise. The same can be said when we are overcharged and cannot release energy because we are blocked or unbalanced.

So if you are going to consider studying chakras, I also suggest that you study the five elements of Chinese Medicine and how each of the elements can be used to speed up and slow down “Chi” energy to attain balance. Naturally since the chakra system is of India, all of its Aryuvedic tools of wellness await you. I suggest you at least find out what yourDosha is, so that you may attain a better understanding of your digestion and sleep tendencies. Overall, understanding systems like chakras, chinese medicine or ayurvedic alternatives to western medicine may help you to better understand the difference between being cured versus healed. Once we begin to see the same patterns where we oscillate between balance and imbalance will we truly grasp how “Dis-ease” works in each of our bodies.

Am I telling you that learning this system will solve all of your problems? Absolutely not! Like Astrology, its about being able to see both the positive and negatives of Mercury Retrograde, squares and Grand Crosses, or anything that can be overwhelming and trigger an emotional, intellectual or physical imbalance. I am encouraging you to be an advocate and take charge of your own learning so that you are less subject to the ideological hegemony of separate national governments and more plugged into the inalienable right of sovereignty inherent in nature. As you understand how to balance yourself in the context of all the external challenges, internally you will begin a symbiotic alignment in consciousness with others around you that have chosen to expand their minds.

Should You Trust Or Believe Me?

Please don’t! I share only what I know and learn and that changes as I like to do research. Instead I am asking that you better learn the tenets of critical thinking for yourself, do your own research and come to your own conclusions.Articles like this are to begin discussions, not end them. Like Neptune is a higher octave for Venus, I wish for you to find the higher octave in your own motivation to become a life-long learner. As we charge towards Saturn in Sagittarius in Tropical Astrology, you may find that a desire for higher self-knowledge has become a priority for people individually and collectively. I am merely calling upon you to start your dance into the heart of the age of enlightenment known as the “Age of Aquarius!”

Woman’s ‘Burning Mouth Syndrome’ Had Strange Cause

A healthy 65-year-old woman developed a relentless burning feeling in her mouth that stumped doctors and dentists for months before its strange cause was found, according to a recent report of her case.

A woman opens her mouth wide, as if in pain

The burning got worse whenever the woman brushed her teeth but subsided within 10 minutes. The pain went away after one month after she first experienced it, but then returned a year later and remained constant. She saw a dentist, an oral surgeon and her family doctor, but none of them could find any lesions in the mouth or other possible causes of the burning.

They prescribed mouthwashes, milk-of-magnesia rinses and anti-anxiety drugs, and recommended avoiding toothpaste with whitening agents. But nothing relieved the burning sensation.

The woman had a case of a condition called “burning mouth syndrome,” which is a chronic, burning sensation inside the mouth, usually in the lips, tongue or palate, according to the study, published April 1 in the journal BMJ Case Reports. [16 Oddest Medical Case Reports]

“It’s common in postmenopausal women, and affects up to 7 percent of the general population,” said study co-author Dr. Maria Nagel, a neurovirologist and professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora. Nagel compared the feeling to a “sunburn inside the mouth,” adding that it feels similar to the pain caused by a tooth infection or a root canal.

The condition can be a side effect of certain drugs, but other cases have no apparent medical or dental cause, Nagel said.

After the woman had experienced this pain for six months, doctors tested her saliva for the virus that causes oral herpes, the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The virus commonly causes cold sores around the mouth and lips, but the woman didn’t have any cold sores.

The tests showed that the woman’s saliva was swarming with the infectious particles.

“If she’d had cold sores, it would have been obvious,” Nagel told Live Science. “Most people don’t think of HSV-1 as the potential cause of burning mouth syndrome, so they don’t test for it. But it’s easily treatable with antiviral medication,” she said.

The woman began taking an antiviral drug, and her pain disappeared within five days. Follow-up tests of her saliva — done four weeks later, and again six months later — found no hint of the virus. A year and a half after finishing her treatment, the patient remains pain-free, researchers said.

Estimates vary, but up to 70 percent of people worldwide may be infected with HSV-1, Nagel said. This herpes simplex virus is spread through kissing, intimate contact, or sharing objects such as toothbrushes or towels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In most infected people, the virus never becomes activated, Nagel said. When the virus is activated — typically due to stress or a suppressed immune system — it usually causes cold sores that eventually go away on their own.

But sometimes, the virus can reactivate without causing cold sores, as this woman’s case demonstrates. Instead, it infects the facial nerves, most commonly the trigeminal ganglion, which provides sensation in the face and mouth, Nagel said.

Nagel and her colleagues still don’t know why the herpes virus reactivated in the woman, but they speculated that it might have been due to hormonal fluctuations, because she was postmenopausal.

HSV-1 may be the culprit for a number of unexplained medical symptoms besides burning mouth syndrome. For example, Nagel and her colleagues have found preliminary evidence that the virus can cause migraine headaches, and patients get relief from taking antiviral medication.

In rare cases, the virus can cause encephalitis, a type of brain inflammation that can cause significant brain damage or death if not treated promptly, according to the Mayo Clinic.

MRSA Bacteria From Borrowed Makeup Brush Paralyzes 27-Year-Old Woman

You’ve probably borrowed your best friend’s hair brush, or shared their drinks and clothes. But one woman who borrowed her best friend’s makeup brush didn’t realize that it would have such devastating consequences for her.


Jo Gilchrist, a young mother of a 2-year-old son, was paralyzed completely after developing a staph infection that attacked her spine. She believes it was passed along through the brush and the microbes might have entered her system through a pimple on her face.

Typically, about a third of healthy people have harmless staphylococcus bacteria living on their skin. But a very small proportion of people (about two percent) carry an antibiotic-resistant version. It’s possible that since Gilchrist’s friend had previously had a staph infection on her face, it had been transferred to Gilchrist through the makeup brush and her own immune system wasn’t able to fight it off. The particular strain of staph that attacked her spine was MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

“The only thing we can put it down to is the makeup brush,” Gilchrist, 27, told The Daily Mail Australia. “My friend did have a staph infection on her face and I was using her brush just before. I had no idea that could even happen, I used to share with my friends all the time.”

Gilchrist initially felt a “little ache” that quickly turned into back and full body pain that was “worse than childbirth.” She noted, “I literally thought I was going to die.” Soon, the feeling in her legs began to go numb and she knew something was terribly wrong.

After being airlifted to the hospital, doctors began trying to figure out what was causing the numbness and paralysis. They placed her in an induced coma and started emergency surgery. The staph infection, however, had already destroyed her spine and left her unable to walk, as well as unable to control her bowel or bladder function.

Gilchrist, despite this devastating setback, remains positive about her life and believes that with the proper attitude to not give up, she will walk again someday. She’s been in intensive treatment and therapy, and with the help of physical therapy she’s been able to slowly move her legs and stand. In a new video she uploaded to her Facebook, Gilchrist shows herself fighting the paralysis by moving around and standing.

“I’m fighting this with all I’ve got and I’m starting to learn to walk again,” she told the Daily Mail. “Two weeks ago they said I might be able to walk for an hour or two a day — like grocery shopping, washing up, and hanging the washing out. I’m happy with that. I honestly didn’t even expect that.”

NASA Offers Rupees 11 Lakh to People to Stay in Bed

Dream job for couch potatoes! NASA is offering to pay people USD 18,000 – all they have to do is spend 70 days in bed.

The US space agency’s ‘Bed Rest’ research is designed to study the effects of prolonged exposure to micro-gravity and requires participants to remain horizontal for a period of 70 days.

In the study, scientists will gauge how effective exercise would be for astronauts who lose muscle, cardiovascular and bone function while in zero-gravity conditions.

Participants would first spend two to three weeks moving around and doing normal everyday things inside the “bed rest facility”.

They would then spend 10 weeks lying in a bed with their body tilted slightly backwards with their head down and feet up.

The only way to relieve and clean oneself would be by using a plastic bedpan and washing with a hand-held shower-head while still horizontal. The test subjects may also experience back and neck pain from constant lying down.

The next 14 days would entail “reconditioning activities” – squatting, cycling and walking while still lying down – and regular tests to see how regular exercises assist the body in adapting back to normal, according to ‘The Independent’.

NASA is looking for healthy participants who will have to pass tough fitness tests, as they have to be of similar physical condition to an astronaut.

However, the research participant must be a US citizen or permanent resident to be considered as a potential test subject.

Scientists Can Now Cut HIV Out Of Human DNA

HIV is a sneaky virus. Its MO involves integrating its own genes into your DNA, so that even as antiretrovirals hold everything in check, HIV lurks quietly inside your cells. Now scientists have found a way to edit the virus straight out of the human genome-a potential cure for even latent infections.

Genome editing is powerful technique that has really come into its own lately, thanks to a remarkable DNA-cutting protein that easily and precisely cuts out a particular DNA sequence. In fact, genome editing been used to treat HIV before. Earlier this year, another group used genome editing to cut out the DNA sequence of a particular human protein the HIV virus latches onto.

The latest study, from Kamel Khalili at Temple University, uses a similar technique but to different ends. Rather than editing human genes, it goes straight for HIV. Khalili’s team showed that the protein could excise copies of the HIV genome from immune cells such as microglia and T cells. It also seemed to prevent any new HIV infection.

The research is still very new, so of course there are challenges to getting something that worked in a petri dish to work in a human. On the whole, very few cells in the human body are latently infected by HIV; how to you make sure the genome editing gets to those cells? And how do you make sure the protein never goes excising where it shouldn’t?

But if those challenges are solved, genome editing could be a big step toward an actual cure for HIV. Except for a couple cases involving bone marrow transplants, a cure has been notoriously elusive. HIV hides itself by basically editing your genome-it makes sense that a cure could involve editing your genome, too.

Good News! Pre-Clinical Trials For Suppressing HIV Set To Begin

Pre-clinical trials for permanently suppressing HIV are set to begin at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, in Brisbane.

Associate Professor David Harrich said that the gene therapy could replace or diminish the need for the constant cocktail of drugs HIV patients currently need to stop HIV from crippling their immune system or developing into AIDS.

Harrich genetically modified an existing protein in the virus and found the changed molecules prevent HIV from infecting other cells.

His latest research has shown how the mutated protein Nullbasic works to stop HIV from spreading.

Professor Harrich has been researching HIV/AIDS since the first cases emerged in the 1980s, and runs the only research laboratory and containment facilities in Queensland working with the virus.

“The next step in this project will be to test the effectiveness and safety of Nullbasic in patient cells in the lab, and in small animals. In our research so far there is no sign that Nullbasic has any associated toxicity – so patients could have their virus permanently suppressed with little or no side-effects,” he said.