How Doctors Deliver Bad News

The doctor in the grainy video is standing up, shifting uncomfortably as he spouts medical jargon that members of his patient’s family don’t understand.


When the reality sets in—that their father and husband is dead—the family’s intense emotions fluster the doctor. He awkwardly suggests an autopsy before rushing away to respond to his chirping beeper.

It is a low-budget training video that Andrew Epstein, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, uses often as he teaches medical students the art of breaking bad news.

“If you don’t balance out the physiological basis of disease and treatment of disease with the psychosocial side of medicine, you’re at risk” of alienating patients and their families, Dr. Epstein tells a group of students at a training session last week.
Doctors are trying new ways of solving an old problem—how to break bad news, which is as much a staple of doctors’ lives as ordering blood work and reviewing scans. One issue: Patients and their families, of course, aren’t all going to respond in the same way. Research into the effectiveness of training doctors in how to deliver bad news has turned up mixed results, with patients often not noticing any benefit.

“How much do people want to know? What techniques should be used? It’s a moving target,” says Dr. Epstein, who is also trained in palliative medicine.

Among pointers his students are taught: Always deliver bad news in a private, quiet area. Ask patients what they already know about their medical situation and if it is OK to share the news you have. Use silence to acknowledge sadness or other emotions. Avoid medical jargon. Speak clearly but sensitively.

And empathize. “This is clearly terrible news that I have given you. I can’t imagine what you’re going through,” says Dr. Epstein, giving the students an example of empathetic statements.

The skills can also be useful in daily life outside medicine as most people find themselves at times having to deliver unwelcome news.

“Breaking bad news is actually a golden opportunity to deepen the patient-doctor relationship,” says Nila Webster, a stage-IV lung-cancer patient in Revere Beach, Mass. “For a doctor to be willing to be emotionally available is a tremendous gift for any patient.”

Ms. Webster, 51 years old, left the cancer center at Massachusetts General Hospital this year because she was saddened at how a doctor told her about a setback. A drug trial was under way at the hospital that might have helped her, but she was told there was no room for her.

The oncologist “suggested I go try a couple of other hospitals,” Ms. Webster says. “It was like this long relationship was over and the doctor was ready to pawn me over to another hospital.”

Dr. Andrew Epstein, left, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, leads a monthly seminar for medical students on how to discuss bad medical news with patients and their families. ‘If you don’t balance out the physiological basis of disease and treatment of disease with the psychosocial side of medicine, you’re at risk’ of alienating patients and their families, Dr. Epstein tells the students at a recent session. ENLARGE
Dr. Andrew Epstein, left, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, leads a monthly seminar for medical students on how to discuss bad medical news with patients and their families. ‘If you don’t balance out the physiological basis of disease and treatment of disease with the psychosocial side of medicine, you’re at risk’ of alienating patients and their families, Dr. Epstein tells the students at a recent session.
Perhaps no specialty deals with having to break bad news to patients more than oncology. One study estimated an oncologist breaks bad news as many as 20,000 times over a career. Patient and family reactions can run the gamut from extreme sadness and weeping to shock and disbelief to anger. Some doctors tell of patients—or more frequently their family members—punching walls, yelling at them or even threatening to shoot them, in extreme cases.

“Often what happens is clinicians just keep talking and it’s just white noise for the patient,” says James Tulsky, chief of Duke Palliative Care at Duke University. “You need to attend to the fact that this is really serious news and attend to the emotion.”

Dr. Tulsky is one of the developers of VitalTalk, a nonprofit that trains medical professionals in communication skills and empathy, with the aim of developing healthier connections between patients and clinicians. He says doctors delivering bad news should be brief, clear and to the point. “Pause after delivering the bad news. Allow the patient to process that. Generally the patient should be the first one to speak after you deliver the news.”

At Sloan Kettering, Dr. Epstein’s session includes teaching two mnemonics, acronyms often taught in medical school to help students remember information like treatment protocols. One mnemonic he uses is SPIKES, aimed at helping doctors break bad news to patients, and NURSE, for exploring emotions. Dr. Epstein said he includes the memory prompts “because I think we need all the help we can get.”

(SPIKES stands for setting, patient perspective, information, knowledge, empathize/explore emotions and strategize/summarize. NURSE stands for name emotion, understand, respect, support and explore emotions.)

Kate Hogan Green, on right, holding Lorelei, decided to continue with the pregnancy despite learning the baby had Down syndrome. But she says she left her perinatologist after being abruptly told the fetus had a separate, fatal condition. The condition eventually cleared up, and Lorelei is now 14 months old. On the left are Ms. Green’s husband, Bryan, and 3-year-old Adelaide.
Kate Hogan Green, on right, holding Lorelei, decided to continue with the pregnancy despite learning the baby had Down syndrome. But she says she left her perinatologist after being abruptly told the fetus had a separate, fatal condition. The condition eventually cleared up, and Lorelei is now 14 months old. On the left are Ms. Green’s husband, Bryan, and 3-year-old Adelaide.
Kate Hogan Green, of Westerville, Ohio, was 12 weeks pregnant when she learned she was going to have a baby girl who had tested positive for Down syndrome. The 40-year-old decided to continue with the pregnancy. At 18 weeks she saw a perinatologist who told her at an ultrasound appointment that her baby also had nonimmune fetal hydrops, a separate condition in which fluid accumulates and that often results in death.

“I’m sitting there with jelly on my stomach and he’s telling me the baby has this condition. I didn’t have a clue what that was,” she recalls. “He said the baby will likely not survive. He said that we could terminate.” Ms. Green recalls being handed scratchy paper towels as she sobbed.

She switched specialists and about a month later the fluid cleared up. She now has a 14-month-old daughter, Lorelei Clair Green, who has Down syndrome.

A 2011 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that giving oncologists feedback on recorded conversations they had with patients made them twice as likely to use more empathic statements in future talks than were doctors who didn’t receive feedback. Patients also reported greater trust in the doctors who had gotten feedback. The study, led by Dr. Tulsky, involved 48 oncologists and 300 recorded conversations with patients.

However, a 2013 study found that doctors and nurse practitioners who received communication-skill training focused on end-of-life care were rated no higher by patients than medical professionals who didn’t receive the training. The study, published in JAMA, included 391 doctors and 91 nurse practitioners.

Another study, published online in February in JAMA Oncology, found the majority of about 100 cancer patients who watched videos with actors playing doctors preferred the on-screen physicians who relayed a more optimistic message. The finding appears to run counter to most doctors’ advice that bad news should be given sensitively but not sugar coated. The researchers said the study underscores the importance of doctors building a relationship with patients so delivering bad news doesn’t have too much of a negative impact.

Helen Riess, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says she has seen the importance of empathy training for doctors. “I noticed that my patients were spending way too much time feeling upset after their medical visits,” she says.

Dr. Riess, who is the director of the hospital’s empathy and relational science program, founded Empathetics, which offers online empathy courses. The training includes interpreting and managing patients’ emotions through facial expressions and body language. It also teaches doctors how to manage their own emotions during serious patient discussions. “Delivering bad news unsettles everybody, not just the patient,” she says.

FDA expected to ban all trans-fat

The FDA is expected to announce a ban on almost all trans-fats found in packaged foods, baked goods and fried foods. Nutritionist and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU joins NewsNation.

The Motherboard Inside Your Brain

Brain scientists are working to turn on and off behavior with electricity—and possibly motivation and optimism, too. How a few amps of electric current could change your life.
“You do look glum! What you need is a gramme of soma.” — Aldous Huxley,Brave New World

Let’s say you’re feeling blah, and need a jolt of something to pep you up. Or you just berated a barista for no good reason. Wouldn’t it be nice if a technology existed that could shut down these unwanted behaviors as easily and safely as flipping a light switch?

Perhaps more crucial to who you are, and to who we are as humans, what if scientists could also use this mind tech to turn up or down attributes like willpower and enthusiasm, making your brain feel either charged up or pleasantly numbed?

The technology in question is electricity—delivered not in huge jolts like those that animated the creature in Frankenstein, but in steady, low-amp currents gently applied to a person’s skull and brain. It’s an old technology, used by physicians since at least the time of ancient Rome to treat depression and other maladies of the mind. (Roman physicians used electric eels.) In more recent centuries scientists have dabbled in using electrodes to deliver varying amps of juice up until the 1960s, when neuro-electrical stimulation was largely abandoned in favor of drugs.

What is most intriguing is what it means for who we are—or think we are—if a simple device and a few amps of electricity can so easily alter our minds and behavior.

Now researchers are again exploring what they call transcranial direct-current stimulation, or tDCS, as a possible alternative to meds that don’t always work, and can cause unpleasant side effects. Researchers place simple electrodes on a person’s scalp and turn on the current, usually under 2 amps, bathing the brain with either negative (cathodal) or positive (anodal) currents. These work to excite or suppress synaptic firings in specific regions of the brain—say, in the prefrontal cortex, home to decision-making, some behaviors, and motivation. Subjects are supposed to feel either amped up or mellower depending on the charge.

As reported in a recent New Yorker story by Elif Batuman titled “Electrified,” neurologists in hospitals such as Beth Israel in New York City have treated patients with chronic pain and depression using tDCS. Healthy people are also trying tDCS, with the do-it-yourself (DIY) crowd posting how-tos on YouTube, and articles appearing in the New Yorker and other publications.

Critics insist that many experiments using tDCS do not adequately account for the placebo effect, and point out that reactions of individuals vary widely. Optimal dosages and long-term effects are also poorly understood—which is one reason the Food and Drug Administration has not approved tDCS for depression and other conditions.

At least one company, called, is selling tDCS devices online. “Ready for Neuro-Stimulation?” asks their site, which sells attractive blue and black devices for $199 and headsets with electrodes for $99. The company markets them mostly to gamers and people to wear when they exercise. Much work needs to be done, however, to prove that small electro-buzzes actually help a gamer better fend off orcs, aliens, and zombies.


What is most intriguing to my mind is what it means for who we are—or think we are —if a simple device and a few amps of electricity can so easily alter our minds and behavior.

I had a firsthand example of how tDCS impacted my own brain when I participated in a tDCS experiment at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Researchers led by neuroscientist Michael Koenigs attached two electrodes to my forehead and first bathed my frontal lobe with negatively charged current. This is supposed to excite my neurons and enhance my performance on various tasks, although I honestly felt only a slight bump.

Then Koenigs switched to a positive current, which lessens neuronal activity. Within minutes I went into a state of low-key bliss, feeling like I had just taken a sauna or a hot tub. As I recounted in a story for MIT Technology Review, I didn’t feel any motivation to think, to write, or to do much of anything. Even after the electrodes were removed the effect lingered for a few minutes, causing me to start asking questions to the researchers, only to lack the motivation to finish them.

New Yorker writer Batuman was similarly tested in a lab in New Mexico, and lost her ability to speak when a researcher used tDCS on her right inferior frontal cortex. “It wasn’t like grasping for words; it was like no longer knowing what words were good for,” she wrote.

So how concerned should we be? Could tDCS be used to turn us into compliant sheep, like soma in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World? Or will tDCS merely become the latest pick-me-up when people are groggy—or another way to relax after work, like smoking weed or sipping a very cold martini?

While your mind is pondering this I’m going to gently zap my prefrontal cortex with positive current and kick back. And if I don’t get back to you—well, it’s not me that’s failing to respond. It’s my electrified and copacetic brain.

Why 80% of Us Are Deficient In Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed because it does not show up in blood tests – only 1% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the blood.

Most doctors and laboratories don’t even include magnesium status in routine blood tests. Thus, most doctors don’t know when their patients are deficient in magnesium, even though studies show that the majority of Americans are deficient in magnesium.

Consider Dr. Norman Shealy’s statements, “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency” and that, “magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body. A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient.” The truth he states exposes a gapping hole in modern medicine that explains a good deal about iatrogenic death and disease. Because magnesium deficiency is largely overlooked, millions of Americans suffer needlessly or are having their symptoms treated with expensive drugs when they could be cured with magnesium supplementation.

One has to recognize the signs of magnesium thirst or hunger on their own since allopathic medicine is lost in this regard. It is really something much more subtle then hunger or thirst but it is comparable. In a world though where doctors and patients alike do not even pay attention to thirst and important issues of hydration, it is not hopeful that we will find many recognizing and paying attention to magnesium thirst and hunger, which is a dramatic way of expressing the concept of magnesium deficiency.

Few people are aware of the enormous role magnesium plays in our bodies. Magnesium is by far the most important mineral in the body. After oxygen, water, and basic food, magnesium may be the most important element needed by our bodies; vitally important, yet hardly known. It is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three of them. Millions suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it

In fact, there happens to be a relationship between what we perceive as thirst and deficiencies in electrolytes. I remember a person asking, “Why am I dehydrated and thirsty when I drink so much water?” Thirst can mean not only lack of water but it can also mean that one is not getting enough nutrients and electrolytes. Magnesium, Potassium, Bicarbonate, Chloride and Sodium are some principle examples and that is one of the reasons magnesium chloride is so useful.

A man with magnesium deficiency
Magnesium Torment (Deficiency)

You know all those years, when doctors used to tell their patients ‘its all in your heads,’ were years the medical profession was showing its ignorance. It is a torment to be magnesium deficient on one level or another. Even if it’s for the enthusiastic sport person whose athletic performance is down, magnesium deficiency will disturb sleep and background stress levels and a host of other things that reflect on the quality of life. Doctors have not been using the appropriate test for magnesium – their serum blood tests just distort their perceptions. Magnesium has been off their radar screens through the decades that magnesium deficiencies have snowballed.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

The first symptoms of deficiency can be subtle – as most magnesium is stored in the tissues, leg cramps, foot pain, or muscle ‘twitches’ can be the first sign. Other early signs of deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur.

A full outline of magnesium deficiency was beautifully presented in a recent article by Dr. Sidney Baker. “Magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every organ system of the body. With regard to skeletal muscle, one may experience twitches, cramps, muscle tension, muscle soreness, including back aches, neck pain, tension headaches and jaw joint (or TMJ) dysfunction. Also, one may experience chest tightness or a peculiar sensation that he can’t take a deep breath. Sometimes a person may sigh a lot.”

“Symptoms involving impaired contraction of smooth muscles include constipation; urinary spasms; menstrual cramps; difficulty swallowing or a lump in the throat-especially provoked by eating sugar; photophobia, especially difficulty adjusting to oncoming bright headlights in the absence of eye disease; and loud noise sensitivity from stapedius muscle tension in the ear.”

“Other symptoms and signs of magnesium deficiency and discuss laboratory testing for this common condition. Continuing with the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, the central nervous system is markedly affected. Symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity and restlessness with constant movement, panic attacks, agoraphobia, and premenstrual irritability. Magnesium deficiency symptoms involving the peripheral nervous system include numbness, tingling, and other abnormal sensations, such as zips, zaps and vibratory sensations.”

“Symptoms or signs of the cardiovascular system include palpitations, heart arrhythmias, and angina due to spasms of the coronary arteries, high blood pressure and mitral valve prolapse. Be aware that not all of the symptoms need to be present to presume magnesium deficiency; but, many of them often occur together. For example, people with mitral valve prolapse frequently have palpitations, anxiety, panic attacks and premenstrual symptoms. People with magnesium deficiency often seem to be “uptight.” Other general symptoms include a salt craving, both carbohydrate craving and carbohydrate intolerance, especially of chocolate, and breast tenderness.”

Magnesium is needed by every cell in the body including those of the brain. It is one of the most important minerals when considering supplementation because of its vital role in hundreds of enzyme systems and functions related to reactions in cell metabolism, as well as being essential for the synthesis of proteins, for the utilization of fats and carbohydrates. Magnesium is needed not only for the production of specific detoxification enzymes but is also important for energy production related to cell detoxification. A magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every system of the body.

Water rich in magnesium can prevent magnesium deficiency
Like water we need magnesium everyday. There is an
eternal need for magnesium as well as water and when
magnesium is present in water life and health are enhanced.

One of the principle reason doctors write millions of prescriptions for tranquilizers each year is the nervousness, irritability, and jitters largely brought on by inadequate diets lacking magnesium. Persons only slightly deficient in magnesium become irritable, highly-strung, and sensitive to noise, hyper-excitable, apprehensive and belligerent. If the deficiency is more severe or prolonged, they may develop twitching, tremors, irregular pulse, insomnia, muscle weakness, jerkiness and leg and foot cramps.

If magnesium is severely deficient, the brain is particularly affected. Clouded thinking, confusion, disorientation, marked depression and even the terrifying hallucinations of delirium tremens are largely brought on by a lack of this nutrient and remedied when magnesium is given. Because large amounts of calcium are lost in the urine when magnesium is under supplied, the lack of this nutrient indirectly becomes responsible for much rampant tooth decay, poor bone development,osteoporosis and slow healing of broken bones and fractures. With vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), magnesium helps to reduce and dissolve calcium phosphate kidney stones.

Magnesium deficiency may be a common factor associated with insulin resistance. Symptoms of MS that are also symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle spasms, weakness, twitching, muscle atrophy,  an inability to control the bladder, nystagmus (rapid eye movements), hearing loss, and osteoporosis.  People with MS have higher rates of epilepsy than controls.  Epilepsy has also been linked to magnesium deficiencies.[1]

Another good list of early warning symptoms suggestive of magnesium insufficiency:

  • Physical and mental fatigue
  • Persistent under-eye twitch
  • Tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck
  • Headaches
  • Pre-menstrual fluid retention and/or breast tenderness

Possible manifestations of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Low energy
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiousness
  • Irritability
  • Seizures (and tantrums)
  • Poor digestion
  • PMS and hormonal imbalances
  • Inability to sleep
  • Muscle tension, spasm and cramps
  • Calcification of organs
  • Weakening of the bones
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

Severe magnesium deficiency can result in low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia). Magnesium deficiency is also associated with low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia). Magnesium levels drop at night, leading to poor REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycles and unrefreshed sleep. Headaches, blurred vision, mouth ulcers, fatigue and anxiety are also early signs of depletion.


We hear all the time about how heart disease is the number one health crisis in the country, about how high blood pressure is the “silent killer”, and about how ever increasing numbers of our citizens are having their lives and the lives of their families destroyed by diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and a host of other chronic diseases.

Signs of severe magnesium deficiency include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Sores or bruises that heal slowly
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurry vision that changes from day to day
  • Unusual tiredness or drowsiness
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Frequent or recurring skin, gum, bladder or vaginal yeast infections

But wait a minute, aren’t those the same symptoms for diabetes? Many people have diabetes for about 5 years before they show strong symptoms. By that time, some people already have eye, kidney, gum or nerve damage caused by the deteriorating condition of their cells due to insulin resistance and magnesium deficiency. Dump some mercury and arsenic on the mixture of etiologies and pronto we have the disease condition we call diabetes.

Magnesium deficiency is synonymous with diabetes and is at the root of many if not all cardiovascular problems.

Magnesium deficiency is a predictor of diabetes and heart disease both; diabetics both need more magnesium and lose more magnesium than most people. In two new studies, in both men and women, those who consumed the most magnesium in their diet were least likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a report in the January 2006 issue of the journal Diabetes Care. Until now, very few large studies have directly examined the long-term effects of dietary magnesium on diabetes. Dr. Simin Liu of the Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health in Boston says, “Our studies provided some direct evidence that greater intake of dietary magnesium may have a long-term protective effect on lowering risk,” said Liu, who was involved in both studies.

The thirst of diabetes is part of the body’s response to excessive urination. The excessive urination is the body’s attempt to get rid of the extra glucose in the blood. This excessive urination causes the increased thirst. But we have to look at what is causing this level of disharmony. We have to probe deeper into layers of cause. The body needs to dump glucose because of increasing insulin resistance and that resistance is being fueled directly by magnesium deficiency, which makes toxic insults more damaging to the tissues at the same time.

When diabetics get too high blood sugars, the body creates “ketones” as a by-product of breaking down fats. These ketones cause blood acidity which causes “acidosis” of the blood, leading to Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), This is a very dangerous condition that can lead to coma and death. It is also called “diabetic acidosis”, “ketosis”, “ketoacidosis” or “diabetic coma”. DKA is a common way for new Type 1 diabetics to be diagnosed. If they fail to seek medical advice on symptoms like urination, which is driving thirst they can die of DKA.

Oral magnesium supplements reduce erythrocyte[2] dehydration.[3] In general, optimal balances of electrolytes are necessary to maintain the best possible hydration. Diabetic thirst is initiated specifically by magnesium deficiency with relative calcium excess in the cells. Even water, our most basic nutrient starts having a hard time getting into the cells with more going out through the kidneys.

Autism and Magnesium Deficiency

When dealing with autism spectrum and other neurological disorders in children it is important to know the signs of low magnesium: restless, can’t keep still, body rocking, grinding teeth, hiccups, noise sensitive, poor attention span, poor concentration, irritable, aggressive, ready to explode, easily stressed. When it comes to children today we need to assume a large magnesium deficiency for several reasons.

1) The foods they are eating are stripped of magnesium because foods in general, as we shall see below are declining in mineral content in an alarming way.

2) The foods many children eat are highly processed junk foods that do not provide real nutrition to the body.

3) Because most children on the spectrum are not absorbing the minerals they need even when present in the gut. Magnesium absorption is dependent on intestinal health, which is compromised totally in leaky gut syndromes and other intestinal problems that the majority of autism syndrome disorders.

4) Because the oral supplements doctors rely on are not easily absorbed, because they are not in the right form and because magnesium in general is not administered easily orally.

Modern medicine is supposed to help people not hurt them, but with their almost total ignorance of magnesium doctors end up hurting more than they help for many of the medical interventions drive down magnesium levels when they should be driving them up. Many if not most pharmaceutical drugs drive magnesium levels into very dangerous zones and surgery done without increasing magnesium levels is much more dangerous then surgery done with.

The foundation of medical arrogance is actually medical ignorance and the only reason ignorance and arrogance rule the playing field of medicine is a greed lust for power and money. Human nature seems to be at its worst in modern medicine when it should be at its best. It is sad that people have to suffer needlessly and extraordinarily tragic that allopathic medicine has turned its back on the Hippocratic Oath and all that it means.

Computing at the speed of light: Team takes big step toward much faster computers

Computing at the speed of light
The overhead view of a new beamsplitter for silicon photonics chips that is the size of one-fiftieth the width of a human hair. 

University of Utah engineers have taken a step forward in creating the next generation of computers and mobile devices capable of speeds millions of times faster than current machines.

The Utah engineers have developed an ultracompact beamsplitter—the smallest on record—for dividing light waves into two separate channels of information. The device brings researchers closer to producing silicon photonic chips that compute and shuttle data with light instead of electrons. Electrical and computer engineering associate professor Rajesh Menon and colleagues describe their invention today in the journal Nature Photonics.

Silicon photonics could significantly increase the power and speed of machines such as supercomputers, data center servers and the specialized computers that direct autonomous cars and drones with collision detection. Eventually, the technology could reach home computers and mobile devices and improve applications from gaming to video streaming.

“Light is the fastest thing you can use to transmit information,” says Menon. “But that information has to be converted to electrons when it comes into your laptop. In that conversion, you’re slowing things down. The vision is to do everything in light.”

Photons of light carry information over the Internet through fiber-optic networks. But once a data stream reaches a home or office destination, the photons of light must be converted to electrons before a router or computer can handle the information. That bottleneck could be eliminated if the data stream remained as light within computer processors.

“With all light, computing can eventually be millions of times faster,” says Menon.

Computing at the speed of light
To help do that, the U engineers created a much smaller form of a polarization beamsplitter (which looks somewhat like a barcode) on top of a silicon chip that can split guided incoming into its two components. Before, such a beamsplitter was over 100 by 100 microns. Thanks to a new algorithm for designing the splitter, Menon’s team has shrunk it to 2.4 by 2.4 microns, or one-fiftieth the width of a human hair and close to the limit of what is physically possible.

The beamsplitter would be just one of a multitude of passive devices placed on a silicon chip to direct in different ways. By shrinking them down in size, researchers will be able to cram millions of these devices on a single chip.

Potential advantages go beyond processing speed. The Utah team’s design would be cheap to produce because it uses existing fabrication techniques for creating . And because photonic chips shuttle photons instead of electrons, mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets built with this technology would consume less power, have longer battery life and generate less heat than existing .

The first supercomputers using —already under development at companies such as Intel and IBM—will use hybrid processors that remain partly electronic. Menon believes his beamsplitter could be used in those computers in about three years. Data centers that require faster connections between computers also could implement the technology soon, he says.

Population benefits of sexual selection explain the existence of males .

The research team evolved Tribolium flour beetles over 10 years.

New research from the University of East Anglia shows that an evolutionary force known as ‘sexual selection’ can explain the persistence of sex as a dominant mechanism for reproducing offspring.

Biologists have long puzzled about how evolutionary selection, known for its ruthless requirement for efficiency, allows the existence of males — when in so many species their only contribution to reproduction are spermatozoa.

But research published today in Nature shows that sexual selection — when males compete and females choose over reproduction — improves population health and protects against extinction, even in the face of genetic stress from high levels of inbreeding.

The findings help explain why sex persists as a dominant mechanism for reproducing offspring.

Lead researcher Prof Matt Gage, from UEA’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “Sexual selection was Darwin’s second great idea, explaining the evolution of a fascinating array of sights, sounds and smells that help in the struggle to reproduce — sometimes at the expense of survival.

“Sexual selection operates when males compete for reproduction and females choose, and the existence of two different sexes encourages these processes. It ultimately dictates who gets to reproduce their genes into the next generation — so it’s a widespread and very powerful evolutionary force.

“Almost all multicellular species on earth reproduce using sex, but its existence isn’t easy to explain because sex carries big burdens, the most obvious of which is that only half of your offspring — daughters — will actually produce offspring. Why should any species waste all that effort on sons?

“We wanted to understand how Darwinian selection can allow this widespread and seemingly wasteful reproductive system to persist, when a system where all individuals produce offspring without sex — as in all-female asexual populations — would be a far more effective route to reproduce greater numbers of offspring.

“Our research shows that competition among males for reproduction provides a really important benefit, because it improves the genetic health of populations. Sexual selection achieves this by acting as a filter to remove harmful genetic mutations, helping populations to flourish and avoid extinction in the long-term.”

To uncover this role of sexual selection, the research team evolved Tribolium flour beetles over 10 years under controlled conditions in the laboratory, where the only difference between populations was the intensity of sexual selection during each adult reproductive stage.

The strength of sexual selection ranged from intense competition and choice where 90 males competed for reproduction with only 10 females, through to the complete absence of sexual selection, with only single males and females in monogamous pairings, where females got no choice and males experienced no competition.

After seven years of reproduction under these conditions, representing about 50 generations, the study exposed the underlying genetic health of the resulting populations. The team used experimental inbreeding to reveal the relative amount of deleterious mutations that lay hidden in each population.

They found that populations that had previously experienced strong sexual selection maintained higher fitness and were resilient to extinction in the face of inbreeding — with some populations surviving even after 20 inbreeding generations where a brother was mated with a sister in each generation.

However populations that had experienced weak or non-existent sexual selection showed more rapid declines in health under inbreeding — and all went extinct by the 10th generation.

Prof Gage said: “These results show that sexual selection is important for population health and persistence, because it helps to purge negative and maintain positive genetic variation in a population.

“To be good at out-competing rivals and attracting partners in the struggle to reproduce, an individual has to be good at most things, so sexual selection provides an important and effective filter to maintain and improve population genetic health.

“Our findings provide direct support for the idea that sex persists as a dominant mode of reproduction because it allows sexual selection to provide these important genetic benefits.

“In the absence of sex, populations accumulate deleterious mutations through a ratcheting effect where each new mutation takes a population closer to extinction. Sexual selection helps to remove those mutations, enabling populations to persist against the threat of extinction.

“Our monogamous treatment, for example, where there was no sexual selection for 50 generations, resulted in a lower level of population health and rapid extinction when populations were challenged by inbreeding. All the populations derived from monogamous histories became extinct after just eight generations.

“By contrast, populations derived from the same ancestors and identical apart from having the opportunity for male competition and female choice at each adult stage, maintained population health and avoided extinction, with some family lines still reproducing happily even after 20 generations of inbreeding.”

This research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust and the University of East Anglia.

CDC exposed as for-profit corporation colluding with Big Pharma to corrupt government .

If it often seems like America’s “civil servants” and public officials no longer work for us, the people, it’s because they don’t. The government today, both locally and federally, has been hijacked and turned into a private corporation, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is definitively nothing more than a for-profit business perpetuating both its own continued existence and the corporate agendas of its puppet masters.


Just to be clear, this isn’t just some tongue-in-cheek rant expressing dissatisfaction with government “incompetence,” or with the actions of the current political party “in charge” — it’s an undeniable fact that inevitably leads us all much further down the rabbit hole, and a truth that more Americans need to understand for the purpose of learning how to both escape from the clutches of Government Inc. and ultimately shut it down.

Certain parasitic entities, you see, have infiltrated our once-free Republic and turned it into a military-industrial fascist state that serves private interests. And you, American, if you don’t learn how to “opt out” of this evil system, are a willing participant in your own tyranny, whether you realize it or not. Though it might sound complicated, it’s really quite simple: The “government” that essentially rules over Americans today is an illegal, private corporation that has supplanted our real government, which once acted on behalf of the people to protect their interests and freedoms from the type of tyranny that, ironically, has taken over America from within.

CDC listed in Dun & Bradstreet as for-profit corporation that, by default, works against the public interest

Concerning the CDC, this supposed “public health” agency is admittedly a for-profit corporation, as evidenced by its inclusion in the official Dun & Bradstreet database. As you’ll see, the CDC has a corporate headquarters and multiple “branch” locations, just like Walmart, Monsanto and every other corporation out there trying to make money.

The CDC is also directly aligned with the pharmaceutical industry, working lockstep with these purveyors of deadly drugs and vaccines to push for-profit poisons on the masses. Whether it’s protecting the official narrative — vaccines are safe and effective! — or influencing politicians to support the latest drugs and vaccines, the CDC is always there to act as a trustee, if you will, for the multi-national drug and vaccine cartels.

This isn’t an accident, of course, as the CDC’s very existence is predicated on its loyalty to industry over the people. Part of the American “shadow government,” the CDC has never been about protecting public health or supporting the public interest, but rather perpetrating medical tyranny and every bit of propaganda, “research” and political influence necessary to keep Medical Corp. alive and the profits flowing.

More on this is available through the AntiCorruption Society website:

The United States Corporation, which includes the CDC, does not operate under constitutional law: We’ve all been scammed!

When you truly understand how this entire corrupt system really works, it only makes sense why the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and many other “government” agencies are constantly promoting vaccines, pharma pills and other forms of deadly quackery as being “good” for the masses, while at the same time targeting raw milk, cannabis and other natural healing agents as “bad.” These agencies are not, nor have they ever been, held accountable to the people; the top dogs in charge are free to hire whomever they wish without scrutiny; and all of them are literally corporations that are perpetrating their own corporate rules on the people, without our consent, through undisclosed civil contracts.

The AntiCorruption Society has compiled several important resources, including one document on The Clearfield Doctrine,[PDF] and another on how our government was corporatized that explain in further detail the scam that is USA Corp., its private Federal Reserve and the multiple three- and four-letter agencies that have stolen away our freedoms.

“The corporatization of our governments (which started long ago) changed the role in government our elected officials play,” explains an eye-opening piece by Parents Against Mandatory Vaccines entitled “Our Government is a Corporation.”

This key document delineates how governments, both local and federal, have been hijacked and turned into corporations that enforce fictitious laws against fictitious “people” — you and I, under duress — who never actually consented to what in essence are private legal contracts with these private corporate entities posing as government authorities.

“Once they take office [politicians], they no longer represent the folks who voted for them, but become trustees (or employees) of the federal, state, or local corporations. This scam has been going on a long time, but we feel the results of it more each year. … This is because we are primarily living under admiralty, maritime or business ‘contract’ law not Common Law or Constitutional Law.”

More on this, and the illegitimacy of vaccine “mandates,” which are directly tied to this scam, is available here:

Sources for this article include:[PDF]

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Scientists Crack A 50-Year-Old Mystery About The Measles Vaccine

Worth a little pain? Back in 1990, a school boy got a measles shot in the U.K., and it turns out, he got more than protection against the measles.

Worth a little pain? Back in 1990, a school boy got a measles shot in the U.K., and it turns out, he got more than protection against the measles.

Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images

Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

“In some developing countries, where infectious diseases are very high, the reduction in mortality has been up to 80 percent,” says Michael Mina, a postdoc in biology at Princeton University and a medical student at Emory University.

“So it’s really been a mystery — why do children stop dying at such high rates from all these different infections following introduction of the measles vaccine,” he says.

Mina and his colleagues think they now might have an explanation. And theypublished their evidence Thursday in the journal Science.

But Mina and his colleagues have found there’s more going on than that simple answer.

The team obtained epidemiological data from the U.S., Denmark, Wales and England dating back to the 1940s. Using computer models, they found that the number of measles cases in these countries predicted the number of deaths from other infections two to three years later.

“We found measles predisposes children to all other infectious diseases for up to a few years,” Mina says.

And the virus seems to do it in a sneaky way.

So what does that mean? Well, say you get the chicken pox when you’re 4 years old. Your immune system figures out how to fight it. So you don’t get it again. But if you get measles when you’re 5 years old, it could wipe out the memory of how to beat back the chicken pox. It’s like the immune system has amnesia, Mina says.

“The immune system kind of comes back. The only problem is that it has forgotten what it once knew,” he says.

So after an infection, a child’s immune system has to almost start over, rebuilding its immune protection against diseases it has already seen before.

This idea of “immune amnesia” is still just a hypothesis and needs more testing, says epidemiologist William Moss, who has studied the measles vaccine for more than a decade at Johns Hopkins University.

But the new study, he says, provides “compelling evidence” that measles affects the immune system for two to three years. That’s much longer than previously thought.

“Hence the reduction in overall child mortality that follows measles vaccination is much greater than previously believed,” says Moss, who wasn’t involved in the study.

That finding should give parents more motivation to vaccinate their kids, he says. “I think this paper will provide additional evidence — if it’s needed — of the public health benefits of measles vaccine,” Moss says. “That’s an important message in the U.S. right now and in countries continuing to see measles outbreaks.”

Because if the world can eliminate measles, it will help protect kids from many other infections, too.

High salt intake may delay puberty .

Rats fed a high salt diet (equivalent to 3 or 4 times the recommended daily allowance for humans) had a significant delay in reaching puberty compared to those fed a normal (low) salt diet. Interestingly, rats that had salt completely excluded from their diet also had delayed puberty.

High salt diets may delay puberty according to a study presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Dublin. As the salt content of Western diets continues to increase these findings could have significant consequences for the reproductive health of future generations.

Researchers from University of Wyoming, USA led by Ms Dori Pitynski are investigating the effect of varying levels of dietary salt on the onset of puberty in rats. They found that rats fed a high salt diet (equivalent to 3 or 4 times the recommended daily allowance for humans) had a significant delay in reaching puberty compared to those fed a normal (low) salt diet. Interestingly, rats that had salt completely excluded from their diet also had delayed puberty.
Ms Pitynski and colleagues concluded that salt intake is necessary for onset of puberty but that excesses can affect reproductive health. Late onset of puberty can lead to behavioural problems, stress and reduced fertility.

To date, while work has been done on the effect of varying levels of dietary fats on puberty, nobody has yet looked at the effect of dietary salts. “Our work shows that high levels of fat and salt have opposite effects reproductive health” said Ms Pitynski. “High fat diet is thought to accelerate the onset of puberty but our work demonstrates that rats fed a high salt diet even with a high fat diet will still show a delay in puberty onset.”

Ms Pitynski, “our research highlights for the first time that the salt content of a diet has a more significant effect on reproductive health than the fat content.”

Recent guidelines from WHO state that populations around the world are consuming much more salt than is physiologically necessary, and certainly more that the WHO recommended daily allowance of 5 g of salt per day for adults.

Sodium is found naturally in a variety of foods, including milk, cream and eggs. It is also found, in much higher amounts, in processed foods, such as bread, processed meats like bacon, snack foods as well as in condiments such as soy sauce and stock cubes; which are becoming more prevalent in the Western diet. “Current salt-loading in Western populations has the potential to drastically affect reproductive health, and warrants further attention” said Ms Pitynski.

The Dirty Truth About Antibacterial Soaps

According to a new study by University of California researchers published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the active chemical in most antibacterial soaps, triclosan (which gives most antibacterial soaps and hygiene products their antibacterial properties), causes liver fibrosis and promotes cancerous liver tumors.

What they found: Lab mice that were fed steady levels of tricloasan for six months developed serious liver issues, possibly by gumming up the processes by which the liver normally filters out toxins. What’s worse, the researchers believe that it would probably do the same kind of damage to humans.

“Although animal studies require higher chemical concentrations than predicted for human exposure, this study demonstrates that [triclosan] acts as a … tumor promoter and that the mechanism of [triclosan]-induced mouse liver pathology may be relevant to humans,” the study concludes.

The Dirty Truth About Antibacterial Soaps

Developed for use in hospitals in the 1970s, triclosan has become nearly ubiquitous, a popular additive in soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, mouthwash, cleaning supplies, and even kitchen tools and children’s toys. But in the past decade, some studies have questioned its effectiveness (one 2007 study found that triclosan antibacterial soap is no more effective at killing bacteria than regular soap) while others have raised alarms about triclosan seeping into tap water and mothers’ breast milk. It’s been found to harm waterborne life and interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system, the thyroid, and testosterone. Because of all the questions about the value of the triclosan soaps, the FDA has given manufacturers until next year to prove they do more good than harm . Until then, the researchers suggest washing thoroughly for 20 seconds or more with plain old soap and water.

“We don’t see a little bit of tumors,” study author Robert Tukey tells ABC News about his findings on soaps containing triclosan. “We see very full-blown tumorigenesis. It’s on the extreme end of a tumor promoter, and it does it very rapidly.”