The Spooky Effects of Sleep Deprivation

It’s no surprise that a night without enough Zzzs can lead to a groggy morning.  But bleary eyes and gaping yawns aren’t the only things that can happen when your body needs more shut-eye.

Indeed, there are more nightmarish side effects to sleep deprivation.

If a person is deprived of sleep, it can lead to “tremendous emotional problems,” said Dr. Steven Feinsilver, the director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. “Sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture,” he said.

There isn’t a clear definition of exactly how long a person must go without sleep, or how little sleep a person has to get to be considered sleep-deprived, and different people need different amounts of sleep, so there may be no universal definition of “sleep deprivation.” Rather, a person is considered sleep-deprived if they get less sleep than they need to feel awake and alert, researchers say.

But still, research over the years has shown that people can be physically and psychologically damaged from not getting enough sleep, said David Dinges, a professor of psychology and the director of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.

In fact, the damage is so apparent that it is unethical to coercively deprive someone of sleep, Dinges said. In the studies of sleep deprivation that Dinges and his colleagues conduct in their lab, healthy volunteers are placed in medically safe environments and constantly monitored.

But studying sleep deprivation is important, according to these researchers and others who study the condition. They say that learning what happens in people who are deprived of sleep can help researchers better understand the function of sleep and its importance for both physical and emotional health.

Emotions askew

The problems can start on a somewhat minor scale.

“Clearly, your brain doesn’t work very well when you’re sleep-deprived,” Feinsilver said. Even a low level of sleep deprivation has an impact on cognitive and emotional function, he said.

Dinges explained that some of the first emotional impacts of sleep deprivation involve positive emotions. “When people get sleep-deprived, they don’t show positive emotion in their faces,” Dinges said. A sleep-deprived person may say they’re happy, but they still have a neutral face, he said.

And they won’t recognize other people as happy, either. A positive look on someone’s face can appear neutral to a sleep-deprived person, and neutral look is often interpreted as a negative look, Dinges said. The sleep-deprived brain may not be as capable of detecting positive emotions as a more rested brain, he said.

And sleep-deprived people also don’t tolerate disappointment very well, Dinges added.


As little as a single night of sleep deprivation can result in a person having a phenomenon called “microsleeps,” the next day, Feinsilver said.

A person begins to fall into mini-snooze sessions, which last up to 30 seconds. Some people’s eyes remain open during microsleeps, but the disturbing thing about microsleeps is that during sleep, the person is essentially blind, even if their eyes are open, Feinsilver said. They’re not processing information, he said.

Studies show that during microsleeps, the brain goes into a sleep state rapidly and uncontrollably, Dinges said. People can force themselves awake, but they will soon fall into another microsleep, he said.

Both Dinges and Feinsilver said that this condition can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you’re behind the wheel.


People often say they feel loopy after a night of no sleep. But in more extreme cases, losing sleep may cause delirium.

True delirium occurs when a person becomes completely disoriented, Feinsilver said. “Sleep can play a role in that,” he said. [5 Things You Must Know About Sleep]

Patients who have been hospitalized in intensive care units — where lights and sounds may continue all day and night — can develop a condition that doctors call “ICU delirium,” he said. And while it’s unclear if sleep deprivation is the cause of this delirium, doctors do think that loss of sleep is one reason people  in the hospital for extended periods develop bizarre behavior, he said.

The worst thing you can do for sleep is put someone is a hospital, Feinsilver added. It’s fairly common for for hospitalized patients to develop insomnia, he said.


Seeing things that aren’t there can be a side effect of chronic sleep deprivation, but whether sleep deprivations can induce true hallucinations may be up for debate.

Feinsilver said he personally experienced hallucinations due to sleep deprivation, in October of his first year out of medical school. A newly minted medical resident, Feinsilver said he had been chronically sleep-deprived for several months.

“I [knew] it was October, because I was in the ICU after a night on call,” and there was pumpkin by the nurses’ station, he said. “I had a very vivid feeling of the pumpkin talking to me,” he said.

But Dinges was more skeptical about hallucinations.

“There’s no question that misperceptions can occur,” Dinges said. When people are very sleepy and performing a task, they may see something flicker in their peripheral vision, or they may think they see blinking lights, but not be sure, he said. All of these are indications that the brain isn’t interpreting information clearly, he said.

Can you die of sleep deprivation?

In a famous series of animal experiments, researcher found that total sleep deprivation could kill lab rats.

In 2012, a Chinese man reportedly died after going 11 days without sleep.  However, it’s unlikely that lack of sleep alone caused his death (other factors likely played a role, such as drinking and smoking).

Of course, studying this phenomenon in humans is difficult – even when you put aside the clear ethical dilemmas.

“Can you die of sleep deprivation? It’s not easy,” Feinsilver said. “Because you’ll fall asleep,” he added.

Dinges agreed.

“I don’t believe that people can keep themselves awake until they succumb to death,” because the drive to sleep turns on, and then continues to turn on, he said. “You can’t will yourself to stay awake that long,” he said.

Still, there’s no question that sleep deprivation has “serious adverse health effects,” Dinges said.

“Everything we know about sleep loss is harmful,” he said. But — on a more positive note — most of the effects of sleep deprivation dissipate after you sleep, he added.

Cells Can’t Divide And Invade At The Same Time.

A protozoan in a late stage of cell division


Just like the X-Men, mutations endow cancer cells with unique abilities that normal, healthy cells just don’t have. For example, cancer cells, unlike normal ones, can invade other cells, causing the disease to metastasize to new tissues in the body and put the patient’s life further at risk. But the mechanism by which cancer cells are able to both multiply and invade new cells has been poorly understood, as scientists have been unable to find cells performing both those tasks simultaneously in a living organism. Now, researchers have found that cancer cells might divide and conquer at totally different stages of their development. According to a new study published today inDevelopmental Cell, researchers found that, at least in nematodes, cells that are dividing can’t also take over new cells–a discovery that could give researchers a new way to treat cancer by targeting the cells that are most likely to invade healthy cells.

Though a nematode doesn’t look much like a human, the two species have enough biological similarities that scientists often use nematodes to better understand human physiology. In this study, the researchers looked at the nematode’s anchor cell, which connects the worm’s uterus to its egg laying-structure during an essential stage in a nematode’s normal development. “That’s interesting because this process of connection involves an anchor cell invading through another cell’s basement [outside] membrane, which gives us a model for understanding cells’ invasive behavior,” says David Matus, a professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Stony Brook University and one of the study authors.

The researchers wanted to know which of the nematode’s genes made this process happen, so they tested about 850 of them and tried turning them off and on. One in particular acted like a particularly potent switch—normally, it’s turned on, which allows the anchor cell to invade another cell. But when the researchers turned it off, the anchor cell couldn’t break through the cell membrane. Instead, it divided and reproduced.

This is the first time that scientists have observed division and invasion as distinct, separate processes that can’t occur simultaneously. “We think of cancer as uncontrolled cell growth or division,” Matus says. “The idea that during metastasis, when cells form a tumor, and have to turn off cell division before they start to travel elsewhere, that’s not something that has been tested. [Scientists] have seen and made these observations in different ways in cancer, but no one has ever put the two together.” In nematodes, he adds, it can finally be tested.

These conclusions may mean that cancer treatments, many of which currently target rapidly dividing cells, could investigate the unique qualities of these invasive cells. If treatments could pinpoint those cells, they could slow or prevent metastasis, a process that makes a cancer significantly more deadly. “Our study gives one new avenue [to develop new] cancer treatments, allowing researchers to take advantage of the fact that the cells are not dividing and figure out what’s special about that,” Matus says.

A $1,000,000 Reward for Scientific Proof of HIV

The pH Miracle Living Foundation in cooperation with Alive & Well will present a cash award of $500,000 to the first person to locate a study that provides us with missing evidence about the accuracy of HIV tests, and in celebration of this important finding, will donate an additional $500,000 to Heifer International, a unique charity working to end hunger in the developing world using a holistic approach to building sustainable communities.

The missing evidence we’re looking for is a study published in a peer-reviewed medical journal that shows the validation of any HIV test by the direct isolation of the HIV virus from the fresh, uncultured fluids or tissues of positive testing persons.

Since no HIV test directly detects HIV itself, and since the tests currently used to diagnose HIV infection rely on surrogate markers such as antibodies or genetic material, a study should exist somewhere in the published medical literature which shows that at least one type of surrogate test for HIV has been validated for accuracy by the direct isolation of HIV itself from people who test antibody, RNA or DNA positive.

The $1,000,000 offered through The pH Miracle Living Foundation and Alive & Well Foundation will be paid by four anonymous donors committed to the possibility of integrity in AIDS science and to creating a world in which no one goes hungry. Award funds will be disbursed within 30 days of presentation of the required evidence as described above.

For each month the award remains uncollected, pH Miracle Living Foundation founders Dr. Robert and Shelley Young, will make a personal donation to Heifer International( whose work resolves the most prevalent cause of disease and death in Africa: poverty and malnutrition – not AIDS!

The Fact Finder Award expires on April 23, 2009, the 25-year anniversary of the historic announcement by the US Department of Health and Human Services that HIV had been found.Potential participants should note that detection of other surrogate markers not mentioned in this text (reverse transcriptase, p24, etc) or the presence of retrovirus-like particles in co-culture do not substitute for evidence of direct isolation of HIV from fresh, uncultured fluids or tissues.

Can a study that validates HIV tests really be missing from the medical literature?

That’s what we want to find out. It’s been 23 years since the discovery of HIV and the development and marketing of the HIV antibody test, yet it appears that no study ever validated HIV tests by the direct isolation of HIV from persons who test positive or have a viral load.

As far as we can tell, the accuracy of the HIV antibody tests used around the world to claim that someone is infected with HIV has never been properly established. Further, there’s no information in the published medical literature showing how many positive tests occur in the absence of infection with HIV.

What would a validation study prove?

The accuracy of an antibody or other surrogate test for a virus can only be established by verifying that positive results are found only in people who actually have the virus. This standard for determining accuracy was not met in 1984 when the first HIV antibody test was developed. To this day, positive HIV antibody screening tests (ELISAs) are verified by a second antibody test of unknown accuracy (HIV Western Blots) or by viral load, another unvalidated test.

A validation study would prove the ethical and scientific basis for the practice of telling people who test antibody, DNA or RNA positive that they are infected with HIV. Without evidence of validation by direct isolation of the virus, a diagnosis of HIV infection rests on unverified beliefs and unfounded assumptions.

Is a validation study worth $1,000,000?

To us, $1,000,000 is a small price to pay for scientific validation that HIV tests give positive results only to people who actually have the virus.

Current HIV tests signal the presence of antibodies that react with an assortment of proteins associated with HIV, however, none of these proteins, are unique or specific to HIV. Without a validation study, no honest, well-informed doctor can say with any degree of certainty that someone who tests positive actually has the virus.

Why can’t viral load tests be used to validate HIV antibody tests? Like HIV antibody tests, viral load tests are not able to directly detect HIV itself. Instead, these tests detect only fragments of genetic material (DNA or RNA) associated with HIV. To date, we have not found a study showing that the DNA or RNA attributed to HIV is found only in people who are actually infected with HIV using direct isolation as a gold standard to determine true infection.

In fact, viral load tests carry disclaimers stating they are not intended to be used as a screening test for HIV or as a diagnostic to confirm the presence of HIV infection (Roche Amplicor viral load test).

Why isn’t an antibody test that’s verified by another antibody test good enough to say someone is infected with HIV?

The rationale for the use of antibody tests is that the immune system has the ability to detect foreign agents or viruses and to respond by producing antibodies that react with those agents or viruses. However, this rationale does not work in reverse. That is, the observation of an antibody reaction with a particular agent or virus does not prove that the antibody was produced in response to that particular agent or virus.

The problem with using antibodies alone to indicate infection with a particular agent or virus is that antibodies engage in indiscriminate relationships with a variety of agents or viruses. One could say that antibodies are promiscuous, that is, antibodies meant for one agent or virus may react with another agent or virus that is a perfect stranger. Or, to put it technically, there is ample evidence that antibody molecules, even the most pure (monoclonal antibodies) are not mono-specific, and that they cross-react with other, non-immunizing antigens.

What does all this mean?

What this means is that people do not necessarily have the virus that their antibodies may appear to suggest they have. Here are some examples of how misleading antibody tests can be:

1) People can have positive antibody responses to certain laboratory chemicals, but this does not mean they are infected with laboratory chemicals.

2) People vaccinated for polio will test positive for antibodies to polio even though they don’t have polio.

3) People exposed to TB will test antibody positive for TB but this does not necessarily mean they are currently infected with TB.

4) The test for glandular fever measures antibody response to red blood cells of sheep and horses, but a positive test does not mean that someone is infected with sheep or horse blood, or that animal blood causes glandular fever.

5) People who are highly acidic with high titers of candida albicans can have positive antibody responses.From these few examples, we understand why antibody response alone cannot determine if someone is infected with a particular virus.

What’s the solution to the problems with HIV antibody tests?

Since antibody reactions can come from more than one possible cause, scientists need more information before they can claim that an antibody reaction alone means a person is actually infected with a particular virus or whether or not a virus can cause any disease. Long before the HIV test was introduced into routine clinical practice, scientists needed to prove that a positive test means that HIV itself is present, too. This is especially important given the profound implications of testing HIV positive. Peoples’ lives literally depend on the specificity of HIV tests.

What is specificity?

In this case, the formal, mathematical definition of specificity is the percentage of negative tests in a large group of individuals who do not have HIV infection. If 100% of 1,000 people who do not have HIV infection also test antibody negative, the specificity of the antibody test is 100%.
If one uninfected person tests antibody positive, the specificity of the test is reduced to 99.9% (999/1000) due to the single false positive result.

As far as we know, the specificity of HIV tests has not been established in this very necessary scientific manner.

Is specificity the same as accuracy?

How is the accuracy for an HIV test determined?

A study that establishes the sensitivity and specificity of an HIV test would provide a scientific basis for claims of accuracy.

Sensitivity + Specificity = Accuracy

To determine the sensitivity of an HIV antibody test, researchers need to establish the numbers of persons with positive tests, and the number among those who also have HIV infection as determined by the direct isolation of HIV from their fresh, uncultured fluids or tissues.

Conversely, to determine the specificity of an HIV antibody test, researchers need to establish the numbers of persons with negative tests, and the number among those who also have no HIV infection.

How did AIDS experts arrive at the specificity of the HIV antibody tests used today?

According to the medical literature on AIDS, the specificity of HIV antibody tests has been evaluated by testing healthy individuals such as blood donors. Because these individuals are healthy, it’s assumed that negative antibody test results mean they don’t have HIV, and because few if any of these people test positive, AIDS experts use this information to claim that the antibody tests are highly specific. This evaluation is the wrong type of experiment from which to draw such conclusions for two reasons.

First, healthy people do not have a large number or a variety of antibodies to react with the test, so there are not enough antibodies available to measure the propensity for unwanted reactions.

Second, good health cannot be used as a substitute measure for the absence of HIV infection any more than good health can be used as a substitute measure for the absence of kidney stones, pregnancy, cerebral aneurysms, pathogenic bacteria or coronary artery disease.

What is the correct solution to the problem of distinguishing who is and who is not HIV infected?

According to Dr. Valendar Turner, a medical doctor who has examined the problems with HIV tests, the solution is obvious, scientifically speaking. You have to use HIV itself to validate the tests. To do this, you must take two samples from each person in a study and divide the two blood samples from each person in two groups: One sample to test for the antibody reactions and the other to try to directly isolate HIV. To know what the HIV antibody tests tell you about HIV infection, you then compare the reactions (positive tests) with what you are trying to find or measure (actual virus).

The only way to distinguish between real reactions and false reactions (cross-reactions) is to use direct isolation of HIV as an independent yardstick or gold standard.What would the results of such an isolation experiment show?

The results of such an experiment would show how many of an appropriately chosen group people from whom HIV cannot be isolated have a positive antibody reaction anyway. This would tell us how many positive antibody tests occur in the absence of HIV infection.

Without validation by direct isolation of the virus from the fresh, uncultured fluids or tissues of people who test positive, AIDS experts cannot know what positive and negative test results actually indicate.

The fact that there appears to be no data establishing the accuracy of HIV tests is of particular concern given that people who test positive are said to be infected with a fatal, incurable virus and treated as if this were an indisputable truth.

Why is it called a Fact Finder Award?

What we want to find meets the dictionary definition of a fact, which is:

1. Something that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened.

2. The truth or actual existence of something, as opposed to the supposition of something or a belief about something.

3. A piece of information such as a statistic or a statement of the truth.

4. The circumstances of an event, motion, occurrence, or state of affairs, rather than an interpretation of its significance.

5. Something that is based on or concerned with the evidence presented in a legal case.

In our search of the published medical literature, we have not found actual existence of evidence showing that popular interpretations of the significance of HIV tests are scientifically validated, and that suppositions and beliefs about the accuracy of HIV tests are scientifically correct. In exchange for a fact—a piece of information that shows statistics and statements are true—we will award the finder, $500,000.

Hence, the Fact Finder Award.

(Definition of fact is from Encarta Dictionary, 2007 edition)

If a study that validates HIV tests may not exist, what’s the point of offering the award?

We hope a monetary incentive will motivate someone to find a study we’ve missed or to inspire a group of AIDS researchers to create one that hasn’t happened.

The spirit of the Fact Finder Award is win-win. Any way it goes, everyone will benefit from questions and concerns about HIV tests being addressed in a forthright, scientific manner.

With this in mind, we invite you to join an effort that’s good for one and all by passing this offer on to AIDS doctors, AIDS scientists, AIDS organizations, AIDS activists and celebrity spokespersons, journalists, teachers, medical students, or anyone who wants to help The pH Miracle Living Foundation find the truth concerning the existence of HIV, HIV testing, the true cause of AIDS and the Heifer International end hunger and poverty in developing world by building sustainable communities.

Please register your desire to help us find the truth about HIV and AIDS at: or email us

A new hydrogel made from snake venom stops bleeding in seconds.

Remove Pesticides From Your Food.

It is known that it is important to eat a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables every day.

One of the most important things when you buying fresh products is whether or not to buy organic. What many people don’t know is that much of the produce we eat is treated with chemicals including pesticides.

In the U.S. Department of Agriculture looked at produce samples and found that 65% of the samples tested positive for pesticides.

One organization, The Environmental Working Group, strives to provide accurate information about the chemicals in foods and health and beauty products to ensure that consumers have accurate information to make informed choices. The EWG petitions regularly against chemicals that may have negative effects on our health and environment

Every year the EWG updates its list of the most and least chemically treated fruits and vegetables and provides this information to consumers. In 2015, the top highly chemically treated produce (referred to as ‘The Dirty Dozen+’) includes: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, snap peas, spinach, strawberries, and sweet bell peppers. Hot peppers and kale and collard greens also made the list of produce high in pesticides.

Let’s face it, it isn’t always economical to buy organic produce. There is often a significant price difference between conventional and organic products, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables. While it is a good idea to buy organic fruits and vegetables whenever feasible, it is also important to remember to wash conventional fruits and vegetables to try to remove some of the pesticide residues. One of the simple home remedies for washing produce is using white vinegar.

Experts agree that white vinegar can be more effective than commercial spray bottle products aimed at washing fruits and vegetables. The general consensus is to use 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts of water mixed in a spray bottle. Spraying the produce with the vinegar mixture, and even giving it an extra scrub with a scrub brush before rinsing with clear water can help to clean produce when there are concerns of pesticides.


Disease states are on the rise, and advanced research continues to link various chemicals to chronic health conditions. Pesticides have been linked to learning disabilities and even cancer. Knowing this, it is important to work to reduce our overall toxic load of chemicals for our bodies. While there is little doubt that buying organic is the best bet for our health when this isn’t possible or feasible it is important to thoroughly wash produce to minimize the level of pesticides. White vinegar is an easy, economical option for cleaning fruits and vegetables to support healthy bodies.

Health threat of sugar is vastly underestimated, study claims.

US research says sugar causes high blood pressure and heart disease regardless of weight gain but critics doubt results

Sugar is a bigger threat to health than people believe, claims Prof Robert Lustig.
Sugar is a bigger threat to health than people believe, claims Prof Robert Lustig. P

Sugar is a bigger threat to health than many suppose, according to a study which claims it causes metabolic diseases such as high blood pressure and heart diseasewhether or not we put on weight.

The study was carried out by Robert Lustig, a paediatric endocrinologist in San Francisco and author of the book “Fat Chance: the hidden truth about sugar”.Writing in the Guardian, he says the health of 43 obese children in the care of his clinic dramatically improved when the sugar in their diet was replaced with starchy foods like crisps. They ate the same number of calories, he says, and yet their metabolic disease, which can cause diabetes, was reversed within 10 days.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, is evidence, says Lustig, that “a calorie is not a calorie” – the claim he makes in his book and which has been contested by many scientists who say the damage sugar does is through its calorific content alone.

In the study, carried out at the UCSF Benioff children’s hospital San Francisco and Touro University, California, the 43 children, aged nine to 18, had all been referred to hospital because of their weight and significant related health issues, such as high blood pressure.

They were given nine days of food prepared for them by the clinic and told to weigh themselves daily. The added sugar in their diet was reduced from 28% to 10% and the fructose – a form of sugar believed to be particularly problematic – from 12% to 4% of total calories. Sugary food was replaced by starchy food such as turkey, hot dogs, crisps and pizza.

After nine days, the researchers say, most aspects of the children’s metabolic health improved – their diastolic blood pressure, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides dropped, fasting blood glucose went down and insulin levels were cut by a third. Their liver function test results improved.

But in spite of Lustig’s assertions that he has proved his thesis, the reaction to the study was muted. “The results are not convincing to me – this is a very small study, and it has not been statistically well-controlled,” said Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at Glasgow University.

“Also, when people are losing weight, even if modest, their metabolic changes can seem larger than they actually are – one needs to see results once folk return to their habitual state after they’ve finished losing weight. Overall, this study is of modest interest but is far from convincing.”

Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, said the study needed to be viewed “with some scepticism” because it was uncontrolled. It did not compare the children with a similar group who continued to eat a high-sugar diet. The comparison instead was made with their weight and health before the study while on their usual diet. “But it is well known that obese children underestimate and under-report food intake, particularly of soft drinks and snack foods,” said Sanders.

“This is a fundamental flaw in the study. It is likely that the changes in metabolic outcomes observed can be explained by the experimental diet providing fewer calories than the children’s usual intake.”

Given that sugar and starch contain roughly the same amount of calories per gram, he said: “It is just inconceivable that isocaloric substitution of sugar from starch would have such a large effect on metabolism. In fact it denies the basic laws of thermodynamics.”

How Sugar Affects the Body: New Study Looks Beyond Calories

That’s what scientists have concluded from a first-of-its-kind diet study involving overweight kids

Fat was the food villain these past few decades but sugar is quickly muscling in to take its place. As rates of sugar-related disorders such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease climb, many experts believe that when Americans rid themselves of fat, they simply replaced it with sugar in all its forms.

But proving that the rise of the chronic diseases was actually linked to higher sugar consumption is a challenge. Dr. Robert Lustig, from the department of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, who has made a name for himself publishing books and research addressing the question of sugar’s effects on the body, wanted clearer answers. Now, in a paper published Tuesday, he and his colleagues believe they have come up with the definitive evidence that sugar, as Lustig says, “is toxic.”

In most lab studies, the doses of sugar that scientists test are quite high; they want to see what the effect is quickly and, depending on the research, they may not have time to wait to study the more gradual effects that might emerge. And in studies where people reduce the amount of sugar they eat, for instance, those people end up eating fewer calories overall, so it’s difficult to know whether any changes are due to the removal of sugar or to the drop in calories.

Lustig and his colleagues think they’ve produced the “hard and fast data that sugar is toxic irrespective of its calories and irrespective of weight.”

Lustig’s confidence comes from the unique study, described in Obesity, of 43 Hispanic or African-American children aged eight to 18 years old. He collected detailed food questionnaires from each of the adolescents to get an idea of the average amount of calories they ate per day, then designed a special menu for each of them for nine days that matched the total numbers of calories they would normally eat. The only difference in the nine-day diet was that most of the sugar the children ate was replaced by starch — the overall number of calories remained the same. The children weighed themselves daily, and if they were losing weight, they were told to eat more of the provided food in order to keep their weight the same throughout the study.

“Everything got better,” says Lustig. Some of the children went from being insulin resistant, a precursor state to developing diabetes, in which the body’s insulin levels can no longer keep up with the pace of breaking down sugar that’s coming in from the diet, to insulin sensitive.

“We took chicken teriyaki out, and put turkey hot dogs in. We took sweetened yogurt out, and put baked potato chips in. We took pastries out and put bagels in,” says Lustig. “So there was no change in [the children’s] weight and no change in calories.”

After nine days of having their total dietary sugar reduced to 10% of their daily calories, however, they showed improvements in all of these measures. Overall, their fasting blood sugar levels dropped by 53%, along with the amount of insulin their bodies produced since insulin is normally needed to break down carbohydrates and sugars. Their triglyceride and LDL levels also declined and, most importantly, they showed less fat in their liver.

Because some of the children lost weight, to convince themselves that the effects weren’t due to the small amount of weight that some of the children lost, Lustig and his team compared those who lost weight to those who didn’t during the study, and found similar improvements in both groups.

“Up until now, there have been a lot of correlation studies linking sugar and metabolic syndrome,” says Lustig. “This is causation.”

The diet he provided the children isn’t considered ideal from a health perspective — starches are still a considerable source of calories and can contribute to weight gain. But Lustig relied on the starches to prove a point in a scientific study — that the effect sugar has on the body goes beyond anything connected to its calories and to weight. “I’m not suggesting in any way, shape or form that we gave them healthy food,” he says. “We gave them crappy food, shitty food, processed food — and they still got better. Imagine how much even better they would have gotten if we didn’t substitute and took the sugar out. Then they would have gotten even better yet. That’s the point.”

Not everyone is convinced that the results definitely prove sugar, and not weight loss, is the culprit, however. Susan Roberts, professor of Nutrition, USDA Nutrition Center at Tufts University notes that because some of the children lost weight, it’s still possible that shedding the pounds helped their metabolic measures to improve. She also points out that the children self-reported their initial diet, which can often be inaccurate. “We know that a healthy diet and weight loss cause good metabolic changes, and although this study tries to attribute its effects to low fructose, in fact it is impossible to do that because of the study design.”

Some experts are concerned for other reasons. They’re worried that the findings may shift attention away from what they consider to be the more fundamental issue — that overall, we’re eating too much. “Too much calorie intake is still the biggest problem,” says Dr. Mark Corkins, professor of pediatrics at University of Tennessee Health Science Center and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on nutrition. He notes that the study involved children who were obese already and consuming too many calories. “It’s an important study, and the facts coming out of it are very important. It means we need to look at sugars, and at the type of sugars and sugar intake. But I worry that people are going to hang everything on this when we still need to reduce consumption.”

Lustig hopes that won’t happen as more data emerges that details how sugar is altering the body in unhealthy ways outside of its caloric contribution. That wasn’t the subject of the current paper, but he promises follow up studies based on this work that will address that. This study does hint however, at what might be happening. While there has been a lot of attention on the presence of belly fat and its connection to metabolic syndrome, the fact that the children saw improvements in the amount of fat in their liver suggests that might be an important way that sugar is contributing to chronic disease. Obese children and those with diabetes often suffer from fatty liver, a condition normally associated with alcohol abuse but increasingly common among non-drinkers who gain excessive amounts of weight.

This new view of sugar could change the advice that doctors and government health officials give about eating the sweet stuff. Lustig’s hope is that the information is considered as the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalizes its latest Dietary Guidelines, expected by the end of the year, which delineate recommendations for what, and how much of different types of foods and nutrients Americans should eat.

Technological Mind Control and Manipulation: Reality or Science Fiction Fantasy?

Psychotronics is the intersection between consciousness, energy fields and matter. In a bill introduced to the U.S. House of Representative in 2001, Dennis J. Kucinich describes psychotronic devices as “weapons” that can be used against individuals or specific populations to exert power over behavior and mood — essentially a form of mind control.

Russia has a long history of developing this class of technology, the most famous being the “Woodpecker” — a “Tesla-type transmitter” that emitted psychoactive signals in the 1970’s through the late eighties.

But Russia isn’t the only player in this dangerous game. GlobalResearch reports:

“Harnessing neuroscience to military capability, this technology is the result of decades of research and experimentation, most particularly in the Soviet Union and the United States. (Welsh, 1997, 2000) We have failed to comprehend that the result of the technology that originated in the years of the arms race between the Soviet Union and the West, has resulted in using satellite technology not only for surveillance and communication systems but also to lock on to human beings, manipulating brain frequencies by directing laser beams, neural-particle beams, electro-magnetic radiation, sonar waves, radio frequency radiation (RFR), soliton waves, torsion fields and by use of these or other energy fields which form the areas of study for astro-physics. Since the operations are characterized by secrecy, it seems inevitable that the methods that we do know about, that is, the exploitation of the ionosphere, our natural shield, are already outdated as we begin to grasp the implications of their use.”

In a 1998 German television documentary, Dr. Igor Smirnov, of the Institute of Psycho-Correction in Moscow, said that it’s easily conceivable that anyone who has the appropriate means and finances could inject himself into every computer network, radio or television broadcast with relative technological ease. “This is why such technology is rightfully feared.”

By now, a good number of people are familiar with the effects of electromagnetic pollutionfrom cell phones, televisions, appliances, smart meters, computers and wi-fi. But could there be another more sinister reason why our health suffers when we’re exposed to these modern devices? Several U.S. patents suggest a disquieting answer.

Hidden mind control technology

According to United States Patent 6,506,148, filed in June of 2001:

“It is therefore possible to manipulate the nervous system of a subject by pulsing images displayed on a nearby computer monitor or TV set. For the latter, the image pulsing may be imbedded in the program material, or it may be overlaid by modulating a video stream, either as an RF signal or as a video signal.”

The invention can also be adapted to the source of video stream, whether a computer program, a television broadcast, video tape or DVD. Pulse variability can be influenced through the use of software in order to avoid habituation of the nervous system.

“Certain monitors can emit electromagnetic field pulses that excite a sensory resonance in a nearby subject, through image pulses that are so weak as to be subliminal. This is unfortunate since it opens a way for mischievous application of the invention, whereby people are exposed unknowingly to manipulation of their nervous systems for someone else’s purposes. Such application would be unethical and is of course not advocated. It is mentioned here in order to alert the public to the possibility of covert abuse that may occur while being online, or while watching TV, a video, or a DVD,” conclude the inventors.

Moreover, patents owned by Raytheon detail how to create “nuclear sized explosions without radiation” and describe electromagnetic pulse, power beam technology and over-the-horizon detection systems. One such patent (US 7629918 B2) describes the Multifunctional Radio Frequency Directed Energy System (RFDE):

“Radio frequency directed energy (RFDE) systems are known in the art for directing high power RF, microwave and/or millimeter wave electromagnetic energy to destroy or disrupt a target. Although RFDE systems typically serve as military weapons, RFDE systems need not be limited to weapon systems.

“An RFDE weapon system can go after a broad range of targets (electronics, biological, ordinance, structures, etc.) due to its relatively large radiated power. A priori knowledge of the intended target characteristics is typically not required because the RFDE weapon either burns-out or overwhelms its target by the shear amount of power it radiates.”

A disturbing possibility (among many) concerning this type of weaponry is the capability of using it to cause negative effects on human health and mental processes. And there is no escape or protection. Once a target is locked onto, it’s impossible to evade the electromagnetic energy by moving around.

Summaries of 85 additional patents relating to mental and emotional manipulation technologies can be found here.

As we contemplate the technological advancements — and ethical implications — relating to mind control, remember President John F. Kennedy’s warning in 1961:

“Today no war has been declared — and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack… we are opposed, around the world, by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means. … Whatever our hopes may be for the future — for reducing this threat or living with it — there is no escaping either the gravity or the totality of its challenge to our survival and to our security — a challenge that confronts us in unaccustomed ways in every sphere of human activity. … This is a time of peace and peril, which knows no precedent in history. It is the unprecedented nature of this challenge that also gives rise to… our obligation to inform and alert the American people — to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well. … I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.”

Watch the Video. URL:

The brain forgets in order to conserve energy.

Our brains not only contain learning mechanisms but also forgetting mechanisms that erase “unnecessary” learning. A research has now been able to describe one of these mechanisms at the cellular level.

These findings, which suggest that the brain purges thoughts that it doesn’t need to keep, are of fundamental interest for both brain researchers and psychologists. They could also be of practical interest to educators.

Our brains not only contain learning mechanisms but also forgetting mechanisms that erase “unnecessary” learning. A research group at Lund University in Sweden has now been able to describe one of these mechanisms at the cellular level.

The group’s results, published in the international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), explain a theoretical learning phenomenon which has so far been difficult to understand.

The premise is that human or animal subjects can learn to associate a certain tone or light signal with a puff of air to the eye. The air puff makes the subject blink, and eventually they blink as soon as they hear the tone or see the light signal. The strange thing, however, is that if the tone and the light are presented together (and with the air puff), the learning does not improve, but gets worse.

“Two stimuli therfore achieve worse results than just one. It seems contrary to common sense, but we believe that the reason for it is that the brain wants to save energy,” says brain researcher and professor Germund Hesslow.

His colleague Anders Rasmussen, who performed the present study, has previously shown that when the brain has learnt a particular association sufficiently, certain neurons that act as a brake on the learning mechanism, are activated.

“You could say that the part of the brain that learned the association (a part of the brain called the cerebellum) is telling its ‘teacher’: ‘I know this now, please be quiet’. When the brain has learnt two associations, the brake becomes much more powerful. That is why it results in forgetting, usually only temporarily, however,” explains Germund Hesslow.

Maintaining unnecessary association pathways requires energy for the brain. The researchers believe that this is the reason for the brake mechanism — even though in this case it happened to be a little too powerful.

The Lund researchers were able to describe how the nerve cells learn and forget through studies of animals, but believe that the mechanisms are likely to be the same in the human brain. Therefore, these findings are of fundamental interest for both brain researchers and psychologists. They could also be of practical interest to educators.

“Obviously, it should be important for teachers to know the mechanisms by which the brain erases the things it considers unnecessary. You do not want to accidentally activate these mechanisms,” says Germund Hesslow.

Elevated CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition, New Harvard Study Shows.

In a landmark public health finding, a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that carbon dioxide (CO2) has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making. These impacts have been observed at CO2 levels that most Americans — and their children — are routinely exposed to today inside classrooms, offices, homes, planes, and cars.

Carbon dioxide levels are inevitably higher indoors than the baseline set by the outdoor air used for ventilation, a baseline that is rising at an accelerating rate thanks to human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels. So this seminal research has equally great importance for climate policy, providing an entirely new public health impetus for keeping global CO2 levels as low as possible.

In a series of articles, I will examine the implications for public health both today (indoors) as well as in the future (indoors and out) due to rising CO2 levels. This series is the result of a year-long investigation for Climate Progress and my new Oxford University Press book coming out next week, “Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know.” This investigative report is built on dozens of studies and literature reviews as well as exclusive interviews with many of the world’s leading experts in public health and indoor air quality, including authors of both studies.

What scientists have discovered about the impact of elevated carbon dioxide levels on the brain

Significantly, the Harvard study confirms the findings of a little-publicized 2012 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) study, “Is CO2 an Indoor Pollutant? Direct Effects of Low-to-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance.” That study found “statistically significant and meaningful reductions in decision-making performance” in test subjects as CO2 levels rose from a baseline of 600 parts per million (ppm) to 1000 ppm and 2500 ppm.

Both the Harvard and LBNL studies made use of a sophisticated multi-variable assessment of human cognition used by a State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University team, led by Dr. Usha Satish. Both teams raised indoor CO2 levels while leaving all other factors constant. The findings of each team were published in the peer-reviewed open-access journal Environmental Health Perspectives put out by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a part of NIH.

The new study, led by Dr. Joe Allen, Director of Harvard’s Healthy Buildings program, and Dr. John Spengler, Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation at Harvard, used a lower CO2 baseline than the earlier study. They found that, on average, a typical participant’s cognitive scores dropped 21 percent with a 400 ppm increase in CO2. Here are their astonishing findings for four of the nine cognitive functions scored in a double-blind test of the impact of elevated CO2 levels:


The researchers explain, “The largest effects were seen for Crisis Response, Information Usage, and Strategy, all of which are indicators of higher level cognitive function and decision-making.” The entire article is a must-read as is the LBNL-SUNY study.

NASA has also observed CO2-related health impacts on International Space Station (ISS) astronauts at much lower CO2 levels than expected and has identified a mechanism by which CO2 levels could affect the brain, as I will discuss in Part 2. As a result, NASA has already lowered the maximum allowable CO2 levels on the space station. The ISS crew surgeon who is the lead for studying the impact on astronauts of CO2 (and other gases) told Climate Progress he considers the original LBNL-SUNY study “very credible.” Indeed, NASA itself is now starting terrestrial studies to look at the impact of CO2 on judgment and decision-making for the astronaut cohort — and it is partnering with the same SUNY team of behavioral psychologists.

All of this new research is consistent with — and actually helps explain — literally dozens of studies in the past two decades that find low to moderate levels of CO2 have a negative impact on productivity, learning, and test scores. See here for a research note and bibliography of some 20 studies and review articles.

The impact of fossil fuels and modern buildings on human cognition

For most of human evolution and modern history, CO2 levels in the air were in a fairly narrow and low range of 180 to 280 parts per million. Also, during the vast majority of that time, humans spent most of their time outdoors or in enclosures that were open (like a cave). Even once humans built dwellings, those were not tightly sealed as modern buildings are. So even though we generate and breathe out CO2, homo sapiens were not generally exposed to high, sustained CO2 levels.

CO2 levels

CO2 concentrations over the last 400,000 years


But in recent decades, outdoor CO2 levels have risen sharply, to a global average of 400 ppm. Moreover, measured outdoor CO2 levels in major cities from Phoenix to Rome can be many tens of ppm higher — up to 100 ppm or more — than the global average. That’s because CO2 “domes” form over many cities primarily due to CO2 emissions from traffic and local weather conditions.

The outdoor CO2 level is the baseline for indoor levels. In buildings — the places where most people work and live — CO2 concentrations are considerably higher than outdoors. CO2 levels indoors that are 200 ppm to 400 ppm higher than outdoors are commonplace — not surprising since the design standard for CO2 levels in most buildings is 1000 ppm. In addition, that differential increases when more people are crammed into a space and when the ventilation is not adequate. As the Harvard researchers point out, in recent decades, buildings have become more tightly sealed, and there has been less exchange of inside air with fresh outside air.

How high can CO2 levels get indoors? As but one salient example, the 2012 LBNL-SUNY article notes, “In surveys of elementary school classrooms in California and Texas, average CO2 concentrations were above 1,000 ppm, a substantial proportion exceeded 2,000 ppm, and in 21% of Texas classrooms peak CO2 concentration exceeded 3,000 ppm.” In Part 3, I’ll look at the extensive literature on the relationship between high classroom CO2 levels and poor student performance — and the simple strategies Indoor Environmental Quality experts say that parents, teachers, and school administrators should be doing now to address this serious problem.

Yet, the vast majority of studies linking CO2 levels to poorer performance at work and school merely used CO2 as a measure of ventilation rates and indoor air quality (since monitoring CO2 levels is relatively cheap and easy). As the LBNL-SUNY study notes, “It has been widely believed that these associations exist only because the higher indoor CO2 concentrations occur at lower outdoor air ventilation rates and are, therefore, correlated with higher levels of other indoor-generated pollutants that directly cause the adverse effects,” such as volatile organic compounds and particulates.

As a result, “CO2 in the range of concentrations found in buildings (i.e., up to 5,000 ppm, but more typically in the range of 1000 ppm) has been assumed to have no direct effect on occupants’ perceptions, health, or work performance.” In short, CO2 had not been a suspect in the negative impacts measured in all these studies. Indeed one of the authors of the LBNL-SUNY study, Dr. William Fisk, leader of LBNL’s Indoor Environment Group, told me that he was surprised when the testing showed significant impacts from just raising CO2 indoor CO2 levels 400 ppm.

Yet very few of those other studies offered a specific mechanism for the negative impacts they measured beyond hand-waving assertions of “inadequate indoor air quality.” With the recent work from the Harvard, LBNL, SUNY, and NASA researchers, however, we now have at least a partial answer to the mystery, according to several experts I spoke to: High CO2 levels don’t merely serve as an indicator of poor air quality that causes occupants problems, they are actually one cause of those problems.

Interestingly, the authors of all of these studies — the direct CO2 studies and the CO2-as-a-proxy-for-ventilation studies — are generally public health researchers focused on indoor environmental quality (IEQ). As a result, their published work does not examine the implications these findings have for climate policy.

The risks of doing nothing

But the implications for climate policy are stark. We are at 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 today outdoors globally — and tens of ppm higher in many major cities. We are rising at a rate of 2+ ppm a year, a rate that is accelerating. Significantly, we do not know the threshold at which CO2 levels begin to measurably impact human cognition.

The LBNL study found a measurable negative impact on human cognition at 1000 ppm. The Harvard researchers had a more comprehensive study that found significant negative impact at 930 ppm. Moreover, many measurements made by the Harvard team point to a much lower threshold, as the top figure shows. Equally important, the researchers found “The exposure-response between CO2 and cognitive function is approximately linear across the concentrations used in this study.” So the impact threshold may be quite below 930 ppm. Clearly more research needs to be done to solve this detective story.

The latest IEQ research does offer strong suggestions that the threshold could be near (or possibly even below) levels the entire world could experience outdoors over the next hundred years — levels that are essentially irreversible for centuries.

As one clue to where that threshold may be, we can turn to recent research from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) for the U.S. General Services Administration, which found a threshold of about 600 ppm. At 1,282 workstations in 64 diverse buildings across the country, CMU measured CO2 levels and surveyed occupancy perception of air quality.

The result: “An in-depth analysis reveals that occupant satisfaction with overall air quality is strongly linked to CO2 levels, with significant shifts to satisfaction when CO2 is less than 600 ppm.” That’s from an as-yet unpublished CMU thesis “Are Humans Good Sensors? Using Occupants as Sensors for Indoor Environmental Quality Assessment and for Developing Thresholds that Matter,” for a Ph.D. in “Building Performance and Diagnostics.”

I spoke to the chair of the thesis committee, Vivian Loftness — University Professor and former Head of the School of Architecture — one of the world’s leading experts on “Health, Productivity, and the Quality of the Built Environment,” which is a graduate course she teaches. Over the last quarter century, she has assembled the most extensive database in the world of studies on the health and productivity gains from green building design. I first met her when I was working on a book of case studies on that very subject in the late 1990s.

Loftness, who oversaw the GSA study, explained that CMU’s analysis showed that “humans are pretty good sensors of high CO2 levels.” Occupant perception of indoor air quality drops sharply as CO2 levels rise from 600 to 750 ppm.

She is familiar with the recent work showing a direct link between CO2 and human cognition. She said of the original LBNL-SUNY study, “a seminal piece of work and a great research team.” She considers the Harvard study “an absolutely important study.”

Loftness draws two key conclusions from these studies, her own work, and the vast database of scientific literature she has surveyed. First, the immediate public health message is to increase ventilation and the use of outside air in buildings. And second:

We have to do everything we can to keep outdoor CO2 levels below 600 ppm because something serious starts happening then.

Researchers at Climate Interactive put together a chart of where CO2 levels headed as we head into the crucial Paris climate talks in December.

Future CO2

The world had been on a path toward 900 ppm of CO2 in the air by 2100. Commitments made by major countries to cut or constrain CO2 emissions through 2030 — Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) — would put us on a sharply lower trajectory. To avoid catastrophic impacts, however, we will need much stronger commitments post-2030.

Success at Paris, as I have written, would buy us 5 to 10 years in the fight to avoid catastrophe. But we would still be on a path to 675 ppm, which is too high for both the climate change impacts and the direct human cognition impacts. Worse, that level of warming will likely trigger many major carbon-cycle amplifying feedbacks that are not included in the climate models, such as permafrost melting. So we must take stronger action.

On the immediate public health front, we need to start monitoring indoor CO2 more closely and keep inside levls as close as possible to levels outdoors through greater use of outside air. According to the building design experts I have interviewed, such as Dr. Loftness, that can be donewithout increases in building energy consumption using cost-effective strategies and technologies available today. Indeed, systematic green design will lower total energy consumption. I will examine these design strategies later in this series.

This post has been updated.