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How To Detox The Pineal Gland – Astral Travel, Explore Other Dimensions, Foresee The Future And More.

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Researchers launch study to examine possible link between space weather, animal beachings

Powerful geomagnetic storms that erupt in outer space have been known to cause disruptions to power grids, radio communication and satellites that orbit Earth.

But could space weather also have an impact on the navigational abilities of certain marine animals?

In February, it was announced that researchers from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) would combine with NASA on a study that would examine how solar storms may impact the internal compasses for certain species.

humpback whale

Veterinarians with the National Marine Fisheries Service Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network volunteer during the necropsy of a humpback whale calf that stranded on Baranof Island, Alaska.
Antti Pulkkinen, a NASA heliophysicist who will co-author the study, provided several theories on why space weather conditions may result in healthy whales, dolphins and porpoises, collectively known as cetaceans, washing ashore.

“Theories as to the cause include magnetic anomalies and meteorological events, such as extreme tides during a new moon and coastal storms, which are thought to disorient the animals,” said Pulkkinen, who works at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

“It has been speculated that due to the possible magnetic-field sensing used by these animals to navigate, magnetic anomalies could be at least partially responsible,” Pulkkinen said.

Human applications, such as devices that use sonar to map the ocean floor, are also believed to impact the animals.

“However, these human-made influences do not explain most of the strandings,” Pulkkinen said in a statement.

New Zealand, Australia and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, are some of the most notable locations for strandings around the world. This is because those locations share similar physical characteristics including gradually sloping beaches, extreme tidal fluctuations and fine sand and sediment that could affect echolocation, according to Katie Moore, director of IFAW’s Animal Rescue Program and collaborator on the study.

If they can determine a relationship, researchers hope that observations of solar storms could serve as an early warning that strandings could occur.

“This would allow stranding responders in global hotspots, and really around the world, to be better prepared to respond, thus having the opportunity to save more animals,” Moore said.

One week after researchers announced the study, hundreds of pilot whales died due to a mass stranding in New Zealand in one of the largest mass beachings in the country’s history.

whale beachings

In this Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, photo, whales are stranded at Farewell Spit near Nelson, New Zealand. 
The study is expected to be finished by September 2017 and will be compiled using information from NASA’s space weather databases as well as data from hundreds of mass strandings compiled by the IFAW and BOEM.

Researchers have examined many different theories on why beachings occur. However, this is the first to examine if impacts can be caused from outer space.

If the study does reveal a statistical correlation, the researchers cautioned that the results would not necessarily imply a link, but it would be the first step in proving if the hypothesis is correct.

“So far, there has been very little quantitative research, just a lot of speculation,” Pulkkinen said. “What we’re going to do is throw cold, hard data at this. It’s a long-standing mystery and it’s important that we figure out what’s going on.”


Aggressive Behavior Often Gives These Subtle Warning Signals

Story at-a-glance

cat hissing

  • Indoor cats who are bored and under-stimulated can develop behavior problems
  • Aggression is a very common problem in cats, and stranger-directed aggression may be underreported
  • Behaviors that may lead to aggression include fearful behavior, excessive facial bunting and eliminating outside the litterbox
  • If your cat is over 3 years old and begins to show aggressive behavior, your first stop is the veterinary clinic to rule out an underlying disease
  • Treatment of stranger-directed aggression includes identifying triggers and avoiding them, creating a safe space for the cat, enriching his environment and desensitization/counterconditioning

When you consider the day-to-day life of your pampered kitty compared to her cousins in the wild, it is instantly apparent that many house cats today live a rather humdrum existence.

While a feline in the wild spends most of her waking hours hunting her next meal and hiding from predators, the cat on your couch has nothing more to do than check to see if you’ve scooped her litterbox today.

There’s no debate that most indoor-only cats are far safer than outdoor cats. The downside, however, is that indoor kitties who are bored and under-stimulated can develop behavior problems such as aggression.

“… [W]hen change happens – a guest visiting or a new cat added to the household – their sense of equilibrium is thrown out of balance,” says veterinary behaviorist Dr. E’Lise Christensen.1

Aggression is actually a very common complaint of cat parents, and according to Christensen, stranger-directed aggression is probably an underreported type of feline aggression. If little Fluffy is hostile to strangers, it can negatively impact the close bond you share with her.

In addition, she might actually hurt someone or another animal, and she won’t be too popular at the vet’s office or with your pet sitter, either.

Make Sure Kitty’s Aggression Isn’t Masking a Health Problem

Aggression toward strangers often occurs as a cat becomes socially mature, though it’s also seen in some kittens. Kittens should be socialized, and especially in a young cat with aggressive tendencies, positive experiences with strangers should continue throughout life.

If your cat is over the age of 3 and the environment you provide her is stable, any sign of stranger-related aggression should be addressed right away. The first thing you’ll want to do is make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out an underlying medical condition that could be causing the behavior.

One of the first (and sometimes only) signs that a cat is sick or in pain is a change in behavior. Feline diseases that can increase irritability include infectious agents, hyperthyroidism, hypertension (high blood pressure), osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer and others.

Your vet should perform a thorough physical exam and order a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry profile, thyroid assessment and urinalysis. He or she will also want to evaluate your kitty for infectious disease, signs of pain, blood pressure abnormalities and cognitive dysfunction.

Assuming your kitty receives a clean bill of health, it’s time to try to identify what’s triggering the aggression.

Signs Your Cat May Be Growing Aggressive

According to Christensen, if you see one or more of the following behaviors in your cat, it may be leading to aggression:

  • Fearful behavior
  • Tail thrashing
  • Excessive facial bunting
  • Redirection of defensive behavior toward the owner
  • Urinating or defecating outside the litterbox

Your kitty may begin to perform these behaviors repeatedly on a daily or weekly basis. Or she may spend much of her time hiding, except when she emerges to be aggressive with behaviors such as hissing, swatting, growling and/or biting.

Avoiding Triggers and Creating a Safe Space

According to Christensen, stranger-directed aggression in cats is typically triggered by fear, territorialism, petting and/or play. Treatment should include avoiding triggers, providing a safe space for the cat, desensitization and counterconditioning and environmental enrichment.

What you absolutely do not want to do is punish your cat for aggressive behavior. Punishing a cat with aggressive tendencies can result in increased aggression, which is not only very stressful for your kitty, but can also really muddy the waters in your effort to identify the triggers for her aggression.

It can also result in injury to you, and increased fear and anxiety in your cat. Avoiding triggers in a cat with aggression toward strangers means eliminating her access to strangers, at least initially. Provide her with a safe space that mitigates behavioral arousal and also isolates her from visitors.

Reducing behavioral arousal is key, because as Christensen points out, once a cat is aroused, she can remain that way for hours or even days. Kitty’s safe space can be a separate room in your home, a crate if she normally uses one (or if you can train her to use one), a cat condo or some other arrangement.

The idea is to give your cat a special spot where she feels secure, and reward her with petting, praise and treats when she uses it. I also find Jackson Galaxy’s Safe Space blend beneficial to use.

Put her in her secure spot before guests arrive and allow her out only after they leave. The length of your guests’ visit will determine how well outfitted kitty’s safe space will need to be. Let your visitors know not to look at, talk to or pet your cat.

Consider Desensitization and Counterconditioning

Since it’s really not practical or healthy to keep kitty isolated forever from any and all strangers and it also doesn’t help her learn new ways to respond, it’s not the best long-term solution for all but the most intractable cats.

Once you know your kitty’s warning signs and specific triggers, for example, the sound of the doorbell, being petted, loud voices, the scent of another cat on a stranger, etc., you should consider desensitization and counterconditioning.

If you’re not confident you can go it alone, I recommend talking with your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist who can help you help your cat learn to be more comfortable (or less hostile, at least) around strangers.

Indoor Environmental Enrichment for Cats

“Environmental enrichment is a critical component of keeping cats behaviorally and medically healthy,” according to Christensen, and I absolutely agree. This applies to virtually every indoor kitty, not just those with aggression or other behavior issues.

There are several components to a cat’s indoor environment, and each should be considered from the perspective of your kitty. These include:

1.Food, water and litterbox locations

In the wild, cats not only hunt prey, they are prey for other animals. They feel most vulnerable while eating, drinking or eliminating. This vulnerability is what causes a fearful response when a cat’s food dish or litterbox is in a noisy or high traffic area.

The essentials of your kitty’s life — food, water and his bathroom, should be located in a safe, secure location away from any area that is noisy enough to startle him or make him feel trapped and unable to escape.

2.Places for climbing, scratching, resting and hiding

Cats are natural climbers and scratchers, and those urges don’t disappear because kitty lives indoors. Your cat also needs her own resting place and a hiding place (sometimes these are the same spot) where she feels untouchable. Cats prefer to interact with other creatures (including humans) on their terms, and according to their schedule. Well-balanced indoor kitties are given the opportunity to feel in control of their environment.

Jackson Galaxy has written several books on creating feline environmental enrichment around the house that I highly recommend.

3.Consistency in interactions with humans

Your cat feels most comfortable when his daily routine is predictable. Performing little rituals when you leave the house and return can help kitty feel more comfortable with the comings and goings of humans in the household.

A ritual can be as simple as giving him a treat when you leave and a good scratch behind the ears as soon as you get home. Playtime should also be consistent. Learn what types of cat toys he responds to and engage him in play, on his timetable. Of course, while you can encourage him to play, it’s pointless to force the issue.

4.Sensory stimulation

Visual stimulation: Some cats can gaze out the window for hours. Others are captivated by fish in an aquarium. Some even enjoy kitty videos.

Auditory stimulation: When you’re away from home, provide background noise for kitty that is similar to the ambient sounds she hears when you’re home, for example, music or a TV at low volume. Olfactory stimulation: You can stimulate your cat’s keen sense of smell with cat-safe herbs or synthetic feline pheromones.

5.Same-species friends

This can be a sensitive area. The way cats interact with each other is very different from most other animals. Trying to predict how two or more cats will get on living under the same roof is nearly impossible.

Females tend to get along better with other cats than males do, and intact males can be a special challenge in a multi-cat household. Problems with inter-cat aggression can arise when a new cat is brought home, when two cat owners blend their feline families and even among cats that have lived peacefully together for years.

Because of the complex nature of feline social structures, if you have a multi-cat household and there are problems, or you’re hoping to add a new cat to the family, I recommend you talk with your veterinarian or an animal behavior specialist. Often there are things you can do to minimize problems with aggression or other undesirable behaviors.

Outdoor Environmental Enrichment

Ideally, your kitty gets to spend some time outdoors in nice weather in controlled situations such as on a leash walk, or inside a protective enclosure. The enclosure (sometimes called a “catio” or “cat patio”) can be as simple or as deluxe as you like.

The idea is allow kitty safe access to the outdoors, as well as the chance to put all four paws on the earth. Safe access is key. Allowing your cat to run around loose outside is never a good idea. It presents much more risk to his health and longevity than keeping him indoors.

Kitties with free access to the outdoors are much more likely to be exposed to disease, poisoned, hit by a car or attacked by dogs, wild animals or other cats.

Why Young Women All Over the World Are Still Dying in Childbirth

Why Young Women All Over the World Are Still Dying in Childbirth

Almost 800 women die every day while giving birth, and the curse of maternal mortality stretches from Sierra Leone to Myanmar.

By the time the pregnant 17 year old arrives at a hospital in Sierra Leone, it is already too late. Her baby has died—maybe the day before, maybe even longer. She has been left in labor for far too long—approximately 36 hours—waiting for a caesarean section that has been delayed due to an electricity cut. When power resumes, there is no doctor to help her. Now the race is on to save this teenage mother from death as well. Her womb is infected; the tissue falling apart. The doctors try their best to repair it, but her severe infection worsens overnight. The next morning is her last.

“Too much, too late,” writes a Médecins Sans Frontières obstetrics/gynecology registrar, Benjamin Black, on his MSF blog. This girl’s tragedy is shared by thousands more. In 2013, an estimated 289,000 women died during pregnancy or while giving birth. That’s almost 800 women every day. 99 percent of these deaths occur in the developing world.

Nearly all of these deaths and serious injuries are preventable and needless. Very few of them would happen in the west. Reading the statistics, we don’t need the World Health Organization (WHO) to tell us that maternal mortality is “unacceptably high” and that these deaths are a tragedy. The numbers speak for themselves: 800 maternal deaths every day are 800 too many. And yet, despite a 45 percent drop in maternal mortality since 1990, family planning organization Marie Stopes International still reports that the lifetime risk of dying from such complications is one in 22 in sub-Saharan Africa. In some African countries, the rate is as high as one in eight.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), whose work involves improving reproductive health, states on its website that the world has made “significant strides, but not enough.” While some developing countries have seen maternal deaths fall significantly in recent years, sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia are still struggling.

A doctor with a baby Maasai patient in Kenya.

In Europe and North America, it is too easy to assume that death during childbirth is a thing of the past. A sensational plot development on an Edwardian costume drama—Downton Abbey, perhaps—or a Victorian tragedy in a Charles Dickens novel. You may be surprised to find that the five main causes of maternal death are, according to Marie Stopes: Hemorrhage, infection, unsafe abortion, eclampsia (a condition where convulsions occur in a pregnant woman with high blood pressure) and obstructed labor. Surprised—and horrified. Preventable, treatable, and avoidable; yet happening here and now in 2015.

 It’s worth underlining that there has been a significant and steady drop in numbers over the last 25 years. In addition, during the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit at the UN, secretary-general Ban Ki-moon unveiled a ‘global strategy for women’s and children’s health’ that aimed to save 16 million women and children over a four-year period. I asked Luc de Bernis, the UNFPA’s senior maternal health advisor in Geneva, if we are doing enough.

“Certainly not, but this is encouraging,” he said. “The challenge now is to maintain this gain in lives saved, and to accelerate the progress towards the goal and targets for 2030. Women’s health, maternal and adolescent health are not receiving enough attention, even if it has been demonstrated that the major part of the maternal and newborn mortality is preventable, even in poor settings.”

A woman had turned up to a hospital clearly needing a caesarean section. But there was no people to work the generator, no electricity, and no light.

“Unfortunately the answer isn’t simple and it’s not a purely medical answer,” said Black, the oby-gyn whose work with Médecins Sans Frontières has taken him to the Central African Republic and Sierra Leone. When it comes to maternal health, there is no “silver bullet,” as he puts it, to remedy this complex issue. “You’ve got to look at the social, political, economic dimensions to the problem,” he explained.

Benjamin talked about “the three delays”: A trio of barriers that too often prevent women from receiving the timely and effective medical attention they need. Delay one: The delay in recognising that something isn’t right. “If you’re a woman in sub-Saharan Africa who is in labor in your local village with your local birth attendant, they may not realize at first signs that there’s a problem. It may take more than a day,” he explained.

The second delay lies in actually getting to a place where you can even receive care. Benjamin recalled working in Sierra Leone, where it can take patients more than a day to reach a hospital because of poor roads, or because patients have no access to transport nor the money to pay for a taxi. Then there’s the third delay: The delay in receiving care once you’re there. Benjamin recalls the time “a woman had turned up to a hospital clearly needing a caesarean section. But there was no people to work the generator, no electricity, and no light.”

I was ‘a child giving birth to a child’ because I was only 14.

There’s another twist in this narrative: Teenagers are most at risk. Marie Stopes International, which provides sexual and reproductive healthcare to women around the world, reported on the case of 16-year-old Mi Aye, who lives in Myanmar. Married at 13 and pregnant at 14, Mi Aye told the organization: “Nobody told me about how you have children or how I could avoid getting pregnant, so of course, I got pregnant. I was ‘a child giving birth to a child’ because I was only 14. And afterwards I was really frightened about getting pregnant again but I didn’t know what to do to stop it.”

 Women aged between 15 and 19 are twice as likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth as women over 20; girls under the age of 15 are five times more likely to perish. Bethan Cobley, senior manager of policy and partnerships at Marie Stopes International explained why teens are most at risk. “Sometimes their bodies are not mature enough for pregnancy and childbirth, but more often it’s because young people are less likely to have access to quality health services, particularly in the developing world.”

Benjamin Black referred to this as an issue of ‘vulnerability.’ “Your vulnerability increases according to the wider socio-economic situation that you’re in,” he said. “For example, if you’re a 15-year-old girl from a poor [and] rural family, your vulnerability to each of those delays is much higher than, for example, a professional woman who’s working in a capital city, even in the same country.”

According to the UNFPA, access to trained midwives could help avert two-thirds of maternal and newborn deaths. According to de Bernis, “midwives can implement more than 85 percent of the recommended essential evidence-based RMNH (Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health) interventions”—yet there is so much more than mere medical intervention to tackling these horrifying mortality numbers.

Dr Azhar Abid Raza, a health and immunization specialist with UNICEF in New York, agreed that a holistic approach is “essential” and “is working.” Antenatal care and maternal vaccinations have improved. UNICEF also has programmes targeting child marriage. “In addition, UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA are collaborating to improve the nutritional status of mothers, and in promoting the concept of early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding,” he said.

Access to family planning is equally vital—as is ensuring abortions are a safe option for all women. As it stands, there are 222 million women in the world who would like to use contraception but aren’t able to access it. “An estimated 22 million unsafe abortions are performed each year, resulting in 47,000 deaths and leaving 8 million women with medical complications,” Bethan Cobley of Marie Stopes International told me. “It may sound obvious, but when women have access to contraception, the number of unplanned pregnancies falls dramatically.”

 It’s about the choices girls should be able to make—freely and safely—about their own bodies, without feeling stigmatized or judged.

Family planning and termination of pregnancy is still taboo in many developing countries. As a result, abortion becomes a secret and often deadly operation that can involve ingesting poisonous herbs or using sharp instruments. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these methods often lead to medical complications, infertility, and in the worst cases, death.

So what’s the bottom line? It’s about the choices girls should be able to make—freely and safely—about their own bodies, without feeling stigmatized or judged. When the political will, support and funding is there, women’s lives are saved.

“Where governments have made the decision to fund family planning services and remove policy restrictions, we have seen maternal mortality dramatically fall in a relatively short period of time,” Cobley said. “For example, the Ethiopian government has invested in family planning and as a result maternal mortality in the country has more than halved, falling from 990 deaths in 100,000 live births in 2000 to 440 in 2013.”

Pregnancy shouldn’t be an imposed death sentence for any woman, wherever she lives or whatever her financial circumstance. In 2015, it doesn’t have to be.