Hunza People Never Get Sick, Don’t Get Cancer and Live up to 120 years – Here’s Their Secret.

Have you ever heard about Hunza People?

There are many myths and stories about people who lived happy and healthy for a long, long time.

The myths like the one about the Holy Grail, or the Fountain of Youth are still found quite interesting even after all these years. But, it is no secret that there are many living people that live longer than the rest of us. There are even people that were never ever sick in their life.

So, what is the secret to a long and healthy life?

To answer that question, I went through the most amazing life stories of those centenarians who were willing to share their wisdom on the net. To be honest, many of those stories were different and I was not able to make some final conclusion at first about the “secret” I was looking for. I found many different answers and they confused me even more. For example, Emma Morano from Italy lived 116 years, and she explained that the reason for her long life is staying single. She said: “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone”, so after her divorce at the age of 38 she spent the rest of her life single. She even won the battle against anemia by eating two raw eggs a day her whole life.

Another life story about Mushatt- Jones tells about eating fried bacon every single day. A California centenarian told his secret was eating one donut a day…Then I found out about the life story of Clarice Emley, who was born and raised on a farm. She explains that her family and she ate only what they grew and caught. She is still physically active, working out every day together with her friends. Then, I found out stories about centenarian twins and their secret of getting older together and close as the main reason for their long life…

Confused as I was, I continued searching for the “secret”. An article about the Hunza people took my attention for I began to realize that I am closer to my answer. Hunza people or Hunzas are a population in a mountainous valley in the region of Pakistan.

The many reasons these people took my attention are the following:

1. The literacy rate of Hunza valley is more than 95%- which means that every Hunza has at least a high school diploma;
2. The Hunza region is home to people of four ethnicities;
3. There are two different religion in the Hunza region and people are divided between them, but;
4. The lifestyle of Hunza people is very simple and they are considered to be very welcoming and warm;
5. Some Hunzas live up to 150 years;
6. The women in Hunza can give birth at the age of 65.
7. They never eat processed food, and they eat apricot often and a lot.
8. They work in the fields from sunrise to sunset every day and they work hard.

Connecting together the dots of all the stories and facts presented above, here is my conclusion about how to have a long and healthy life:

1. You do need to educate through life. You can start developing a healthy mind in the young age, and you should never stop reading and thinking actively. Clarice Emley was a teacher, almost all Hunzas are educated, so we can say, we need a healthy developed brain activity to have a healthy life.

2. Single or not it doesn’t matter as long as you maintain healthy relationships during your whole life. “Healthy relationship” can sometimes mean a good connection with yourself, knowing and acknowledging all those hidden feelings, and helping them dissolve in a healthy energy, no matter how contagious they can be. Using self- learning techniques and meditation can help you develop a better understanding of your needs and wishes, which can lead to a bigger and wider loving atmosphere for yourself and everyone around you. Don’t hesitate to express your feelings, for suppressing them can sometimes lead to an abyss. Expressing your feelings can make your relationships “grow old” with you in a healthy direction. So don’t stay away from marriage, but be able to “jump out” of an unstable and unhealthy one. At the end, it is your life that matters most, and the lives of those you love.

3. Avoid stress! Yes, stress is the greatest silent killer, the modern “exterminator” of life force. Nowadays it is hard to ignore those stressful situations like hard working days, paying rents etc. but if you somehow manage to survive these modern obligations and complications, you should retire and slow down in some peaceful place, where you can reconnect with nature and try to live a calmer life.

4. Try to eat organic, natural food, and if you have the chance, grow it yourself. Maybe this is something you hear every day or even think of it often, but look at the Hunza people -they eat only what they grow, and they are healthy to the stadium they don’t even know what cancer is. They die old and happy, seeing more in life than anyone of us. Maybe they don’t know what pizza is, but they see the sunrise many years after your last sunset. They get to witness their great-grandchildren running and playing around. So think about that next time you reach for a fast food snack!

5. Don’t skip the physical activity! Even though it is hard, don’t give up! Think of all the working hours on the fields that Hunza people spend a day! It is hard but keeping your muscles “warm” can never be a bad thing. Clarice Emley (we mentioned before) exercises every day. And she is 105! So, if she won’t give up her working out for the program, why should you? You are never getting younger but you should try to get older!

Yes, getting older is hard. Sometimes we have to give up many things and change our lives direction, but we do it for ourselves. Why not try these things; maybe they will help you after all? Maybe you will live longer than anyone in your family. Maybe you will be the first one that can live for 200 years. And then, you will tell us your secret. But till then, let’s use the knowledge of all those people that are older than 100 and still happy and healthy.

Good luck, and have a long and healthy life!



Motherless babies possible as scientists create live offspring without need for female egg

A mouse embryo is fertilised
A mouse embryo is fertilised in the University of Bath experiment

Motherless babies could be on the horizon after scientists discovered a method of creating offspring without the need for a female egg.

The landmark experiment by the University of Bath rewrites 200 years of biology teaching and could pave the way for a baby to be born from the DNA of two men.

It was always thought that only a female egg could spark the changes in a sperm required to make a baby, because an egg forms from a special kind of cell division in which just half the number of chromosomes are carried over.

 Imagine that you could take skin cells and make embryos from them. This would have all kinds of utility.Dr Tony Perry, University of Bath

Sperm cells form in the same way, so that when a sperm and egg meet they form a full genetic quota, with half our DNA coming from our mother and half from our father.

But now scientists have shown embryoscould be created from cells which carry all their chromosomes which means that, in theory, any cell in the human body could be fertilised by a sperm.

Three generations of mice have already been created using the technique and are fit and healthy and now researchers are planning to test out the theory using skin cells.

Scientists now want to test whether the same result could be achieved using skin cells 
Scientists now want to test whether the same result could be achieved using skin cells 

Dr Tony Perry, a molecular embryologist and senior author of the study, said: “Some people say start the day with an egg, but what this paper says is that you don’t necessarily have to start development with one.

“It has been thought that only an egg cell was capable of reprogramming sperm to allow embryonic development to take place.

“Our work challenges that dogma, held since early embryologists first observed mammalian eggs in around 1827 and observed fertilisation 50 years later, that only an egg cell fertilised with a sperm cell can result in a live mammalian birth.

“We’re talking about different ways of making embryos. Imagine that you could take skin cells and make embryos from them. This would have all kinds of utility.”

For the initial experiments, scientists “tricked” an egg into developing into an embryo using special chemicals which makes the egg think it has been fertilised. Crucially the cells in an embryo copy themselves completely when they divide, and so mirror closely most other cells in the body, such as skin cells.

When scientists injected the embryos with sperm, they grew into healthy mice which went on to produce their own litters.

The fertilised non-egg cell developed into an embryo in the same way as a normal egg cell 
The fertilised non-egg cell developed into an embryo in the same way as a normal egg cell 

Although the researchers began with an egg cell for the experiment, they do not believe it is required to spark the same development. In theory, the technique should work with any cell in the body as long as half the chromosomes are removed first to allow them to fuse with the sperm’s chromosomes.

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, group leader at The Francis Crick Institute, said: “I’m not surprised that the authors are excited about this. I think it is a very interesting paper, and a technical tour de force.

“And I am sure it will tell us something important about reprogramming at these early steps of development that are relevant to fertilisation – and perhaps more broadly about reprogramming of cell fate in other situations.

“It doesn’t yet tell us how, but the paper gives a number of clear pointers.”

The technique raises the possibility that gay men, for instance, could have a child whose DNA was half of each of the couple, although a woman would still need to act as a surrogate to carry the baby.

It also raises the possibility that a man could even fertilise his own cells to produce offspring containing a mixture of genes inherited from him and his parents.

More realistically, the technique could allow women whose fertility has been wiped out by cancer drugs or radiotherapy to have their own children.

While eggs can be frozen before cancer therapy and later fertilised in an IVF clinic, currently nothing can be done once they have been lost.  It may also help women to continue having children later in life. Women are born with all their eggs and they degrade with age, which makes conception more difficult in later life. But if it was possible to fertilise a new skin cell, it could improve the chance of having a baby.

Conception using sperm and non-egg cells could also aid the preservation of endangered species, since it avoids the need to recover eggs.

In the study, 30 mouse pups were born with a success rate of 24 per cent. This compares with a 1 per cent to 2 per cent  success rate for offspring created by the Dolly the Sheep method of cloning by transferring DNA to donated eggs.

Some of the mice went on to have offspring themselves, and a number had offspring that went on to have their own pups. Fertility is generally seen as a sign of fitness and good health.

Dr Perry said that his team was planning to take the next step of attempting to produce live offspring from ordinary non-egg cells, such as skin cells.

Mouse pups were healthy and went on to produce their own offspring 
Mouse pups in the experiment were healthy and went on to produce their own offspring 

Dr Paul Colville-Nash, from the Medical Research Council, which funded the study, said: “This is an exciting piece of research which may help us to understand more about how human life begins and what controls the viability of embryos, mechanisms which may be important in fertility.

“It may one day even have implications for how we treat infertility, though that’s probably still a long way off.”

Source: Nature Communications.

Unlimited Energy: Physicists Assert We Already Have a Viable Model of a Fusion Device


One of the biggest challenges in the fusion energy development is finding the best shape for the device to contain the plasma, but physicists in the United States believe they may have found a new kind of nuclear fusion device that could be the most commercially viable design yet.


Physicists around the world are on a mad dash to build a nuclear fusion machine that can replicate the Sun’s atom-fusing process and provide everyone with a low-cost, sustainable energy resource—effectively ending our dependence on fossil fuels.

Replicating how the sun and stars create energy through fusion is essentially like putting “a star in a jar,” although there is no “jar” in existence that is not only capable of containing superhot plasma, but also low-cost enough that it can be built around the world—although it’s not for lack of trying.

In fact, physicists are working on a new kind of nuclear fusion device that could be the most commercially viable design yet.

 In a new paper published in Nuclear Fusion, physicists working at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) assert that a model for such fusion device “already exists in experimental form – the compact spherical tokamaks at PPPL and Culham, England.”
Test cell of the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade with tokamak in the center. (Photo by Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications)
Test cell of the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade with tokamak in the center. 


Current designs for this so-called “jar” essentially call for doughnut shaped objects that come complete with powerful magnetic fields which suspend the plasma inside it, called tokamaks. It’s incredibly expensive to make and also hard to maintain, which is why physicists continue to develop new designs that will, hopefully, keep the cost down.

So far, there are two advanced spherical tokamaks in various stages of development. The first is the Mega Ampere Spherical Tokamak (MAST), which UK expects to be completed soon; the other is the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U) at PPPL, which went online last year.

“We are opening up new options for future plants,” said Jonathan Menard, lead author and program director for the NSTX-U.

But the devices, described in the 43-page paper, still have a long way to go. They must first be able to control the turbulence created after the plasma particles are subjected to electromagnetic fields, and also control how the superhot plasma particles interact with the device’s walls to avoid possible disruptions, which can happen if the plasma becomes too impure.

PPPL Director Stewart Prager said these two reactors, “will push the physics frontier, expand our knowledge of high temperature plasmas, and, if successful, lay the scientific foundation for fusion development paths based on more compact designs.”


We Accidentally Invented Plastic That Conducts Electricity


The SciShow offers an interesting perspective on conductive plastics. Hank Green explains how the advent of conductive plastics has changed technology, with companies producing cheaper electronics.


Before the 2000s, conductive plastics were virtually unheard of. The recycle bin fodder was only utilized as an insulator to protect electricians from any fatal electric shocks until 1974, when a scientist stumbled upon a plastic that could conduct electricity.

SciShow’s Hank Green explains the birth of conductive plastics and the inner scientific machinations of a new form of plastic. He highlights the particular properties of the plastic that enable its conductivity while also talking about other methods used today to conduct electricity.

These advances have spilled over into consumer technology. A conductive plastic called PEDOT protects electronics from static electricity by dispersing the charge. Through these methods, scientists have created the innovations needed to print electronics on inkjet printers. Companies are transforming heavy, expensive silicon solar panels to more affordable and lightweight options. The problem with using plastics for solar panels is that they’re not as efficient as the silicon ones, at least not yet. Even so, scientists predict that one day we will have solar cells printed on almost everything, and conductive plastic could change how we think about our electronics.

Watch the video. URL:

From decapitation to consciousness: how one nerve connects body, brain, and mind 

What we learned from gruesome decapitation experiments.

The relationship between mind, brain, and body has kept philosophers and scientists busy for centuries. Some of the first interesting – albeit gruesome – experiments on the role of the body in human consciousness considered life after decapitation. The Conversation

In 1905, French physician Gabriel Beaurieux believed he had communicated with prisoner Henri Languille after his head had been severed from his body.

 Writing of the experience, Beaurieux said:

“I called in a strong, sharp voice: ‘Languille!’ I saw the eyelids slowly lift up, without any spasmodic contractions – I insist advisedly on this peculiarity – but with an even movement, quite distinct and normal, such as happens in everyday life, with people awakened or torn from their thoughts.”

Almost two decades later, Soviet scientist Sergei Brukhonenko reportedly kept a dog’s severed head alive for nearly six months using a primitive heart-lung machine.

Video footage allegedly shows the head responding to light, sound and citric acid stimuli.

But while Brukhonenko’s research may have been an important in the development of cardiac surgery – it is more often regarded as faked Soviet-era propaganda.

Consciousness and non-physical properties

Investigations into human consciousness have moved on since these initial observations – though we haven’t got away from decapitation just yet. More recently, however, neuroscientists have questioned just how it is that physical matter comes together to make the mind.

In 1995, Francis Crick wrote in The Astonishing Hypothesis that we are nothing more than an “immensely complex collection of neurons”.

 This hypothesis is a form of reductive physicalism – a philosophical position to which modern neuroscience typically subscribes – that everything in existence is no more than its physical properties.

Again using animal decapitation, though this time with rats, neuroscientists have explored the question of how long brain activity is observed after death – a step forward from just consciousness.

In a 2011 experiment, it was reported that decapitated rats’ time to unconsciousness – defined by a decrease in cognitive activity of 50 percent – was 4 seconds.

The researchers also observed a very large and much later slow wave in brain activity. This was interpreted as what they called a “wave of death” – when all the brain’s neurons died at the same time – and perhaps, the ultimate border between life and death.

But some believe that the mind is more than just the sum of its physical brain cells. A contrasting position to physicalism is the dualist assumption that the physical and the mental are fundamentally different substances.

Furthermore, some philosophers and scientists have suggested that “information may be the key to consciousness“.

Consistent with this idea is integrated information theory, which accepts the existence of consciousness, but controversially implies that anything at all may be conscious – even a smartphone – if it possesses a sufficiently high “phi”: a measure of information in a system which cannot be reduced to that specified by its parts.

From psychological moments to mortality

While I have left out many important details in this fascinating discussion, better understanding the link between mind, brain and body has been the focus of my own research, in recent years through looking at the functions of the vagus nerve.

Higher vagus nerve function (measured and indexed by heart rate variability) supports a person’s capacity for emotion regulation, social engagement and cognitive function.

By contrast, impaired vagal function – and lower heart rate variability – may play a role in the onset of depression.

But the vagus nerve doesn’t just affect the mind. Higher levels of vagal function may lead to improved glucose regulation, reduced inflammation, and reduced risk of disease and death.

Vagal function is also known to play an important role in brain cognition. It helps to suppress irrelevant and interfering stimuli.

Studies have also suggested that the vagus nerve might play an important regulatory role over inflammatory processes, contributing to diabetesobesityand cardiovascular disease – all of which also impact on cognitive function.

However, little research has been done which looks at how the vagus nerve affects body and mind together.

That’s why I teamed up with colleagues to question whether previously reported relationships between vagal function and cognitive performance could be explained through a single neurological-psychological-physiological pathway.

Supporting this possibility, we observed that impairment in vagal function appears to increase insulin resistance, which contributes to a thickening of the carotid arteries, which in turn adversely impacts on cognitive function.

This means that low vagal function initiates a cascade of adverse downstream effects which subsequently lead to cognitive impairment.

While simple health behaviours – weight loss and exercise for example – may ‘short circuit’ adverse effects on brain function, more research into the causal pathways involved is still needed to discover just how the vagus nerve connects the body, brain and mind.

Our research is a first step into uncovering how the health of the body and mind can be affected by this one nerve.

But it is one step on a path that we hope will develop with our own research into “positive psychology” for people living with neurological disorders.

Watch the video. URL:

Study Finds That Psilocybin Hyperconnects The Brain

Psilocybins have many positive effects on the human brain, being known to cure ailments such as travel sickness and having magical effects on perception and spirituality.

They have been  used for centuries with cave painting of mushrooms being found dated over 6,000 years ago.

A lack of studies on psilocybins has led to a poor understanding on exactly how the substance works, but a recent study had a ground-breaking result.

The study, conducted at Kings College, London has found that psilocybins have an effect on the brain like nothing else seen before.

They found the compound to be connecting parts of the brain that are usually completely separate.

Study co-author Paul Expert said:

“…the compound connects brain regions that don’t normally talk together.”

The study found ‘long range connections’ between areas of the brain causing a state of synesthesia which accounts for why people describe seeing colours when listening to music.

Fellow Kings College psychopharmacology researcher Mitul Mehta said:

“…through studies such as these we can really begin to tackle the questions of how we achieve coherent experiences of ourselves in the world around us, and understand what makes this break down.”


How the “Anti-Vaccine” Movement Threatens Us All

Step back and take a good look. It’s a full blown, parent on parent brawl. I’m struck with an urgency that the vaccine discussion is perilously off track and acutely needs correction. The anti-vaccine controversy isn’t really about disease, public health, science, autism, or chronic illness. It’s not even about vaccines.

It’s about the role of government in our lives

As parents face off and hurl epithets, colossal special interests are having a field day codifying a set of laws that are systematically and comprehensively taking away our fundamental rights. It’s a massive overreach.

Will you grant government bureaucrats carte blanche to define and ultimately direct the education and welfare of your children across a broad spectrum of issues, and to allow your children to be taken away if you do not comply?


Yes, that’s exactly what this is about.

So stop saying whether you vaccinate

It doesn’t matter. And acting as if it does is a big part of the problem. Whether you choose all, some, or no vaccines, it’s way past time to quit publicly disclosing your family’s personal medical information as a badge of honor. Just because other people are asking doesn’t mean that you should do it.

There are myriad reasons that factor into each family’s decision, relating to matters that are simply no one else’s business. You shouldn’t have to explain or justify any of them. You shouldn’t open yourself to the possibility of needing to explain or justify any of them. It’s entirely feasible to have an educated and thoughtful discussion on vaccination without oversharing. In fact, it’s probably more effective that way.

For a bit of context only. Should couples with a family history of Down’s syndrome be permitted to have children? Should people reveal blood test results that provide a very early warning of Alzheimer’s? Or how about genetic markers whose expression will make you a less desirable employee, mate, or insurance risk? And so on.

This is precisely the point. If we don’t treat this critically important decision as the intensely private affair that it is, then we co-create a culture in which it’s legitimate, then appropriate, and ultimately imperative for others — bureaucrats, doctors, schools, employers, reporters, neighbors — to ask and then tell us what we must think and do. 

Discuss the topic responsibly

I’m definitely not saying we shouldn’t talk about vaccination. It’s very clear that this topic needs to be discussed a lot.

Let’s cultivate the knowledge, discipline, and mastery to talk about vaccination responsibly. This means doing the work to be in possession of the facts. Don’t exaggerate or wing it. Present the issues as someone who can stand in another’s shoes. Speak in a manner that is as calm and unemotional and even detached as possible. Don’t proselytize. And in the end, if necessary, agree to disagree.

This requires far more than just “book” learning. For many of us, it means a commitment to work on ourselves and to step away from activism as a form of therapy. Because, let’s face it, when the conversation gets tough, it’s far easier to say what we do and walk away and allow that to be the ultimate line in the stand.

It’s a deliberate distraction… it’s theater

Announcing whether you vaccinate sets the entire stage.

Parents judging parents is high drama. Parents feel sorry for those who aren’t doing their own research. Other parents, in turn, pity those who are looking for something to blame. None of us has the big picture. We are all actors, playing into a narrative. But it’s more than a narrative. It’s a play. It’s theater. And like most forms of popular entertainment, there’s a purpose.

It’s meant to distract the masses. That’s all of us, people.

We seemingly understand our roles and deliver them with brio. But have we really thought it through?

What are the other roles? It’s not our stage. It’s not our script. There are actors and directors we never see. Who are the producers? Do we agree with the moral of the story?

And here’s the kicker. The whole thing wouldn’t work without our participation. We aren’t just complicit. We’re indispensable. We’re on set and the cameras are rolling. We’re advancing someone else’s agenda.

It’s all enabled by the belief that we must share a private decision.

Backdrop #1: The anti-vaccine bucket

Every single person who declares that there’s something more to vaccination than meets the eye is unceremoniously dropped into the “anti-vaccine bucket.”

The name notwithstanding, it’s a rather nice bucket. It should really be called the “Green Bucket” or the “Wellness Bucket” or, yes, the “Fearless Bucket.” It’s filled with smart, passionate people that we enjoy hanging out with and learning from. We increasingly spend our time with people in the bucket. We go to doctors in the bucket. We buy products from businesses in the bucket. We work to make the bucket bigger. We fundraise for the bucket. We’re proud that we’re in the bucket.

We become attached to the inevitability that, one day, everyone will understand the wisdom of our bucket.

Backdrop #2: The conflict

We are perplexed by people who aren’t in the bucket… the many parents with no urgency to investigate before dutifully trudging to the pediatrician with their infant, baby, toddler, child, or teenager in tow and doing as they’re told by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. How can they not explore the science that links vaccines and their ingredients to chronic, autoimmune, or neurodevelopmental disorders, which already affect half of US children?

Many of these “no research” parents and their children are important to us — family, dear friends, loved ones. We venture outside the bucket to recruit and teach them. But most won’t give us the time of day here. They won’t read the books we recommend; watch the movies and docuserieswe want to share; or attend the events we beg them to consider. Some threaten to take drastic measures if we don’t shut up. We’ve lost precious relationships over this issue.

It makes us sad. Maybe we get frustrated or angry. We may even feel that their unwillingness to engage in this issue is now threatening our own families’ well-being. And, hey, some of these people are, gasp, actually in the bucket but pretend they’re not. That’s not right! Silence isn’t neutrality. It’s tacit approval.

But what can we do? We can’t enter another person’s will or change her path. It’s a relief, in a way. Live and let live. No one agrees on everything. No family is an island, after all. Better to quietly take an exemption and allow the movement to grow organically. Trust the unfoldment. We go back into the bucket and do our own thing.

Backdrop #3: The masses tune out

This is a messy debate with exceptionally high stakes involving all parents and our children plus the federal government, 50 state governments, the pharmaceutical industry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, thousands of medical doctors, and virtually all daycare centers and schools in the country.

Isn’t it odd that there is absolutely no forum for thoughtful, methodical, respectful engagement designed to raise the issues, hear the concerns, and advance the discussion?


And isn’t it odd that this acrimonious thing just won’t go away?

As a result, the topic is experienced by most people as random, chaotic, confusing, and above all, unsafe for general conversation. It’s a hodgepodge of medical protocol, old science, new science, history, media headlines, conventional wisdom, individual stories, angry accusations, fear, psychology, habit, wishful thinking, and a deep, abiding desire to carve out some certainty in an uncertain world:

Vaccine injury is exceedingly rare.

There’s been a three-fold increase in vaccine doses since 1989.

It’s genetic. Most people are vaccinated and nothing happens.

The mercury-based vaccine preservative, thimerosal, is neurotoxic.

We need herd immunity or we’ll be overrun with diseases.

There’s a chronic enterocolitis that may be related to neurodevelopmental impairment that appears after administration of the combination MMR vaccine in some children.

Some children can’t be vaccinated.

Injection of aluminum adjuvants can overcome genetic resistance to autoimmunity.

Children are a vector for disease.

There’s a risk of DNA insertion via human diploid cells in MMR, chickenpox, and Hep A vaccines.

Everyone must be vaccinated because the vaccines don’t always work.

The autism changepoint year occurred around the time of the neonatal (day-of-birth) hepatitis B shot.

It’s like mandating seat belts and bike helmets, for the greater good.

Did you know that there are GMOs in vaccines?  

And we’re just warming up. Is it any wonder that the vast majority of people tune it out? Have you ever wondered if this is by design?

The vaccine minefield is really about the age old battle that our founding fathers understood all too well.

Vigilance against the expanding scope of power

We’re talking about authoritarianism and privacy and hidden agendas of powerful players whose interests are not aligned with ours.

Have you thought about Edward Snowden lately? From the Snowden movie:

CIA bigwig: Most Americans don’t want freedom. They want security. It’s a simple bargain… you pay the price of admission… Where’s the modern battlefield, soldier? [Everywhere.] What’s the first rule of battle? [Never reveal your position.] And if one unauthorized person knew? [If Congress knows, so would the enemy.] That, Mr. Snowden, is the state of the world. Secrecy is security. And security is victory.

Snowden: The people being able to question the government and hold it accountable, that’s the principle the United States of America was founded on… And when those in power try to hide by classifying everything, we will call them out on it. And when they try to scare us into sacrificing our basic human rights, we won’t be intimidated and we won’t give up. We will not be silenced.

There’s a reason that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written foremost as a call for vigilance against the expanding scope of government power and to protect individual rights.

Do we want government taking away our basic rights and messing in our personal and family matters? Should the state be allowed to judge our religious beliefs, constrain our exercise of conscience, and evaluate and override our parenting? Will we be so easily cowed and distracted, and give away the farm?

Depression Starts In Your Gut

The new biology of depression

The old story is that depression is caused by a deficiency of neurotransmitters like serotonin. This ‘serotonin model’ led to widespread treatment using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft and Prozac. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, your doctor may have said that you’re “just born that way.” And you may worry that having a depressed family member means that you’ll get depression too.


However, gamechanging science is showing that our destinies are not written in our genes. Further, data revealing that SSRIs don’t work (and create dangerous side effects!), along with a mountain of research studies, have debunked the deterministic serotonin model of depressionInstead, we’re finding that depression is often a symptom of chronic inflammation.

We are all at risk for chronic, silent inflammation because we are living at a time of evolutionary mismatch. That is, our modern lifestyles create incompatibilities between what our genes expect of us and what our world demands. We eat foods that are processed beyond recognition, are sitting inside offices and cars most of the day, and are exposed to thousands of modern chemicals. Inflammation is the result of these types of conflicts.

Science is showing that chronic inflammation is at the root of nearly every disease (1). Inflammation is linked to everything from metabolic disorders, like obesity and diabetes, to neurodegenerative diseases and cancer (2-4). I’ve personally treated hundreds of patients diagnosed with depression whose bodies were on fire with chronic inflammation. My clinical success rates are so high because I recognize that depression is a symptom, not a disease, and I treat the cause: inflammation.

Inflammatory markers are associated with depression

Usually we recognize inflammation, a signal that something is wrong, by pain. For instance, babies quickly learn to avoid hot stoves because of the sharp pain associated. However, because the brain does not have pain receptorsit’s difficult for us to know when our brains are inflamed.

Researchers identify brain inflammation by quantifying levels of inflammatory proteins, such as C-reactive protein. New research is showing that markers of inflammation are elevated in depressed patients. In one study, researchers found that when depressive symptoms resolved, these signs of inflammation also decreased to normal levels (5). In another study, researchers measured C-reactive protein levels in over 1000 women for several years. They found that increases in C-reactive protein triggered the onset of depression (6). When inflammation was triggered, depression was triggered.

Furthermore, when inflammation is created in healthy people, they develop depressive symptoms (7). On the flip side, anti-inflammatory treatments effectively resolve depression (8). That’s right: treatments that lower inflammation, not reset serotonin, are the real “antidepressants.”

These studies, that show that body inflammation creates brain symptoms, support the exciting concept of psychoneuroimmunology. Psychoneuroimmunology, which reveals that all systems and organs are connected, is literally rewriting the book on psychiatric disorders like depression (9). This inclusive framework expands the one-gene, one-ill, one-pill perspective that has stymied effective treatments.

Psychoneuroimmunology helps us understand that no one is “just born with it” when it comes to disease. We have the power to heal ourselves.

The most powerful path to our brain is through our gut

The intestinal wall is our border with the outside world. Because the gut is where things from the outside (like food) are absorbed inside our bodies, the intestinal wall is designed to handle a many types of interactions with foreign matter. Considering the functions of our gut, it makes sense that most of our immune cells are located in the gut (10). Further, the gut is home to our microbiome, the trillions of beneficial microbes that live inside our gastrointestinal tract. When a potential threat is sensed in the gut, large, far-reaching inflammation occurs (11). This inflammation can travel directly from your gut to your brain (12), especially through the vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve is the longest nerve stemming from the brain. This nerve is connected to several parts of the gut, including the stomach and intestines. The vagus nerve also touches other organs important for digestion, like the pancreas.



vagusnerve1The vagus nerve is a two-way information highway that connects 200-600 million nerve cells between our intestines and brain (13). Many of us have felt this gut-brain link. Have you ever been too stressed to eat or felt butterflies in your stomach? Interestingly, this perceived stress, anxiety, and nervousness isn’t just in your head; it can lead to inflammation in your gut and beyond (14, 15). While it’s best to manage stressors to reduce stress-related symptoms, like depression, I’ve found that one of the most direct and quick ways to calm the vagus nerve is through dietary change. Just as emotions send messages to your gut, food sends messages to your brain.

How does food create inflammation?

There are many drivers of gut inflammation that leads to depressive symptoms. Processed foods, which often are the bedrock of the Standard American Diet (SAD), are foreign to our bodies. When we eat highly processed foods, our gut cells set off the alarm of inflammation. Further, many people are unknowingly eating inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy that cause allergenic reactions too mild for most people to notice. Sugarartificial sweeteners, and casein proteins (found in dairy) have been shown to activate inflammation.

The SAD can also cause nutrient deficiencies, as people are filling up on bagels and granola bars instead of nutrient-rich foods. Beyond food, many people pop pills without thinking about what they do to their bodies. Often, patients come to psychiatrists like me after they’ve been dosed with a cocktail of ‘harmless’ drugs like Tylenolstatinsantibiotics, acid blockers, and birth control pills.

Consuming processed, nutrient-poor foods and pharmaceuticals can radically change the gut microbiomeAlterations in the microbiome, called dysbiosis (or “wrong living”), can lead to intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. Leaky gut fans the flames of inflammation and depression.

Several studies have shown that a healthy microbiome is essential for a healthy brain (16). A gastroenterology research team revealed that certain types of microbial ecosystems are linked to anxiety and impaired brain function (17). In one study, researchers treated mice with a probiotic bacteria called Bifidobacterium longum. Dosing mice with probiotics reduced their anxiety-like behavior (18). Interestingly, they created a mouse model of anxiety by inducing inflammation, further evidence that inflammation causes depression.

How can you resolve inflammation and depression?

For many people, committing to stop eating the top gut bombs that drive inflammation is an effective start to resolving depression. For others, it is useful to help the gut microbiome by supplementing with probiotics.

Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, has been extensively researched as a superior anti-inflammatory and antidepressant. Studies have shown that curcumin is better than Prozac for depression. In fact, I encourage all my patients to try this turmeric latte and rethink breakfast.

It can be overwhelming and difficult to change ingrained habits like eating. Because I cannot accommodate all the people that I’d like to in my private practice, I created the Vital Mind Reset program. This program serves as a guide and vibrant community to help people resolve all sorts of diagnoses like depression. The importance of a supportive community cannot be overstated, especially as research has shown that loneliness drives inflammation that triggers or compounds depression. I’ve been amazed and humbled by the remarkable stories of committed people who have successfully tapered off their medications through diet and stress reduction. Starting by mindfully choosing what you eat, you too can reclaim health and vitality.

Princeton’s Ad-Blocking Superweapon May Put an End to the Ad-Blocking Arms Race

An ad blocker that uses computer vision appears to be the most powerful ever devised and can evade all known anti ad blockers.

A team of Princeton and Stanford University researchers has fundamentally reinvented how ad-blocking works, in an attempt to put an end to the advertising versus ad-blocking arms race. The ad blocker they’ve created is lightweight, evaded anti ad-blocking scripts on 50 out of the 50 websites it was tested on, and can block Facebook ads that were previously unblockable.

The software, devised by Arvind Narayanan, Dillon Reisman, Jonathan Mayer, and Grant Storey, is novel in two major ways: First, it looks at the struggle between advertising and ad blockers as fundamentally a security problem that can be fought in much the same way antivirus programs attempt to block malware, using techniques borrowed from rootkits and built-in web browser customizability to stealthily block ads without being detected. Second, the team notes that there are regulations and laws on the books that give a fundamental advantage to consumers that cannot be easily changed, opening the door to a long-term ad-blocking solution.

The Federal Trade Commission regulations require advertisements to be clearly labeled so that a human can recognize them, which has created a built-in advantage for consumers and, now, ad blockers. The team used several computer vision techniques to detect ads the same way that a human would, which they call “perceptual ad blocking.” Because advertisers must comply with these regulations, the authors imagine an “end game” in which consumers—and ad blockers—ultimately win.


“Unlike the behavior of malware, the behavior of both publishers/advertisers and ad-blocking tools already is, and will continue to be, shaped by regulations,” they write in a paper explaining the ad blocker. “A favorable legal climate and the existence of browsers friendly toward ad-blocking extensions are two key factors that may tip the scales toward users.”

Ad-blocking is obviously a fraught ethical topic—especially for a journalist whose salary is paid for in large part by advertising. The rise of malvertisinginvasive tracking and surveillance, and heavyweight scripts that can bog down browser performance mean that there is a strong case to be made for blocking ads (a recent study found that advertising and scripts slow down web pages by an average of 44 percent). On the other hand, ads allow companies like VICE to keep the lights on, and widespread ad-blocking has already made significant dents in the revenue streams of online publishers.

While the researchers don’t take an ethical stance about whether you should use an ad blocker or not, they do believe that the advertiser/publisher/reader relationships must fundamentally change.

 “The fundamental problem with online ads today is a misalignment of incentives—not just between users and advertisers, but between publishers and advertisers,” Narayanan told me in an email. “We’ve consistently found that publishers are upset about rampant online tracking and the security problems with ads, but they don’t have much control over ad tech. Changing this power imbalance is important if we want a long-term solution.”

A proof of concept is now available for Chrome, but is not fully functional (as in, it only detects ads, it doesn’t block them): “To avoid taking sides on the ethics of ad-blocking, we have deliberately stopped short of making our proof-of-concept tool fully functional—it is configured to detect ads but not actually block them,” Narayanan said.

With two highly motivated parties involved—a largely open source ad-blocking developer community and publishers who have their bottom lines at stake—the ad-blocking arms race has gotten significantly more complex over the past several years. Popular ad blockers like Adblock Plus and uBlock Origin work by detecting code that is used by standard ads; urls and markup code popularly used in ads are shared on huge open source lists that are often maintained by humans.

This means advertisers and publishers can simply change the code they use to deliver their ads to defeat them. This type of ad-blocking is often easily detected by anti ad blockers, which are deployed on the sites of more than 50 popular publishers. Finally, traditional ad blockers fail to block native ads that look like normal content, which is why your ad blockers won’t detect and block sponsored posts on Facebook.

 Perceptual ad-blocking, on the other hand, ignores those codes and those lists. Instead, it uses optical character recognition, design techniques, and container searches (the boxes that ads are commonly put in on a page) to detect words like “sponsored” or “close ad” that are required to appear on every ad, which is what allows it to detect and block Facebook ads.

“As long as the disclosure standards are unambiguous and adhered to, a perceptual ad blocker will have a 100 percent recall at identifying ads governed by that standard,” the researchers wrote. Because new disclosure standards generally have to go through legal vetting and are required, they are less likely to change than the code used to deliver the ads.

To defeat anti ad blockers, the researchers say they’ve borrowed techniques from rootkits, which are often used for malware but can be adapted to “hide their existence and activities” from ad-blocking detectors. This is done because browser extensions are given a higher “privilege” than advertisements and ad blocker detectors. Another technique that was not used but was proposed to hide the ad blockers’ activities is even more impressive. They are able to “create two copies of the page, one which the user sees (and to which ad-blocking will be applied) and one which the publisher code interacts with, and to ensure that information propagates between these copies in one direction but not the other.”

What we have, then, is research that points toward a potential end of the ad-blocking arms race. Your move, publishers.



Igo to this boot camp-style class sometimes at a gym near my apartment. It’s one of those classes where a coach stands there and yells at you to do more pushups and squats until you think you’re going to puke. Then you go home and struggle to sit on a toilet for the next three days.

It’s great. I love it. I never miss a week.

Today, as happens many mornings, a couple of people, in between exercises, ran over to the wall to pick up their phones and check… well, I don’t know what the fuck they could have been checking. Email? Instagram? Snapchatting their sweat beads so everyone could see? I don’t know.

The point is they were on their phones.

And the coach got pissed, yelled at them to put their fucking phones away, and we all stood around awkwardly.

This proceeded to happen two or three times in the class, as it does in pretty much every class, and for whatever reason, today I decided to speak my mind to the women glued to her phone while the rest of us were working out:

“Is there really nothing in your life that can’t wait 30 minutes? Or are you curing cancer or something?”

Note to readers: this is a bad way to make friends.

I was pissed. But fuck them. I felt like I was in the right, that I was saying what pretty much everyone else in the room was silently thinking.1

Later that day, once we’d all gone home, while painfully sitting on a toilet seat, I was going over the incident in my head. And I asked myself, “Why does that bother me so much? Why do phones, in general, seem to bug me so much? Why does it bother me when my wife pulls out her phone when we’re walking down the street together? Why do I fervently hate with a passion people who hold up their phones and record half a concert? What’s the deal?”

Am I the screwed up one here?

I know I’m not though. We all have this weird love/hate relationship with our phones these days. Every year, we become more glued to them than ever before. Yet, every year, we seem to resent that we’re glued to them. Why is that?


If you think about it, our attention is the only thing we truly own in our lives. Our possessions can go away. Our bodies can be compromised. Our relationships can fall apart. Even our memories and intellectual capacity fade away.

But the simple ability to choose what to focus on — that will always be ours.

Unfortunately, with today’s technology, our attention is being pulled in more directions than ever before, which makes this optioning of our own attention more difficult — and more important — than ever before.

In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport argues that the ability to focus deeply on a single project, idea or task for long periods of time is not only one of the most important skills for succeeding in the information age, but it’s also an ability that appears to be dwindling among the population.

But I would go even further. I would say that our ability to focus and hone our attention on what we need is a core component of living a happy, healthy life. We’ve all had those days or weeks (or months or years) where we’ve felt scatterbrained — out of control of our own reality, constantly sucked down rabbit holes of pointless information and drama comprised of endless clicks and notifications.

To be happy and healthy, we need to feel as though we are in control of ourselves and we are utilizing our abilities and talents effectively.2 To do that, we must be in control of our attention.3

And I think this is why the cell phone thing at the gym pissed me off. Those workouts are fucking hard. They require me to focus and exert not only physical discipline but mental discipline as well. And to stop every 10 minutes because somebody needs to email their boss or text their boyfriend yanks me out of that. And worse, it yanks me out against my will.

It’s attention pollution when somebody else’s inability to focus or control themselves then interferes with the attention and focus of those around them.

And with the explosion in smart devices and internet available pretty much everywhere from Timbuktu to your mother’s ass crack, attention pollution is infiltrating our daily lives more and more without us realizing it.

It’s why we get annoyed at dinner when someone starts texting in front of us. It’s why we get pissed off when someone pulls their phone out in a movie theater. It’s why we become irritated when someone is checking their email instead of watching the ballgame.

Their inability to focus interferes with our (already-fragile) ability to focus. The same way second-hand smoke harms the lungs of people around the smoker, smartphones harm the attention and focus of people around the smartphone user. It hijacks our senses. It forces us to pause our conversations and redouble our thoughts unnecessarily. It causes us to lose our train of thought and forget that important point we were constructing in our head. It erodes at our ability to connect and simply be present with one another, destroying intimacy in the process.

But the smoking comparison doesn’t end there. There’s evidence that suggests that we are doing long-term harm to our memories and attention spans.4 The same way smoking cigarettes fucks over our long-term health in the name of a series of short-term bursts of highs, the dopamine kicks we get from our phones are harming our brain’s ability to function over the long-term, all in the name of getting a bunch of likes on that really cool new photo of our food we just took.

Now, it may sound like I’m overreacting here. Like I had a shitty gym session and am taking it out on hundreds of thousands of readers on the internet.

But I’m serious. I think this is fucking us up more than we realize.

I’ve noticed that as the years go on, it’s becoming harder for me to sit down and write an article like this than it was three or four years ago. And it’s not just that the amount of available distractions have compounded over the years, it’s that my ability to resist those distractions seems to have worn down to the point where I often don’t feel in control of my own attention anymore.

And this kind of freaks me out. It’s not that I resent the woman at the gym who can’t go 10 minutes without checking her messages. I resent that I am becoming that person at the gym who can’t go 10 minutes without checking his messages.

And I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one.

I’ve met people the last few years who get incredibly anxious if they can’t check their phone in social situations. They carry their phones into conversations the way some people carry dogs on airplanes. It’s a constant outlet if the necessity to interface with another person’s thoughts and feelings ever becomes too intense.

I’ve started to notice people who feel like they need to always be checking email or their messages to feel as though they’re being a good, productive employee. Doesn’t matter if it’s their kid’s violin recital, or in the car at stop lights, or in bed at midnight on a Saturday. They feel like they have to always be caught up on every piece of information that is flung their way, otherwise they’re somehow failing.

I’ve noticed friends who can no longer sit through entire movies (or even episodes of a TV show) without pulling out their phones multiple times in the middle of it. People who can’t make it through a meal without putting the phone next to their plate.

It’s happening everywhere, and it’s therefore becoming the social norm. The eroded attention is becoming the normal, socially acceptable attention, and we are all paying for it.


I have a dream, friends. I have a dream of a world where people can sit through long, dull conversations, without feeling the need to douse themselves with instant-gratification delivered through glowing plastic screens.

I have a dream of a world where people are cognizant of not only their own limited attention, but the precious attention of others and some numb-nuts won’t start texting in the movie theatre, totally killing the mood of a dramatic scene.

I have a dream where our devices will be comfortably allotted as the occasional supplement to our lives, and not used as a poor replacement for them. Where people will recognize that the constant and instantaneous delivery of information has subtle costs associated with it, as well as its more obvious benefits.

I have a dream of a world where people become aware of their own attention as an important resource, something to be cultivated and renewed, to be built and cherished, the same way they take care of their bodies or their education. And this new cultivation of their own attention will oddly set them free. Not just free from the screens, but free from their own unconscious impulses.

I have a dream where that respect for attention would extend to the world around them, to their friends and family and the acknowledgment that the inability to focus is not only harmful to oneself, but harmful to one’s relationships and ability to hold and maintain intimacy with someone.

I have a dream that these women won’t check their fucking phones when I’m doing burpee #327 next Wednesday. For God’s sake, if you’re going to the gym, go to the fucking gym.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we’re free at last (from our smartphones)!”

OK, maybe I plagiarized that last paragraph, but next time you’re taking a selfie at dinner, ask yourself, what would Dr. King have wanted?