Prehistoric human DNA is found in caves without bones in ‘enormous scientific breakthrough’

Becky Miller sampling sediment for genetic analyses at the archaeological site of Trou Al'Wesse, Belgium
Becky Miller sampling sediment for genetic analyses at the archaeological site of Trou Al’Wesse, Belgium 

International scientists have uncovered prehistoric human DNA of two extinct human relatives – the Neanderthals, and the Denisovans- from caves without bones, an advance that could shed new light on human history and evolution.

The technique could be valuable for reconstructing human evolutionary history, according to the study published on Thursday in the journal Science.

That’s because fossilised bones, currently the main source of ancient DNA, are scarce even at sites where circumstantial evidence points to a prehistoric human presence.

“There are many caves where stone tools are found but no bones,” said Matthias Meyer, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who co-authored the study.

The entrance to the archaeological site of Vindija Cave, Croatia
The entrance to the archaeological site of Vindija Cave, Croatia

The researchers collected 85 sediment samples from seven caves in Europe and Russia that humans are known to have entered or even lived during the Pleistocene, between 14,000 and 550,000 years ago.

By refining a method previously used to find plant and animal DNA, they were able to search specifically for genetic material belonging to ancient humans and other mammals.

“This work represents an enormous scientific breakthrough,” said Antonio Rosas, scientist at Spain’s Natural Science Museum in Madrid.

“We can now tell which species of hominid occupied a cave and on which particular stratigraphic level, even when no bone or skeletal remains are present.”

Scientists focused on mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down the maternal line, because it is particularly suited to telling apart closely related species. By analysing damaged molecules they were able to separate ancient genetic material from any contamination left behind by modern visitors

“The technique could increase the sample size of the Neanderthal and Denisovan mitochondrial genomes, which until now were limited by the number of preserved remains,” explained Spanish National Research Council scientist Carles Lalueza-Fox.

“And it will probably be possible to even recover substantial parts of nuclear genomes.”

The woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), or tundra mammoth
The woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), or tundra mammoth 

The researchers found evidence of 12 mammal families including extinct species such as woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, cave bear and cave hyena.

By further enriching the samples for human-like DNA, however, the scientists were able to detect genetic traces of Denisovans – a mysterious lineage of ancient humans first discovered in a cave in Siberia – and Neanderthals from samples taken at four sites.

Crucially, one of the sites where they discovered Neanderthal DNA was a cave in Belgium, known as Trou Al’Wesse, where no human bones had ever been found, though stone artifacts and animal bones with cut marks strongly suggested people had visited it.

Eske Willerslev, who helped pioneer the search for DNA in sediment but wasn’t involved in the latest research, said the new study was an interesting step, but cautioned that it’s difficult to determine how old sediment samples found in caves are.

“In general (it) is very disturbed and unless you can show that’s not the case you have no idea of the date of the findings,” said Mr Willerslev, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Mr Meyer said the new method greatly increases the number of sites where archaeologists will be able to find genetic evidence to help fill gaps in the history of human evolution and migration, such as how widespread Neanderthal populations were and which stone tools they were able to make.

 Scientists may also be able to greatly expand their limited knowledge of the Denisovans, the recently discovered sub-species of the human family whose DNA can still be found in Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians today, by using the new procedure.

“In principle, every cave where there’s evidence of human activity now offers this possibility,” Mr Meyer told The Associated Press.

Dr. Bronner’s Donates $5 Million To MAPS So MDMA Can Become FDA Approved PTSD Medicine

Dr. Bronner’s will donate $1 million per year over the next five years to the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies(MAPS). The gift comes after MAPS was granted permission by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin Phase 3 drug trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people with treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The family owned top selling natural soap company has made this generous announcement on the eve of the Psychedelic Science 2017 conference being held in Oakland, California (April 19-24). MAPS has a $25 million drug development budget  to make MDMA an FDA-approved medicine.



“There’s tremendous suffering and pain the responsible integration of MDMA for treatment will alleviate and heal,” says David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s. “To help inspire our allies to close the funding gap, my family has pledged $1 million a year for five years,$5 million total, by far our largest gift to an NGO partner to date. In part, we were inspired by the incredible example of Ashawna Hailey, former MAPS Board member, who gave MAPS $5 million when she died in 2011.”

MAPS concluded an international series of Phase 2 pilot studies into MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. These studies laid the groundwork for two larger multi-site Phase 3 trials which are required to show the FDA that MDMA is a safe and effective alternative to psychotherapy for patients with PTSD.

Dr. Bronner’s gift will be reserved for Phase 3 studies, bringing MAPS significantly closer to raising the estimated $25 million needed to develop MDMA into an FDA-approved prescription treatment.

“MAPS intends to use the income generated from selling MDMA once it’s an FDA-approved medicine to train therapists and set up treatment clinics around the world,” explains Rick Doblin, Ph.D., founder and Executive Director of MAPS. “Investment into making MDMA a legal medicine will turn MAPS into a self-sustaining organism, exponentially increasing our ability to heal suffering in the world.”

MAPS was founded in 1986 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization. It develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. As part of Dr. Bronner’s mission to put into practice social and ecological principles of its core beliefs, he donates profits to social and environmental causes.

In unity, Doblin and Bronner agree:


“Our larger goal is to see psychedelic medicine responsibly integrated into American and global culture, readily available to those who need it most, while helping the rest of us open our hearts and minds towards each other and to the miraculous living world we live within.”



Title photo credit.

Beware: The Real Truth About Colonoscopy Nobody Talks About.

Every year, over 14 million healthy people from the ages of 50 and up, are subjected to a colonoscopy to detect colon cancer.

This procedure has raked in millions to the industry, while this invasive procedure remains used. 
It’s a Painful and Dangerous Procedure
It’s being found that it is deadly and ineffective than they would like to accept. The Annals of Internal Medicine’s report on colonoscopies, estimated that 70,000 (0.5%) will be killed or injured by a serious complication from the invasive procedure. This rate is higher by 22% than yearly deaths from colorectal cancer, that it was made to prevent.

The Telemark Polyp Study I, found that colonoscopies can raise mortality rates by 57%, and for every person saved from a colonoscopy, 56 will suffer harm from it.

You can live quite a bit of time with colon cancer, but if a hole is punctured into your intestines, you will die very quickly. It has been clinically proven that you can be infected by HIV; Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Helicobacter pylori,; Hepatitis B and C; Salmonella; Pseudomonas and Aeruginosa; Flu Viruses and other common bacteria such as, E. Coli O157:H7, Creutzfeldt- Jakob Disease, and HPV (Human Papilloma Virus).

Colonoscopy Does NOT Prevent Cancer

The American Cancer Society says that up until 2009 “…there are no prospective randomized controlled trials of screening colonoscopy for the reduction in incidence of or mortality from colorectal cancer.” In 2006, the New York times published an article,“The patients in all the studies had at least one adenoma detected on colonoscopy but did not have cancer.
They developed cancer in the next few years, however, at the same rate as would be expected in the general population without screening.” Another study in 2006 had discovered that screened patients had colorectal cancer“at the same rate as would be expected in the general population without screening” in the next few years, even though all found polyps had been surgically removed.

Colonoscopy is a Scam

The AMA has done nothing but chase greed in enforcing colonoscopy screenings as a preventative care method for an insane profit. A colonoscopy has enough radiation similar to the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

The National Cancer institute says, “Whether virtual colonoscopy can reduce the number of deaths from colorectal cancer is not yet known.” There is a non-invasive test out there than can be proven just as effective, a fecal immunochemical test.

Porridge could be key to a long and healthy life, says Harvard University.

Eating porridge, brown rice or corn each day could protect the heart against disease, Harvard University has found

Porridge could be key to a long and healthy life, says Harvard University

Youngsters who eat oats regularly are 50 per cent less likely to be overweight, one study of 10,000 children found

A small bowl of porridge each day could be the key to a long and healthy life, after a major study by Harvard University found that whole grains reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.

Although whole grains are widely believed to be beneficial for health it is the first research to look at whether they have a long-term impact on lifespan.

Researchers followed more than 100,000 people for more than 14 years monitoring their diets and health outcomes.

Everyone involved in the study was healthy in 1984 when they enrolled, but when they were followed up in 2010 more than 26,000 had died.

However those who ate the most whole grains, such as porridge, brown rice, corn and quinoa seemed protected from many illnesses and particularly heart disease.Oats are already the breakfast of choice for many athletes and also for dieters, who find the high fibre levels give them energy for longer.

But scientists found that for each ounce (28g) of whole grains eaten a day – the equivalent of a small bowl of porridge – the risk of all death was reduced by five per cent and heart deaths by 9 per cent.

“These findings further support current dietary guidelines that recommend increasing whole-grain consumption,” said lead author Dr Hongyu Wu of Harvard School of Public Health.

“They also provide promising evidence that suggests a diet enriched with whole grains may confer benefits towards extended life expectancy.”

The findings remained even when allowing for different ages, smoking, body mass index and physical activity.

Whole grains, where the bran and germ remain, contain 25 per cent more protein than refined grains, such as those that make white flour, pasta and white rice.

Previous studies have shown that whole grains can boost bone mineral density, lower blood pressure, promote healthy gut bacteria and reduce the risk of diabetes. One particular fibre found only in oats – called beta-glucan – has been found to lower cholesterol which can help to protect against heart disease. A bioactive compound called avenanthramide is also thought to stop fat forming in the arteries, preventing heart attacks and strokes.

Whole grains are also widely recommended in many dietary guidelines because they contain high levels of nutrients like zinc, copper, manganese, iron and thiamine. They are also believed to boost levels of antioxidants which combat free-radicals.

The new research suggests that if more people switched to whole grains, thousands of lives could be saved each year. Coronary heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer, responsible for around 73,000 deaths in the UK each year. Around 2.3 million people are living with the condition and one in six men and one in 10 women will die from the disease.

Health experts said the study proved that whole grains were beneficial to health

Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This is an interesting study and reinforces existing dietary recommendations to eat more foods high in fibre.

“People with a higher intake of whole grains also tended to have a healthier overall lifestyle and diet so it might not be the whole grains alone that are having the benefit in relation to cardiovascular disease.

“But at this time of year when we are all making resolutions to eat better, switching to whole-grain versions of bread, breakfast cereals, pasta and rice is a simple change to make.”

Source:  JAMA: Internal Medicine.

We May Have Uncovered the First Ever Evidence of the Multiverse

Here’s Why the Answer to Increasing Automation Could Be Universal Basic Income


  • The growth and evolution of automation threatens to spread joblessness and economic uncertainty in its wake; up to 47% of jobs in the US are at risk of automation.
  • One plan to tackle the social and economic disjunction is to institute a universal basic income (UBI); pilot programs in Europe and India are already experimenting with the implementation such a system.


The world is already on the cusp of a new industrial revolution—one that will be brought about by automation based on artificial intelligence (AI).

According to a joint study conducted by Oxford University and the Oxford Martin School, “[…] 47 percent of jobs in the US are “at risk” of being automated in the next 20 years.”

In a recent interview, President Barack Obama also talked about how AI will fundamentally change the future of employment; with downsides in terms of eliminating jobs and suppressing wages.

The world sees automation as the key to achieving more efficiency, across different aspects of our lives. But that efficiency comes at a price—the displacement of countless employees who will soon be replaced by artificially intelligent (AI) technology.

What happens then?

The answer could be universal basic income (UBI)—a policy where all citizens of a country will receive an unconditional amount of money, on top of income they generate through other means. The funds could be provided by the government, or a public institution.

And in 2017, Finland and the Netherlands will begin testing the system.

Image Credit: Joe Raedle/Newsmakers

By January of next year, the program is tentatively set to launch in Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands. The system will provide varying benefits to current welfare recipients, following five different models to determine what works best.

In Finland, a randomly selected group of two thousand citizens, who are already receiving unemployment benefits, will receive €560 (around $600) as a monthly basic income. The program will run for two years and study whether this system can help raise the employment rate, lower poverty, as well as reduce bureaucracy and social exclusion.


Considering that UBI is intended to provide an incentive that will spur productivity, and improve quality of life, a key point of consideration is the level of income that should be distributed. Should it be a minimum benefit similar to welfare state schemes? Or a higher amount that would be more appealing? To that end, with everyone receiving enough money to cover basic food, shelter, as well as goods and services, would people lose their motivation to work? Is UBI enough of a response to the pace of technological innovation and automation?

Of course, there’s that all-important question of who’s footing the bill. Since government revenue is derived from its taxing authority, the whole scheme is a little like robbing Peter to pay Paul; after all, if the population is unemployed, where will the government muster the funds to support a universal basic income? The whole system would inevitably collapse.

Still, the implementation of UBI at this scale is still in its early days, but the results from pilot programs thus far have been promising.

In India, where roughly 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, pilot studies of basic income grants conducted in 2011 led to more labor and work, not less, which skeptics typically predict. Results showed a shift from traditional wage labor, to self-employed farming and business initiatives. Additionally, the steady flow of income eased economic anxieties, allowing families to focus on their health and invest in the future.

In a separate study conducted in a small town in Canada, there were “fewer physician contacts related to mental health and fewer hospital admissions for ‘accident and injury.’”

UBI in the age of automation can ultimately prove to be an empowering economic move. And the results of Finland’s two-year experiment could provide more answers.

5 Stem Cell Innovations From The Past Year, From Cancer Treatment To Diabetes Therapy

Ten years ago, the topic of stem cells was shrouded in mystery, but now they’re at the forefront of some of the latest innovations in biology and medicine. Stem cells have yet to change into a specific type of cell, such as a brain or skin cell. As a result, doctors can manipulate them into, well, any type of cell they want. However, the way that stem cells are being manipulated is anything but simple. Here is a run-down of five of the most fascinating stem cell innovations from the past year.


Stem Cells From Baby Teeth

Teeth are necessary for helping us chew our food, but once they fall out. they’re useless; or not? The practice of tooth saving, or cryopreserving, has gained popularity, and for good reason. New research suggests the stem cells found in the pulp of teeth could be used to help people regrow their adult teeth (rather than needing a crown or dentures), and may even have other potentially life-saving regenerative medical benefits, CNN reported.

While still in its early stages, the idea behind tooth preservation is that no other stem cells work better than your own. By saving your baby teeth, or adult teeth that need to be removed through surgery, you may later harvest stem cells that may be used to fight certain cancers or even as therapy for brain injuries.


Babies Cured of Leukemia

Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood, and it starts in the bone marrow, which is where our stem cells originate. Traditional leukemia treatment involves a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but earlier this year doctors at London’s Great Ormond Street hospital believe they cured two babies of leukemia using a new stem cell treatment, Technology Review reported.

The treatment involves taking stem cells from a donor and genetically altering them before injecting them into a patient. These cells are altered so that they are able to attack cancer.

According to Euro Stem Cell, in traditional stem cell treatments for leukemia patients, cells are taken from donors and then transformed into special cancer-fighting cells; however, this process takes time — something many seriously ill cancer patients do not have. The Great Ormond Street team hopes that taking stem cells from donors and genetically altering them into hundreds of doses of cancer-fighting cells will create a reserve of treatments available to anyone who needs them.

Helping Diabetes Patients

According to a study released last year, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard University were able to change stem cells derived from the skin of diabetes patients into insulin-secreting cells.

Type 1 diabetics cannot create insulin, which is why patients must inject themselves with this hormone throughout the day. Although this new treatment is still being researched, injecting these stem-cell derived insulin-secreting cells into diabetes patients could control blood sugar without the need for medication.

Regenerate Brains of Brain-Dead Patients

Stem cells theoretically can be turned into any type of cell, and as suggested by a 2016 project, this includes brain cells. The project, headed by a team at Bioquark Inc and Revita Life Science India, intends to regenerate the brain cells of 20 patients that have been declared brain dead from a traumatic brain injury to see whether or not their central nervous systems can be restored, The Telegraph reported.

The team hope the stem cells will grow into new brain cells to replace the dead cells in the brain. While the treatment wouldn’t restore these brain-dead patients back to life, the research may lead the way to new therapies for patients in vegetative states or with certain degenerative conditions.

Brain Balls

Brain balls are basically what they sound like; tiny little brains in the shape of balls. According to Wired, they are one of the newest innovations in stem cell research and could hold the answer to treating a variety of medical conditions.

These brain balls are created by coaxing a bunch of stem cells into becoming brain cells, and then using these “mini brains” to better understand how different diseases affect the brain. For example, according to Wired, these brain balls are ideal for studying conditions such as the Zika virus as scientists can see what’s actually happening in an infected brain, but on a much smaller scale.

The founder of Bulletproof Coffee shares the morning routine that sets him up for success.

Dave Asprey, a cloud computing executive turned biohacking guru, has built a multimillion-dollar empire around his DIY approach to enhancing human performance. And it all started with a cup of buttered coffee.

Asprey is the founder and CEO of Bulletproof, a wellness company that sells books, cognitive enhancement supplements (or “smart drugs”), and Bulletproof Coffee – a proprietary blend of specialty coffee, unsalted butter, and oil made from coconut extract. Last year, the company sold 48 million cups of coffee.


When it comes to his morning routine, the 43-year-old entrepreneur practices what he preaches.

Each day, Asprey wakes up on an organic farm in Vancouver and swallows a fistful of pills designed to boost his energy, focus, and brain function. They include Coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant that occurs naturally in the body and helps cells produce energy more efficiently, and activated charcoal, a form of carbon that’s been shown to ease gas and bloating . (The photo below shows an extra-large load of vitamins that Asprey took after New Year’s Eve.)

For breakfast, he blends the ingredients for Bulletproof Coffee and makes enough for the whole family. Asprey says the morning brew gives him a lasting feeling of fullness.

His kids, ages 7 and 9, each get two ounces of coffee as well, in addition to a full breakfast .

“They’ve been drinking [Bulletproof] since they were one,” Asprey says. “They metabolize caffeine twice as fast as adults, like all kids do, so it has zero effect on their behavior.”

Asprey believes the drink’s “Brain Octane” oil – a proprietary formula that includes coconut extract – keeps his children full longer.

“The Brain Octane turns off their hunger so they can focus and read and play. Most kids, because they’re growing, spend half their energy asking if they can have candy. My son complains, ‘As soon as we get to school, they start having snacks, but I don’t want snacks.’ My kids go four hours without eating,” he says.

Asprey also leaves his phone in airplane mode during the morning until he drops his kids off at school. That way, he doesn’t get notifications – a strategy that keeps him focused on what matters, he says.

“Your nervous system is watching out for alerts,” he told Business Insiderlast fall. When your phone is on, “you’re getting electromagnetic frequencies that you don’t need.”

Asprey estimates he’s spent $1 million over the last two decades on supplements, devices, testing, and medical therapy technologies  for his home, where he conducts wellness experiments on himself. He told Business Insider he  plans to live to be 180.

“There’s no better investment than yourself, period. Because every time you invest in yourself … the returns affect you and everyone around you, forever,” Asprey says.