Neuroscientists Discover a Unique Link Between Breathing and the Brain

Neuroscientists Discover a Unique Link Between Breathing and the Brain

Top Four Household Factors That Can Influence Your Cancer Risk

Should We Have a Tax on Junk Food? Scientists Say Yes

If you had to pay a higher price for McDonald’s, would you still eat there? What if the movie theater charged you more for a 64-ounce cup of Dr. Pepper? You might pony up the money for a while, but you might also decide your wallet deserves better than taking a hit for your unhealthy snack indulgences. Perhaps you’d even opt out of junk food altogether and reach for a healthier option. That’s why scientists and public health advocates think we should put a tax on junk food. And now, they have the numbers to bolster their argument.

In a paper published Wednesday in the American Journal of Public Health, a team of public health, nutrition, and policy researchers from New York University and Tufts University systematically reviewed the available scientific, tax, and policy literature on junk food taxes to figure out how feasible it would be for governments to impose taxes on unhealthy foods. By looking at how different state and local governments categorize junk foods and impose taxes on them, the researchers concluded that it’s definitely possible and probably wise to start putting a tax on junk food.

Summer Refreshment

While a number of state and local governments have imposed sugary soda taxes, the study’s authors say they want to take a more comprehensive approach since sugary beverages aren’t the only junk food out there.

“We of course support sugar and beverage taxes that are being proposed and implemented by state and local governments nationally. But we were really wanting to improve the population’s health across the country even if they don’t live in a motivated state or local jurisdiction,” first author Jennifer Pomeranz, JD, MPH, an assistant professor of public health policy and management at New York University, tells Inverse. Pomeranz says that sugary beverages are unique among junk foods in that they deliver huge amounts of sugar and fail to satiate the people consuming them. But they are just one piece of the public health puzzle.

“The science shows that more than just sugary beverages create diet-related chronic disease,” says Pomeranz. “However, junk food, specifically things like processed meat, sugary beverages, and refined grains are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, weight gain, diabetes, and other diet-related chronic diseases.” For this reason, the study’s authors looked closely at taxes that target foods not just by ingredients, but also by category, to provide regulators and public health officials a practical resource for making decisions.

The researchers hope that their work will help inform public policy changes that encourage consumers to stop buying junk food and start eating better, as well as giving food manufacturers the opportunity to reformulate their products to be healthier. Pomeranz says she and her colleagues don’t want to simply make people pay more for junk food but discourage them from consuming it altogether.

Encouraging people to make healthier choices is just one piece of the solution, though. The next step is actually putting revenue from junk food taxes to productive use for public health purposes, especially to help low-income citizens who may not have healthy food resources in their communities.

More Candy

“A lot of low-income people do lack access to affordable, healthy foods,” says Pomeranz. “So one use of the revenue could be to subsidize healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables, nuts, seafood, whole grains, yogurt, beans, things like that to improve the overall diet. That would be the next step where the paper leaves off.”

Of course, imposing taxes on junk food requires political will and capital — something that Pomeranz fears the federal government currently lacks. She and her co-authors are hopeful that this research could provide state and local governments with insights and frameworks to establish junk food taxes until. Such a change generally starts from grassroots movements, so even if the federal government isn’t interested in junk food taxes, perhaps local communities can lead the way.


Science does not exist in a vacuum, though. Just because researchers tell us that junk food is bad for us and causes diseases and blah blah blah, doesn’t mean that anyone will do anything about it. There are millions and billions of dollars at play here, and the food industry is aggressive about protecting its profits. A tax on junk food would be a direct attack on the food industry, and Pomeranz is acutely aware of that fact.

“The food industry has a very strong lobbying component. They would join together and lobby against this,” she says. “Industry opposition to public health policies, in general, has been very successful.”

This effort includes not just lobbying, but also industry-funded junk science that supports the industry’s positions and interests.

“We see this throughout history for firearms and tobacco,” says Pomeranz. “And now we’re seeing it with food.”



Objectives. To evaluate legal and administrative feasibility of a federal “junk” food (including SSBs [sugar-sweetened beverages]) tax to improve diet.

Methods. To assess food definitions and administration models, we systematically searched (1) PubMed (through May 15, 2017) for articles defining foods subject to taxes, and legal and legislative databases as well as online for (2) US federal, state, and territorial junk food tax bills and laws (January 1, 2012–February 28, 2017); SSB taxes (January 1, 2014–February 28, 2017); and international junk food tax laws (as of February 28, 2017); and (3) federal taxing mechanisms and administrative methods (as of February 28, 2017).

Results. Articles recommend taxing foods by product category, broad nutrient criteria, specific nutrients or calories, or a combination. US junk food tax bills (n = 7) and laws (n = 2), international junk food laws (n = 2), and US SSB taxes (n = 10) support taxing foods using category-based (n = 8), nutrient-based (n = 1), or combination (n = 12) approaches. Federal taxing mechanisms (particularly manufacturer excise taxes on alcohol) and administrative methods provide informative models.

Conclusions. From legal and administrative perspectives, a federal junk food tax appears feasible based on product categories or combination category-plus-nutrient approaches, using a manufacturer excise tax, with additional support for sugar and graduated tax strategies.

Why We’re Seeing a Deadlier Flu Season Than We’ve Seen in Years

The 2017-2018 flu season is shaping up to be more nasty than recent years. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 children have already died from the flu this season. USA Today reports that some states are reporting much higher rates of flu-related hospitalizations than at this point one year ago.


What makes this season more threatening than others? Well, there’s a very specific reason, and it has to do with which particular type of flu strain is dominant this year. You see, the sickness you get from the flu is actually caused by a bunch of different strains of the influenza virus. This flu season, influenza A(H3N2) is the dominant strain, and it’s a biological bully.

Influenza A(H3N2) is the dominant flu strain this flu season, and it’s exceptionally yucky.

Historically, flu seasons where influenza A(H3N2) was the dominant strain saw more young people and people 65 years or older being hospitalized or dying when compared to people in the middle of that age range. But it’s not just that A(H3N2) is a stronger viral strain — it’s also harder to vaccinate against.

“[I]nfluenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) in general has been lower against A(H3N2) viruses than against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 or influenza B viruses,” reads a CDC announcement from the end of December 2017. “Last season, VE against circulating influenza A(H3N2) viruses was estimated to be 32% in the U.S.”

That is not a great success rate for a vaccine, but it’s not necessarily because the vaccines are ineffective. That’s just how the flu vaccine works. The flu mutates so much from year to year that it’s really hard to effectively cover all our viral bases with a single vaccine. Usually, the flu vaccine you get at the doctor or drug store includes deactivated cells from two types of influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and influenza B. These cells, in combination with immune system irritating “adjuvants” help prep your immune system to fight off viral infection.

But unfortunately, these vaccines are just our best guess attempt at preempting the impact of flu in what has always been a perpetual viral arms race. For this reason, the CDC is recommending that all doctors who might be treating flu patients — which, to be clear, is all doctors who treat any patients — should also have antiviral medications on-hand.

And even though the success rate of the flu vaccine is relatively low, it’s still a good idea to get it. It will help protect you and your friends, family, and co-workers. It looks like this season, we need every weapon we can get.

Ibuprofen Associated With Fertility Problems in Men, Study Finds

The next time you’re reaching for a tablet of Advil or Motrin for a quick cure to a headache or back pain or something, you might want to find another pain reliever of choice — especially if you’re a man with a family plan. A new studypublished Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found ibuprofen can harm testicles and lead to impaired fertility in men.


The study, led by a group of Danish researchers, is part of a broader investigation of the physiological side-effects of regular use of over-the-counter pain relievers. It’s a direct follow-up of studies on how aspirin, acetaminophen (better known by the brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen (of which Advil and Motrin are the most well-known brand names) affect pregnant women, finding that each of these medications adversely affected testicles of male babies while inside the womb.

Ibuprofen use is particularly common among athletes who use over-the-counter pain relievers quite frequently. The research team found 31 male volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35, and gave 14 participants daily doses of ibuprofen of about 600 milligrams twice a day — a rate that’s fairly common for professional and amateur athletes alike. That’s the same maximum dosage recommended by drug makers and listed on the label of products like Advil and Motrin. The rest of the volunteers were put on a placebo.

After just 15 days, the researchers observed signs of dysfunction in the testicles for the men taking ibuprofen. The body’s pituitary glads secrete what are called luteinizing hormones that simulate testosterone production by the testicles. Regular ibuprofen use, it turns out, starts to modulate the rates and levels of luteinizing hormone secretion, as well as causing the ratio of testosterone and luteinizing hormones in the blood to decrease.

As a result, the participants started experiencing what’s called compensated hypogonadism, which can lead to decreased fertility, depression, and higher risk of experiencing heart failure or stroke.

The researchers followed up the trial with lab studies of human testicle samples provided by organized donors, verifying that the impact ibuprofen has on testicles and testosterone even outside the body.

There are two big things worth mentioning here. The first is that the sample size for the clinical side of the study is extremely small, so even with the lab experiments, the results as a whole really need to be taken with a grain of salt. The second thing is that with how quickly ibuprofen use affected testicular activity, the research team thinks the effects are pretty easily reversible.

Questions arise, however, whether those same effects are reversible even after long-term use. For athletes or patients with chronic pain, who have used ibuprofen for years, it’s unclear how permanent those hormone changes might be, or to what extent the negative impacts on fertility could be rectified.

Although the study is small, it’s bound to jumpstart greater investigations into how over-the-counter pain relievers affect fertility, given how popular the use of these drugs is. Men using ibuprofen might want to switch to a different drug of choice the next time they feel a headache coming on.

‘Germs May Confer Significant Health Benefits, Research Suggests

Fears surrounding exposure to harmful microbes are omnipresent, which is why it may come as a surprise to find research showing infection with certain ‘germs’ may confer significant health benefits.


We live in a day and age where germ theory has undergone a sort of apotheosis, assuming an almost Godlike power to affect and permeate every area of our lives with the fear of infection.

Not only are external institutions increasingly attaining the authority to force us to inject ourselves and children with preparations purported to defend us against germs, but even our inner thoughts are often infected uncontrollably with fears about exposure to them. Even the CDC has declared itself impotent against so-called “nightmare” bacteria, adding to the sense of powerlessness so many feel about their health destinies.

What makes this situation all the more surreal is the relatively recent discovery of the microbiome, namely, the 100 trillion viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, which outnumber our own cells 10-1, and which proves that we are more “germ” than “human,” and in many respects, would not be alive without them: e.g. about 8% of our genome is retroviral in origin, 90% of our immune system depends on bacteria in our gut. How, then, can these microorganisms be as deadly as we are told, while at the same time be responsible for making possible our life itself?

The cognitive dissonance generated by these diverging, if not diametrically opposed paradigms — “microbes as deadly” versus “microbes as essential to life” — is enough to drive the non-fluoridated mind a bit crazy. But so much is riding on belief in one narrative over another. If germs are not as deadly as we are told, how would we justify the 60+ vaccines in the childhood vaccination schedule, and the 250+ in the developmental pipeline? Clearly, there are biopolitical and economic motivations pushing the germ-centric ideology forward, even in the face of an accumulating body of contrary evidence.

One such recent academic challenge to the germ theory can be found in a study published this year in Atherosclerosis titled, “Association of measles and mumps with cardiovascular disease: The Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) study,” which found that exposure to common infections during childhood could decrease risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The study was based on,

“43,689 men and 60,147 women aged 40–79 years at baseline (1988–1990) completed a lifestyle questionnaire, including their history of measles and mumps, and were followed until 2009. Histories of infections were categorized as having no infection (reference), measles only, mumps only, or both infections. Hazard ratios (HR) for mortality from CVD across histories of infections were calculated.”

The study found that a history of measles and mumps infection, especially in case of those with both infections, were associated with lower risks of mortality from atherosclerotic CVD.

The detailed results were reported as follows:

“Men with measles only had multivariable HR (95% confidence interval) of 0.92 (0.85–0.99) for total CVD, those with mumps only had 0.52 (0.28–0.94) for total stroke and 0.21 (0.05–0.86) for hemorrhagic stroke, and those with both infections had 0.80 (0.71–0.90) for total CVD, 0.71 (0.53–0.93) for myocardial infarction, and 0.83 (0.69–0.98) for total stroke. Women with both infections had 0.83 (0.74–0.92) for total CVD and 0.84 (0.71–0.99) for total stroke. We also compared subjects with measles only or mumps only (reference) and those with both infections. Men with both infections had 0.88 (0.78–0.99) for total CVD. Women with both infections had 0.85 (0.76–0.94) for total CVD, 0.79 (0.67–0.93) for total stroke, 0.78 (0.62–0.98) for ischemic stroke and 0.78 (0.62–0.98) for hemorrhagic stroke.”

[Need help interpreting the results above? For examples, “.21” represents a 79% reduction in disease risk, and “.71” represents a 29% reduction in disease risk.]

This is not the only evidence available to show the value of infection with measles. For instance, we have indexed over twenty studies showing the potential immunological value of measles infection for over a dozen different conditions. You can view them on our page, “Health Benefits of Measles Infection.” I reported in more detail on this research in an article titled, “The Underreported Health Benefits of Measles Infection.”

Should we be so surprised that our immune system, which co-evolved with microbes for millions of years, is now dependent in some degree on interaction with them? In a previous article titled, “Why Vaccines Are Not Paleo,” wherein we explored this concept in greater depth:

“Our collective consciousness around infectious disease has been programmed with the alluringly reductionist perspective that vaccination has helped to save us from major deadly diseases, irrespective of the radical changes in sanitation and hygiene that marked the early to mid twentieth century. This line of rhetoric, of course, also ignores the fact that the ~3.4 billion year long struggle of the living cell to perfect itself into our present day organism required the development of a sophisticated immune system – one that successfully interfaced with a virtually infinite number of infectious challenges along the way, and kept us alive and well before the nanosecond old (in biological time) shift into modern medical interventions began only 100 years ago.”

Germ theory has, in certain respects, taken on the characteristics of an infection itself. Not a physical one, but an ideological one, i.e. a meme. Ironically, these memes not only have a life of their own, and replicate like the very infectious entities they conceptualize, but they have physiological effects that can adversely affect immunity. A nebulous fear of “germs” (lethal, invisible, omnipresent), for instance, can contribute to a flight-or-fight/sympathetic dominant state and therefore can result in immune dysregulation, up-regulating cortisol and down-regulating the very cell-mediated immunity needed to prevent opportunistic infections. Even more ironic is the fact that the very attenuated germs the vaccine industry created to inject into our bodies and “educate” our immunity are often deadlier than the wild-type virusesor bacteria they are meant to replace as safer versions.

As our scientific understanding of the microbe-dependent nature of our health continues to expand, and germ theory and its derivative agenda of vaccinology continues to confront evidence that contradicts its basic tenets, we finally can see a way past the increasingly dismal view projected by health authorities like the CDC and the WHO that germs will be the end of us all; that is, unless we employ “live saving” vaccines and drugs, or support global germ eradication campaigns that are not only not working, and by principle never will, but may actually be harming more than they are helping.

Ultimately, when we come to embrace the “germ” not so much as other but self, the endless war against microbes will give way to a type of peace and compassion between self, body, and the natural world that will be essential for true healing to take place. For an in-depth, high gravitas discussion of how the virome — i.e. the collective of viruses that, together, contribute to our total self (microbiome + our human cells), also known as the holobiont — is undermining classical, “us versus them” germ theory.

Monsanto Uses Codex to Hide GMOs from Consumers

This article was originally published by The National Health Federation (NHF).

“Dishonest” and “disgraceful” – Monsanto attempts to gain backdoor entry for GE foods

At the recent Codex meeting in Berlin, there was an attempt to define genetically engineered (GE) food ingredients as ‘biofortified’ and therefore mislead consumers. This contravened the original Codex mandate for defining biofortification. That definition is based on improving the nutritional quality of food crops through conventional plant breeding (not genetic engineering) with the aim of making the nutrients bioavailable after digestion. The attempt was thwarted thanks to various interventions, not least by the National Health Federation (NHF), a prominent health-freedom international non-governmental organization and the only health-freedom INGO represented at Codex. But the battle is far from over.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission’s Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) convened in Berlin during early December and drafts provisions on nutritional aspects for all foods. It also develops international guidelines and standards for foods for special dietary uses that will be used to facilitate standardized world trade.

Based upon previous meetings, the initial intention of the Committee was to craft a definition for biofortification that could then be used uniformly around the World. Biofortification originally referred to increasing certain vitamin and mineral content of basic food crops by way of cross-breeding, not genetic engineering, for example by increasing the vitamin or ironcontent of sweet potatoes so that malnourished populations would receive better nutrition.

However, according to president of the NHF, Scott Tips, Monsanto wants to redefine the definition to include GE ‘biofortified’ foods and it has seemingly influenced Codex delegates in that direction. Tips says, “I am sure that Monsanto would be thrilled to be able to market its synthetic products under a name that began with the word ‘bio’.”

This year’s CCNFSDU meeting witnessed a lively debate about biofortification. At the 2016 CCNFSDU meeting, chairwoman Pia Noble (married to a former Bayer executive) had opined that the definition should be as broad as possible and that recombinant technology should be included. By the 2017 meeting, the proposed definition had morphed to include GE foods.

Deceptive marketing par excellence

The EU has raised a valid objection that “biofortification” would cause confusion in many European countries due to the widespread use of the word “bio” being synonymous with “organic.” Countries within the EU have been very vocal and support this position, arguing that the definition needs to be restrictive, not broad.

Including GE foods within any definition of biofortification risks consumer confusion as to whether they are purchasing organic products or something else entirely. “Monsanto seeks to cash in on the organic market with the loaded word ‘bio’,” argues Scott Tips.

At the Codex meeting in Berlin, Tips addressed the 300 delegates in the room. “Although NHF was an early supporter of biofortification, we have since come to see that the concept is in the process of being hijacked and converted from something good into something bad,” explained Tips.

He added that if Codex is to allow any method of production and any source to be part of the biofortification definition, it would be engaging in marketing deception of the worst sort.

As Steven Druker has shown in his book Altered Genes, Twisted Truths, GE foods should not even be on the commercial market, given the deceptions and bypassing of procedures that put them there in the first place. But now that they are on the market, most consumers want GE foods labelled. In the United States alone, some 90% of consumers want such labelling. The definition being proposed seeks to disguise GE foods under the term “biofortification.”

“That is dishonest. It is disgraceful, and for all of those sincerely concerned with the credibility and transparency of Codex, you should absolutely and positively oppose this definition,” says Tips.

The NHF feels that this is simply a strategy to gain a backdoor entry into countries for GE foods that are unneeded and unwanted. In his address to the assembled delegates, Tips added, “It is a very sad state of affairs where we have come to the point where we must manipulate our natural foods to provide better nutrition all because we have engaged in very poor agricultural practices that have seen a 50% decline in the vitamins and minerals in our foods over the last 50 years. We will not remedy poor nutrition by engaging in deceptive marketing practices and sleight of hand with this definition.”

The delegates to various Codex committees tend to be national regulatory bureaucrats and representatives from large corporations, including agritech giants like Monsanto. These interests have undue influence within Codex. Over the years, although heavily outnumbered at meetings, Scott Tips and his colleagues at the NHF have been tireless in their efforts to roll back undue corporate influence at Codex. Thanks to NHF and others urging the committee to adopt a clear, non-misleading definition that excluded GE foods, no final decision was taken on the definition of biofortification.

It is now left to the committee to resolve the matter at next year’s meeting or even the one thereafter.

The National Health Federation

The National Health Federation is the only health-freedom organization accredited by the Codex Alimentarius Commission to participate at all Codex meetings. It actively shapes global policies for food, beverages, and nutritional supplements.


The Codex Alimentarius Commission is run by the Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization. Its some 27 committees establish uniform food-safety standards and guidelines for its member countries and promote the unhindered international flow of food goods and nutritional supplements. Learn more about the Codex on’s page related to the topic.

Natural Herbal HPV “Cure” Discovered

Natural Herbal HPV "Cure" Discovered

Despite the widespread belief that HPV infection is a singularly lethal force against which we only have vaccination defend ourselves, both ancient herbal medicine and our body’s inherent immune defenses have newly been confirmed to have significant power against it.

A groundbreaking study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, titled, “Clearance of Cervical Human Papillomavirus Infection by Topical Application of Curcumin and Curcumin Containing Polyherbal Cream: A Phase II Randomized Controlled Study,” reveals that vaccination and watchful waiting are not the only recourse against HPV infection.

The study is believed to be the first of its kind to find an effective and safe therapeutic intervention for the clearance of established cervical human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Moreover, the study confirmed that HPV infection is self-limiting and clears on its own in 73.3% of the untreated placebo group within 37 days. 

The researchers evaluated the effectiveness of two herbal interventions in eliminating HPV infection from the cervix of women who were determined to have HPV infection through Pap smear and HPV DNA tests (PCR), but whose condition had not yet progressed to high grade cervical neoplasias (i.e. cervical pre-cancer).

The first intervention used was a polyherbal vaginal cream containing containing extracts of curcumin, reetha, amla and aloe vera, known by the trade name Basant. The second intervention was a curcumin vaginal capsule. The other two placebo groups received either a vaginal placebo cream or a placebo vaginal capsule.

All 287 subjects were instructed to use one application of the assigned formulation daily for 30 consecutive days except during menstruation. Seven days after the last application they were recalled for repeat HPV test, cytology and colposcopy.

The results were reported as follows:

“HPV clearance rate in Basant arm (87.7%) was significantly higher than the combined placebo arms (73.3%). Curcumin caused higher rate of clearance (81.3%) than placebo though the difference was not statistically significant.”

Vaginal irritation and itching, mostly mild to moderate, was significantly higher after Basant application. No serious adverse events were noted.

While both of the herbal formulations clearly increased the rate of HPV clearance, it is noteworthy that the placebo group also experienced a 73.3% clearance rate, as it confirms that majority of HPV infections will clear from the body as a result of the immune system doing its job correctly. The researchers acknowledged that this is not a novel finding:

“It is already documented that the majority of HPV infections are self-limiting and cell-mediated immunity is responsible for spontaneous clearance.”

Indeed, we addressed this under appreciated fact in a previous article titled, The HPV Vaccine Debate: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

[I]n 2004, Lancet published a study which found that low-grade squamous intra-epithelial cervical lesions (LSIL) commonly associated with HPV infection spontaneously regress in 61% of females within 12 months and 91% within 36 months.[i] LSIL is considered a mild form of cervical dysplasia (CIN), but is nonetheless often subject to more aggressive measures such as a colposcopy with biopsy,[ii] which sometimes leads to surgical treatment.

Another 2010 study published in the European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology found that at the end of 12 months of follow-up, the CIN 2 regression rate was 74% (31/42), progression rate to CIN 3 was 24% (10/42) and in one case CIN 2 persisted (2%).  Finally, a 2011 study in the Journal of Lower Genital Tract Diseases found At 12 months, 70% of CIN 1 and 54% of CIN 2 lesions spontaneously regressed (p<.001).[iii]

The odds therefore are clearly in the favor of HPV-associated abnormal cell changes (so-called ‘precancerous’ lesions) regressing naturally like most self-limiting viral infections. Vaccines are clearly not responsible for the ‘protection’ conferred by our inbuilt immunity; nor is the HPV virus some inevitable force of lethality that only universal HPV vaccination campaigns can effectively countermand.

Given the widespread belief that HPV infection is a lethal force against which we have only vaccination and watchful waiting to defend ourselves, this latest encourages us to recognize both the power of the human body and natural plant allies to help us maintain our health, despite the constant threat of infection.

In actuality, the results of the intervention are not surprising, given the established body of research indicating curcumin’s value as an anti-cancer agent. Not only has this powerful turmeric polyphenol been extensively researched for its anti-cancer properties in over 100 difference cancer cell types, the GreeMedInfo database contains 11 studies specifically on curcumin’s anti-cervical cancer properties, which can be viewed here.

Should Animal Abusers Be Registered Like Sex Offenders?

Article Image

One of the objectives of the criminal justice system is to protect the innocent and discourage would-be perpetrators from harming them. Whether it does this in reality or not is another matter. But who among us is more innocent or vulnerable than our pets? They rely on us for so much. Most of us consider our pet a member of the family. The question is, how far should the law go to protect them?

This debate has blossomed recently, due to the number of US jurisdictions passing laws creating animal abuse abuser registries. This is much like a sex offender registryTennessee passed a statewide law, the first, in 2016. Connecticut, Washington, and Texas may be next. Some other states are considering such a registry as well.

Several counties in New York, Cook County Illinois, Hillsborough County Florida, and others, have already passed such laws. These include some of the country’s largest metropolitan areas such as Tampa, Chicago, and New York City. Meanwhile, similar laws are worming their way through councils and legislatures in cities and counties across the country.

How far should we go in curbing animal abuse and punishing abusers? 

So what does such a law mean and how does it change things? Usually, a violator’s name, alias, address, date of birth, and photo are published on the state or county’s animal abuser website. It’s searchable, just like a sex offender site. Users will also be able to see the date of conviction and when it expires.

First time offenders in most places pay a registration fee. It’s usually around $50. They have their profile on the registry generally for two years, while repeat offenders are stuck up for about five. A Suffolk County, New York law states that violators who fail to register face a $1,000 fine and jail time.

Such a website may be good for shelters and breeders who want to vet customers and for pet owners, to check out their sitter. Another important aspect, in several jurisdictions people buying or adopting pets have to sign an affidavit saying they aren’t animal abusers.

Some supporters of these laws have pointed out that there’s a relationship between animal abuse and domestic violence. Serial killers often start out by abusing animals, before they move up to humans. This is in the most extreme cases, however. According to the Humane Society, the most widespread type of animal abuse is neglect. Neglectful pet owners don’t often harm humans or animals in any other way.

High profile cases raise our ire. But are they common? 

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a Bay area nonprofit dedicated to protecting animals, was the first to shop around the idea of an animal abuser registry. Their director of legislative affairs, Chris Green, told the San Francisco Chronicle that on the federal level, “There is no existing mechanism to prevent someone convicted of animal abuse from walking into a shelter or going on Craigslist and getting a new animal.”

Meanwhile, the Humane Society and the Civil Liberties Union fall on the other side of the debate, against such a registry. They claim that many animal abusers suffer from mental illness.

Humane Society Spokeswoman Jennifer Fearing said that rather than public shaming, targeted educational programs and mental health efforts would be more effective and less inflammatory. “We should be very careful to strike a balance between preventing future animal cruelty, protecting civil liberties, and promoting redemption and rehabilitation,” she said.

Lots of animal rights organizations and shelters keep their own lists. But these don’t often get into the hands of authorities. Animal abuse is considered a misdemeanor in most states and the most heinous acts are considered a felony, in all 50. Animal cruelty has also made it to the FBI’s list of Class A felonies. It monitors for such incidence just as it does for major crimes such as murder.

But whether we should go a step farther and have a federal animal abuser registry is still hotly debated. According to polling site, 64% of respondents believe we should. Want to weigh in yourself? Click here. If you believe someone is abusing animals, be sure and contact The Human Society or dial 911.

More and more, we’re finding out that animals have complex behaviors that make them seem, well, more like us. So will we ever be able to say, talk with certain animals? See what Michio Kaku thinks here:

How Internet Porn Is Changing How Men and Women Are Having Sex

Article Image

Sexual satisfaction is important for pair bonding in a relationship, as well as for one’s own psychological health. What’s more, we’re living in an age where personal fulfillment seems to be the ultimate goal. Despite this, men and women today may be having less fulfilling sex lives than in the past. One reason, the internet has altered human sexuality in a myriad of ways.

There have of course been positive impacts. The internet has helped normalize BDSM and kink, and revealed to the world different relationship configurations, which of course impact sex. These can include what New York Times sex columnist Dan Savage calls, “monogamish,” swinging, and polyamory (or ethical non-monogamy). Rather than be trapped in the dichotomy of monogamy or dating, we now have other options. It’s also allowed those with certain kinks and fetishes to feel acceptance and find fulfillment, as well as become a part of their own community.

Now for the bad news. There’s been some talk that the internet may be causing a minority of men to experience porn-induced erectile dysfunction. Internet porn obsession coupled with chronic masturbation saps interest or capability, when it comes time to be with a partner. The urological community has gone back and forth on whether this is a legitimate condition. One particular research paper contends that instead of a physical problem, such men may be conditioning themselves to orgasm only with a certain kind of stimuli, be it tactile or visual, which may confound sex with a partner.

Men who are obsessed with online sexual stimuli may condition themselves out of a fulfilling encounter with a partner. 

Now for the first time, a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, looks at how internet porn may have impacted female sexual functioning. These findings also tease out larger questions about how much sexuality is biological behavior, how much is psychological, and how much social. The female orgasm has been seen as the pinnacle of  the sexual encounter. So has internet porn enhanced or inhibited the female climax?

Léa J. Séguin at the University of Quebec in Montreal, led the study. What Séguin and colleagues found was, it wasn’t the age when masturbation started or a woman’s dexterity in the pursuit. It wasn’t the number of sex partners she had either. What determined whether or not she could orgasm during sex, was whether she was mindful during the experience and how connected she felt with her partner.

“Social representations, which appear in a variety of media, can influence the way sexual experiences are perceived and understood,” researchers wrote. “While pornography is not the only medium in which orgasm is portrayed, it is the most explicit, and it is widespread and easily accessible.” What they looked at was how male and female orgasm was portrayed in 50 of Pornhub’s most viewed videos. Each was analyzed and coded for the “frequency of male and female orgasm.” Researchers coded content by the orgasm-inducing sex act the onscreen couple engaged in. This included auditory and visual indicators.

Porn may send the signal that the female orgasm is less important. 

This study found that while men orgasmed 78% of the time in these videos, women climaxed only 18.3% of the time. Among these, clitoral stimulation—how most women orgasm, only occurred 25% of the time. The message this sends, researchers say, is that the male orgasm is an imperative, while the female one—not so much. They also wrote that “mainstream pornography promotes and perpetuates many unrealistic expectations regarding women’s orgasm.”

Research shows there’s a wide variety in when and how women climax. Though many start masturbation early, the average American woman loses her virginity at age 17, and most don’t orgasm then. In fact, most women don’t begin having regular orgasms until they’re in their 20s or 30s. Greater comfort with sex and their bodies may be the reason.

Another issue is that some women just naturally have a hard time orgasming. They may not climax regularly as a result. Studies have shown that the ability to climax through intercourse and to a lesser extent masturbation, is at least partially genetic in nature. The rest is “physical processes or subjective responses to those processes.”The results of this study fit into what is known as sexual script theory, which states that humans fall into certain sexual scripts which society deems acceptable.

A woman’s outlook on sex, how comfortable she with it, and her connection to her partner, all play a critical role in her ability to derive sexual satisfaction. 

So what about the female orgasm overall? A study published last year in the journal Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, had some interesting findings. Using statistics from nationwide surveys, they looked at the sexual experiences of over 8,000 Finnish women. The number who said they orgasm from sex always or nearly so, fell 10% between 1999 and 2015. Internet porn and unrealistic expectations may have played a role. But researchers identified other reasons as well.

Why Finnish women? “Finland is one of few countries with nationally representative surveys of sexual activities and values among the adult population.” Such a survey was conducted in the years 1971, 1992, 1999, 2007, and 2015. People’s sexuality liberalized over time, the data shows, following a similar trend in the rest of Western Europe.

According to this study, whether or not a woman orgasmed during sex depended on her sexual self-esteem, how good she and her partner are at sexual communication, how skillful she feels in the bedroom, and her own sexual limitations. Other factors included the ability to concentrate during sex and her partner’s technique. The things that prevented women from climaxing most were fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and stress. While 50% of women in a relationship said they orgasmed during sex most of the time, only 40% of single women did.

So the takeaway is that couples who communicate well, especially about desires and fantasies, are mindful during sex, and do things to increase their connection, have the best sex lives, complete with oodles of orgasms for both partners. That’s as long as they don’t become obsessed with internet porn, take cues from reliable sources, and are mindful of how they conduct their sex lives. Should you have a female partner, the best way to make her climax when sex is on the menu is to relax her, relieve her stress, and connect with her on a deeper level.

To find out more about how internet porn obsession can affect your sex life, click here:

%d bloggers like this: