Denmark Intends To Be The World’s FIRST 100% Organic Nation


The Danish government accumulated 53 million Euros in 2015 to transform the nation into an organic one.

Bhutan announced its plan to become the world’s first 100% organic nation in 2013, but it now has some competition. That’s right, Denmark’s government announced its plan to become  Earth’s first 100% organic nation – and it has a solid plan of accomplishing that feat.

According to OrganicVeganEarth, the Scandinavian country is already the most developed country in the world concerning the amount of organic products it exports. In fact, the country’s national organic brand will soon celebrate its 25th year in business – making it one of the oldest organic brands in the world!

Since 2007, the Danish economy has been boosted by 200%, thanks to organic exports. Because the trend to opt for pesticide-free foods continues to increase, the government made the bold choice to accumulate 53 million Euros in 2015 to transform Denmark into an organic country.

Now, it’s only a matter of time before the nation achieves its goal. The government intends to tackle the task of turning Denmark into a 100% organic country by working on two different fronts. First, it will give a boost to turn traditional farmland into organic and stimulate increased demand for pesticide-free products.

In the 57-point document drafted by Økologiplan Danmark, it is explained that the aim is to double the agricultural land cultivated with organic methods by 2020. The Organic Action Plan for Denmark explains that the land belonging to the government will be cultivated using organic and biodynamic methods, and independent, small-scale farmers will also receive the finances and support to transform their own crops to be 100% organic (livestock included). Money will also be allotted to developing new technologies and ideas capable of promoting growth.

The second part involves promoting the nation’s transition to organic. All institutions in Denmark should be on board with promoting pesticide-free, biodynamically-grown crops and produce. The first target is to ensure that 60% of food served to the public is organic. Schools and hospitals are especially expected to respect the country’s initiative.

How a City in Denmark is Fighting Terrorism With an Unconventional Strategy — and Winning


“Every minute, I just imagine him in that solitary confinement, facing 20 years, because I cooperated with the government. It’s a horrible feeling. I can’t get rid of it,” said Sal Shafi, father of Adam, a 22-year-old American suspected of Islamic extremism.

How Denmark City Fighting With Unconventional Strategy, Winning

Last year Mr. Shafi phoned the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt while visiting family because Adam had disappeared and flown to Turkey, apparently to witness the plight of the refugees there. After the family’s return to the United States, Mr. Shafi was contacted by the FBI. Against the advice of his attorney, he answered their questions on several occasions. “We don’t have criminal minds,” Mr. Shafi told the New York Times. “Maybe I’m naïve. I’ve never dealt with the authorities before. I wanted to cooperate.” Shortly thereafter, agents showed up in the early morning hours with guns drawn, looking for Adam. Arrest and prison time is the only option in America for suspected radicalized individuals. If Mr. Shafi had known how the situation was to play out with his son, he would have chosen a different path to help Adam. As it stands, he warns“Don’t even think about going to the government.”

In contrast, on the other side of the world, a small European country is “flipping the script” in their approach to radicalized youth. Instead of punishment, they help them to reintegrate successfully into society with a range of services, interventions and support — with astonishing results.

Taking the path less traveled in the war on terrorism

The Danish city of Aarhus has seen its fair share of radicalization — and subsequent enlistment in ISIS — with local youth. Beginning in 2012, hundreds of potential radicals lived within the city, and 34 are known to have gone to Syria. In the rest of Europe, penalties are severe for those who travel to Syria to join extremist groups. France has closed down mosques suspected of encouraging radicals. The U.K. brands citizens that help ISIS as enemies of the state. And other countries take away passports — a move normally used only for convicted traitors.

But Danish police officers took the path less traveled: They made it clear to citizens of Denmark who had gone to Syria that they could come home, and would receive help to go back to school, find an apartment, meet with a mentor or psychiatrist, or whatever they required to fully integrate back into society. Known as the “Aarhus model,” the police believe they are making a very practical decision designed to keep their city safe.

“As they see it, coming down hard on young, radicalized Muslims will only make them angrier and more of a danger to society. Helping them is the only chance to keep an eye on them and also to keep the peace in their town,” writes Hanna Rosin for NPR.

Interestingly, scientists who study radicalization have come to a similar conclusion.

The strong link between humiliation and extremist ideology

Christopher Hopwood is an associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University and specializes in the phenomena of noncomplementary behavior. With complementary behavior, you act warmly and the person you are with reciprocates and acts warm back. The same with hostility. Conversely, noncomplementary behavior is where someone does the unexpected — a person acts with hostility, yet you respond warmly. It’s such an unnatural response that noncomplementary behavior has been shown time and again to completely change the dynamic and create a far different outcome than what would normally occur.

The nonviolent resistance movements of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. are prime examples of noncomplementary behavior, as is the Aarhus model.

This is an important point in regards to curbing extremism. With terrorist acts increasing by the day, it’s become apparent that clamping down on potential radicals in a typical, punishing manner isn’t working.

“The original response was to fight [extremism] through military and policing efforts, and they didn’t fare too well,” says Arie Kruglanski, a social psychologist at the University of Maryland who studies violent extremism. “That kind of response that puts them as suspects and constrains them and promotes discrimination — that is only likely to exacerbate the problem. It’s only likely to inflame the sense there’s discrimination and motivate young people to act against society.”

He continues, “Aarhus is the first, to my knowledge, to grapple with [extremism] based on sound social psychology evidence and principles. They expect to be treated harshly. Instead they got the opposite. That kind of shock opens people’s minds to maybe they were wrong about their society that they perceived as their enemy. It opens a possible window into rethinking and re-evaluating.” [source]

And the program is exceptionally effective. Of the original 34 who left for Syria, 18 came back home — all of which were successfully integrated back into society through the Aarhus model, along with hundreds more who were potential radicals in the city, around 330 total. More impressive is the fact that since the initial exodus of young people, there has been a sharp decline in those leaving Aarhus for Syria, even when the numbers where climbing elsewhere in Europe. In 2015, just one person left.

With such success, it begs the question whether a similar program could work in the United States, where young people like Adam wouldn’t be locked away for decades with few options once release, but instead supported in becoming productive members of society.

Denmark could hike tax on red meat in a bid to boost vegetarianism to help environment


Would you be upset if this initiative was implemented around the world?

The Denmark Ethics Council have called for a higher tax on red meat after coming to the conclusion that “climate change is an ethical problem”.

The Danish Government is considering the proposal after the Danish Council of Ethics recommended an initial tax on beef, and then rolling out the tax to all red meats in the future.

Eventually, they want to tax all foods at all levels depending on the climate impact of producing the food.

meat

This means the proposal has now been put forward for consideration for the government.

In a press release, the council said it was not enough to “rely on the ethical consumer” because climate change is a worry for Denmark, and the country is contributing to the issue.

The council said: “The Danish way of life is far from climate-sustainable, and if we are to live up to the Paris Agreement target of keeping the global temperature rise ‘well’ below 2°C, it is necessary both to act quickly and involve food”.

Cattle account for 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the production of food as a whole accounts for between 19 and 29 per cent, according to the council.

They said it is “unproblematic” to cut out beef and still enjoy a nutritious diet.

In November 2015, Chatham House recommended similar guidelines for the UK.

The researchers from the leading think tank said proceeds from a tax on meat could be used to subsidise healthier alternatives that are less damaging to the environment, such as fruit, vegetables and tofu.

A “carbon tax” of £1.76 per kilo on the price of beef could reduce consumption by 14 per cent, a study they highlighted suggests.

Last year, the World Health Organisation listed processed meat as a cancer-causing substance, and said fresh red meat was bad for health.

The classifications regarded processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans”, the highest of five possible rankings, shared with alcohol, asbestos, arsenic and cigarettes.

6 Reasons Why Countries Like Denmark, Norway And Sweden Are The Happiest In The World


Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden are at the top of the UN’s annual World Happiness Report, year after year after year. We would suggest moving there, but these are countries where temperatures in winter drop to around -20˚C!

So alternatively, we thought we’d try to figure out why they’re so happy and healthy. According to the UN, Scandinavians are also leading in terms of health, with regards to diet and exercise.

Here are the secrets to their health and happiness.

1. They have the perfect work-life balance.

Scandinavian Way Of Life

via Giphy

Working on weekends is unheard of in these countries, and the idea is that everyone should get to have dinner with their family. In Norway, the average work week is only 34 hours! Swedes have 15 minute breaks built into their working schedules twice a day, where they can have a chat, go for coffee, or just relax. The idea being that it will make them more productive. Danes are extremely protective of their private time, and are known to refuse breakfast meetings and after work drinks.

2. They’re kind to themselves.

Scandinavian Way Of Life

via Giphy

People in Denmark have a tradition known as “hygge” (pronounced “hooga”), which is “the practising of wellbeing towards yourself and others”. The term was actually coined in order to describe the need to escape the harsh Danish winters, but it can also apply to something that a person really loves doing, whether it’s snuggling up with a good book or having a nice dinner with a friend. The only condition is that the activity cannot be inconsiderate to others in any way.

3. Their diet consists of plenty of fish, root vegetables and berries.

Scandinavian Way Of Life

via CarrotMuseum

While the Mediterranean diet is considered to be the best in the world for heart health, the Nordic diet is a close second. Studies show that following this diet can reduce cholesterol considerably, and even boost weight loss. So what exactly does the Nordic diet entail? It consists of foods that are typically eaten in these countries, like oily fish, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and protein, root vegetables like carrots, radishes, potatoes, etc. and several types of berries. Scandinavians are not big on red meat and animal fat, which is another plus for them.

4. They’re trusting people.

Scandinavian Way Of Life

via Giphy

According to the Prosperity Index of 2014, 74% of Norwegians said they felt like they could trust others, while 83% of Swedes said that they trust their government to do right by them. Amazing, isn’t it? Several studies document a strong link between trust and happiness, where trust triggers the release of oxytocin, the hormone associated with love, happiness and bonding.

5. They spend plenty of time with nature.

Scandinavian Way Of Life

via Giphy

Scandinavian countries have several public access laws, which give anyone and everyone the right to walk, ride, camp and enjoy all land freely. Citizens enjoy vast, green, public spaces, spending plenty of time with nature. Studies show that spending time with nature increases happiness, memory, learning, mental health and heart health.

6. They have amazing healthcare services.

Scandinavian Way Of Life

via Tumblr

In these countries, if you need to see a doctor, you will be given an appointment that same day. All forms of treatment are free, although they are paid for indirectly in the form of extremely high taxes. But still, it could be worth it, if you consider the amazing services they get. When a woman gives birth to a baby for example, she is given an entire boxful of supplies, clothes and toys for her child!

Health scare in Denmark as refugees bring back diphtheria after 20yr absence


© Michael Dalder
Danish authorities have warned hospitals over possible outbreak of infectious diseases as several cases of diphtheria, tuberculosis and malaria carried by the refugees have already been registered.

“The infection can be very dangerous if one isn’t vaccinated against it. The dangerous type is very rare and we last saw it in Denmark in 1998,” Kurt Fuursted, spokesperson for the Danish State Serum Institute (SSI) told Metroxpress referring to the potential return of diphtheria. This disease was last diagnosed in Denmark about 20 years ago.

© Kacper Pempel

“There is no doubt that infectious diseases are coming in with the refugees that we aren’t used to. There have been discussions on whether all refugees who come to Denmark should be screened,” he added.

At present Denmark doesn’t follow the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to vaccinate incoming migrants, unlike some other European countries.

“Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants should be vaccinated without unnecessary delay according to the immunization schedule of the country in which they intend to stay for more than a week,” reads a joint WHO-UNHCR-UNICEF guidance on general principles of vaccination of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants in Europe, published on November 23 last year. It urges countries to provide migrants access to the “full vaccination schedule.”

The immigration officials and the Danish Health and Medicines Authority, a supreme healthcare authority in Denmark, are expected to review screening policy, according to Health Minister Sophie Lunde.

In recent months, Denmark has begun to tighten the screws in an effort to curb the refugee influx. On Thursday the Danish Parliament is set to vote on a bill proposing to strip refugees of valuables, including cash and jewelry, to cover the costs the country bears in connection with their stay. It would allow authorities to claim individual items valued at more than 10,000 kroner (US$1,450).

In the Danish cities of Thisted, Sonderborg and Haderslev, local club owners have started to introduce ‘language controls’, turning people away if they don’t speak Danish, English or German.

In 2015, some 18,000 refugees sought asylum in Denmark according to the migration agency, a far cry from almost 163,000 refugees in the neighboring Sweden.

NSAIDs Raise Bleeding, Thromboembolic Risk in Treated AF


Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) receiving antithrombotic treatment are at increased risk for bleeding if they also take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), even for a short period, a new nationwide Danish study has found.

The data suggest that a serious bleeding event occurs in up to 1 in 400 to 500 patients with AF exposed to an NSAID for 2 weeks and that the risk is elevated with both selective cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors and nonselective NSAIDs.

The findings are important because NSAIDs are so widely available and commonly used, commented lead study author Morten Lamberts, MD, PhD, Department of Cardiology, Gentofte University Hospital, Hellerup, Denmark.

“Any safety issues are a major public health concern,” said Dr Lamberts. “Patients should know that it’s possible that even over-the-counter drugs might put them at increased bleeding and thromboembolic risk.”

The study is published in the November 18 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers used data from the Denmark’s National Patient Registry, which contains information on hospitalizations and on dosage, strength, and date of dispensed prescription drugs. The analysis included 150,900 patients, median age 75 years, who were hospitalized with a first-time diagnosis of AF between 1997 and 2011. During a median follow-up of 6.2 years, 35.6% of patients were prescribed an NSAID.
Study participants had a mean HAS-BLED (hypertension, abnormal renal/liver function, stroke, bleeding history or predisposition, labile international normalized ratio, elderly, drugs/alcohol concomitantly) score of 1.5 and mean CHA2DS2VASc (congestive heart failure, hypertension, age ≥75 years, diabetes mellitus, stroke, vascular disease, sex) score of 2.8. Approximately 70% were being treated with an antiplatelet or oral anticoagulant.

Investigators categorized rofecoxib and celecoxib as selective COX-2 inhibitors and ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen as nonselective NSAIDs. Since 2001, ibuprofen has been the only NSAID available in Denmark without a prescription, but only in low doses and in limited quantities. Since that time, this agent has accounted for 15% to 20% of all NSAID sales.

The study showed that serious bleeding events, including intracranial and gastrointestinal bleeding, occurred in 11.4% of the patients and thromboembolic events in 13.0%. The absolute risk for serious bleeding with 14 days of continuous NSAID exposure was 3.5 events per 1000 patients vs 1.5 events per 1000 patients without NSAID exposure, with an absolute risk difference of 1.9 events per 1000 patients. In patients selected for oral anticoagulant therapy, the absolute risk difference was 2.5 events per 1000 patients.

“This suggests a serious bleeding event in 1 of 400 to 500 patients exposed to an NSAID for 14 days,” the authors write.

Metoclopramide: No Link Seen With Birth Defects, Stillbirth.


Women prescribed the antiemetic agent metoclopramide during pregnancy appear to be at no significantly increased risk for adverse outcomes, including spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, and infants with congenital malformations, according to results from a new study from Denmark.

The study was published in the October 16 issue of JAMA.

Metoclopramide, a drug frequently used for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, is thought to be safe, but information on the risk of specific malformations and fetal death is lacking,” write Björn Pasternak, MD, PhD, from the Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues.

The authors note that most women who experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can be conservatively managed with a variety of approaches. However, 10% to 15% eventually need to be treated with drugs. Physicians often try treatment with antihistamines and vitamin B6 first, but if those options fail, metoclopramide is often the next choice.

The authors note that previous studies focusing on relatively small numbers of pregnancies have found no problems with metoclopramide.

“Although these findings are generally reassuring and indicate that metoclopramide does not increase the risk of congenital malformations when these outcomes are assessed in aggregate, malformations are a heterogeneous group of disorders and preferably should be studied individually,” the authors write. “Furthermore, no sufficiently powered study has investigated the risk of fetal death associated with metoclopramide exposure in pregnancy.”

To close that gap in knowledge, Dr. Pasternak and colleagues used nationwide health databases covering 1997 to 2011 to identify more than 1.2 million pregnancies and compared pregnancy outcomes of women who took metoclopramide with those who did not.

They say they found no significant association between metoclopramide use and malformations overall (prevalence odds ratio, 0.93; 95% confidence interval, 0.86 – 1.02) in matched cohorts. Among 28,486 women who took metoclopramide during their first trimester of pregnancy, 721 delivered infants with a major congenital malformation, an incidence of 25.3 cases per 1000 births (95% confidence interval, 24.5 – 27.1). The incidence among the matched cohort of women who did not take the drug was about the same: 3024 malformations reported among 113,698 women, or 26.6 cases per 1000 births.

Moreover, the investigators found no evidence that metoclopramide was associated with any of 20 other individual categories of malformation, including neural tube defects, transposition of great vessels, ventricular septal defects, atrial septal defects, tetralogy of Fallot, coarctation of the aorta, cleft lip, cleft palate, anorectal atresia/stenosis, and limb reduction.

In addition, they report, no association was seen between use of the drug and increased risk for spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, low birth weight, fetal growth problems, or stillbirth.

“These safety data may help inform decision making when treatment with metoclopramide is considered in pregnancy,” the authors conclude.

This study was supported by a grant from the Danish Medical Research Council. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Source: JAMA.

 

 

 

 

Stars’ twinkle reveals their character.


In 1806, English poet Jane Taylor famously lamented that a little star’s twinkle left her wondering what it was.

Fast-forward 207 years and a new analysis of starlight collected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope shows patterns in the flicker that are directly tied to the amount of boiling taking place on a star’s surface, a key indicator of its size, mass and evolutionary state.

That information, in turn, reveals volumes about any orbiting planets, including those fortuitously positioned from their parent stars for liquid surface water, apparently a key ingredient for life.

“Everything you know about planets is tied to what you know about the host star,” says Fabienne Bastien, an astronomy graduate student at Vanderbilt University.

“We don’t observe the planets directly. We observe the stars and the influence that the planets have on their stars. So in order to make any conclusions about the size of the planet or the mass of the planet as it’s pulling on the star when it’s moving, you need to know the size and the mass of the star very well.”

“That directly impacts whether or not you can claim that you have an Earth-like planet,” she says.

Bastien, who is working on a doctoral dissertation, was analysing archived Kepler data for a totally different reason when she and colleagues chanced upon strange patterns in the data that they didn’t understand.

“It was a complete surprise,” says Bastien.

r1162289_14674299 (1)

Boiling surfaces

It turns out the pattern provides a quick and relatively reliable way to determine a star’s evolutionary state.

Stars like the Sun, which is about 4.6 billion years old, eventually will evolve into red giants as they run out of fuel for nuclear fusion. The new study shows the surfaces of younger dwarf stars boiling more vigorously than older giants.

“What we are looking at here is the gravitational acceleration in the stellar outer layers, what we often call the atmosphere,” says astronomer Joergen Christensen-Dalsgaard, with Aarhus University in Denmark.

“The typical methods used have uncertainties up to 150 per cent. That very imprecise method is the easiest to do, and especially if you’re dealing with 150,000 stars and you need to characterise them all, that’s what you go to because it takes the least amount of resources. Our technique lets us beat that down to 25 per cent, which is very, very good for this field,” added Bastien.

Kepler, which collected data from about 120,000 target stars between May 2009 and May 2013, was designed to search for Earth-like planets in stars’ habitable zones,

For Bastien’s study, which appears in this week’s edition of Nature, astronomers analysed a few thousand stars in the Kepler data archive.

“If you have a large enough sample, then you start to pick out patterns in the way stars of different evolutionary states behave,” she says.

While the study is based on eight-hour flicker patterns in the visible light coming from target stars, scientists translated the data into corresponding audio wavelengths, a poignant conceptualisation that no doubt would have intrigued, and delighted, poet Taylor.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au

Cognitive Function and Daily Independence in Nonagenarians Are Improving.


People born in 1915 scored higher than those born a decade earlier, despite no significant improvement in physical performance.
Elders increasingly are living past age 90, raising concerns that their illnesses and infirmities will burden society. However, data are scarce regarding the health status of nonagenarians. To explore this issue, researchers surveyed nonagenarians in two Danish cohorts born 10 years apart. In 1998, 2262 Danish residents who were born in Denmark in 1905 were interviewed (directly or by proxy) and underwent physical and cognitive tests. Twelve years later, investigators used the same methods to survey 1584 Danish residents born in Denmark in 1915.

Although the 1915 cohort was about 2 years older than the 1905 cohort when it was studied (mean age, 95 vs. 93), members of the 1915 cohort scored significantly higher on the Mini-Mental State Examination (mean score, 22.8 vs. 21.4) and were significantly more likely to achieve maximum scores of 28 to 30 (23% vs. 13%); the 1915 cohort also scored higher on activities of daily living. No consistent differences were observed between cohorts on measures of physical performance or depression.

COMMENT

Even without an improvement in physical performance, Danish nonagenarians seem to have become more independent in their activities of daily living, probably, as the authors suggest, because of improved cognitive function and better living accommodations. Whether these findings can be generalized to the U.S. is unclear, because economic conditions and social services are different in the two countries.

Source: NEJM

Apes Capable of ‘Mental Time Travel’.


A single cue—the taste of a madeleine, a small cake, dipped in lime tea—was all Marcel Proust needed to be transported down memory lane. He had what scientists term an autobiographical memory of the events, a type of memory that many researchers consider unique to humans. Now, a new study argues that at least two species of great apes, chimpanzees and orangutans, have a similar ability; in zoo experiments, the animals drew on 3-year-old memories to solve a problem. Their findings are the first report of such a long-lasting memory in nonhuman animals. The work supports the idea that autobiographical memory may have evolved as a problem-solving aid, but researchers caution that the type of memory system the apes used remains an open question.

Elephants can remember, they say, but many scientists think that animals have a very different kind of memory than our own. Many can recall details about their environment and routes they’ve traveled. But having explicit autobiographical memories of things “I” did, or remembering events that occurred in the past, or imagining those in the future—so-called mental time travel—are considered by many psychologists to be uniquely human skills.

Until recently, scientists argued that animals are stuck in time, meaning that they have no sense of the past or future and that they aren’t able to recall specific events from their lives—that is, they don’t have episodic memories, the what-where-when of an event that happened.

Yet, several studies have shown that even jays have something like episodic memory, remembering when and where they’ve hidden food, and that rats recall their journeys through mazes, and use these to imagine future maze-travels. “There is good evidence challenging the idea that nonhuman animals are stuck in time,” says Gema Martin-Ordas, a comparative psychologist at Aarhus University in Denmark and the lead author of the new study. But trying to show that apes also have a conscious recollection of autobiographical events is “the tricky part,” Martin-Ordas admits.

To see if chimpanzees and orangutans have autobiographical memories that can later be triggered with a cue (as were Proust’s by eating the pastry), Martin-Ordas and two other researchers devised a memorable event for the apes at the Leipzig Zoo. In 2009, eight chimps and four orangutans individually watched Martin-Ordas place a piece of a banana on a platform attached to the outside of a caged testing room. The apes could get the treat only by reaching through a slot with a long stick. The researcher then hid two sticks, only one of which was long enough to reach the banana. The animals watched as she hid each tool in a box in two different rooms. The chimp or orangutan observing her actions was then released into the area with the hidden tools. They had to find the correct tool, return to the room with the tempting banana, and use the tool to retrieve the treat.

Each ape took the test four times. “We set it up to see if cues—like Proust’s madeleine—would trigger a memory event for them,” Martin-Ordas says. But instead of using a single cue like a scent or a taste, the researchers offered the apes “a constellation of cues: me, the room, and the specific problem,” Martin-Ordas says. They hoped that this combination would act as a trigger—that whenever the chimpanzees encountered this specific task with Ordas-Martin again, they would remember that they needed to search for the correct tool.

Source: sciencemag.org