Six Tips for Safer Drinking Water

28 February, 2014 at 09:35 | Posted in Body & Mind, health | Leave a comment

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Water is the origin of life. It can increase your energy, improve your complexion, and keep your eyes looking clear. Water also carries nutrients to every cell in the body, helps the kidneys cleanse the body of toxins, improves circulation, and lubricates joints.

For centuries, Chinese medicine has advocated drinking clean water for optimal health. There are several ways to make the water you drink on a regular basis safer.

1. Run Your Tap Before Drinking

After sitting idle in the pipe all night, tap water is prone to carry a higher amount of bacteria. Always let the water run for a few minutes before drinking it. The water will be much cleaner. The running water from the first five minutes can be collected for washing or for watering plants.

2. Keep Bottled Water Cool

Plastic bottles contain plasticizers to improve the plastic’s flexibility and durability. If bottled water is stored for too long, a small amount of plasticizer will mix with the water. When consumed, the smell of plastic can be easily discerned. Bottled water should be stored in a cool place out of direct sunlight.

3. Boil Water Lightly

Water that is kept boiling for an extended period of time or was boiled multiple times is problematic.

Tap water contains organic and inorganic matter. If tap water is boiled for a long time, the concentration of matter will increase. For example, the amount of lead in tap water is within established safety limits; however, lead does not get boiled out of water, so the longer the water is boiled, the more concentrated lead becomes as the water evaporates.

Chlorine is usually used to sterilize tap water. Once a small amount of a pollutant in the water is compounded with chlorine, a type-A carcinogen variant can form. The longer the water is boiled, the more carcinogens are created.

The best thing to do when boiling water is to take it off the heat once it starts to boil. Dump out previously boiled water and start with fresh water for each boil. Most bacteria and viruses are killed when the water starts boiling and cannot survive at temperatures higher than 175 Fahrenheit.

4. Drink Boiled Water Soon

When boiled water is left for an extended period of time, the nitrogen-bearing compounds in it will decompose into nitrites, which are known carcinogens.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that boiled water be consumed on the same day it was heated.

5. Taste-Test Your Mineral Water

Many people believe mineral water is the best water. In fact, not all mineral water is actually suitable for drinking. For example, if the fluorine content of water from a mineral spring is very high, like one in a suburb of Tianjin City in China, it can cause long-term issues like osteofluorosis (skeletal changes caused by too much fluorine intake) and dental fluorosis (mottling of tooth enamel from excessive fluorine).

The mineral content of natural mineral water is very critical. If the content is right, the water will taste refreshing. Mineral water that tastes metallic or earthy should be avoided.

6. Drink More Than Just Purified Water

While water filters do absorb bacteria and viruses that may exist in the water, the activated charcoal used in most water purifiers can also remove and deplete beneficial minerals from the water, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

Since these minerals are beneficial to human health, it is not recommended to drink only purified water.

Headquartered in New York City, New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television was founded by Chinese-Americans to serve as a unique bridge between East and West.

via Six Tips for Safer Drinking Water

Crop Scientist Likens China’s Smog to Nuclear Winter

27 February, 2014 at 10:56 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, health, Science, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment

By Cassie Ryan
Epoch Times

New research shows that the extreme air pollution in China could severely impact agriculture and food supplies, because it is blocking out the light plants need for photosynthesis.

He Dongxian at China Agricultural University found that chilli and tomato seeds grown in Beijing took over two months to sprout due to pollutants reducing light levels in the greenhouse by about 50 percent. In comparison, seeds grown in the lab under artificial light took around 20 days to germinate.

If the smog continues, He told the Guardian her findings suggest Chinese agriculture will suffer conditions “somewhat similar to a nuclear winter.”

Describing the greenhouse plants, He said, “They will be lucky to live at all. Now almost every farm is caught in a smog panic,” according to the South China Morning Post.

“A large number of representatives of agricultural companies have suddenly showed up at academic meetings on photosynthesis in recent months and sought desperately for solutions,” she added. “Our overseas colleagues were shocked by the phenomenon because in their countries nothing like this had ever happened.”

This past week, nearly one-quarter of China has been enveloped by a thick haze, including Beijing, which is on an unprecedented orange alert, with red being the most dangerous to health.

The Yanzhao Evening News reported that a man in Hebei Province is suing local authorities for failing to deal with the smog, and also seeking compensation.

His lawyer refused to comment, because this is the first such case of a citizen suing the regime over air pollution, making it a sensitive issue.

via Crop Scientist Likens China’s Smog to Nuclear Winter » The Epoch Times

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Dog Breeds: What Does Your Choice of Breed Say About You?

23 February, 2014 at 16:49 | Posted in animals, Body & Mind, Funny things :-), Science | Leave a comment
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By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

Here’s a look at what your dog’s breed may say about you. Researchers at Bath Spa University surveyed 1,000 dog owners, compiling data about the owners’ personality traits and their dogs’ breeds.

The researchers presented their findings to the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in 2012.

Stanley Coren, a psychologist and author of “Why We Love the dogs We Do,” also discussed the connection between owner personality traits and dog breeds, in an interview with Modern dog Magazine.

Read more: Dog Breeds: What Does Your Choice of Breed Say About You? » The Epoch Times

More Talking To Babies Helps Their Brains

18 February, 2014 at 16:50 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Science | Leave a comment

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WASHINGTON—Using videos that claim to teach toddlers, or flash cards for tots, may not be the best idea. Simply talking to babies is key to building crucial language and vocabulary skills—but sooner is better, and long sentences are good.

So says research that aims to explain, and help solve, the troubling “word gap”: Children from more affluent, professional families hear millions more words before they start school than poor kids, leaving the lower-income students at an academic disadvantage that’s difficult to overcome.

That gap starts to appear at a younger age than scientists once thought, around 18 months, said Stanford University psychology professor Anne Fernald.

And research being presented this week at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggests that it’s not just hearing lists of words that matters as much as rich, varied language with good grammar that trains babies’ brains to learn through context.

Instead of just saying, “Here’s an orange,” it would be better to say: “Let’s put the orange in this bowl with the banana and the apple and the grapes.”

“It’s making nets of meaning that then will help the child learn new words,” Fernald explained.

“The advice I give mothers is to have conversations with your babies,” added Erika Hoff, a psychology professor at Florida Atlantic University. “Children can hear lots of talk that goes over their head in terms of the meaning, and they still benefit from it.”

Income Word Gap

The research comes amid a growing push for universal preschool, to help disadvantaged youngsters catch up. But it also raises the question of whether children from low-income, less educated families need earlier intervention, such as preschool that starts at age 3 instead of 4, or higher quality day care or even some sort of “Let’s talk” campaign aimed at new parents to stress talking, singing, and reading with tots even before they can respond. That can be difficult for parents working multiple jobs, or who may not read well or who simply don’t know why it’s important.

Scientists have long known that before they start kindergarten, children from middle-class or affluent families have heard millions more words than youngsters from low-income families, leaving the poorer children with smaller vocabularies and less ready to succeed academically. Fernald said by some measures, 5-year-olds from low-income families can lag two years behind their peers in tests of language development.

Brain scans support the link, said Dr. Kimberly Noble of Columbia University Medical Center. Early experiences shape the connections that children’s brains form, and kids from higher socio-economic backgrounds devote more “neural real estate” to brain regions involved in language development, she found.

Language Quality Matters

How early does the word gap appear? Around age 18 months, Stanford’s Fernald discovered when she compared how children mentally process the language they hear. Lower-income kids in her study achieved at age 2 the level of proficiency that more affluent kids had reached six months earlier.

To understand why language processing is so important, consider this sentence: “The kitty’s on the bench.” If the youngster knows the word “kitty,” and his brain recognizes it quickly enough, then he can figure out what “bench” means by the context. But if he’s slow to recognize “kitty,” then “bench” flies by before he has a chance to learn it.

Next, Fernald tucked recorders into T-shirts of low-income toddlers in Spanish-speaking households to determine what they heard all day—and found remarkable differences in what’s called child-directed speech. That’s when children are spoken to directly, in contrast to television or conversations they overhear.

One child heard more than 12,000 words of child-directed speech in a day, while another heard a mere 670 words, she found. The youngsters who received more child-directed speech processed language more efficiently and learned words more quickly, she reported.

But it’s not just quantity of speech that matters—it’s quality, Hoff cautioned. She studied bilingual families and found that whatever the language, children fare better when they learn it from a native speaker. In other words, if mom and dad speak Spanish but aren’t fluent in English, it’s better for the child to have a solid grounding in Spanish at home and then learn English later in school.

Next, scientists are testing whether programs that teach parents better ways to talk to tots really do any good. Fernald said preliminary results from one of the first—a program called Habla Conmigo, Spanish for Talk With Me, that enrolls low-income, Spanish-speaking mothers in San Jose, Calif.—are promising.

Fernald analyzed the first 32 families of the 120 the program will enroll. Mothers who underwent the eight-week training are talking more with their toddlers, using higher-quality language, than a control group of parents—and by their second birthday, the children have bigger vocabularies and process language faster, she said Thursday.

via More Talking To Babies Helps Their Brains

Wi-Fi Could Harm Your DNA

17 February, 2014 at 07:46 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Environmental issues, health, Science, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

We are engulfed by electromagnetic fields all day everyday, and the fields are only getting stronger as technology progresses and spreads. The health effects are of increasing concern, as it has been shown they not only affect individuals, but also harm DNA passed along to offspring.

Wi-Fi routers, cell phones, cordless phones, baby monitors, electric blankets, alarm clocks—all of these devices are damaging, says electrical engineer and environmental consultant Larry Gust. He discussed the dangers and how people can protect themselves in a video presented by Electromagnetic Health this week.

Here’s a look at the health effects, recommended maximum levels of exposure, the levels most people are exposed to, and tips on how to protect yourself.

Health Effects Overview

Dr. Martin Blank, who studies the effects of electromagnetic radiation at Columbia University, pointed out in a 2012 lecture uploaded to YouTube that the damage to DNA disrupts normal cell growth and protein production.

He cited studies that have shown DNA damage causes cancer. Illustrating the impact of the field emanated from a simple daily device, he said it has been shown electric blankets greatly increase a woman’s chance of miscarriage.

Electric field health effects:
-Aggravated allergies
-Disturbed sleep
-Night sweats
-Heart palpitations
-Muscle and nerve pain
-Waking tired
-Daytime irritability
-Bed wetting in children

Radio frequency health effects:
-Headaches
-Irritability
-Memory problems
-Inability to concentrate

Electric, Magnetic Field Exposure

Recommendations for the maximum exposure in electric fields vary from about 3 volts per foot at the upper end of the spectrum to 1.5 volts or fewer per foot at the lower end. The typical bedroom has 3 to 9 volts per foot.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the maximum level for a magnetic field in a home should be 3 to 4 milliGauss.

In Marin, Calif., a 4-year-old girl had an 80 milliGauss field around her bed and in the play yard she frequented, recalled Gust. She was lethargic, had no appetite, and had rectal bleeding. As soon as the field was cleared, her symptoms vanished.

Maximum Recommended Levels of Radio Frequency Exposure

The BioInitiative Report was produced by a working group of doctors. Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University of Albany co-edited it. The Building Biology Report was released by the International Institute for Building-Biology & Ecology, a non-profit research and advisory institution.

Typical Radio Frequency Exposure Levels

via Wi-Fi Could Harm Your DNA

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Selfless Love Turns Off Brain’s Need for Rewards

15 February, 2014 at 07:01 | Posted in Body & Mind, Science, Spirituality | Leave a comment
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By Bill Hathaway
Yale University

Romantic love tends to light up the same reward areas of the brain that are activated by cocaine. But new research shows that selfless love—a deep and genuine wish for the happiness of others—actually turns off the brain’s reward centers.

“When we truly, selflessly wish for the well-being of others, we’re not getting that same rush of excitement that comes with, say, a tweet from our romantic love interest, because it’s not about us at all,” says Judson Brewer, adjunct professor of psychiatry at Yale University now at the University of Massachusetts.

As reported in the journal Brain and Behavior, the neurological boundaries between these two types of love become clear in fMRI scans of experienced meditators.

The reward centers of the brain that are strongly activated by a lover’s face (or a picture of cocaine) are almost completely turned off when a meditator is instructed to silently repeat sayings such as “May all beings be happy.”

Such mindfulness meditations are a staple of Buddhism and are now commonly practiced in Western stress reduction programs.

The tranquility of this selfless love for others—exemplified in such religious figures such as Mother Teresa or the Dalai Llama—is diametrically opposed to the anxiety caused by a lovers’ quarrel or extended separation. And it carries its own rewards.

“The intent of this practice is to specifically foster selfless love—just putting it out there and not looking for or wanting anything in return,” Brewer says.

“If you’re wondering where the reward is in being selfless, just reflect on how it feels when you see people out there helping others, or even when you hold the door for somebody the next time you are at Starbucks.”

Source: Yale University

Originally published on www.futurity.org

via Selfless Love Turns Off Brain’s Need for Rewards » The Epoch Times

Fast-Spreading Bird Flu Causes Panic in China

13 February, 2014 at 09:45 | Posted in Body & Mind, censorship, China, health, Society | Leave a comment

By Li Xia and John Wang
Epoch Times

Several influenza viruses, including bird flu and swine flu, that have rapidly spread to eight Chinese provinces, including the two municipalities Beijing and Shanghai, are steadily gaining pace from day to day and causing national panic. At least 181 human cases of influenza viruses with 38 fatalities have been confirmed since January, according to data compiled from reports by local authorities.

As of Feb. 9, 179 cases of H7N9 bird flu have been reported with 37 fatalities, alongside one fatal case of H1N1 swine flu and one case of H10N8 bird flu. The 179 recorded cases in first 40 days of this year has surpassed China’s official total number of 146 cases of H7N9 in 2013, which included 45 fatalities.

H7N9 Spread

The first recognized case of H7N9 human infection emerged in east China last March. The virus re-emerged in October and has rapidly spread since January, primarily in southeast China. According to China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), on average, five to seven cases of H7N9 are reported daily, with numbers increasing.

Zhejiang Province has reported the most cases–77 cases with 12 deaths have been confirmed. Li Lanjuan, professor and chief physician at the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine predicts a large rise in infections this winter.

“The H7N9 flu virus is known to be more active in the winter. There will be an increasing number of cases in the coming months in Zhejiang, even bigger than the cases being reported,” Li was quoted by Zhejiang News Online.

According to the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO), as of Jan. 28, the case fatality rate of all confirmed cases in 13 provinces and municipalities in east China, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China), and Taipei CDC is 22 percent, but many cases are still hospitalized.

Panic

As the H7N9 death toll rises, there has been growing panic among the public.

“Everyone is now panicking over the bird flu,” said Shen Jianmin, a resident in Zhejiang. “Worried about a deadly influenza pandemic, people wear masks and don’t eat poultry or meat.”

Among the 37 confirmed fatalities is a 31-year-old surgeon from the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Hospital. His death from the bird flu was identified on Jan. 18, with the source of infection unknown.

Shanghai resident Ms. Li told Epoch Times: “Even the doctor as a patient couldn’t be treated successfully, to say nothing of ordinary people.”

Ms. Li was also doubtful about the accuracy of reported fatalities. “The government has definitely not reported the real death toll,” Li said. “Now all the major hospitals in Shanghai are full of patients with flu-like symptoms. We’re really scared of the spread of bird flu, even not daring to go to a hospital for treatment of minor illnesses,” she added.

A female doctor at the hospital where the surgeon died, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Because the H7N9 virus is more transmissible and harder to detect than H5N1 bird flu, we doctors even fear the prospect of human-to-human transmission of this virus.”

Mr. Ye, a resident from Guangdong, the province with the second most cases–60 with 13 deaths have been recorded since August of last year, told Epoch Times: “Increased cases of the bird flu raise concerns about the potential of more widespread infections and transmission to humans. So live chicken sales are banned here and even restaurants have removed chicken dishes from their menus.”

Beijing resident Mr. Yuan told Epoch Times that people are scared at the mere mention of the bird flu. They don’t even dare to eat chicken and eggs, and try to stay home for fear of getting bird flu, he said.

Multiple cases of family cluster infections have also been reported, indicating human-to-human transmission. If the virus mutates into a form that can directly pass between humans, it could result in the disease spreading rapidly, causing global epidemics, according to Chen Taoan, former director of the Information Division of Shanxi’s CDC.

Virus Types

According to the U.S. CDC, there are three types of influenza viruses, classified A, B and C. Only influenza type A and B viruses that routinely spread in people are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.

Type A influenza viruses are further divided into subtypes on the basis of two proteins on the surface of the virus, the hemaglutinin or “H” protein and the neuraminidase or “N” protein. There are 18 known H subtypes (H1 to H18) and 11 known N subtypes (N1 to N11), possibly generating 198 different combinations of these proteins such as H1N1 and H7N2.

According to the WHO and CDC, wild aquatic birds, in particular certain wild ducks, geese, and swans are the natural hosts for all known influenza A viruses. Type A influenza viruses infect a range of avian species and mammals like pigs and horses, whereas type B and C infections are largely restricted to humans.

They indicate that the majority of the currently identified subtypes of influenza A viruses are maintained in wild avian populations. Humans are generally infected by virus of the subtypes H1, H2 or H3, and N1 or N2. However, humans can also be infected with influenza viruses that are routinely circulating in animals, such as avian influenza virus subtypes H5N1 and H9N2 and swine influenza virus subtypes H1N1 and H3N2.

“Usually these human infections of zoonotic influenza are acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments, and do not spread very far among humans. If such a virus acquired the capacity to spread easily among people either through adaptation or acquisition of certain genes from human viruses, it could start an epidemic or a pandemic,” the WHO said.

Unknown Source

H7N9 has been identified as one of the most lethal influenza viruses. “When we look at influenza viruses, this is an unusually dangerous virus for humans,” Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for Health Security and Environment, said last April.

One of the biggest problems with H7N9 is that the source of human infections has not been identified yet. In their paper published on May 2013 in The Lancet, Chinese researchers revealed that the H7N9 virus, based on past experience and epidemiological investigation, might be carried by infected poultry, but about 40 percent of the patients have not been in contact with poultry. The finding implies that it’s harder to prevent further spreading of the infection.

Because the H7N9 virus does not appear to cause clinical symptoms in infected poultry, clear links between infections in poultry and human cases have been difficult to establish, according to the WHO.

The absence of illness symptoms in birds carrying the H7N9 virus also makes it impossible to detect whether birds are infected, showing experts few signs as to where the flu might spread, and making the virus extremely difficult to detect, according to a research paper published on January 2014 in Chinese Medical Journal cmj.org.

“It could be that the infected animals might not shed the virus for more than a few days, so it is a matter of chance if you test and find it. It might be that they are not sampling enough animal species, and they may have to take a look at the less common species of birds being sold in Chinese markets,” the paper quoted Ho Pak-leung, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong.

Deliberate Downplay

Many people have speculated about the official number of H7N9 cases reported by Chinese authorities.

According to the female doctor in Shanghai who spoke to Epoch Times on condition of anonymity, Chinese official data are used for maintaining social stability and to prevent panic among the public. Therefore, authorities will often withhold the true number of infected people from the public.

“The Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau has instructed us to ‘report what you ought, and do not report what you ought not,’ for this is a big thing, creating an international impact,” the doctor added.

Zhu Xinxin, a former editor at Hebei People’s Radio Station, told Epoch Times about the official Chinese media reports of the epidemic situation.

“Sporadic cases are currently being reported by different provinces and municipalities, without the total number of cases published by the state. This is a measure commonly employed by the Chinese communist regime. They tend to see the Chinese New Year as a big sales occasion that helps boost the gross domestic product (GDP).

“If they report the true scale of the epidemic, they fear this will cause widespread public alarm. Consequently, the national industrial production chains would be hard hit and domestic market sales would then slide downward to a large extent, causing weak economies being devastated. Then a major economic panic may sweep the nation with declining GDP.”

A female employee who answered the phone at China CDC said that since the second half of last year, the authorities have adopted a degrading tactic to tackle H7N9 in China; they use a monthly reporting system in line with state guidelines, instead of daily incident reports.

Asked about the actual fatality rate, the woman said: “January data will be released on Feb. 10. The true tally in January is much greater than that in those provinces. I can’t answer that, though.”

According to another employee at China CDC, there have been more human cases of H7N9 in Beijing, but the true number is not clear.

via Fast-Spreading Bird Flu Causes Panic in China » The Epoch Times

Butterflies in Your Stomach? Here’s Why

12 February, 2014 at 09:56 | Posted in Body & Mind, health, Science | Leave a comment
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via Butterflies in Your Stomach? Here’s Why

Toddlers’ Aggression Is Strongly Associated With Genetic Factors

11 February, 2014 at 07:03 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Science | Leave a comment
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MONTREAL—The development of physical aggression in toddlers is strongly associated genetic factors and to a lesser degree with the environment, according to a new study led by Eric Lacourse of the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital. Lacourse’s worked with the parents of identical and non-identical twins to evaluate and compare their behavior, environment, and genetics.

“The gene-environment analyses revealed that early genetic factors were pervasive in accounting for developmental trends, explaining most of the stability and change in physical aggression, ” Lacourse said. “However, it should be emphasized that these genetic associations do not imply that the early trajectories of physical aggression are set and unchangeable. Genetic factors can always interact with other factors from the environment in the causal chain explaining any behavior.”

Over the past 25 years, research on early development of physical aggression has been highly influenced by social learning theories that suggest the onset and development of physical aggression is mainly determined by accumulated exposure to aggressive role models in the social environment and the media.

However, the results of studies on early childhood physical aggression indicate that physical aggression starts during infancy and peaks between the ages of 2 and 4. Although for most children the use of physical aggression initiated by the University of Montreal team peaks during early childhood, these studies also show that there are substantial differences in both frequency at onset and rate of change of physical aggression due to the interplay of genetic and environmental factors over time.

Read more: Toddlers’ Aggression Is Strongly Associated With Genetic Factors » The Epoch Times

Most Vitamins Are From China. This is Why You Should Care

10 February, 2014 at 15:29 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Food, health | Leave a comment

By Michelle Yu
Epoch Times

If you are taking vitamins, there is a good chance that they were imported from China.

An aging population and growing focus on health in the United States has fueled the growth of a $28 billion vitamin and nutritional supplement market, and it is expected to continue to grow at about 3 percent a year.

Over half of American adults are popping vitamins and supplements. They may not be aware they are eating products made in China, or made using raw materials from China.

China has captured over 90 percent of the Vitamin C market in the United States, according to the Seattle Times. Think about how many labels advertise added Vitamin C. Vitamin C goes into many food and drink products—almost all processed food for humans as well as pets contains Vitamin C.

The consumer has no way of knowing the added vitamin C comes from China, because there is no rule requiring labeling the country of origin for ingredients.

This may raise quite a few eyebrows as Chinese food safety scandals make headlines every day.

Here are five facts any consumer of vitamins should know.

1. Only 2 percent of all imported vitamins and other supplements are inspected. Why? Vitamins and supplements are classified as “food” by law and therefore not subject to the tough regulatory scrutiny of prescription drugs.

2. China’s top vitamin and supplement production areas are among the most polluted in the country (and thus in the world).

Vitamins and nutritional supplements usually use agricultural products as key raw materials. The top vitamin exporting province, Zhejiang, has an alarming level of soil pollution from heavy metal. As matter of fact, one-sixth of China’s farmlands are heavily polluted.

For example, rice planted in several key agricultural provinces was reported to contain excessive Cadmium, a metal commonly found in batteries, coloring, and the industrial waste from making plastic. It may cause serious kidney disease.

Irrigation water is a nightmare: Half of the country’s major water bodies are polluted, as are 86 percent of city water bodies. Pollution is largely caused by the country’s numerous factories, which rarely have equipment for treating pollution. Seventy to 80 percent of the country’s industrial waste is directly emitted into rivers.

3. Even those labeled as “organic” are not safe, since USDA organic standards place no limit on levels of heavy metal contamination for certified organic foods.

4. Approximately 6,300 Americans nationwide complained about adverse reactions to dietary supplements between 2008 and 2012, according to FDA statistics. But the actual number may be more than eight times higher, some experts say, because most people don’t believe health products can make them sick. While not all such problems would be caused by pollution in China, that pollution may have played a role.

5. Worst of all, China-made vitamins are everywhere, and even those who do not consume vitamins and supplements can hardly escape. Many vitamins end up as ingredients in items like soft drinks, food, animal feed, and even cosmetics.

via Most Vitamins Are From China. This is Why You Should Care

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Nothing is more important than teaching compassion

2 February, 2014 at 15:38 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Society, Spirituality | Leave a comment


Teaching schoolchildren happiness, empathy, altruism and compassion has proven beneficial results for classroom learning as a whole, says Vinciane Rycroft.

As educators, we have a genuine wish to contribute to a happier society. And yet, we sometimes wonder how we can keep this intention alive and make it a reality.

Do you remember this letter written by a Holocaust survivor? It said: “My eyes saw what no person should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot by high school and college graduates. So, I am suspicious of education. My request is: Help your children become human.”

A few of us like-minded educators met in the late-90s during mindfulness retreats that we attended regularly in France and in the UK. We were young and looking to live by values of peace and compassion, in a way that was neither cranky nor hairy fairy. What are the qualities that make the Nelson Mandelas and the Dalai Lamas of this world? Could we cultivate such qualities in ourselves and impact the young people around us?

Read more: Nothing is more important than teaching compassion | Teacher Network | theguardian.com

We All Have at Least Three Eyes—One Inside the Head

1 February, 2014 at 07:12 | Posted in Body & Mind, health, Science, Spirituality | Leave a comment

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

The pineal gland in the human brain has the structure of an eye. It has cells that act as light receptors, as the retina does. It has a structure comparable to the vitreous—a gel-like substance between the retina and lens of the eye. It has a structure similar to a lens.

Scientists are still learning much about the pineal body, known in both Eastern spiritualism and Western philosophy as the seat of human consciousness. Eastern beliefs also hold that, on other plains of existence, eyes may be seen all over the body. Western science is slowly coming to understand the pineal body as a third eye.

For many years, scientists have recognized the similarities between the pineal body and the eyes. In 1919, Frederick Tilney and Luther Fiske Warren wrote that the similarities listed above prove the pineal gland was formed to be light-sensitive and possibly to have other visual capabilities.

More recently, in 1995, Dr. Cheryl Craft, chair of the department of cell and neurobiology at the University of Southern California, wrote about what she called the “mind’s eye.”

“Under the skin in the skull of a lizard lies a light-responsive ‘third eye’ which is the … equivalent of the bone-encased, hormone-secreting pineal gland in the human brain. The human pineal is denied access to light directly, but like the lizard’s ‘third eye,’ it shows enhanced release of its hormone, melatonin, during the night,”  she wrote. “The pineal gland is the ‘mind’s eye.’”

A bundle of nerve fibers connects it to the posterior commissure, another part of the brain that is not well-understood.

In the 1950s, researchers discovered the pineal body’s ability to detect light, and to produce melatonin according to the amount of light it detects. In this way, it essentially controls important rhythms in the body. It affects the reproduction and immune systems. The pineal body was previously thought to be vestigial, but this discovery showed it actually has an important function.

In May 2013, another discovery was made that could change the way the pineal body is viewed.

It was found that a rat’s pineal body produces N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT has a widespread presence in organic beings that is not well-understood. Some people ingest DMT to induce psychedelic experiences often characterized as intensely spiritual.

Dr. Rick Strassman conducted U.S. government-approved clinical research at the University of New Mexico in the 1990s, injecting human volunteers with DMT. He calls DMT the “spirit molecule.”

The study that confirmed the presence of DMT in the pineal glands of rats was conducted at the University of Michigan by Dr. Jimo Borjigin and at Louisiana State University by Dr. Steven Barker. It was partially funded by the Cottonwood Research Foundation, which is headed by Dr. Strassman and which supports scientific research into the nature of consciousness. It was published in the journal Biomedical Chromatography.

via We All Have at Least Three Eyes—One Inside the Head » The Epoch Times

More: You Have an Eye Inside Your Head: What’s it For?

Depression Makes You Age Faster

31 January, 2014 at 07:06 | Posted in Body & Mind, health | Leave a comment
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By James Chi
Epoch Times

People who suffer severe and chronic depressions age sooner, according to a new study.

The team of researchers in California and the Netherlands noticed people with depression have shorter telomeres than their healthy peers. Telomeres are strands of chromosome caps that shorten as people age. The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry on Nov. 12, 2013.

Based on these measurements, the researchers found that those who are clinically depressed for 2 years abnormally aged 7 to 10 years. Also, people who experienced the most severe depression had the shortest telomeres.

According to the study, while depression tends to induce harmful lifestyle habits—such as drinking, smoking, taking drugs—that shorten people’s lifespans, depression itself is also responsible for premature aging. Even though the researchers can’t confirm a direct correlation between depression and aging, psychological distress does take a toll on the body.

via Depression Makes You Age Faster

Meditators Can Affect Quantum Events

30 January, 2014 at 07:23 | Posted in Body & Mind, meditation, Science, Spirituality | Leave a comment

By Ben Bendig
Epoch Times

In quantum physics, one of the most enduring mysteries is known as the double-slit experiment, which renowned physicist Richard Feynman described as containing “the only mystery.”

So what’s so mysterious about it?

This requires a bit of setup: If you take a light-tight box, and inside shoot photons (basically units of light) through one slit onto photographic paper, you’ll see a pattern where it’s darkest right in the middle, and gets fainter as you move toward the edges. Basically, it’s what you would expect: most of the light hits the middle, and the rest of the photons get deflected to various degrees and stray from the middle in predictable ways.

If you change your apparatus and introduce a second slit, and shoot photons through it, you’ll now get an interference pattern—alternating bands of dark and light. What’s happening is the light is acting like a wave on its way to the photographic plate, and the two beams of light are interfering with each other. Sometimes they reinforce each other, and sometimes they cancel each other out.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting: if you shoot one photon at a time through the device, but don’t know which slit the photon goes through, you still get the interference pattern!

But if you shoot one at a time, and you know which slit it goes through, you’ll just get two clusters, like when there’s only one slit open, but in two places.

Numerous theoretical explanations have been offered to explain this mystery, some of which propose that the act of observation by a conscious entity—a mind—plays a crucial role. The act of observation, in effect, alters the state of matter at the quantum level.

This is controversial, probably because it doesn’t fit with the prevailing scientific worldview that matter and energy are primary, and consciousness is more or less something extra, and has nothing to do with the most basic constituents of the universe. If mind isn’t just as fundamental as matter, how could it affect matter at a quantum level?

There are problems with the view that matter is primary and consciousness comes later, but the best way to demonstrate that is probably with experiments, rather than philosophical arguments. (After all, such philosophical arguments have been going on for a long, long time.)

What if it could be shown experimentally that consciousness can affect the results of the double-slit experiment?

The Experimental Evidence

Enter Dean Radin and colleagues, who carried out a series of six experiments demonstrating just this.

Participants were first familiarized with the double-slit experiment by watching a 5-minute animation, then they were brought into an electrically shielded steel room, sat down a few meters from the double-slit apparatus, and were given instructions to try to influence the beam when told to do so.

During randomly assigned periods lasting from 15 to 30 seconds, participants were cued to relax or to try to influence the apparatus. Each session lasted about 15 minutes, not including instruction.

Radin and colleagues found that during those periods when participants were attending to the device, the interference pattern was significantly reduced, compared to when the device was active but no one was present. That means it looked more like when there’s knowledge of which slot the light passed through.

They controlled for various factors, such as electrical shielding, temperature, and vibration, but none of these could explain away the results: focused attention influenced the pattern of light.

And how good one is at focusing turns out to be an especially important factor. Participants’ amount of meditation experience made all the difference as to whether they could affect the pattern or not—those who did not practice meditation on average failed to show a statistically significant effect.

Somehow, those who regularly practice focusing their attention can have more of an effect on this quantum phenomenon.

This brings up a host of new questions: how does focused attention affect this or other phenomena? Are these meditation practitioners different than other people, or is it the meditation itself that produces the effects? If it is amount of practice, what exactly is it about meditation that produces this capability?

Regardless of the answers to those questions, these six experiments present strong statistical evidence that meditators are capable of influencing quantum events. To get these results by chance, you’d have to run the same set of experiments 150,000 times. In contrast, for most psychology studies, if you would arrive at a particular result by chance one out of 20 times, it is considered a valid effect.

Radin and colleagues also examined whether fluctuations in the Earth’s geomagnetic field might be responsible for the results, because previous studies have shown that these magnetic variations are linked to various phenomena related to human behavior, such as stock market activity, suicides, and cardiac health, as well as differences in performance on extra-sensory perception (ESP) tasks.

They found that the results of these experiments are not explained by these variations, but the variations contributed to how strong the effects were, thus further validating that both these geomagnetic influences and the effect on the double-slit experiment are real.

The study was published in Physics Essays, June 2012.

via Meditators Can Affect Quantum Events » The Epoch Times

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No Such Thing as Organic Bamboo Clothing

21 January, 2014 at 15:40 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Environmental issues, sustainable development | 2 Comments

Chinese company leads apparent global market fraud

By Marieke Vos
Epoch Times

While clothes marketed as organic bamboo fabric are gaining popularity worldwide, it turns out no organic bamboo textiles have actually been certified. Behind the apparent fraud is the Chinese industry giant Tenbro.

The amount of “organic” bamboo fabric Tenbro exports annually is 20 times greater than the amount of American-produced organic cotton exported annually. Yet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) public database, the leading authority on certification, does not contain any “organic bamboo.”

In Europe and Japan, sales of this non-existent material are on the rise, and organic bamboo bags and clothing are marketed as the “new organic cotton.” Organic bamboo textiles are sold as environmentally friendly, natural, anti-bacterial, and breathable.

Shanghai Tenbro Bamboo Textile Co., Ltd. and the related Jiago Chemical Fiber Co, Ltd. actually exported 216,000 tons of fabric with a false internationally accredited organic certificate. The company’s description of the fabric reads: “Trendy Bamboo fibre materials. Nature, Organic, Elegant.”

The company was reported for seal abuse, having used old versions of certification seals on its website without actually being certified, Lebi Perez, Inspection and Training Coordinator at the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) told Epoch Times via email. OCIA certificates comply with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) guidelines and are supported the world over.

Viscose Rayon

The silky material known as organic bamboo is actually viscose rayon made from bamboo fibers. Actually, what Europeans and Japanese are buying is viscose rayon made from bamboo fibers. Truly organic bamboo textile would be coarse, not having the smooth texture of rayon.

Rayon is not an eco-friendly alternative to cotton textiles, since it takes almost twice the energy to make compared to cotton-based textiles. The process of making rayon also involves many chemicals and it eliminates some natural benefits of bamboo, such as it’s anti-bacterial effect.

The most common solvent used in viscose rayon production is carbon disulfide, which is highly toxic and a dispersant (50 percent of the substance is released into the air when used in production). A newer form of rayon, Lyocell, dissolves plant fibers with the somewhat less toxic amine oxide. However, Lyocell depends on nanotechnology for fiber shaping, which is a technique not fully understood for its impact on human health, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In the United States and Canada it is illegal to market rayon made from bamboo pulp as “bamboo.” It should be labeled “rayon” or “rayon made from bamboo.” The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned the public about chemically-made rayon sold as natural bamboo textiles and sued several major retailers for misleading consumers. 

Is Tenbro the only company doing this? Tenbro holds a vague patent in China on bamboo rayon. It will “sue any illegal overseas buyer of bamboo fiber products … accredited by the State Intellectual Property Bureau,” according to their website. They will “take legal actions to those suppliers with fraud intellectual properties or pirating our intellectual properties.” It is not entirely clear what this means or what legal claims Tenbro makes.

The Organic Bamboo Textile Dream

It is possible to grow bamboo in a natural way, even if the organic status of textiles is cast in doubt. Since 2012, a specific organic bamboo grove standard has been in place. If a grove is on clean soil, uses pure water, adds no pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and does not grow bamboo in a monoculture, it can be qualified as “organic bamboo.”

Actually, the fast-growing plant is used in reforestation efforts to regenerate bare soil and raise groundwater levels. This is how bamboo earned its reputation as a natural and environmentally friendly crop.

Traditionally, it was common sense to plant the versatile crop in gardens. According to drawings of the “four gentlemen” on the Chinese website Minghui.org, plum blossoms, orchids, bamboo, and chrysanthemums have traditionally represented integrity and are valued as true artistic subject matter in Chinese culture. Bamboo represents “morality.”

It is also possible to make textile fibers from the softer inner bamboo stalks and leaves mechanically, and mix them with other fibers into a textile you could make cloth from. However, this kind of natural bamboo textile is still in development; it is not mass-produced and not commonly for sale.

Certified organic bamboo is used for food or medicinal purposes, or construction, not for textile production. IFOAM is currently recruiting for the Bamboo Switch-Asia project. This project “funded by the European Commission addresses the urgent needs in China for increasing safety and green practices in agro-food processing. More precisely, it aims to transform the highly polluting and resource-consuming edible bamboo shoot industry into a sustainable value chain.”

via No Such Thing as Organic Bamboo Clothing

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