If You Speak Mandarin, Your Brain Is Different

28 February, 2015 at 07:14 | Posted in Body & Mind, Science | Leave a comment
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By Larry Taylor
Northumbria University, Newcastle

We speak so effortlessly that most of us never think about it. But psychologists and neuroscientists are captivated by the human capacity to communicate with language. By the time a child can tie his or her shoes, enough words and rules have been mastered to allow the expression of an unlimited number of utterances. The uniqueness of this behaviour to the human species indicates its centrality to human psychology.

That this behaviour comes naturally and seemingly effortlessly in the first few years of life merely fascinates us further. Untangling the brain’s mechanisms for language has been a pillar of neuroscience since its inception. New research published in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences about the different connections going on in the brains of Mandarin and English speakers, demonstrates just how flexible our ability to learn language really is.

Read more: If You Speak Mandarin, Your Brain Is Different

Report Says ‘2,500 Tons Of Fake Food’ Seized Across the World

27 February, 2015 at 06:29 | Posted in Body & Mind, Food, health, Society | Leave a comment
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By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times

Thousands upon thousands of pounds of horse meat hamburgers, as well as “counterfeit” mozzarella, strawberries, eggs, and dried fruit and thousands of gallons of alcohol laden with antifreeze, and fake cooking oil were seized by Interpol, the agency said in a report.

The report, which said the operation was carried out in 47 countries over the past two months, could cast doubt on some of the food we eat. It revealed that a number of brand-name food items could have fake ingredients, counter to what is on the ingredients label.

“Of the nearly 275,000 liters of drinks recovered across all regions, counterfeit alcohol was among the most seized product, including in the UK, where a plant making fake brand-name vodka was raided,” said a release from Interpol.

“Officers discovered more than 20,000 empty bottles ready for filling, hundreds of empty five-liter antifreeze containers which had been used to make the counterfeit alcohol, as well as a reverse osmosis unit used to remove the chemical’s color and smell,” the release stated.

Interpol said that international criminal gangs are behind the slew of fake food items.

In Italy, 31 tons of seafood was labeled as “fresh” but was actually frozen and doused with a citric acid and hydrogen peroxide to hide the fact that it was actually rotting. Also in Italy, officers raided a cheese factory and found expired dairy that was then laden with chemicals to make it appear fresh.

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials seized approximately 35 tons of counterfeit butter and closed down an entire factory that claimed to be selling tea.

And elsewhere, “Some 85 tonnes of meat illegally imported into Thailand without testing to ensure they complied with health and safety regulations were destroyed, and police also dismantled a criminal network producing fake whisky and seized nearly 20,000 liters of the counterfeit alcohol,” the policing agency said.

According to a report from Oceana in 2014, fake food items are on the rise across the world. For example, about 30 percent of the shrimp products are misrepresented.

“The issue stems in part from a lack of general information available when purchasing these products, the researchers said,” said TIME magazine’s Sarah Begley. ” In many cases, retailers and restaurants don’t offer information about the shrimp’s species or country of origin, or whether it was farmed or caught in the world. Oceana argues that improving traceability of seafood would help decrease label fraud and enable consumers to make sustainable choices.”

The countries that partook in the Interpol operation include Austria, Belgium, Benin, Belarus, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burundi, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.

via Report Says ‘2,500 Tons Of Fake Food’ Seized Across the World

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7 Essentials of Mindfulness Practice

17 January, 2015 at 11:49 | Posted in Body & Mind, Spirituality | Leave a comment
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By Dr. Frank Lipman, http://www.drfranklipman.com

Nearly twenty years ago, I did a workshop with Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., whose first book “Full Catastrophe Living” and overall teachings have had a lasting influence on me. This book is a classic on the topic of mindfulness and it has played a spiritual role in both bringing this practice into the Integrative Medicine World as well as in developing the method we teach our patients on how to deal with stress.

I would like to share with you the Seven Essentials of Mindfulness Practice, adapted from this great book.


Be an impartial witness to your experience. Observing without judging helps you see what is on your mind without editing or intellectualizing it, or getting lost in your thoughts.


No goal other than to be yourself. It is not about achieving bliss, relaxation or anything else.


A willingness to see things the way they are. By fully accepting what each moment offers, you are able to experience life much more completely.

Letting Go

Of thoughts, ideas, things, events, desires, views, hopes and experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant. Allowing things to be as they are, without getting caught up in our attachment to or rejection of them. It means to give up resisting or struggling and allowing things to be as they are. Watching your breath as it goes in and out is an excellent starting place for this practice of letting go.

Beginner’s Mind

Free of expectations from past experience. Remove the attachment of the past and just be.  Watch the moments unfold, with no agenda other than to be fully present.  Use the breath as an anchor to tether your attention to the present moment.


Remembering that things must unfold in their own time. An alternative to the mind’s restlessness and impatience. Not letting our anxieties and desire for certain results dominate the quality of the moment.


In yourself and your feelings. A feeling of confidence that things can unfold within a dependable framework that embodies order and integrity.

This article was originally published on www.drfranklipman.com. Read the original here.

via 7 Essentials of Mindfulness Practice

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How to Manage Stress

22 December, 2014 at 19:01 | Posted in Body & Mind, health | Leave a comment
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By Gaye O’Brien

What is Stress?

Stress is an inability to adapt to your ever-changing environment and to react to the stimuli or events around you. Distress is extreme stress, great pain, anxiety, or sorrow, acute suffering, affliction. (“Dis” meaning negative or reverse force.)

Some stress is good because:

  • It gives you the opportunity to see that your perceptions and emotional reactions are unbalanced and expectations are unrealistic.
  • It gets you moving toward what you want and away from what you don’t want.

Read more about emotional eating

Why is it Important to Manage Stress?

“It is not stress that kills us but our reaction to it.” ~Hans Selye

Stress is a part of life and affects every aspect of life and can accelerate the aging process. When you learn to balance your expectations, perceptions and emotions you will live longer. When emotions move erratically up and down, the tendency toward bipolar sets in and physiology, hormones and adrenals, are affected. Your emotions electrically change your body and mind and this can be either for our benefit or not.

Signs of stress include tense muscles, unbalanced thoughts, erratic speech, shallow breathing and tight chest. Prolonged stress can result in constipation, stomach issues and high blood pressure.

How to Manage Stress:

I have found that I learn the most when I am stressed, as it means that I have to choose my priorities, slow down a little, listen to my body and really learn from the situation at hand.

Here are more tips for dealing with stress:

  • Set balanced expectations and goals whilst allowing for flexibility.
  • Prioritize your actions and what is important for you.
  • Delegate low level priorities to others.
  • Chunk down large projects, doing something everyday to keep up momentum, reduce procrastination, lack of clarity and frustration.
  • Plan the night before for the following day and write goals down to unclutter your head.
  • Congratulate yourself on what you have achieved and reflect on what you have learned.

Read more about self-love

  • Take time daily to relax with meditation, inspiring texts, peaceful music or walks in nature.
  • Work on reducing limiting beliefs as they affect our thoughts and actions that then creates negative emotions.
  • Be passionate about what you do and establish a purpose that is larger than your immediate life.
  • Take some gentle time line therapy with me, to reduce limiting beliefs and negative emotions.
  • Switch from a negative emotion to a positive one by remembering a time when you felt that positive emotion. Change from fear to faith for example.
What if You Learn to Manage Stress?

When you practice mastering stress your hormonal cortisol levels will go down and your endorphin levels with go up. You will feel fulfilled, poised and centered. This will add years to your life by slowing down the aging process.

You will then have the opportunity to develop your gifts and passions and share them with others to create a better world for all!

This article was originally published on www.NaturallySavvy.com.

via How to Get Rid of Stress

A Healthy Winter By Following Eastern Medicine Guidelines

7 December, 2014 at 06:25 | Posted in Body & Mind, Food, health | Leave a comment
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By Loyola University Health System

While mainstream medicine recommends eating right, exercising and getting your flu shot to stay healthy during cold weather months, Eastern medicine takes this advice a step further.

“Traditional Chinese medicine teaches us to live in harmony with the seasons to protect our health,” said Aaron Michelfelder, MD, a family medicine and integrative medicine physician at Loyola University Health System. “Making certain adjustments to our diet, sleep regimen and lifestyle will make us more in sync with nature and better equipped to cope with the plunging temperatures.”

Dr. Michelfelder recommends the following Eastern medicine tips to “winterize” your body and protect your health this season:

Eat Warming Herbs and Foods

The environment and the food we eat can create imbalances in the body, according to Eastern medicine guidelines. Using warming ingredients for meals that are in season to counteract any imbalances created by the cold weather. Warming herbs and foods include cinnamon, ginger, garlic, spicy foods, sweet potatoes, squash, meat and nutrient-dense soups and stews. Save raw, leafy greens for the summer.

Eat less

We typically are not as active during the winter so we require less food. Cut down on your caloric intake.

Sleep More

Traditional Chinese medicine recommends following the sun and sleeping more in the fall and winter because we have fewer hours of daylight. It is best to get nine to 10 hours of sleep as opposed to the recommended eight hours in the summer and spring.

Slow Down

We should expect ourselves to slow down naturally and be less active during winter months. This is a hard concept for many Americans to grasp given our busy culture.

Meditate More

As our bodies naturally slow down, it is best to slow the mind as well through meditation. Don’t resist what the body is naturally meant to do this time of year.

Turn to Acupuncture

An acupuncture winterizing treatment naturally restores balance and boosts energy levels.

Practice Self-Care

Get a massage, engage in social activities and take a vacation, if possible. Self-care will help you recharge your body.

“Our immune system is naturally suppressed in the winter,” said Dr. Michelfelder, who also is a professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “Try not to fight the seasons. If we are not aligned with the natural cycles of life, we won’t be able to recharge our immune system to protect our health.”

From Newswise

via A Healthy Winter By Following Eastern Medicine Guidelines

Treating Body and Mind Through the Spleen

2 December, 2014 at 13:41 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture, health | Leave a comment
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Obesity, insomnia, and depression can all result from trouble with the spleen

By Christopher Trahan

While Western medicine views disease as being biochemical or mechanical, in Chinese medicine, all disorders can involve both physical and psychological processes.

Therefore, when we talk about an organ in traditional Chinese medicine, it has a different scope than the Western organ with the same name (and for this reason, is capitalized in this article).

So, while Western spleen diseases all affect the “Spleen” of traditional Chinese medicine, the Spleen of Chinese medicine also includes other physiological functions.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the Spleen provides perhaps the most far-ranging array of physiological functions and is the most complex when compared to its Western equivalent organ.

The Spleen of Chinese medicine maintains our daily energy and metabolism. It includes our digestive system, our immune and lymphatic systems, our blood nutrients, and various aspects of our endocrine system.

The Spleen’s mental-emotional states are worry, over-thinking, pensiveness, and rumination. In modern Western psychological terms, the Spleen relates to anxiety and nervousness and some forms of depression and insomnia.

In Chinese medicine terms, the Spleen “Governs Transportation and Transformation” of food and fluids. In Western terms, this includes digestion, assimilation, the distribution of nutrients, and the utilization of lipids, hormones, and electrolytes.

Imbalances in these functions of the Spleen produce most digestive disorders, including diarrhea and constipation, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, excess or lack of appetite, obesity or emaciation, eating disorders, water retention, and skin disorders such as acne and weeping eczema.


In traditional Chinese medicine, wind, heat, cold, dryness, and dampness can unbalance the body and cause illness.

Spleen disorders are particularly affected when a person is exposed to damp environments. Damp weather aggravates conditions like diarrhea, edema, and excess mucous.

On both physical and mental levels, dampness is associated with dullness, slowness, and lack of energy. Dampness can weaken the Spleen energy, causing fatigue and lassitude, and can lead to hypothyroidism. When the Spleen is weak as a result of dampness, a person can develop environmental, seasonal, and food allergies, as well as yeast infections.


The taste associated with the Spleen is sweet. Craving sweets can indicate an imbalance in the Spleen, and over-consumption of sweets, including carbohydrates, can cause the Spleen to lose energy. Taken to the extreme, sweetness and excess dampness can lead to obesity. Deficient Spleen energy can also result in hypoglycemia and diabetes.


Spleen imbalance often occurs in combination with imbalances of other organs. Insomnia of all types relates to the heart, which is said to “house the mind” in Chinese medicine.

When people have trouble falling asleep, this relates to the blood of the Spleen failing to nourish the heart and is often due to over-thinking, anxiety, or worry.

Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes that the Spleen’s digestive function, which produces blood, relates to onset-insomnia. Chinese doctors understood the sleep-stomach connection, thousands of years before modern Western medicine discovered that some 70 percent of serotonin metabolism occurs in the gut.

Treating the Spleen

In my practice, at least 30 percent of my patients experience frequent insomnia, and most of them have trouble falling asleep, which can occur both at the start of the night or when their sleep is interrupted.

In my practice, I always use formulas combining herbs to flesh out the benefits to the Spleen and to address other organs’ imbalances.

Chinese herbal medicine treats all deficient Spleen energy with formulas featuring ginseng and other Spleen tonics such as astragalus and atractylodes.

When we treat Spleen disorders such as excess dampness, we use herbs such as hawthorn to enhance lipid digestion and utilization, and alisma to promote urination.

Global Herbal Medicine and Homeopathy

I also use global herbal medicine and homeopathy to treat spleen issues. In global herbal medicine, I use Ayurvedic and Western herbs to treat spleen syndromes.

In classical homeopathy, I treat these syndromes, including physical and mental-emotional issues, with one or more of homeopathy’s hundreds of plant-based remedies.

The homeopathic remedy Lycopodium treats digestive and mental symptoms associated with Spleen imbalances. I also use the remedy Ceanothus, which dilates the splenic artery, allowing more oxygenated blood to get to the spleen, which enhances the spleen’s function as filtration.

I have found that classical homeopathy often achieves even more impressive results than traditional Chinese medicine and global herbal medicine when it comes to treating more severe psychological pathologies such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Homeopathy is also very effective in some cases of hormonal and immune disorders, including infertility and allergies.

Dr. Christopher Trahan, O.M.D., L.Ac., is the medical director of the Olympus Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine. He is nationally board-certified in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine (NCCA) and is a classically trained homeopathic physician. He has been in clinical practice for over 30 years. Complimentary consultation: Olympus-Center.com

via Treating Body and Mind Through the Spleen

37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario, Canada After Planting Large GMO Corn Field

23 November, 2014 at 07:33 | Posted in animals, Body & Mind, Environmental issues, Food, health, Science, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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Organic Health

Millions of bees dropped dead after GMO corn was planted few weeks ago in Ontario, Canada. The local bee keeper, Dave Schuit who produces honey in Elmwood lost about 37 million bees which are about 600 hives.

“Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said. While many bee keepers blame neonicotinoids, or “neonics.” for colony collapse of bees and many countries in EU have banned neonicotinoid class of pesticides, the US Department of Agriculture fails to ban insecticides known as neonicotinoids, manufactured by Bayer CropScience Inc.

Two of Bayer’s best-selling pesticides, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, are known to get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees. The marketing of these drugs also coincided with the occurrence of large-scale bee deaths in many European countries and the United States.

Nathan Carey another local farmer says that this spring he noticed that there were not enough bees on his farm and he believes that there is a strong correlation between the disappearance of bees and insecticide use.

Read more: 37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario, Canada After Planting Large GMO Corn Field | Organic Health

My comment: I once saw a television program about the death of bees, and there it said that one drop of dew from a GMO plant in a GMO crop field kills a bumble bee when it drinks it in the morning (as bumble bees usually do…). GMO really kills…

Are You A Highly Sensitive Person?

22 November, 2014 at 12:06 | Posted in Body & Mind, books, Culture, health | Leave a comment
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Do you have a keen imagination and vivid dreams?  Is time alone each day as essential to you as food and water?  Are you “too shy” or “too sensitive” according to others?  Do noise and confusion quickly overwhelm you?  If your answers are yes, you may be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

For those people who have a keen imagination, are labelled too shy or too sensitive, who perform poorly when being observed even though they are usually competent, have vivid dreams and for whom time alone each day is essential – this is the book to help them understand themselves and how best to cope in various situations. Highly sensitive people are often very bright and creative but many suffer from low self esteem. They are not neurotics as they have been labelled for so long. However, high sensitivity can lead them to cease to engage with the outside world.

In The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine N. Aron, you will discover:
* Self-assessment tests to help you identify your particular sensitivities
* Ways to reframe your past experiences in a positive light and gain greater self-esteem in the process
* Insight into how high sensitivity affects both work and personal relationships
* Tips on how to deal with overarousal
* Informations on medications and when to seek help
* Techniques to enrich the soul and spirit

What Can You Let Go Of?

21 November, 2014 at 10:19 | Posted in Body & Mind, health, Spirituality | Leave a comment
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By David Tucker, L.A.c. LMP, thezenofhealing.com/blog/

The Autumn season and Metal element in the body is governed by our Lung and Colon meridians. They have a reciprocal relationship of receiving or inhaling the very highest quality of life, of Spirit, and then a release of what is no longer useful for us. And if we are not letting go, then we are not making room for new “inspiration”. This is true on all levels – physiological, mental, emotional, spiritual.

So I’d like to focus on the letting go aspect. Much of the world’s suffering exists today because of grasping, clinging, attachment. Holding on to a particular idea, thought, emotion, experience. We say all the time, “I wish this moment could last forever”. And people try and try with all their might to create a reality in which that feeling endures. Our expectations and preconceived notions really get us into trouble – what a friend should be, a partner, a son, a teacher, what a parent SHOULD be. Why trouble?? Well, most of the times our ideas of what people SHOULD be very rarely coincides with how we they actually express themselves in the moment. Then can we watch our reaction… can we observe without judging, criticizing, blaming or labeling? This takes a lot of practice, luckily, we never seem short on opportunities!

As my Grand Zen Master used to say…”Put it all down!”. Not that its a terrible thing to have desires, opinions, preferences, etc., but we must watch how we cling to them. If we are holding on so tight, then we allow for a sort of mental constipation which is NO FUN! There is no mental constipation that won’t find its way to manifest physically. That may be in our actual Colon, but it can manifest as any sort of stuckness – bloating, pain, insomnia, depression, etc. An important thing to remember is that the Colon meridian is not only charge of disposing of its own trash but all the garbage from the other meridians as well. So if there is a back-up, we can see “symptoms” coming from any of the meridians… which is a reminder that symptoms do not always point you to the root cause.

So what we can do? Well, on a physiological level… keep your Lungs and Colon healthy. Keep your lungs filled with pure, clear air and that they get plenty opportunity to “breathe” – yoga, meditation, aerobic exercise. For the Colon, we certainly want to encourage the physiological releases! Good dietary sources of fiber, omega-3 fish oils, aloe vera juice/gel, and plenty of water to name a few. On the deeper layers, many alternative therapies are wonderful for encouraging our processes of inspiration and letting go – of course, acupuncture and massage… but how about dance, drumming, martial arts, music. Utilizing rhythm and/or the voice… really powerful! On a more quieter note… journaling or a creative art project.

What’s most important is that we are checking in with ourselves internally. It would make a wonderful daily practice, ask yourself, “What am I holding on to?” or “What can I let go of today?”. Watch how it can not only ease your suffering, but those around you as well!

Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at www.tcm007.com.

via What Can You Let Go Of?

DIY: Natural Floor Cleaning

16 November, 2014 at 07:14 | Posted in Body & Mind, Environmental issues, health, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Michael Edwards
Organic Lifestyle Magazine

Our floors are the largest surface area in our homes that require regular cleaning. If we use chemicals, we breathe them in day and night until they dissipate. There is no need to add to our indoor air pollution when we can use simple and handy, homemade cleaning solutions.

How to Clean Wood, Bamboo, and Laminate Floors

It would be so easy to clean every floor of our home with a steam cleaner. No muss, no fuss, nothing but water turned to steam. But regardless of the claims made by the manufacturers, steam cleaners can damage wood, bamboo, and laminate floors.

Laminate floors consist of layers of materials glued together. Any water, but especially steam, will break down the bonds between layers, causing them to buckle and split. Steam can strip the finish that is protecting your hardwood floor. Moisture that seeps into the wood will cause grains to swell and the wood to warp and splinter.

The primary rule for bamboo, laminate, and hardwood floors is the same: do not wet mop–dry mop (though damp mop would be a better descriptive term). After thoroughly sweeping or vacuuming your floor, use a well wrung out sponge or rag mop with plain water, water with a few drops of essential oil, or water with 1/4 cup of vinegar (added to a 2 gallon bucket). Use warm water; it will evaporate faster than cold. Buff the floors dry with a soft cloth or towel.

Perusing the net, you will find other suggestions such as 1/2 cup of lemon juice added to water. However, a manufactures’ site warns against using citrus to clean laminate flooring as it will damage the finish after repeated use.  Many sites, including a manufacturer’s site, suggest using 1/4 cup of dish soap to a bucket of water to clean sealed hardwood floors–without rinsing. But it only stands to reason that, over time, soap residue would accumulate. If you do rinse, you are using more water. Since the object is to clean with the least amount of water possible, this method doesn’t make sense.

One wood laminate manufacturer suggests mixing vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Rather than spraying the liquid on the floor, use it to dampen the bottom of your dust mop.

Another solution, claimed to be even better for wood floors than vinegar, is cleaning with tea. Brew black tea, (1 tea bag per cup of water) and either fill a spray bottle to mist the floor (a small area at a time) then follow with a damp mop, or make enough tea to immerse your mop in a bucket. As before, wring out your mop so it is as dry as possible.

How to Clean Linoleum, Tile, and Stone

Linoleum and tile floors can also be cleaned with vinegar and water. The ratios vary according to preference from 1/4 cup of vinegar to a one-to-one ratio of vinegar to water.  For a really dirty floor, try the following recipe:

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap (remember to choose a natural soap)
  • 2 gallons hot water
  • Add a few drops of essential oil, if desired

Rinsing is not required, but if streaking occurs, rinse.

Do not use lemon juice, vinegar or other acids on marble, limestone, or travertine. To wash these floors, use a squirt of liquid soap (such as castile soap or dish soap, not detergent) in your bucket of water and wet mop. Rinse. Too much soap will cause streaking.

These floors may be the best candidates for a steam mop, but first check with the manufacturer to be sure steam mopping does not void your warranty.

All floors of all types are scratched and scarred by dirt. Mats outside and inside each entrance can help limit the amount of dirt on your floors. A shoeless house can make a tremendous difference. Remember, how often you sweep or vacuum and what you use to mop your floors will determine the longevity of your floor’s finish as well as the level of pollution in your home.

via DIY: Natural Floor Cleaning

Are wireless phones linked with brain cancer risk?

14 November, 2014 at 07:31 | Posted in Body & Mind, Environmental issues, health, IT and Media, Science, sustainable development, Technology | Leave a comment
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By Ronnie Cohen

Reuters Health – Swedes who talked on mobile or cordless phones for more than 25 years had triple the risk of a certain kind of brain cancer compared to those who used wireless phones for less than a year, a new study suggests.

The odds of developing glioma, an often deadly brain cancer, rose with years and hours of use, researchers reported in the journal Pathophysiology.

“The risk is three times higher after 25 years of use. We can see this clearly,” lead researcher Dr. Lennart Hardell told Reuters Health in a telephone interview.

His finding contrasts with the largest-ever study on the topic – the international Interphone study, which was conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and funded in part by cell phone companies. That study, published in 2010, failed to find strong evidence that mobile phones increased the risk of brain tumors.

Even if the odds of developing a glioma were doubled or tripled, however, the risk would still remain low.

A little more than 5 out of 100,000 Europeans (or 0.005 percent) were diagnosed with any kind of malignant brain tumor between 1995 and 2002, according to a 2012 study in the European Journal of Cancer (bit.ly/1xIlQam). If the rate triples, the odds rise to about 16 out of 100,000 (or 0.016 percent).

Hardell, an oncologist from University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden, and his colleague Michael Carlberg matched 1,380 patients with malignant brain tumors to people without such tumors and compared their wireless phone use.

People who reported using wireless phones for 20 to 25 years were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with glioma as those who reported using them for less than a year, the study found. Those who used cell and cordless phones for more than 25 years were three times more likely to develop one of these tumors.

Read more: Are wireless phones linked with brain cancer risk?

China criminal gang floods market with 100 metric tons of toxic tofu

10 November, 2014 at 10:53 | Posted in Body & Mind, China, Food, health | Leave a comment
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(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Ryan Woo)


A criminal gang in eastern China has sold almost 100 metric tons 110.23 tons of toxic tofu onto the local market, the latest in a string of scares that have thrown light on shady practices in the country’s food industry.

The gang added industrial bleaching agent rongalite to make dried tofu sticks brighter and chewier, the Shanghai Daily reported on Monday, citing official media in Shandong province. Rongalite is banned in food production as it can lead to cancer.

Gut-wrenching food scares erupt regularly in China and highlight the challenges firms face to control supply chains.

Read more: China criminal gang floods market with 100 metric tons of toxic tofu | Reuters

Rest Your Mind the Right Way to Boost Learning

2 November, 2014 at 07:32 | Posted in Body & Mind, Science | 1 Comment
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By University of Texas at Austin

Scientists have previously found that resting the mind, such as daydreaming, helps strengthen memories of events and retention of information.

Now, research shows that the right kind of mental rest, which strengthens and consolidates memories from recent learning, may boost later learning.

At the University of Texas at Austin, graduate student research Margaret Schlichting and associate professor of psychology and neuroscience Alison Preston gave participants in the study two learning tasks in which participants were asked to memorize different series of associated photo pairs.

Between the tasks, participants rested and could think about anything they chose, but brain scans found that the ones who used that time to reflect on what they had learned earlier in the day fared better on tests pertaining to what they learned later, especially where small threads of information between the two tasks overlapped.

Participants seemed to be making connections that helped them absorb information later on, even if it was only loosely related to something they learned before.

Read more: Rest Your Mind the Right Way to Boost Learning

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Help, Not Incarceration

31 October, 2014 at 07:31 | Posted in Body & Mind, Society | Leave a comment
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By Annie WuThe Epoch Times

NEW YORK—Anthony Cruz is a different man now that he has been locked up several times.

Before serving his 10-year sentence in New York state prisons for manslaughter in the first degree he was diagnosed with adjustment disorder and depression, among other mental health conditions. Cruz spent a total of three years in solitary confinement, but he said he was denied help from mental health staff in prison. Unless he had suicidal thoughts, he wasn’t allowed to talk to a psychiatrist. 

Since Cruz was released on parole two years ago, it’s been difficult finding a steady job with a felony conviction on his record. This summer, he received notice from the city that his family would have to relocate from their current homeless shelter location in the Bronx. Then, his wife’s temporary teaching job ended, and her weeks of job searching didn’t yield results. To cope with the stress, Cruz turned to MDMA, a drug he was addicted to before. “I was going through so much,” Cruz explained.

At a regular visit to the parole office for a drug urine test, Cruz was caught with the drug in his system.

He had a panic attack upon hearing that he’d have to go to jail at Rikers Island for his parole violation. “I was wailing and crying, telling the parole officers that I didn’t want to go back to a cell.”

Cruz suffered several more panic attacks while inside. He couldn’t sleep being around so many people. He was reliving his deepest fear.

Local jail reform advocate Five Mualimm-ak, with the Incarcerated Nation Corporation, sought to get Cruz treatment for his drug dependence and other mental health needs, but nothing came of the requests.

Across the country, people with mental illness and substance abuse are repeatedly cycled in and out of the criminal justice system. The latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) estimate that more than 1.26 million mentally ill adults are detained in the country’s jails and prisons. Some cities are trying to change this statistic through programs that offer some of these nonviolent offenders a way out of incarceration, and a chance to improve their lives.

Out of Jail, Into Treatment

In the 1980s and ’90s, different communities across the country created programs to provide treatment alternatives to incarceration for people like Cruz, who would otherwise face jail time for nonviolent drug charges, or those who committed offenses during a mental health crisis.

For example, in the late ’80s, the police department in Memphis, Tenn., devised a crisis intervention team (CIT) where officers would be trained in identifying and responding appropriately to the emotionally or mentally disturbed. Police are taught de-escalation techniques to calm down individuals who may be agitated or aggressive. And instead of arresting them, police would bring them to a mental health treatment center.

The Memphis model has been adopted by other cities, including in San Antonio, Texas, where police officers bring people to The Restoration Center. There, they can get medical and mental health treatment, as well as social services such as housing and job training.

San Antonio also has a detox center and a 90-day residential program for those in need of substance abuse treatment. For those in need of more intensive care, they get transferred to state hospitals or private institutions if the individual has private health insurance.

Leon Evans, the director of San Antonio’s mental health care system who developed the center, said he got the idea after he saw the county jail overcrowded with people in need of mental health treatment.

Police would bring the mentally distressed to the emergency room or jail, but without treatment or housing, they get released back to the streets and may turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with their illnesses. “They would get arrested the same day and go right back into jail,” Evans said.

“Texas is a pretty conservative place,” said Evans. “[W]e realized that putting them in jail was the last thing we should be doing.”

Evans said the center has been proven effective: about 70 percent of those who graduate from the center’s treatment programs are living and working independently a year later. Since the center was built five years ago, the county has also saved $10 million per year.

Dangerous for the Mentally Ill

The country’s jails and prisons are toxic environments for those with a mental illness.

In August, a DOJ investigation of jail conditions at the city’s main jail Rikers Island found that adolescent mentally ill inmates were routinely abused by corrections officers and placed into solitary confinement for extended periods of time—as punishment for breaking rules, or getting into verbal disputes with the officers. Several high-profile cases of mentally ill inmates dying under questionable circumstances while detained at Rikers have been reported in the last year.

DOJ data shows that across the country, mentally ill jail inmates are twice as likely to be charged with a rule violation and three times as likely to be injured in a fight. Studies have also shown that mentally ill inmates are detained longer on average than those without a mental illness.

Incarceration also has heavy financial costs. A recent analysis by the city comptroller’s office revealed that in fiscal year 2014, it cost city taxpayers more than $96,000 a year to house an inmate in jail.

Treatment is more cost-effective than jail, said Jim Parsons, research director at the Vera Institute, a criminal justice policy research organization based in New York. The organization found that alternative-to-incarceration programs in New York City save an average of $7,038 per person.

Read more: Help, Not Incarceration

Having a Bad Day? A Positive Mindset Starts With These 4 Simple Steps

24 October, 2014 at 13:54 | Posted in Body & Mind | Leave a comment
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by Tatiana Tobar-Darzi

There have been times when I was unhappy with my life for no certain reason. I looked to external factors to fill the void, only to realize that no other person or thing could fill that gap. So I started thinking, ‘What can I do to maintain happiness throughout my daily living?’ I came up with a practical solution: positive thinking.

But it’s easier said than done, because positive thinking requires practice and a balance of emotions.

Negative thoughts will affect our actions and perspective.

For example: at work, your colleague gets noticed and praised, meanwhile you get overlooked. As a result, you feel resentment and anger toward your colleague, thinking he or she isn’t worthy and you deserve to be rewarded for your work as well. You try to make yourself feel better by focusing on the other person’s weaknesses. But how does this really help you improve your mood? It doesn’t. So what can you do to change the way you feel about a situation that is bothering you and attain a positive state of mind?

Here are some steps you can take to improve your outlook and emotions:


Let’s say you’re driving, and someone cuts you off, you come home angry, slam the door, scoff at your spouse or pet, because you’re now in a bad mood. Think about it, you’re basically letting this negative state of mind control the outcome of the rest of your day.

Don’t do it! Don’t dwell on it. Take a step back, breathe, forgive, and let that moment go. Negative things happen to us all the time.


If at work someone gives you constructive criticism but you are too stubborn to see past your pride, then you will never allow your mind to be open to the suggestions of others. Especially when you view the other person in a lesser light. Maybe they’re your subordinate, maybe they haven’t performed that well, but try to push your pride aside and re-analyze things. Is there indeed something you can improve on and therefore benefit the greater cause? By setting aside your pride, you will allow yourself to see things more clearly. Pride is a negative emotion and it won’t get you far in life.

Read more: Having a Bad Day? A Positive Mindset Starts With These 4 Simple Steps

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