30th Jan 2017
SOMETHING very odd is happening in the US state of Massachusetts, where more than a dozen people have suddenly and inexplicably lost their memories.
Researchers at the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) say they are baffled by an “amnesia cluster” of 14 people.
The patients, aged between 19 and 52, were treated for “striking anterograde amnesia” — an “unusual” form of the syndrome — between 2012 and 2016.
People with this type of amnesia have trouble forming new memories and they often cannot recall events from the immediate past, such as something that has just happened to them, Live Science reported.
Doctors have so far been unable to work out what triggered the syndrome but the 14 patients have certain commonalities which could provide clues.
In their January 27 report, Dr Jed Barash, Dr Nick Sommerville and Dr Alfred DeMaria Jr note that each of them had either tested positive for drugs or had a history of substance abuse.
In nine of the cases, the patients were unconscious when they were brought to the hospital and experienced amnesia when they came to.
The other five individuals had been brought to hospital emergency after family or friends noticed they were experiencing severe memory loss.
Twelve of the patients had a history of using opioid drugs, including prescription painkillers or heroin. Many had also used other drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines.
Despite the obvious health risks associated with these substances, they were not typically linked to the onset of anterograde amnesia, the report said.
Significantly, brain scans of all 14 patients revealed an unusual finding: MRI tests showed significantly reduced blood flow to a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is important for memory formation.
Humans have two hippocampi, one on either side of their brain, and the patients in the report had reduced blood flow to both hippocampi. Sudden amnesia that’s tied to reduced blood flow to both hippocampi is rare, researchers said.
A handful of similar cases have been reported in the past, but these were stand-alones rather than clusters and were tied to exposure to a toxic substance, such as carbon monoxide, the report said.
Investigations are ongoing, with doctors being asked to be on the lookout for more cases to determine whether this new cluster “represents an emerging syndrome related to substance use or other causes” such as exposure to a toxic substance, the report said.
2nd Aug 2016
For the first time since its inception in 1911, the Australian Census in August this year will be forgoing the usual practise of destroying any identifying information of respondents. Since 2001 we have had the option of deciding if our identifying information can be retained. This year, we won’t get a choice.
This decision was actually quietly announced on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website on 18 December 2015.
“The Australian Bureau of Statistics has decided to retain names and addresses collected in the 2016 Census of Population and Housing in order to enable a richer and dynamic statistical picture of Australia through the combination of Census data with other survey and administrative data,” the site reads.
The ABS says that retaining the personal information will help gain “greater insight”. Examples given include education data providing insight into employment outcomes from different various educational pathways and health data helping to improve understanding and support of people who require mental health services.
“The retention of addresses will also support the ABS Address Register enabling more efficient survey operations, reducing the cost to taxpayers and the burden on Australian households,” the ABS states.
It says the decision to retain personal information was “informed by public submissions, public testing and the conduct of a Privacy Impact Assessment.”
To address the very real concerns of privacy that have been — and continue to be — raised, ABS says it is “committed to the protection of the privacy and confidentiality of everyone who completes the Census”.
A Privacy Impact Assessment was commissioned to identify considerations related to privacy, confidentiality and security and to put strategies in place to mitigate any risks.
“The Privacy Impact Assessment assessed the level of risk to personal privacy, considering the protections in place, as very low,” the ABS states. “The risks identified are mitigated by storing names and addresses separately from other Census data as well as separately from each other.”
“The risks are further mitigated by governance and security arrangements the ABS already has in place. These arrangements were found to robustly manage data, protect privacy and guard against misuse of information.”
Although keeping personal information from the census is within the confines of the law, the law also states that the ABS has to keep the data secure, making sure there is zero disclosure of identifying information about respondents.
“The ABS has been accredited as a safe environment for statistical data integration projects,” it assures. “The ABS will use well-established governance infrastructure and procedures to manage the approval, conduct and review of statistical data integration projects using Census data.”
The ABS says it will be removing names and addresses from other personal and household information after data collection and processing, storing them separately.
“No-one working with the data will be able to view identifying information (name and address) at the same time as other Census information (such as occupation or level of education),” ABS states.
“Senior-level committee” will have access to names and addresses, and the circumstances surrounding this access “will be subject to strict information security provisions”.
Regular audits of the privacy processes will be conducted, ABS says.
Information about how to access the Census Privacy Statement, which details ABS’s plans to retain and use names and addresses, will be available to all Census forms, via Census field officers, the Census Inquiry Service and the ABS website.
The ABS says it is “completely transparent” around the collection, protection and use of data.
Ummmm…..We’re still waiting??? LOL – Ivy Blake.
14th July 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin has named the date he plans to release proof that the US government and intelligence agencies were responsible for the “controlled demolition” of the World Trade Centre in the 9/11 attacks.
Like a boxer confident in his own strength, Putin has been absorbing pressure from the US and biding his time, waiting for the right moment to strike.
The evidence is so explosive he knows he only has to hit once.
According to Kremlin insiders, President Putin has named September 11th 2016 as the date he plans to release the satellite footage proving conclusively the US government’s darkest secret: that the 9/11 attacks were a false flag terrorist event committed against their own citizens.
The US government’s secret terrorist activities at home and internationally will be exposed, undermining the credibility of the nation on the world stage, and proving that Putin is the only major world leader truly fighting terrorism and darker forces.
It is well known that Putin is a fan of synchronicity, but there is more to the September 11th 2016 date than a simple anniversary of the attacks. It is also the beginning of a politically volatile period in the US.
Do not forget: the US government’s darkest secret is also their biggest Achilles heel.
This blow will hit hard. There will be mass protests in the cities and irrepressible public anger that will lead to a popular uprising, culminating almost certainly in revolution. The government will be completely destroyed, and the new world order they support will be thrown into chaos.
2016 is the year Putin has vowed to destroy the Illuminati. The simple step of choosing the right moment to take advantage of the great American Achilles heel may well be his first step towards shaking up the status quo and fulfilling his promise.
“If you know about someone planning violence at the RNC or DNC but are afraid to tell FBI, contact me. I’ll help. Bdarby@breitbart.com” ~ Brandon Darby June 27, 2016
Surveillance and infiltration by law enforcement, agents, and private contractors are par for the course during events like The RNC, so here’s a warning of two individuals who radicals, leftists, protesters, etc should stay far away from.
17th May 2016
Many Americans say they attend church because it helps them stay grounded and gives them spiritual guidance. A new study suggests that regular attendance may also help increase their lifespan.
Researchers looked at data on nearly 75,000 middle-age female nurses in the United States as part of the Nurses’ Health Study. The participants answered questions about whether they attended religious services regularly every four years between 1992 and 2012, and about other aspects of their lives over the years.
The researchers found that women who went to church more than once a week had a 33% lower risk of dying during the study period compared with those who said they never went. Less-frequent attendance was also associated with a lower risk of death, as women who attended once a week or less than weekly had 26% and 13% lower risk of death, respectively.
Women who regularly attended religious services also had higher rates of social support and optimism, had lower rates of depression and were less likely to smoke. However, the researchers took into account these differences between churchgoers and non-churchgoers when they calculated the decrease in death rates of 13% to 33%.
Going to church could have a number of additional benefits that could, in turn, improve longevity, but the researchers were not able to examine them with the available data. Attendance could promote self-discipline and a sense of meaning and purpose in life, or it could provide an experience of the transcendent, said Tyler J. VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. VanderWeele led the new research, which was published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
“Our study suggests that for health, the benefits outweigh the potentially negative effects,” such as guilt, anxiety or intolerance, VanderWeele said.
Most of the women in the study were Protestant or Catholic, so it is not clear whether a similar association would be found between religious service attendance and longevity for people of other Christian religions, Judaism or Islam.
The study also did not explore the association in men. Previous research suggests that male churchgoers also benefit, though their decrease in death rate is not as large as among women, VanderWeele said.
“There have been literally thousands of studies” looking at whether religion is good for your health, said Dr. Dan German Blazer II, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center. The findings have been mixed about whether aspects of religious devotion such as prayer and spirituality — such as reading the Bible or other religious literature — improve longevity.
“The one (aspect) that is significantly more predictive of good health is about religious service attendance,” said Blazer, who wrote an editorial about the new study in the same issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.
Most people report that they are spiritual, and it is possible that actually attending religious services is good for their health because they are taking actions that are in line with their beliefs, Blazer said. “You have a more integrated life in this sense.” However, this explanation is purely speculative, and studies have not explored this theory, he added.
The suggestion that attending religious services regularly could boost longevity has met with some criticism in the field. Other researchers have pointed out that the relationship could be due to other factors, such as the possibility that healthier people are more likely to go to church, perhaps because they are more mobile.
The main strength of the current study is that the researchers were able to look at whether participants reported attending religious services at several points over many years, making it easier to find out which came first, religious activity or disease and health outcomes, Blazer said.
Nevertheless, Blazer warns that it is important not to make too much of the new findings. “This study does not suggest that clinicians prescribe attending religious services as a way to be more healthy,” he said. It was not meant to assess going to church as an actual medical intervention.
On the other hand, the study does suggest that “clinicians who know their patients well and follow them over a period of time, like primary care doctors, inquire when it is appropriate about their religious beliefs and practices,” Blazer said. That way, if patients say that attending religious services is important to them, the doctor can help ensure that they maintain a good relationship with their church, temple or mosque.
This attitude about the place of religion in medical care is becoming more common among health care professionals and has been introduced into the curriculum of more and more medical schools, Blazer said.
10th April 2016
Women don’t like to sweat while having sex, so they are less likely to have sex in warm weather, according to the latest climate health claim.
Climate change and your birthday: Is it too hot for sex?
Have you ever wondered why March is a busy birthday month?
A new study suggests Australians are more inclined to exert themselves between the sheets when they can avoid getting hot and sweaty.
Last month the Sunshine Coast had its most fruitful month to date, with a record 258 babies born at Nambour Hospital.
Women’s and Family Services acting director Keppel Schafer said the numbers were in line with the Sunshine Coast’s annual birth pattern.
And he said winter weather conditions were the reason behind last month’s baby boom.
“The ongoing trivia that we have amongst the trade is that it’s the first cool change that the coast experiences in June or July in the year before,” he said.
“That probably sees us very busy nine months later in the following March.
“I think there’s a bit more snuggling under the doona and then there’s a new baby in a bunny rug nine months later.”
All I can say is, thank goodness for alcohol, swimming pools, ceiling fans and air conditioners. Otherwise we warm climate Aussie men would never get lucky.
12th March 2016
If you’re like most calorie- and sugar-conscious dudes, you probably have a go-to sugar-free sweetener you use daily. Well, it may not make you fat, but there’s a possibility that one popular sweetener in particular could cause cancer instead, according to new research (on mice) published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health.
In the study, researchers wrangled 457 male Swiss mice into five groups and 396 females into five groups, then loaded them with exorbitant amounts of sucralose (Splenda). The mice’s feed was spiked with 0, 500, 2,000, 8,000, and 16,000 parts per million (ppm) concentrations from the twelfth day of their development (prenatal life) until the end of their lifespan.
The researchers found a substantial dose-related incidence of malignant tumors and leukemia, in male mice specifically, at concentrations of 2,000 and 16,000 ppm.
But there are some major things to consider before you freak out and ditch the Splenda altogether. For one, this is an unfathomable amount of artificial sweetener—about 12 times the recommended daily limit for humans, Forbes, who cooresponded with the study author, reported. (You can read about the FDA recommendations for sucralose here.)
Second, Forbes points out, the incidence of sucralose-related tumors decreased in female mice. The number of cancerous tumors dropped from 67 percent in females exposed to no sucralose to about 59% in mice exposed to 16,000 ppm. At 8,000 ppm, the number of tumors dropped to 55 percent.
And third, the 8,000 ppm exposure of sucralose in the male mice is inconsistent with what was seen at 2,000 ppm and 16,000 ppm. The number of tumors jumped from 56 percent (at no exposure) to 63 percent at the highest concentration. But at 8,000 ppm, the rate was 53 percent—that’s 10 percent lower than the zero exposure level. You can read the full story from Forbes here.
The study researchers also say in a press release: “These results may be affected by the 20% decrease in the mean body weight in both males and females treated at the highest dose as compared to controls.”
So, as you can see, we need more research before saying with certainty that everyone should nix the Splenda. Plus, doing so is actually way harder than just swapping out your coffee mate. (After all, it is used in over 4,500 foods and beverage products on the market.) But, until more research is conducted, consider swapping in these sweet alternatives when possible:
In its unprocessed form, stevia provides antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Because the human body can’t digest the stevia plant, it offers close to zero calories and has a very low glycemic index. The fructose count also becomes negligible, and it doesn’t affect blood sugar levels either.
Calories: 0, GI: 0
2. Monk Fruit
Monk fruit is a round green melon that’s been grown for centuries in central Asia. Monk fruit extract is about 150 times sweeter than sugar, non-glycemic, and has zero calories per serving. Industry insiders have predicted that it will become stevia’s fiercest rival.
Calories: 0, GI: 0
3. Yacon Syrup
Yacon syrup is made from the root of the yacon plant, which grows in the Andes region of South America. It has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels because it has a sugar polymer our bodies cannot digest, and is considered a prebiotic as it aids in calcium absorption. Try to get the raw form when possible.
(Per 2 tsp)
Calories: 40, GI: 1
Let’s begin with a little experiment: Whatever you do, as you’re reading this short article, don’t think about polar bears.
This is, you may have recognized, a classic thought exercise from the writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky. In Winter Notes on Summer Impressions, in a passage that launched a thousand psychology theses, he wrote, “Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.”
In clinical terms, this phenomenon – of being told to suppress a thought, which then only makes that thought more persistent – is called Ironic Process Theory. Several studies in recent decades have confirmed Dostoyevsky’s observation: Essentially, it’s not helpful to be told what not to think about.
But new research out of Johns Hopkins finds that being told to ignore specific information can actually work, and can make people more efficient in finding the information they’re seeking.
“I’m interested in trying to make people better at finding stuff,” said Corbin Cunningham, a graduate fellow in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Hopkins, and the lead author of a study published last month in the journal Psychological Science.
“Imagine you’re a professional searcher like a radiologist. The act of finding something kind of comes with two parts: It comes with knowing what you’re looking for and being able to disassociate from distracting information.”
In other words, you need to know what you’re seeking – perhaps medical imagery that indicates a disease – and you need to know what visual information can be thrown out during that search. This brings us to our next experiment, courtesy of Cunningham’s research.
Take a look at the image below, and see if you can locate the “T.”
Did you find it? Okay, now, for the next image, I want you to do the same thing but I’ll give you a hint: The “T” is not going going to be the colour red.
How’d it go?
In Cunningham’s research study participants were asked to carry out a similar task. Cunningham and his fellow researcher, Howard Egeth, wanted to figure out whether learning to ignore a designated colour would, over time, make a difference in how quickly someone could find a target.
What they discovered: Being told what to ignore hindered people at first, but over time it made them identify their target a lot faster. Their finding challenges the conventional wisdom that being told to ignore something is just plain distracting.
“The idea that it’s always stuck in your mind, kind of permeating all of your thoughts,” Cunningham told me. “Even when you’re trying to ignore something, you’re actively suppressing it.”
This latest research suggests that even when the brain is actively suppressing something, it becomes more efficient in doing so over time. “We find that people can do this dual process where they get really, really good at ignoring the information,” Cunningham said, “So it actually can work to your benefit.”
The neurological mechanism that’s behind all this isn’t yet clear, and is something that Cunningham wants to map. But there are still potential real-world applications for a finding of this nature.
There’s Cunningham’s example of radiologists, for instance, who might benefit from training that includes an emphasis on what kind of imaging can always be ignored. He also gives the example of baggage screeners, who could become more efficient in finding dangerous items by knowing definitively what kind of imaging is non-threatening.
“Obviously, the main goals for all professional searchers is: what is your target?” Cunningham told me. “But it can be just as important to understand distracting or non-target information… That can actually play a larger role in whether you can find things successfully or efficiently.”
It remains to be seen how this mental filtering can help people in everyday situations. Do you end up getting through checking email faster because you’re already primed to ignore mass mailings from, say, political candidates and clothing stores? (Unclear. Probably you should just unsubscribe already.)
“The dark side of attention, the other side of attention, is this two-part process,” Cunningham said. “Every time you tell someone to pay attention, you’re also telling them something that’s a little more implicit, which is: ‘I want you to ignore everyone else or everything else around the room.’”
Cunningham offers the example of a crowded office, where someone might be trying to pay attention to a phone call, and therefore has to ignore the sound of people’s voices in the same room.
“Is your brain actually representing all those other people, or is it just trying to activate the signal that’s [the voice on the telephone]? What does that suppression process look like? Do I create a general pool of things I should ignore, or do I explicitly say, ‘I am going to ignore Bob and Cari.’ The answer is: We don’t know. And we want to find out.”
In the meantime, you’re still not thinking about polar bears, right?