Cancer is not a Disease – It’s a Survival Mechanism (Book Excerpt)

What you are about to read may rock or even dismantle the very foundation of your beliefs about your body, health and healing. The title, Cancer Is Not a Disease, may be unsettling for many, provocative to some, but encouraging for all. This book will serve as a life-altering revelation for those who are sufficiently open-minded to consider the possibility that cancer is not an actual disease. Continue reading

Read This Before Vaccinating Your Child

One in four U.S. parents believes some vaccines cause autism in healthy children according to the Associated Press at the end of February 2010. The federal government disputes heavily this idea, so much so that it denigrates these parents and ignores the medical science that suggests a strong association between the nerve poison Thimerosal and neurological impairment

It is a closed case as far as the medical officials are concerned as stupid as that might sound. The former Chairman of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Dr. Bernadine Healy does not agree saying, “The question has not been answered.” The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2004 report on thimerosal and autism even stated, “The committee cannot rule out, based on the epidemiological evidence, the possibility that vaccines contribute to autism in some small subset or very unusual circumstances.”

Some doctors are taking a tough stand, asking vaccine-refusing parents to find other doctors and calling such parents “selfish.” A statement from a group practice near Philadelphia outlines its doctors’ adamant support for government recommended vaccines and their belief that “vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.” Doctors routinely take these stances though the former head of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Louis Cooper says, “There’s been grossly insufficient investment in research on the safety of immunization.”

It has taken us a long time to appreciate the fact that we are wasting time arguing with the government; it has not done anyone any good. We might as well argue with a heavily armed robber or psychopath, serial killer or terrorist none of whom even have the capacity or motive to listen. People and institutions with no ‘heart’ can not be reasoned with and should be avoided like the plague. Governments are the real plague and are a pandemic even up to the level of attacking our precious babies with injectable neurological poisons.

I would like to offer a way for doctors to redeem their credibility in the face of their peers, their professional organizations, humanity and God on at least on one important issue that is cracking the foundations and integrity of contemporary medicine. We are dealing with soul issues here because we are talking about the deliberate injection of newborns, children, and adults with the third most toxic substance known to man and that is mercury. Mercury is the most toxic non-radioactive element on Earth, and The World Health Organization said that there are no levels of mercury that can be considered safe.

Everyone in the United States over the age of six

months should get seasonal influenza vaccines every

year, federal vaccine advisers said on February 25, 2010.

 

All forms of organic mercury cross the blood-brain barrier easily, probably due to formation of a complex with the amino acid cysteine. It is eliminated from the organism slowly, therefore it has tendency to bioaccumulate. In the form of dimethylmercury a sniff can kill you. Anyone who listens to any justification of the practice of injecting organic mercury into babies should have their head seriously examined just the same as if they were justifying child sexual abuse (which some psychologists most incredulously have).

Danger! Poison! May be fatal if inhaled, absorbed through skin or swallowed. Contains material which may cause damage to the following organs: kidneys, respiratory tract, skin, eyes, central nervous system.  Section 8 – Exposure Controls: Personal Protection: Splash goggles, Full suit, Dust Respirator, Boots, Gloves, a self-contained breathing apparatus. Section 11 – Toxicology Information: Acute Oral Toxicity. Extremely hazardous in case of skin contact. May be fatal if absorbed. Extremely hazardous in case of inhalation. May be fatal if inhaled. Extremely hazardous in case of ingestion. May be fatal if swallowed.  Danger of cumulative effects.

What I am proposing is a clear declaration to the governments and medical boards around the world that we doctors and health care professionals will recommend to all our patients that they immediately reject and refuse all vaccinations until every government and medical body eliminates “all” use of the highly toxic vaccine preservative Thimerosal, which is fifty percent methyl-mercury by weight. We would not recommend to our patients that they drive around in a car with defective breaks or a sticking accelerator one more day nor should we let our patients remain ignorant of the dangers of Thimerosal. We need to collectively back government, health, and medical official’s backs against a hard wall giving them not a millimeter to sleaze away.

Mercury was taken out of animal vaccines 20 years ago

because it was too toxic, so why I ask my peers are

we allowing it to continue to be given to babies?

 

We have been deaf, dumb and blind to what is happening in the area of childhood vaccination, meaning we are allowing our medical colleagues to get away with murder and we are all guilty by implication. There are certain constraints or lines that must not be crossed and one is the injection of a cross and bones poison. If we support such medically insane and barbarous practices we should sign a form stating we agree with the principles and practices of the Nazi doctors who routinely injected medical subjects with lethal injections for experimental purposes. No one can say that vaccines don’t kill children for they do that all the time in what is officially known as “rare” occurrences.

There is no sitting on the fence on this issue either you support and favor the injections of poison into babies and people or you do not. It is black and white though those who think in grey shout the loudest and have most of the bullhorns in the public arena. 15% of women in America (Rh Neg) get Rhogam Thimerosal laden shots and have 50% of autistic children. If a woman has 10 or more mercury dental fillings, her chances of having an autistic child go up 27%. Boys get autism 4 to 1 more than girls. When they put mercury in Petri dishes with brain cells they get 40% cell death. Estrogen and mercury in Petri dishes somehow protected cells for only a 3% cell death. Testosterone & mercury yields 100% cell death.

Thimerosal-preserved vaccines are significant causal factors in

the development of regressive neuro-developmental disorders

including autism and related disorders/syndromes/diseases.

Dr. Paul King

 

A review of medical literature indicates that the characteristics of autism and of mercury poisoning (HgP) are strikingly similar. The parallels between the two diseases are so thorough as to suggest, based on total Hg injected into U.S. children, that many cases of autism are a form of mercury poisoning. Professor John Oxford of Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry states: From Alzheimer’s disease to a devastating lineup of other neurological disorders including Parkinsons, ALS, MS, autism and AD – mercury is known to be a potent neurotoxin that either is the prime cause of such disorders or certainly is seen to exacerbate them. He says, “If there is “any doubt whatsoever” about the safety of mercury in vaccines then it should be removed.”

Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines given to children is a high crime against our civilization and all that is good in the field of medicine. Recommended and given to children 6 months and older by pediatricians since 2004, and annually to children until they turn 18, (and in 2009 in the A-H1N1 vaccine) one can only wonder where we have gone so utterly wrong injecting our babies and children with the third most toxic element known to mankind. “These injections exceed the EPA RfD mercury amount by a factor of 125 when the Thimerosal doses are 0.25-mL in each vaccine and by 250 times when the doses are set at 0.5-mL per injection. Typically a child getting the 0.25-mL dose weighs less than 18 kg (and at six months much less) and the older children who gets the 0.5-mL dose typically weighs much less than 70 kg,” reports Dr. Paul King.[1]

It seems like Pediatricians just cannot do the math or are just too lazy to do so. The EPA’s reference dose (RfD) for mercury is 0.1 microgram of mercury per kilogram of weight per day for ingested mercury, which is the legally considered adequate safety level. So how can anyone in their right mind inject a small child with a 25-microgram dose when that passes the legal dose for a humongous adult? To meet the EPA standard a person would have to weigh 551 pounds to receive the 0.5-mL vaccine dose (50 mcg) and the little baby would have to weigh 225 pounds to redeem the attending pediatrician. In some countries they inject newborns on their first day of life with 50 mcg doses and one can only wonder what children today would be like in the third world if they did not receive the Hepatitis B shots at birth.

Dr. King asks, “How can Thimerosal used as a preservative be safe when the toxicity studies required by law (21 CFR 610.15(a)) since the late 1960s have NOT been conducted (as the FDA and the vaccine makers have repeatedly admitted or failed to refute? How is a dose of mercury that exceeds the putative “safe level” (the putative no observed adverse-effect level [NOAEL]) for injected Thimerosal-related mercury (based on a chronic toxicity study in rats that is cited and recognized by the FDA) of < 0.0042 micrograms of mercury per kilogram of weight per day for developing humans by more than a factor of 2900 for a 0.25-mL dose or more than a factor of 5900 for a 0.5-mL dose be considered either safe or minuscule?”.

A quote from researcher David Geier, MD, PhD: “We went to Atlanta,” he continues, “to the CDC, and looked at the VSD [Vaccine Safety Data] data. There is thimerosal-containing DTaP [diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine] and thimerosal-free DTaP, so we asked a question: Among children that got a minimum of either three consecutive thimerosal-containing DTaPs or   three consecutive thimerosal-free DTaPs, was there a difference in the number of autism cases in the two groups? We found mega differences. More than 20 times higher. The rate of autism in the children that got more than three doses of thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccines was much, much higher. Almost all the children that have autism in that group were the ones that got the thimerosal-containing DTaP vaccine. The more thimerosal the greater the cases of autism.”

A 1991 Merck memo (released 2005) shows that at least one major manufacturer was aware of the vaccine mercury concern much earlier. The 1991 memo stated 6-month-old children who received their shots on schedule would get a mercury dose up to 87 times higher than guidelines (FDA) for the maximum daily consumption of mercury from fish. “When viewed in this way, the mercury load appears rather large,” said the memo from Dr. Maurice R. Hilleman, an internationally renowned vaccinologist to the president of Merck’s vaccine division. “It is reasonable to conclude” that it should be eliminated where possible, he said, “especially where use in infants and young children is anticipated.”

A special federal court ruled against parents who claimed childhood vaccines had caused their children to develop autism. The “vaccine court” examined the evidence presented and concluded, “It was abundantly clear that the petitioners’ theories of causation were speculative and unpersuasive.” What is abundantly clear is that a court ruling has nothing to do with either science or the reality of one of the most toxic substances known to man and its effect on children. It does not matter what anyone says; nothing and no one will remove the skull and crossbones label from Thimerosal, meaning no one can remove the immanent dangers to child if this substance is injected.

“There is no convincing evidence that thimerosal is a factor in the onset of

autism” is the mantra of medical officials, and no matter how wrong, mean,

stupid, and ugly these officials are they remain publically and legally right.

Not everyone has been convinced nor has anyone approved the government’s effort to cover up the dangers of thimerosal. Rep. Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana, oversaw a three-year investigation of thimerosal after his grandson was diagnosed with autism. “Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is directly related to the autism epidemic,” his House Government Reform Committee concluded in its final report. “This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal, a known neurotoxin.” The FDA and other public-health agencies failed to act, the committee added, out of “institutional malfeasance for self protection” and “misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry.”

Few studies of the toxicity of Thimerosal in humans have been performed and yet the CDC and the FDA consider it safe. What is clear is that these organizations do not protect the public from obvious dangers having sold their souls to pharmaceutical interests. Cases have been reported of severe poisoning by accidental exposure or attempted suicide, with some fatalities to Thimerosal. Animal experiments suggest that Thimerosal rapidly dissociates to release ethyl mercury after injection; that the disposition patterns of mercury are similar to those after exposure to equivalent doses of ethylmercury chloride; and that the central nervous system and the kidneys are targets, with lack of motor coordination being a common sign.

So display some medical integrity and join with all doctors and healers everywhere and just say no to this madness. Tell your patients to avoid vaccines like the plague because the umbrella organizations like the CDC and the FDA have been compromised and cannot be trusted. One must not lay ones child on the alter of the dirtiest bastards that have ever walked our earth, monsters that would defend the injection of newborn babies with thousands of trillions of molecules of ethyl-mercury.

Defending the use of mercury in vaccines is a direct vote for this practice anywhere on the planet it is happening and makes one responsible, in part, for it. We have all inadvertently defended its use, for we continue to allow it to happen, but it has not been clear how to stop the medical officials and all those who support them.

Let’s at least turn our backs on the medical establishment on this one form of medical lunacy that implicates us all in a civilization disruptive practice that targets the young with illegal and humane medical mistreatment. Even if you are afraid to go on public record as taking a medical stand against medical officials and their untrustworthy pronouncements commit oneself to quietly handing out this document to patients telling them that we cannot support any part of the vaccination program because you cannot trust the principle organizations and people involved because of the Thimerosal cover-up. Explain to them that just like you would not support the use of a dangerous car or spoiled and tainted foods you cannot support the outrageous stonewalling of Thimerosal and its use one more day.

Nasal Spray Raises Hope for Autistics

CAIRO – A nasal spray containing the hormone linked to bonding helps people with autism become more sociable and trusting, scientists have found.

Autism impedes the ability to communicate or form relationships. Many people with the condition find eye contact difficult.

“Under oxytocin, patients with high-functioning autism respond more strongly to others and exhibit more appropriate social behaviour,” wrote Elissar Andari, of the Institut des Sciences Cognitives, a French government centre for neuroscience research.

In a summary of her presentation to the Mediterranean Conference of Neuroscience, held in Egypt, she said the results “suggested a therapeutic potential of oxytocin through its action on a core dimension of autism”.

About 500,000 Britons have autism, with many suffering exclusion from school and long-term unemployment because of the associated behavioural problems.

As well as communication problems, people with autism can also experience over or under sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

The researchers pointed out that the effects of the nasal spray were transient and the findings did not mean that a therapy was imminent.

Any proposed medication would have to undergo extensive testing, which could take years.

In the study, the subjects were asked to inhale oxytocin and then to undergo two tests to see if the hormone had altered their behaviour.

One test involved playing a simulated ball game on a computer with three virtual players.

After inhaling oxytocin, the 13 patients could work out which of the virtual players was most co-operative and trustworthy much more effectively than subjects who had received a placebo.

The 13 subjects were next asked to look at pictures of faces to test their ability to look into people’s eyes.

Ms Andari wrote: “Oxytocin selectively increased patient’s gazing time on the socially informative region of the face such as the eyes.”

Gina Gómez de la Cuesta, research leader at the National Autistic Society, said:

“A number of studies have found that oxytocin appears to play a key role in social behaviour and social understanding.

“However further rigorous scientific evaluation necessary before we can fully assess any potential benefits.

“As autism is a spectrum condition, which affects people in very different ways, any intervention that may help one person may not be effective for another.”

Alternative Treatments For Autism

 

BEVERLY HILLS – As more research is done on autism, a brain development disorder, doctors and researchers are finding alternative ways to treat it. Medication used to be the only recourse and can have nasty side effects. Parents are looking for different, natural ways to treat their autistic children.

There have been some alternative methods in treating autism that are more common than others. Some work alone while others are used in combination. There is no telling which method will work best for your child. Speak with your doctor to learn about alternative treatments for autistic children.

1. Music Therapy: Autistic children have been found to respond to music in a number of ways. Sometimes the music makes them happy and they want to move around, helping with their motor skills. Other times children sing along to the words of the song, helping with speech therapy. This has been seen in children who do not even talk. Music therapy is a natural way to help autistic children.

2. Sensory Integration: Everyone, autistic or not, has a certain smell that reminds them of something happy. Or the touch of a certain cloth will invoke specific feelings. This holds true for some autistic children as well. Researchers have been using sensory skills to get autistic children to react. The autistic children rely more on their hearing, touch, taste and smell to understand and communicate. This is also used to calm autistic children down by using specific odors or textures.

3. Nutritional: An autistic child’s diet can have an effect on the way they react. There have many different diets that doctors have been using. Some of the popular diets are gluten-free, which is no wheat products, or removing dairy from the diet. Certain ingredients in foods make autistic act out or have bad reactions. Learn what they are and eliminate them from your child’s diet.

4. Omega 3: Omega 3 is a fatty acid that has been found to have health benefits, which includes better sleep patterns, better social skills and better general health. All of these are positive attributes to a child with autism. While you can buy Omega 3 at many nutritional stores, discuss with your doctor the benefits of trying Omega 3 in your autistic child’s diet. Omega 3 and other essential fatty acids are needed in a child’s normal growth pattern. However, no major studies have been done on the benefits of fish oil for autistic children.

5. Play Therapy: Play therapy works well because it doesn’t feel like work. Autistic children are in a more relax atmosphere and have a chance to react naturally. When a therapist begins playing with the autistic child, this will give the therapist and the child a chance to bond. The child will learn to trust the therapist through playing and make the sessions easier. By helping to create bonds through playing, autistic children can learn to play well other children their own age.

Good treatment plans may use some of these alternatives along with medication or you can try them out before resorting to medication. Every child is different, so some of the alternatives therapies could work well for one autistic patient while not work for another. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work for your child. Just look for ways to keep your child happy while giving your child the best care.

Medical Marijuana has been used in some instances with excellent results. An Orange County Children’s Hospital is involved in some primary studies.  The outlook is very positive.  “Jeffrey’s Story” is a book about a child with Autism and how his life changed with medical marijuana.

Genetic Link Between Psychosis and Creativity Revealed

BUDAPEST –  A new study seems to have established a link between psychosis and creativity.

Szabolcs Keri, a psychiatrist at Semmelweis University in Hungary, focused his research on neuregulin 1, a gene that normally plays a role in a variety of brain processes, including development and strengthening communication between neurons.

Writing about the study in the journal Psychological Science, he has revealed that a variant of this gene is associated with a greater risk of developing mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

For the study, Keri and his colleagues recruited volunteers who considered themselves to be very creative and accomplished.

The participants underwent a battery of tests, including assessments for intelligence and creativity.

To measure the volunteers’ creativity, the researchers asked them to respond to a series of unusual questions, and scored them based on the originality and flexibility of their answers.

The subjects also completed a questionnaire regarding their lifetime creative achievements before the researchers took blood samples.

According to the researchers, their findings showed a clear link between neuregulin 1 and creativity, for volunteers with the specific variant of this gene were more likely to have higher scores on the creativity assessment, and also greater lifetime creative achievements, than volunteers with a different form of the gene.

Keri claims that his study has for the first time shown that a genetic variant associated with psychosis may have some beneficial functions.

He says: “Molecular factors that are loosely associated with severe mental disorders but are present in many healthy people may have an advantage enabling us to think more creatively.”

His findings also suggest that certain genetic variations, even though associated with adverse health problems, may survive evolutionary selection and remain in a population’s gene pool if they also have beneficial effects.

Monkey Brain ‘Hardwired’ for Simple Math

Monkey Brain ‘Hardwired’ for Simple Math

TUBINGEN – A German team of neurobiologists has found that rhesus macaques can engage in abstract mathematical reasoning using specific brain cells dedicated to the comprehension of math rules and relationships.

The finding could provide insight into the neurology behind human ability to comprehend much more complex mathematics, German scientists said.

“Even simple mathematical operations are highly abstract mental operations on quantities that are governed by overarching concepts and principles,” explained study co-author Andreas Nieder, a professor in the department of animal physiology at the University of Tubingen’s Institute of Neurobiology. “Monkeys can adopt abstract mathematical rules, and they can switch between them.”

“That means they understand very fundamental, non-symbolic mathematical principles, such as ‘greater than’ and ‘less than’,” Neider added. His team traced this ability to neurons in the prefrontal cortex region of the primate brain — an area that appears to be devoted to encoding the basic rules of math.

Neider and co-author Sylvia Bongard reported their findings online Jan. 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To assess primate math skills and isolate the neurology behind them, the team trained two rhesus monkeys to assess when groups of various objects, such as dots, were either “greater than” or “less than” another grouping of the same object.

Having learned these two basic mathematical rules, the monkeys were then tracked as they worked levers to indicate which grouping was the larger or smaller of the two displayed.

During the course of 160 different trials, the authors also recorded neural activity among 484 randomly selected cells located in the monkey’s cognition center in the brain, the prefrontal cortex.

Neider and his team found that the monkeys were able to successfully execute the “greater than” and “less than” rules — and switch back and forth between the two — between 83 and 92 percent of the time.

What’s more, 20 percent of the monitored neurons appeared to be specifically tasked with facilitating this type of abstract math-rule comprehension. The cells did so independently, while other cells focused on the processing of sensory information, such as visual and/or or memory cues.

This isn’t the first indication that primates possess some degree of mathematical talent. Last year, Duke University researchers working with macaque monkeys found that the primates are capable of basic math despite their lack of language skills. And in 2007, researchers from Japan’s Kyoto University found that young chimpanzees actually out-performed human adults in tracking numbers and remembering sequencing.

And math proficiency may not be unique to primates.

“Number crunching is a widespread skill among animals,” Neider said. “So far, several mammalian and bird species have been shown to possess it, as well as salamanders, fish, and even bees. This ability has obvious survival advantages. In foraging, for instance, it is an advantage to choose the food source with more items compared to few. Also in social interactions, it pays to know the number of individuals in one’s own group as compared to an opponent party before deciding whether to flee or attack.”

Nevertheless, Neider noted that human mathematical cognition remains leaps and bounds ahead of that of other animals.

“In all animals,” he said, “set size is never represented in a precise way — exactly five objects — but always approximately, ‘about’ five items. Amongst other things, this sets us apart from all other animals. Guided by the development of language, we acquire a very precise understanding of numbers. We denote numbers symbolically, a skill beyond the scope of any animal.”

“With such mental tools at hand and sophisticated logical abilities, we structure and process numerical information in the most sophisticated ways,” Neider observed, “and with the most impressive results.”

“It’s simply a question of the much greater extent to which we, as humans, use abstract reasoning to maneuver in our environment, relative to other animals,” added Joe Verghese, associate professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

“So while the idea that monkeys can perhaps specifically engage in abstract mathematical reasoning is, I believe, something new, there have been many previous experiments that have shown that primates do engage in abstractions,” he added. “Which means that we are — humans and animals — probably all hardwired to do some kind of abstract reasoning. But it’s a question of the pecking order, of sophistication. The question then is, do primates consider what is life? What comes after death? Unfortunately, I don’t think there are experiments on that level yet.”

 

Mind Really Does Matter When It Comes to Health and Healing

BALTIMORE – A new research has suggested that Hippocrates’ opinion on health and illness, that mind is significant in health and healing, is actually true.

Nurse researchers and clinicians at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and the Johns Hopkins Hospital are looking at ways to prevent the damage excessive stress does to a young child’s development.

They are also looking at how the mind can help speed or slow healing and help control pain.

JHUSON researcher and professor Deborah Gross, DNSc, RN, FAAN has found that some behavioral disorders in young people are preventable, particularly if resilience is taught and risk factors for stress are reduced.

She claims that a key protective factor that can help reduce stress is parenting.

She said: “Parents are a child’s entire world. If parents are preoccupied, or emotionally or physically absent, their child loses out.”

Apparently, when parents don’t engage their child early and often, brain development related to language and learning may be slowed.

Gross intends to buttress child resilience by improving parents’ communications, engagement and involvement.

She said: “Does this kind of prevention program in parenting work for these children? You bet it does. Particularly in these difficult economic times when more families are at risk, we need to safeguard the development of the skills and abilities of infants and young children. After all, those capacities are the foundation for the rest of their lives.”

Some of the factors that lead to stress in youngsters are poverty, unemployment, community violence and family discord.

Scientists Crack Brain’s Numerical Code

PARIS – Researchers have found that they can tell what number a person has just seen by observing and analyzing the pattern of brain activity.

These findings confirm the notion that numbers are encoded in the brain via detailed and specific activity patterns and open the door to more sophisticated exploration of a human’s high-level numerical abilities.

Although “number-tuned” neurons have been found in monkeys, scientists hadn’t managed before now to get any farther than particular brain regions in humans.

“It was not at all guaranteed that with functional imaging it would be possible to pick this up,” said Evelyn Eger of INSERM (Institut national de la sant et de la recherche mdicale) in France.

Researchers presented 10 study participants with either number symbols or dots while their brains were scanned with a MRI. They then devised a way of decoding the numbers or the number of dots people had observed.

Although the brain patterns corresponding to number symbols differed somewhat from those for the same number of objects, the numerosity of dot sets can be predicted above chance from the brain activation patterns evoked by digits, the researchers show. That doesn’t work the other way around, however.

At least for small numbers of dots, the researchers did find that the patterns change gradually in a way that reflects the ordered nature of the numbers — allowing one to conclude that six is between five and seven, for instance.

The methods used in the new study may ultimately help to unlock how the brain makes more sophisticated calculations, the researchers say, according to an INSERM release.

“With these codes, we are only beginning to access the most basic building blocks that symbolic math probably relies on,” Eger said.

These findings were published online in Current Biology.

Flickering Bright Colors Likely To Trigger Epileptic Fits

LONDON – Certain flickering colors, especially red and blue in tandem, seem more likely to cause fits among epileptics, says a new study headed by a researcher of Indian origin.

Joydeep Bhattacharya at the Goldsmiths-University of London (GU-L) headed a team of researchers to probe the brain rhythms of photo-sensitivity.

In 1997, more than 700 children in Japan reportedly suffered an epileptic attack while watching an episode of a popular cartoon.

This was later diagnosed as a case of photosensitive epilepsy (a kind of epilepsy caused by visual stimulus) triggered by a specific segment of the cartoon containing a colourful flickering stimulus.

In 2007, the animated video footage promoting the 2012 London Olympics faced similar complaint from some viewers.

The researchers probed brain rhythms of photo-sensitivity among adult controls, an unmedicated patient suffering from photo-sensitive epilepsy, two age-matched controls, and another medicated patient.

Their results show that when perturbed by potentially epileptic-triggering stimulus, healthy human brain manages to maintain a chaotic state with a high degree of disorder, but an epileptic brain represents a highly ordered state which makes it prone to hyper-excitation.

Their study also found how, for example, red-blue flickering stimulus causes larger excitation than red-green or blue-green stimulus, says a GU-L release.

How the Brain Encodes Memories at a Cellular Level

SANTA BARBARA – Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have made a major discovery in how the brain encodes memories. The finding, published in the December 24 issue of the journal Neuron, could eventually lead to the development of new drugs to aid memory.

The team of scientists is the first to uncover a central process in encoding memories that occurs at the level of the synapse, where neurons connect with each other.

“When we learn new things, when we store memories, there are a number of things that have to happen,” said senior author Kenneth S. Kosik, co-director and Harriman Chair in Neuroscience Research, at UCSB’s Neuroscience Research Institute. Kosik is a leading researcher in the area of Alzheimer’s disease.

“One of the most important processes is that the synapses — which cement those memories into place — have to be strengthened,” said Kosik. “In strengthening a synapse you build a connection, and certain synapses are encoding a memory. Those synapses have to be strengthened so that memory is in place and stays there. Strengthening synapses is a very important part of learning. What we have found appears to be one part of how that happens.”

Part of strengthening a synapse involves making new proteins. Those proteins build the synapse and make it stronger. Just like with exercise, when new proteins must build up muscle mass, synapses must also make more protein when recording memories. In this research, the regulation and control of that process was uncovered.

The production of new proteins can only occur when the RNA that will make the required proteins is turned on. Until then, the RNA is “locked up” by a silencing molecule, which is a micro RNA. The RNA and micro RNA are part of a package that includes several other proteins.

“When something comes into your brain — a thought, some sort of stimulus, you see something interesting, you hear some music — synapses get activated,” said Kosik. “What happens next is really interesting, but to follow the pathway our experiments moved to cultured neurons. When synapses got activated, one of the proteins wrapped around that silencing complex gets degraded.”

When the signal comes in, the wrapping protein degrades or gets fragmented. Then the RNA is suddenly free to synthesize a new protein.

“One reason why this is interesting is that scientists have been perplexed for some time as to why, when synapses are strengthened, you need to have proteins degrade and also make new proteins,” said Kosik. “You have the degradation of proteins going on side by side with the synthesis of new proteins. So we have now resolved this paradox. We show that protein degradation and synthesis go hand in hand. The degradation permits the synthesis to occur. That’s the elegant scientific finding that comes out of this.”

The scientists were able to see some of the specific proteins that are involved in synthesis. Two of these — CaM Kinase and Lypla — are identified in the paper.

One of the approaches used by the scientists in the experiment was to take live neuron cells from rats and look at them under a high-resolution microscope. The team was able to see the synapses and the places where proteins are being made.

 

A Mind That Touches the Past

EDINBURGH – Imagine planning your schedule for the week and seeing the days on the calendar appear before you as a spiral staircase so real you feel like you could touch it. That’s what it’s like to have spatial-sequence synesthesia, a condition in which people perceive numbered sequences as visual patterns. Now researchers have shown that individuals with the condition have superior memories, recalling dates and historic events much better than can the average person.

Spatial-sequence synesthesia is one of several types of synesthesia, neural conditions in which senses combine in unusual ways. Grapheme-color synesthetes, for example, associate letters and numbers with colors; the number six might always look red to them. In other types of synesthesia, the word “cat” may create the taste of tomato soup, or the sound of a flute may appear as a blue cloud.

Recently, scientists have wondered if synesthesia–especially spatial-sequence synesthesia–might be linked to a superior ability to form memories. So psychologist Julia Simner of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom tested for unusual mnemonic skills or other mental talents in 10 spatial-sequence synesthetes. Subjects had to quickly recall the dates of 120 public events occurring between 1950 and 2008, such as the year Nelson Mandela was freed from jail in South Africa (1990) or the year My Fair Lady won the Academy Award for best picture (1965). On average, non-synesthetic volunteers were off by about 8 years for each date, but the synesthetes were wrong by only about 4 years. They could also name almost twice as many events from specified years in their own lives than could the controls. “They have this subtle extra gift,” says Simner.

The findings, reported in the November-December issue of Cortex, also suggest a link between spatial-sequence synesthesia and hyperthymestic syndrome–a condition in which individuals can recall events from any point in their life with perfect clarity. And that may mean, says Simner, that anyone who visualizes timelines may remember historical events better than others.

The study jibes with our knowledge of how memory works, says neuroscientist David Eagleman of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. “Putting things in spatial locations to memorize them harks back to the earliest mnemonic techniques that we know,” he says. “These spatial-sequence synesthetes are getting that for free.”

 

Cities, Human Brains Evolved in Similar Ways

TROY – Cities and human brains have evolved in strikingly similar ways, says a new study.

Just as advanced mammalian brains require a robust neural network to achieve richer and more complex thought, large cities require advanced highways and transportation systems to allow larger and more productive population.

The new study by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) unearthed a striking similarity in how larger brains and cities deal with the difficult problem of maintaining sufficient interconnectedness.

“Natural selection has passively guided the evolution of mammalian brains throughout time, just as politicians and entrepreneurs have indirectly shaped the organisation of cities large and small,” neurobiology expert Mark Changizi, who led the study, said.

“It seems both of these invisible hands have arrived at a similar conclusion: brains and cities, as they grow larger, have to be similarly densely interconnected to function optimally,” adds Changizi, RPI assistant professor in cognitive science.

As brains grow more complex from one species to the next, they change in structure and organisation in order to achieve the right level of interconnectedness.

One couldn’t simply grow a double-sized dog brain, for example, and expect it to have the same capabilities as a human brain, said an RPI release.

This is because, among other things, a human brain doesn’t merely have more “dog neurons” but, instead, has neurons with a greater number of synapses than that of a dog — something crucial in helping to keep the human brain well connected.

As with brains, interconnectedness is also a critical component of the overall function of cities, said Changizi, who co-authored the paper with Marc Destefano, clinical assistant professor at Rensselaer.

Why We Can Remember 7 Digits In the Brain

SAN DIEGO – Having a tough time recalling a phone number someone spoke a few minutes ago or forgetting items from a mental grocery list is not a sign of mental decline; in fact, it’s natural.

Countless psychological experiments have shown that, on average, the longest sequence a normal person can recall on the fly contains about seven items. This limit, which psychologists dubbed the “magical number seven” when they discovered it in the 1950s, is the typical capacity of what’s called the brain’s working memory.

Now physicists have come up with a model of brain activity that seems to explain the reason behind the magical memory number.

If long-term memory is like a vast library of printed tomes, working memory is a chalkboard on which we rapidly scrawl and erase information. The chalkboard, which provides continuity from one thought to the next, is also a place for quick-and-dirty calculations. It turns the spoken words that make up a telephone number into digits that can be written down or used to reply logically to a question. Working memory is essential to carrying on conversations, navigating an unfamiliar city and copying the

It’s easy to test how much you can fit on this chalkboard. Just have a friend make a list of ten words or numbers. Read the list once, and then try to recall the items. Most people max out at seven or fewer.

It makes intuitive sense: as a mental list gets longer, people are more likely to make mistakes or forget items altogether. But why do the clusters of neurons in our brains produce such a small chalkboard?

The Trouble With Neurons

In a paper published on Nov. 19 in the journal Physical Review Letters, Mikhail Rabinovich, a neuroscientist at the BioCircuits Institute at the University of California, San Diego and Christian Bick, a graduate student at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany, present a mathematical picture of how neurons fire when we recall a sequence of steps — such as turn-by-turn driving directions, the digits of a phone number or the words in a sentence.

When we hear the phrase “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” a cluster of neurons fires during each word. When one cluster fires, it suppresses the others momentarily, preventing the sentence from coming out scrambled.

Why Brain Has Limits

In Rabinovich and Bick’s model, the excitation of a certain cluster represents a single point. As the neurons for “It,” “was,” “the,” and “best” fire in sequence, the brain creates pathways from one point, or brain state, to the next. The more powerfully each excited cluster can inhibit or suppress all others in the sequence from firing, the more solid these pathways.

When we recall the sentence, the brain follows these pathways from state to state to reproduce the sequence, like a tightrope walker hurrying along a wire from one perch to the next.

As a sentence or a string of numbers gets longer, it becomes exponentially harder for the excited cluster to suppress the others from firing, resulting in pathways that are weak or barely there. Recalling seven items requires about 15 times the suppression needed to recall three. Ten items requires inhibitory powers that are 50 times stronger, and 20 or more items would require suppression hundreds of times stronger still. That, Rabinovich explained, is normally not biologically feasible.

“Synapses can’t be stronger than that,” he said. “The brain is a very complex biochemical machine.”

Mathematical models like these may seem removed from the gritty reality of gray matter and neural chemistry, according to Karl Friston, who directs the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London, but they provide a critical connection between what people actually experience and the hidden mechanisms inside the brain.

Rabinovich’s model, Friston said, “is both plausible and compelling.” It correctly predicts the working memory’s capacity and with a little elaboration could be tested experimentally. Friston said the model suggests patterns in the working memory’s activity that should be discernible in the brain’s electrical signals.

The exception to Rabinovich’s model may be people with autism who skip effortlessly past seven and eight items, memorizing even a hundred random numbers in a single read-through. Their brains seem to be able to create much stronger pathways than the typical brain.

Shame Is Essential, But You Can Get Out Of It

TORONTO – Shame is a debilitating emotion, but there is hope for those trapped in it, says a Canadian researcher.

In her study reported this week, researcher Jessica Van Vliet of the University of Alberta in Edmonton says it is difficult to find someone who has never felt shame in their life.

But “the problem is when people get paralyzed with shame and withdraw from others. Not only can this create mental-health problems for people, but also they no longer contribute as fully to society”, the researcher said.

She said people who feel debilitated by shame tend to internalize and over-personalize the situation. They also seem resigned to being unable to change their feelings or their fate.

“When people experience shame, they may say to themselves ‘I am to blame, it is all my fault, all of me is bad, and there’s nothing I can do to change the situation,” said Van Vliet.

“They identify so much with shame that it takes over their entire view of themselves. That leads to an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness.” The first step to overcoming these feelings, she said, is to step back from the problem and view the picture in a different light.

When sufferers can identify external factors that contributed to their actions or situation (for example, discrimination or peer pressure) and differentiate between being a bad person versus doing something bad, they can begin to break the grip of hopelessness that plagues them, Van Vliet said.

“When people move from a sense of uncontrollability to the belief that maybe there’s something they can do about their situation, such as apologizing or making amends for their actions, it starts increasing a sense of hope for the future,” she said.

The second step to overcoming shame, she said, is to make connections – with family or friends or a higher power or humanity at large. “Connecting to others helps to increase self-acceptance, and with self-acceptance can come a greater acceptance of other people as well.

“People start to realize that it is not just them. Other people do things that are as bad or even worse sometimes so they’re not the worst person on the planet. They start to say to themselves: ‘This is human, I am human, others are human’.”

The researcher said: “Shame can prompt us to make changes that will help protect our relationships and also preserve the fabric of society. It is important to emphasize that shame is essential and has value.” The study has been published in the British Psychological Society journal Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice.

Scientists Identify Another Step in Memory Formation

HAIFA –  Scientists at the University of Haifa have identified another component in the chain of actions that take place in the neurons, when the brain is in the process of forming memories.

The researchers say that, together with the results of previous studies, the new findings provide a better understanding of the process of memory formation and storage in the human brain.

In their study report, the researchers point out that the formation of memory to sensory information on the world-new sounds, tastes, sights, and smells-is vital for animal survival.

They say that very little of this information becomes short-term memory, and that only a small part of the information that becomes short-term memory ultimately becomes long-term and stabilized memory.

Previous studies led by Prof. Kobi Rosenblum found an elevation in the expression of the protein PSD-95 to be necessary for the formation of long-term memory.

The present study aimed to find out whether another molecular process – the addition of a phosphor molecule to the NMDA receptor protein (phosphorylation) – is necessary too.

Earlier studies have proven that changes in the NMDA receptor can adjust the neuronal network in the brain, and that during a learning process this receptor undergoes increased phosphorylation.

Before the present research, none of the studies had proved that the increase in phosphorylation of the NMDA is necessary for the process, and that the process would not occur without it.

During the current study, the scientists chose to focus on the formation of new taste memory in rats as a model for sensory memory because it could enable them to track when the process begins, its specific location is in the brain, and the molecular processes that occur during the process.

Verifying the findings of the previous studies, the first stage of the study showed that the new taste learning does indeed involve a process of increased phosphorylation in the NMDA receptors in the area specific to learning taste in the brain.

 

In order to do so, mature rats were trained to drink water at set times and after a few days some were given saccharine-sweetened water. The saccharine has no caloric value and therefore has no metabolic impact on the body and cannot affect the body’s processes. As expected, the rats that received the newly sweet-tasting water and that began a process of learning, showed an increase in phosphorylation in comparison to those rats that continued drinking regular water.

The second stage of the study showed that obstruction of the phosphorylation process brought about a change in the location of the receptor in relation to the NMDA, and thus was likely to be responsible for inhibiting the formation of long-term memory.

“Our goal is to identify piece after piece of the complex puzzle that is the formation of long-term memory. Once we know how to describe the chain of actions that take place in the brain, we may be able to know where and how to interfere,” said Dr. Dr. Liza Barki-Harrington, a member of the research team.

“The glutamate neural synapses – via the receptors of the NMDA – and dophamin, play a central role in a number of neural pathologies, including processes of addiction and of schizophrenia.

There is good reason to assume that one afflicted with schizophrenia has a sub- or over-functioning of this system, and its loss of balance is one of the causes of the illness. A better understanding of this balance – or loss of balance – in the normal processes will enable future discovery of new objectives for developing medications, which we hope will improve patients’ lives significantly,” added Prof. Rosenblum.

The study has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.