Plants can sense, think and communicate, says Italian scientist

Talking to plants is neither an uncommon habit among gardeners and plant enthusiasts, nor is it a modern notion. Strange as it might sound or appear to an onlooker, people talk to their plants for a host of reasons. Some do it as a form of social interaction. Others might talk to their ailing plants to nurse them back to life. Continue reading

Neuroplasticity Redefines Our Understanding of the Brain

Story at-a-glance −

Documentary about neuroplasticity illustrates your brain’s amazing ability to change and adapt to your thoughts, emotions, experiences, and injuries Continue reading

Today’s Slimy Huckster

For years Big Pharma has been trying to convince us that they’re opening new frontiers in medical treatment — but a new study has me more convinced than ever that frontier medicine is exactly what these drug pushers have in mind.

You see, if you lived in a frontier town 150 years ago, a couple times a year you’d be treated to the sound of a colorfully decorated wagon rolling into town. At the reins would be a carnival barker with cases of a miracle potion that could cure everything that ails you — Continue reading

To Every Food there Is a Season, Color, Taste, Element – Your Organs Know This, Do You?

If your mother had x-ray vision and eyes on the back of her head that saw everything, it’s probably because her body’s innate intelligence knew she ate a lots of red foods whose properties nourish the eyes and vision. The practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) teaches the Five Element theory, where each element relates to a season, flavor, color, organ, bodily system Continue reading

The Five Best Ways to Boost Your Brain

Do you know a neighbor, friend or relative who is over 80 and yet seemingly has the mind of a 25-year-old? These folks remember everything, still take courses, follow politics, and read voraciously. What’s their secret? It could be partly genetics, partly the result of healthy diet (read: Why You Have to Feed Your Brain). It may also be that these people are constantly exercising their brains. Research shows that the brain needs a work out just as much as the body. If you want your brain to remain agile and fit, you’ve got to give it something to do.

Giving your brain exercise could boost memory and intelligence, promote clear thinking, and help protect
against dementia. It has been well documented through medical research that aging is linked with declines in a number of cognitive functions. The good news is that a growing body of research also shows that these age-related cognitive declines are actually reversible through cognitive training and exercise programs.

Finding ways to stretch and exercise your brain Continue reading

New Research Supports Early To Bed Adage

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” Benjamin Franklin famously said. Continue reading

Muslim Inbreeding: Impacts on Intelligence, Sanity, Health and Society

Massive inbreeding within the Muslim culture during the last 1.400 years may have done catastrophic damage to their gene pool. The consequences of intermarriage between first cousins often have serious impact on the offspring’s intelligence, sanity, health and on their surroundings

The most famous example of inbreeding is in ancient Egypt, where several Pharaonic dynasties collapsed after a couple of hundred years. In order to keep wealth and power within the family, the Pharaohs often married their own sister or half-sister and after a handful of generations the offspring were mentally and physically unfit to rule. Continue reading

Simple Way to Radically Increase Your Brain Power

Aerobics Exercise can keep your brain sharp as you age. A new study has shown that a program of exercise can, over the course of a year, increase the size of your hippocampus, a part of the brain key to memory and spatial navigation.

The hippocampus often shrinks in late adulthood, leading to memory impairment.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

“To complete the study, the team recruited 120 older people who didn’t exercise regularly. Half were randomly assigned to an aerobic exercise program  Continue reading

Doctors Feel Choosing To Be Thinner In 2010 – Bad For Your Health

BEVERLY HILLS – Doctors are worried that as the New Year begins, many Americans will resolve to be thinner in 2010 by using over-the-counter supplements.

According to a survey conducted by ADSAM and SenseUS polling companies, about 60 percent of physicians feel troubled about the safety of taking diet pills. Not surprisingly, while physicians feel negatively about the safety of over-the-counter diet pills, they are much more comfortable about the use of injections like Botox and Restylane or even breast implants.

The results were surprising, considering America’s obsession with remaining fit and youthful.

Additionally, the same survey showed that feelings about having breast augmentation or facial injections and using over-the-counter diet pills or Human Growth Hormone for anti-aging created fear and stress among the large majority of consumers.

Although consumers were apprehensive about over-the-counter solutions, the survey results discovered that they were more comfortable with diet pills than cosmetic procedures.

“These survey results can have a significant impact on the plastic-surgery industry,” said Jon D. Morris, CEO of ADSAM. “What they show us is that a large number of Americans have a negative feeling towards cosmetic procedures despite physicians feeling good about them.”

While over-the-counter diet pills may seem like a fairly harmless supplement, the safety of these products create more negativity, concern and stress with the physicians than do breast implants and facial injections like Botox and Restylane.

Focus and Concentration

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She seemed so in charge of her balanced life.  So I asked my student, this longtime, top producer, exactly how  she managed to juggle so much and so well.  Her response was the same I’ve heard repeatedly from achievers over the years, “I learned how to really concentrate.”  When the vision is clear, braking down specific goals or tasks becomes easier.  The ability to concentrate on single issues at a time becomes do-able and the success process becomes easier to control and duplicate.

 The basic theme you hear from pro athletes at the peak of their game is the same you hear from great parents, teachers, students, scientists, realtors, doctors, communicators etc.  They share a view that it is never the glitches, setbacks, disappointments that hold a person back, but rather the message the person assigns to those events or to any distractions.  Stuff happens.  How we choose to view and respond to these happenings determines whether we move away from or toward our personal power.

Many don’t feel they run their life.  They feel their life runs them.  They use others’ actions and opinions as well as their own experiences as excuses for what they choose to do.  It’s like using an out-of-town guest as an excuse to do no work, as if the guest is pointing a gun and saying, “Take care of me every moment or I’ll shoot.”  Or, we see external changes over which we have no control, like an interest rate change, and suddenly some find the way they sleep, communicate, project the future, view their colleagues or even their family, changes too.  We’ve all been cut off in traffic.  The driver who did the cutting, whether intentional or inadvertent, drives off focused on his destination.  But how often have we, the ones cut off, invited that long gone, other driver to live, rent-free in our head?   Learning to “let go”  is not a just some random concept.  Letting go is a way of coping with our distractions and disappointments in a healthy, productive way.

Letting go is about focusing elsewhere, by conscious choice.  We don’t let go by saying, “I don’t want to think about it.”  That’s like highlighting with a yellow marker the very thought we want to avoid.  Imagine a teacher directing, “OK class… don’t think of a purple elephant…. large orange ears flapping in the breeze.” What did you see.. even if you tried to “let go” of it?  Yet, there is a way to let go and it’s simple.  We simply turn our attention to something else and keep placing our mind exactly where we want it to be until the mind gets the message.  The mind learns by our repetition that we’re serious and in control of the DIRECTION of our attention.  Imagine allowing all distractions and challenges to do only one thing:  to serve as a reminder to focus and concentrate on those ideas and things about which we CAN do something, and towards those things that have value for own highest, most exciting, magnificent, “worth-it” goals.

And the great news is – this chosen FOCUS and CONCENTRATION is a way of responding and behaving that can be practiced and learned.

Here are a few simple tools to “get ‘er done:”

1.  DO the SESSIONS.  One way to establish excellence in focus and concentration is to practice the relaxation and self-hypnosis sessions I teach in seminars.

When you relax your mind (relaxing your body is great, but relaxing your mind is the key to excellence), many distractions may pull at you.   As you keep bringing your mind back to your chosen focus (positive affirmations, imagery), like a puppy gets the message when you gently and consistently repeat, your mind gets the message and learns.  Do these training sessions with yourself and just like muscles in the body, your mind gets stronger and more disciplined.   Practice directing your mind to those acts and abilities you want, for example reading fast with perfect comprehension, giving clear presentations that are  on target, being inspired by rejection or intimidating tactics of others, prospecting with confidence, experiencing memory that accesses with ease the images and details that serve, playing fluid, powerful, golf, being relaxed and confident taking tests, etc.  Being “present” or “in the moment”  are not just phrases.  Like letting go, they are skills which can be learned and perfected for a better way of performing.

2.  ASK YOURSELF the MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION.  Another way of practicing the development of focus and concentration is to, throughout the day, ask yourself “Is what I am doing the most beneficial thing I could be doing, right NOW?”

Write this question on a 3×5 card and carry it with you for a couple of weeks to ingrain the sense of control you really do have over your time and energy.  Don’t wait to be moved by this little reminder.  If the answer is “Yes,” continue doing what you’re doing.  If the answer is “No,” pay attention and take action that moves you NOW to your best use of your focused attention and resources of time, energy.  The beginning of any process of change may be erratic and uncomfortable.  It is also totally worthwhile.  Look at the people who you think “have it together” and you may not necessarily find the most gifted or brilliant, but you will likely find those who choose to “shift gears” smoothly and be totally present.  Copy success.  Copy their best attributes.

3.  CELEBRATE VICTORIES.  Think about it: Confidence in this area of developing focus, like confidence about anything else doesn’t necessarily come from belief or faith, it comes from creating victories which we acknowledge.  Start from wherever you are and show yourself what you CAN do.  When you do something well, avoid the trap of thinking “It’s no big deal.”  Acknowledge successes, little or giant, as of equal value relative to your ability to have success.  What’s small to you may be huge to someone else.. and vice versa.  Celebration of each success, without judgment of its size, continues to move us forward while creating a new habit.  This is using our power and strengthening the habit of concentration.

The practice of self hypnosis will greatly facilitate your ability to focus.  One of the definitions of self hypnosis is Heightened Awareness.  If you commit yourself to practice a couple of sessions each day, within two to three weeks you will find some very interesting shifts in concentration and consciousness take place.  Learn how, do it, celebrate your successes, benefit.  Start NOW.

 Please take a look at my CDs that can help you focus in your business and personal life and prepare you to have the best year ever.  The choice is always there and the choice is always yours.

 Warmest Regards,


Intelligence In Young Children Is Not Influenced By Omega 3 Fatty Acids

SOUTHAHMPTON – Infant intelligence is more likely to be shaped by family environment than by the amount of omega 3 fatty acids, called DHA, fed in breast milk or fortified formula, according to new research funded by the Medical Research Council and the Food Standards Agency.

Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found in high concentrations in the brain and accumulate during the spurt in brain growth that occurs between the last trimester of pregnancy and the first year of life. Studies in animals have shown that a lack of DHA during periods of rapid brain growth may lead to problems in brain development but trials of the effect of DHA-fortified formula on brain function in babies have produced conflicting results.

In this study, MRC scientists followed 241 children from birth until they reached four years of age to investigate the relationship between breastfeeding and the use of DHA-fortified formula in infancy and performance in tests of intelligence and other aspects of brain function.

Dr Catharine Gale, from the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre at the University of Southampton, who led the study said:

“This study helps to dispel some of the myths surrounding DHA. We do know that there are clear health benefits to breast feeding but DHA, which is naturally present in breast milk and added into some formulas, is not the secret ingredient that will turn your child into an Einstein. Children’s IQ bears no relation to the levels of DHA they receive as babies. Factors in the home, such as the mother’s intelligence and what mental stimulation children receive, were the most important influences on their IQ.”

– This study is one part of a wider Food Standards Agency project which was commissioned to look at the effect of diet in early childhood on intelligence and physical well being in later life. These results provide a useful addition to the evidence base in this area of research. It does not alter government advice that babies up to 6 months should be exclusively breastfed.

– Omega three fatty acids, often called long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), which include DHA, are involved in cell signalling, regulation of gene expression and neuronal growth.

– The Southampton Women’s Survey (SWS), a study of a population sample of non-pregnant women aged 20 to 34 years in Southampton, is funded by the Medical Research Council and the Dunhill Medical Trust. Children born to SWS were used to provide the data for this study.

– The four year follow-up of the children was funded by a research contract with the Food Standards Agency.

Don’t Spank Your Kids if You Want Them to be Intelligent

SAN DIEGO –  Don’t spank your kids if you want them to be very intelligent. A ground-breaking research has found that children who are spanked have lower IQs.

Corporal punishment is extremely stressful and can become a chronic stressor for young children, says Murray Straus, professor at the University of New Hampshire.

“All parents want smart children. This research shows that avoiding spanking and correcting misbehavior in other ways can help that happen,” says Straus.

“It is time for psychologists to recognize the need to help parents end the use of corporal punishment and incorporate that objective into their teaching and clinical practice,” he says.

Straus found that children in the US who were spanked had lower IQs four years later than those who were not spanked.

Straus and Mallie Paschall, senior research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, studied nationally representative samples of 806 children aged two to four, and 704 kids ages five to nine. Both groups were retested four years later.

IQs of children aged two to four who were not spanked were five points higher four years later than the IQs of those who were spanked.

The IQs of children aged five to nine years old who were not spanked were 2.8 points higher four years later than the IQs of children the same age who were spanked.

Straus and colleagues in 32 nations used data on corporal punishment experienced by 17,404 university students when they were children.

“How often parents spanked made a difference. The more spanking the slower the development of the child’s mental ability. But even small amounts of spanking made a difference,” Straus says.

His analysis indicates the strongest link between corporal punishment and IQ was for those whose parents continued to use corporal punishment even when they were teenagers, says a New Hampshire release.

Straus said corporal punishment can become a chronic stressor for young children who typically experience punishment three or more times a week. For many it continues for years.

These results were presented Friday at the 14th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma in San Diego.

They have also been published in the Journal of Aggression Maltreatment & Trauma.

Too Much Liquorice During Pregnancy may Affect Child’s IQ and Behavior

HELSINKI – A new study claims that a woman’s consumption of excessive quantities of liquorices during pregnancy could hamper her child’s intelligence and behavior.

The study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology saw a comparison between eight-year-old children and found that kids of mothers who ate large amounts of liquorices when pregnant did not perform as well as other youngsters in cognitive tests on vocabulary, memory and spatial awareness.

Sixty-four of the children who took part in the study were exposed to high levels of glycyrrhizin in liquorices, 46 to moderate levels and 211 to low levels.

Behavior was assessed using an in-depth questionnaire completed by the mother and also used by clinicians to evaluate children’s behavior.

The research concluded that women who ate more than 500mg of glycyrrhizin per week – found in the equivalent of 100g of pure liquorices – were more likely to have children with lower intelligence levels and more behavioral problems.

Some of the inadequacies in the kids, selected from Finland where consumption of the drink among women is common, were poor attention spans and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The study, carried out by the University of Helsinki and the University of Edinburgh, suggested that a component in liquorices called glycyrrhizin may impair the placenta, allowing stress hormones to cross from the mother to the baby.

Apparently, high levels of such hormones, known as glucocorticoids, affect fetal brain development, which leads behavioral disorders in children.

Professor Jonathan Seckl, from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cardiovascular Science, said: “This shows that eating liquorices during pregnancy may affect a child’s behaviour or IQ and suggests the importance of the placenta in preventing stress hormones that may affect cognitive development getting through to the baby.”

Professor Katri Räikkönen, from the University of Helsinki’s Department of Psychology told: “Expectant mothers should avoid eating excessive amounts of liquorice.”


Physically Active Boys Are Smarter

GOTHENBURG – Jocks get new respect in a large Swedish study that suggests physically active teen boys may be smarter than their couch-potato counterparts.

The findings, the investigators say, have important implications for the education of young people. Increasing, not decreasing, physical education in schools can not only slow the shift toward sedentary lifestyles but, by doing so, reduce risk of disease and “perhaps intellectual and academic underachievement,” they concluded.

Dr. H. Georg Kuhn and colleagues from the Institute of Medicine at the University of Gothenburg wanted to know if aerobic (cardiovascular) fitness and muscle strength were associated with brain power and future socioeconomic status.

They analyzed a physical and intelligence snapshot taken of all Swedish men (1.2 million) born between 1950 and 1976 when they reported for mandatory military duty at age 18.

They also assessed genetic and family influences by looking at the scores of brothers and twins and, over time, the association between all initial scores and measures of success at midlife, including education level and occupation.

The results show a strong positive link between cardiovascular fitness and smarts but not between muscle strength and intelligence measures.

The results also hint that positive fitness changes can have positive cognitive results in teen boys. “Male subjects with improved predicted cardiovascular fitness between 15 and 18 years of age exhibited significantly greater intelligence scores than subjects with decreased cardiovascular fitness,” Kuhn and colleagues report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The validity of the findings rest on the strength of the data, Kuhn noted in an email to Reuters Health. “The data are ‘objective’ and standardized measurements of fitness and cognition and do not rely on self-rating scales and questionnaires,” the researcher said.

The ability to compare twins’ scores was another important strength allowing the researchers to remove the “influence of genetic, social and family backgrounds. With several thousand twins, we were able to show that, on average, the fitter twin has also the higher IQ score,” Kuhn said.

The question remains: Are more-active boys smarter or smarter boys more active? This study does not answer that question. “More studies addressing causality are needed,” Kuhn and colleagues emphasize in their report.

“We cannot assume that fitness per se increases cognitive function, so joining a gym does not by itself make you ‘smarter’. But in order for optimal cognitive function/development to take place, regular cardiovascular exercise is needed,” Kuhn told Reuters Health.

Do the results hold true for girls? The study can’t say but, “there is no reason to assume that this cannot be extrapolated to girls. Women have more or less the same cardiovascular risk factors and therefore benefit from cardiovascular exercise in the same way,” Kuhn said.

SOURCES: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Gene Mutation May Cause Pupils’ Low Grades

TAIPAI – A gene that affects memory and IQ among students has been identified, say researchers.

Chun-Yen Chang, an education researcher at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, says that teens with a particular mutation in the COMT gene have been found to score significantly lower on a national placement exam, compared with students who had other versions of the gene.

Each year, a high-stakes exam in Taiwan determines which of the students taking it will go to a prestigious public senior high school or more middling private and vocational schools.

About 310,000 16- and 17-year-olds sit the exam every year.

Chang highlights the fact that pupils are under extreme pressure to perform well in the test, and many employ tutors and practice for years leading up to the exam.

As part of the current study, Chang’s team compared the scores of 779 students – 314 boys and 465 girls – from four schools with each student’s COMT genotype.

The researcher says that COMT makes an enzyme that recycles a neurotransmitter called dopamine, and that its different versions have been linked to differences in cognitive function.

Chang points out that people with two copies of the Met-158 mutation tend to have a better working memory and higher verbal IQs than those with one or two copies of the Val-158 mutation.

Thus, it appeared probable that pupils having two copies of Met-158 would be more likely to ace the test, said the researcher.

However, that’s not what happened.

“When we first got this result we were surprised,” New Scientist quoted Chang as saying.

The researcher revealed that the 60 students with two copies of the Met-158 mutation scored far worse than other students, particularly those with two copies of Val-158, on the physical science and social science portions of the exam.

Their scores in mathematics, English, Chinese and writing also tended to be lower than those of other students.

Chang says that the Met-158 mutation not only affect memory and verbal IQ, but it has also been linked to mental illness, anxiety and emotional vulnerability in previous research.

Based on that observation, Chang suggests that in the context of an extremely stressful, high-stakes exam, it makes sense that students with the Met-158 allele tested more poorly than others.

Chang, however, is not sure whether or not his team’s findings will apply to other groups.

He speculates that the results may be specific to Asian countries like Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, where national exams can make or break a student’s future.

A research article on his study has been published in the journal Brain and Cognition.