Health & Wellbeing

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Neuroscience Shows the Brain Literally Eats Itself Due to Lack of Sleep

by Anna Hunt, Awareness Junkie

New scientific research shows that lack of sleep may be more damaging to the brain than we’ve previously thought.

It’s well known that the brain gets a makeover every time you sleep. During sleep, support cells in the brain clear away residue left over from the day.

Now, new research shows that these support cells go into overdrive when you are not getting enough sleep. They clear away more than unneeded residue. They actually start to harm the brain.

Michele Bellesi, leader of the research team, told New Scientist:

We show for the first time that portions of synapses are literally eaten by astrocytes because of sleep loss.

Astrocytes are support cell in the brain that clear out unnecessary connections between neurons. This process is called phagocytosis, which means “to devour” in Greek.

The Brain’s Clean-up Process

It is absolutely normal for the brain’s support cells, called glial cells, to clean up the brain during sleep. They clear out old and worn out neurons. They also clean up old and unnecessary synapses, or connections, between neurons.

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18 Health Benefits of Fish Oil, According to Science

by Jen Reviews

Many people speak highly of the benefits of fish oil supplementation. Fish oil contains a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids - the good fats that are necessary to help your body function properly.

Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency has ranked among the top ten leading causes of death in the United States. This statistic is surprising considering obesity - an excess of fat - is one of the other leading causes of disease. This shows the stark contrast to different types of fats. Fish oil’s got what you need.

Human beings evolved typically consuming a balance of omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats. The typical western diet finds this ratio extremely imbalanced. People consume up to 20 times more omega-6 fats than omega-3s, which can promote inflammation in the human body.

What Types Of Omega-3 Fats Does The Body Need?

There are several omega-3 fatty acids that are more important and prominent than others. The two most commonly cited and consumed essential fatty acids (considered essential because the body cannot synthesize them on its own) are

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is a very important in the maintenance of the cardiovascular system. It helps improve your blood’s ability to clot. EPA also reduces inflammation in the intestines and other areas of your body.

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Education Expert Finds Scheduling Every Free Moment For Children Prevents Self Discovery

by Josh Richardson, PreventDisease.com

Are children scheduled to the max these days? Are there any waking moments that give children the freedom to express themselves in unstructured environments? Children should be allowed to get bored so they can develop their innate ability to be creative, an education expert says.

Deschoolers maintain that a child's learning should be curiosity-driven rather than dictated by teachers and textbooks, and that forcing kids to adhere to curricula quashes their natural inclination to explore and ask questions because children think differently.

Dr Teresa Belton says cultural expectations that children should be constantly active could hamper the development of their imagination.

The senior researcher at the University of East Anglia's School of Education and Lifelong Learning interviewed a number of authors, artists and scientists in her exploration of the effects of boredom.

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Scientists Identify 28,000 Medicinal Plants That Treat Ailments from Cancer to Diabetes

by Carey Wedler, The Anti-Media

In recent years, the term “plant medicine” has come to be associated with psychedelics like mushrooms and ayahuasca, which are increasingly documented to provide mental and emotional relief to users. But according to a recent analysis from Kew Gardens in the United Kingdom, there are over 28,000 other plants currently being used as medicine throughout the world.

The second annual report from Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, located in London, is the result of the research and analysis of 128 scientists from 12 countries around across the globe.

According to their findings, there are 28,187 plants “currently recorded as being of medicinal use.

The report [pdf] explains:

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Mushroom Powders Linked To Heart Health Benefits

by Mae Chan, PreventDisease.com

Mushrooms are known for their immune system boosting properties as well as treatments for anxiety and anti-cancer capabilities.

For centuries, mushrooms have been used as medicinal plants, and, more recently, have been a growing component of a healthy diet. Mushrooms are low in sodium and are good sources of fiber, bioactive compounds, selenium, potassium and vitamin D, all which may contribute to a healthy heart through anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic activities. While several types of mushrooms have been studied for their effects on serum lipid profiles, few studies have demonstrated edible mushrooms’ effects on atherogenesis.

Scientists from Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research on Aging at Tufts University report that supplementing the diets of lab mice with the mushroom powders had lower body weight gains, compared to animals fed an unsupplemented high-fat diet.

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The Ancient Power of Chanting (Mantra) Validated by Modern Science

By: Sayer Ji, GreenMedInfo.com

Chanting (mantra) is an ancient technology that modern science reveals connects us in a very real way to the farthest reaches of the universe.

I love chanting mantras, and I do so daily as an integral part of my kundalini yoga practice. I don’t need to know the specifics of how it produces a calming and sometimes even transcendent effect on my consciousness, but I’ve always been deeply curious about the mechanisms that may be at play beneath the surface of my awareness. This is why I am both deeply grateful and amazed by the work of John Reid, the UK inventor of the cymascope -- a technology that renders sound visible. In an article published on his website titled, “Cymatics -- A Bridge To the Unseen World,” John and his wife Annaleise, reveal facts about sound that are simply mind-blowing and worthy of far greater dissemination. First, did you know that sound is actually not a wave but spheroidal phenomenon? In their words:

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The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting - Jen Reviews

by Jen Reviews

Fasting is the practice of abstaining or reducing consumption of food, drink, or both, for a specific period of time. Everyone fasts for at least some part of the day, generally the eight or so hours that one spends sleeping every night. Physiologically, fasting can refer to a person’s metabolic status after not eating overnight, or even the metabolic state after the complete digestion of a meal. Once you’ve gone eight to 12 hours without eating, the body enters a state of “fasting.”

The practice of fasting can lead to a number of metabolic changes within the body. These changes typically begin approximately three to five hours after eating, when the body enters a “post-absorptive” state – rather than the state on ongoing digestion, where eating frequent meals means the body is always involved in some sort of digestive activity.

Whether you practice more long-term fasting for health reasons or for spiritual reasons, most people will have to fast at some point for medical reasons. Patients undergoing surgery or other medical procedures that require a general anaesthetic will usually fast prior to the treatment, but fasting is also practiced before a number of other medical tests, including cholesterol testing, blood glucose measuring, or a lipid panel. This enables doctors to achieve accurate results and establish a solid baseline to inform future testing, if necessary.

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Curcumin Reduces Anxiety and Depression Even In People With Major Depressiony

by Mae Chan, PreventDisease.com

Dietary supplements formulated with highly bioavailable curcumin may allow for faster recovery after competition-level training, and blunt training-related decreases in performance , says new data presented at Experimental Biology.

Powdered turmeric has been used for centuries to treat a host of illnesses. It inhibits inflammatory reactions, has anti-diabetic effects, reduces cholesterol among other powerful health effects. A recent study led by a research team in Munich showed that it can also inhibit formation of metastases.

Dietary supplements formulated with highly bioavailable curcumin may allow for faster recovery after competition-level training, and blunt training-related decreases in performance , says new data presented at Experimental Biology.

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Creative People Physically See and Process The World Differently

by Alice Klein, PreventDisease.com

Openness to experience is one of the "big five" traits often used to describe personality. It is characterised by curiosity, creativity and an interest in exploring new things. Open people tend to do well at tasks that test our ability to come up with creative ideas, such as imagining new uses for everyday objects like bricks, mugs or table tennis balls.

There's some evidence that people with a greater degree of openness also have better visual awareness. For example, when focusing on letters moving on a screen, they are more likely to notice a grey square appearing elsewhere on the display.

Now Anna Antinori at the University of Melbourne in Australia and her team are showing that people who score more highly when it comes to the openness trait "see" more possibilities. "They seem to have a more flexible gate for the visual information that breaks through into their consciousness," Antinori says.

Patchwork Pictures

Antinori and her colleagues asked 123 university students to complete a binocular rivalry test, in which they simultaneously saw a red image with one eye and a green image with the other eye for 2 minutes.

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Canada Officially Moves to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Nationwide

by Carey Wedler, The Anti-Media

Canada officially moved to legalize recreational marijuana on Thursday when the government introduced legislation allowing the possession of small amounts of cannabis. The new law also sets regulations for the sale, growth, and purchase of the plant.

USA Today reports:

“Canada’s federal government set the age at 18, but is allowing each of the provinces to determine if it should be higher. The provinces will also decide how the drug will be sold and distributed. The law also defines the amount of THC in a driver’s blood, as detected by a roadside saliva test, that would be illegal. Marijuana taxes will be announced at a later date.”

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