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Damn, I have prediabetes (An Updated Guide to Healthy Living)

Posted by Anonymous on June 27, 2014

I was recently diagnosed with prediabetes from an A1C protein test. This test measures 3 month average blood sugar. Having blood sugar problems does explain many things, but I’m nastily surprised. I’m a white male, not overweight, I get moderate to heavy exercise (although I sit most of the day), and I don’t drink sodas or eat sweets (although I have been having two bananas each morning in my shake and plenty of carbs with meals).

The following is a collection of what is working for me and really, what most people interested in optimum health should consider.

What is prediabetes?

Insulin hormone normally triggers your body to remove glucose from your blood by shuttling it into your cells to burn as energy. This action keeps your blood sugar reading within a healthy range. Prediabetes is a condition where your fasting blood glucose is over a concentration of 100 mg/dl because either your cells have developed a resistance to insulin (Type 2 diabetes, most commonly) or your pancreas is not producing the insulin required (Type 1 diabetes)… or both.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where T cells mediate the destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in your pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder of insulin resistance in many cells and it can progress to stress-induced (we think) death of the beta cells.

How can I tell if my pancreas is producing enough insulin?

The C-peptide level may be measured to see if any insulin is still being produced by the body. It may also be measured in cases of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) to see if the person’s body is producing too much insulin.

Results: The standard range is 0.5 – 6.3 ng/mL. My fasting result was 1.5 ng/mL.

“Anything below the normal range of 0.5 to 3.0 ng/ml of blood means that insulin production has slowed down abnormally, and generally indicates type 1 diabetes. Type 2s, on the other hand, will often yield C-peptide results in the normal range, meaning their fluctuating blood sugars must be due to insulin resistance, rather than decreased production.”

Glad to be still making insulin, now to get my fasting blood sugar under control…

Why is it prediabetes dangerous?

Untreated, it will progress to full diabetes which kills one person every six seconds. Even if you never become diabetic, having a high fasting blood sugar is correlated with a shorter life, brain shrinkage, dementia and coronary artery disease.

What caused my prediabetes?

My car accident? One site says, “an automobile accident with injury can negatively affect glucose metabolism and result in blood levels far above 100 mg/dL, even during fasting.” How long does that last? I still have back pain from time to time from being rear ended in a car accident a few years ago.

I eat late, work out late (sporadically), don’t sleep enough, and by the morning when breakfast rolls around, I still have high blood sugar. My body is constantly producing insulin and it is now resistant, probably, unless I have rare adult-onset Type 1 diabetes where my beta-cells are not producing enough insulin.

Either way, resistance or lack of insulin production means I can’t get the glucose out of my blood, so I’m not storing enough for use when needed.  Insulin resistance also leads to dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar and that can cause panic feelings, mental fog, forgetfulness, and other serious issues such as damage to the heart and other organs.

Diabetes kills one person every six seconds and afflicts 382 million people worldwide, according to the International Diabetes Federation, which has been canvassing the help of people ranging from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Bob Marley’s nephew to raise awareness about the problem.

The number of diabetes cases has climbed 4.4 percent over the past two years and is more than 5 percent of the world’s population, according to new figures the Brussels-based federation released today. The number of people affected by the disease is expected to climb 55 percent to 592 million by 2035 as factors including poor diet, a more sedentary lifestyle, increases in obesity and life expectancy fuel an epidemic, it said. There were only 285 million sufferers worldwide in 2009.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-14/diabetes-kills-one-person-every-six-seconds-new-estimates-show.html

Pre-diabetes and diabetes are linked to a rapid loss of brain function, far more than would be expected from normal ageing, found the two-year Sydney Memory and Ageing Study

http://www.diabeteseducatorsupdate.com.au/latest-news/even-pre-diabetes-courts-dementia

What is Insulin Resistance (IR)?

The liver and muscles are your two most important organs that respond to insulin. A healthy liver responds to insulin by not producing glucose. A healthy muscle responds by using glucose. An insulin resistant liver, however, produces unwanted glucose (and more fat), and insulin resistant muscle cells cannot absorb glucose from the bloodstream, leading to high levels in the blood. Blood vessels become resistant, too. Insulin-resistant blood vessels don’t open up as well and don’t prevent the buildup of fatty plaques that can cause arteries to harden. It makes sense, therefore, that IR is correlated with stroke, even in non-diabetics.

What to Do?

Get a Blood Sugar Monitor and Start a Log

I’ve started a log of what I eat, how much I sleep, exercise and my blood sugar every morning. With this data, I’ve been plotting correlations to see what effects my blood sugar the most. Fasting blood glucose level seems to be an overall health indicator. Stable lower blood sugar levels correlate with long life and a healthy brain. Things that lower your insulin resistance (and put you in a healthy fasting glucose range) are generally good for your overall health.

Your Meter May Be Wrong

Some meters and/or test strip batches, even when not expired, seem to produce terribly inaccurate results! In one morning with my Bayer Contour 7151H meter with Bayer strips from Amazon that expire 2015-09 (lot DW3JJ3F03D), I had readings between 82 and 131. Am I under 100? No idea. Others have had problems with the Contour’s accuracy. I called Bayer, highly annoyed, and they are sending me the new latest model which they say is 10% to 15% more accurate. After months of testing, and using my morning result to change my behavior the next day, I discovered that my data may be useless? That is, apparently, a lot of sticking myself for nothing. And, yes, I washed my finger each time and quickly used the first blood that came out (evaporation concentrates blood sugar quickly in that little drop.) Even the test solution shaken each time and dropped with a fresh drop onto wax paper had a 10 point spread with the same batch of strips. As you can see, it appears that my blood sugar fell from 122 mg/dL to 82 mg/dL in three minutes, then then went up to 131 mg/dL four minutes later.

Unanswered Question: Can blood sugar change that fast, every few minutes, as fast as blood pressure?

The first drop of blood you squeeze out of your finger may contain more interstitial fluid the solution surrounding your cells, which can give a lower reading… but as you can see, my first test was higher than the next 5. Throwing out the highest (131 & 122) and lowest (82 & 85) readings my average this morning is 106.

20140719-091746-33466221.jpg

Meters like this measure glucose in “whole blood” which consists of plasma (liquid), and cells, mainly red cells. The hematocrit is the percentage of red cells in your blood, normally about 45% for men and 40% for women according to this.  The meter has no way of knowing your current hematocrit, so it uses a set reference to yield “plasma-equivalent” results. This is why the reading is only an estimate.

According to Kaiser, the standard range is 39.0 – 51.0 % and my latest reading was 43.2. From one study, it seems that athletes have lower hemocrits:

“… physiological values of hematocrit in these athletes are comprised between 36 and 48%; (b) “low” hematocrit (<40%) was associated with a higher aerobic capacity; (c) subjects with the higher hematocrits (>44.6%) were frequently overtrained and/or iron-deficient… ” – link

Some foods like red meat and dark green leafy veggies, beans, raisins, prunes, broccoli, citrus fruit and tomatoes can increase your heamatocrit, according to this page. If my hematocrit goes up from 43 to say, 45, and my meter has a set standard, this would, I assume, change make my “plasma-equivalent” glucose reading. With more red blood cells per volume, I would have (false) higher glucose readings.

How much does hematocrit vary from minute to minute, hour to hour?

Monitor your fasting insulin level.

This is every bit as important as your fasting blood sugar. You’ll want your fasting insulin level to be between 2 to 4. The higher your level, the worse your insulin receptor sensitivity is. – link

… urinary C-peptide creatinine ratio (UCPCR) is a stable measure of endogenous insulin secretion and a noninvasive alternative to blood tests. – link

As long as you don’t have chronic kidney disease, a urine test can tell you your blood insulin levels reliably.

In healthy volunteers, fasting second-void UCPCR strongly correlated with serum insulin (rs=0.69, p<0.0001), C-peptide (rs=0.73, p<0.0001) and HOMA2-IR (rs=−0.69, p<0.0001). 120 min post-OGTT UCPCR correlated strongly with C-peptide and insulin area under the curve. In patients with CKD (chronic kidney disease), UCPCR did not correlate with serum C-peptide, insulin or HOMA2-IR. … C-peptide is secreted in equimolar amounts to insulin, but unlike insulin, it is filtered by the kidney with 5% excreted unchanged in the urine, making urinary measures possible.11  … a fasting second-void morning UCPCR could be used as a marker of insulin resistance in participants without diabetes, as long as they are known not to have chronic renal disease. – link

C-peptide test

Verify the reason for the high fasting glucose with a C-peptide test. My 5.5 A1C reading says my average blood glucose over the past 3 months has been 110mg/dL which is high. My 1.4 ng/mL C-peptide test says I’m still making insulin, so I probably have an insulin-resistance problem (type 2)  rather than an autoimmune problem (type 1).

Exercise

An hour of afternoon exercise may lower glucose levels until the next morning, affecting the fasting blood sugar test.

Some people respond very well to short high intensity (interval) training (or sprints) three times per week, combined with simply moving as much as possible (not sitting) during the day. You warm up, then run as fast as you can for 10 seconds at a time, resting until you are just recovered. Be careful and consult your doctor before starting this to be sure your heart is in good shape. In four weeks, one BBC  reporter had a 20% improvement in insulin resistance in a lab glucose tolerance test. I’ve started push-ups, sprints (high intensity training), and walking 10,000 steps per day as monitored by my FitBit.

Note: Don’t overdo it. In my fanatical attempt to get my blood sugar down, three days in a row of high intensity training caused heart attack symptoms and almost sent me to the ER. It takes a full 24 to 48 hours for muscle (including your heart) to recover fully after being torn down. Do only three days a week of high intensity training, skipping a full day between sessions to recover.

Get enough Vitamin D

Optimize your vitamin D levels. Maintaining your vitamin D levels around 60-80 ng/ml can significantly help control your blood sugar. – link

Intermittent Fasting

The ideas is that if I clear my glucose by breakfast each day, then my pancreas will have a chance to rest (no need to produce insulin) and I should be able to regulate my blood sugar better.

So I thought. As I am underweight, this may have been a very bad idea. Waiting until my blood sugar level came down one morning until I ate, the result was that I got very shaky, then started to black out with a blood sugar level of 103 after 14 hours of fasting. I had dull chest pains and an panic adrenaline reaction, tingling in my hands and feet, my left foot cramped up for about 20 minutes and the bottom of my right foot felt like I was standing on a heater. That symptom, the hot foot, remained on and off for days.

Don’t Bloat Yourself with Food

Eat a little less (until no longer hungry, instead of until full), again to get back to an ability to store and clear the glucose with insulin.

Get Enough Deep Sleep

I’ve shifted my work hours so I eat an hour earlier, work out earlier, and get more sleep. It sounds mundane, but getting enough sleep seems to be the key for me.  University of Chicago Med Center researchers found that “suppressing deep sleep for just three nights causes a 25 percent drop in insulin sensitivity. the researchers say that the decrease in insulin sensitivity after three nights of bad sleep is equivalent to gaining 20 to 30 pounds.”

I normally pop awake after 6.5 to 7 hours of sleep, but going to sleep extra early and having a swig of raw goat’s milk before bed gave me an 8.5 hour sleep with a decent blood sugar reading the next morning. The effect of proper recovery seems cumulative. 7 hours sleep the following night was enough for my first fasting blood sugar under 100 in a week.

One study found that just a single night of inadequate sleep increases insulin resistance.

 

Get up! Get on up! Walk or Stand Rather than Sit Most of the Day

Standing at your desk rather than sitting, you burn about 50 calories per hour more and your  heart beats about 10 beats per minute more.

“… prolonged sitting has not only been linked to problems with blood glucose control, but also a sharp reduction in the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which breaks down blood fats and makes them available as a fuel to the muscles. This reduction in enzyme activity leads to raised levels of triglycerides and fats in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease.” – link

Cinnamon

Add cinnamon to meals which helps insulin work.

“Yes, it does work,” says , a research nutritionist with the University of California, Davis. He authored a recent published in the Journal of Medicinal Food that concluded that cinnamon lowers fasting blood glucose. “According to our results, it’s a modest effect of about 3 to 5 percent,” Davis says. This is about the level of reduction found in the older generation of diabetes drugs, he says. That makes the findings of interest not just to the 25 million Americans who already have diabetes, but also to the 80 million other people — of us — who have elevated fasting blood-glucose levels.
- NPR

The most common kind, cassia cinnamon can contain high levels of coumarin, so keep it under 1 teaspoon per day to avoid reversible liver toxicity in case you are one of the few people who is sensitive to it.

- Eat a few fresh basil leaves with meals.

- Cut down from 2 grams/day to 1 gram of Vitamin C which competes with glucose for insulin transport into your cells. One person reported false positive high A1C and FBG readings from 4 grams of vitamin C.

- Started taking chromium picolinate (200 mcg/day) which can lower fasting blood sugar and insulin levels. It seems to help insulin work better in people with type 2 diabetes.

 Avoid too much Selenium

Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes. Selenium is required for proper functioning of the thyroid gland, and may protect against cancer, so you need some. A recommended amount according to the NIH is 55 mcg/day.  A long term deficiency can lead to a syndrome where the immune system attacks the thyroid.  However, too much can kill you.

“Researchers have identified a hormone, selenoprotein P (SeP), produced and secreted by the liver as a previously unknown cause of insulin resistance.  … When the researchers gave normal mice SeP, they became insulin resistant and their blood sugar levels rose. A treatment that blocked the activity of SeP in the livers of diabetic and obese mice improved their sensitivity to insulin and lowered blood sugar levels. ” – link

The evolved reduced utilization of selenium-containing proteins in mammals raises important questions in human and animal nutrition. Selenoprotein expression is regulated such that people don’t need to rely so heavily on dietary selenium which is often present in excess amounts in the diet. – link

Brazil nuts, for example, contain very high amounts of selenium (68–91 mcg per nut) and can cause you to go over the safe upper limit if you eat too many. … Too much over time can also cause garlic breath and nervous system problems, among others. At extremely high intakes, selenium can cause severe problems, including difficulty breathing, tremors, kidney failure, heart attacks, and heart failure. – link

Selenium is found naturally in seafood, meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products as well as breads, cereals and other grains. (more) Is excess selenium causing insulin resistance and diabetes?  400 mcg is probably the safe upper daily limit for Selenium intake for adults. If you’ve watched the movie Evolution, you probably know that selenium is a key ingredient in dandruff shampoo.

You should also be aware that selenium compounds, including those used in some medicated dandruff shampoos, are not easily absorbed through the skin. Most of the selenium that enters the body quickly leaves the body, usually within 24 hours. Beyond what the body needs, selenium leaves mainly in the urine, but also in feces and breath. Selenium in the urine increases as the amount of the exposure goes up. Selenium can build up in the human body, however, if exposure levels are very high or if exposure occurs over a long time.  – link

Stop Eating These

I don’t agree about stopping dairy as long as it is organic and raw, but the other suggestions here sound good to me to reduce or eliminate the following:

“processed or junk foods, refined white flour and sugar, such as breads, cereals, flour-based pastas, bagels, and pastries, foods containing high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners (aspartame, Sorbitol, etc.) and caffeine Starchy, high-glycemic cooked vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, and root vegetables such as rutabagas, parsnips, and turnips, processed fruit juices, canned vegetables, Foods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (which become trans fatty acids in the bloodstream), such as most crackers, chips, cakes, candies, cookies, doughnuts, and processed cheese, Processed oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, and canola, Red meats (unless organic or grass-fed) and organ meats, Large predatory fish and river fish, which contain mercury and other contaminants in unacceptable amounts, including swordfish, tuna, tilefish and shark, Dairy, Alcohol — limit it to no more than 3 glasses a week of red wine per week” – link

Severely limit or eliminate grains and sugar from your diet, especially fructose which is far more detrimental than any other type of sugar. This is extremely important! Drinking just one sweetened drink a day can raise your diabetes risk by 25 percent compared to drinking one sugary drink per month, so you really need to evaluate your diet and look for hidden sources of sugar. … Avoid trans fats as they will actually worsen insulin resistance. link

Low carb or low fat?

Perhaps just the right kind of carbs are what you need.

It was clear by the early 20th century that diets that include a lot of fat result in impaired glucose tolerance whereas starchy, low-fat diets restore the ability to tolerate glucose. Thus, the low-carbohydrate diet that many patients with type 2 diabetes are told to eat could actually be contributing to their diabetes.

A randomized clinical trial published in 2006 showed that a low-fat diet with carbohydrates based entirely on unrefined plant foods providing 75% of calories outperformed the American Diabetes Association’s standard dietary recommendations for people with type 2 diabetes.

The subjects assigned to the high-carbohydrate diet lost more weight, had better laboratory values (including lower HbA1c and LDL cholesterol), and were more likely to be able to discontinue taking at least one of their prescription medications.

They were also more likely to stick to their diet. Although their food choices were restricted (they could eat nothing but vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes), they could eat as much as they wanted. They didn’t have to count or weigh anything, and they never had to go hungry. – link

Dr. Mercola would say high fat works and only legumes should be eaten.

For the last 50 years or so, Americans have followed the dietary recommendations of a high complex carbohydrate, low saturated fat diet—the exact opposite of what actually works! High complex carbohydrates include legumes, potatoes, corn, rice and grain products. Aside from legumes, you actually want to AVOID all the rest to prevent insulin resistance. – link

Consume saturated fats, such as grass-fed organic meat, raw dairy products, avocados, and coconut oil.link

Unanswered Questions:
Low carb? Evenly spaced carbs? Low fat or high (good) fat? Is intermittent fasting good for thin prediabetics with no weight issues?  Intermittent fasting (IF) when you are prediabetic causes swings in glucose, resulting in mental discomfort and potentially increased cortisol and cardiac death.

‘There seems to be rather a lot of slim, fit people, who have had an excellent diet for years, that seem to be either diabetic or pre-diabetic, What is going on?’  http://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/threads/thin-fit-prediabetic-is-there-hope.43169/

What else can be done? Even for Type 1, there is new hope:

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) and UC San Diego School of Medicine scientists have shown that by encapsulating immature pancreatic cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC), and implanting them under the skin in animal models of diabetes, sufficient insulin is produced to maintain glucose levels without unwanted potential trade-offs of the technology. The research suggests that encapsulated hESC-derived insulin-producing cells hold great promise as an effective and safe cell-replacement therapy for insulin-dependent diabetes.

“Our study critically evaluates some of the potential pitfalls of using stem cells to treat insulin-dependent diabetes,” said Pamela Itkin-Ansari, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor in the Development, Aging, and Regenerative Program at Sanford-Burnham, with a joint appointment at UC San Diego.

“We have shown that encapsulated hESC-derived pancreatic cells are able to produce insulin in response to elevated glucose without an increase in the mass or their escape from the capsule. These results are important because it means that the encapsulated cells are both fully functional and retrievable,” said Itkin-Ansari.

In the study, published online in Stem Cell Research, Itkin-Ansari and her team used bioluminescent imaging to see if encapsulated cells stay in the capsule after implantation.

Previous attempts to replace insulin-producing cells, called beta cells, have met with significant challenges. For example, researchers have tried treating diabetics with mature beta cells, but because mature cells are fragile and scarce, the method is fraught with problems. Moreover, since the cells come from organ donors, they may be recognized as foreign by the recipient’s immune system — requiring patients to take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent their immune system from attacking the donor’s cells, ultimately leaving patients vulnerable to infections, tumors, and other adverse events.

Encapsulation technology was developed to protect donor cells from exposure to the immune system — and has proven extremely successful in preclinical studies.

Itkin-Ansari and her research team previously made an important contribution to the encapsulation approach by showing that pancreatic islet progenitor cells are an optimal cell type for encapsulation. They found that progenitor cells were more robust than mature beta cells to encapsulate, and while encapsulated, they matured into insulin-producing cells, which secreted insulin only when needed.

“We were thrilled to see that the cells remained fully encapsulated for up to 150 days, the longest period tested, said Itkin-Ansari. “Equally important is that we show that the progenitor cells develop glucose responsiveness without a significant change in mass — meaning they don’t outgrow their capsule.

“Next steps for the development of the approach will be to figure out the size of the capsule required to house the number of progenitor beta cells needed to respond to glucose in humans. And of course we want to learn how long a capsule will function once implanted. Given these goals and continued successful results, I expect to see the technology become a treatment option for patients with insulin-dependent diabetes,” said Itkin-Ansari.

http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2014-03-25-stem-cell-derived-beta-cells-replace-insulin.aspx

 

 

 

Posted in Biology, Education, Food, Health, Mind, Survival | 3 Comments »

New study suggests a better way to deal with bad memories

Posted by Anonymous on April 19, 2014

August Cassens – What’s one of your worst memories? How did it make you feel? According to psychologists, remembering the emotions felt during a negative personal experience, such as how sad you were or how embarrassed you felt, can lead to emotional distress, especially when you can’t stop thinking about it.

When these negative memories creep up, thinking about the context of the memories, rather than how you felt, is a relatively easy and effective way to alleviate the negative effects of these memories, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, led by psychology professor Florin Dolcos of the Cognitive Neuroscience Group, studied the behavioral and neural mechanisms of focusing away from emotion during recollection of personal emotional memories, and found that thinking about the contextual elements of the memories significantly reduced their emotional impact.

“Sometimes we dwell on how sad, embarrassed, or hurt we felt during an event, and that makes us feel worse and worse. This is what happens in clinical depression—ruminating on the negative aspects of a memory,” Dolcos said. “But we found that instead of thinking about your emotions during a negative memory, looking away from the worst emotions and thinking about the context, like a friend who was there, what the weather was like, or anything else non-emotional that was part of the memory, will rather effortlessly take your mind away from the unwanted emotions associated with that memory. Once you immerse yourself in other details, your mind will wander to something else entirely, and you won’t be focused on the negative emotions as much.”

This simple strategy, the study suggests, is a promising alternative to other emotion-regulation strategies, like suppression or reappraisal.

“Suppression is bottling up your emotions, trying to put them away in a box. This is a strategy that can be effective in the short term, but in the long run, it increases anxiety and depression,” explains Sanda Dolcos, co-author on the study and postdoctoral research associate at the Beckman Institute and in the Department of Psychology.

“Another otherwise effective emotion regulation strategy, reappraisal, or looking at the situation differently to see the glass half full, can be cognitively demanding. The strategy of focusing on non-emotional contextual details of a memory, on the other hand, is as simple as shifting the focus in the mental movie of your memories and then letting your mind wander.”

Not only does this strategy allow for effective short-term emotion regulation, but it has the possibility of lessening the severity of a negative memory with prolonged use.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-04/bifa-nss041814.php

Posted in Mind | Leave a Comment »

Scientists Study Woman Who Can Have Out-of-Body Experiences On Demand

Posted by Anonymous on March 11, 2014

20140310-231031.jpgPlenty of attention being given to a new study with a subject who can apparently have out-of-body experiences (OBEs) on demand:

After a class on out-of-body experiences, a psychology graduate student at the University of Ottawa came forward to researchers to say that she could have these voluntarily, usually before sleep. “She appeared surprised that not everyone could experience this,” wrote the scientists in a study describing the case, published in February inFrontiers in Human Neuroscience.

…The 24-year-old “continued to perform this experience as she grew up assuming, as mentioned, that ‘everyone could do it.’” This is how she described her out-of-body experiences: “She was able to see herself rotating in the air above her body, lying flat, and rolling along with the horizontal plane. She reported sometimes watching herself move from above but remained aware of her unmoving “real” body. The participant reported no particular emotions linked to the experience.”

An unusual find, wrote the scientists, University of Ottawa researchers Andra M. Smith and Claude Messier – this is the first person to be studied able to have this type of experience on demand, and without any brain abnormalities. Instead of an “out-of-body” experience, however, the researchers termed it a “extra-corporeal experience” (ECE), in part because it lacks the strong emotions that often go hand-in-hand (such as shock & awe, for example).

To better understand what was going on, the researchers conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of her brain. They found that it surprisingly involved a “strong deactivation of the visual cortex.” Instead, the experience “activated the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery,” such as mental representations of bodily movement. …

http://www.dailygrail.com/Mind-Mysteries/2014/3/Scientists-Study-Woman-Who-Can-Have-Out-Body-Experiences-Demand

More:

The results suggest that the ECE reported here represents an unusual type of kinesthetic imagery that shares some features of previously described out-of-body experiences and some features of more typical motor imagery.

The cerebellum also shows strong activation that is consistent with the participant’s report of the impression of movement during the ECE. There are also left middle and superior orbital frontal gyri activations, structures often associated with action monitoring….

http://madworldnews.com/scientists-scan-womans-brain-body-experience-witnessed-incredible/

It is amazing that she can do this easily at will. Recall that the experience can most likely be reproduced in anyone if a brain surgeon stimulates the person’s right angular gyrus:

Olaf Blanke, a neurosurgeon at University Hospitals of Geneva and Lausanne, wasn’t trying to set off the sensations in his patient but was using electrical stimulation to map the activity of her brain in preparation for surgical treatment. But by recording the patient’s reactions and matching them with specific electrodes, Blanke was able to pinpoint the region where out-of-body experiences seem to originate.

“We wanted [and needed] to be sure that what the patient experienced and told us was related to the actual stimulation,” says Blanke.

When Blanke and colleagues activated electrodes placed just above the patient’s right ear — a region known as the right angular gyrus — the woman began to have the strange sensations. Depending on the amplitude of the stimulation and the current position of the patient’s body, her experience varied. Each of the patient’s four episodes lasted about two seconds.

After one stimulation, the patient said she felt as though she were sinking into her bed and then she felt as though she were “falling from a height.” After another stimulation she said felt like she was “floating” about 6½ feet above her bed, close to the ceiling. When she was asked to watch her legs during the stimulation, the patient said she saw her legs “becoming shorter.” …

http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=97897

This isn’t the only case, either. Here’s how it works:

The angular gyrus reacts differently to intended and consequential movement. This suggests that the angular gyrus monitors the self’s intended movements, and uses the added information to compute differently as it does for consequential movements. By recording the discrepancy, the angular gyrus maintains an awareness of the self.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angular_gyrus

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Posted in Biology, Mind, Strange | 2 Comments »

Research: We Unconsciously React to Events Up to 10 Seconds Before They Happen

Posted by Anonymous on March 5, 2014

20140305-075235.jpg
Can your brain detect events before they even occur? That was the stunning conclusion of a 2012 meta-analysis of experiments from seven independent laboratories over the last 35 years, which found that the human body “can apparently detect randomly delivered stimuli occurring 1-10 seconds in the future” (Mossbridge, Tressoldi, & Utts, 2012). In the studies, physiological readings were taken as participants were subjected to unpredictable events designed to activate the sympathetic nervous system (for example, showing provocative imagery) as well as ‘neutral events’ that did not activate the nervous system. These readings showed that the nervous system aligned with the nature of the event (activated/not activated) – and what’s more, the magnitude of the pre-event response corresponded with the magnitude of the post-event response.

In a more recent paper, researchers have critically analysed these findings, considering possible mundane explanations for the results and also the implications of the results if they truly do point to a paradigm-shaking discovery:

The key observation in these studies is that human physiology appears to be able to distinguish between unpredictable dichotomous future stimuli, such as emotional vs. neutral images or sound vs. silence. This phenomenon has been called presentiment (as in “feeling the future”). In this paper we call it predictive anticipatory activity or PAA. The phenomenon is “predictive” because it can distinguish between upcoming stimuli; it is “anticipatory” because the physiological changes occur before a future event; and it is an “activity” because it involves changes in the cardiopulmonary, skin, and/or nervous systems.

They found that “neither questionable research practices (bias) nor physiological artifacts seem to be able to explain PAA”, and that “the evidence indicates that there is a temporal mirroring between pre- and post-event physiological events, so that the nature of the post-event physiological response is correlated with the characteristics of the PAA for that event.”

The authors of the paper also point out fascinating aspects of the research, such as the fact that “PAA is an unconscious phenomenon” that “appears to resemble precognition (consciously knowing something is going to happen before it does), but PAA specifically refers to unconscious physiological reactions as opposed to conscious premonitions”. The implication is that “there must be a necessity for PAA to remain non-conscious most of the time”, given that “if some part of our nervous system can obtain information about events seconds in the future, wouldn’t we have evolved to make this information conscious?” …

http://www.dailygrail.com/2014/3/Scientific-Research-Suggests-We-Unconsciously-React-Events-10-Seconds-They-Happen

From the paper:

It has been known for some time that arousing and neutral stimuli produce somewhat different post-stimulus physiological responses in humans (Lang et al., 1993, 1998; Cuthbert et al., 1996, 2000). However, what is remarkable is that many of the studies examined here make the claim that, for instance, the same physiological measure that yields a differential post-stimulus response to two stimulus classes also yields a differential pre-stimulus response to those same stimulus classes, prior even to the random selection of the stimulus type by the computer. Authors of these studies often refer to the effect as presentiment (sensing an event before it occurs) or unexplained anticipatory activity; we favor the latter terminology as it describes the phenomenon without implying that the effect truly reflects a reversal of the usual forward causality.

- See more at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00390/full#sthash.Cp1Lp7GR.dpuf

My explanation: Light, from our perspective, is a time traveler. At the speed of light there’s no time to cover any distance, but there’s also no distance to cover. Light is everywhere now (it’s perspective) that it will already (from our perspective) be. Thus, there is no limit to how far ahead we can sense if we are unconsciously processing the full time-spectrum of light. There is really only one photon of light in the universe and it is everywhere at the same time. Think about this: Everything you see in your now is from everywhere and every-when.

Posted in Mind, Paranormal, Physics, Strange | 1 Comment »

New Law: Prison for being gay in Uganda

Posted by Anonymous on February 24, 2014

20140224-132437.jpgLast week, it seemed like Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was delaying taking action on the infamous anti-homosexuality bill, suggesting he was interested in hearing from more U.S. scientists about the nature of homosexuality. On Monday, though, he signed the bill into law.
The law, often referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill because previous versions of it included the death penalty, allows for a lifetime jail sentence for people found guilty of being gay. Some more recent versions of the bill have still included reference to a different law that did allow for the death penalty. First-time offenders can be punished with 14 years in jail. Those who promote LGBT issues would also be in violation of the law, as would anybody who officiates a same-sex marriage.
Museveni explained that he signed the bill because he was concerned that gay people were “recruiting normal people” into homosexuality, using them as prostitutes, and exhibiting themselves. His statement suggests he was fully convinced by the distorted report from Ugandan scientists submitted suggesting that homosexuality as either an “open choice” or something caused by “indoctrination.” He seemed to suggest that any form of public display of affection is inappropriate, but all the more reason that gay people who hold hands or kiss in public should be punished if they cannot be rehabilitated:
Since nurture is the main cause of homosexuality, then society can do something about it to discourage the trends. That is why I have agreed to sign the Bill. [...]

Since my original thesis that there may be people who are born homosexual has been disproved by science, then the homosexuals have lost the argument in Uganda. They should rehabilitate themselves and society should assist them to do so.
President Obama condemned Museveni’s decision to sign the bill last week, noting that it will “complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.” On Twitter, Ofwono Opondo, an official spokesperson for the Ugandan government, accused Obama of being arrogant, chiding him for criticizing Uganda’s law more than he has Arizona’s bill allowing religious discrimination against the LGBT community. “Propaganda for blackmail against anti-gay law by European & US media,” he wrote, “won’t derail Pres Museveni signing.”…

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/02/24/3321761/ugandan-president-signs-anti-homosexuality-law/

Great news, that sexual preference is a choice. That means you can choose to be attracted to anything, like giant squid, waffle irons, the act of paying your taxes… Think of the possibilities! A clear explanation of how to genuinely make this change must be presented before a law that prohibits not doing so. Show the world that it is possible, Museveni, by changing your preference from human women to avocados. No faking it, either. I’m not gay, but your law is beyond stupid.

Posted in human rights, Mind, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Concept work

Posted by Anonymous on February 14, 2014

20140213-221116.jpg

Do you have a solid enough grasp on how the world works to understand the problem with this picture?

Posted in Mind, Strange | 2 Comments »

Man can play back four symphonies in his head… At once!

Posted by Anonymous on February 2, 2014

Bob Milne is one of the best ragtime piano players in the world, but his talents go further than that – right into the land of amazing. Bob’s brain works a little differently to the rest of us, as he can compartmentalise various functions, which allows him to play complex piano pieces while carrying on a conversation. But when Penn State neuroscientist Kerstin Betterman decided to investigate Bob’s incredible ability, she discovered something even more amazing: he can ‘play back’ four different symphonies at the same time in his head, and what’s more, he says he ‘sees’ these symphonies being played in his head in three dimensions, and can fly around within this audio-visual space and listen to the music change from different perspectives. Here’s an NPR Radiolab feature on Bob Milne and Kerstin Betterman from a couple of years ago that tells the story…

http://www.dailygrail.com/Mind-Mysteries/2014/1/Man-Can-Listen-Four-Symphonies-his-Head-Simultaneously.

Audio here.

Awesome. I can carry on a conversation and play one of my songs at the same time. This is something that comes in handy when you are leading a band.

I can also listen to conversations of audience members if they happen to be talking while I’m playing. This should not be surprising as playing well in a band is about listening to what everyone else is doing and then very quickly adjusting or signaling them to adjust.

I can play back a symphony in my head, but like the conductor in the MRI test, only one at a time.

Posted in Mind, Music | Leave a Comment »

Meditation Alters Genes Rapidly, Triggers Molecular Changes : Natural Society

Posted by Anonymous on January 31, 2014

http://motheringmother.com/wp-content/uploads/meditation-6.jpgIf you are a practitioner of meditation, the results of a new study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology will likely come as no surprise. But for some scientists, the revelation that meditating can actually trigger molecular changes is groundbreaking.

The researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Institute of Biomedical Research in Barcelona, Spain found subjects who partook of 8-hour intensive mindfulness meditation showed significant molecular changes.

A group of experienced meditation practitioners spent an 8-hour day in mindfulness while a control group spent the day in quiet but non-meditative activities. The meditation group experienced genetic changes including reduced levels of inflammatory genes like RIPK2 and COX2, indicating faster recovery from stressful situations.

As Medical News Today reports:

“The extent to which some of the genes were down-regulated was associated with faster cortisol recovery to a social stress test, where participants were challenged to make an impromptu speech or complete mental calculations in front of an audience.”

In other words, the meditation helped participants keep cool under pressure. ..

via Meditation Alters Genes Rapidly, Triggers Molecular Changes : Natural Society.

Posted in Health, Mind | Leave a Comment »

Apple Wants to Serve You Ads Using Mood-Reading Tech

Posted by Anonymous on January 24, 2014

While Google wants to get all up in your home appliances and your eyeballs, it looks like Apple’s pushing to get straight to the heart of their users. A patent application from the tech giant that was published today and picked up by Apple Insider describes a technology that would infer a user’s mood at any time in order to best serve them relevant ads. …

“Mood-associated characteristic data” could include “heart rate, blood pressure, music genre, sequence of apps launched, rate of UI interactions, etc.” Some of those make more sense when you think of Apple products—music data could be taken from iTunes so content delivery systems can get a heads-up when you’re cracking out the emo records, and app behaviour could be sourced from iPhone usage.

As for heart rate and blood pressure—and the patent application also mentions adrenaline, perspiration, and temperature—that clearly suggests a potential wearable tech element (and something more sophisticated than a mood ring). They could be tasks for the yet-to-materialize iWatch, BGR suggests. The documents also mention the possibility of a camera to recognise facial expressions.

That’s all very clever, but one major issue is that people present different moods in different ways. Therefore, the system would start by compiling one or more “baseline mood profiles” for individual users based on data collected over an initial period. Then, a variation from a person’s usual mood at any given time could be used to infer how they’re feeling at that point.

And in case tracking a person’s actual behaviour isn’t enough, the system could incorporate external events too. “For example, if a tragic event occurred, an

inferred mood can be downgraded. In another example, if the day corresponds to a national holiday, an inferred mood can be elevated,” the patent suggests. “In yet another example, if the weather is particularly nice, an inferred mood can be elevated. Additional uses of user independent mood-associated data items are also possible.\”

Of course, this is just at the patent application stage, so we’re not likely to see it any time soon. Add to that the obvious privacy concerns of a company storing vast amounts of such highly personal data …

via Apple Wants to Serve You Ads Using Mood-Reading Tech | Motherboard.

Posted in human rights, Mind, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Bo Bergman’s “Shut down the Internet” letter goes viral in Sweden

Posted by Anonymous on January 15, 2014

http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/19cj4yqenmgm1jpg/k-medium.jpgA 73-year-old Swedish man has become an unlikely Internet celebrity due to a letter he wrote to a newspaper demanding officials “shut down the Internet.”

Bo Bergman of Simlangsdalen gained fame when a letter he sent to the Hallands-Posten newspaper — demanding an end to civilian use of the Internet — went viral online, TheLocal.se reported Tuesday.

“My proposal: Shut down the Internet! You can’t, it’s gone on for too long, you’ll all surely answer. No!” he wrote. “Return the internet to the military department … before everything crumbles. Destroy it while it’s there.”

Johan Hammerby, who is in charge of the letters sent to the newspaper, said the letter has been viewed more than 30,000 times on the newspaper’s website, making it one of the site’s most popular items of all time.

“It’s been shared on Facebook and retweeted so much,” Hammerby told The Local. “Readers seem to think he’s just a funny old man who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. They point out that he doesn’t have any good argument, but they love the way he writes.

“The funniest thing is that he’s an Internet celebrity and he doesn’t even know it,” Hammerby said.

Bergman said he was surprised to hear his letter had gotten so much attention, but he stands by his argument.

“Like a worm in an apple, the Internet eats us from within and takes over,” he said.

via Bo Bergman’s “Shut down the Internet” letter goes viral in Sweden – UPI.com.

Good point. The Internet eats us from within. So did TV, but now that TV is gone, if we return the Internet to the military, we should also return books to the Church. But wait… Isn’t it ideas that are the real problem?

Ideas eat us from within. Then again, some ideas feed us and make us live, laugh and love. Ah. So all it depends on which ideas we allow to grow. And if we admit that that responsibility is ours for ideas, we go back and see that we don’t need to return the Internet after all, now do we?

We just need to learn to use it wisely. I think we can, in time.

Posted in Mind, Technology | Leave a Comment »

 
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