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Harm reduction in community mental health settings. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Harm reduction in community mental health settings

Building on the harm reduction literature, the community mental health literature, and the authors' experiences with a community mental health program that uses a harm reduction approach, the authors offer five guidelines for its successful implementation. The authors conclude that when properly integrated with other recovery-based services, and when appropriately applied to the individual client's stage of change, harm reduction can effectively be used, and should be used, in community mental health settings with clients with co-occurring substance use and psychiatric disorders.

Three ways your cell phone can negatively impact your health

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Cell phones are our lifelines to the world. We use them to do nearly everything — from connecting with friends and family, to sharing photos and experiences, to looking for the perfect dinner recipe. At this point, it’s probably safe to say that the cell phone is an inescapable element of most people’s lives.


This begs the question: at what point does your cell phone become detrimental to your health? Countless studies have called into question the impact cell phone usage can have on your mental and physical state. Findings have run the gamut, indicating that the biggest causes for concern might be adverse psychological or physical side effects.


1. Too much news can be bad news for mental health

While smartphones provide us with instant access to a slew of global media sources, this constant connectivity can sometimes backfire if left unchecked. Most recently, behavioral scientists studied the relationship between cell phone usage and mental health, concluding that excessive mobile phone use is directly correlated to depression and anxiety.


Research shows that heavy smartphone and internet use is often used as a form of escapism, which can lead to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.



It is important to note that it can be difficult to determine whether or not extreme phone usage causes these symptoms, or if it is amplifying existing mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Although the research remains somewhat inconclusive, it is worth closely monitoring your mental state before and after using your phone for extended periods of time. What may be harmless for some, could be damaging to others.


2. Chronic pain and other conditions on the rise


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Watch out for these hidden germs at work

Things like texting, perusing social media, and responding to emails require the constant use of your hands. After extended periods, these repetitive actions can cause joint pain and inflammation in some cell phone users. Back pain is another common complaint among many who use their cell phone on a consistent basis, and your posture can even suffer the ill consequences of hunching over your phone for any considerable stretch of time. We are often not even conscious of the ways we contort our bodies in order to properly view our screens — significant “hunching” is one primary cause of chronic back pain among heavy cell phone users.


3. Phones potentially pose cancer risks

Cell phones emit radio waves, a form of non-iodizing radiation, otherwise known as electromagnetic radiation. There are questions about whether prolonged exposure to this form of energy may increase the risk of brain cancer and other conditions, but the evidence so far is inconclusive. While the science behind the issue continues to be a hotly debated issue, the California Department of Public Health has issued guidelines on how to reduce exposure to cell phone radiation for the “better safe than sorry” crowd.



Whether you check your phone for frequent updates, or talk on your cell for long periods, it is important to remain attuned to the ways these devices can negatively impact your health. Cell phones are undoubtedly one of the most useful tools we have at our fingertips, but it’s important to remain vigilant when it comes to monitoring your phone behavior. Taking breaks when necessary, and unplugging altogether from time to time can help keep negative side effects at bay.

Fear of missing out, need for touch, anxiety and depression are related to problematic smartphone use

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Problematic smartphone use was most related to the fear of missing out, depression (inversely), and a need for touch.


Behavior activation mediated associations between smartphone use and both anxiety and depression.


Results demonstrate the importance of social and tactile need fulfillment variables that explain problem smartphone use.




Problematic smartphone use is an important public health challenge and is linked with poor mental health outcomes. However, little is known about the mechanisms that maintain this behavior. We recruited a sample of 308 participants from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk labor market. Participants responded to standardized measures of problematic smartphone use, and frequency of smartphone use, depression and anxiety and possible mechanisms including behavioral activation, need for touch, fear of missing out (FoMO), and emotion regulation. Problematic smartphone use was most correlated with anxiety, need for touch and FoMO. The frequency of use was most correlated (inversely) with depression. In regression models, problematic smartphone use was associated with FoMO, depression (inversely), anxiety, and need for touch. Frequency of use was associated with need for touch, and (inversely) with depressive symptoms. Behavioral activation mediated associations between smartphone use (both problematic and usage frequency) and depression and anxiety symptoms. Emotional suppression also mediated the association between problematic smartphone use and anxiety. Results demonstrate the importance of social and tactile need fulfillment variables such as FoMO and need for touch as critical mechanisms that can explain problematic smartphone use and its association with depression and anxiety.

Avoidance or boredom: Negative mental health outcomes associated with use of Information and Communication Technologies depend on users' motivations

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Results indicated that the mobile phone may offer a small "security blanket" effect, lowering the initial negative reaction to stress, although the pattern of stress over the course of the experiment was the same for participants in all groups. Our findings suggest that long term utilization of ICTs as an emotional coping strategy may have a negative influence on mental health and/or exacerbate mental health predispositions.

Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Microwave EMFs activate voltage-gated Ca2+ channels (VGCCs) concentrated in the brain.


Animal studies show such low level MWV EMFs have diverse high impacts in the brain.


VGCC activity causes widespread neuropsychiatric effects in humans (genetic studies).


26 studies have EMFs assoc. with neuropsychiatric effects; 5 criteria show causality.


MWV EMFs cause at least 13 neuropsychiatric effects including depression in humans


How EMF Exposure May Cause Depression, Anxiety & Other Mental Health Issues

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)


Link Between EMF Radiation Exposure and Mental Health Issues

Though not reported on by the mainstream media, there are now numerous studies confirming a link between high amounts of EMF radiation exposure and negative psychiatric symptoms in both humans and animals.


For example, this Iranian study followed 103 electricians, dividing them into 5 different groups based on potential for exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields. It was found that the group with the highest exposure also had the highest probability of experiencing feelings of depression, psychosis, obsessive-compulsive behavior, hostility, and anxiousness.


Similarly, this 1997 study of 540 adults living near high-voltage transmission lines found that higher doses of EMFs were correlated with symptoms of psychological distress, regardless of each participant’s beliefs about the health effects of exposure.


And this cohort study of roughly 139,000 workers in the electric industry also found a higher incidence of depressive symptoms in the workers who consistently received higher EMF exposure. They also discovered that younger workers with recent exposure, in particular, were at increased risk of committing suicide.


These studies demonstrate an important fact: you don’t have to be a compulsive smartphone addict or a heavy computer user to suffer from the neurological effects of EMF exposure. The subjects in all three studies spent significant time in environments with higher amounts of electromagnetic fields. In today’s world, where the majority of urban and suburban environments are saturated with EMFs, it is likely that many of us are unknowingly affected in the same way these study subjects were.


The case for EMFs posing a threat to the mental health of humans and animals has only become stronger with time.


A review of studies conducted by Martin L. Pall and published in 2015 stated that “Two U.S. government reports from the 1970s to 1980s provide evidence for many neuropsychiatric effects of non-thermal microwave EMFs, based on occupational exposure studies. 18 more recent epidemiological studies provide substantial evidence that microwave EMFs from cell/mobile phone base stations, excessive cell/mobile phone usage and from wireless smart meters can each produce similar patterns of neuropsychiatric effects, with several of these studies showing clear dose–response relationships.”


How Can Electromagnetic Fields Cause Mental Dysfunction in Humans?

Pall’s paper, called “Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression,” also sheds some light on the mechanisms by which EMFs can cause these unhealthy effects.


One way that EMFs are observed to influence human biochemistry is that they activate voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs). These channels regulate the amount of calcium taken in by multiple types of cells throughout our bodies. A disruption in the delicate intracellular balance of calcium to other ions can in turn wreak havoc on key physiological processes.


“VGCC activation has been shown to have a universal or near universal role in the release of neurotransmitters in the brain and also in the release of hormones by neuroendocrine cells…Both the high VGCC density and their function in neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine release throughout the nervous system suggests that the nervous system is likely to be highly sensitive to low intensity EMFs.“


You’re probably familiar with some of the most well-known neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. A proper balance of these chemicals is vital to a healthy and stable mood, good sleep, motivation, ability to focus, and calming of anxiety.


If these chemical signals are released in the wrong amounts, mind-states like depression or anxiety can become the new normal for us, regardless of how stable our lives are. This is especially true for children and the iGen generation, who are constantly connected to technology in a very vulnerable and developmental period in their lives. Read more about the increase in mental illnesses in kids and teens in our blog post about mental health and technology addiction.


Another neurotransmitter, melatonin, is responsible for regulating our sleep-wake rhythms. It has been established that EMF exposure suppresses the secretion of melatonin by the brain’s pineal gland. As referenced by the cohort study, research from multiple sources shows a relationship between low amounts of melatonin and greater incidence of depression.


EMFs have also been shown to cause unhelpful changes to the central and peripheral nervous system in rodents. In this case, two major tissues that are adversely affected are the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, which have the important role of synthesizing and releasing various hormones that are needed for regulating growth, body temperature, hunger/thirst, parental instincts, metabolism, and attachment behaviors.


That isn’t even an exhaustive list.


What’s more, research says that while EMF-related neurological damage is (for the most part) reversible, it may become permanent with chronic, prolonged exposure. ....

Relationship between the Manner of Mobile Phone Use and Depression, Anxiety, and Stress in University Students

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The results indicated that the intensity and modality of mobile phone use could be a factor that can influence causal pathways leading to mental health problems in the university student population.

Drugs Masquerading As Foods: Deliciously Killing American-Afrikans & All Peoples. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)




As Foods

Deliciously Killing

American-Afrikans &

All Peoples

Silent, deadly, delicious. Drugfoods kill over 240,000 Americans every 2 months from degenerative diseases they cause, accounting for more than 2/3 of U.S. deaths! Blacks lead the nation in mortality rates from drugfood diseases! Sickness, not Health, is a Trillion dollar-a-year industry in America. And you, yes YOU are a Drugfood Addict! Among other vital things, this life-saving book identifies The Five Fatal Foremost Traits of Killer Drugfoods and just which "foods" are really Drugs Masquerading as Foods, killing us slowly, little by little, with each delicious bite!







Never in history has the route to

Disease & Death been so pleasurable!

Drugs Masquerading As Foods

Delicious slow death. There are worse ways to exit!

Find out what these culprits (kill-prits)

are and save yo self!



"They look so innocent,

they taste so good,

they are attractively packaged,

they are gloriously advertised,

they are deceptively

presented to us as food.

We buy them and eat them,

believing they are food.

They are not food.

They are deadly highly addictive

Drugs Masquerading as Foods.

Filling our supermarkets,

crowding our cabinets,

dominating our refrigerators.

We eat the so-called food

but really, the food is eating us,

killing us by degrees,

little by little

with each delicious bite!"







Dr. S. Epps, N.D., D.M.


Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2017 by Suzar (Dr. S. Epps)

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work in

any form, without permission in writing from the publisher,

except for brief passages in articles and reviews.

The clip-art is used with permission and is © 1996

by The Learning Company & its licensors.

Written, designed & partly illustrated by Suzar.

First Printing, First Edition, September 1999.

Printed in the United States of America.

The information contained herein is for education,

not medical advice or prescriptions.

ISBN: 0-9675394-0-4

Published by

A-Kar Productions

What Is Harm Reduction? - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

What Is Harm Reduction? 

Harm reduction is a set of practices and strategies that aim to reduce negative consequences or harm associated with the use of drugs.

- Solutions Recovery

Psychiatric Effects of Toxic Exposures. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)


Psychiatric effects of environmental and chemical toxins were described in the medical literature as early as 1850 and were compiled in a monograph in 2002, with updates in 2007 and 2013.1-3 In the 21st century there has been, sadly, no shortage of victims of environmental disasters to assess and treat according to guidelines presented in this Special Report.


In his article, “Understanding the Link Between Lead Toxicity and ADHD,” Joel Nigg, MD, discusses assessment of lead toxicity in children. He points out that levels above 5 µg/dL require clinical interventions and that levels lower than 1 µg/dL have been associated with behavioral problems.



The importance of this finding is reflected by the recent Flint, Michigan, drinking water crisis in which 99,000 residents were potentially exposed to lead-contaminated water between 2014 and 2015. Two studies have since confirmed that the incidence of elevated lead levels in children younger than 6 years has nearly doubled since the contamination.4,5 Research trends highlight the possible role of prenatal lead exposure in adult-onset schizophrenia; the association of adult lead levels with mental disorders; and the cause of mental disturbances by unexpected lead sources, including so-called “moonshine.”6-8


Illicit drugs continue to pose severe risks for behavioral changes from neurotoxicity as described in “Neurobiology and Clinical Manifestations of Methamphetamine Neurotoxicity” by Anna Moszczynska, PhD. Illicit drugs such as “ecstasy” are often adulterated with methamphetamine. Solvent abuse that results in altered mental status and potentially lethal physical abnormalities remains a frequent presentation in the emergency setting. Occupational exposure to various solvents also results in neuropsychiatric injury, often referred to as “chronic solvent encephalopathy.” Contaminants including thallium or infectious agents such as anthrax can be consumed with illicit drugs. Methamphetamines are also considered an “emerging contaminant” of water, a term that describes the growing numbers of toxins that enter the human environment—especially surface water.


As Dan Rossignol, MD, and Richard Frye, MD, PhD, point out in “Environmental Toxicants and Autism Spectrum Disorder,” a growing body of scientific literature associates symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with environmental toxin exposure, including exposures from contaminants in herbal remedies. Indeed, the most recent reports confirm that exposure to heavy metals (especially during fetal growth), polychlorinated biphenyls, bisphenol A, and organophosphate pesticides is associated with increased risk not only of ASD but also ADHD.....

Blood lead levels and major depressive disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder in U.S. young adults

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)


In this sample of young adults with low levels of lead exposure, higher blood lead was associated with increased odds of major depression and panic disorder. Exposure to lead at levels generally considered safe could result in adverse mental health outcomes.

Motivating the Negative Nancy on Your Team. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)



Her bad attitude left us feeling like we were running on a hamster wheel, drained from trying to please someone who couldn’t be pleased -- with no end in sight. As the motivation waned, the work suffered. Finally the issue had to be addressed for the team's productivity.


That was the first time I experienced how contagious negativity can be in the workplace. It can spread like wildfire and affect everyone, including customers. If a pessimistic employee is stifling company productivity, address the issue as soon as possible.

“Allowing [negativity] to fester is much more costly and damaging to an organization’s bottom line than confronting or possibly replacing a single toxic employee,” said president and CEO of Fierce Inc. Halley Bock in a statement. “Organizations must foster employee- and company-level accountability by addressing attitudinal issues as soon as they arise.”


After detecting negativity in an organization, take these steps to nip it in the bud before it spreads throughout the office:


Related: Ignoring Employee Morale Will Cost You. Here's the Solution.


1. Identify the negative behavior. Recognize bad attitudes and negativity and identify the individual involved after receiving a tip or spotting something.


2. Confront the person. Develop a plan to address the individual in a calm, private setting. Set aside enough time to discuss the situation in detail. There may be a reason or a trigger for this behavior.


3. Reinforce positive behavior. During the discussion, set goals for change and even play out scenarios. Listen to the employee’s thoughts and ideas about the situation and emphasize the need for a positive attitude moving forward.


4. Follow up. Schedule a meeting to discuss the individual’s progress. Recognize and praise positive improvements and attitude.


5. Set a good example. The manager should demonstrate positive behavior for staff members -- even on the cloudiest of days. Remind them that problems and setbacks are an inevitable part of business, but each one can serve as a learning experience.


6. Invest in positivity. Boost the positivity quotient in the office by fostering programs or activities that will make staffers happy, such as potlucks, games and employee-of-the-month recognitions. Promote physical and mental health by funding employee-fitness programs, planning office yoga classes or creating work spaces with natural light.


Even the most positive person can have a bad day, and it’s not uncommon for co-workers with different backgrounds, beliefs and behaviors to have an occasional personality clash. But letting a Negative Nancy disturb the attitudes and work of others can be extremely detrimental to business productivity. The key is addressing the issue quickly and promoting positivity and happiness throughout the workplace. .....

Spiritual Recovery: Are You Suffering From Nature Deficit Disorder but Didn't Know It? - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Spiritual Recovery:

Are You Suffering From Nature Deficit Disorder but Didn't Know It? 

Explore this and other possible tools for your path of recovery at: 


Harm Reduction Club

For additional information, use the text messaging service


Why Nature Is Therapeutic | CRC Health Group. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

There is a strong body of research confirming that direct contact with nature increases mental health and psychological and spiritual development.

How air pollution alters brain development: the role of neuroinflammation

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The present review synthesizes lines of emerging evidence showing how several samples of children populations living in large cities around the world suffer to some degree neural, behavioral and cognitive changes associated with air pollution exposure. The breakdown of natural barriers warding against the entry of toxic particles, including the nasal, gut and lung epithelial barriers, as well as widespread breakdown of the blood-brain barrier facilitatethe passage of airborne pollutants into the body of young urban residents. Extensive neuroinflammation contributes to cell loss within the central nervous system, and likely is a crucial mechanism by which cognitive deficits may arise. Although subtle, neurocognitive effects of air pollution are substantial, apparent across all populations, and potentially clinically relevant as early evidence of evolving neurodegenerative changes. The diffuse nature of the neuroinflammation risk suggests an integrated neuroscientific approach incorporating current clinical, cognitive, neurophysiological, radiological and epidemiologic research. Neuropediatric air pollution research requires extensive multidisciplinary collaborations to accomplish the goal of protecting exposed children through multidimensional interventions having both broad impact and reach. While intervening by improving environmental quality at a global scale is imperative, we also need to devise efficient strategies on how the neurocognitive effects on local pediatric populations should be monitored.


Keywords: Air pollution, Child brain development, Children's health, Early prevention and intervention, Neurodegeneration, Neuroinflammation, Public health


Clean air is critical for children′s health and well-being. Megacities around the world exceed the standards for air pollutants and many samples from children populations are showing an array of adverse short and long-term health outcomes, which include some of the most detrimental effects on brain development [1-3]. However, for the most part, current research and policy efforts link air pollution to respiratory and cardiovascular disease [4], and the effects on children’s central nervous system (CNS) are still not broadly recognized. As a result, wide reaching public health initiatives targeting pediatric populations are still considered premature or unwarranted. One of the goals of this review is to show that contrary to a hesitant approach, there is enough evidence supporting the perspective that air pollution brain effects on children should be one of the main public health targets linked with policies that are in the purview of the broader issue of global climate change.


In this paper, we briefly review current air pollutant standards, followed by experimental, clinical, epidemiologic and pathology studies associating air pollution exposures with children′s brain effects. This overview puts forward common denominators for the biological pathways linking air pollution to negative effects on the developing brain (Fig. 1). Then, we turn to outstanding challenges facing the development of dynamic and reciprocal intervention strategies aimed at children exposed to high levels of air pollution. Such challenges include the issues of how to establish links with the current mainstream concepts of cognition and neurodevelopment with the systemic biological and anatomical effects of air pollution, as well as the issues surrounding the formulation of strategies to study seemingly clinically healthy children exposed to air pollutants. Our goal is to provide sufficient evidence to justify the proposal of structured intervention strategies.....

Smog in our brains: Researchers are identifying startling connections between air pollution and decreased cognition and well-being.

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)


That yellow haze of smog hovering over the skyline isn't just a stain on the view. It may also leave a mark on your mind.


Researchers have known since the 1970s that high levels of air pollution can harm both cardiovascular and respiratory health, increasing the risk of early death from heart and lung diseases. The effect of air pollution on cognition and mental well-being, however, has been less well understood. Now, evidence is mounting that dirty air is bad for your brain as well.


Over the past decade, researchers have found that high levels of air pollution may damage children's cognitive abilities, increase adults' risk of cognitive decline and possibly even contribute to depression.


"This should be taken seriously," says Paul Mohai, PhD, a professor in the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and the Environment who has studied the link between air pollution and academic performance in children. "I don't think the issue has gotten the visibility it deserves."


Cognitive connections

Most research on air pollution has focused on a type of pollutant known as fine particulate matter. These tiny particles — 1/30th the width of a human hair — are spewed by power plants, factories, cars and trucks. Due to its known cardiovascular effects, particulate matter is one of six principal pollutants for which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established air quality standards.


It now seems likely that the harmful effects of particulate matter go beyond vascular damage. Jennifer Weuve, MPH, ScD, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Rush Medical College, found that older women who had been exposed to high levels of the pollutant experienced greater cognitive decline compared with other women their age (Archives of Internal Medicine, 2012). Weuve's team gathered data from the Nurses' Health Study Cognitive Cohort, a population that included more than 19,000 women across the United States, age 70 to 81. Using the women's address history, Weuve and her colleagues estimated their exposure to particulate matter over the previous seven to 14 years. The researchers found that long-term exposure to high levels of the pollution significantly worsened the women's cognitive decline, as measured by tests of cognitive skill.


Weuve and her colleagues investigated exposure to both fine particulate matter (the smallest particles, less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) and coarse particulate matter (larger particles ranging from 2.5 to 10 micrometers in size).


"The conventional wisdom is that coarse particles aren't as important as fine particles" when it comes to human health, Weuve says. Previous studies in animals and human cadavers had shown that the smaller particles can more easily penetrate the body's defenses. "They can cross from the lung to the blood and, in some cases, travel up the axon of the olfactory nerve into the brain," she says. But Weuve's study held a surprise. She found that exposure to both fine and coarse particulate was associated with cognitive decline.


Weuve's results square with those of a similar study by Melinda Power, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology and environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Power and her colleagues studied the link between black carbon — a type of particulate matter associated with diesel exhaust, a source of fine particles — and cognition in 680 older men in Boston (Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011). "Black carbon is essentially soot," Power says.


Power's team used black carbon exposure as a proxy for measuring overall traffic-related pollution. They estimated each man's black carbon exposure by cross-referencing their addresses with an established model that provides daily estimates of black carbon concentrations throughout the Boston area. Much like Weuve's results in older women, Power and colleagues found that men exposed to high levels of black carbon had reduced cognitive performance, equivalent to aging by about two years, as compared with men who'd had less black carbon exposure.


But while black carbon is a convenient marker of air pollution, it's too soon to say that it's what's causing the cognitive changes, Power says. "The problem is there are a lot of other things associated with traffic — noise, gases — so we can't say from this study that it's the particulate part of the air pollution that matters."


Still, the cumulative results of these studies suggest that air pollution deserves closer scrutiny as a risk factor for cognitive impairment and perhaps dementia.


"Many dementias are often preceded by a long period of cognitive decline. But we don't know very much about how to prevent or delay dementia," Weuve says. If it turns out that air pollution does contribute to cognitive decline and the onset of dementia, the finding could offer a tantalizing new way to think about preventing disease. "Air pollution is something that we can intervene on as a society at large, through technology, regulation and policy," she says.


Young minds

Research is also finding air-pollution-related harms to children's cognition. Shakira Franco Suglia, ScD, an assistant professor at Boston University's School of Public Health, and colleagues followed more than 200 Boston children from birth to an average age of 10. They found that kids exposed to greater levels of black carbon scored worse on tests of memory and verbal and nonverbal IQ (American Journal of Epidemiology, 2008).


More recently, Frederica Perera, DrPH, at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and colleagues followed children in New York City from before birth to age 6 or 7. They discovered that children who had been exposed to higher levels of urban air pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons while in utero were more likely to experience attention problems and symptoms of anxiety and depression (Environmental Health Perspectives, 2012). These widespread chemicals are a byproduct of burning fossil fuels.


Meanwhile Mohai, at the University of Michigan, found that Michigan public schools located in areas with the highest industrial pollution levels had the lowest attendance rates and the greatest percentage of students who failed to meet state testing standards, even after controlling for socioeconomic differences and other confounding factors (Health Affairs, 2011). What's worse, the researchers analyzed the distribution of the state's public schools and found that nearly two-thirds were located in the more-polluted areas of their districts. Only about half of states have environmental quality policies for schools, Mohai says, "and those that do may not go far enough. More attention needs to be given to this issue."


Although Michigan and Massachusetts may experience areas of poor air quality, their pollution problems pale in comparison to those of Mexico City, for example. In a series of studies, Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MD, PhD, a neuropathologist at the University of Montana and the National Institute of Pediatrics in Mexico City, has investigated the neurological effects of the city's infamous smog.


In early investigations, Calderón-Garcidueñas dissected the brains of dogs that had been exposed to air pollution of Mexico City and compared them with the brains of dogs from a less-polluted city. She found the Mexico City dogs' brains showed increased inflammation and pathology including amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, clumps of proteins that serve as a primary marker for Alzheimer's disease in humans (Toxicologic Pathology, 2003).


In follow-up research, Calderón-Garcidueñas turned her attention to Mexico's children. In one study, she examined 55 kids from Mexico City and 18 from the less-polluted city of Polotitlán. Magnetic resonance imagining scans revealed that the children exposed to urban pollution were significantly more likely to have brain inflammation and damaged tissue in the prefrontal cortex. Neuroinflammation, Calderón-Garcidueñas explains, disrupts the blood-brain barrier and is a key factor in many central nervous system disorders, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Perhaps more troubling, though, the differences between the two groups of children weren't just anatomical. Compared with kids from cleaner Polotitlán, the Mexico City children scored lower on tests of memory, cognition and intelligence (Brain and Cognition, 2008).


Brain changes

It's becoming clearer that air pollution affects the brain, but plenty of questions remain. Randy Nelson, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at the Ohio State University, is using mouse studies to find some answers. With his doctoral student Laura Fonken and colleagues, he exposed mice to high levels of fine particulate air pollution five times a week, eight hours a day, to mimic the exposure a human commuter might receive if he or she lived in the suburbs and worked in a smoggy city (Molecular Psychiatry, 2011). After 10 months, they found that the mice that had been exposed to polluted air took longer to learn a maze task and made more mistakes than mice that had not breathed in the pollution.


Nelson also found that the pollutant-exposed mice showed signs of the rodent equivalent of depression. Mice said to express depressive-like symptoms give up swimming more quickly in a forced swim test and stop sipping sugar water that they normally find attractive. Both behaviors can be reversed with antidepressants. Nelson found that mice exposed to the polluted air scored higher on tests of depressive-like responses.


To find out more about the underlying cause of those behavioral changes, Nelson compared the brains of mice that had been exposed to dirty air with brains of mice that hadn't. He found a number of striking differences. For starters, mice exposed to particulate matter had increased levels of cytokines in the brain. (Cytokines are cell-signaling molecules that regulate the body's inflammatory response.) That wasn't entirely surprising, since previous studies investigating the cardiovascular effects of air pollution on mice had found widespread bodily inflammation in mice exposed to the pollution.


More surprisingly, Nelson also discovered physical changes to the nerve cells in the mouse hippocampus, a region known to play a role in spatial memory. Exposed mice had fewer spines on the tips of the neurons in this brain region. "Those [spines] form the connections to other cells," Nelson says. "So you have less dendritic complexity, and that's usually correlated with a poorer memory."


The changes are alarming and surprising, he says. "I never thought we'd actually see changes in brain structure.

Spiritual Recovery: It's true: The sound of nature helps us relax. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) found that playing 'natural sounds' affected the bodily systems that control the flight-or-fright and rest-digest autonomic nervous systems, with associated effects in the resting activity of the brain. While naturalistic sounds and 'green' environments have frequently been linked with promoting relaxation and wellbeing, until now there has been no scientific consensus as to how these effects come about. The study has been published in Scientific Reports.


The lead author, Dr Cassandra Gould van Praag said, "We are all familiar with the feeling of relaxation and 'switching-off' which comes from a walk in the countryside, and now we have evidence from the brain and the body which helps us understand this effect. This has been an exciting collaboration between artists and scientists, and it has produced results which may have a real-world impact, particularly for people who are experiencing high levels of stress."


In collaboration with audio visual artist Mark Ware, the team at BSMS conducted an experiment where participants listened to sounds recorded from natural and artificial environments, while their brain activity was measured in an MRI scanner, and their autonomic nervous system activity was monitored via minute changes in heart rate. The team found that activity in the default mode network of the brain (a collection of areas which are active when we are resting) was different depending on the sounds playing in the background:


When listening to natural sounds, the brain connectivity reflected an outward-directed focus of attention; when listening to artificial sounds, the brain connectivity reflected an inward-directed focus of attention, similar to states observed in anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. There was also an increase in rest-digest nervous system activity (associated with relaxation of the body) when listening to natural compared with artificial sounds, and better performance in an external attentional monitoring task.


Interestingly, the amount of change in nervous system activity was dependant on the participants' baseline state: Individuals who showed evidence of the greatest stress before starting the experiment showed the greatest bodily relaxation when listening to natural sounds, while those who were already relaxed in the brain scanner environment showed a slight increase in stress when listening to natural compared with artificial sounds.


The study of environmental exposure effects is of growing interest in physical and mental health settings, and greatly influences issues of public health and town planning. This research is first to present an integrated behavioural, physiological and brain exploration of this topic.

Spiritual Recovery: The Magic of Pranic Healing. - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)


Vagabond Temple

chakras,energy, growth, healing, prana, self-development, spirituality | Healing, Life

What is energy healing?

Imagine if you understood the subtle laws of the universe and the subtle laws of energy – the subtle laws of life itself. Many great minds and souls have searched for these mysterious laws in their quest for the truth about who we really are, what we are truly made of and our place in the universe. Pranic Healing is a system of energy healing that enables us to understand and tap into these laws, and into the very fabric of our existence – Universal Life Force Energy. It is an internationally renowned, non-religious, touch-free, drug-free healing therapy developed by Grand Master Choa Kok Sui in 1987, after over twenty years of research. More than just a form of therapy, Pranic Healing is a practice of wholesome living using the knowledge of subtle energies. Through training in Pranic Healing, you will learn how humans can harness these energies for healing, manifestation and spiritual growth.

Pranic Healing is often called the “Science of Healing” as it uses validated and tested methods and protocols to ensure a rapid and safe recovery. Many people from all walks of lives have experienced and benefited from Pranic Healing worldwide, with testimonials proving its effectiveness in dealing with a wide range of ailments. Several hospitals – including California Neurosurgery Hospital and Apollo Hospitals all over India – use Pranic Healing to complement their medical services.


How does it work?

Our beings are not just our physical bodies. There is an energy field around every one of us that keep us healthy and alive, in the same way that a cellphone is dependent on its battery for life.


When this luminous energy field is contaminated and damaged, it causes sickness and pain. Anything that disturbs us – from bad weather and improper hygiene to stress, fear and frustrations – affects the energy field, making it dimmer, imbalanced and dirty. In the long run, this contamination manifests as discomfort, physical and psychological problems.


To remain healthy and happy, we need to take good care of our energetic body and its energy centers, commonly known as the chakras. That’s where energy healing comes in.


Pranic Healing provides thorough explanations of the aura, chakras and their functions, in addition to techniques for cleansing, energizing and rebalancing them in order to improve physical and psychological conditions. Using Prana to balance, harmonize and transform the body’s energy improves health by accelerating the rate of self-healing in the physical human body.


The Prana or Life Force used to balance the bodily functions has many different names in different traditions and culture. In Chinese it is called Chi, in Japanese Ki. In Pneuma and in Polynesian, it is called Mana.

What are the benefits of practicing Pranic Healing?

Clarity of mind, clear and speedy decision making

Better memory and concentration

Improved efficiency and productivity at work

Harmonious relationships with family and colleagues

Inner peace, happiness and tolerance

Improved IQ, EQ and SQ

Improved self-esteem

More energy and stamina and a strong immune system

An overall sense of well-being and improved health

Sonic Yogi: Can frequencies heal? - Bright Star Apothecary Harm Reduction Initiative Research

Posted on January 26, 2020 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

In my view, there are two ways to approach, or interpret, the term "sound healing”. In a broad sense “healing” might refer to any therapy that can help one to feel whole and complete again. When one is stressed the mind and body can feel fractured. Sounds and frequencies can be a great help in returning to a state of relaxation and wholeness.

432hz is the pitch of A in a tuning that is also called Pythagorean Tuning. In music there is generally a standard pitch that musicians tune to. This allows musicians to always know what tuning to take, so that they can play in tune to each other. The standard tuning today is generally at 440hz or 440 cycles per second. 440hz is the note of A.


432 is the note of A (just like 440hz), but is 8hz lower that the standard that we are used to hearing. While this is a very close and may be hardly noticeable, some interesting numerical patterns begin to emerge at this tuning. First in the tuning of 432 many of the various notes are numerically even. Meaning they don’t contain decimals. So, the A 432 tuning is generally referred to as being more harmonic. There is a lot debate about 432 being more harmonic or having a different effect on the listener than 440, but this is still interesting to note.


When I play guitar I generally tune in 432, and I also play Native American flutes tuned in 432. I also like experiment with other tunings and frequencies to see what might resonate with me.


Healing Frequencies and Pythagoras:

So, back to 432 and Pythagorean tuning. Pythagoras, more widely known as the father of geometry could also be credited as pioneer in music as well. Pythagoras was the first to discover that changing the length of a vibrating string also altered its pitch, and that various ratios of those string lengths created harmonic, relationships. For example, Pythagoras noticed that when a string was halved it produced a tone an octave higher than the original length. So the different string lengths or ratios give us the intervals in music that we are used to hearing everyday. We attribute this discovery to Pythagoras.


Pythagoras also believed that sounds could heal. Pythagoras taught students about divine harmony, and the harmony of the planets. Pythagoras believed that sounds and certain intervals could heal the soul, and that music could purify the mind. Pythagoras life and discoveries are fascinating and I will explore more in another post.


About the frequencies listed:

The chart above is a frequency chart of in Pythagorean Tuning. A healing frequencies list of Pythagorean tuning. The grid is created starting at 1 and creating a row across in 3’s and a column created vertically by doubling by 2’s. The grid that is formed that contains the frequencies of various pitches C G D A etc. This cycle of notes is know as the circle of fifths. In this grid, 432 is the pitch for A that naturally emerges. A is commonly used as a reference pitch for tuning. This “A” note is what the term 432 tuning refers to, as you can see in the frequency chart above.


In the A column of this grid there are also other interesting numbers that emerge. Like the number 108 which occurs frequently in yogic practice. You’ve probably heard of the practice of completing 108 Sun salutations. 108 is also the number of Mala beads on a meditation necklace. The wrist bands usually have 27 beads, which is also another octave of A, and I believe that the rosary has 54 beads. It is also interesting that every octave of A in the 432 tuning adds up to equal 9.


In fact, every number on this grid is a factor of 9!


In this same grid there other numbers emerge like 144 which appears in many sacred texts (that is a D note), and also 186644 which is very close to the speed of light. That is an F# note..


There are also some interesting videos on youtube, which I will create links to. As a small disclaimer, I will say that don’t necessarily agree with all of the content of these, but they are great for spurring thought and further research into some of these connections.