My post for the Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT” is this year’s theme.

Do you like to read and/or write: mysteries, fantasy, science-fiction, romance, children’s, young adult (YA) or any combination of these? Genre is what we call those types of stories and novels, and if you say “YES!” then this Blog Tour is for YOU! Visit, read, comment, LIKE, share, reblog!

My “COMFORT” post appears today, on Sept. 27, so visit other sites, below, also!

THE COMFORT THAT COMES FROM WRITING AND READING
UTOPIAN SPECULATIVE FICTION

by Sally Ember, Ed.D., author of The Spanners Series ebooks, blogger and host of CHANGES, almost-weekly Google + Hangout On Air (HOA)

When I’m discouraged, disheartened, heartbroken, experiencing achingly painful unrequited love, unemployed, displaced, uprooted, tired, in physical pain, lonely, confused, disempowered and in despair about the state of world affairs, our climate and so much more, what do I do? I write my way out of this mess into my imagined (and actual, according to multiverse theories) utopian near-futures in The Spanners Series ebooks (full-length novels) and short stories.

Why be “here” when I can be in a better “there”?

logoAuthorsDen

Some of the themes and problems I “tackle” and “solve” or at least improve via my plotting in The Spanners Series via extraordinary applications of science, intervention of the paranormal, including the newly or not-yet invented and/or the embellished, are:

  • homophobia/heterosexism and gender biases due to intolerance and ignorance of actual diversity in sexual orientation and gender identities
  • violence, depression, and anti-social tendencies caused/fueled by excesses of testosterone and other imbalances in body/brain chemistry
  • species-ism and the inability of humans to communicate well with and respect other species (on Earth and elsewhere)
  • habits of thinking that embed humans in linearity, singularity and other mistakes due to misunderstandings of physics and/or lack of knowledge of simultaneous time and the multiverse
  • motion/travel sickness and altitude sickness
  • political corruption and inappropriate, sociopathic leaders in positions of power and authority
  • greed and unequal distributions of all finite and necessary resources
  • unequal access to education, health care, housing, training and opportunities
  • inability to recognize and honor multiple forms of intelligence, talent and usefulness among individuals of many species, especially humans
  • intolerance and hatred due to limited or incorrect understanding of facts (of origins, science, truth) and lack of acceptance of differences in beliefs and values that inspires violent attempts to stay entrenched despite evidence to the contrary
  • fear-based decision-making and false narrowing of options due to willful or accidental ignorance of choices
  • and even more.

    It is SO MUCH FUN as well as comforting to write my way out of difficulties we face into better circumstances, situations and experiences.

    Or, if I’m not in the mood to write, then I go searching for others’ “solutions.” I need to read some stories with a “happy ending” or immerse myself in other uplifting genre or humorous modern fiction to COMFORT my spirit during these awful times. Fiction’s positive possibilities are endless: the love is sublime, the heroes and “good” guys/women prevail, the “bad” guys/women are caught/stopped. Aaahh.

    hope love and happy endings

    image from: http://hopelovehappyendings.blogspot.com

    I rely on getting to the beneficial outcomes: all is made right by the last page (or as right as it can be). I sigh with contentment, relief, happiness as I read/write.

    What about you? What in your writing and reading comforts YOU? What do you look for in genre fiction to soothe your spirit?

    Leave comments and suggestions here, please! And, don’t forget to visit and comment on the other sites’ posts in this blog hop tour! Thanks!

    Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT” is this year’s theme.

    GSRG-blog-hop-Sept

    TOUR DATES and SITES
    (Posts are still LIVE or available in archives on and after the listed date, so visit any time!)

    September 23http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com

    September 24https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/387792.Marilyn_Peake/blog
    http://www.marilynpeake.com

    September 25http://rjcrayton.com/blog

    September 26http://www.susandayauthor.com

    September 27http://www.sallyember.com/blog
    http://michelle-abbott.weebly.com/

My post for the Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT” is this year’s theme.

Do you like to read and/or write: mysteries, fantasy, science-fiction, romance, children’s, young adult (YA) or any combination of these? Genre is what we call those types of stories and novels, and if you say “YES!” then this Blog Tour is for YOU! Visit, read, comment, LIKE, share, reblog!

My “COMFORT” post appears today, on Sept. 27, so visit other sites, below, also!

THE COMFORT THAT COMES FROM WRITING AND READING
UTOPIAN SPECULATIVE FICTION

by Sally Ember, Ed.D., author of The Spanners Series ebooks, blogger and host of CHANGES, almost-weekly Google + Hangout On Air (HOA)

When I’m discouraged, disheartened, heartbroken, experiencing achingly painful unrequited love, unemployed, displaced, uprooted, tired, in physical pain, lonely, confused, disempowered and in despair about the state of world affairs, our climate and so much more, what do I do? I write my way out of this mess into my imagined (and actual, according to multiverse theories) utopian near-futures in The Spanners Series ebooks (full-length novels) and short stories.

Why be “here” when I can be in a better “there”?

logoAuthorsDen

Some of the themes and problems I “tackle” and “solve” or at least improve via my plotting in The Spanners Series via extraordinary applications of science, intervention of the paranormal, including the newly or not-yet invented and/or the embellished, are:

  • homophobia/heterosexism and gender biases due to intolerance and ignorance of actual diversity in sexual orientation and gender identities
  • violence, depression, and anti-social tendencies caused/fueled by excesses of testosterone and other imbalances in body/brain chemistry
  • species-ism and the inability of humans to communicate well with and respect other species (on Earth and elsewhere)
  • habits of thinking that embed humans in linearity, singularity and other mistakes due to misunderstandings of physics and/or lack of knowledge of simultaneous time and the multiverse
  • motion/travel sickness and altitude sickness
  • political corruption and inappropriate, sociopathic leaders in positions of power and authority
  • greed and unequal distributions of all finite and necessary resources
  • unequal access to education, health care, housing, training and opportunities
  • inability to recognize and honor multiple forms of intelligence, talent and usefulness among individuals of many species, especially humans
  • intolerance and hatred due to limited or incorrect understanding of facts (of origins, science, truth) and lack of acceptance of differences in beliefs and values that inspires violent attempts to stay entrenched despite evidence to the contrary
  • fear-based decision-making and false narrowing of options due to willful or accidental ignorance of choices
  • and even more.

    It is SO MUCH FUN as well as comforting to write my way out of difficulties we face into better circumstances, situations and experiences.

    Or, if I’m not in the mood to write, then I go searching for others’ “solutions.” I need to read some stories with a “happy ending” or immerse myself in other uplifting genre or humorous modern fiction to COMFORT my spirit during these awful times. Fiction’s positive possibilities are endless: the love is sublime, the heroes and “good” guys/women prevail, the “bad” guys/women are caught/stopped. Aaahh.

    hope love and happy endings

    image from: http://hopelovehappyendings.blogspot.com

    I rely on getting to the beneficial outcomes: all is made right by the last page (or as right as it can be). I sigh with contentment, relief, happiness as I read/write.

    What about you? What in your writing and reading comforts YOU? What do you look for in genre fiction to soothe your spirit?

    Leave comments and suggestions here, please! And, don’t forget to visit and comment on the other sites’ posts in this blog hop tour! Thanks!

    Goodreads’ Genre-Specific Review Group’s Fall 2014 Blog Hop Tour: “COMFORT” is this year’s theme.

    GSRG-blog-hop-Sept

    TOUR DATES and SITES
    (Posts are still LIVE or available in archives on and after the listed date, so visit any time!)

    September 23http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com

    September 24https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/387792.Marilyn_Peake/blog
    http://www.marilynpeake.com

    September 25http://rjcrayton.com/blog

    September 26http://www.susandayauthor.com

    September 27http://www.sallyember.com/blog
    http://michelle-abbott.weebly.com/

“Actualists” vs. “Realists”: The Evolution of Modern #Fiction thanks to #Quantum #Physics

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not read the book, FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE, being reviewed in the blog post I am quoting, written by Marti. I probably won’t.

quantum-fiction cover

But, I’m fascinated by the topic, which relates directly to my own writing and choices in The Spanners Series ebooks and appreciate her review and snippets enormously.

logoAuthorsDen

I’m sharing some of Marti’s review, linking to her blog (below) and commenting here on mine.

Of course, I encourage anyone interested to read the full review AND read Susan Strehle’s book. Some day, I will.

FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE by Susan Strehle

Reviewed by Marti on What has Been Read Cannot Be Unread book blog

9/15/14

Marti characterizes this as an “interesting but academic book” which is hard to argue with, for sure. Her summary of Strehle’s premise is: “a new fiction has developed from the influence of modern physics.”

I LOVE this idea! As a new-ish speculative fiction writer (This Changes Everything, Volume I, and This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, published as ebooks, so far) who would definitely fit into this category, I’m glad to have these choices honored and recognized as parts of a trend.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

final cover print

Strehle calls this new fiction actualism, which I like as a term. However, I don’t like her positioning realism as its opposite, since Buddhists and quantum physicists all realize that NOTHING is “REAL” in the sense of the word as we currently know it.

Marti writes that Strehle claims we actualists are writing the way we do “in order to reflect more accurately what we now understand as real.”

This I do agree with. For example, I am choosing to write my novels in the present tense (which aggravates and confounds many readers and reviewers; too bad) to emphasize the simultaneity of time and the “nowness” of everything. I also write about the existence of multiple timelines and some people’s abilities to know facts, events, circumstances, etc., across these timelines in the multiverse. How would I and and other sci-fi writers be doing this without the influences of quantum physics?

I adore these quotes from Marti’s review, some of which are double quoted, since they’re from the book:

[Strehle] says that in the new physical or quantum universe, reality is discontinuous, energetic, relative, statistical, subjectively seen, and uncertainly known — all terms taken from new physics, and that rather than choosing between art and actuality, contemporary novelists pursue both in fiction.

“Contemporary fiction departs from realism without losing interest in reality. Reality is no longer realistic; it has more energy and mystery, rendering the observer’s position more uncertain and more involved.”

Actualist fiction is characterized by incompletions, indeterminacy, and “open” endings unsatisfying to the readerly wish for fulfilled promises and completed patterns. Gravity’s Rainbow [by Thomas Pynchon], for example, ends not with a period but with a dash. Strehle argues that such innovations in narrative reflect on twentieth-century history, politics, science, and discourse.

Read Marti’s full review by following the link, here, and read Strehle’s book by following her links to it or getting it from your local library. Enjoy!

http://whathasbeenread.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/fiction-in-the-quantum-universe-by-susan-strehle/

“Actualists” vs. “Realists”: The Evolution of Modern #Fiction thanks to #Quantum #Physics

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not read the book, FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE, being reviewed in the blog post I am quoting, written by Marti. I probably won’t.

quantum-fiction cover

But, I’m fascinated by the topic, which relates directly to my own writing and choices in The Spanners Series ebooks and appreciate her review and snippets enormously.

logoAuthorsDen

I’m sharing some of Marti’s review, linking to her blog (below) and commenting here on mine.

Of course, I encourage anyone interested to read the full review AND read Susan Strehle’s book. Some day, I will.

FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE by Susan Strehle

Reviewed by Marti on What has Been Read Cannot Be Unread book blog

9/15/14

Marti characterizes this as an “interesting but academic book” which is hard to argue with, for sure. Her summary of Strehle’s premise is: “a new fiction has developed from the influence of modern physics.”

I LOVE this idea! As a new-ish speculative fiction writer (This Changes Everything, Volume I, and This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, published as ebooks, so far) who would definitely fit into this category, I’m glad to have these choices honored and recognized as parts of a trend.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

final cover print

Strehle calls this new fiction actualism, which I like as a term. However, I don’t like her positioning realism as its opposite, since Buddhists and quantum physicists all realize that NOTHING is “REAL” in the sense of the word as we currently know it.

Marti writes that Strehle claims we actualists are writing the way we do “in order to reflect more accurately what we now understand as real.”

This I do agree with. For example, I am choosing to write my novels in the present tense (which aggravates and confounds many readers and reviewers; too bad) to emphasize the simultaneity of time and the “nowness” of everything. I also write about the existence of multiple timelines and some people’s abilities to know facts, events, circumstances, etc., across these timelines in the multiverse. How would I and and other sci-fi writers be doing this without the influences of quantum physics?

I adore these quotes from Marti’s review, some of which are double quoted, since they’re from the book:

[Strehle] says that in the new physical or quantum universe, reality is discontinuous, energetic, relative, statistical, subjectively seen, and uncertainly known — all terms taken from new physics, and that rather than choosing between art and actuality, contemporary novelists pursue both in fiction.

“Contemporary fiction departs from realism without losing interest in reality. Reality is no longer realistic; it has more energy and mystery, rendering the observer’s position more uncertain and more involved.”

Actualist fiction is characterized by incompletions, indeterminacy, and “open” endings unsatisfying to the readerly wish for fulfilled promises and completed patterns. Gravity’s Rainbow [by Thomas Pynchon], for example, ends not with a period but with a dash. Strehle argues that such innovations in narrative reflect on twentieth-century history, politics, science, and discourse.

Read Marti’s full review by following the link, here, and read Strehle’s book by following her links to it or getting it from your local library. Enjoy!

http://whathasbeenread.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/fiction-in-the-quantum-universe-by-susan-strehle/

Deadly Eye Makeup and other “Beauty” “Aids”: STOP USING THESE!

I know many people are squeamish about our eyes, as I am. I have had many years of allergies (itchy and runny eyes) and now I have “dry” eyes (ironically? relatedly?), which also makes them itchy and runny. Go figure.

I would be a horrible contact lens wearer; luckily, I am far-sighted, so that never came up. I have “baby cataracts,” which means I have to have surgery in about 10 or 15 years. Just the thought of eye-surgery already gives me the willies.

Perhaps it isn’t necessary, but I will tell you, mostly due to my distaste for having anything near or in/on my eyes: I have almost never worn any make-up, especially eye make-up, unless I was in a play. I hate the way make-up feels and it always bothers my eyes, even when it’s “hypoallergenic.” My eyelids are practically invisible with my eyes open, anyway, so lid makeup is a complete waste.

Furthermore, and increasingly more importantly, I am politically and socially against the entire concept of women’s “needing” to change the ways we look to attempt to conform to some random social norms (which keep changing and, once again, are NOT “universal”).

As a feminist, I have had many arguments with others who are unclear on the concept. They say inane things like: “Feminists are supposed to be in support of whatever women want to do.”

Really? Following that line of irrational thought, we would have no uniformity in the Domestic Violence Prevention movement and no mandatory reporting of DV to give “teeth” to anti-abuse laws that made violence against one’s partner a crime, since many women “choose” to stay with abusive partners and refuse to report the violence. We would also be without a whole host of other improvements to women’s lives. Should feminists “support whatever women want to do?” Of course not.

Mindlessly supporting women’s “right” OR “choice” to wear make-up is no different. Most of make-up is not harmful, I suppose, unless the creation of it harmed animals or the wearer happens to be allergic to it. At least, some make-up is not harmful in any physical way.

But what about the types of make-up, particularly eye makeup, that ARE harmful? These culprits can cause infections, irritations, even blindness or death!

Keep reading, then tell me these types of “choices” are what feminists ought to support.

I realize I’m preaching to the choir, here, since many of my followers are feminists, men, and/or don’t wear much/any make-up. So, please SHARE this post so it finds the women/girls who need to read it!

First, we “look” at make-up/alterations for Eyelashes.

EYELASH EXTENSIONS

Eyelash extensions

With and Without Eyelash Extensions. Image from: http://skinclinicny.com

I’ll give you the conclusion, first: DON’T. Or, if you MUST use eyelash extensions (and I can’t imagine who must, but I guess some of you could), please read the entire article (link below).

“The risks of eyelash extensions are not only an allergic reaction to the glue [used to attach the extensions], but erosion of the inner surface of the eyelid,” says Dr. Orly Avitzur, M.D., one of our medical advisors. “And that can cause permanent damage to your eyelashes.”

eye infection

Eye Infection. Image from: http://unnaturalmakeup.wordpress.com

All right. Suppose I have now convinced you not to “extend” your eyelashes in this way. What about changing their color or trying to give them more “fullness”?

Latisse, which is an FDA-approved treatment for thin lashes, has potential side effects as well, including:

  • Permanent changes in eye color—turning blue, green, or hazel eyes brown
  • Permanently darkened eyelids
  • Hair growth elsewhere on your face, if you’re not careful
  • Itching, redness
  • Lower eye pressure, which could potentially mask glaucoma or other eye problems

So, if I have this right, people who use Latisse to give themselves “better” eyelashes may also give themselves hairy cheeks, itchy, red eyes, changes in their iris’ color, and even make worse (by hiding) their actual eye diseases?

Sure, that’s worthwhile. Going out right now to get myself some of that. Gotta be “pretty,” don’t I?

But, how “pretty” are itchy, swollen, darkened eyelids and/or hairy cheeks?

Some make-up must be safe, you claim. You use/you know women who use it all the time with no ill effects. All right.

But, what about doing a serious costs-gains analysis, weighing the potential ill effects and the potential “benefits”: how can you compare impairing your eyes’ health or even the loss of your eyesight with the “benefits” of having a few hours of “looking better”?

Go ahead, ignore me, the research, the warnings: dye your eyelashes, anyway. What harm could it do?

EYELASH DYES

Eyelash dyes are a big beauty don’t. Currently, there are no color additives approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration for dyeing or tinting eyelashes, and the FDA cautions against doing so. The dyes can cause blindness.

eyelash-infection

Eyelash/eyelid infection due to make-up. Image from: http://www.beautyglimpse.com

Read the entire article for the list of do’s and don’ts. SHARE!

http://www.shopsmart.org/2014/02/skip-eyelash-extensions-stick-with-mascara.html

What about PERMANENT EYELINER, another way to dye one’s eyelids?

It’s a great idea to get one’s eyeliner inked in permanently, right? Save money, save time: one and done. Until someone goes home crying….

While often cheap, work done by untrained, unlicensed practitioners may require expensive corrections and revisions later. This happens because in order to cut costs, such practitioners use cheap, low quality pigments and do not invest much into acquiring and updating their permanent makeup skills.

Some of the typical problems requiring corrections are odd eyebrow and lip colors, unflattering or asymmetric shapes and pigment migration…. Corrections are a two-step process.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image of permanent eyeliner fail and info, above, from: http://www.chicagopermanentcosmetics.com

EYELASH MASCARA

“Well,” you say, “I refuse to go out without a little mascara. That can’t be that bad!”

Oh, yes. Mascara CAN be that bad.

About seven years ago. one brand of $160-tubes of mascara was recalled from the market because it was found to cause infections and other problems, many leading to blindness. Did you hear about that? Probably not. http://consumerist.com/2007/11/17/160-mascara-seized-by-fda-because-it-can-cause-blindness/

What about other types of mascara? Since we know expensive doesn’t equal better, now, what to think?

There are still problems with ALL types of mascara. The tubes are hotbeds for bacteria and some of those DO lead to infections and blindness, regardless of how careful the user is. What to do?

Side effects of mascara

“Mascara is used by most women to lengthen their eyelashes, make them appear thicker and to lay emphasis on the eye area. However, its applicants rarely have knowledge on the adverse side effects of mascara. Mascara contains harmful ingredients that affect the users’ lashes and skin. Mercury, bronopol, parabens and benzyl alcohol are just but a few of the harmful ingredients used to manufacture mascara.”

Some of the adverse effects associated with the use of mascara include:
–Mascara may lead to eyesight problems such as blurred vision and blindness
The presence of an ingredient known as pseudomonas aeruginosa is associated with eye blindness in mascara users.
Occurrence of cancers and breast tumors
Parabens is a preservative for many cosmetic products including mascaras. When mascara is applied, parabens is absorbed into the body. Frequent application leads to large deposits of the parabens in the body. This has been linked to the presence of breast cancers and tumors amongst women.

Thinning of eyelashes
–As much as mascara makes your eyelashes appear thicker and linger, its chemical composition reacts with the eyelashes to make them thinner. Mascara clogs up the hair follicles making the growth of eyelashes difficult.
They cause irritation to the eye
–Ingredients such as triethanolamine and methylparaben act as irritants to the eyes. This may lead to eye related problems and skin irritations especially around the eyes.
Loss of eyelashes
–When applied frequently, mascara tends to dry the eyelashes. Mascara is therefore one of the causes for eyelashes falling out.
Eye infections
Mascara may enter the eye of the applicant during application or thereafter by rubbing the eyes. The presence of these harmful ingredients may lead to eye infections.
–Mascara has been linked to neurotoxicity and infertility.

All above mascara info is from http://www.foodlve.com/food/how-to-make-your-eyelashes-longer-without-mascara-6744385

If you are that committed to altering your appearance or you’re wearing a costume or something, try the safer alternatives listed in the above article.

COLORED CONTACT LENSES

“Fine,” you say, now. “I won’t use mascara, eyelash extenders, eyelash alterations or dye my eyelids. What about colored contact lenses? They have to be all right, don’t they”

Nope. Look what CBS reported last year (2103) after Halloween! “Color[ed] contact lenses for Halloween may carry blindness risk”

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/color-contact-lenses-for-halloween-may-carry-blindness-risk/

CBS reported:

Part of the risk is that people often don’t go to the ophthalmologist or optometrist to make sure that the contacts fit properly. Improper fit can lead to scratches on the cornea, which is the clear dome of tissue above the colored iris portion of the eye. People can also get an ulcer on the cornea, known as a corneal infection. There’s also the risk of getting conjunctivitis, or pink eye, and having decreased vision. It some cases, these problems could lead to blindness.

And the health risks could occur with only one wearing.

“Wearing it for a couple seconds could cause damage,” Dr. Edward Kondrot, an ophthalmologist and the founder of the Healing The Eye & Wellness Center in Dade City, Fla., said to CBSNews.com. “If it’s poorly fit, you could develop a scratch on the cornea, and it becomes an open wound.”

colored contacts

Colored Contacts for Costume Wearers. Image from: http://buycoloredcontacts.blogspot.com

CBS News reporters then warned/recommended: “If you still really want to wear the decorative lenses, the FDA recommended getting an eye exam from a qualified professional and getting a valid prescription. Buy the lenses from a retailer that requires a prescription and take care to follow the directions.”

So, go ahead: have fun with altering your eyes. Just be safe out there!

Bras and Shoes: Breast Cancer, Bunions, Back Strain and “Beauty” Lies

WARNING: Naked breasts appear in this post, for instructional purposes only.

This post is meant to inform about some aspects of modern women’s (and men’s ) lives in Western nations that need changing. Yes, these are “first-world” problems. But, they ARE problems. If you don’t mind the problems these cause or you don’t have these problems, go read something more fun/useful. Or, pass it on to those who might benefit from reading it!

BRAS, ANTI-PERSPIRANTS and BREAST CANCER

BRAS
I have always hated bras. I personally hate wearing them and almost never do. Even when well-fitted, bras inform me that there is a special place in hell for those who design them. Bras itch, ride up, pinch and nonstop bother me.

I also hate the rationales people make for women’s wearing of bras. As a feminist, I am offended and disgusted by the so-called “reasons” for bras because these are based on modern, industrialized, Puritanically based Western cultural biases that “require” teenage or adult females to cover our nipples, to pretend not to have any. Also, we are told that we are “unprofessional” unless we are complicit in disguising our breasts’ shapes. These misogynistic attitudes are NOT “universal” and need to be eradicated.

However, I could put all that hatred aside and just accept that some women want (or claim they “need”) to wear bras, except for three somewhat newly surfacing facts, based on extensive research over many decades:

  • 1) Bras do not work. Gravity wins. It wins BIGGER when women wear bras: bras CAUSE breasts to sag MORE because wearing bras weakens the pectoral muscles that would ordinarily work and strengthen to hold up one’s breasts over a lifetime. With few exceptions, NO WOMEN should wear bras just to “hold them up.” Those whose breasts hurt due to hormonal changes and jiggling makes the pain worse: sure, wear bras. Those with extremely large breasts claim that wearing bras helps “carry” them, HOWEVER: the BRAS cause more shoulder and back pain than their breasts.

    Jean-Denis Rouillon, a professor at University of Besançon in France, authored a study stating that women are better off not wearing bras. They are scientifically unnecessary, and, in fact, could be hazardous to breast health, leading to sagging breasts and increased back pain….”Medically, physiologically, anatomically — breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity,” Rouillon told France Info radio. “On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra.”
    http://www.medicaldaily.com/bras-make-breasts-saggier-french-doctor-says-women-better-bra-less-244995

  • 2) Bras increase the risk of breast cancer.
    The Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society (ACS) are the main organizations who refuse to properly present summaries and warnings derived from the amassing research that shows a link between increased incidences (“Risk”) of breast cancer the wearing of bras, especially tight ones, for 12 or more hours per day, particularly all night.

    …at least five research studies have shown that there IS a strong connection between breast cancer and bra wearing for many hours per day.
    http://www.inquisitr.com/1202191/your-bra-may-be-killing-you-scientists-call-for-boycott-of-komen/

    lymphatic_system_breast

    Lymphatic Systems of Breasts: image from healthieralternatives.wordpress.com

  • 3) Underwire Bras, in particular, cause health problems.
    The pressure points that underwire bras rest on are critically important, according to Eastern medical knowledge, to the functioning of major systems in the body. However, constant metallic pressure on these points is contra-indicated in all women and can cause a myriad of health problems over time.

    The UnderWires in the UnderWire Bra fall directly onto two very important NeuroLymphatic Reflexes. The one under the right breast goes to the Liver and Gall Bladder. The one under the left breast goes to the Stomach….If a woman keeps the metal UnderWires on top of those reflex points, over time that WILL mess up the functioning of the associated circuits: Liver, Gall Bladder, and Stomach. Bottom Line: It will likely make her sick, slowly and quietly.
    http://www.relfe.com/wp/health/dangers-underwire-bras/

If those three information points do not convince you to stop “supporting” bra-wearing and worse, if you are still committed to wearing bras yourself, that is illogical. Check out this infographic and OTHER problems caused by ill-fitting bras:

ill-fitting bras symptoms

% of Women Having Problems Due to Ill-Fitting Bras: image from http://www.bariatriccookery.com

Almost half the women who wear bras that are ill-fitting (which, according to other research, would include MOST women), suffer skin rashes. Another 35% have shoulder pain. Are you one of these women?

If you are that irrational about bras, you might want to discontinue reading the rest of this post, because things are going to go from bad to worse for you.

ANTI-PERSPIRANTS
(not Deodorants, which merely mask smells)
are those products that attempt to “dry up” or prevent the armpits from sweating. What about the causal connections between anti-perspirants and breast cancer? After much “debate” and “debunking” of the “myth” of this connection by the research FUNDED BY THE COMPANIES THAT MAKE ANTI-PERSPIRANTS in the USA, we finally have unbiased research results from the UK showing several causal links between the key ingredients in anti-perspirants and DNA changes and between the lymphatic blockages intentionally caused by these products that lead to increased incidences of breast cancer in both men and women.

Britain has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world and every year almost 13,000 British women die from it. Britons are also among the biggest users of antiperspirant deodorants, getting through £300 million worth of bottles each year. The rising incidence of breast cancer in men may also suggest a connection. Breast cancer in men has doubled in the past three decades to 300 cases per year – a time frame that coincides with the increasing use of underarm products by men.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-185071/How-safe-antiperspirant.html

Guess what gets the attention of researchers, health commissioners and the public? when the problems affect MEN. Sigh.

SHOES

Enough about breast cancer? Depressed, yet?

Let’s talk about shoes. I do not understand some women’s obsessions with shoes. I really don’t. But, obsessed or not, most of us wear shoes most of the time.

How well do our shoes serve us? Do they support our best posture, provide safety from h

Luckily for me (!?!) I was in a serious car accident my senior year of high school that caused me to have life-long problems with my right leg. This prevented me from ever getting into wearing “high” heels, or ANY heels, for that matter, for more than about 30 minutes per… year. I say “luckily” because both my mother and her mother had/have bunions and hammertoes. So far, I do not.

I also have many back problems and hip issues from other injuries that continue to plague me and keep me wearing the most supportive, comfortable shoes I can afford.

What about you? Do you go for fashion at the expense of your comfort or health? I hope you don’t.

If you do, read on and perhaps I and the research can change your mind.

hammertoes

Hammertoes: image from http://www.kyforward.com

Bunions, Backstrain and Hammertoes

Because of her own problems with shoes and foot health, Ivey Allison wrote a great post which I recommend you read in its entirety. Here is a salient quote, based on her research:

…almost every shoe on the market, flat or heeled, has a toe box design that is too small and tapered to allow the foot to be properly aligned. The result? Foot deformity — and painful bunions….Every single pair of shoes you own is likely deforming your foot. Permanently.
http://www.xojane.com/healthy/bunion-care-treatment-prevention

The Huffington Post‘s Rebecca Adams & Ellie Krupnick did some great research and wrote summaries of their findings in last October’s post on what shoes are the worst offenders, causing bunions, hammertoes, and back strain, among other problems (not to mention costing ridiculous amounts of money!). here is a sample and the link to the full post:

STILETTOS
Wearing heels shifts your weight to the balls of your feet, which puts pressure on your foot. This also creates a balance problem: It forces your knees and hips forward, hurting your back and legs. Wearing these shoes can cause: hyperextension, ankle sprains, midfoot fractures, neuromas (benign nerve tumors), pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/09/shoes-worst-for-feet_n_4069370.html

They also summarized the impact and effects of wearing Platform Wedges; Converse-style Sneakers; High-Heeled, Rain or Thigh-High Boots; Ballet Flats; and, Flip-Flops.

Bunion

Bunion: image from my.clevelandclinic.org

The worst offenders? I guess it depends what you think are worse. Each shoe type they mentioned came with its own list of problems, such as:

  • mold, fungus, bacteria, wart viruses and blisters;
  • inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains, fractures and external injuries (e.g. stepping on a nail);
  • chronic stress injuries, particularly to the heel;
  • inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains and stress fractures;
  • inflammation, tendonitis, heel pain, strains, stress fractures and external injuries (e.g. stepping on a nail);
  • hyperextension, midfoot fractures, neuromas (benign nerve tumors), pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes;
  • hyperextension, bunions and hammertoes;
  • hyperextension, ankle sprains, midfoot fractures,
  • neuromas (benign nerve tumors), pinched nerves, bunions and hammertoes.

Choose which group of symptoms you’re willing to acquire and then merrily (warily) go shoe shopping.

Or, buy better-fitting, healthier, more comfortable shoes.

Comfortable-stylish-walking-shoes-FINN-SANDALS

image from mostcomfortableshoesguide.net

Proven, Long-term Effects on Physical Health of those who suffered childhood Trauma, Abuse, Neglect and Bullying

In case you’ve been unaware of the last several years of research from all over the world, with children, adolescents and adults, some after 40 years since the trauma, they all come to the same conclusions: those who suffer childhood trauma, whether through abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic or neighborhood violence or being bullied by siblings or peers, have observable, lifelong negative consequences to not only our psychological but to our physical health. Traumas include war and threats of warlike activity, sudden natural disasters, neighborhood or school-site gang warfare and violent encounters of other types that children and teens experience, even if “only” as witnesses.

consequences of childhood abuse

image from http://www.acestoohigh.com

Is there any “good news”? Only a bit.

  • When responsible adults who have the power to act curtail or stop the abuse or trauma early on, some of the effects may be reversible.
  • If adults whom the victim/survivor encounters treat the traumatized child, teen or adult consistently and appropriately by supplying effective psychological therapy and immediate environmental improvements, an almost-complete recovery is possible.
  • When the child reports the bullying or abuse or reveals that domestic violence or parental neglect is occurring and the listening adults immediately take the child’s reports seriously followed by taking obvious supportive, preventive and/or protective actions, these responses also improve the child’s chances of developing fewer problems later in life.

Links to some of the research articles recently published are below. My favorite points are in this post. Thanks to all the researchers, reporters/journalists and participants in these studies who made these understandings possible.

May all abuse, neglect, bullying, domestic violence and other causes of childhood trauma CEASE in our lifetimes.

May all children grow up and be educated in safe, healthy environments.

20_circle_TLG network model_Lives of Children_24_07_08

image from http://www.earlytraumagrief.anu.edu.au

Sources and quotes:

I. Abuse Casts a Long Shadow by Changing Children’s Genes

By Eleanor Nelsen

July 2014

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/body/epigenetics-abuse/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=pbsofficial&utm_campaign=nova_next

“For abused children, that trauma is just the beginning. Most will likely struggle well into adulthood.”

trauma to early death pyramid

image from http://www.ascd.org

“Living with an abusive parent has increased their risk for depression and other psychological problems while decreasing their chances of successfully maintaining close relationships. Even physical ailments, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, are more likely in adults who were abused as kids. Early abusive experiences can leave a stubborn imprint on those children’s brains and bodies, and Seth Pollak, a professor at the University of Wisconsin and head of the study, wanted to know how, exactly, abuse was changing these children’s bodies on a cellular level.”

“… people’s experiences exert a strong influence on their biology by silencing genes or turning them back on, significantly changing the way a cell functions without changing its DNA sequence. It’s a phenomenon known as epigenetics.”

“’Epigenetics makes the genes tick,’ explains Moshe Szyf, a professor of genetics and pharmacology at McGill University. Epigenetic changes modify DNA to keep genes from being expressed, and they can explain dramatic differences between cells with identical DNA—for example, how stem cells can turn into either liver cells or heart cells, or why only one of a set of identical twins gets cancer. It’s also, Pollak found, why children who grow up in abusive homes have physical and psychological problems that haunt them well into adulthood.”

“‘… something like parenting, parental care, was flipping the switch.’… trauma might be turning this stress-management gene off…”

“…for children in abusive homes, who are in threatening situations every day, having more cortisol floating around isn’t necessarily bad—at first. ‘You may need to remain vigilant more often. You may need to flip into vigilant state more easily. That’s keeping you alive under harsh conditions, but it’s also making it really hard for you to function.’”

“…The long-term results are the chronic psychological problems like anxiety and depression and chronic physical problems like heart disease and type II diabetes, which often surface years later in victims of childhood abuse.”

“… Having too few receptors for cortisol keeps the immune system from learning to manage inflammation and infections, helping explain why children in abusive homes seem to get sick more often, and are at a higher risk for chronic health problems.”

“’The idea that these things aren’t fixed is really encouraging,’ Pollak says.”

II. Bullying affects children’s long-term health, study shows

February 2014

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/272762.php

“In the first study of its kind to assess the compounding effects of bullying over 5 years, researchers have found that a child experiences more severe and lasting health implications the longer he or she is bullied, suggesting that early interventions could reverse the “downward health trajectory” that victims of bullying may experience.”

“At any age, bullying was linked with worse mental and physical health, more depressive symptoms and a lower sense of self-worth. And students who reported chronic bullying also experienced more difficulties with physical activities like walking, running or playing sports.”

“‘Our research shows that long-term bullying has a severe impact on child’s overall health, and that its negative effects can accumulate and get worse with time,’ says Bogart.”

“She calls for more intervention around bullying, ‘because the sooner we stop a child from being bullied, the less likely bullying is to have a lasting, damaging effect on his or her health down the road,’ she adds.”

“…recent events may be more important than distant ones to a child’s health, but the team notes that health consequences “compound over time” and may stay even after the bullying has ceased.”

“… their findings emphasize the importance of stopping bullying early and continuously intervening to help with the lingering effects.”

Sally Ember wholeheartedly recommends the nonprofit USA-based organization, Community Matters, for their advising and trainings for improving school climate through research-based and clinically-proven effective bullying prevention and education programs, “Safe School Ambassadors,” for youth, school staff and parents.
Contact them (they offer programs around the world): 707-823-6159 or http://www.community-matters.org

Medical News Today reported on a 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science, which suggested victims of childhood bullying fare poorly in adulthood. Findings from the study showed that individuals bullied in childhood were more likely to have a psychiatric disorder, smoke, struggle to keep work and had difficulty maintaining friendships.”

III. BULLYING BY SIBLINGS ANYTHING BUT HARMLESS

compiled in 2013

http://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/behavioral-health-news/bullying-by-siblings-anything-but-harmless/

While other forms of bullying are commonly taken seriously and relatively well-researched, bullying between siblings often gets ignored or minimized. However, two recent studies call attention to the potential pitfalls of discounting the effects of sibling bullying. One of these studies indicates that children who bully their brothers or sisters take this activity less seriously than other bullying behaviors, while the other study indicates that sibling bullying can cause just as much mental health harm as other forms of bullying.

Risks associated with childhood trauma

image from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com

“…childhood bullying substantially increases the chances that an individual will develop a diagnosable mental illness during adulthood. These same risks also apply in magnified form to bully-victims, a term used to describe bullying victims who go on to perpetrate acts of bullying on others.”

“… more siblings (85 percent) actually identify themselves as bullies than as bullying victims (75 percent)….[T]his finding points toward a widespread childhood acceptance of sibling bullying as a non-consequential behavior that has no meaningful impact on the well-being of affected individuals. This acceptance also almost certainly reflects the attitudes of the larger culture toward the seriousness of sibling bullying.”

“…both relatively moderate and relatively severe bullying produce a decline in mental health marked by things such as anxiety, depressed moods and uncontrolled outbursts of anger. Moderate physical bullying by a sibling has a greater mental health effect on younger children than on older children. However, the authors found that all other forms of sibling bullying have an equally negative effect on both younger children and teenagers.”

“… current social tendencies to downplay or dismiss the importance of sibling bullying contribute to the problem and seriously increase the chances that sibling bullying and other forms of bullying will continue to diminish the psychological/emotional well-being of large numbers of individuals.”

“…pediatricians can help decrease the impact of sibling bullying by looking for signs of such bullying in their patients on an annual basis.”

IV. The neurobiological effects of childhood maltreatment: An often overlooked narrative related to the long-term effects of early childhood trauma?

by Jennifer Delima and Graham Vimpani

http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/fm2011/fm89/fm89e.html

“… some current societal dysfunction may well be an overlooked significant consequence of childhood maltreatment, with its associated trauma effect upon the developing brain. These changes prevent and impair the ability to remediate disadvantage and its effects through purely social policy and justice measures.”

Acts of commission (actions against the child)
Physical– The child is subject to disciplinary action by his/her caregiver(s), with resultant bruising, severe pain, temporary loss of mobility, scars, burns, shaking etc. This may lead in some cases to more serious and life-threatening injuries, including inflicted brain injury.
Sexual – This involves the sexual abuse or exploitation of the child and /or exposing them to sexual acts.
Emotional – The child is subject to repeated verbal abuse, being sworn at or receiving hurtful and demeaning comments about his/herself. This form of maltreatment also includes the child hearing about violent acts perpetrated upon a significant attachment figure for the child.

Acts of omission (actions of failed care)
Witnessing family violence – The child hears or watches aggressive verbal altercations and/or physical violence.
Neglect – This type of maltreatment ranges from failing to provide basic food, shelter, clothing and care (including relevant medical care) to exposure to harmful substances. This is often labelled as “environmental circumstance”, but studies of documented behavioural features and neuro-imaging tests demonstrate that the resultant brain injury patterns are similar to those seen in children exposed to acknowledged trauma and maltreatment.
Sources: Chrousos & Gold (1992); De Bellis (2002); MacMillan et al. (2009)

“Neglectful acts have also been extended to include the exposure of children to cigarette smoke when they are motor vehicle passengers, although this does not yet apply to the unborn foetus. Exposing foetuses to harmful agents (teratogens) could also be regarded as neglectful when there is a known causal relationship between the substance and resultant structural malformations to the developing foetus (e.g., continued thalidomide use despite knowledge of its effect on foetal limb growth, or continued alcohol use with knowledge of its causality in foetal alcohol spectrum disorder). Such actions are neglectful regardless of the intent of the child’s parent, caregiver or other responsible adults.”

“The common factors in trauma or maltreatment that adversely affect early brain development appear to be those events and conditions in which the child experiences or repeatedly experiences, in a prolonged and uncontrolled manner, circumstances that they perceive as being likely to be significantly life threatening for themselves.”

They can use “non-invasive static-scan neuro-imaging tools, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) and SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography). More recently, assessment with ‘functional MRI’ (fMRI) has provided even further evidence of the impact that maltreatment has upon a child’s brain, including the assessment of not only structural changes but also the dynamic processes occurring within the brain as the child recalls or listens to an account of the varying types of maltreatment to which they have been previously exposed.”

“Maltreatment that comprises severe, prolonged and uncontrolled life stressors activates a prolonged biological stress response. This response is mediated through the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a system that describes the brain’s interaction with the peripheral body through neural (sympathetic nervous system) and hormonal (adrenal gland) tissues that regulate the body’s response to perceived longer acting stressors (infection, trauma, neglect, substance exposure, etc.).”

“The developing brain is particularly vulnerable to stress, especially with respect to the pre-frontal cortex, hippocampus and corpus callosum. Through prolonged activation of the biological stress response system, structural and functional brain changes occur. The behaviours resulting from chronic stress include poor self-regulation, increased impulsive behaviours, and emotional responses such as high levels of experienced anxiety, aggression and suicidal tendencies and, in some, a learned helplessness from the constant impairment of self-regulation.”

“…the response to chronic stress impairs the function of noradrenaline and dopamine within the limbic system and that this may account for the typical post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms of persistent hyper-arousal and hyper-vigilance that continues to occur after the trauma, despite resolution of the initiating experience. These neurotransmitters also interact with the serotonin system to modify mood and anxiety symptoms.”

“The impact of maltreatment on the brain – structural, functional and behavioural – has been shown to worsen the longer the duration of trauma experience and the younger the age of onset of the trauma experience.”
Substance misuse and dependence

“Early onset adult depressive, suicidal and personality disorders have also been shown to be significantly increased in those with documented histories of childhood maltreatment….This has been postulated to be the outcome of cortisol hyper-secretion.”

“… ‘antisocial’ personality disorder is a more frequent occurrence in those with a history of physical abuse and/or neglect, whereas “borderline” personality disorder is more frequently associated with childhood sexual abuse.”

“Cognitive development and academic performance are also adversely affected by childhood exposure to violence. MRI studies show that exposure to violence is associated with children having smaller intracranial, cerebral and prefrontal cortex volumes, with particular effects on prefrontal white matter, temporal lobe volumes and the corpus callosum….these children have been found to suffer increased levels of depression, dissociation and both externalising (aggression, self-harming) and internalising (depression, anxiety) symptoms.”

“…male children are more vulnerable to the consequences of maltreatment, and this is reflected in changed brain structure….The corpus callosum volume in males is especially decreased in the isthmus region of the corpus callosum, which appears to facilitate more externalising behavioural symptoms of aggression and suicidality.”

“A similar decrease in volume is noted in the superior temporal gyrus and hippocampus, with a resultant observed deficit in executive function ability and sustained attention and focus, a limited verbal response ability, and poor short-term memory and capacity for future planning. Also observed has been a decreased ability to learn through both motor and non-motor means. Further, the cerebellum is generally decreased in volume in these children, with an observed attendant behavioural pattern of having difficulty sleeping, poor concentration and general irritability.”

“Maltreatment in early childhood has also been shown to result in adverse adult onset physical health; in particular, chronic disease and reproductive and adult sexual health problems….childhood abuse and exposure to domestic violence can lead to numerous differences in the structure and physiology of the brain, which affect multiple human functions and behaviours.”

“…not all children are adversely affected in this way. Some of this resilience may be attributed to the ‘neuroplasticity’ of the brain; that is, the ability of neural tissue to modify brain function and response, so enabling a different response to an experienced memory. Neuroplasticity occurs as a result of some synaptic pathways being enhanced rather than others following activities that stimulate specific sensory, motor and language development. This is especially seen in children under the age of 7 years and continues to a lesser degree into the mid-teenage years, but it decreases significantly around the third decade of life, when the brain has reached maturity with completed myelination.”

“…appropriate and early remedial therapy provided to children who have suffered maltreatment (either in utero, or during their childhood), may mitigate many of the adverse behavioural, learning and cognitive effects of the maltreatment.”

“Early identification of such affected children would permit the implementation of remedial social supports, education and behavioural treatment measures to enhance the modifying mechanism of neuroplasticity to reduce the functional neurobiological effects of child maltreatment. Additionally, early modification of the child’s environment to decrease the biological stress response may also assist the expression of the child’s genetic make-up (epigenetics).”

“Elevated cortisol biological stress responses in children and adolescents reflect the prolonged stimulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which normally is an acute stress response system. This prolonged stimulation in turn adversely affects physical and mental health and wellbeing, resulting in conditions such as reduced immune function, cardiovascular disease, dysthymia (persistent mild depression), major depression, oppositional defiant disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Furthermore, persistent exposure to stress results in damped responsiveness to new stressors.”

“…females tend to express their responses to maltreatment through internalising symptoms such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders, compared to males, who express themselves more through externalising symptoms such as aggression, harm directed at others and suicidality.”

” [However], the younger child tends to display a similar level of distress regardless of the magnitude of stress to which they are responding.”

“…not all children are adversely affected by maltreatment, and this is hypothesised to reflect their access to appropriate environmental and familial supports at the time of the event. Additionally, differential epigenetic responses to environmental circumstances may also play a part. If the biological stress response is rapidly curtailed through appropriate support, and safety and security measures are instigated, then structural changes within the developing child’s brain are likely to be minimised, along with the adverse behavioural consequences.”

“The effects of maltreatment on children extend further than the children and their respective families to affect the wider community. The learning and cognitive deficits observed in these children are then reflected in their poorer educational and life skills development, particularly their capacity for self-regulation. This in turn affects the community’s ability to control violence and ensure an environment that promotes individual safety.”

“Child maltreatment eventually also affects the broader society with which the child’s community articulates. When adults in these communities have also been affected in their own childhoods by significant and chronic maltreatment, and witnessed or experienced personal, family and community violence, as well as engaging in chronic alcohol misuse, the intergenerational “cycle of poverty and community dysfunction” continues; the adults who would normally be responsible for providing the leadership, supervision and caring roles are themselves limited by their own reduced cognitive capacity and executive function ability.”

“Identification of these children through early and appropriate screening … and targeted remedial treatment has the potential to mitigate some of the cognitive, learning and behavioural difficulties that may arise, such as poor literacy, unemployment, incarceration, childhood pregnancy, or substance dependence.”

“Where brain injury results from maltreatment, current social and justice strategies, often introduced relatively late in the individual’s life, are by themselves of little benefit in achieving remediation, as the damage to neuropsychological functioning may be too entrenched to be overcome. This is especially so as most of the remedial programs available commence after the age of 7 years, thus missing the most sensitive ‘neuroplastic developmental’ period.”

“Providing a safe environment for children and their families will enable the next generation of children to achieve their maximum adult potential through normal neurobiological development.”

V. Impact of childhood bullying still evident after 40 years

April 2014
This study was funded by the British Academy and the Royal Society.

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/iop/news/records/2014/April/Impact-of-childhood-bullying-still-evident-after-40-years.aspx

“Dr. Ryu Takizawa, lead author of the paper from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, says: ‘Our study shows that the effects of bullying are still visible nearly four decades later. The impact of bullying is persistent and pervasive, with health, social and economic consequences lasting well into adulthood.’”

“Individuals who were bullied in childhood were more likely to have poorer physical and psychological health and cognitive functioning at age 50. Individuals who were frequently bullied in childhood were at an increased risk of depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal thoughts.”

love should never hurt

image from http://www.firstcovers.com

“Individuals who were bullied in childhood were also more likely to have lower educational levels, with men who were bullied more likely to be unemployed and earn less. Social relationships and well-being were also affected. Individuals who had been bullied were less likely to be in a relationship, to have good social support, and were more likely to report lower quality of life and life satisfaction.”

“…’what happens in the school playground can have long-term repercussions for children. Programmes to stop bullying are extremely important, but we also need to focus our efforts on early intervention to prevent potential problems persisting into adolescence and adulthood.’”

Facts about #BPA, #Water Bottles, Shower Curtains, #Cans, More, and What to Do

I got mad the other day after reading yet another falsified story about plastics in food and beverages due to packaging and container use, riddled with untruths and misleading information about food and water safety. I have hereby gathered facts to post. Follow any of the links given for the infographics or articles if you want to know more.

SHARE, RT, Re-POST!

Are There ANY Plastics that are “Better” than Others?

This article claims that there are “Safe Plastics” which they describe as:
“Any plastic item marked with a 1, 2, 4, or 5 is not known to have carcinogenic tendencies or disrupt the endocrine system. Specifically, these plastics are called PET, PETE, HDPE, LDPE, and polypropylene. This generally includes items like drink bottles, containers that foods like margarine and yogurt might come in, and milk jugs.”

Personally, given the abysmal track record of the USA’s FDA (Food and Drug Administration), I wouldn’t trust ANY food or drink that is packaged in plastics. I hope they do away with plastic for food/beverage packaging all together very soon. Meanwhile, there are some plastics that are apparently not as awful as others. That’s the best we can say at this time.

what-plastic-is-safe-to-your-health_51c162fd8fd81

image from “What Kind of Plastic Are You Eating Out of?” http://dailyhealthpost.com/what-kind-of-plastic-are-you-eating-out-of/

Growing Evidence of Links Between BPA and Autism, Cancer, Diabetes, Myriad Health Problems

I found that The Sleuth Journal is reliable. Below is an informative, well-researched article with this and other great infographics, a video, and more.

Ban BPA

image from “Ban BPA From Your Life: 6 Small Steps That Will Help You Live Toxin-Free” http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/ban-bpa-from-your-life-6-small-steps-that-will-help-you-live-toxin-free/, “Page by T SJ – Almost 5 decades later, scientists began seeing disturbing correlations between exposure to BPA and obesity, impaired brain development, various types of cancer, [and other health problems.]”

BPA is Even Worse for Babies and Girls/Adult Females

Common Folk is another reliable source for information. Many European countries are so far ahead of the USA in understanding and refusing to tolerate chemical toxicity and GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) in their food, agriculture and beverages. We should all learn from and imitate what they’re doing. Avoiding/reducing endocrine disruptors, especially because of their adverse effects on babies and females, is just one of the many areas the EU folks are smarter about than the USA.

effects of packaging on humans

image from “LIVING WITHOUT PACKAGING | Common Folk,” http://commonfolk.eu/plasticfacts/, BPA is a estrogenic plastic by-product used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics. It can leach into food or drinks …”

What can we do NOW? Get Better Informed

NEVER Store Hot Food/Beverages or Heat Up Food/Beverages in Plastic or Cover with Plastic Wrap: BPA Gets Worse With Heat

Another good source of information is Renegade Health. This article, about the ways plastic gets into food more readily when the food is heated or already hot, should inspire you to throw out your plastic wrap and plastic containers forever (I hope).

microwave plastic leaching effects

image from “Your Health On Plastics: Endocrine Disruptors in Your Body…” http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2014/03/28/your-health-on-plastics-endocrine-disruptors-in-your-body-the-environment, “How much BPA leaches from these products into food and water depend on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, as when heated in a microwave oven.”

Get A Cloth Shower Curtain and Other Changes to Make to Avoid Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors

Some of this article’s claims, collected by a blogger, below, are not accurate. I checked Snopes.com and included rebuttals of the incorrect claims below it. But the rest of the article is factual and important. DO get rid of your PVC shower curtain!

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/is-your-shower-curtain-making-you-fat.html

For example, it’s not true that there are dioxins in plastic water bottles, so it is a myth that freezing the plastic water bottle makes it unsafe to drink because of dioxins. That water was unsafe to drink, anyway, because BPA is in the bottle at every temperature.
http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/plasticbottles.asp

How to Avoid BPA

Great info in the articles and their infographics for the sections, below, about what steps we can take right now and in the future to remove BPA from our lives.

how-to-avoid-bpa

image from http://desdaughter.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/how-to-avoid-bpa/

“Good” vs. “bad” cans:

cans to avoid

image from “Eco-novice: Going Green Gradually: Eat Less Plastic,” http://www.eco-novice.com/2011/04/eat-less-plastic.html, “Fatty, salty and acidic foods are the most likely to experience plastic leaching. One study found the most significant amounts of BPA in canned chicken soup…”

good cans

image from “Bisphenol A (BPA) – Diabetes and the Environment,” http://www.diabetesandenvironment.org/home/contam/bpa “BPA is often found in the lining of cans, and can leach out into the food stored in these cans. It also can be absorbed through the skin…”

Buy/Put Beverages in Glass, Stainless Steel or other BPA-Free Containers:

There are safe, easy to find (now), and inexpensive alternatives, especially for carrying water, storing food, reheating it in microwaves, and all the rest. Check out these tips/hints, below, and get busy!

Glass is preferred for bevs

image from “Health – Part 4,” http://www.bottlesupglass.com/category/health-2/page/4/ “Safety and Quality of Glass for Food and Beverage”

bpa-free bottles

image from “Cut the Crap Series – 10 Fast and Easy Ways to Clean Up…” https://hygeahealthnut.wordpress.com/category/cut-the-crap-series-10-fast-and-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-lifestyle/, “The federal Food and Drug Administration barred Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and children’s cups in June 2012 but it is still prevalent [in other containers]…”

Get Politically Active!

Yes: the personal IS political! You want to make change, get involved. Some states and countries have been quite successful in eliminating BPA all together. What about where YOU live?

laws against BPA global

image from “Leading scientists urge Government to ban gender-bending chemicals …” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1264400/Leading-scientists-urge-Government-ban-gender-bending-chemicals-baby-products.html

Why posting about fruit is insulting to women: DO NOT PARTICIPATE in this year’s “Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign”

A feminist’s analysis of this year’s “BREAST CANCER AWARENESS campaign”: the reasons that I’m not participating and I’m telling all.

Call me a “spoilsport,” if it makes you feel better. I am frustrated and unwilling to “go along” with this year’s “Breast Cancer Awareness” Facebook “campaign” (and anywhere else it’s trying to occur) for these reasons:

1) Men also get breast cancer. They usually die from it sooner and more often precisely because there is very little “awareness” about males’ getting breast cancer;

male breast cancer

image from takboprintipe.wordpress.com

2) A “cuteness” factor of a zillion does NOTHING to help fence-sitters, if there even are any: how could there be, when 1 in 4 women gets breast cancer? Who could be “unaware” of it mystifies me;

incidences of all cancers 2013

from http://www.cancer.org, “Estimated New Cancer Cases* in the US in 2013. Estimated New Cancer Cases* in the US in 2013. Cancer Incidence Rates* by Sex, US, 1975-2009”

3) Waste of time, networking, and energy. I see nothing in any of these “campaign” solicitations that has a call to action, a place to donate for cure research, or ANYTHING but cuteness and “don’t tell the men.”

All this, for what?

BC colors facebook-win2

image from gerson.org

4) BREAST CANCER IS NOT SEXY, just because it afflicts one’s breasts. This year, it’s fruits. Each fruit is supposed to signify the poster’s MARITAL or RELATIONSHIP status. As if the entire campaign weren’t insulting enough to the intelligence of adult women, THIS is the type of device it uses every year. One year, it was some lame statement that was supposed to indicate unusual places that we like to have sex, but really was about where we put our PURSES (I don’t even carry a purse 90% of the time; bad for my back and shoulder). Another year (see above), our bra color or underwear color or other such nonsense.

It’s all supposed to be pseudo-titillating and sexual, which is another gripe I have.

So, I’m blowing its cover, here. Tough rocks, cutesy women.

I’ve had too many friends and relatives DIE of this horrible disease to find it at all cute or funny, anyway.

Here is what “feminism” actually means.

Feminism

With this information in front of you, how could you NOT be a feminist? You can have fun; some things can be cute. I have an excellent sense of humor. But some situations require serious ACTION.

Here is the disclosure/invitation post:

“Hi Ladies , so here it is that time of year again when we try to raise awareness of breast cancer through a game. It’s very easy and I would like all of you to participate. Two years ago we had to write the color of our underwear on our wall. Men wondered for days what was going on with the random colors on our walls. This year we make references to our love life status as a flavor. Do not answer this message, just post your word on your wall AND send this message privately to all the girls on your friends list. Blueberry is for single, Pineapple is for it’s complicated, Raspberry is for I don’t want to commit, Apple is engaged, Cherry is in a relationship, Banana is married, Avocado is I’m the better half, Strawberry is can’t find Mr.Right, Lemon is I want to be single, Raisin is I want to get married to my partner. Last time the underwear game was mentioned on TV, let’s see if we can get there with this one. Copy and paste this message into a new message and send it to your friends, then update your status with your answer. DON’T TELL THE GUYS.”
[I couldn’t stand all the misspelled “it’s,” so those I fixed. The rest I left “as is.” Pathetic, for a piece of writing; another gripe.]

HORRIBLE. Don’t do this inane “campaign.”

SPREAD THE WORD about breast cancer and give to fund the cures: http://www.bcrfcure.org/

BCRF logo

The Latest Research on Traumatic Brain Injury (#TBI): Causes, Diagnostics, Treatments

While waiting at my neurologist’s office for my second appointment (at which I was cleared to return to regular activities, unrestricted, like WRITING MY BOOKS! YIPPEE!), I read a fascinating article, “Tracking Traumatic Brain Injury: What New Biomarkers May Reveal About Concussion Over the Short and Long Term,” by Gina Shaw, about the latest and greatest advances in Traumatic Brain Injury (#TBI).

Having suffered a “mild-to-moderate” #concussion myself on April 6, I have a keen interest in all of these topics.

The links and website for the article and magazine are below. First, my favorite parts are summarized or quoted, here. [There were no images with the article, so I went and found some (Thanks to Google images!).]

1. “Despite years of research into traumatic brain injury (TBI), the tests currently available to neurologists, emergency physicians, and other experts can’t reliably identify who has sustained a TBI after a blow to the head, and who has not.” [emphasis is mine]

2. “Damage to neurons occurring after a mild to moderate TBI–called axonal injury–is not revealed on these [CT] scans.” [emphasis is mine]

The image I found, below, is generated by one of the latest diagnostic tools, Diffuse Tensor Imaging, or DTI (see #6, below).

TBI Diffuse Axonal Injury

image from trialexhibitsinc.com, “Diffuse Axonal Injury (TBI)”

3. “‘Some studies indicate that having had even a “mild” TBI in early or midlife may increase the risk for dementia in late life, probably at least twofold.'” states Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, M.D., Ph.D., Fellow of the AAN [American Academy of Neurology], director of clinical research at the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at the uniformed services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. [emphasis is mine]

4. Even a mild to moderate TBI causes an Axonal Injury = one that disrupts the brain’s structure and chemistry on a cellular level. [emphasis is mine]

TBI Amyloid Plaque over time

image from http://www.alzforum.org, “Amyloid plaques in a cross-section of TBI patients.”

5. 2013 research shows that the same plaque (made of amyloid, a brain protein) that is distributed widely in the brains of and that causes dementia in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is found at the site of a TBI, even a mild one. Some researchers are using the anti-amyloid drugs given to AD patients on TBI injuries to avoid or lessen the likelihood of later dementia.

6. There is a new type of MRI called Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) that is promising for seeing the neurological damage caused by TBIs in ways no other diagnostics are currently able to do. This will also aid in detecting where an injured person is in their recovery.

DTI of mild TBI

image from http://www.adlergiersch.com, “Advances in Neuroimaging in Detecting Brain Abnormality in ‘Mild’ Traumatic Brain Injury”

The article describes many other “in the field” (literally, athletic fields, for one) diagnostic tools about to become widely available to determine the extent or presence of a TBI in someone who was knocked on the head.

Read! Share!

http://journals.lww.com/neurologynow/Fulltext/2014/10030/Tracking_Traumatic_Brain_Injury__What_new.16.aspx

http://www.NeurologyNow.com

15 Points about the #Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains

What are the #effects of #concussions on #meditators’ #brains? Many doctors and patients now agree that #meditation helps relieve pain and stress. Therefore, meditation is recommended post-concussion for many with injured brains.

However, I haven’t found anything for my problem: my concussion makes it impossible or difficult/painful for me to meditate. What happens to those who are already long-time meditators (such as I am; 42 years), post-concussion?

It’s fewer than four weeks since my injuries. I still have a lot of trouble and need to take much more time than usual to think clearly enough and to write well enough (neither up to former standards) to put this post together. Forgive its clumsiness, please.

Let me explain, first: the type of meditation I currently do is advanced. This means that the meditation techniques take years to learn. Practice is not just for twenty minutes a day or relegated to a physical posture or on a meditation cushion. This type of meditation involves components of many other types as well as more aspects which are unique to it. It is a Tibetan Buddhist practice called dzogchen (“Great Perfection”) that is supposed to occur all day and into the night (excellent practitioners do it 24/7). It takes years to cultivate this ongoing meditation as a habit.

Therefore, whatever brain parts most meditators are activating, meditators doing dzogchen meditation are utilizing those parts plus a few more, and all the time, once we’re “getting it.”

Post-concussion, the worst after-effect, for me, was being unable to meditate. This is comparable to being unable to eat sufficient food or breathe enough air. We can survive, but we are not well, you see?

What about having had a concussion is preventing me from meditating? Why do certain parts of my brain hurt when I try to meditate?

Finding nothing to answer my questions all in one place, I did some of my own research to help me understand and share what has been happening to me since my injury on April 6.

Here is what I found to be true, complete with PET scans, MRIs of brains and other visuals.

1. Scientists are learning more annually about the ways that meditators’ brains are different than non-meditators:

meditators and nonmeditators brains

image from http://www.exploratorium.edu

Conclusions from above: meditation activates parts of our brain that ordinary brain activities do not.

2. Insight or Vipassana (Vipashana) meditators’ brains have been studied most. Here are some pictures to show how much that type of meditation changes the brains of Insight meditators:

insight meditators brains

image from http://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu

3. How else does meditation change one’s brain?

Brain-waves improve from meditation

image from expanded–consciousness.blogspot.com

Meditators’ brains have thicker cortical areas and other parts are also strengthened unusually by meditation. Our brain waves are different even when we are not meditating. Really.

After feeling pain in three particular areas of my brain that hurt (even though my son and others claim we can’t feel pain in our brains… pooh) and the increased pressure in these areas every time I meditated, which made me stop, I went on a research treasure hunt to answer these questions.

4. What parts of the brain are used in meditation and what types of meditation use what parts most?

brain parts and functions

image from http://www.8limbsholistichealth.com

For me, the thalamus and frontal areas were most impacted and affected, so far, since the front of my face/forehead hit the wall, and since those areas are involved in my type of meditation. However, I could imagine that other injuries/affected areas could impact your meditation differently.

5. What about different kinds of meditation and where in the brain they occur?

variations in types of meditation on brain parts

image from http://www.fredtravis.com

Definitely the thalamus and all frontal areas are affected, for me. I guess I don’t feel the impact in the pariental lobe because mine wasn’t so injured. Again, your experiences could vary a lot.

6. What are the effects on various parts of the brain from a concussion? From my recent and current personal experience, I can answer that. These photos also back up my own understanding completely.

I felt pain and pressure immediately after the concussion when I automatically started to meditate which forced me to stop. Repeatedly. Over time, that pain became most apparent in three locations.

“Recent studies have shown heightened activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, frontal cortex, and prefrontal cortex, specifically in the dorsal medial prefrontal area during Vipassana meditation. Similarly, the cingulate cortex and frontal cortex areas were shown to have increased activity during Zen meditation”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_activity_and_meditation

Thanks to Wikipedia, I began to understand what was happening to me and why.

7. Meditators use these parts of our brain when we meditate:

PET brain images meditation 1

image from uonews.uoregon.edu

When I found this picture, it made me cry. These are the parts that hurt when I try to meditate, all lit up and obvious. I can just point and you can understand.

8. When we look at three brains: one uninjured, one with a concussion, and one with a severe TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), we notice obvious differences, particularly in these areas mentioned, above:

normal severe TBI concussion images

image from http://www.vitamindwiki.com

To orient you: top of photos = forehead/frontal areas of brain. Look at the differences in these three scans in that area, particularly. Startling, huh?

9. How does a concussed brain show up on an MRI?

MRI_scan_concussion

image from http://www.ninds.nih.gov

I could be wrong, here, but I think these scans are oriented in opposite ways from those in #8. Top = back/neck, or the occipital lobe area. Look, therefore, at the bottoms of these scans to see how the frontal areas are affected.

Remember, though: most concussion injuries and symptoms do not show up on MRIs, CAT scans or X-rays, even when taken on the same day as the injury, much less those taken weeks or months later. Functional MRIs and PET scans are slightly better, but many effects are just not all that easy to visualize with the technology currently available.

10. What other signs of impact (concussion) on a brain can we see?

impact injuries on brain cross cuts

image from http://www.webdicine.com

For best understanding, contrast the picture in upper left with the one in the lower right. That’s my brain. Yuck.

11. Remembering what parts of the brain we use for meditating, look at these before-and-after scans of a concussed brain:

brain before and after concussion scans

image from http://www.policymic.com

This time, the orientation is like this: forehead/frontal area is on the left of each scan; neck is on the right. Notice the frontal areas’ changes from scan to scan. Heartwrenching, to me.

12. Pay particular attention to the “frontal bruise” on this concussed brain (similar to what I experienced on April 6 when I hit the wall with my nose/face and broke my nose/got concussed):

concussion bruise on frontal area

image from kerlanjobeblog.com

Don’t you just have to say “ouch!” after seeing this frontal bruising? Empathy is easier when you can see it all in front of you.

13. Here is that PET scan, again, of a meditating brain. Notice what parts are “activated” (by colors):

PET brain images meditation 1

image from uonews.uoregon.edu

Now you begin to see more clearly how concussions impact meditation?

14. Our brains should look and function this way when we meditate:

meditation-mind-brain-waves

image from blog.bufferapp.com

I sorely miss the feelings of “after,” calmness and joy which I normally would experience all day long. Awful losses, here. Luckily, purports to be temporary.

15. In conclusion, this quote incorporates the research I found and speaks to my particular injuries to explain why I can’t meditate and the effects of that on me: “The two important areas of the brain that feature prominently in meditation research are the frontal lobes, located in the area of the forehead, above the eyebrows and the limbic system which is deep inside the centre of the brain. Generally speaking, these two areas function and interact to influence our behavior, emotions, thinking, and what we’re going to do with our life. In other words together they have a profound influence on our personality, who we are and how we feel. The other parts of the brain [featured in meditation research] are the parietal lobes, at the top of the head, which primarily deals with the physical body, the occipital lobes at the back of the head that deal mostly with vision and the temporal lobes, above the ears, which deal with auditory information.” 
http://www.beyondthemind.com/extras/meditation-the-brain/frontal-lobes-the-limbic-system-meditation-mental-silence/

Best part of all this? IMPERMANENCE. This, too, shall pass. Injuries tend to resolve. Healing does occur.

Best wishes to all who are in recovery phases from TBIs and concussions. May all beings benefit.

The #Vibes DO Matter, Down to our #DNA!

“DNA RESPONDS TO FREQUENCY”

“The Russian biophysicist and molecular biologist, Pjotr Garjajev, and his colleagues explored the vibrational behavior of the DNA. The bottom line was: ‘Living chromosomes function just like solitonic/holographic computers using the endogenous DNA laser radiation.’

“This means that they managed…to modulate certain frequency patterns onto a laser ray and with it influenced the DNA frequency and thus the genetic information itself.

“This finally and scientifically explains why affirmations, autogenous training, hypnosis and the like can have such strong effects on humans and their bodies. It is entirely normal and natural for our DNA to react to frequency.”

Vitality_Tone-new
image from http://www.themichaelteaching.com

“Garjajev’s research group…even captured information patterns of a particular DNA and transmitted it onto another, thus reprogramming cells to another genome. So they successfully transformed, for example, frog embryos to salamander embryos simply by transmitting the DNA information patterns! This way the entire information was transmitted without any of the side effects or disharmonies encountered when cutting out and re-introducing single genes from the DNA. This represents an unbelievable, world-transforming revolution and sensation!”

Sound-vibrates-cells
image from http://www.asabalance.com

“This experiment points to the immense power of wave genetics, which obviously has a greater influence on the formation of organisms than the biochemical processes of alkaline sequences.”

article quotes from: http://themindunleashed.org/2014/01/scientists-finally-admit-second-secret-dna-code-controls-genes.html

Given that we now know, incontrovertibly, that we are affected by vibes, get crackin’ on improving YOURS! And, don’t be a downer to others’, either!

10 Ways to Raise your Vibrations: http://www.mindopenerz.com/10-ways-to-raise-your-vibrations/

The Mysterious Web That Connects All Galaxies In The Universe

This and That

To read the article go to
Astronomers Capture The First Image Of The Mysterious Web That Connects All Galaxies In The Universe
http://redicecreations.com/article.php?id=28583

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