Pandemic Preparedness FREE Online How-To Course – BioDefense.com

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Pandemic Preparedness FREE Online How-To Course – BioDefense.com.

pandemicI encourage EVERYONE to go to this site by BioDefense.com. These videos explain how to protect yourself and your family from a very real possibility of a national and even world pandemic.

It’s worth listening to and staying connected to this site by BioDefense.com.

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How Home Gardeners Can Change the Local Food System

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How Home Gardeners Can Change the Local Food System.

home gardenerBy Dr. Mercola

According to a survey by Gardeners’ World magazine,1 80 percent of gardeners reported being happy and satisfied with their lives, compared to 67 percent of non-gardeners. This feeling of well being can have other more-far reaching implications for your physical health as well. According to research from Johns Hopkins,2 having a cheerful temperament can significantly reduce your odds of suffering a heart attack or sudden cardiac death.3

When you think about world hunger, do you consider the role you might play with regard to food waste? Therein lies the problem, according to Gary Oppenheimer, creator of AmpleHarvest.org. According to Oppenheimer, the reason we keep spending a lot of time and money trying to feed the hungry without ever resolving the problem is because most approaches fail to address food waste.

Tens of millions of growers throw away food from their gardens while their neighbors go hungry. Likewise, Americans throw away about a pound of food per person per day. In 2008, that equated to about one billion pounds of food per year.

AmpleHarvest.org4 addresses the problem of hunger by providing a whole new supply channel for food that would otherwise go to waste.

Rather than buying and distributing food, the organization connects growers with local food pantries. In this way, food can be more efficiently distributed to those who need it most, while eliminating waste all at the same time. If you’re not a gardener, I would suggest passing this information along to friends and neighbors who do garden, or better yet, your local farmer. In his talk at Google above, Oppenheimer discusses:

  1. Food waste
  2. The impact of food waste
  3. The solution to food waste and hunger
  4. Future developments—combating waste and hunger on an even larger scale

Americans Waste Enormous Amounts of Food

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the US threw away $161 billion-worth of food in 2010. One-third of the food produced in the US simply didn’t get consumed.

In 2012, the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) issued a report stating that 40 percent of the food in the US was wasted. This represents about 20 pounds of food per person per month. Not only that, but 32 percent of our available water was also wasted in the process.

Fruit and vegetables account for 14 percent and 19 percent of the waste respectively. In terms of amounts, nearly 18.5 billion pounds of fruit is thrown away annually, along with more than 25 billion pounds of vegetables.

However, these reports did not include home gardeners in their calculations, Oppenheimer notes. According to the National Gardener Association, 35 percent of all households across the US grow their own food, harvesting on average 300 pounds of food per year (compressed into the growing seasons).

Home gardeners also throw away large portions of their harvests. As noted by Oppenheimer, the food waste among home gardeners stem from:

  • Overplanting, thereby producing more than you can actually eat
  • Inability to share the excess with friends or neighbors
  • Not preserving or canning the excess
  • Becoming overwhelmed by the continuous food production; by the end of the season, when plants are still producing food, many will simply toss it into the compost bin or garbage

America Has a Significant Hunger Problem

One in six Americans is “food insecure,” meaning they’re either hungry or at risk of going hungry on a regular basis. One in four American children under the age of six lives in a food insecure home. Among Hispanics, the number is even greater—one in three.

Due to lack of nutrition, these children perform poorly in school, and malnourished adults also perform below par at work. As noted by Oppenheimer, by not nourishing our population, we’re hurting the economy of today and tomorrow.

Health care costs are among the financial factors to be taken into consideration, as poor diets significantly contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and related illnesses.

Our Current Food Distribution System Is at the Heart of the Problem

In his talk, Oppenheimer describes and compares the current food bank distribution system to the system his organization proposes. At present, an organization called Feeding America coordinates about 203 food banks across the nation. These food banks collect and redistribute food to 33,500 different food pantries and food kitchens that feed the needy.

This system works well for processed foods, as they have a long shelf life. The distribution cycle in this system is rather lengthy; it can take days or weeks from food to travel from the food bank to the consumer. Hence, fresh foods are excluded. You simply cannot donate fresh foods as they will rot by the time they reach the soup kitchen.

So, despite the fact that billions of pounds of fresh foods are available, the distribution system simply does not allow those foods to enter the system and reach those who need it the most. Instead, all that fresh nutritious food is tossed into compost heaps or landfills. Meanwhile, the poor end up eating nothing but processed fare, which we know is the root cause of obesity and chronic disease.

Reinventing a More Sustainable Food System to Combat Hunger

Oppenheimer’s idea was to connect the people with too much food in their home gardens with those who really need it. In order to do so, he realized we have to bypass the food bank, and donate the food directly to the local food pantry or soup kitchen.

AmpleHarvest.org works like other search engines. You can search the database to find a local food pantry in the US that has opted in to participate and therefore will accept donations of fresh produce. The software currently does not provide links to food pantries outside the US. This system has a number of beneficial “side effects,” including:

  • A more efficient food system
  • Better nutrition for the underprivileged
  • Community building
  • Beneficial environmental impacts

AmpleHarvest.org launched in 2009, and today has a database of nearly 7,000 participating food pantries across the nation—one out of every five food pantries has signed up. It’s worth noting that the feedback from these food pantries is that fresh foods are overwhelmingly popular. These are the foods that disappear first. A common notion is that people will choose processed foods over fresh foods whenever given the chance, but the reality appears to be quite different.

What Makes AmpleHarvest So Extraordinary?

Oppenheimer’s idea really demonstrates how simple ideas can revolutionize our food system. It doesn’t have to be complicated. On the contrary, its simplicity is its strength. The system is very efficient, as it only moves information, not food, and associated costs are a mere fraction of other national food programs.

It’s also universal in that it can work in any community, large or small. And it works with both home growers and larger farms. It’s also a community builder, which in and of itself has benefits that can hardly be measured in dollars and cents. Last but not least, it directly addresses pressing health concerns; combating childhood obesity and related diseases by improving nutrition. It also benefits the environment.

Next Up: Connecting Farmers with Gleaning Organizations

The AmpleHarvest.org is now bringing this system into the big leagues. GleaningHarvest.org will work to distribute much larger amounts of leftover food from farms across the country. One major source of food waste is cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables. These foods are simply thrown away because stores “can’t” sell them. Again, the idea is that consumers demand perfect-looking foods, but even here, old assumptions are being challenged and overturned.

In France, the third-largest supermarket chain Intermarche decided to fight food waste by creating an “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables” campaign. Large signs promote “the Grotesque Apple,” “the Ridiculous Potato,” the Hideous Orange,” “the Disfigured Eggplant,” “the Unfortunate Clementine,” and more. These foods are given their own section of the store, and are sold at reduced prices. Lo and behold, these “Failed Lemons” started selling out almost immediately.

GleaningHarvest.org will connect gleaning organizations to farms in the same way AmpleHarvest connects home gardeners with local food pantries. What is “gleaning”? As explained by Food Network:5 “Gleaning is a way of gathering vegetables and fruits in the field that would otherwise be left to rot or be plowed under after harvest. Instead of having this good food go to waste, the gleaning program allows those in need to pick (or glean) the produce in the field for themselves and their family at no cost.”

One Dozen Ways to Eliminate Your Food Waste

Food waste is a reality in most homes. You can drastically reduce the amount of food you toss in the garbage by implementing the following strategies. Please also refer to our previous article about proper food storage and how to keep your food items fresher.

1 Shop Wisely Plan meals, use shopping lists, and avoid impulse buys and “buy one, get one free” deals, unless you’re certain you’ll eat it.
2 Buy Local Locally produced foods are fresher and keep longer, as well as having a smaller ecological footprint.
3 Buy Funny-Looking Fruits and Veggies Buying the “ugly ducklings” of the produce section makes use of food that might otherwise go to waste.
4 Learn When Food Goes Bad Use-by and best-by dates are only manufacturer suggestions and may cause you to discard food when it is still safe and consumable. Many foods are safe and consumable well after their use-by date.
5 Use Your Freezer Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you won’t have a chance to eat them before they go bad.
6 Vacuum Pack One of my all-time favorite tricks, which works for most produce, is to create a “vacuum pack” to help protect food from oxygen and airborne microbes that will accelerate its decay. Leave the produce in the bag it came in from the grocery store, place it against your chest, and use your arm to squeeze the excess air out of the bag. Then seal it with a twist tie. Or use an automatic vacuum sealer like the FoodSaver.
7 Start Juicing Juicing is an excellent way to use up aging produce while improving your health at the same time. Vegetable juicing also helps with weight management and is a great adjunct to home gardening. You can also compost the pulp.
8 Request Smaller Portions Restaurants will often provide half-portions upon request at reduced prices.
9 Eat Leftovers Only about half of Americans take leftovers home from restaurants and actually eat them. Avoid this kind of waste.
10 Compost Food Scraps Composting food scraps recycles their nutrients and can reduce their ecological impact. It benefits soil, plants, and the greater environment. Composting is not as difficult as you might think. Read all about composting here.
11 Grow Your Own Food Start your own vegetable garden! With the square foot gardening technique, even apartment dwellers can learn a simple technique for growing veggies on a small patio.
12 Donate Food Donate excess food and garden produce to food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, shelters—and your friends and neighbors.

You Can Be Part of the Solution

Food waste has become an enormous problem worldwide, as the latest statistics suggest. Fortunately, you can do a number of things to reduce your own food waste, and if your garden produces more than you know what to do with, you can also be a game changer in your own community by donating your excess harvest to a local food pantry. AmpleHarvest.org’s database will tell you where the nearest food pantry accepting fresh foods is. And, if your local food pantry is not yet in the database, you may want to bring AmpleHarvest to its attention so that they may sign up. Again, if you’re not a gardener, please consider passing this information along to friends and neighbors who garden, and/or your local farmer.

(click the link at the top to read more from mercola.com)

National Vaccine Information Center Calls for Removal of Vaccine Safety Oversight from Department of Health and Human Services

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National Vaccine Information Center Calls for Removal of Vaccine Safety Oversight from Department of Health and Human Services.

vaccine safetyBy Barbara Loe Fisher

On Aug. 27, 2014 a senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1 publicly admitted2 that he and other CDC officials, including the current CDC’s Director of Immunization Safety,3, 4 published a study about MMR vaccine safety in 20045 that “omitted statistically significant information” and “did not follow the final study protocol. “He said the study “omitted relevant findings in a particular study for a particular sub group for a particular vaccine” and added that “there have always been recognized risks for vaccination” and “it is the responsibility for the CDC to properly convey [vaccine] risks.”

CDC: A History of Limiting Transparency

We couldn’t agree more. CDC officials should not be in the business of deliberately withholding information from the public about vaccine risks that may be greater for some children than other children.6 Unfortunately, CDC officials have a long history of limiting transparency7, 8 and being less than honest with the American people about what it does and does not know about vaccine risks.9, 10

Last July, a RAND Corporation study commissioned and funded by DHHS was published proclaiming that vaccines “are very safe.”11 What was not made clear to the public was that the study was designed and peer reviewed by high-level CDC officials, including the CDC’s Director of Immunization Safety.12

This is a big problem for parents being ordered to give their children every government recommended vaccine – no exceptions and no questions asked.13, 14

NVIC Calls on Congress to Take Action on DHHS Conflicts of Interest

Today, the National Vaccine Information Center is renewing our call for oversight of vaccine safety to be removed from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).15

It is a conflict of interest for DHHS to be in charge of vaccine safety and also license vaccines,16 and take money from drug companies to fast track vaccines,17 and partner with drug companies to develop and share profits from vaccine sales,18 and make national vaccine policies19 that get turned into state vaccine laws20 while also deciding which children will and will not get a vaccine injury compensation award.21, 22

That is too much power for one federal agency. That is putting the fox in charge of guarding the chicken coop.

Vaccination Can Cause Brain Inflammation and Injury

Especially when it has been known since the first vaccine for smallpox that vaccination can cause brain inflammation23, 24 25, 26, 27 and a wide spectrum of brain injury symptoms, like developmental delays and disabilities.28, 29, 30

It is very telling that Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have declared that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” and completely shielded drug companies from vaccine injury lawsuits.31, 32 In America, if you or your child gets hurt by a vaccine, you can’t hold anyone who developed, regulated, recommended, marketed, mandated, administered, or profits from the vaccine accountable in a civil court of law in front of a jury of your peers.

Parents Concerns About Vaccine Safety Legitimate

The recent statement by a CDC senior scientist admitting that vaccine risk data is being withheld from the public is just one more piece of evidence that parents’ questions and concerns about vaccine safety are legitimate.

Congress should act now and take vaccine safety monitoring away from DHHS.

The health of our children is at stake.

Contact Your U.S. Senator and Representative

Contact your U.S. Senator and Representative today and tell them you want something done about conflicts of interest in the nation’s vaccination system.33, 34 If your child’s health has been harmed by vaccination, tell them about that too.

Go to NVIC.org and learn more about making informed vaccine decisions and protecting your informed consent rights.

It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.

(click the link above to read more on mercola.com)

Blind Mole Rats and a Key to Fighting Cancer

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Could This Tiny Blind Mole Rat Hold the Key to Fighting Cancer?.

blind mole rat and fighting cancerBy Dr. Becker

What small mammal lives underground, excavates with his teeth, has eyes completely covered with skin, and lives for over 20 years? The answer? Why, the blind mole rat of course.

And now scientists have sequenced the genome of this unassuming little fellow because, like his slightly less adorable distant relative the naked mole rat, the blind mole rat is also resistant to cancer. The genome study appears in the June 2014 issue of the journal Nature Communications.1

According to the researchers, the results of genome sequencing have revealed information about the mole rat’s lack of eyesight, as well as its high tolerance for low oxygen (hypoxia). They also believe they’ve discovered important secrets about the little creature’s special cancer-fighting powers.

How Blind Mole Rats Defeat Cancer

Lead study author Eviatar Nevo of the University of Haifa in Israel has been studying blind mole rats for a half-century, and has never encountered any evidence of spontaneous tumor development in the little mammals. Even when directly exposed to cancer-causing chemicals, the mole rats remain remarkably resistant.

In most animals, cells that detect the presence of cancer shut themselves down in a phenomenon known as apoptosis, or programmed cell death. But when a blind mole rat’s cells identify a problem, the immune system mounts an attack on the tumor instead and causes necrosis (death). According to the results of genome sequencing, the genes involved in the moles’ impressive immune system response have been selected through evolution to be expanded or replicated.

The researchers speculate that the mole rat’s unusual immune response is because one of the key facilitators of apoptosis, a protein called p53, is altered in the rodents as part of their adaptation to a low oxygen environment.

In the underground world that blind mole rats inhabit, oxygen is scarce — a situation that would send the p53 protein of other animals into overdrive. That’s because low oxygen environments cause programmed cell death in other species. Obviously, if this were also the case with blind mole rats, there would be no more blind mole rats. So they have evolved with a relatively weak p53 response, but a turbocharged immune system necrotic defense that “cancer doesn’t know how to deal with,” according to study co-author Dr. Denis Larkin of the Royal Veterinary College in London, in an interview with BBC News.

The blind mole rat genome study was conducted by a large team of scientists from all over the world. According to Dr. Larkin, their research puts the rodent in a whole new category for future research. “When you have the whole genome… you can more efficiently use the species as a model – for cancer resistance, or adaptation to hypoxia, or other medical challenges,” he told the BBC.

Facts About the Blind Mole Rat

Blind mole rats are furry, with cylindrical bodies, short limbs, and surprisingly small feet and claws, given that they are burrowers. Their eyes are tiny and hidden beneath skin, their ears appear as slight folds, and their minute tails are not externally visible. Sensory whiskers sprout from a flat nose and extend backward.

The mole rats weigh from 3.5 ounces to a little over a pound and range in length from 5 to 14 inches. Their fur is soft and thick, and may be pale to reddish brown or gray. The front of the head is usually lighter in color than the back, and there may be white or yellow stripes that run along the sides of the head or down the middle from nose to forehead.

These little creatures are territorial and solitary. They dig burrows with their incisors, push the loose dirt under their tummies with their front feet, and kick it behind them with their hind feet. When a nice sized pile of soil has collected behind him, the mole rat turns around and uses his nose to pack some of the dirt against the burrow wall. Then he finishes by using his head to push any leftover debris back through the tunnel and up onto the surface.

Blind mole rat burrows can be anywhere from 4 to 10 inches below ground, and they use them to search for food. Their diet consists primarily of roots, tubers, and bulbs, to which they add seeds and green plant parts from occasional nighttime trips to the surface to forage.

The tunnels contain vertical passageways that lead to deeper “hallways” off which the mole rats build separate rooms for food storage, nesting, and elimination. During wet seasons, females construct large mounds that contain chambers for mating and child-rearing. Gestation takes about a month, and there can be from one to five babies in a litter.

Despite their somewhat similar appearance, interestingly, the blind mole rat (Spalax galili) is not closely related to the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber). According to the results of the genome sequencing study, the two mole rats set off on different evolutionary paths some 70 million years ago, and have adapted completely separately to life underground.

Believe it or not, the blind mole rat is actually more closely related to the common house mouse than the naked mole rat!

(click the link at the top to read more from Dr. Becker)

Essential Oils Support Physical and Emotional Well-Being

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Essential Oils Support Physical and Emotional Well-Being.

Rosemary Essential OilsBy Dr. Mercola

Your sense of smell is your most primal sense and exerts surprising influence over your thoughts, emotions, moods, memories, and behaviors. Scents are experienced long before words.

This is why it’s nearly impossible to describe them with language. Olfaction is different from your other senses, processed through different pathways in your brain.

For other sensations such as sounds and visual images, sensory input is delivered straight to your thalamus, which you can think of as “the big switchboard” in your head. From there, data goes out to your primary sensory cortices.

But smells are different. Before reaching your thalamus, they first wind their way through other regions of your brain, including areas controlling memory and emotion. So with scents, you have all this extra processing even before you have conscious awareness of the scent.1

For this reason, scents can have a powerful influence over how you think, feel, and behave. Aromatherapy allows you to harness the olfactory power of plants for healing, or simply to enhance your state of well-being.

Essential oils carry biologically active volatile compounds in a highly concentrated form that can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts. Please understand that I am referring to pure, therapeutic grade essential oils from plants, NOT synthetic fragrances and perfumes, which can be toxic and are typically loaded with allergenic compounds.

Aromatherapy Was Used to Treat the Plague

The use of fragrances has been around for thousands of years, although traditions and methodologies have changed through the ages. According to “The Smell Report,”2 the process of extracting and preserving a flower’s scent using alcohol distillation was discovered by Avicenna.

Avicenna was an 11th century Arabian alchemist and physician, who sort of stumbled upon it while “trying to isolate for Islam the soul of its holy rose.” Before this, perfumes consisted only of thick resins, gums, and gooey unguents.

Back in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, physicians promoted the therapeutic use of scents, including Hippocrates, Galen, and Crito. Even the plague was treated with fragrances!3

It wasn’t until the early nineteenth century that the medicinal use of aromatics was largely discredited by scientists who favored drugs. Fortunately, aromatherapy is now making a strong comeback, moving steadily in the direction of mainstream.

How Essential Oils Can Help with Several Common Maladies

There are probably as many uses for aromatherapy as there are essential oils, but research shows particular promise in relieving stress, stabilizing your mood, improving sleep, pain, and nausea relief, and improving your memory and energy level.

An important element of aromatherapy is synergy, which is why using a combination of oils often creates a much more powerful effect than any one particular oil. With a skilled aromatherapist, the possibilities are nearly endless!

In order to give you an idea of the versatility of aromatherapy, the following table lists some of the therapeutic uses of several oils for a few of today’s most common complaints. As you can see, there are some real “multitaskers,” like lavender and peppermint—oils that treat more than one problem.4

Many of these are discussed in an excellent article in The Huffington Post5 about scents that can enhance your well-being. For further information, refer to the resource section at the bottom of this article.

Complaint Essential Oils
Stress Lavender, lemon, bergamot, peppermint, vetiver, pine, and ylang ylang
Insomnia Lavender,6 chamomile, jasmine, benzoin, neroli, rose, sandalwood, sweet marjoram, and ylang ylang; lemon can wake you up7
Anxiety Lavender, bergamot, rose, clary sage, lemon, Roman chamomile, orange, sandalwood, rose-scented geranium, and pine8
Depressed mood Peppermint, chamomile, lavender, and jasmine9
Pain Lavender, chamomile, clary sage, juniper, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, lavender, and green apple (especially for migraines)
Nausea and vomiting Mint, ginger, lemon, orange, ginger, dill, fennel, chamomile, clary sage, and lavender
Memory and attention Sage, peppermint,10 and cinnamon
Low energy Black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, angelica, jasmine, tea tree, rosemary, sage, and citrus

The Science of Smell

Why does the fishy scent of a beach make one person retch while evoking feelings of expansiveness and joy in another? These variations in responses to scents tie into the special brain pathways of your olfactory system. Olfactory information is stored or encoded with all sorts of memories and associations in your brain.

The neurological substrates of olfaction are especially geared for associative learning (in your hippocampus) and emotional processing (in your amygdala).11Kate Fox explains it well in “The Smell Report”:12

“Our olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, the most ancient and primitive part of the brain, which is thought to be the seat of emotion. Smell sensations are relayed to the cortex, where ‘cognitive’ recognition occurs, only after the deepest parts of our brains have been stimulated. Thus, by the time we correctly name a particular scent as, for example, ‘vanilla,’ the scent has already activated the limbic system, triggering more deep-seated emotional responses.”

A number of studies have shown that odor learning begins before birth. A fetus detects flavor/odor compounds in its amniotic fluid, from the mother’s diet. In studies where a mothers’ consumption of distinctive smelling substances such as garlic, alcohol, or cigarette smoke were monitored during pregnancy, their infants were found to prefer these scents more than infants who had not been exposed to them.13

After birth, newborns locate their mothers’ nipples by smell. Breastfeeding also influences scent preferences; babies will associate breastfeeding smells with maternal bonding and the comfort of their mothers’ arms.  According to a recent study14, babies can even smell their mothers’ fears and learn the dangers of the world, just days after birth. When mothers experience stress, their body releases a scent that their baby detects and responds to.

Scent preferences change along with developmental stages. Studies show that three-year-olds have essentially the same likes and dislikes as adults. Children do not develop sensitivity to certain odors until they reach puberty. Researchers have also found that olfactory receptors differ by as much as 30 percent between any two individuals.15 On tests of smelling ability, women consistently score higher than men, and this gender difference holds true even for newborns!16

In summary, your responses to scents are largely “learned” as a function of the emotional context in which they were first experienced, and then the association influences your mood and behavior later in life. Naturally, there are genetic differences as well. Do you LOVE the smell of cilantro—or do you think it smells like soap? If the latter is true, you may be an olfactory mutant… literally.17

We Are MUCH Better Smellers Than We Thought

Since the 1920s, scientists have believed that the human nose was capable of detecting about 10,000 odors, but a new study published in the journal Science shows this estimate is way off the mark. In the first empirical study ever done, researchers at Rockefeller University discovered the human nose can discriminate more than one trillion olfactory stimuli!18 The least successful smeller is now thought to be capable of smelling about 80 million unique scents, but if you’re a super-sniffer, you can detect a spectacular one thousand trillion scents.19
This discovery begins to explain why studies are now finding that the human olfactory system is able to detect factors such as fear, disgust, age,20 and gender.21 Yes, studies show you can identify the age or gender of another person simply by his or her smell. A mother can identify an infant by smell alone after holding the child for just one hour, even others than her own.

It used to be thought that humans did not produce (or sense) pheromones, but many scent scientists are revising their beliefs about this. A study out of New York’s Stony Brook University found people who are scared do indeed give off “fear pheromones” in their sweat—hormones that trigger parts of your brain that are subconsciously associated with fear. This may explain why an individual with a fear of flying can trigger anxiety in other passengers who would not normally be afraid—the fear pheromone can trigger similar emotions in others who happen to catch a whiff.22 The same researchers also found that disgust can be “contagious.”23

Scents Can Alter Your Nervous System

Scents can actually change your nervous system biochemistry. A Japanese study found that inhaling essential oils can modulate your sympathetic nervous system activity. Certain oils were found to be stimulating, while others were found to be calming. For example:24

  • Black pepper, fennel, and grapefruit oil caused a 1.5-to 2.5-fold increase in sympathetic nervous system activity (as measured by an increase in systolic blood pressure)
  • Rose and patchouli oil resulted in a 40 percent decrease in sympathetic nervous system activity
  • Pepper oil induced a 1.7-fold increase in plasma adrenaline concentration, while rose oil caused adrenaline to drop by 30 percent
  • Other oils have been shown to measurably decrease stress hormones—inhaling lavender and rosemary were shown to reduce cortisol levels.25

As mentioned earlier, scents play a powerful role in memories, especially emotional memories. Olfactory input is routed through your amygdala and hippocampus (which process emotion), but bypasses your brain’s higher cortical areas, the “thinking parts.”26 This suggests aromatherapy might possibly be helpful to those with dementia, although research thus far has produced mixed results.

From Onions to Cow Manure: Smell Is in the Nose of the Beholder

As you might expect, cultural differences contribute to what smells enhance your feelings of happiness, versus making you want to flee to the nearest open window. Scent preferences differ dramatically across cultural lines. In many non-Western cultures, smell is regarded with much more importance and even reverence. For example, among the Ongee of the Andaman Islands, the universe and everything in it is defined by smell.

Their calendar is based on the aromas of flowers that bloom at different times of the year. When greeting someone, the Ongee do not ask, “How are you?” but rather, “Konyune onorange-tanka?” which translates to, “How is your nose?”27 For the cattle-raising Dassanetch of Ethiopia, no bouquet is more beautiful than a herd of cows. The men wash their hands in cattle urine and smear their bodies with manure to make themselves more attractive to the ladies. The Dogon of Mali rub fried onions all over their bodies, as it’s the most highly desirable perfume!

Although we have convincing evidence that pleasant fragrances can improve your sense of well-being, some recent studies suggest it’s your expectation about an odor, rather than the odor itself, that may be responsible for the mood and effects produced—essentially the placebo effect. Could merely thinking about lavender oil make you calm? In one experiment, researchers found that just telling subjects that a pleasant or unpleasant odor was being administered, which they might not be able to smell, affected their mood, symptoms, and sense of well-being.28

A Few Resources I’ve Sniffed Out for You

Aromatherapy can be a beneficial adjunct to your overall health plan. It’s not a replacement for wise lifestyle choices like good nutrition and exercise, but it is an excellent way to further enhance your physical and emotional health. Aromatherapy is also one more tool you can keep in your tool bag for managing everyday stress, balancing out mood swings, and improving your sleep. Your nose is probably an underappreciated resource, so perhaps it’s time to make some use of it! Whether you seek out a trained aromatherapist or adopt a DIY approach, the following are a few resources you might find useful.

  • National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA): Everything about the medicinal use of aromatic plants and the holistic practice of aromatherapy
  • Aroma Web: A directory of aromatherapy information, tips, recipes, sources, including a regional aromatherapy business directory
  • American Botanical Council: Herbal medicine information that includes an herb library and clinical guide to herbs
  • Herb Med: Interactive electronic herb database (some information is free, but full access requires a fee)

(click the link at the top to read on mercola.com)

Back-to-School Vaccines: Know the Risks and Failures

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Back-to-School Vaccines: Know the Risks and Failures.

vaccineBy Barbara Loe Fisher

As summer comes to an end, the drumbeat promoting back-to-school vaccinations grows louder and louder in America. Unlike children in Canada and the European Union,1, 2 our children must get dozens of doses of vaccines or they can’t get a public school education.3

No Shots, No School, No Exceptions

Over the past century, denial of a public school education has been used like a club by public health and medical trade officials demanding that state legislators enact “No Shots, No School, No Exceptions” vaccine laws.4, 5, 6 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

In 1914, children had to get one dose of smallpox vaccine to go to school.13 In 2014, children entering kindergarten must get a minimum of 29 doses of 9 vaccines.14 Babies enrolled in daycare get even more vaccines.15

Medical Exemptions Rarely Granted

Parents in 48 states can file a religious or personal belief vaccine exemption, but some states make those exemptions very hard to get.16 A medical exemption is allowed in all states, but doctors rarely grant them to children anymore because almost all medical reasons for delaying or withholding a vaccine have been eliminated.17, 18, 19

Government and medical trade officials have narrowed medical contraindications to vaccination after Congress shielded doctors and vaccine manufacturers from vaccine injury lawsuits.20 Today, even children with severely compromised immune systems are given most vaccines.21

Doctors Practicing Authoritarian Medicine

Now that everybody is a candidate for vaccination all the time, liability-free doctors have been given a green light to practice authoritarian medicine.22, 23, 24 Distraught parents are contacting NVIC and telling us that pediatricians are dismissing their child’s vaccine reactions as unimportant and refusing to make a report to the federal vaccine adverse events reporting system.

Mothers describe how pediatricians are screaming at them if they decline a vaccination or simply ask for fewer shots to be given to their child on the same day.25

Recently, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics26 proclaimed publicly that he is justified in getting angry at and discriminating against parents disobeying his orders to give their children every federally recommended vaccine on schedule27 which, by the way, means 49 doses of 14 vaccines between day of birth and age 6 with 20 more doses of vaccines by age 18.28

Calling those parents “a public health menace” and comparing them to “substance abusers,” he refuses to treat their children. He said, “That person is a danger, not only to themselves but is a danger to society, a danger to other children in my practice, a danger to old people, a danger to everyone.”29

Pediatricians Exempt from Vaccine Injury Lawsuits

It is sad and frightening when doctors demonize and threaten parents making thoughtful medical risk decisions for their children. The American Academy of Pediatrics knows that vaccines carry serious risks for some children because AAP leaders successfully lobbied Congress to be exempt from vaccine injury lawsuits.30, 31

Some People More Susceptible to Vaccine Reactions

But even if $3 billion in federal vaccine injury compensation had not already been awarded to vaccine victims in America,32 and even if the Institute of Medicine had not published a series of reports confirming that vaccines can cause injury and death,33, 34, 35, 36, 37 everybody knows that people do not all respond the same way to pharmaceutical products38 like vaccines.

Each one of us is born with unique genes and a unique microbiome39 influenced by epigenetics,40 which affects how we respond to the different environments we live in. Some of us are more susceptible to vaccine complications.41, 42 Public health officials have known this for a long, long time.43, 44

Late-Breaking News Addition to This Commentary: Girl Dies Hours After HPV Vaccination

Individual susceptibility to vaccine reactions may have been in play when 12-year-old Meredith Prohaska died within hours an HPV vaccination on July 30, 2014. According to the NY Daily News, Meredith’s mother took her daughter to the doctor for a sore throat and, while Meredith was at the doctor’s office, she was given an HPV shot.

Within 30 minutes of the shot, Meredith, who was a healthy athlete entering seventh grade, became very sleepy and slept all afternoon. When her mom came back from a short trip to get food, she found Meredith face down on the floor with purple lips and no pulse. Her mom is an EMT for the National Guard and performed CPR, but could not save her.

The initial autopsy report was “inconclusive” and further tests are being done. However, Meredith’s death is not the first to occur after HPV vaccine. By June 14, 2014, there had been 171 deaths following HPV vaccinations (Gardasil or Cervarix) reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

One week before Meredith’s HPV-vaccine related death, another Wisconsin teenager collapsed in her home shortly after receiving HPV and meningococcal vaccinations. Her mom reported that when her 17-year-old daughter got home after getting vaccinated, she could barely walk and collapsed, complaining of chest pain and that she was having trouble breathing. Her mom immediately took her to an Urgent Care facility and the doctors there called 911 and rushed her to the hospital ER, where she was treated and recovered.

Fox News recently discussed the Wisconsin HPV vaccine reaction cases and pointed out how difficult it is to get compensated for a vaccine injury or death. Even if parents do have enough information to understand their child has suffered a vaccine reaction and meet deadlines for filing a federal compensation claim within two years of a vaccine death or three years of a vaccine injury and an award is made (two out of three claimants are denied awards), compensation is capped at $250,000 for pain and suffering and $250,000 for death. There is no cap for those who require life-long care.

Learn How to Identify Vaccine Reactions

With so many pediatricians denying vaccine risks and failures, it is even more important for parents to do their own research. If your child is getting back-to-school shots, you should know how to identify symptoms of a vaccine reaction. Once your child has had a vaccine reaction, revaccination may cause a more serious reaction.45 Plus, you only have two years to file a claim in the federal vaccine injury compensation program after a vaccine-related death or three years after a vaccine injury.46, 47 A few of the more serious vaccine reaction symptoms are:

  • Convulsion or seizure symptoms include eyes fluttering and rolling back in the head; twitching, trembling, jerking, shaking or sudden rigidity of one or more parts of the body.48, 49, 50, 51
  • High fever between 103 and 105 degrees F. or more.52, 53
  • High-pitched screaming, also known as the encephalitic cry, is described as a shrill scream, shriek, or wail that goes on for hours. Mothers often say they have never heard this type of crying before. Sometimes babies arch their backs while screaming, which can be a sign of brain inflammation.54
  • Collapse/shock. The child may be pale, have bluish lips, and suddenly go limp and appear to be unconscious.55, 56
  • Excessive sleepiness is when the child sleeps deeply without moving for hours after vaccination and does not respond to noise, touch, or light and cannot be easily awakened to eat.57, 58, 59
  • Brain inflammation, also called encephalitis or acute encephalopathy, has been recognized as a very serious complication of vaccination since the first vaccine for smallpox. Symptoms can include convulsions, high-pitched screaming, collapse, and hours of unconsciousness.60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66
  • Encephalopathy or chronic brain dysfunction can include physical and mental regression, dramatic personality and behavior changes, loss of muscle control, speech, and other abilities, or the child may be unable to continue to meet developmental milestones.67, 68, 69, 70, 71

Vaccine Reactions May Take A Week or Longer to Appear

This is not a full list of vaccine reaction symptoms and there are other types of reactions affecting immune and brain function involving the skin,72, 73, 74 joints,75, 76 blood 77, 78 and other parts of the body that can be warning signs a child may be sensitive to one or more vaccines. Some reactions develop within hours of vaccination while others, like convulsions following MMR vaccination, can take a week or more to appear.79

Review Vaccine Manufacturer Information and Vaccine Ingredients

Before vaccination, read the vaccine manufacturer’s product inserts so you are aware of the types of serious health problems reported in pre-licensure clinical trials and during post-marketing surveillance.80 Take a look at vaccine ingredients as well, because some children are allergic to antibiotics, gelatin, MSG, thimerosal, yeast, egg protein, and other vaccine ingredients.81, 82

Vaccine Immunity Not Permanent: Pertussis Vaccine Failures

Parents also need to know that vaccine-acquired immunity is not permanent and fully vaccinated children can still get and transmit infectious diseases.83 Vaccine failures and waning immunity is a real problem for vaccines like B. pertussis,84, 85 also known as whooping cough. The FDA reported last year that vaccinated persons still can be infected with and transmit pertussis, sometimes without even showing any symptoms.86 The majority of children in many pertussis outbreaks have been vaccinated.87, 88

Learn Symptoms of Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Signs of B. pertussis whooping cough range from a low fever, loss of appetite, and a mild cough to violent paroxysmal coughing, with choking and vomiting of large amounts of sticky mucus for many weeks.89 Small infants can suffer brain damage or die from pertussis if they cannot clear mucus clogging their airways.90 Understanding vaccine risks and failures is a vital part of conscious parenting today.

Ask Eight Questions Before Vaccination

At NVIC.org:

  • You can find well-referenced information about vaccines and diseases, including vaccine manufacturer product inserts, and a brochure that lists 8 questions you should ask yourself before your child is vaccinated.
  • You can review vaccine reaction reports made to the federal vaccine adverse events reporting system.
  • You can read testimonials on the Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall by Americans describing how they are being persecuted when they try to make informed, voluntary decisions about vaccination for themselves and their children.
  • You can sign up for the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal and work to secure informed consent protections in your state’s vaccine laws.

Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Defend Vaccine Exemptions

 

With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it’s critical to protect your right to make independent health choices and exercise voluntary informed consent to vaccination. It is urgent that everyone in America stand up and fight to protect and expand vaccine informed consent protections in state public health and employment laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and educating the leaders in your community.

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.

National vaccine policy recommendations are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make voluntary vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.

Signing up for NVIC’s free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choice rights and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips..

So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.

Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know

If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don’t share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.

I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the “other side” of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.

We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than “statistically acceptable collateral damage” of national one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn’t be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

I encourage you to visit the website of the non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), at www.NVIC.org:

  • NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
  • If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
  • Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment and sanctions by doctors, employers, school and health officials for making independent vaccine choices.

Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care

If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.

However, there is hope.

At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.

So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.

(click the link at the top to see entire article on mercola.com, including videos)

7 Ways To Harness Alternative Energy For Your Home

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Natural News Blogs 7 Ways To Harness Alternative Energy For Your Home » Natural News Blogs.

solar-panel-on-house-horizAlternative energy can seem like just a buzzword used by politicians to bolster their position in the polls. But it is much more than that. In fact, the average homeowner is now able to harness alternative energy to make their home more energy- and cost-efficient.

Whether you are looking for ways to reduce your energy bills or your household’s carbon footprint, investing in alternative energy may be the key. Here are seven kinds of alternative energy systems that homeowners like you are using to reduce their power costs and their emissions.

1. Landscaping

You can actually engineer your landscaping to naturally cool your home during the summer, and help retain heat during the winter. Do this using:

  • Wind Breaks: Plant dense evergreen shrubs or trees in the corner of your property to defuse wind chill.
  • Wind Directing Plants: Plant low shrubs under your windows that can direct natural breezes into your home, keeping the temperature lower in the summer.
  • Shade Trees: It’s 3 to 6˚ cooler in the shade, so planting a few shade trees can help regulate your home’s temperature.

Evaluate the way the weather interacts in your yard. Which direction does the wind most often blow? Which side of your home receives the most direct sunlight? The answers to these questions can inform your landscaping strategies to decrease your energy usage.

2. Solar Panels

Many power companies now offer options where a homeowner installs solar panels on their roof in exchange for a decrease in their power bills. The power company will pay for a portion of the renovation in exchange for the increased alternative energy.

Usually the power generated by your panels does not go directly into your home, but back to the power company. Your bill is reduced according to the amount of energy the panels produce. If you aren’t interested in partnering with a power company, look into outfitting your home with its own solar power system. You may even be able to use tax credits to pay for most of the installation costs.

3. Geothermal Heating

Geothermal heating is usually a large-scale project, so it may not be available in all areas. Geothermal heat pumps tap into the earth’s stable temperature. These pumps can lower your energy costs by 40% and they run on entirely green energy.

4. Reinforced Doors and Windows

Switching a few doors and windows to the Energy Star rated equivalents can improve your alternative energy efforts. Energy Star rated doors and windows have more layers than their generic counterparts, which makes them better able to regulate temperature (source: Comfort King Windows & Doors Ltd., who provides windows and doors in Kanata).

5. Microhydroelectric Systems

If you have a natural source of running water near your home, consider adding a small hydroelectric system to help power your home. Water-powered systems can produce up to ten times the energy of a solar or wind system and, unlike these other systems, they run constantly instead of intermittently or only during the day.

6. Fuel Cells

Fuel cells separate hydrogen ions from the electrons. An agent within the cell allows ions to pass, but blocks electrons, creating electricity. These cells can be used to produce heat as well as power.

Fuel cells are currently unavailable directly to the public. However, they are available through installation companies and you may qualify for tax credits to help you pay for the installation.

7. Hybrid Systems

Depending on the area you live in, you may be able to tap into multiple alternative power sources to power your home. The most common combination is wind and solar power, though there are also other combinations like a system of integrated wind and water turbines.

With a hybrid system, you can capitalize on the strengths of multiple forms of alternative energy. For example, a system that uses both solar and hydroelectric power will produce energy 24/7, like a simple hydroelectric system. But this combined system has the added benefit of how quickly solar energy can be refined, unlike a purely water-based system.

Choosing the system that is right for you will also depend on whether you want to be part of a power grid (which is more compatible with large-scale power sources such as geothermal heating) or a stand-alone power source (like a single windmill).

These alternative energy solutions are available almost anywhere in the world. By changing the way your household consumes energy, you can make “alternative energy” into more than a buzzword. Switch to alternative energy to begin saving money (and the planet).

(click the link at the top to read more from NaturalNews.com)