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Current Topic: Health and Wellness

Is this evidence that we can see the future? - life - 11 November 2010 - New Scientist
Topic: Health and Wellness 5:02 pm EST, Nov 13, 2010

Extraordinary claims don't come much more extraordinary than this: events that haven't yet happened can influence our behaviour.

Parapsychologists have made outlandish claims about precognition – knowledge of unpredictable future events – for years. But the fringe phenomenon is about to get a mainstream airing: a paper providing evidence for its existence has been accepted for publication by the leading social psychology journal.

What's more, sceptical psychologists who have pored over a preprint of the paper say they can't find any significant flaws. "My personal view is that this is ridiculous and can't be true," says Joachim Krueger of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who has blogged about the work on the Psychology Today website. "Going after the methodology and the experimental design is the first line of attack. But frankly, I didn't see anything. Everything seemed to be in good order."

Is this evidence that we can see the future? - life - 11 November 2010 - New Scientist » Blog Archive A piece of their mind «
Topic: Health and Wellness 8:22 pm EST, Nov  7, 2010

The odds of their conception were astronomical; of surviving in the womb, let alone a live birth, slim to none. The odds of living past their first day, worse than a coin toss, though not if the small army deployed by Vancouver’s Children’s Hospital had a say in it. And they did. And today, approaching their fourth birthdays on Oct. 25, Tatiana and Krista Hogan are wearing pretty velvet dresses, red and purple respectively. They greet you at the door of their sprawling, unruly home in Vernon, B.C., carrying a bouncy ball, and issuing a command: come play.

You have just enough time to add your shoes to the pile at the entrance and to give their mother, Felicia Simms, a quick greeting before you’re led through the living room and kitchen, to a long, sloping hallway that leads to some of the bedrooms in what was, until this year, a residential home for the elderly. They plant themselves at the bottom. You’re at the top, with their 2½-year-old sister, Shaylee, rolling and fielding their returns. Then the twins want the higher ground, but you’re doing it wrong. “No,” says Tatiana as though dealing with a mental defective. “Bounce it!”

They are the rarest of the rarest of the rare. Tatiana and Krista are not just conjoined, but they are craniopagus, sharing a skull and also a bridge between each girl’s thalamus, a part of the brain that processes and relays sensory information to other parts of the brain. Or perhaps in this case, to both brains. There is evidence that they can see through each other’s eyes and perhaps share each other’s unspoken thoughts. And if that proves true, it will be the rarest thing of all. They will be unique in the world.

They have been drawing international attention, both public and scientific, since before their birth. Dr. Douglas Cochrane, a neurosurgeon at Children’s Hospital, is part of the team that has been watching over them since they were in the womb. Last year he conducted tests in which one twin looked at an object while he measured the brain activity in the other. “Their brains are recording signals from the other twin’s visual field,” he cautiously concluded. “One might be seeing what the other one is seeing.” » Blog Archive A piece of their mind «

Bering in Mind: Being Suicidal: What it feels like to want to kill yourself
Topic: Health and Wellness 11:50 am EDT, Oct 22, 2010

One of the more fascinating psychotic conditions in the medical literature is known as Cotard’s syndrome, a rare disorder, usually recoverable, in which the primary symptom is a “delusion of negation.” According to researchers David Cohen and Angèle Consoli of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, many patients with Cotard’s syndrome are absolutely convinced, without even the slimmest of doubts, that they are already dead.

Some recent evidence suggests that Cotard’s may occur as a neuropsychiatric side effect in patients taking the drugs aciclovir or valaciclovir for herpes and who also have kidney failure. But its origins go back much further than these modern drugs. First described by the French neurologist Jules Cotard in the 1880s, it is usually accompanied by some other debilitating problem, such as major depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy or general paralysis—not to mention disturbing visages in the mirror. Consider the case of one young woman described by Cohen and Consoli: “The delusion consisted of the patient’s absolute conviction she was already dead and waiting to be buried, that she had no teeth or hair, and that her uterus was malformed.” Poor thing—that image couldn’t have been very good for her self-esteem.

Bering in Mind: Being Suicidal: What it feels like to want to kill yourself

Laptop Risk: ‘Toasted Skin Syndrome'
Topic: Health and Wellness 12:34 pm EDT, Oct 17, 2010

Oct. 4, 2010 -- People who spend prolonged periods of time studying, reading, or playing games on laptop computers resting on their upper legs could develop “toasted skin syndrome,” a case report shows.

The “syndrome” consists of a brownish discoloration of the skin caused by prolonged exposure to heat from the computer.nullnullnullnullnullnull

Laptop Risk: ‘Toasted Skin Syndrome'

Brain's Anatomy Predicts Level of Introspection - Yahoo! News
Topic: Health and Wellness 1:14 am EDT, Sep 18, 2010

The anatomy of your brain reflects your introspective capacity, or ability to self-judge the merits of your decisions, new research indicates.

The study found that people with stronger reflective, or introspective, ability appear to have a higher volume of gray matter, the outer layer of the brain, in the part of their brains sitting behind their eyes. This region is called the anterior prefrontal cortex.

This discovery fits with previous work that showed people with damage to this brain region had trouble assessing their own decision-making, even though their performances on a task were unimpaired.

"In terms of looking at variation across a population of healthy individuals, our study is the first to say how [introspection] might link to structure," said study researcher Stephen Fleming, a neuroscientist at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London.

There was a second anatomical connection as well. Fleming and his colleagues also found a connection between introspective ability and the integrity of the white matter that connects with the anterior prefrontal cortex. In other words, better white matter was also linked with a greater ability to think about thinking. nullnullnullnullnullnullnull

Brain's Anatomy Predicts Level of Introspection - Yahoo! News

Destination Subconscious: Cary Grant and LSD - WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Topic: Health and Wellness 7:35 pm EDT, Apr  2, 2010

"I learned many things in the quiet of that room ... I learned that everything is or becomes its own opposite ... You know, we are all unconsciously holding our anus. In one LSD dream ... I imagined myself as a giant penis launching off from earth like a spaceship." - Cary Grant

Destination Subconscious: Cary Grant and LSD - WFMU's Beware of the Blog

How to Survive a Nuclear Attack - wikiHow
Topic: Health and Wellness 12:15 am EDT, Mar 31, 2010

The Cold War ended over two decades ago, and many people have never lived under the shadow of nuclear annihilation. Still, a nuclear attack is a very real threat. Global politics are far from stable, and human nature has changed none in the last two decades. "The most persistent sound which reverberates through man's history is the beating of war drums".[1] As long as nuclear weapons exist, there is always the danger they will be used.

Is nuclear war survivable? Only predictions exist, as some say yes, others say no. For some, especially those in large population centers, it may seem like an entirely futile endeavor.[2] If it is survived at all, it will be by those who are mentally and logistically prepared for such an event. What should you do? Where should you take shelter?null

Apparently duck and cover isn't good enough.

How to Survive a Nuclear Attack - wikiHow

Effort Sisyphus: Latest Study on High Fructose Corn Syrup
Topic: Health and Wellness 4:24 pm EDT, Mar 16, 2010

There's a couple of articles circling about (I like facebook for this, my friends post stuff they are concerned about and I get a little free pulse of the population) about high fructose corn syrup, which for the life of me, I can't figure out why people consider it to the the bane of their existence.

Effort Sisyphus: Latest Study on High Fructose Corn Syrup

AFP: Australian researchers say fat is 'sixth taste'
Topic: Health and Wellness 4:45 pm EST, Mar  9, 2010

"Through our study we can conclude that humans have a sixth taste -- fat."

I taste dead people.

AFP: Australian researchers say fat is 'sixth taste'

Robert S. McNamara, Architect of a Futile War, Dies at 93 - Obituary (Obit) -
Topic: Health and Wellness 12:01 am EDT, Jul  7, 2009

Robert S. McNamara, the forceful and cerebral defense secretary who helped lead the nation into the maelstrom of Vietnam and spent the rest of his life wrestling with the war’s moral consequences, died Monday at his home in Washington. He was 93.

Any bets on who dies next week?

Robert S. McNamara, Architect of a Futile War, Dies at 93 - Obituary (Obit) -

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