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Does your mother language shape you how to think?

[This is probably the most interesting article I have read this year.]


Does Your Language Shape How You Think?
By Guy Deutscher
Published: August 26, 2010

Seventy years ago, in 1940, a popular science magazine published a short article that set in motion one of the trendiest intellectual fads of the 20th century. At first glance, there seemed little about the article to augur its subsequent celebrity. Neither the title, “Science and Linguistics,” nor the magazine, M.I.T.’s Technology Review, was most people’s idea of glamour. And the author, a chemical engineer who worked for an insurance company and moonlighted as an anthropology lecturer at Yale University, was an unlikely candidate for international superstardom. And yet Benjamin Lee Whorf let loose an alluring idea about language’s power over the mind, and his stirring prose seduced a whole generation into believing that our mother tongue restricts what we are able to think.

In particular, Whorf announced, Native American languages impose on their speakers a picture of reality that is totally different from ours, so their speakers would simply not be able to understand some of our most basic concepts, like the flow of time or the distinction between objects (like “stone”) and actions (like “fall”). For decades, Whorf’s theory dazzled both academics and the general public alike. In his shadow, others made a whole range of imaginative claims about the supposed power of language, from the assertion that Native American languages instill in their speakers an intuitive understanding of Einstein’s concept of time as a fourth dimension to the theory that the nature of the Jewish religion was determined by the tense system of ancient Hebrew.

Eventually, Whorf’s theory crash-landed on hard facts and solid common sense, when it transpired that there had never actually been any evidence to support his fantastic claims. The reaction was so severe that for decades, any attempts to explore the influence of the mother tongue on our thoughts were relegated to the loony fringes of disrepute. But 70 years on, it is surely time to put the trauma of Whorf behind us. And in the last few years, new research has revealed that when we learn our mother tongue, we do after all acquire certain habits of thought that shape our experience in significant and often surprising ways.

Whorf, we now know, made many mistakes. The most serious one was to assume that our mother tongue constrains our minds and prevents us from being able to think certain thoughts. The general structure of his arguments was to claim that if a language has no word for a certain concept, then its speakers would not be able to understand this concept. If a language has no future tense, for instance, its speakers would simply not be able to grasp our notion of future time. It seems barely comprehensible that this line of argument could ever have achieved such success, given that so much contrary evidence confronts you wherever you look. When you ask, in perfectly normal English, and in the present tense, “Are you coming tomorrow?” do you feel your grip on the notion of futurity slipping away? Do English speakers who have never heard the German word Schadenfreude find it difficult to understand the concept of relishing someone else’s misfortune? Or think about it this way: If the inventory of ready-made words in your language determined which concepts you were able to understand, how would you ever learn anything new?

SINCE THERE IS NO EVIDENCE that any language forbids its speakers to think anything, we must look in an entirely different direction to discover how our mother tongue really does shape our experience of the world. Some 50 years ago, the renowned linguist Roman Jakobson pointed out a crucial fact about differences between languages in a pithy maxim: “Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.” This maxim offers us the key to unlocking the real force of the mother tongue: if different languages influence our minds in different ways, this is not because of what our language allows us to think but rather because of what it habitually obliges us to think about.

Consider this example. Suppose I say to you in English that “I spent yesterday evening with a neighbor.” You may well wonder whether my companion was male or female, but I have the right to tell you politely that it’s none of your business. But if we were speaking French or German, I wouldn’t have the privilege to equivocate in this way, because I would be obliged by the grammar of language to choose between voisin or voisine; Nachbar or Nachbarin. These languages compel me to inform you about the sex of my companion whether or not I feel it is remotely your concern. This does not mean, of course, that English speakers are unable to understand the differences between evenings spent with male or female neighbors, but it does mean that they do not have to consider the sexes of neighbors, friends, teachers and a host of other persons each time they come up in a conversation, whereas speakers of some languages are obliged to do so.

On the other hand, English does oblige you to specify certain types of information that can be left to the context in other languages. If I want to tell you in English about a dinner with my neighbor, I may not have to mention the neighbor’s sex, but I do have to tell you something about the timing of the event: I have to decide whether we dined, have been dining, are dining, will be dining and so on. Chinese, on the other hand, does not oblige its speakers to specify the exact time of the action in this way, because the same verb form can be used for past, present or future actions. Again, this does not mean that the Chinese are unable to understand the concept of time. But it does mean they are not obliged to think about timing whenever they describe an action.

When your language routinely obliges you to specify certain types of information, it forces you to be attentive to certain details in the world and to certain aspects of experience that speakers of other languages may not be required to think about all the time. And since such habits of speech are cultivated from the earliest age, it is only natural that they can settle into habits of mind that go beyond language itself, affecting your experiences, perceptions, associations, feelings, memories and orientation in the world.

BUT IS THERE any evidence for this happening in practice?

Let’s take genders again. Languages like Spanish, French, German and Russian not only oblige you to think about the sex of friends and neighbors, but they also assign a male or female gender to a whole range of inanimate objects quite at whim. What, for instance, is particularly feminine about a Frenchman’s beard (la barbe)? Why is Russian water a she, and why does she become a he once you have dipped a tea bag into her? Mark Twain famously lamented such erratic genders as female turnips and neuter maidens in his rant “The Awful German Language.” But whereas he claimed that there was something particularly perverse about the German gender system, it is in fact English that is unusual, at least among European languages, in not treating turnips and tea cups as masculine or feminine. Languages that treat an inanimate object as a he or a she force their speakers to talk about such an object as if it were a man or a woman. And as anyone whose mother tongue has a gender system will tell you, once the habit has taken hold, it is all but impossible to shake off. When I speak English, I may say about a bed that “it” is too soft, but as a native Hebrew speaker, I actually feel “she” is too soft. “She” stays feminine all the way from the lungs up to the glottis and is neutered only when she reaches the tip of the tongue.

In recent years, various experiments have shown that grammatical genders can shape the feelings and associations of speakers toward objects around them. In the 1990s, for example, psychologists compared associations between speakers of German and Spanish. There are many inanimate nouns whose genders in the two languages are reversed. A German bridge is feminine (die Brücke), for instance, but el puente is masculine in Spanish; and the same goes for clocks, apartments, forks, newspapers, pockets, shoulders, stamps, tickets, violins, the sun, the world and love. On the other hand, an apple is masculine for Germans but feminine in Spanish, and so are chairs, brooms, butterflies, keys, mountains, stars, tables, wars, rain and garbage. When speakers were asked to grade various objects on a range of characteristics, Spanish speakers deemed bridges, clocks and violins to have more “manly properties” like strength, but Germans tended to think of them as more slender or elegant. With objects like mountains or chairs, which are “he” in German but “she” in Spanish, the effect was reversed.

In a different experiment, French and Spanish speakers were asked to assign human voices to various objects in a cartoon. When French speakers saw a picture of a fork (la fourchette), most of them wanted it to speak in a woman’s voice, but Spanish speakers, for whom el tenedor is masculine, preferred a gravelly male voice for it. More recently, psychologists have even shown that “gendered languages” imprint gender traits for objects so strongly in the mind that these associations obstruct speakers’ ability to commit information to memory.

Of course, all this does not mean that speakers of Spanish or French or German fail to understand that inanimate objects do not really have biological sex — a German woman rarely mistakes her husband for a hat, and Spanish men are not known to confuse a bed with what might be lying in it. Nonetheless, once gender connotations have been imposed on impressionable young minds, they lead those with a gendered mother tongue to see the inanimate world through lenses tinted with associations and emotional responses that English speakers — stuck in their monochrome desert of “its” — are entirely oblivious to. Did the opposite genders of “bridge” in German and Spanish, for example, have an effect on the design of bridges in Spain and Germany? Do the emotional maps imposed by a gender system have higher-level behavioral consequences for our everyday life? Do they shape tastes, fashions, habits and preferences in the societies concerned? At the current state of our knowledge about the brain, this is not something that can be easily measured in a psychology lab. But it would be surprising if they didn’t.

The area where the most striking evidence for the influence of language on thought has come to light is the language of space — how we describe the orientation of the world around us. Suppose you want to give someone directions for getting to your house. You might say: “After the traffic lights, take the first left, then the second right, and then you’ll see a white house in front of you. Our door is on the right.” But in theory, you could also say: “After the traffic lights, drive north, and then on the second crossing drive east, and you’ll see a white house directly to the east. Ours is the southern door.” These two sets of directions may describe the same route, but they rely on different systems of coordinates. The first uses egocentric coordinates, which depend on our own bodies: a left-right axis and a front-back axis orthogonal to it. The second system uses fixed geographic directions, which do not rotate with us wherever we turn.

We find it useful to use geographic directions when hiking in the open countryside, for example, but the egocentric coordinates completely dominate our speech when we describe small-scale spaces. We don’t say: “When you get out of the elevator, walk south, and then take the second door to the east.” The reason the egocentric system is so dominant in our language is that it feels so much easier and more natural. After all, we always know where “behind” or “in front of” us is. We don’t need a map or a compass to work it out, we just feel it, because the egocentric coordinates are based directly on our own bodies and our immediate visual fields.

But then a remote Australian aboriginal tongue, Guugu Yimithirr, from north Queensland, turned up, and with it came the astounding realization that not all languages conform to what we have always taken as simply “natural.” In fact, Guugu Yimithirr doesn’t make any use of egocentric coordinates at all. The anthropologist John Haviland and later the linguist Stephen Levinson have shown that Guugu Yimithirr does not use words like “left” or “right,” “in front of” or “behind,” to describe the position of objects. Whenever we would use the egocentric system, the Guugu Yimithirr rely on cardinal directions. If they want you to move over on the car seat to make room, they’ll say “move a bit to the east.” To tell you where exactly they left something in your house, they’ll say, “I left it on the southern edge of the western table.” Or they would warn you to “look out for that big ant just north of your foot.” Even when shown a film on television, they gave descriptions of it based on the orientation of the screen. If the television was facing north, and a man on the screen was approaching, they said that he was “coming northward.”

When these peculiarities of Guugu Yimithirr were uncovered, they inspired a large-scale research project into the language of space. And as it happens, Guugu Yimithirr is not a freak occurrence; languages that rely primarily on geographical coordinates are scattered around the world, from Polynesia to Mexico, from Namibia to Bali. For us, it might seem the height of absurdity for a dance teacher to say, “Now raise your north hand and move your south leg eastward.” But the joke would be lost on some: the Canadian-American musicologist Colin McPhee, who spent several years on Bali in the 1930s, recalls a young boy who showed great talent for dancing. As there was no instructor in the child’s village, McPhee arranged for him to stay with a teacher in a different village. But when he came to check on the boy’s progress after a few days, he found the boy dejected and the teacher exasperated. It was impossible to teach the boy anything, because he simply did not understand any of the instructions. When told to take “three steps east” or “bend southwest,” he didn’t know what to do. The boy would not have had the least trouble with these directions in his own village, but because the landscape in the new village was entirely unfamiliar, he became disoriented and confused. Why didn’t the teacher use different instructions? He would probably have replied that saying “take three steps forward” or “bend backward” would be the height of absurdity.

So different languages certainly make us speak about space in very different ways. But does this necessarily mean that we have to think about space differently? By now red lights should be flashing, because even if a language doesn’t have a word for “behind,” this doesn’t necessarily mean that its speakers wouldn’t be able to understand this concept. Instead, we should look for the possible consequences of what geographic languages oblige their speakers to convey. In particular, we should be on the lookout for what habits of mind might develop because of the necessity of specifying geographic directions all the time.

In order to speak a language like Guugu Yimithirr, you need to know where the cardinal directions are at each and every moment of your waking life. You need to have a compass in your mind that operates all the time, day and night, without lunch breaks or weekends off, since otherwise you would not be able to impart the most basic information or understand what people around you are saying. Indeed, speakers of geographic languages seem to have an almost-superhuman sense of orientation. Regardless of visibility conditions, regardless of whether they are in thick forest or on an open plain, whether outside or indoors or even in caves, whether stationary or moving, they have a spot-on sense of direction. They don’t look at the sun and pause for a moment of calculation before they say, “There’s an ant just north of your foot.” They simply feel where north, south, west and east are, just as people with perfect pitch feel what each note is without having to calculate intervals. There is a wealth of stories about what to us may seem like incredible feats of orientation but for speakers of geographic languages are just a matter of course. One report relates how a speaker of Tzeltal from southern Mexico was blindfolded and spun around more than 20 times in a darkened house. Still blindfolded and dizzy, he pointed without hesitation at the geographic directions.

How does this work? The convention of communicating with geographic coordinates compels speakers from the youngest age to pay attention to the clues from the physical environment (the position of the sun, wind and so on) every second of their lives, and to develop an accurate memory of their own changing orientations at any given moment. So everyday communication in a geographic language provides the most intense imaginable drilling in geographic orientation (it has been estimated that as much as 1 word in 10 in a normal Guugu Yimithirr conversation is “north,” “south,” “west” or “east,” often accompanied by precise hand gestures). This habit of constant awareness to the geographic direction is inculcated almost from infancy: studies have shown that children in such societies start using geographic directions as early as age 2 and fully master the system by 7 or 8. With such an early and intense drilling, the habit soon becomes second nature, effortless and unconscious. When Guugu Yimithirr speakers were asked how they knew where north is, they couldn’t explain it any more than you can explain how you know where “behind” is.

But there is more to the effects of a geographic language, for the sense of orientation has to extend further in time than the immediate present. If you speak a Guugu Yimithirr-style language, your memories of anything that you might ever want to report will have to be stored with cardinal directions as part of the picture. One Guugu Yimithirr speaker was filmed telling his friends the story of how in his youth, he capsized in shark-infested waters. He and an older person were caught in a storm, and their boat tipped over. They both jumped into the water and managed to swim nearly three miles to the shore, only to discover that the missionary for whom they worked was far more concerned at the loss of the boat than relieved at their miraculous escape. Apart from the dramatic content, the remarkable thing about the story was that it was remembered throughout in cardinal directions: the speaker jumped into the water on the western side of the boat, his companion to the east of the boat, they saw a giant shark swimming north and so on. Perhaps the cardinal directions were just made up for the occasion? Well, quite by chance, the same person was filmed some years later telling the same story. The cardinal directions matched exactly in the two tellings. Even more remarkable were the spontaneous hand gestures that accompanied the story. For instance, the direction in which the boat rolled over was gestured in the correct geographic orientation, regardless of the direction the speaker was facing in the two films.

Psychological experiments have also shown that under certain circumstances, speakers of Guugu Yimithirr-style languages even remember “the same reality” differently from us. There has been heated debate about the interpretation of some of these experiments, but one conclusion that seems compelling is that while we are trained to ignore directional rotations when we commit information to memory, speakers of geographic languages are trained not to do so. One way of understanding this is to imagine that you are traveling with a speaker of such a language and staying in a large chain-style hotel, with corridor upon corridor of identical-looking doors. Your friend is staying in the room opposite yours, and when you go into his room, you’ll see an exact replica of yours: the same bathroom door on the left, the same mirrored wardrobe on the right, the same main room with the same bed on the left, the same curtains drawn behind it, the same desk next to the wall on the right, the same television set on the left corner of the desk and the same telephone on the right. In short, you have seen the same room twice. But when your friend comes into your room, he will see something quite different from this, because everything is reversed north-side-south. In his room the bed was in the north, while in yours it is in the south; the telephone that in his room was in the west is now in the east, and so on. So while you will see and remember the same room twice, a speaker of a geographic language will see and remember two different rooms.

It is not easy for us to conceive how Guugu Yimithirr speakers experience the world, with a crisscrossing of cardinal directions imposed on any mental picture and any piece of graphic memory. Nor is it easy to speculate about how geographic languages affect areas of experience other than spatial orientation — whether they influence the speaker’s sense of identity, for instance, or bring about a less-egocentric outlook on life. But one piece of evidence is telling: if you saw a Guugu Yimithirr speaker pointing at himself, you would naturally assume he meant to draw attention to himself. In fact, he is pointing at a cardinal direction that happens to be behind his back. While we are always at the center of the world, and it would never occur to us that pointing in the direction of our chest could mean anything other than to draw attention to ourselves, a Guugu Yimithirr speaker points through himself, as if he were thin air and his own existence were irrelevant.

IN WHAT OTHER WAYS might the language we speak influence our experience of the world? Recently, it has been demonstrated in a series of ingenious experiments that we even perceive colors through the lens of our mother tongue. There are radical variations in the way languages carve up the spectrum of visible light; for example, green and blue are distinct colors in English but are considered shades of the same color in many languages. And it turns out that the colors that our language routinely obliges us to treat as distinct can refine our purely visual sensitivity to certain color differences in reality, so that our brains are trained to exaggerate the distance between shades of color if these have different names in our language. As strange as it may sound, our experience of a Chagall painting actually depends to some extent on whether our language has a word for blue.

In coming years, researchers may also be able to shed light on the impact of language on more subtle areas of perception. For instance, some languages, like Matses in Peru, oblige their speakers, like the finickiest of lawyers, to specify exactly how they came to know about the facts they are reporting. You cannot simply say, as in English, “An animal passed here.” You have to specify, using a different verbal form, whether this was directly experienced (you saw the animal passing), inferred (you saw footprints), conjectured (animals generally pass there that time of day), hearsay or such. If a statement is reported with the incorrect “evidentiality,” it is considered a lie. So if, for instance, you ask a Matses man how many wives he has, unless he can actually see his wives at that very moment, he would have to answer in the past tense and would say something like “There were two last time I checked.” After all, given that the wives are not present, he cannot be absolutely certain that one of them hasn’t died or run off with another man since he last saw them, even if this was only five minutes ago. So he cannot report it as a certain fact in the present tense. Does the need to think constantly about epistemology in such a careful and sophisticated manner inform the speakers’ outlook on life or their sense of truth and causation? When our experimental tools are less blunt, such questions will be amenable to empirical study.

For many years, our mother tongue was claimed to be a “prison house” that constrained our capacity to reason. Once it turned out that there was no evidence for such claims, this was taken as proof that people of all cultures think in fundamentally the same way. But surely it is a mistake to overestimate the importance of abstract reasoning in our lives. After all, how many daily decisions do we make on the basis of deductive logic compared with those guided by gut feeling, intuition, emotions, impulse or practical skills? The habits of mind that our culture has instilled in us from infancy shape our orientation to the world and our emotional responses to the objects we encounter, and their consequences probably go far beyond what has been experimentally demonstrated so far; they may also have a marked impact on our beliefs, values and ideologies. We may not know as yet how to measure these consequences directly or how to assess their contribution to cultural or political misunderstandings. But as a first step toward understanding one another, we can do better than pretending we all think the same.

Guy Deutscher is an honorary research fellow at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures at the University of Manchester. His new book, from which this article is adapted, is “Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages,” to be published this month by Metropolitan Books.

A version of this article appeared in print on August 29, 2010, on page MM42 of the Sunday Magazine.


Solar storm to hit earth early this month


Sun storm to hit with 'force of 100m bombs'

* By Peter Farquhar, Technology Editor
* From: news.com.au
* August 25, 2010 3:40PM

Solar storm

The first solar storm of this cycle hit the Earth early this month, causing it to light up spectacularly / NASA Source: NASA

* Sun ramping up for Solar Max
* First Max event since mid-80s
* US studies effects of 'digital bomb'
* ISS search for dark matter, anti-universe

AFTER 10 years of comparative slumber, the sun is waking up - and it's got astronomers on full alert.

This week several US media outlets reported that NASA was warning the massive flare that caused spectacular light shows on Earth earlier this month was just a precursor to a massive solar storm building that had the potential to wipe out the entire planet's power grid.

NASA has since rebutted those reports, saying it could come "100 years away or just 100 days", but an Australian astronomer says the space community is betting on the sooner scenario rather than the latter.

Despite its rebuttal, NASA's been watching out for this storm since 2006 and reports from the US this week claim the storms could hit on that most Hollywood of disaster dates - 2012.

Similar storms back in 1859 and 1921 caused worldwide chaos, wiping out telegraph wires on a massive scale.

The 2012 storm has the potential to be even more disruptive.

"The general consensus among general astronomers (and certainly solar astronomers) is that this coming Solar maximum (2012 but possibly later into 2013) will be the most violent in 100 years," astronomy lecturer and columnist Dave Reneke said.

"A bold statement and one taken seriously by those it will affect most, namely airline companies, communications companies and anyone working with modern GPS systems.

"They can even trip circuit breakers and knock out orbiting satellites, as has already been done this year."

Regardless, the point astronomers are making is it doesn't matter if the next Solar Max isn't the worst in history, or even as bad as the 1859 storms.

It's the fact that there hasn't been one since the mid-80s. Commodore had just launched the Amiga and the only digital storm making the news was Tetris.

No one really knows what effect the 2012-2013 Solar Max will have on today's digital-reliant society.

Dr Richard Fisher, director of NASA’s Heliophysics division, told Mr Reneke the super storm would hit like "a bolt of lightning”, causing catastrophic consequences for the world’s health, emergency services and national security unless precautions are taken.

US government officials earlier this year took part in a "tabletop exercise" in Boulder, Colorado, to map out what might happen if the Earth was hit with a storm as intense as the 1859 and 1921 storms.

The 1859 storm was of a similar size to that predicted by NASA to hit within the next three years – one of decreased activity, but more powerful eruptions.

NASA said that a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a similar storm occurred today, it could cause “$1 to 2 trillion in damages to society's high-tech infrastructure and require four to 10 years for complete recovery”.

Staff at the Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado, which hosted the exercise, said with our reliance on satellite technology, such an event could hit the Earth with the magnitude of a global hurricane or earthquake.

The reason for the concern comes as the sun enters a phase known as Solar Cycle 24.

All the alarming news building around the event is being fuelled by two things.

The first is a book by disaster expert Lawrence E. Joseph, Guilty of Apocalypse: The Case Against 2012, in which he claims the "Hurricane Katrina for the Earth" may cause unprecedented planetwide upheaval.

The second is a theory that claims sunspots travel through the sun on a "conveyor belt" similar to the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt which controls weather on Earth.

The belt carries magnetic fields through the sun. When they hit the surface, they explode as sunspots.

Weakened, they then travel back through the sun's core to recharge.

It all happens on a rough 40-50-year cycle, according to solar physicist David Hathaway of the National Space Science and Technology Center in the US.

He says when the belt speeds up, lots of magnetic fields are collected, which points to more intense future activity.

"The belt was turning fast in 1986-1996," Prof Hathaway said.

"Old magnetic fields swept up then should reappear as big sunspots in 2010-2011."

Most experts agree, although those who put the date of Solar Max in 2012 are getting the most press.

They claim satellites will be aged by 50 years, rendering GPS even more useless than ever, and the blast will have the equivalent energy of 100 million hydrogen bombs.

“We know it is coming but we don’t know how bad it is going to be,” Dr Fisher told Mr Reneke in the most recent issue of Australasian Science.

“Systems will just not work. The flares change the magnetic field on the Earth and it’s rapid, just like a lightning bolt.

"That’s the solar effect.”


Quality of life

LIFE is a Gift of Life

Quality of Life is a Gift of WISDOM


Benefits of lower calories diet and fasting

(NaturalNews) Seventy-five years of research shows that dietary restriction (DR) is the one tried and tested means to extend lifespan and to improve many markers of health.

One form of DR is a calorie-restricted (CR) diet with optimal nutrition. The idea is to provide adequate nutrition with the least amount of calories (in other words, under-nutrition without mal-nutrition). Intermittent fasting (IF) is another form of DR. Intermediate fasters eat about the same amount of calories as non-fasters on a carefully restricted schedule. This implies that the episodic deprivation, irrespective of the caloric count, produces the physiological effects of IF.

In almost every species studied, including yeast, fish, rodents, dogs, and primates, DR seems to mysteriously slow aging, extend youth, and postpone diseases associated with old age. In laboratory experiments, some animals have been able to expand their healthy life spans by up to 400% with optimal DR.

The rationale behind the DR theory of longevity is that organisms become stronger and more resistant to diseases in response to the stress of a continual state of mild hunger. Some scientists believe that this could have been an evolutionary adaptation, which allowed our ancestors to survive periods of food scarcity.

The physiological effects of IF and CR are similar. Both CR and IF prompt cells to set up defenses against stress, which protect against aging and degenerative diseases. However, since IF fasters are allowed to eat as much as they want when given access to food, IF is usually more appealing than the continual self-denial of CR.

Many mechanisms of DR induced life extension have been proposed. One of the most prominent is the discovery that DR up-regulates autophagy, or what is called the repair mechanism of the cell. This effect is related to the down regulation of insulin and insulin-related molecules.

Studies indicate that insulin's role as the body's blood sugar regulator is simply a consequence of its major role of regulating cellular reproduction, and therefore lifespan. Insulin -predominantly secreted in response to dietary carbohydrates- signals to the body that it is well nourished and conditions are prime for cellular reproduction. On the other hand, when insulin level is low, the body senses famine, down-regulating reproductive pathways and up-regulating cellular maintenance and repair.

The beneficial effects of DR are plenty. They include:

-Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease
-Improved learning and memory (via increased brain derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF)
-Insulin sensitivity
-Lowers body mass index (BMI)
-Cardio-protective effect (protects heart and brain cells against injury and improves outcomes in stroke and myocardial infarctions; increase levels of circulating adiponectin).
-Less expression of age markers in the liver and brain
-More youthful appearance
-Less inflammation
-Resistance of neurons in the brain against excito-toxins
-Prevention of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation under stress
-Reduced vascular endothelial (inner lining of blood vessel) damage
-Reduce oxidative stress
-Less chance of developing/improvement of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, brain degeneration

Part 2 will discuss practical ways to take advantage of the latest findings in DR/longevity research

[Editor`s Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.]


1."Cardio-protective effect of intermittent fasting is associated with an elevation of adiponectin levels in rats" (The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, May 2010).
2."The fast route to a longer, healthier life" (New Science Magazine, May 2003)
3."Fasting Away Disease? Intermittent Eating Seems To Fight Diabetes" (Psychology Today, July 1, 2003).
6."Short-term calorie restriction reverses vascular endothelial dysfunction in old mice by increasing nitric oxide and reducing oxidative stress" (Aging Cell, January 2010)
7.Primal Body-Primal Mind (Gedgaudas)


Cosmetics are more than skin deep

(NaturalNews) Lotion, deodorant, hair spray, nail polish, sunscreen ... . Most of us spend at least some amount of time pouring, scrubbing, patting, and lathering our way into a cleaner, softer hair, skin, and body. We can't pronounce some of the ingredients in the products we slather on, but they are on the shelves of our most popular stores. Doesn't that mean they're safe to use? During any one day of our lives millions of people are using products that contain hundreds of chemicals that have not been approved for our safety by our regulatory institutions. Some of these same additives, however, actually have been proven unsafe.

Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It has the distinction of being the first line of defense for our immune system. And since what we place on our skin is absorbed into our blood stream, doesn't it make sense that what we use topically could be affecting our health?

Cosmetics are big business. Numerous products for men, women, children, and even babies have us spending millions of dollars every year. Yet what exactly are we paying for?

The fact is that less than 20% of the chemicals in products we slather and spray on our bodies have been assessed for safety by the industry's safety panel. Since 1938, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned only eight from the nearly 12,000 ingredients used in cosmetics, while our neighboring European nations have banned over 1,100.

Currently the FDA does not test the safety of these personal care products, nor is there a law requiring every ingredient to be listed on their labels. As an example, fragrances alone can consist of hundreds of individual ingredients that remain unspecified for the consumer's knowledge. Decisions regarding which ingredients are to be used in their products - and the levels of each ingredient - are at the discretion of the Cosmetic Industry.

While the amounts of some of these chemicals in any one product may be too small to be harmful on their own, it must be considered that the products containing these additives are often used on a daily basis. Multiplying the initial low amount by the number of times it might be used in a single day, and then again by the number of days it may be used in a year, you will find the amount of exposure becomes considerable.

Ingredients in some of the items we use on our bodies in some form every day can contain chemicals linked to cancer, immune system damage, learning disabilities, asthma, and even damaged sperm, to name a few.

The cosmetic industry markets products to help us look, feel, and smell better. But is there more that could be happening? There is coal tar in some hair dyes. And what exactly are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Dibutyl Phthalates and 1,4-dioxane? How are our organs, skin, and body tissues responding to these ingredients? Some of these chemicals, and hundreds more, can be included in the most popular cosmetic products which may contain carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxins, and endocrine disruptors that have been linked to birth defects.

In the land of cosmetics, the words "herbal," "natural," or "organic" have no legal definition, and seeing them on a label does not necessarily mean there are not other chemical ingredients added among them. Nor does it mean that every ingredient listed in products is unsafe. Most certainly there are products being sold that contain chemical-free ingredients.

We cannot avoid these toxins completely, but is it necessary to keep putting them into products that can work just as well without them?


Natural remedies for acne

(NaturalNews) Acne can have a short-term but potentially long lasting psychological effect. Decreased self-confidence can lead to social withdrawal and even depression. Left untreated, severe acne can lead to disfiguring scarring, which can be difficult to treat. Typical acne appears in the oil-producing areas of the body, such as the face, chest, and back. It is not uncommon for acne to also occur on the neck and upper arms. Natural treatments can help sufferers find relief.

What are the Causes of Acne?

Hormones called androgens are commonly believed to be a factor in causing acne and are found in both males and females. Androgens enlarge the sebaceous glands in the skin causing it to produce more sebum (oil). The increased sebum clogs the pores and provides food for bacteria. Androgens surge at puberty and it is the reason why teenagers are more prone to acne than adults are.

Greasy skin and some types of cosmetics are thought to exacerbate acne. Both natural skin grease and cosmetics can block pores thus provoking the growth of bacteria. Many studies have proven that greasy food and chocolate does not cause acne. However, unhealthy eating does not provide the body with the balanced diet needed for healthy skin.

Natural Acne Remedies

Many acne suffers are looking for natural acne remedies as an alternative to the chemical "sandblasting" proposed by the big money making drug companies.

Often, all the body needs is the right nutritional balance and proper skin care. Unfortunately, many soaps and shampoos that are advertised as organic and natural contain harmful chemicals that can exacerbate or even cause skin problems.

Before buying any soap, skin cream, moisturizer or shampoo, check the ingredient label and research the chemicals and products used in its manufacture. Some of the harsh ingredients to avoid include alcohol, isopropyl myristate, lanolin, sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium laureth sulphate, propylene glycol, mineral oil and parabens. Don't be fooled by the name of a product or the advertising that surrounds it; rather, do your own research. For example, sodium lauryl sulphate, found in most soaps, shampoos and toothpastes as well as many anti-acne products, is commonly used as a garage floor cleaner and engine de-greaser.

Lemon Juice and Rose Water for Acne

Lemon juice and rose water should be applied directly to the skin and rinsed off after 10 minutes with cold water. Lemon juice is a natural astringent and mild antibacterial agent. The rose petals, from which rose water is made, acts as a skin toner while mitigating the acidity of straight lemon juice.

Crushed Mint Acne Treatment

A good natural remedy for acne is crushed mint. Crush fresh peppermint leaves thoroughly with a mortar and pestle, apply directly on the skin, and leave for 10 minutes before washing it off with cold water. Peppermint brings relief from acne because it contains menthol which is a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory.

Oatmeal Face Pack

Mix 1/4 cup of honey into a single serving of cooked oatmeal and allow to cool. Apply this mixture to the face and leave for 20 minutes before washing it off. The oatmeal ex-foliates the skin and absorbs excess oil. Honey is added to ease the application and serves as a skin toner.

There are many natural remedies that are well reported on by acne sufferers. Think twice before buying commercially available acne products that can't tell the difference between a garage floor and your sensitive skin. Why not try old fashioned home remedies for acne? You may be surprised at the results.




New Ice Age to begin in 2014

New Ice Age 'to begin in 2014'

Russian scientist to alarmists: 'Sun heats Earth!'

Posted: May 17, 2010
8:42 pm Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi

CHICAGO – A new "Little Ice Age" could begin in just four years, predicted Habibullo Abdussamatov, the head of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia.

Abdussamatov was speaking yesterday at the Heartland Institute's Fourth International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago, which began Sunday and ends today.

The Little Ice Age, which occurred after an era known in scientific circles as the Medieval Warm Period, is typically defined as a period of about 200 years, beginning around 1650 and extending through 1850.

In the first of a two-part video WND recorded at the conference, Abdussamatov explained that average annual sun activity has experienced an accelerated decrease since the 1990s. In 2005-2008, he said, the earth reached the maximum of the recent observed global-warming trend.

See Part 1 of WND's video of Abdussamatov's speech


In Part 2 of the video, Abdussamatov further explained that through 2014 the earth will go through a series of unstable variations in which global temperature will oscillate around the maximum reached in the years 1998-2005.

See Part 2 of WND's video of Abdussamatov's speech


In 2003-2005, Abdussamatov predicted a reduction of sunspot activity that would reach a new minimum in 2042, resulting in a deep global temperature minimum in the years 2055-2060.

"My predictions are looking better and better with each passing year," Abdussamatov declared.

Space station to refine predictions

In his capacity of the head of the Russian-Ukrainian project "Astrometria" on the Russian segment of the International Space Station, Abdussamatov is conducting additional research to refine his prediction that a new Little Ice Age will begin in 2014.

As seen in Part 2 of the video, Abdussamatov explained to the climate conference that the Russian segment of the ISS is scheduled to collect more precise data on sun activity over the next six years.

"If the Astrometria project is developed in time," Abdussamatov said, "we will be able to develop a more precise forecast of the duration and the depth of the approaching new Little Ice Age and to understand the reasons of cyclical changes taking place in the interior of the sun and the ways they affect the Earth and various scopes of human activity."

Abdussamatov's theory is that "long-term variations in the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth are the main and principal reasons driving and defining the whole mechanism of climatic changes from the global warmings to the Little Ice Ages to the big glacial periods."

In his speech's conclusion, Abdussamatov took on advocates of the theory of man-caused warming who want to diminish human use of hydrocarbon fuels. He contended, instead, that a reasonable way to combat coming cooling trends would be "to maintain economic growth in order to adapt to the upcoming new Little Ice Age in the middle of the 21st century."

Sun activity determines temperatures

Abdussamatov's research amounts to a sharp rebuke of climate scientists who believe human-generated carbon dioxide is responsible for causing catastrophic global warming, issuing instead a news flash announcing "Sun Heats Earth!"

WND previously reported Abdussamatov published a paper in which he tracked sunspot activity going back to the 19th century to argue that total sun irradiance, or TSI, is the primary factor responsible for causing climate variations on Earth, not carbon dioxide.

Moreover, Abdussamatov's analysis of sun activity data has led him to conclude that the Earth is entering a prolonged cooling phase, because sunspot activity is currently in a phase regarded as a "minimum."

"Observations of the sun show that as for the increase in temperature, carbon doioxide is 'not guilty,'" Abdussamatov wrote, "and as for what lies ahead in the coming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged temperature drop."

Abdussamatov's paper is featured on page 140 of a 2009 report issued by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, documenting more than 700 scientists who disagree that global warming is an anthropogenic, or man-made, phenomenon.

As historical support for his theory, Abdussamatov cited the observations in 1893 by the English astronomer Walter Maunder, who came to the conclusion that from 1645 to 1715 sunspots had been generally absent. That period coincided with the middle and coldest part of the Little Ice Age.

Abdussamatov also observed "the most significant solar event in the 20th century was the extraordinarily high level and the prolonged (virtually over the entire century) increase in the energy radiated by the sun," resulting in the global warming that today climate alarmists believe is a man-made phenomenon.

"The intense solar energy flow radiated since the beginning of the 1990s is slowly and decreasingly and, in spite of conventional opinion, there is now an unavoidable advance toward a global decrease, a deep temperature drop comparable to the Maunder minimum," he wrote.

In his published paper, Abdussamatov warned that more precise determination of when the global temperature decrease will arrive and how deep it will be may not be available for another eight years from his space station research.

"The observed global warming of the climate of the Earth is not caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses, but by extraordinarily high solar intensity that extended over virtually the entire past century," Abdussamatov wrote. "Future decrease in global temperature will occur even if anthropogenic ejection of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere rises to record levels.

"Over the past decade, global temperature on the Earth has not increased; global warming has ceased, and already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop."

Abdussamatov concluded Earth is no longer threatened by the catastrophic global warming forecast by some scientists, since warming passed its peak in 1998-2005.

"The global temperature of the Earth has begun its decrease without limits on the volume of greenhouse gas emissions by industrial developed countries," he wrote. "Therefore, the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol aimed to rescue the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off at least 150 years."

In 2007, National Geographic published Abdussamatov's explanation that the global warming observed in the shrinking of the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mar's South Pole was caused by reduced solar activity.

"The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," Abdussamatov wrote.

Some 700 policymakers, opinion leaders, elected national and state legislators, scientists, economists and media are attending the Heartland Institute conference. The come from a wide range of countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Australia and Mexico.

The Heartland Institute is a non-profit organization funded by 1,500 donors. The organization says no corporate donor provides more than 5 percent of its $7 million annual budget.

Canada study finds majority of people with BPA

(NaturalNews) A recent report released by Statistics Canada, Canada's official statistical agency, has revealed that more than 90 percent of Canadians are contaminated with bisphenol-A (BPA), a toxic chemical compound used in many plastics and resins. The report is the first of its kind in Canada to verify the extent to which BPA has invaded the bodies of the population at large.

"[F]or the very first time [we] have baseline information against which we can study trends and track what is happening with respect to bisphenol A exposure," explained Tracey Bushnik from Statscan's Health Analysis Division in a Reuters article.

In 2008, Canada banned BPA from baby bottles, but the chemical is still widely used both there and around the world in can liners and other plastic materials used in various consumer products.

The report data reveals that the average concentration of BPA in Canadians is about 1.16 micrograms per liter in urine, and that teenagers generally have the highest concentrations overall. Younger children between the ages of six and eleven also generally had higher levels than adults over the age of 40.

Those seeking to ban BPA from all consumer products cite recent studies which illustrate that exposure to BPA, especially during early childhood development, can disrupt proper neural development. Other similar studies link the chemical to a host of diseases including cancer and heart disease as well.

"BPA, a chemical found in epoxy resin and polycarbonate plastics, may impair the reproductive organs and have adverse effects on tumors, breast tissue development, and prostate development by reducing sperm count," explains C.W. Randolph, M.D., in his book From Belly Fat to Belly FLAT: How Your Hormones Are Adding Inches to Your Waistline and Subtracting Years from Your Life.

Sources for this story include:




Could be 2011 an year without summer?

Could 2011 be the Year Without Summer?

Tom Rowan
July 26, 2010

It happened in 1816 and is bound to happen again.

In 1816 the northern hemisphere suffered through the year without summer. During the previous winter the Mt Tambora volcano erupted. Thousands froze to death due to the bitter cold the atmospheric ash clouds created.

Frost killed most of the early crops as late as May that year in North America. Frost and snow killed even crops more in June. Riots, arson, and looting flared up in Europe as common food stores became scarce. Lake and river ice were recorded in Pennsylvania in July and August. 1816 also was a year of historic low solar activity as measured by 1816 era telescopes counting sunspots.

Do we have anything like this to fear in 2011? All the stars, including our own, are aligning for a repeat performance by Mother Nature. Consider:

We are currently experiencing another prolonged solar minimum. Even with 21st century telescopes we can see that the sun is only producing tiny sun specks and weak sunspots.

The northern hemisphere has experienced 3 years in a row of record breaking cold winters and snow fall. It snowed in all 50 States last winter. As in 1816, Canada and the rest of North America are experiencing record rainfalls this summer. Much of the Canadian harvest has been lost due to flooding. Some of the ski slopes in the western US reopened in July. Today, South America is experiencing a brutally cold winter killing farmers along with their livestock. It snowed in the Amazon. For two years in a row it has snowed in Australia during summertime.

Of course, we have not had a sizable volcanic eruption like Mount Tambora....yet. General Stanley McChrystal can point to Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano creating the climate necessary for his ouster. The star crossed episode with Rolling Stone was a result of Eyjafjallajökull blowing its top and causing airline travel to come to a stop over much of Europe. Three of Eyjafjallajökull eruptions in the past have preceded Iceland's Katla eruptions. And the gigantic Katla volcano produces massive eruptions.

And Katla is well past due to blow her top. Recent seismic readings have recorded massive earthquake swarms all around Katla. The President of Iceland gave the dire warning to the world that a Katla eruption is imminent. Not if, but when, and soon.

Our 24/7 "news cycle" has come under scrutiny for "overblown" stories causing a "political earthquake" over the Shirley Sherrod controversy. "What will the fallout be," some wonder? Overblown, earthquakes, & fallout. The 24/7 "news cycle" is trying to tell us something. Maybe we just have to learn to "read all about it" between the lines.

A massive winter heading for the Northern Hemisphere?

A Massive Winter Heading for the Northern Hemisphere?

Posted Sun, 07/25/2010 - 01:25 by Geoff Sharp


The winters of the past two years have been noticeably colder. The northern hemisphere in particular has experienced record cold, record snow and a rebuilding of the Arctic sea ice extent. The southern hemisphere this winter has also seen record low temperatures in South America which is resulting in many hundreds of deaths (human and livestock).

There are a number of players involved which can be attributed to this cooling trend and when they come together they are capable of dropping the world's temperatures by a significant amount.

Perhaps the most important player is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) which is a hot and cold ocean temperature cycle in the Pacific of about 30 years. The world's temperature trend very closely matches this cycle which has the potential to override solar activity of the day. The last major PDO cooling event was between 1946 and 1976 which experienced the highest solar cycle on record (SC19) followed by a low cycle (SC20). The deepest cold of this era was recorded when both the PDO and low solar activity teamed up, which is right where we are again today with perhaps a greater influence from the solar side with my predicted imminent grand minimum.

Above image courtesy of Don Easterbrook, click on image for link.

New research is suggesting the solar influence on climate/weather is not just about the overall heat output of the Sun which varies very little, but more about the atmospheric effects from extreme ultraviolet radiation (EUV). EUV can vary by as much as 16% over the solar cycle and this last solar minimum has seen the levels a lot lower than the previous solar minimum. EUV does it's thing in the upper atmosphere where it heats the Thermosphere and also creates Ozone, currently NASA is reporting the lowest recorded height of the Thermosphere and is at a loss at explaining all of the contributing factors. Others like Mike Lockwood are linking lower UV rates with changes in the polar jet streams that form a blocking effect on the normally warmer winds that occur in the northern hemisphere winter.

Aside from other ocean oscillations the ENSO pattern has a large short term effect on our climate/weather system. We are just coming out of a rather warm El Nino cycle and current observations are showing the possible impact of a very strong La Nina cooling pattern taking shape.

The La Nina phase is now official with the Australian BOM records showing all the major indicators heading into continued La Nina conditions. Of particular interest is the sub surface temperatures in the Pacific showing a large area 4 deg C under normal.

Another oscillation called the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) is showing its highest readings since records began in 1979, during the strong 1999 and 2008 La Ninas the AAO was also high.

The cooling phase of the PDO is just beginning and should reduce the strength and frequency of future El Ninos and add extra punch and frequency to upcoming La Ninas.

Joe Bastardi from Accuweather who is an avid follower of this site is also predicting the same cooling trend, he also adds the possible cooling effects that could result from impending volcanic eruptions.

So the stage is set for one of the most interesting natural experiments, nearly all the cool players are in place with the exception of the Atlantic Oscillation (AMO) still not in its cool phase. I predict the extra boost from my predicted solar grand minimum along with the current oceanic conditions the next northern winter will experience conditions similar to the Little Ice Age (1250-1850).

This graph showing the relationship between the SOI (ENSO) and the SAM (AAO). Also shown is the Antarctic ice melt.

Strongly positive AAO signals associated with strong La Nina during 1999 and 2008. The revererse occurring during the strong El Nino years of 1983 and 1998.


The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is an atmospheric oscillation resulting from two pressure cells occurring in the Northern Atlantic Ocean and is closely linked with the Arctic Oscillation. During it's positive phase warmer winds are prevalent across the northern hemisphere with an additional blocking effect of the cooler Arctic air mass.

The NAO is very closely aligned with the PDO sharing modulation and phasing and together in their negative phase along with a La Nina cycle are potent team members capable of inflicting significant world cooling.

Left: The winter NAO graph aligning with the PDO and sunspot cycle.

The NAO/PDO correlation may not be coincidental. Landscheidt (2001) proposed a close link between solar output and the NAO (fig.6) and Scafetta (2010) indicates a correlation between solar velocity and the PDO. Both cycles look to be in sync with the solar/planet dynamics of our solar system. Landscheidt at the time had no physical mechanism but recent research is pointing toward EUV flux as a very likely climate oscillator candidate. The modulation of these climate effects from EUV being so much greater during grand minima. (SC20 at 1970 being very close to a grand minimum). TSI might just be a very small player.

The NAO is showing signs of continuing negative and is expected to be in full force by December if we follow history. It is reasonable to suggest the same forces were in play with the same timings during the Dalton Minimum. If so I think we can expect a similar weather pattern as of that era, especially if Katla decides to erupt.

The big test is in place...will the so called "greenhouse effect" brought about by man made CO2 have any bearing on the upcoming northern hemisphere winter?

This article will be updated with further information as the season progresses.


The meaning of health Part 2

(NaturalNews) In Part 1 we discussed the spiritual side of health as well as an overview of the physical, mental and emotional side. Now, let's get into more specifics regarding these aspects of health.

On a mental and emotional level there are many practices that can be beneficial. Meditation again plays a role here, with calming the mind and getting rid of anxiety. Massage plays a big role in also promoting a deep sense of relaxation and in getting rid of stored up stress and old emotions.

Walking in a peaceful place like the beach or in the forest allows the mind time to digest the many thoughts that overwhelm it during normal day to day activities. Listening to peaceful music and having peaceful colors around will also help.

As mentioned earlier, flower essences can play a big role in helping bring people back to balance on an emotional and mental level. In Ayurveda, eating food more of a sattvic (goodness) nature will help calm the mind. Sattvic foods are vegetarian and are fresh and preferably organically grown.

Ayurveda recommends avoiding strongly stimulating herbs such as garlic, onions, and chilies, except in cases of disease such as a cold or flu, where these herbs are very useful. Otherwise, overuse will cause too much raja (passion) in the mind.

For mental and emotional health, it's also important to know one's limits and not push our minds and bodies too hard for too long. Proper rest is important as is not overworking or neglecting one's family relationships.

From a physical health point of view, exercise, stretching, nutrition and massage are the basis of good physical health. Obviously, other activities like not smoking, taking drugs or alcohol, etc. and not having too toxic an environment are also very important as well.

Exercise in general stimulates blood and lymph flow that keeps the circulation going. A person should combine strength building exercises with flexibility exercises. One of the best and most ancient forms of exercise is yoga. Yoga involves stretching and opening up the body as well as stimulating blood and nerve supply throughout the body. Yoga benefits a person's health on a physical, mental and emotional level and can be adapted to suit all ages and levels of fitness. Chi Kung is an ancient Chinese practice similar to Yoga that is also very good for health. As a side note, the literal translation of "yoga" means "to link up with God".

Nutrition is one of the most important factors involved in the overall health of the body. Nutrition is a vast subject and filled with many conflicting philosophies. However, in most ancient and current opinion, the basis of a good diet is a vegan diet of whole, unprocessed foods that are organically grown.

The specifics of what diet is best for you may be best approached by learning your Ayurvedic constitution and then making your diet support your constitution. So, what foods may be helpful for one person may actually aggravate another person. This is why some people may diet for a long time but have no success.

Lastly, getting a massage on a regular basis is one of the other best things a person can do to stay healthy or to increase their level of health. Deep tissue massage and/or acupressure are some of the best forms of massage that get in and unblock the blockages in the flow of chi in the body as well as get deep seated muscle tension out of the body.

Aloha and namaste!

The meaning of health Part 1

(NaturalNews) Health is a very ill defined term. In the western countries many people see health as a black and white concept. You are healthy unless you have a disease. Many people go to a doctor with some conditions that the doctor will send away saying, "You look healthy to me".

It may be more useful to look at health as a gray scale of 1 to 100 (1 being almost dead and 100 being incredibly healthy). In this way a person can always be motivated to get healthier. As a person progresses down the scale to ill health that's when they start to have diseases that a doctor can identify like heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, etc. These conditions could have been prevented had the person looked at health in the way of getting healthier way before they got sick.

So, that begs the question of what exactly is health?

According to the Ayurveda system, health can be seen from several different layers. At the core is spiritual health, defined as living a life in harmony with your true purpose in life. It can also be defined as a life in service to God or some cause greater than yourself. Another aspect to spiritual health is to lead a life that does not cause harm to other living beings. This is why in Ayurveda a vegetarian diet is recommended for spiritual life. Spiritual health is more important than physical health, but it is also the basis of all other forms of health such as emotional and mental health.

The next layer of health is your mental and emotional health. The Bach flower remedies were introduced because Dr. Bach recognized this level of importance. He believed that mental and emotional health imbalances usually lead to physical diseases. Nature, in her wisdom, has given people natural remedies that help restore health.

Chinese and Indian medicines also recognize the importance of this layer for optimum health. In Chinese Medicine, for example, someone who gets angry a lot can easily get liver problems. Too much sadness affects the function of the heart, etc. Herbs, acupuncture, exercise and lifestyle changes will help bring a person back into balance.

The last layer of health is physical health. If a person is spiritually and emotionally healthy then physical health is a lot easier to come by. This is the level where exercise, etc. plays a bit part. There are many people in the Western world who just emphasize this level of health. Bodybuilders, joggers, etc. sometimes suddenly get cancer or drop dead from a heart attack and people wonder, why? It's not a mystery. It's usually because they have been out of balance on the deepest layers of health.

So, which activities should you engage in, in order to stay healthy?

On a spiritual level of health, activities such as meditation, prayer and humility help one to understand one's true purpose in life as well as to generally get more in touch with deeper aspects of the self.

Following practices of ahimsa (non violence), also enhance a person's spiritual health. Taking a caring, rather than a judgmental, attitude toward all living entities will also enhance a person's spiritual health.

Another aspect of spiritual health is service. It is the nature of the human being to serve someone other than him/herself, putting spiritual service, of some sort, as a major component in health.

What about the mental and emotional levels of health? For that you have to wait for Part 2.



Human evolutionary process

NAWAPA from the Standpoint of Biospheric Development

Download the PDF Now.

by Sky Shields, Oyang Teng, Michelle Lerner, Cody Jones, Ben Deniston
August 5, 2010 • 1:47 PM

The current crisis is not a financial one, or even a physical one in the simplest sense. We are not facing a lack of finances, or a lack of resources. We are facing a crisis of human culture, of which the current president and his predecessor are merely exemplary. It is time that we analyzed more deeply the roots of the erroneous thinking which has led us so deeply into this current disaster, in order that we might avert it in the only way possible: by turning our sights once again towards humanity’s future, and returning to the cultural-philosophical roots of a true science of physical economy.

When man “builds infrastructure“ he is not simply placing some object called infrastructure into an empty box. He is actually reorganizing the physical space-time of the biosphere, as a system, by transforming and redirecting the biogenic flows through the biosphere, allowing it to attain to higher and higher levels of energy flux density. The simplest example of this is the introduction of farming and animal husbandry: the apples, corn, and livestock of today are far different, and far more efficient in terms of energy density, than their wild counterparts which reflect the state in which man first encountered them.

Photosynthesis, which converts the diffuse energy of incident sunlight into the concentrated form of chemical bonds, creates both the difficult-to-digest cellulose of plant stems as well as the easily accessible energy stores of carbohydrates and other organic molecules. This process is a part of what Russian-Ukrainian biogeochemist V. I. Vernadsky called the biogenic migration of atoms--the continuous flow of matter through the biosphere as the result of living processes, creating higher and higher levels of organization in the secreted fossil materials. Man’s action on apples, corn, and livestock, for example, increases the ratio of usable carbohydrates, lipids and proteins to the expensive (in the terms of energy) but relatively useless (for consumption) cellulose of the plant’s structural components. Ultimately, the survival of the human species will depend on Man’s ability to not only organize these flows and increase their efficiency, but also to create, from scratch, the environment of biogenic flows which he requires in order to live outside of Earth’s atmosphere, and to colonize our Solar System and beyond. Teosinte represents the state of “corn” at the time man first encountered it in the wild. Only a very small portion of the bushy plant contained the nutrients and digestible material that make corn the staple it is today. The highly nutritious, and energy-efficient food that we now call corn is entirely a creation of early man’s projects at biological engineering and, like the similarly human-engineered modern cow, will not survive outside of human care.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation.

The North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) program will be among the first of man’s projects to willfully redirect those larger processes determining the further evolution of the biosphere, as a whole, serving as the reference point for such challenges as establishing permanent settlements on other planets, such as Mars. Again, this will be achieved through further understanding and redirecting these biogenic flows, but now on a much grander and more fundamental scale.

This biogenic migration of atoms is more than a mere flow of material “within” the biosphere. It constitutes the very structure of the biosphere, and governs the nature of Earth’s interaction with phenomena outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, such as solar and cosmic radiation. To take a useful example, the creation of Earth’s oxygen atmosphere by life not only caused a massive change in species on the face of the planet -- rendering the vast majority of existing life forms extinct, while paving the way for more complex, oxygen breathing life forms -- it also changed the biosphere’s interaction with the Sun’s electromagnetic radiations (specifically in the “ultraviolet wave range”), creating a higher degree of structure within the biosphere -- the ozone layer -- which, in turn, further moderates which frequencies of electromagnetic radiation would be allowed to enter Earth’s developing biosphere to affect planetary evolution.

This biogenic migration of atoms also caused the development of the ionosphere, the highly energetic zone which, by its interaction with the solar wind and Earth’s magnetic field, is responsible for the creation of the aurorae and which can at times act as a massive particle accelerator, determining what types of cosmic radiation will be fed down into Earth’s surface. Some of this radiation would be involved in producing the cloud cover which moderates the Earth’s temperature and produces precipitation.1
Earth's Atmosphere

Our planet is sometimes unimaginatively pictured as a rocky sphere to which a thin layer of gas tenuously clings amidst the vacuum of space. Far from that bleak prospect, the Earth's surface represents a particularly intense region of transformation of the cosmic radiation which permeates all of space. In our neighborhood, the vast majority of this radiation is emitted by the Sun, which produces a large spectrum of electromagnetic frequencies, as well as a constant stream of electrically charged plasma called the solar wind. The solar wind, guided by the Sun's magnetic field, is involved in a constant interaction with the plasma that constitutes the upper regions of the Earth's atmosphere and Earth’s own, constantly changing, magnetic field. This complex interaction produces highly structured phenomena such as the Van Allen radiation belts and the aurorae, while the ionosphere itself produces electromagnetic radiation in the low frequency range. The relative strength of the Sun and Earth's magnetic fields also modulates the influx of galactic cosmic rays, which changes climate through cloud formation, and acts directly on the evolution of living organisms over longer periods of time. It has also been documented that subtle fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field, in part induced by its interactions with the Sun, directly influence the behavior and vital activity of living organisms and is likely a factor in their evolution. But, it is life itself which produced the ionosphere, through its creation of the atmosphere. Several recent studies also point to the possibility of life’s direct role in the creation of the geomagnetic field, possibly through the movement of ocean currents, and through the influence of water on plate tectonics, which could affect heat convection of the hypothesized dynamo beneath Earth’s crust. Whether this is the actual mechanism or not, it is in fact the case that the peculiar character of Earth’s magnetic field is associated with its uniqueness as a bearer of living matter in the solar system. Thus, in sum, it is safe to say that weather, in space and on Earth, is a product of living processes.

Certain aspects of this process of biogenic migration of atoms are popularly broken down, for ease of understanding, into several oversimplified cycles: the “water cycle,“ “nitrogen cycle,“ “carbon cycle,“ etc. At low resolution, these do in fact appear as simple cycles, but when viewed more closely, they form an interconnected network, a system, whose causal interrelations are impossible to represent linearly. Changes in the nitrogen concentration of soils, caused by perturbations in the nitrogen cycle, change the rate of carbon fixation in plant life, perturbing the carbon cycle, which in turn changes the rate of photosynthesis, perturbing the oxygen and water cycles, which in turn perturb the nitrogen cycle, and other biogenic flows of atoms, etc., etc.

Even within a single one of these so-called cycles, the amount of complexity quickly reaches a point where the description requires a systems approach -- a tensor description -- particularly when we wish to discuss the conscious manipulation of such a system.

Taking water as an example: In first approximation, at the lowest resolution, we can describe the water cycle as a simple process, beginning with sunlight’s effect on the ocean surface, causing evaporation. This evaporated water rises into the atmosphere, some of which migrates over land and falls as precipitation. This precipitated water then makes its way, over time, back into the ocean by way of streams and rivers. Surface water and ground water are not two distinct phenomena. Rather, they form a single, complex flow of water and associated minerals, characterized by abrupt discontinuities which delineate sharp changes in flow intensity and direction. A. A flowing body of water, gaining volume all along its length from a connected aquifer. B. The gradient associated with an aquifer’s flow lines, compared to the direction of the flowing surface water, shows whether the stream is replenishing the aquifer or vice versa.

Image: USGS

Upon closer examination, this process really consists of many interconnected sub-cycles, where water plays its most important role, in facilitating the growth of plants. In this process there is no clear beginning, nor are there any simple linear or cyclical relationships. Plants consume both water and sunlight, using them to produce oxygen, and to fix CO2 into energy-dense organic molecules. The moisture which these plants release in transpiration then rises up to become cloud cover, feeding and enhancing the precipitation which had permitted their growth originally. If the vegetation becomes dense enough, this additional atmospheric moisture is enough to change weather patterns, alter the landscape, and reshape the course of rivers. At various stages of this process, large amounts of water enter the soil, to either be evaporated again into rainfall, or to be sucked deep down into the groundwater stores which form a continuous system of exchange with the above-ground lakes and rivers.
An image of an interconnected system of ground water and surface water.

Image: USGS

The result of this is that, globally, the same water falls an average of 2.7 times2 on land before returning to the sea, and the rate is obviously higher in areas of dense vegetation. Further, as the ground cover and soil moisture change, so does the reflectivity of certain parts of the Earth’s surface, which in turn transforms how sunlight is absorbed and changes its effects on temperature and evaporation.

The number and types of interrelations are vast, but perfectly comprehensible to the human mind when aided by the proper conceptual tools. In fact, their thorough comprehension is the destiny of the human species, since the mastery -- and replication, in an improved form -- of their complex interrelations will be necessary in order for man to achieve his destiny of colonizing interplanetary and interstellar space. Already today, spacecraft designers must attempt to recreate portions of the oxygen, carbon, and water cycles in miniature in order to maintain crews on their trips.3 The same process, at much higher levels of complexity and efficiency, and combined with a deeper understanding of the role of cosmic radiation and other electromagnetic and gravitational phenomena in the maintenance and evolution of life on Earth, will be required for the establishment of permanent settlements on the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Projects like NAWAPA will bring such goals -- necessary for the continued survival of the human species -- out of the realm of science fiction, and within reach of humankind.

The introduction of irrigation, and the consequent agricultural development, increases the amount of transpiration in a given area, creating more, sustained sub-cycles of rainfall, and generating rainfall which previously may not have existed.

What does this mean for NAWAPA? In this case, we are taking a portion of the hydrological cycle involving the western region of North America,
Rainfall map of the world. Note the discrepancy in amount of rainfall along the Pacific coast of the U.S.

Image: USGS

which currently includes relatively few sub-cycles, and connecting it into a noospheric system of much greater complexity. Water which evaporates off of the surface of the Pacific Ocean tends preferentially to travel up the coastline as cloud cover, and deposit itself in northern regions as solid ice and rivers.

A large percentage of this freshwater then runs directly into the ocean off the coast of Alaska and North America, never taking part in any biospheric sub-cycles on land. Meanwhile, the southern desert area of the west -- the Great American Desert -- remains dry, and barren. [Animation: NASA animation of clouds circulating up the coast.]

To get an idea of this quantitatively:

The total amount of water evapotranspired from land and ocean amounts to 57,600 and 351,400 million acre feet per year (MAF -- the amount of water contained on one million acres of land if it is covered one foot deep in water) respectively,4 for a yearly total of 409,000 MAF.5 27 percent of that, or 86,700 MAFY,6 falls back onto the land as rain or snowfall, while the rest is rained directly back into the ocean. At any given moment, there is 12,600 MAF of water in the atmosphere, 3600 of which is over land. Approximately 2800 MAFY falls within just the Alaskan and Canadian catchment basin utilized by NAWAPA, an amount equivalent to more than half of the total precipitation of the entire continental United States! This produces 8-900 MAFY7 of run-off into the Pacific and Arctic Ocean. This quantity is lost to the productive processes of the biosphere, never taking part in photosynthesis or any other biospheric process during its time on land. This cycle is a continuous cycle, constantly replenished, though, in parts, terribly inefficient. [Image: Map with arrows whose thickness is proportional to amount of water flow.]
California's Central Valley.

In California, some of the country's most productive agricultural land (not to mention America's second largest metropolitan area) is spread over what amounts to a desert. This is made possible by a massive infrastructure network which diverts the flow of the Colorado River and northern Sierra Nevada mountain runoff through a series of dams, reservoirs, pumps and canals, for delivery of freshwater into the arid central and southern regions of the state. At the time it was initiated by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930's, the Central Valley Project (CVP) was biospheric engineering on a grand scale, which was expanded beginning in the late 1950's under California Governor Pat Brown's State Water Project (SWP) initiative. A recent study showed that irrigation in the arid Central Valley has led to a decline in average daytime temperatures between 2º-3º C. Today, the CVP and the SWP together provide an average of 10 million acre-feet/yr (12 km3/yr), representing more than 25% of the state's total freshwater consumption. California's yearly share of NAWAPA water would more than double this amount.

Thus, it becomes clear that, contrary to popular misconceptions and outright lies, the water used by NAWAPA is not some stash which will be run down over time, nor is it water which otherwise would be used for other purposes. NAWAPA is the harnessing and improvement of this natural, global cycle and, because of this, will be capable of not only providing fresh water to the western U.S. and northern Mexico for perpetuity, experience has shown that it will also permanently transform the climate in these areas as a result, lowering the temperature and increasing rainfall. NAWAPA will transform this cycle, drawing a portion (160 MAFY -- 20%) of what would otherwise immediately become run-off water into a system of already existing rivers and newly-made canals. As it travels, the water will replenish groundwater stores and take part in greening large swaths of the Great American Desert. This will extend the time this water spends on land by orders of magnitude, as well as increasing the frequency of its circulation during that stay.8

Now, what will be the effect of the increased plant transpiration in the 21-50 million acres of new farmland and forests created as a result of the NAWAPA project? This will be up to double the current irrigable acreage west of the Mississippi. For the U.S., this amounts to a strip of newly irrigable land 1800 miles long and 35 miles wide -- nearly 4 times the size of California’s Central Valley.

Again, the careful selection of regions of farmland, but also areas of new, highly organized and maintained forests, where once there was desert, will increase the overall soil moisture, as well as increasing the amount of overall evapotranspiration over land. This will lead to increased rainfall, and, if carefully structured, new and beneficial downwind rain and weather patterns. The water introduced by NAWAPA will be used not once, but multiple times, as it makes its way through innumerable smaller sub-cycles, falling multiple times as rainfall over land before finally making its way back to the sea, to someday eventually make its way back to Alaska to begin the entire cycle over once again. Only now, among its activities will be included a plethora of industrial and other uses. This same water might someday be the freshwater used to hydrate the first manned crew traveling to Mars!

As an aside, it ought to be clear from what has been said so far that, due to the centrality of photosynthesis in this process, land which might otherwise be wasted on inefficient solar panels ought instead to be used to grow green plants -- the only efficient utilizers of solar radiation. These massive areas of new greenery, carefully selected as to quantity, quality, and location, will fuel the process of transformation, and beautify the hundreds of new cities which will be built to maintain this process.

In this way, NAWAPA can be seen as a transformation of a complex system of interweaving cycles, increasing the complexity and efficiency of the overall process, while not subtracting anything. Self-conscious use of the new hydrological sub-cycles will permit transformations of the several other cycles mentioned above. The increase of the forested area of North America will produce a larger, more efficient CO2 sink, increasing the rate of the carbon cycle on land. We may even discover that the available CO2 is too little for our purposes! To fuel that carbon cycling, we will need to -- among other things -- increase the amount of available nitrogen in the soils, allowing for the growth of these photosynthesizing plants. The available water will be used to replenish groundwater stores such as the Ogallala aquifer, reduce the mineral contamination of water retrieved from the Colorado river, and clean the soil of farmland in the Midwest, as well as flushing and replenishing the Great Lakes. This same process will be the model for the similar development projects to be deployed in Mexico, Africa, Central Asia, Southwest Asia, Siberia, Australia, and similar regions worldwide, thus further extending man’s conscious management of the biosphere as a whole. Afterwards, this process can and must be extended as well to include more directly the development of Earth’s oceans.

It is significant to note that, despite the seemingly colossal scale of all of this, we are discussing relatively tiny portions of incredibly large numbers. Only about a billionth of the radiant energy released by our Sun falls on the Earth at any given moment. Not more than 50 percent of this tiny bit of radiation fuels the processes of evaporation, transpiration, and photosynthesis which latter drives the biogenic migration of atoms, producing -- among all of the other things we have discussed -- all of the rainfall and all of the flow in the rivers we are here discussing. In order to accomplish NAWAPA’s goals, only about 20% of the runoff from the targeted Alaskan and Canadian rivers is required to be redirected. This runoff represents perhaps one percent of the total runoff of the Earth’s crust, which itself is a small percentage of the total freshwater, 70% of which is locked up in snow or ice.

At any given moment, only about 1% of the total freshwater of the planet is “in play” in the near-surface biosphere -- only 1% of freshwater is directly accessible to living processes at or near the surface of the planet. But what occurs in that 1% drives the entire cycle, much in the same way as living matter -- a tiny percentage of all of the matter in the biosphere -- drives the entire biogenic migration of atoms, reshaping Earth’s crust and oceans, creating Earth’s atmosphere, and governing the electromagnetic interaction with the universe as a whole. Man, in terms of his mass, represents a tiny portion of even this tiny amount of living matter. Yet man, by the power of his mind, is the only force in the universe deserving of the title “co-creator” of that universe -- capable of understanding and improving the processes by which that universe was brought into being.

In this way it should become clear that NAWAPA is not merely a piece of interesting policy. It is the necessary next step in man’s emergence from his civilizational adolescence. In order to accomplish this next step, a major cultural-political shift must occur, which will express the sharp rejection of the cultural and political turns of the last decades. NAWAPA alone will be a multi-generational project, requiring at least a quarter of a century for its completion. The expanded mission of developing the solar system will require several generations more. This is the antidote to the no-future ennui of today’s generation, forging the cross-generation connection which separates our species -- at its best moments -- from the beasts.

Like all great feats of human creativity, this is not a project designed for immediate consumption. This is a project designed to extend man’s sense of self far beyond the confines of his sense perceptions and feelings of personal well-being, and connect him instead to generations which will continue his legacy long after his generation has left this Earth. The cultural transformation required to accomplish a project of this scale, must include a repudiation of the past decades’ policies of free trade, and a reinstatement of the kinds of controls over banking and financial policy which the Glass-Steagall standard represents. We must see a clear rejection of the anti-science, anti-progress and anti-human policy represented by the recent decades’ rise of green fascism. Most importantly, we must demand the rejection of this current president, Obama, whose personal sense of identity, like his policies, lies in those very same failed cultural characteristics which have brought us to this point of collapse. Then, and only then, may we free ourselves for the real work to be done.
The Moon-Mars Project.

As has been discussed, understanding the biosphere includes understanding the intimately connected set of relationships among terrestrial and cosmic phenomena, such as gravitation, the geo-magnetic field, solar radiation, as well as cosmic radiation. On Mars, the magnitude and state of these various elements is very much different. For example, the gravitational effect is 1/3 that of the earth and the magnetic field is faint and dispersed, which, along with other factors, figures in the absence of a substantial atmosphere on Mars, all of which are part of a differing dynamic relationship with the Sun itself. Thus, many factors which we heretofore had taken for granted on Earth, become existential challenges when orienting towards sustaining life on Mars, not to mention the first step in that process of colonization: that of the industrialization of Earth’s Moon. This must be done for the purpose, of, among other things, utilizing the low gravity environment for building the ships to take us to Mars, as well as for the mining of the Helium-3, abundant in the lunar soil, to be used as the fuel for the yet-to-be developed fusion-powered rockets, the only fuel capable of achieving one-Earth-gravity equivalent acceleration -- an acceleration requirement necessary to deliver humans to Mars in a timely (4-7 days) and safe manner. Consequently, in understanding how we come to gain mastery over the organization of Earth’s biosphere, we gain insight into exactly what parameters and requirements are necessary to create superior life-supporting systems beyond it.


LaRouche, L., “Body or Mind?” Preprint. To appear in EIR.

Vernadsky, V. I., The Biosphere, Spinger, 1997

Kuchment, L.S., “The Hydrological Cycle and Human Impact On It,” in Water Resources Management, EOLSS, 2004

Hutjes, R.W.A., “Biospheric Aspects of the Hydrological Cycle”, Journal of Hydrology 212-213 (1998), 1-21

Snyder, N.W., “Water from Alaska,” speech to Fusion Energy Foundation conference on “A High Technology Policy for U.S. Reindustrialization,” Los Angeles, 1980

Gordon, L., “Land cover change and water vapour flows: learning from Australia,” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003) 358, 1973-1984

Ter Maat, H.W., “Meteorological impact Assessment of possible large scale irrigation in Southwest Saudi Arabia,” Global and Planetary Change 54 (2006), 183-201

Bras, R., “Planet Water: Complexity and Organization in Earth Systems,” James R. Killian, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award lecture, MIT, 2009

T.C. Winter, J.W. Harvey, O.L. Franke, and W.M. Alley, Ground Water And Surface Water: A Single Resource, USGS
1One might, in fact, consider this entire process to be the creation of a sort of biospheric infrastructure, where biological fossils continually provide the conditions for the development of more advanced creative processes.
2Lev S. Kuchment, The Hydrological Cycle and Human Impact On It
3As an example, take the limited example of water, oxygen, carbon, etc. http://www1.nasa.gov/pdf/176994main_HSE_TG2.pdf.]
471,000 km3/yr and 434,000 km3/yr, respectively.
5505,000 km3/yr
6107,000 km3/yr
7990-1110 km3/yr
8It is important to note that here, again, it becomes clear that the concept of a “water cycle” is inadequate. Water which participates in photosynthesis ceases to be water, and is instead broken up into free oxygen, released as a gas, and hydrogen, which is fixed into organic molecules, thus feeding into two entirely different “cycles.” Thus, though the overall quantity of water on the Earth may stay the same, it is not the case that this is always the “same” water.


High fructose corn syrup- poison for the liver

(NaturalNews) Two new studies have added more reason for concern that high-fructose corn syrup causes significantly more harm to the body than its mere sugar content would suggest.

High-fructose corn syrup contains 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. In contrast, table sugar (also known as sucrose) contains a 50-50 split.

In the first study, published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, researchers from Princeton University found that rats consuming high fructose corn syrup gained more weight and developed more cardiovascular risk factors than rats consuming equivalent amounts of sucrose.

"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, " researcher Bart Hoebel said.

Hoebel and colleagues fed two groups of rats an identical diet, supplemented with one of two sweetened beverages. One beverage consisted of a sucrose solution in concentrations similar to those found in many sweetened beverages. The other consisted of a high-fructose corn syrup solution at roughly half the concentration of a typical soda. The researchers found that the rats consuming the corn syrup solution gained significantly more weight than the rats consuming the sucrose solution.

In a followup experiment, the researchers compared metabolic changes in rats fed only rat chow with rats fed chow plus a high-fructose corn syrup solution. All the rats consumed the same amount of calories.

After six months, the rats in the corn syrup group had gained 48 percent more weight. They also underwent an increase in fat deposition (especially in the abdomen) and a drop in circulating triglycerides. These changes are consistent with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that predispose humans to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Every rat consuming high-fructose corn syrup became obese. In contrast, rats fed a high-fat diet did not become obese in all cases.

Another study, conducted by Duke University researchers, once again implicates high-fructose corn syrup in a heightened risk of liver damage.

Previous research has suggested that large amounts of fructose liver in the same way as excessive alcohol consumption. Another study linked high-fructose corn syrup specifically with a form of liver scarring known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

The new study, published in the Journal of Hepatology, found that high-fructose corn syrup worsened the effects of NAFLD.

"We found that increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup was associated with scarring in the liver ... among patients with NAFLD," researcher Manal Abdelmalek said.

The researchers analyzed the diets and livers of 427 adults with NAFLD, and found that only 19 percent of them never consumed fructose-containing beverages. In contrast, 52 percent of participants had between one and six servings of a fructose-containing beverage per week, while another 29 percent had at least one serving per day. The higher patients' fructose intake, the worse the scarring of their livers.

"We have identified an environmental risk factor that may contribute to the metabolic syndrome of insulin resistance and the complications of the metabolic syndrome, including liver injury," Abdelmalek said.

Abdelmalek noted that NAFLD is a severe problem that cannot be treated and may lead in some cases to liver cancer, liver failure and a need for liver transplant.

Researchers are still unsure why high-fructose corn syrup appears to damage the body more than its extra 5 percent fructose content would suggest. Some have hypothesized that the negative effects come from the massive quantities in which it is consumed -- high-fructose corn syrup is found in nearly all processed foods.

Other researchers have observed that beverages made with high-fructose corn syrup contain high levels of reactive carbonyls, which can damage cells. Still others have noted that the fructose in high-fructose corn syrup is chemically unbonded and thus spreads through the body more freely than the fructose in table sugar.

Sources for this story include: http://www.aolnews.com/health/artic... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/21/d... http://www.sciencedaily.com/release... http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite....