A time of change, conflicting influences and energies, twists and turns, endings and new beginnings. Established conditions, presumptions, plans, preparations fragmented by the
unexpected, smithereened by forces unimagined. Simple shifts, complex rifts, the recognized confused. Nothing what it seems. A time to be in the moment, tolerate the
This site is likely to explore such themes and more, related to the indications and impacts of change on a larger scale, affecting many individuals, while my arts site focuses on
individual identity and psychospirituality.
Final Exit Network
The Supreme Court of Canada's 85-page decision in support of physician aid in dying is a legal masterpiece that will have influence far beyond Canada's borders...
Autism Findings from largest genome sequencing study
Whole-genome sequencing of quartet families with autism spectrum disorder.
Stephen W Scherer et al. Nat Med. 2015 Feb;21(2):185-91. doi: 10.1038/nm.3792.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is genetically heterogeneous, with evidence for hundreds of susceptibility loci. Previous microarray and exome-sequencing studies have examined
portions of the genome in simplex families (parents and one ASD-affected child) having presumed sporadic forms of the disorder. We used whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of 85
quartet families (parents and two ASD-affected siblings), consisting of 170 individuals with ASD, to generate a comprehensive data resource encompassing all classes of genetic
variation (including noncoding variants) and accompanying phenotypes, in apparently familial forms of ASD. By examining de novo and rare inherited single-nucleotide and structural
variations in genes previously reported to be associated with ASD or other neurodevelopmental disorders, we found that some (69.4%) of the affected siblings carried different
ASD-relevant mutations. These siblings with discordant mutations tended to demonstrate more clinical variability than those who shared a risk variant. Our study emphasizes that
substantial genetic heterogeneity exists in ASD, necessitating the use of WGS to delineate all genic and non-genic susceptibility variants in research and in clinical diagnostics.
And See: Largest genome sequencing study finds surprises:
siblings' autism may have different genetic causes.
News Release, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). 26 January 2015.
[...] The research highlights the fact that there is significant genetic diversity in autism;
it also emphasizes the need to do whole genome sequencing on patients in order to see
their complete genetic picture.
"We already knew that there are many differences between autism cases, but our
recent findings firmly nail that down. It shows that a full assessment of each individual’s
genome is needed to determine how to best use knowledge of their own genetic
makeup for autism treatment," says Dr. Stephen Scherer, Senior Scientist and Director
of the Centre for Applied Genomics at SickKids. [...]
The Gokhale Method®.
Natural posture solutions for pain in the back, neck, shoulder, hip, knee and foot.
The Way You’re Born Can Mess With the Microbes You Need to Survive.
Martin J. Blaser. An article excerpted and adapted from the book. wired.com, 04.03.14.
In Missing Microbes, Dr. Martin Blaser reaches back to the discovery of antibiotics, which ushered in a golden age of medicine, and then traces how our subsequent overuse of these seeming
wonder drugs has left its mark on our systems, contributing to the rise of what Blaser calls our modern plagues: obesity, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. Blaser’s
studies suggest antibiotic use during early childhood poses the greatest risk to long-term health, and, alarmingly, American children receive on average seventeen courses of antibiotics
before they are twenty years old. At the same time, C-sections deprive babies of important contact with their mothers’ microbiomes. Taking us into the lab to recount his groundbreaking
studies, Blaser not only provides elegant support for his theory, he guides us to what we can do to avoid even more catastrophic health problems in the future.
→ Read more at martinblaser.comAmazon.ca Amazon.com Macmillan Henry Holt and Company.
6 May 2014.
CBC's The Current host Anna Maria Tremonti interviews Dr. Blaser, who "argues the overuse of antibiotics
has altered the delicate balance of microbes living in all of us, making us vulnerable to a range of new diseases". (23:56) Missing Microbes: Are we killing off bacteria at our own peril?
Bugs 'R Us
On 25 October CBC's Ideas host Paul Kennedy featured a presentation by microbiologist Dr. B. Brett Finlay on the importance of the
human microbiota, collectively referring to the vast number of microbes that colonize the body, in health and disease.
Microbiota and Vaccines.
Eric Brown. Lab of Dr. B. Brett Finlay, Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology, Michael Smith Laboratories, University of British Columbia. Human Microbiome Science: Vision for the Future July 26, 2013. PDF
Antibiotics are the wonder drugs of modern medicine. They've allowed doctors to save and extend life by killing infection and enabling ground breaking surgery. But imagine a world where antibiotics don't work - that
would be a place dominated by superbugs, bacteria that don't respond to antibiotics. Scientists say this would end many modern medical procedures and they claim the threat is greater than we realise.
[...R]eporter Geoff Thompson looks at the rise of superbugs, visiting the hot spots around the world where the misuse of antibiotics is creating a breeding ground for these bacteria and he tells the horrific stories
of those who've contracted infections that can't be controlled. [...]
"...Every time we take an antibiotic we're giving the bug a chance to become a superbug ... the more of us that take antibiotics inappropriately, the greater the chance in the community a superbug will come."
And that's exactly what's happening in India, where antibiotics are not restricted in their use. As a result a new superbug, New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase or NDM-1, has evolved. Not only is it deadly in its own
right, it's also capable of genetically modifying other bacteria to make them superbugs. [...]
This 6-minute clip showing food produc- tion and consumption is taken from the much broader canvas of a 100-minute 70mm film entitled SAMSARA, a 2011 documentary directed by
Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Magidson. SAMSARA was photographed over the course of 5 years in 25 countries. It explores diverse aspects of the human experience.
SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation. Through powerful images, the film illuminates the
links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.*And See:Overconsumption: A look at how unsustainable our eating habits have become. Mercola. 1 March 2014.
Plastic pollution is ubiquitous throughout the marine environment, yet estimates of the global abundance and weight of floating plastics have lacked data, particularly from the Southern Hemisphere and remote regions. Here
we report an estimate of the total number of plastic particles and their weight floating in the world's oceans from 24 expeditions (2007-2013) across all five sub-tropical gyres, costal Australia, Bay of Bengal and the
Mediterranean Sea [...] Using an oceanographic model of floating debris dispersal calibrated by our data, and correcting for wind-driven vertical mixing, we estimate a minimum of 5.25 trillion particles weighing 268,940 tons. [...]
The observations that there is much less microplastic at the sea surface than might be expected suggests that removal processes are at play. These include UV degradation, biodegradation, ingestion by organisms, decreased
buoyancy due to fouling organisms, entrainment in settling detritus, and beaching . Fragmentation rates of already brittle microplastics may be very high, rapidly breaking small microplastics further down into ever smaller
particles, making them unavailable for our nets (0.33 mm mesh opening). Many recent studies also demonstrate that many more organisms ingest small plastic particles than previously thought, either directly or indirectly, i.e.
via their prey organisms –. Numerous species ingest microplastics, and thereby make it available to higher-level predators or may otherwise contribute to the differential removal of small particles from the sea surface,
e.g. by packaging microplastics into fecal pellets , thus enhancing sinking. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that some microbes can biodegrade microplastic particles –. This process becomes more important
as plastic particles become smaller since at decreasing particle size the surface area:volume relationship is increased dramatically and oxidation levels are higher, enhancing their biodegradation potential. Thus, bacterial
degradation and ingestion of smaller plastic particles by organisms may facilitate their export from the sea surface. In this manner, incorporation of smaller plastics into marine food chains could not only generate impacts
on the health of the involved organisms –, but also contribute to the removal of small microplastics from the sea surface . [...]
Plastics Europe, a trade organization representing plastic producers and manufactures, reported that 288 million tons of plastic were produced worldwide in 2012 . Our estimate of the global weight of plastic pollution
on the sea surface, from all size classes combined, is only 0.1% of the world annual production. [...]
By generating extensive new data, especially from the Southern Hemisphere, and modeling the plastic load in the world's oceans in separate size classes, we show that there is tremendous loss of microplastics from the sea
surface. The question “Where is all the Plastic?”  remains unanswered, highlighting the need to investigate the many processes that play a role in the dynamics of macro-, meso- and microplastics in the world's oceans. → Read online
Ecologist Mark Browne knew he’d found something big when, after months of tediously examining sediment along shorelines around the world, he noticed something no one had predicted: fibers. Everywhere.
They were tiny and synthetic and he was finding them in the greatest concentration near sewage outflows. In other words, they were coming from us.
In fact, 85% of the human-made material found on the shoreline were microfibers, and matched the types of material, such as nylon and acrylic, used in clothing...
Clothing fibers are the most abundant form of waste material that we find in habitats worldwide, and the problem is worsening. Ingested and inhaled fibers carry toxic materials and a third of the food we eat is
contaminated with this material. In the textile industry, fabrics are generally selected based upon aesthetics, durability, cost, green chemistry and carbon footprints. Still, critical information on their
environmental and health impacts is not considered because until now much of the scientific research is unavailable. This has led to the use of unsustainable and hazardous fibers in apparel. [...]
"Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance" notes that resistance is occurring across many different infectious agents but
[...] focuses on antibiotic resistance in seven different bacteria responsible for common, serious diseases such as bloodstream infections (sepsis), diarrhoea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea.
The results are cause for high concern, documenting resistance to antibiotics, especially “last resort” antibiotics, in all regions of the world.
ILOs are producing drug resistant super bugs, destroying our planet's life support system and transforming the social fabric of our rural communities.
This report, Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013 gives a first-ever snapshot of the burden and threats posed by
the antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health. See graphic, below.
Resistance to the treatment of last resort for life-threatening infections caused by a common intestinal bacteria, Klebsiella pneumoniae–carbapenem antibiotics–has spread to all regions of the world.
K. pneumoniae is a major cause of hospital-acquired infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, infections in newborns and intensive-care unit patients. In some countries, because of resistance,
carbapenem antibiotics would not work in more than half of people treated for K. pneumoniae infections.
Resistance to one of the most widely used antibacterial medicines for the treatment of urinary tract infections caused by E. coli–fluoroquinolones–is very widespread. In the 1980s, when these drugs were first
introduced, resistance was virtually zero. Today, there are countries in many parts of the world where this treatment is now ineffective in more than half of patients.
Treatment failure to the last resort of treatment for gonorrhoea–third generation cephalosporins–has been confirmed in Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden and the
United Kingdom. An estimated 106 million people are infected with gonorrhoea every year (2008 estimates).1
Antibiotic resistance causes people to be sick for longer and increases the risk of death. For example, people with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) are estimated to be 64% more likely
to die than people with a non-resistant form of the infection. Resistance also increases the cost of health care with lengthier stays in hospital and more intensive care required.
Antibiotics for people, not animals. Animals that aren't sick shouldn't be given antibiotics.
Gail Hansen, doctor of veterinary medicine and senior officer with the Pew Charitable Trusts' campaign to reduce antibiotic overuse on industrial farms. LA Times. 23 October 2013.
Forty years of scientific investigation demonstrate that using antibiotics to make food animals grow faster, and to compensate for the overcrowded conditions in which they are raised,
breeds drug-resistant bacteria that can infect and hospitalize people.
In fact, some of the outbreak strains of this salmonella resist treatment with several antibiotics used both in poultry production and human medicine. According to the FDA, drug makers sold
about 30 million pounds of antibiotics in 2011 for use in chickens and other food animals. This was a record high and nearly four times the amount sold to treat sick people.
The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2013. Infectious Disease — The Never-ending Threat
In Canada, more than three-quarters of antimicrobials are used in animals. Of the antimicrobials used in animals, approximately 90% are used to promote growth or to guard against disease and infection
Antimicrobials are used in animals (food, companion, and wildlife), in the farming of aquatic organisms, to control bacterial diseases in fruits, to fight bacterial disease in fruit, seed crops and ornamental plants, and in household products such as
clothing, cosmetics, toothpaste, cleansers and detergents.
Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity.
Philippe Grandjean, Philip J Landrigan. Lancet Neurol. 2014; 13:330–38.
Neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other
cognitive impairments, affect millions of children worldwide, and some diagnoses seem to be increasing in frequency.
Industrial chemicals that injure the developing brain are among the known causes for this rise in prevalence. In 2006,
we did a systematic review and identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead,
methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene. Since 2006, epidemiological studies have documented
six additional developmental neurotoxicants manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane,
tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Emphasis added.Developmental fluoride neurotoxicity: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Choi AL, Sun G, Zhang Y, Grandjean P. Environ Health Perspect. 2012;120:1362–68.
Attorney Michael Connett summarizes 10 basic facts about fluoride that should be considered in any discussion about whether to fluoridate water.
[...] According to a recent national survey by the CDC, about 40% of American teenagers have a condition called dental fluorosis. Fluorosis is a defect of tooth enamel caused by fluoride’s interference with the
tooth-forming cells. The condition shows as cloudy spots and streaks and, in more severe cases, brown stains and tooth erosion. [...] Today, not only do 40% of American teenagers have fluorosis, but,
in some fluoridated areas, the rate is as high as 70 to 80%, with some children suffering advanced forms of
The high rate of fluorosis in the U.S. reflects the fact that children now receive fluoride from many sources besides tap water. When fluoridation first began, there was not a single tube of toothpaste that
contained fluoride. Today, over 95% of toothpastes are fluoridated. Although fluoride toothpastes carry poison warnings on them, studies show that children can swallow large amounts of fluoride when they
brush, particularly when using toothpaste with bubble gum and candy flavors.
And there are other sources of fluoride as well, including processsed beverages/foods, fluoride pesticides, tea, Teflon pans, and some fluorinated
pharmaceuticals. The concern today, therefore, is not just the safety of fluoridated water by itself, but the safety of fluoridated water in combination with all the
other sources to which we're now exposed. [...]
Since health authorities in North America have refused to let go of the fluoridation paradigm, local communities are doing the work for them. Since 2010, over 70 communities have rejected the practice, including over
30 communities like Calgary, Alberta (pop. 1.3 million people) and Albuquerque, New Mexico
(pop. 500,000) that have voted to end their longstanding fluoridation programs.
As summarized by the New York Times (13.10.2011):
For decades, the issue of fluoridated water remained on the fringes [...] But as more places, like Fairbanks and parts of Canada, take up the issue in a more measured way, it is shifting away from
conspiracy and toward the mainstream. The conclusion among these communities is that with fluoride now so widely available in toothpaste and mouthwash, there is less need to add it to water, which already has naturally
occurring fluoride. Putting it in tap water, they say, is an imprecise way of distributing fluoride; how much fluoride a person gets depends on body weight and water consumed.
From the online version, p.8/530: Endocrine Effects
The chief endocrine effects of fluoride exposures in experimental animals and in humans include decreased thyroid function, increased calcitonin activity, increased parathyroid hormone activity, secondary
hyperparathyroidism, impaired glucose tolerance, and possible effects on timing of sexual maturity. Some of these effects are associated with fluoride intake that is achievable at fluoride concentrations
in drinking water of 4 mg/L or less, especially for young children or for individuals with high water intake. Many of the effects could be considered subclinical effects, meaning that they are not adverse
health effects. However, recent work on borderline hormonal imbalances and endocrine-disrupting chemicals indicated that adverse health effects, or increased risks for developing adverse effects, might be
associated with seemingly mild imbalances or perturbations in hormone concentrations. [...]
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Calciumin mg/day°
Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Calciumin mg/day°
* Adequate Intake (AI) established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA and is set at a level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.
° Adapted from NIH Calcium — Health Professional Fact Sheet.
Source: Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D.
Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010. Jointly commissioned and funded by the governments of the U.S. and Canada,
released 30 November 2010. The National Academy Press text is also available here (2011).
Recent studies have challenged the efficacy of calcium supple- ments in certain conditions, and identified significant health risks associated with high levels of calcium supplementation. Recommended intakes and Tolerable Upper Limits (TLUs) have been revised
by Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements provides a comprehensive fact sheet on Calcium,
discussing the benefits of calcium in disease prevention and treatment, describing problems associated with calcium excess, listing both the revised
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) [RDAs] and the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs).
Calcium supplementation adds to the calcium ingested from natural dietary sources and fortified products, meaning that consumption may be much higher than thought, reaching levels well beyond necessary or optimal. From the fact sheet on Calcium:
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich natural sources of calcium and are the major food contributors of this nutrient to people in the United States. Nondairy sources include vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage, kale, and
broccoli. Spinach provides calcium, but its bioavailability is poor. Most grains do not have high amounts of calcium unless they are fortified; however, they contribute calcium to the diet because they contain small
amounts of calcium and people consume them frequently. Foods fortified with calcium include many fruit juices and drinks, tofu, and cereals.
Integrative and functional medicine practitioner Chris Kresser, author of Your Personal Paleo Code, suggests that
[i]f you’re concerned about maintaining healthy bones, you’re better off ensuring adequate calcium intake from foods like dairy products, sardines, salmon, dark leafy greens and bone broth. 600 milligrams per day from
food (approximately two servings of dairy products or bone-in fish) is plenty to maintain adequate levels of calcium in the body. Healthy bone formation also depends on vitamin D and vitamin K2, both of which regulate
Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future (2011), by Roy H. Williams and Michael R. Hurt, identifies and documents a 80-year biphasic cycle, a back-and-forth pattern with the first
40 years emphasizing "me", the individual, and the second emphasizing "we", the community. See 'Me' Cycle versus 'We' Cycle
for an overview. In the upward 20-year swing of each phase, the emphasis is positive, stimulating expansion and growth. In the downward 20-year swing, problems of extremes begin to manifest. In the last 20
years of the "me" phase, for example, there present more florid grandiosities and overreach, problematic me-first and competitive behaviors with ethical dysequilibria. Similarly, in the last 20 years of the "we" phase,
community-building and cooperative action are compromised by social exclusiveness, us-versus-them and
with us, or against us
ideation, the making of pariahs, constraint of individuality, targeting and purging, enforcement of conformity on grounds certain ideas, behaviors or attributes are not in the 'common' interest.
The authors mark 1963 as the 'fulcrum year' or beginning of the most recent "me" phase, and 2003 as the fulcrum of the most recent "we". We're in the upward swing (2003-2023) of the "we" phase, the downslide
approaching (2023-2043). As if we were already on the downslide, however, restrictions and exclusions seem to be increasing at an uncomfortable pace.
Internationally syndicated col-
umnist Charles Krauthammer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer for the Washington Post and nightly commentator on the FOX News "Special Report with Bret Baier". In his
10 April column, Thought police on patrol,
he describes a new phase of 'ideological agitation' in which any and all opposition to a favored position is banished from public discourse. He provides several examples in the political arena, concluding that
"the trend is growing. Oppose the current consensus and you’re a denier, a bigot, a homophobe, a sexist, an enemy of the people. Long a staple of academia, the totalitarian impulse is spreading. What to do? Defend
the dissenters, even if — perhaps, especially if — you disagree with their policy. It is — it was? — the American way."