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Scientists Link Autism To These Toxic Chemicals During Fetal Development

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Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

The cause of autism is still unknown, but we are definitely closer to figuring it out. A new study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology from researchers at the University of Chicago has revealed that autism and intellectual disability (ID) rates are linked with exposure to harmful environmental factors during congenital development.

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“Autism appears to be strongly correlated with rate of congenital malformations of the genitals in males across the country. This gives an indicator of environmental load and the effect is surprisingly strong. . . . The strongest predictors for autism were associated with the environment,” the study says.

Andrey Rzhetsky, a professor of genetic medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago and the study’s author, further explains: “Essentially what happens is during pregnancy there are certain sensitive periods where the fetus is very vulnerable to a range of small molecules – from things like plasticizers, prescription drugs, environmental pesticides and other things.”

“Some of these small molecules essentially alter normal development,” he continued. “It’s not really well known why, but it’s an experimental observation.”

The team analyzed data that covered more than one third of the U.S. population, using data from individual states and more than 2,100 counties. Fetuses, particularly male ones, are sensitive to multiple toxins such as environmental lead, medications, and a wide variety of other synthetic molecules, like pesticides, mercury, and more. Exposure to these toxins during critical stages of development is thought to explain a large portion of congenital reproductive malformations.

“It’s really a very significant study, and should trigger the medical community, the scientific community and the government … looking at this especially interesting avenue for the prevention of autism. . . . We know that one of the ways to show that there is a problem with pollution is to show through the presence of these reproductive defects and we know that there is a relationship between the presence of these defects .. and the presence of autism related disorders.”

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– Dr. Michael Harbut, Providence-St John Environmental Medicine Expert (source)

This isn’t the first time that scientists have linked autism to the environment. In 2009, Irva Hertz-Picciotto and Lora Delwiche of the UC Dais Department of Public Health Sciences analyzed 17 years of state data that tracks developmental disabilities.

“It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California.” (2)

– Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Epidemiology Professor at University of California, Davis

Our environment is full of neurodevelopmental toxins, which means they alter how the brain grows. Mercury, polychlorinated diphenyl, lead, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides are a few of many examples. And let’s not forget about insecticides and herbicides.

Another recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, compared brain autopsies of autistic children who had died from unrelated causes to those of normal ones. The autistic brains demonstrated abnormal patches of disorganized neurons that disrupted the usual distinct layers in the brain’s cortex. The study suggests that abnormalities occurred in utero during key developmental stages between 19 to 30 weeks gestation. Exposure to toxins, as well as the timing of that exposure, have an impact. (3)

In the United States alone, autism rates have risen from 1:10,000 in 1981 to 1:68 in 2014. Again, multiple studies point to the prevalence of toxins in our environment as the culprit, and there are toxins in many things. It seems we might not be looking at one cause for autism, but rather multiple factors associated with how we choose to live our lives on a daily basis.

So, let’s take a look at some of these toxins that could be linked to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

One factor I’d like to touch upon first is the fact that autism rates in Europe have remained pretty steady over the last decade. This coincides with the fact that in more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or complete bans on the production and sale of GMOs and the pesticides that go with them. In the United States, government agencies have approved vast amounts of pesticides, despite their being linked to numerous health ailments. Not long ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently raised the allowable concentrations of Monsanto’s glyphosate, also known as “Roundup,” on food crops, edible oils, and animal feed (you can read more about that here). Although we don’t know for sure, it’s important to at least consider the increase in Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs) and the many chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) that are dumped on them every year. These pesticides have been linked to many significant health problems.

A group of scientists put together a comprehensive review of existing data that shows how European regulators have known that Monsanto’s glyphosate causes a number of birth malformations since at least 2002. Regulators misled the public about glyphosate’s safety, and in Germany the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety told the European Commission that there was no evidence to suggest that glyphosate causes birth defects.

This study was published by Earth Open Sources, which is an organization that uses open source collaboration to advance sustainable food production. The report was headed by Dr. M. Antoniou, Head Gene Expression and Therapy Group, from the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at King’s College London School of Medicine, UK. Dr. Antoniou was joined by six other doctors who have a similar biography. The report provides a comprehensive review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature documenting the serious health hazards posed by glyphosate and Roundup herbicide formulations. You can read the entire document here.

“Our examination of the evidence leads us to the conclusion that the current approval of glyphosate and Roundup is deeply flawed and unreliable. . . . In this report, we examine the industry studies and regulatory documents that led to this approval. We show that industry and regulators knew as long ago as the 1980s and 1990s that glyphosate causes malformations – but that this information was not made public. We demonstrate how EU regulators reasoned their way from clear evidence of glyphosate’s teratogenicity in industry’s own studies (the same studies that BVL claimed show the safety of glyphosate) to a conclusion that minimized these findings in the EU Commission’s final review report.”

Here is another study that shows glyphosate can cause abnormalities. It was published in 2010 by the American Chemical Society, and the research was conducted at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“The direct effect of glyphosate on early mechanisms of morphogenesis in vertebrate embryos opens concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to GBH in agricultural fields.”

Another study outlines how glyphosate toxicity leads to suppression of critical enzymes, and as a result, links the Western diet to heart disease, Alzheimer, Parkinson, autism, and more. (4)

Glyphosate has also been linked to cancer and various other health ailments. There are numerous studies documenting this and you can find out more information here.

It’s no secret that the brain of an embryo, fetus, or infant is at risk for significant and permanent damage from exposure to chemicals, like pesticides. Not long ago, a study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology successfully identified the presence of pesticides — associated with genetically modified foods — in maternal, fetal, and non-pregnant women’s blood. They also found the presence of Monsanto’s Bt toxin, and warn about toxin exposure during critical stages of development. (5)

The study concluded that, apart from pesticides, Monsanto’s Bt toxins are clearly detectable and appear to cross the placenta to the fetus. Some studies have linked Monsanto’s Bt toxin to cancer, damaged kidney cells, and more, especially when they are combined with Roundup.

Multiple studies outline the need for further research when it comes to GMOs before we can say they are completely safe for consumption.

“Given the potential toxicity of these environmental pollutants and the fragility of the fetus, more studies are needed, particularly those using the placental transfer approach. 

Thus, our present results will provide baseline data for future studies exploring a new area of research relating to nutrition, toxicology and reproduction in women. Today, obstetric-gynecological disorders that are associated with environmental chemicals are not known.
This may involve perinatal complications (i.e. abortion, prematurity, intra uterine growth restriction and preeclampsia) and reproductive disorders (i.e. infertility, endometriosis and gynecological cancer).
 
Thus, knowing the actual PAGMF concentrations in humans constitutes a cornerstone in the advancement of research in this area.” (source)

There is more research confirming that mothers who are exposed to commonly used “safe” pesticides give birth to children with lower intelligence, structural brain abnormalities, behavioural disorders, compromised motor skills, higher rates of brain cancer, and small head size. (6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14)(15)

In late 2013, the European Food Safety Authority determined that pesticides, like neonicotinoids (linked to killing millions of bees — read more about that here), may negatively affect the development of neurons and brain structures in unborn babies. (16)

These are largely produced by Bayer pharmaceuticals.

“Given the ubiquitous exposure to many environmental toxicants, there needs to be renewed efforts to prevent harm. Such prevention should not await detailed evidence on individual hazards. Toxic exposures to chemical pollutants during these windows of increased susceptibility can cause disease and disability in childhood and across the entire span of human life”(17)

– From the world’s foremost paediatricians, toxicologists, environmental scientists, and epidemiologists at a conference held in 2007

Scientists at the conference (quote above) emphasized that common exposure to chemicals during critical stages of development of the fetus or newborns increases their chances of contracting diabetes, cancer, thyroid damage, and more.

“Chemical pollution represents a serious threat to children, and to Man’s survival.” (18) 

The Standing Committee of European Doctors

Did you know that Americans alone are exposed to approximately 100,000 industrial chemicals? And pregnant women are literally inundated with hazardous chemicals. One study tracked just 163 chemicals, and found that 99% of pregnant women tested positive for at least 43 of them. (19)

There have even been significant concentrations of glyphosate found in the urine of people across Europe. You can read more about that here. A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey, titled “Pesticides in Mississippi Air and Rain: A Comparison Between 1995 and 2007,” reveals that Roundup herbicide (aka glyphosate) and its toxic degradation byproduct, AMPA, were found in over 75% of the air and rain samples tested from Mississippi in 2007. You can read more about that here.

The above makes it clear that toxins, especially when fetuses and newborns are exposed to them, have the potential to be extremely harmful. So what else are our children exposed to at a young age apart from environmental toxins? They are exposed to toxins commonly found in vaccinations.

More and more researchers are now considering the fact that toxins at critical stages of development can play a role in autism. The vaccine/autism debate has been a controversial one, but just because something hasn’t been found does not mean it won’t be. So let’s look at both sides.

A study published in March of 2013 determined that “increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides (antigens) in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism.” You can view that study here.

On the other hand, a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Translational Neurodegeneration provided epidemiological evidence supporting an association between increasing organic-Hg exposure from thimerosal-containing childhood and the risk of ASD diagnosis. You can take a look at that study here.

A paper published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health titled “Thimerosal Exposure and the Role of Sulfation Chemistry and Thiol Availability in Autism” concluded:

With the rate of children diagnosed with an ASD in the US now exceeding 1 in 50 children and the rate of children with neurodevelopmental/behavioral disorders in the US now exceeding 1 in 6 children, and the preceding evidence showing that there is vulnerability to TM that would not be known without extensive testing, the preponderance of the evidence indicates that TM should be removed from all vaccines.

The list goes on and on. The bottom line is, vaccines are full of toxins, and they are administered at critical stages of development, which includes during pregnancy. This study further highlights the importance of looking at the multiple vaccines babies are bombarded with at birth, and the toxins found within them. For more CE articles on vaccines and autism, click HERE.

It also doesn’t help that vaccine manufactures and health authorities have known about and covered up the dangers associated with vaccinations in order to protect herd immunity. Documents obtained by Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic from the Neural Dynamics Research Group in the Department of Opthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia reveal that vaccine manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and health authorities have known about multiple dangers associated with vaccines but chose to withhold them from the public. (20)

At the end of the day, you always have a choice and you shouldn’t make that decision based on fear. Ridding your personal environment of harmful pesticides and toxins does contribute to a healthier environment. From personal experience, living in a virtually chemical free environment for a few years now, the difference felt when stepping into one full of chemicals is overwhelming. It’s amazing how desensitized we’ve become, and how we fail to notice these things on a daily basis.

Related CE Article: Agricultural Pesticides Linked To Autism

Sources:

(1a) http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1003518

(1b)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2581663/Growing-evidence-autism-linked-pollution-babies-283-likely-suffer-condition-compared-birth-defects.html

(2)http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/autism-rise-driven-by-environment/

(3) http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1307491

(4) http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416

(5) https://www.uclm.es/Actividades/repositorio/pdf/doc_3721_4666.pdf

6.Rauh V, Arunajadai S, Horton M, Perera F, Hoepner L, Barr DB, et al. 2011. Seven-Year Neurodevelopmental Scores and Prenatal Exposure to Chlorpyrifos, a Common Agricultural Pesticide. Environ Health Perspect 119:1196-1201. 

7. Bouchard M, Chevrier J, Harley K, Kogut K, Vedar M, Calderon N, Trujillo C, Johnson C, Bradman A, Barr D, Eskenazi B. Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and IQ in 7-Year Old Children. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1003185

8. Engel S, et al. Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphates, Paraoxonase 1, and Cognitive Development in Childhood. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1003183

9. Horton M, et al. Impact of Prenatal Exposure to Piperonyl Butoxide and Permethrin on 36-Month Neurodevelopment. Pediatrics 2011; 127:3 e699-e706; doi:10.1542/peds.2010-0133

10.  Horton M, Kahn L, Perera F, Barr D, Rauh V. Does the home environment and the sex of the child modify the adverse effects of prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos on child working memory? Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.ntt.2012.07.004

11. Rauh V, et al. Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common organophosphate pesticide. PNAS 2012 109 (20) 7871-7876; published ahead of print April 30, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1203396109

12.Oulhote Y, Bouchard M, Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate and Pyrethroid Pesticides and Behavioral Problems in Canadian Children Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1306667

13.. Ostrea EM, et al. 2011. Fetal exposure to propoxur and abnormal child neurodevelopment at two years of age. Neurotoxicology.

14. Greenop K, Peters S, Bailey H, et al. Exposure to pesticides and the risk of childhood brain tumors. Cancer Causes & Control. April 2013

15. Kimura-Kuroda J, Komuta Y, Kuroda Y, Hayashi M, Kawano H (2012) Nicotine-Like Effects of the Neonicotinoid Insecticides Acetamiprid and Imidacloprid on Cerebellar Neurons from Neonatal Rats. PLoS ONE 7(2): e32432. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.003243

(16) http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/131217.htm

(17) http://articles.latimes.com/2007/may/25/nation/na-fetuses25

(18)  http://www.artac.info/fr/appel-de-paris/texte-en-six-langues/english_000082.html

(19) Tracey J. Woodruff, Ami R. Zota, Jackie M. Schwartz. Environmental Chemicals in Pregnant Women in the US: NHANES 2003-2004. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1002727

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/23267-autism-nation-americas-chemical-brain-drain

(20) http://nsnbc.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/BSEM-2011.pdf 

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What Can Happen To Your Body When You Ingest Okra

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple studies show that Okra can have some amazing benefits.

  • Reflect On:

    Reflect on the western diet, and the fact that multiple diseases continue to be on the rise exponentially while the medical industry pays no attention to nutrition.

“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.”

— Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C

Abelmoschus esculentus, or Hibiscus esculentus, also known as Okra, is a widely used vegetable all over the world. While some people dislike it because of its ‘slimy’ texture, this vegetable is loaded with a number of health benefits that make it worth including in your diet.

Okra originated in Egypt, and people have been growing it since the 12th century. It can be consumed in a variety of different ways, such as stewed, fried, or even fermented, and is usually served with other vegetables and rice or put into soups.

The Many Health Benefits of Okra

According to a study published in 2005 in the Jilin Medical Journal, okra showed positive effects on nephropathy, or kidney disease. For the study, participants were put into two different groups — one was treated with okra, and the other was treated with traditional medical therapy. The study lasted six months, and while there were no changes among the group who used traditional therapy, those who took their treatment with the okra saw a reduction in uric acid and urine protein. (source)

A study published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal outlined okra’s ability to protect against liver disease. Because of its strong antioxidant activities, okra was found to protect against chemically induced liver damage. The study also found okra to have strong antioxidant and hepaprotective  properties, comparable to milk thistle or silymarin. (source)

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A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences found that okra extracts could protect against diabetes. When rats with diabetes were given okra, they saw a decrease in their blood sugar levels and a normalization of their lipid profile levels. Multiple in vitro and in vivo studies have found okra to be a major blood glucose-lowering food. It contains large amounts of soluble dietary fibre, which is why it has been used traditionally as an alternative treatment for diabetes.

Okra has also demonstrated its ability to fight cancer, having shown action against breast cancer cells, but only in preliminary lab studies. Researchers have discovered that a newly discovered lectin (a type of protein that can bind to cell membranes) in okra, Abelmoschus esculentus (AEL), actually induces cell death in human breast cancer cells, in vitro by 72%.

Research has also shown okra to effectively fight depression. Although some fruits and vegetables have been shown to have various effects on mood, including the ability to elevate mood (flavonoids and quercertin), Okra had not made the list until recently, thanks to researchers from Mazandaran University of Medical Science. Their results showed that okra seed extracts acted as as strong agent for elevating mood, in some cases performing just as well as common antidepressants. Apparently, the positive mood effect of okra can be attributed to its high total phenol and flavonoid content. (source)(source)

When I come across scientifically validated information that sheds light on the knowledge of our ancestors and ancients, I am never surprised. This is commonly seen with quantum physics, astronomy, health, and spirituality, where our modern day measurements of ‘truth’ correlate with teachings of our ancient world.

It’s good to see science shed light on the healing properties found within nature, as it’s a branch of knowledge we have neglected for many years now. Chemical based health, and our reliance on pharmaceutical grade medicine, has completely taken over, which is perhaps one reason why chronic illness and disease continue to rise.

“Let food by thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

– Hippocrates

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Institutional Inertia: Is Enough Being Done to Protect Children from Aluminum Toxicity?

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Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. For most of human history, aluminum was not bioavailable; however, it became so in the late 1880s when chemists developed and patented the smelting process that helped turned the metal into the fixture of modern life—and the omnipresent “ecotoxin”—that it is today. Roughly 130 years later, it is no exaggeration to say that aluminum has become an active (albeit unhelpful) “participant in human evolution.”

The scientist citing aluminum’s outsized biological influence—Professor Chris Exley of the United Kingdom’s Keele University—is one of the world’s foremost aluminum experts. He points out that because aluminum exposure is largely insidious, complacency about aluminum’s effects persists despite the nearly universal body burden that human beings now carry. While the metal’s effects appear to be “invariably deleterious,” variables such as age and gender also shape vulnerability. Infants in their first year of life are particularly susceptible to aluminum bioaccumulation, raising concerns about the high levels of absorbable aluminum reported in infant formula and in the parenteral (intravenous) nutrition solutions given to premature babies. Suggesting that these reports represent the “tip of an iceberg,” one group of researchers cautions that not only does aluminum constitute a “significant component of newborns’ exposure to xenobiotics and contaminants,” but the consequences of aluminum overload in the perinatal period can have pathological consequences that persist into adulthood.

Two routes of early exposure

Studies documenting aluminum contamination of infant formula date as far back as the mid-1980s, and many have recommended doing something about it. Yet, a quarter of a century later, when Professor Exley and a coauthor examined the aluminum content of fifteen leading brands of formula, they found that 2010 levels remained virtually unchanged—and were about 10 to 40 times higher than the amount of aluminum in human breast milk. Depending on the brand, the aluminum content ranged from 200 to 700 micrograms per liter of formula—the equivalent of up to 600 micrograms ingested per day based on standard formula intake. At these levels, a healthy six-month-old boy weighing 7.9 kilograms would take in almost 80 micrograms of aluminum per kilogram per day (μg/kg/day), far in excess of the maximum daily dose of 4 to 5 μg/kg/day recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of “accumulation and toxicity.”

One out of every 10 U.S. infants is born preterm, and the preterm birth rate has risen every year since 2015. These premature babies face a particularly elevated risk of “systemic aluminum intoxication.” Due to the immaturity of their gastrointestinal (GI) system, it is common practice to administer nutrients parenterally, sometimes for weeks on end. However, parenteral nutrition (PN) solutions exhibit the same “unresolved” (and decades-old) aluminum toxicity problems as infant formula. One study reported that keeping within the FDA’s recommended aluminum limit of no more than 5 μg/kg/day would only be “feasible” in PN patients weighing 50 or more kilos—and most preterm infants weigh well under three kilograms at birth. Even worse, after premature infants leave the hospital, they often transition to a diet of aluminum-containing formula.

Infants—including preemies—are more vulnerable to aluminum toxicity than adults for several reasons. First, infants have a blood-brain barrier that is highly susceptible to disruption by drugs and toxins. Second, infants lack adequate GI protection, and oral ingestion of aluminum worsens the problem by damaging gut homeostasis (to the point that researchers consider it a risk factor for various inflammatory bowel diseases). Third, whereas the kidney is the organ that the body relies on to excrete aluminum (both ingested and intravenous), the neonate’s kidney is “functionally immature,” making aluminum accumulation “inevitable.” Even in adults with normal kidney function, studies show that only 30% to 60% of the PN aluminum load gets excreted, resulting in build-up of aluminum in the bones and tissues (notably the brain, liver and kidney).

Inertia and its consequences

Taking stock of manufacturer inertia with regard to infant formula’s aluminum content, Professor Exley speculated in 2010 that manufacturers either are failing to monitor their products’ aluminum content or “are not concerned at these levels of contamination.” In either case, he notes, manufacturers have little excuse for their inaction: “Manufacturers of infant formulas have been made fully aware of the potentially compounded issue of both the contamination by aluminium and the heightened vulnerability, from the point of view of a newborn’s developing physiology, of infants fed such formulas.”

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Early exposure to high levels of aluminum can have varied harmful effects, increasing children’s longer-term disease susceptibility as well as contributing to conditions such as uremia (a type of kidney disease), bone disorders and neurologic disorders, among others. A study that followed preterm infants for 15 years into adolescence found that the teens who had been exposed to parenteral aluminum had reduced bone mass in the lumbar spine and hips—risk factors for later hip fractures and osteoporosis.

Other routes of exposure

Infant formula and PN are not babies’ only routes of exposure to high levels of aluminum. Studies point to possible toxic effects for the embryo and fetus (including effects on fetal metabolism) resulting from maternal use of antacids and other aluminum-containing pharmaceutical products. Moreover, common components of a pregnant woman’s diet (such as the citric acid found in fruit) increase absorption of the aluminum in these products.

Aluminum adjuvants in vaccines are another significant source of early exposure. Young children receive multiple aluminum-containing vaccines in their first three years, and more as adolescents. A two-month-old infant may receive up to 1,225 micrograms of aluminum from the vaccines administered at a single well-baby visit and a cumulative 4,925 micrograms by 18 months of age. Regulators have never properly assessed these astronomical levels of aluminum for safety. Co-exposure to aluminum and mercury (still present in influenza vaccines) makes matters synergistically worse.

Injection as the route of exposure is another important consideration. Toxicologists note that “Depending on the type and route of exposure,” aluminum clearance may have multiple half-lives estimated in hours, days—or years. Evidence indicates that the body does not easily eliminate vaccine forms of aluminum, which can make their way into the brain; in fact, manufacturers have expressly designed the aluminum used in vaccines to provide “long-lasting cellular exposure.”

In 2018, Exley published another groundbreaking study that confirmed the presence of consistently high levels of aluminum in the brains of individuals who had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Other studies have linked aluminum to autism severity. In a recent letter published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology by an independent scientist, the writer describes three converging lines of evidence supporting a link between aluminum adjuvants (Al-adjuvants) and ASD: ecological correlations of vaccination and aluminum adjuvants; experiments in mice; and the discovery of aluminum in ASD brains. He concludes:

While there may certainly be not enough “hard data” evidence to claim that Al-adjuvants in vaccines are responsible for ASD, there is even less evidence supporting the opposite conclusion that Al-adjuvants are completely safe to use without any long-term downfall.

Banishing complacency

Thus far, regulators and manufacturers—whether of infant formula, PN solutions, vaccines or other aluminum-containing products—have been largely tone-deaf to the crescendo of studies pointing to aluminum toxicity in the very young (or, for that matter, in individuals across the life span). Among those sounding the alarm, many have taken pains to distance themselves from conceding the potential risks of aluminum adjuvants, cavalierly dismissing the aluminum in vaccines as a “relatively small amount.” Even without accounting for adjuvant risks, though, aluminum experts recognize the importance of banishing complacency. Reducing “aluminum-related human pathology, not only in neonates but even in children and adults,” they admit, is also likely to contribute to “the prevention of the epidemic increase of neurodegenerative diseases of elderly people.”

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50 Things You Could Be Doing Instead Of Staring At A Screen

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The average adult spends as much as 12 hours a day in front of a screen while at home.

  • Reflect On:

    How much of our screen time is providing value to our lives? Is our screen time benefiting us or taking time away from doing what we love and spending real, quality time connecting with friends and family?

There is no doubt about it, screens have become a central part of many of our lives. From the moment we wake up and turn off our alarms and do a quick check of Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter notifications, email, and other apps — screens have the capacity to suck us in, right from the start of the day. The act of checking our screens has become so common nowadays that many of us spend the majority of our waking lives staring at various screens including smartphones, tablets, and computers.

There are some people who argue that before smartphones and tablets, it was the television set, and before that, the radio, and before that, the newspaper. However, we can’t ignore the fact that it is currently an epidemic, as many people (myself included at times) are so sucked into this virtual reality, they do not realize that it is a potentially harmful addiction.

Some believe that this type of technology is just a natural part of human evolution and that in may ways it benefits our lives. To a degree, this is true, as there are many amazing perks of technology and it absolutely can be used to benefit our lives — being able to access any information we are seeking, learning a new language, instrument, or practically anything we want, attending online courses, webinars or education programs, connecting with loved ones that are far way. But really think about your screen time and how it’s spent. Is it benefiting your life in any way? Or is it a compulsive habit? Whenever you have a spare moment–waiting in line, in an elevator, whenever you feel that you are bored–is that when you reach for your phone? Are you mindlessly scrolling through your Newsfeed, photofeed or Twitter feed? Potentially comparing your life to others, getting lost looking at the pictures from people you hardly know? Obsessing over celebrities and “influencers” that actually provide no value to your life? Sometimes we might have the T.V. on, watching a show, whilst at the same time mindlessly scrolling through our feeds. This is a double screen-time wham-o! Essentially getting lost in whatever is available to take you away from yourself and basically inhibit your ability to give love, care and attention to yourself.

We Are Wasting Valuable Time

Many of us, again often including myself, have dealt with a deep dissatisfaction with our lives — maybe we are not happy with our careers or our relationships, or perhaps we lack purpose, passion and drive. Yet, instead of doing something that could benefit ourselves, we instead choose to escape those feelings. We reach for our screens in a desperate attempt to get our next “fix,” our dopamine hit that gives us temporary relief from our dissatisfaction with our lives. This IS an addiction and it is important to be aware of that. What would happen if instead, we leaned into our feelings of discomfort and spent time in deep reflection about what is working in our lives and what’s not?

Using Tech To Help Moderate Our Use Of Tech

A great tool for me has been an app called “Moment” that basically tracks your screen time and how much time has been spent on each app. Without consciously trying to change your screen time habits, I challenge you to download this app and check out your screen time at the end of each day. Much like I was, you may be surprised to learn how much time you might be completely throwing away on social media.

After all, “Lost time is never found again.”

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If you’re like me, you may be thinking, “Well, what the heck else am I supposed to be doing?” And you may still enjoy spending some time on social media, but as with pretty much everything else in life, moderation is key! You may want to try setting a daily limit for screen time for yourself and sticking to it. If you can’t, then you know you may have a problem worth exploring.

50 Things You Can Do Instead Of Staring At A Screen

Below I have provided a list of 50 things you could be doing instead of scrolling or staring at a screen. While some of these are going to seem extremely obvious, you may not always think of them when you are sucked into the glowing light of a screen. This is meant to be a quick reference, it may be even beneficial to print this list off or copy it onto a physical piece of paper so that you ironically don’t need a screen to view it.

  1. Read a book
  2. Read a magazine
  3. Go for a walk
  4. Go for a hike
  5. Clean out your closet
  6. Write in your journal
  7. Play an instrument
  8. Play with your pet
  9. Practice a new language
  10. Listen to a podcast
  11. Draw a picture
  12. Paint a picture
  13. Literally sit and do nothing
  14. Meditate
  15. Stretch
  16. Do yoga
  17. Go to the gym
  18. Workout from home
  19. Call up a friend (use headphones or speakerphone to chat)
  20. Write a letter you intend to send
  21. Write a letter you don’t intend to send
  22. Plan out tasks you intend to accomplish within the next week
  23. Bake something
  24. Cook something
  25. Meet a friend for tea
  26. Play a board game or cards
  27. Go swimming
  28. Do a massage exchange with a friend
  29. Redecorate your home
  30. Give yourself an opportunity to really feel your feelings
  31. Notice the urge to reach for your phone
  32. Practice grounding
  33. Volunteer your time
  34. Go to a comedy show
  35. Listen to music
  36. Color
  37. Write a list of 10 things you are grateful for
  38. Go to the library
  39. Try something new
  40. Sit in quiet reflection
  41. Study something that sparks your interest using books
  42. Get clear on your vision for the next 5 years of your life
  43. Go to a Meetup group
  44. Dance around your living room
  45. Practice eye-gazing with yourself in the mirror, or with someone else
  46. Clean out your fridge
  47. Take a cold shower
  48. Have a bath
  49. Downsize your belongings
  50. Repair something that is broken

Bonus* Make a list of things that you’ve always wanted to do, but felt like you haven’t had the time.

Much Love

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