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Brazil Is Giving Ayahuasca To Prison Inmates On Their Path To Redemption

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In a quest to ease pressures on the Brazilian prison system, mental health workers have opted to give prison inmates the psychedelic brew ayahuasca, in the hopes of helping them to work through their deeply-rooted emotional traumas. 

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It is no secret that the current prison system is in shambles. Over crowded holding spaces, abusive staff, unsanitary living conditions – these types of environments are rarely conducive to redemption and rehabilitation, but instead almost always seed further violence, aggression, and feelings of alienation from society.

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While some prisons are now offering holistic services such as yoga, meditation, and Reiki, prisoners’ rights advocacy group Acuda is taking it one step further, offering Brazilian prisoners a real shot at a new life through the use of the traditional Amazonian brew, ayahuasca.

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew that combines a specific Amazonian vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) with a leaf (Psychotria viridis), creating an extremely pungent, orally-active cocktail of DMT, a powerful psychedelic known to induce mystical and life changing experiences for its user.

At first, Acuda had trouble finding a place where the inmates could drink the ayahuasca, but they were finally accepted by an offshoot of Santo Daime, a Brazilian religion founded in the 1930s which blends Catholicism, African traditions, and the trance communications with spirits popularized in the 19th century by a Frenchman known as Allan Kardec.

Many people in Brazil believe that inmates must suffer, enduring hunger and depravity,” said Euza Beloti to the NY Times, a psychologist with Acuda, “This thinking bolsters a system where prisoners return to society more violent than when they entered prison. [At Acuda] we simply see inmates as human beings with the capacity to change.”

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Supervisors at Acuda, who obtain a judge’s permission to take about 15 prisoners once a month to the temple ceremony, say they are mindful of the risks of ayahuasca, commonly called Daime in Brazil or referred to as tea. At the same time, Acuda’s therapists consume the brew with the inmates, as well as with the occasional prison guard who volunteers to accompany the group.

This is how it should be,” said Virgílio Siqueira, 55, a retired police officer who works as a guard at the prison complex that includes Acuda. “It’s gratifying to know that we can sit here in the forest, drink our Daime, sing our hymns, exist in peace.”

But in a country where conservative views are ever-growing in response to continual violence and crime, not everyone is convinced this intervention is okay.

Darci Altair Santos da Silva, 43, who sexually abused a minor. Credit Lalo de Almeida for The New York Times

Darci Altair Santos da Silva, 43, who sexually abused a minor. Credit Lalo de Almeida for The New York Times

Where are the massages and the therapy for us?” asked Paulo Freitas, a 48-year-old manager at a leather factory whose 18-year-old daughter, Naiara, a college student, was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in Porto Velho in 2013 by a group of men – a crime that stunned many people in this corner of the Amazon.

Whether or not we should be providing convicts with therapies that could be considered “luxury” is a justified question no doubt. However, we cannot ignore the fact that many criminals eventually return to society after their sentence. Do we want to see these people as a product of years of violence and aggression, most likely repeating their offences, or would we rather have them come out of their sentence with new insights, a new perspective on their past choices, and a chance to do things differently?

We are considered the trash of Brazil, but this place accepts us,” said Darci Altair Santos da Silva, 43, a construction worker serving a 13-year sentence for sexual abuse of a child under 14. “I know what I did was very cruel. The tea helped me reflect on this fact, on the possibility that one day I can find redemption.”

What are your thoughts on offering prisoners psychedelic therapy? Share with us in the comment section below!

Source:

The NY Times

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Exopolitics

Study Finds That Humans Would Be Quite “Upbeat” About The Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life

Gautam Peddada

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As the possibilities of a non-human intellect being present on Earth increase on a daily basis, one critical question must be addressed: How will we deal with it if we make contact? Will we be terrified if we feel threatened? Will we accept it? Will we be able to comprehend it? Or will we dismiss it as just another item to cope with in our increasingly fast-paced world?

Researchers from Arizona State University performed a study to try to find out the answer, and the article is titled “How Will We React to the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life?”

“If we came face to face with life outside of Earth, we would actually be pretty upbeat about it,” said Arizona State University Assistant Professor of Psychology Michael Varnum.

The pilot study’s articles focused on the 1996 discovery of possibly fossilised extraterrestrial Martian microbes, the 2015 discovery of periodic dimming around Tabby’s Star, thought to indicate the presence of an artificially constructed “Dyson sphere,” and the 2017 discovery of Earth-like exoplanets in a star’s habitable zone.

The pilot study discovered that the language used to depict these events elicited much more positive than negative feelings.

In a second study, the researchers invited over 500 people to write about their potential reactions to the discovery of alien microbial life, as well as humanity’s possible reaction. When considering their individual sentiments as well as those of mankind as a whole, participants’ replies revealed substantially more positive than negative emotions.

“I’d be a little excited about the news,” one participant remarked. “Even if it existed in a rudimentary form, it would be fascinating.”

The scientists discovered evidence of considerably happier than negative emotions in responses to the alleged finding of alien life, and this impact was larger in response to reading about extraterrestrial life than in response to human-made synthetic life.

“This discovery demonstrates that other planets can support life,” one participant stated. “It’s an intriguing and fascinating discovery that might be only the beginning.”

According to Varnum, “taken together, this implies that if we find out we’re not alone, we’ll take the news rather well”

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General

Dr Byram Bridle Speaks For 100 Colleagues Afraid To Share Science About COVID Vaccine Concerns

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CE Staff Writer 2 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dr Byram Bridle and two other physicians spoke at a news conference on Parliament Hill about their experience being censored or harassed as a result of sharing their medical opinions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we as citizens truly want our scientists and physicians to be silenced and censored?

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Why are scientists and experts in this field scared to share concerning science regarding COVID vaccines? Just ask Byram Bridle, a viral immunologist from the University of Guelph who recently released a detailed, in-depth report regarding safety concerns about the COVID vaccines. The report was released to act as a guide for parents when it comes to deciding whether or not their child should be vaccinated against COVID-19. Bridle published the paper on behalf of one hundred other scientists and doctors who part of the Canadian COVID Care Alliance, but who are afraid to ‘come out’ publicly and share their concerns.

Bridle has stated about the Alliance,

In fact the reason that we (Canadian COVID Care Alliance) exist is sad. We exist because we’re like minded in the sense that we all want to be able to speak openly and freely about the scientist and medicine underpinning COVID-19, and we don’t feel safe to do it  anywhere else other than within our own private group, where we feel safe.

Below is our detailed report on the news conference held on Parliament Hill on June 17th, 2021. It was organized by Canadian MP Derek Sloan who has received hundreds of concerned communications from Canadian citizens about the censorship of scientists. Bridle and two other physicians spoke at the conference.

A recent article published in the British Medical Journal by journalist Laurie Clarke has highlighted the fact that Facebook has already removed at least 16 million pieces of content from its platform and added warnings to approximately 167 million others. YouTube has removed nearly 1 million videos related to, according to them, “dangerous or misleading covid-19 medical information.”

The more important questions to ask are: who is deciding what’s misleading? Who decides what’s false?

Some of the most renowned scientists and expert in this field have been subjected to this “fact-checking,” and they’ve been outspoken about how much of this fact-checking is flat out censorship. You decide.

To note: HealthFeedback.org, a fact checker, has attempted to refute some of Bridle’s claims. You can read more about them here.

 

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General

Study Finds Many Uninfected Adults Still Have Strong Pre-Existing Antibody Protection Against COVID

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CE Staff Writer 5 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study published in March 2021 suggests that the majority of healthy adults in British Columbia, Canada, have immunity from COVID-19 despite the fact that some of them have never been infected with it.

  • Reflect On:

    Why has the power of naturally acquired immunity not been recognized and focused on more deeply? Why is the only focus on vaccination?

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A study published in March 2021 suggested that  the majority of healthy Adults in British Columbia have evidence of pre-existing or naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19.  They found this to be the case even in individuals who haven’t been infected, and could be explained by the fact that coronaviruses that already circle the globe, prior to COVID-19, may provide protection from the novel virus.  They explain,

There are 4 circulating coronaviruses predating COVID-19 that cause up to 30% of seasonal upper respiratory tract infections (8). The spike proteins of β-coronaviruses HKU1 and OC43 exhibit approximately 40% sequence similarity, whereas the α-coronaviruses NL63 and 229E exhibit approximately 30% structural similarity with SARS-CoV-2 (9). The common occurrence of circulating coronaviruses year after year and their structural similarity with SARS-CoV-2 raises the possibility that the former may stimulate cross-reactive responses toward SARS-CoV-2 and that this heterotopic immunity may impact clinical susceptibility to COVID-19 and/or modulate responses to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (10, 11)….In conclusion, this study reveals common preexisting, broadly reactive SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in uninfected adults. These findings warrant larger studies to understand how these antibodies affect the severity of COVID-19, as well as the quality and longevity of responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

We are living in a world where anything “natural” seems to be shunned by a large portion of the medical community, and defined as “pseudoscientific”, when in fact, research suggests the opposite.

Natural immunity is quite robust. Dr. Suneel Dhang, an internal medical physician in the United States explains,

I’m not aware of any vaccine out there which will ever give you more immunity than if you’re naturally recovered from the illness itself…If you’ve naturally recovered from it, my understanding as a doctor level scientist is that those antibodies will always be better than a vaccine, and if you know any differently, please let me know.

A number of studies have now been published demonstrating that infection from COVID will provide a person with long lasting antibodies. Several studies have demonstrated that individuals with prior infection not only have these antibodies, but that they also developed robust levels of B cells and T cells (necessary for fighting off the virus) and these cells may persist in the body for a very long time. How long? It could be decades, or even a lifetime.

Individuals with infection from SARS, for example, still have a robust level of antibodies nearly two decades later. Research has also found that even a mild COVID infection can provide very strong protection that could last a lifetime.

Last fall there were reports that antibodies wane quickly after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and mainstream media interpreted that to mean that immunity was not long-lived. But that’s a misrepresentation of the data. It’s normal for antibody levels to go down after acute infection, but they don’t go down to zero; they plateau. Here, we found antibody-producing cells in people 11 months after first symptoms. These cells will live and produce antibodies for the rest of people’s lives. That’s strong evidence for long-lasting immunity. –  Ali Ellebedy, PhD, associate professor of pathology & immunology, of medicine and micro-biology. (source)

This science and research completely opposes what we were hearing early on in the pandemic, that prior infection, and infection from other coronaviruses may only provide protection for a few months or even a couple of years. It turns out that it’s probably a lot longer.

When infected with SARS-CoV-2, most people clear this virus from their body by mounting a robust, long-lasting immune response that targets multiple components of the virus1. These people will be protected from re-infection with the same variant of SARS-CoV-2 and, due to the breadth of a natural immune response, will also likely have some degree of protection against emerging new variants of SARS-CoV-2. Indeed, most people who have naturally acquired immunity should not be at risk of developing severe disease. – Dr. Byram Bridle, Viral Immunologist, University of Guelph. (source)

How does this compare to vaccine induced immunity? We don’t know as there is not enough data to say yet.

Dr. Ozlem Tureci, co-founder and CMO of BioNTech, the company that developed a COVID vaccine with Pfizer told CNBC that people will likely need a third shot of its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine. She also believes people will need one every year. Judging by this belief, vaccine induced immunity will continually wane and those who choose to go the vaccine route may have to continue with inoculations.

The scientific consensus of the number of people infected around the world is well over what testing has claimed. Currently, we’re nearly at 200,000,000 cases, but that number is most likely well over a billion globally. This is why the survival rate for healthy people under the age of 60 is nearly one hundred percent.

These infection numbers are important because it represents a globe closing in on herd immunity. My question is, what effect does the vaccine have on those who have already had an infection? What does this do to natural protection one gets from infection?

Another important question to ask is, why has the topic of naturally acquired immunity been given absolutely zero attention within the mainstream? Why are they pushing the idea that we can’t go back to completely normal until every single person has had a vaccine if that doesn’t match what the science is saying?

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