Researchers from Ohio State University discovered that the commonly used pain reliever, acetaminophen, has a previously unknown side effect: it kills positive emotions. In the study, participants who took acetaminophen reported feeling fewer strong emotions when they were shown very pleasant orvery disturbing photos, compared to those who took placebos. You might be thinking correlation doesn’t mean causation, but when you use the Bradford Hill criteria, and examine all of the other studies done regarding the psychological effects of over the counter pain killers, the picture becomes clearer. (source)(source)
Acetaminophen is the main ingredient in the commonly used pain reliever Tylenol and has been used for more than 70 years in the United States, but this marks the first time that this “side effect” has been documented. It’s the most common drug ingredient in the United States, found in more than 600 medicines, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. (source)
“In all, rather than being labeled as merely a pain reliever, acetaminophen might be better described as an all-purpose emotion reliever… [and] it is apparent that using acetaminophen for the treatment of pain might have broader consequences than previously thought.” – Geoffrey Durso, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in social psychology at The Ohio State University. (source)
Again, the conclusions of the study suggest that acetaminophen “has a general blunting effect on individuals’ evaluative and emotional processing, irrespective of negative or positive valence.”(source)
This is not the only research that has been conducted on acetaminophen’s effects beyond just mitigating physical pain. Studies have shown that it does indeed have some sort of psychological effect, and as Durso states, “this study takes those results one step further by showing that it also reduces how much users actually feel positive emotions.” (source)
The researchers also mentioned that:
“These results build on recent psychological research illustrating that acetaminophen can blunt the intensity with which individuals experience negative events that originate from physical, social, or cognitive sources (DeWall et al., 2015; DeWall et al., 2010; Randles et al., 2013). Further, these findings expand on the research to date to show that acetaminophen blunts positive evaluations in like fashion.” (source)
It’s also important to note here that the use of pain killers (like aspirin and ibuprofen) has been associated with heart failure risk. A review of 754 clinical trials( published in Lancet) found that pain killers (ibuprofen in particular) have been estimated to be a contributing factor in the deaths of thousands of people each year. According to the lead researcher of that review, long term use of these drugs caused thousands of heart attacks as well as sudden cardiac deaths that occurred between 1999-2003. In this case, the drug Vioxx was singled out. (source)(source)
“Meta-analyses of randomised trials and of observational studies have shown that coxibs and tNSAIDs are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and upper gastrointestinal complications.” (source)
“Long-term high-dose use of painkillers such as ibuprofen or diclofenac is ‘equally hazardous’ in terms of heart attack risk as use of the drug Vioxx, which was withdrawn due to its potential dangers.”(source)
This information is not to be taken lightly. These over the counter pain-killers are so common, and it’s become natural to just pop one anytime one has a headache, without ever being aware of the many side effects of doing so, both short and long term. The researchers of the study also emphasized this by stating:
“That a drug purported to relieve negative evaluations of pain also reduces positive evaluations of pleasant stimuli suggests the existence of a common evaluative psychological process that influences a wide range of thoughts and behaviors. This might mean, for instance, that certain methods designed to specifically alter individuals’ reactivity to negative stimuli (e.g., treatment of phobias) could, if too broadly applied, potentially change their sensitivity to emotionally evocative stimuli more generally, including positive events (e.g., causing them to feel less joy at a wedding). It is interesting that such diminished evaluation sensitivity could also presumably cause people to feel less conflicted, indecisive, or uncomfortable when they experience ambivalence toward individuals or experiences that elicit both negative and positive reactions (e.g., Priester & Petty, 1996; Rydell & Durso, 2012).” (source)(source)
As Sayer Ji from greenmedinfo.com points out, given the fact that it took the FDA 32 years after its own expert panel told the agency in 1977 that it was “obligatory” to put on the warning label of Tylenol products that it caused “severe liver damage,” it’s doubtful that this information will be disseminated widely any time soon. (source)
For 6 Natural & Effective Alternatives Click HERE
Half of All Commonly Used Drugs Seriously Affect The Gut Microbiome, Scientists Warn
- The Facts:
Many commonly prescribed medications have been found to have a drastic affect on the "good bacteria" in our gut.
- Reflect On:
It is important to be aware of all potential side effects before taking a new drug to decide whether or not it's worth it for you.
The link between a healthy gut microbiome and overall well-being has been established in recent years as we are learning that around 95% of the serotonin (commonly referred to as the “happy hormone”) produced in our bodies actually comes from our gut! This is one of many reasons why it is important to take care of our health, be mindful of the foods we are eating and be aware of adverse reactions from any drugs we are taking.
A recent study presented at UEG Week 2019 (United European Gastroenterology) has found that 18 commonly prescribed prescription drugs extensively affect the taxonomic structure and metabolic potential of the gut microbiome. Another eight drugs from different categories were also found to increase antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in study participants, and that’s not good.
According to the official press release regarding the findings of the study,
“Researchers at the University Medical Center Groningen and the Maastricht University Medical Center looked at 41 commonly used drug categories and assessed 1883 faecal samples from a population-based cohort, patients with IBD and patients with IBS intermixed with healthy controls. The researchers compared the taxonomic and metabolic functions profiles of drug users to non-drug users, looking at the effect of single medication use and then combined medication use. The changes observed could increase the risk of intestinal infections, obesity and other serious conditions and disorders linked to the gut microbiome.”
In a healthy gut, we all have a microbe population living inside our intestines. This microbe population consists of tens of trillions of microorganisms, which include over 1000 various species of bacteria. There are many different factors that can affect the microbiota population in the human gut, including various forms of medication.
The drug categories that were concluded in the study to have the biggest impact on the gut microbiome are as follows:
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – used to treat dyspepsia which affects between 11% and 24% of the European population. PPIs are also used to treat peptic ulcer, H. Pylori eradication, Gastro reflux and Barrett’s oesophagus.
- Metformin – used as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes, affecting 10% of European adults
- Antibiotics – used to treat bacterial infections, taken by 34% of the European population each year
- Laxatives – used to treat and prevent constipation, affecting 17% of European adults
More Important Findings
The study also showed that the gut microbiota of PPI users resulted in an increased level of upper gastrointestinal tract bacteria as well as increased fatty acid production. Metformin users showed higher levels of bacteria Escherichia coli (E.coli).
The research also showed that seven more categories of drugs were linked to significant changes to the levels of bacteria populations found in the gut. Oral steroids were related to higher levels of methanogenic bacteria, which has is associated with an increased BMI and obesity. Also, certain antidepressant drugs (known as SSRIs) used by those who also suffer from IBS was linked to an abundance of a bacteria species called Eubacterium ramulus, which can be harmful.
Lead-researcher of the study, Arnau Vich Vila said: “We already know that the efficiency and the toxicity of certain drugs are influenced by the bacterial composition of the gastrointestinal tract and that the gut microbiota has been related to multiple health conditions; therefore, it is crucial to understand which are the consequences of medication use in the gut microbiome. Our work highlights the importance of considering the role of the gut microbiota when designing treatments and also points to new hypotheses that could explain certain side-effects associated with medication use.”
It is important to understand all potential side effects when deciding on introducing a new drug into our system. The bacteria in our gut is there for a reason and it assists our bodies with many functions and if they are killed off or thrown off-balance it could result in more serious issues down the road.
If you are experiencing any of these issues and taking any of these medications it may be worthwhile to talk to your doctor about it and see if there are any alternative methods for treatment.
Our health is our greatest wealth!
The Health Benefits Of Reading Books Compared To Reading From Screens
- The Facts:
Numerous studies show the scientific benefits of reading. These benefits tend to increase when reading from actual books rather than screens.
- Reflect On:
Do screens consume the majority of your time? When was the last time you read a book? Reading is akin to exercise for your brain.
In the age of information we are being bombarded left, right and center with quick facts, fake news, censored information, video images and so much more. This is greatly affecting the span of our attention. To many the idea of picking up a book, when we could just as easily listen to it, or read segments on our phones is completely absurd. However, there are many benefits that come along with reading books that just might make it worth it to you.
Consider just the very act of reading a book in itself, holding it, turning the pages, seeing your progress in the development of the story, it’s almost as if you are a part of it.
Benefits Of Reading Books
Reading requires patience and diligence, which is not something required from a glance and a click on a quick headline. Reading a book is almost a kin to running a marathon for your brain, I mean if you can finish a whole book!
Reading stimulates imagination and creativity.
Research has shown that reading helps with comprehension and emotional intelligence as well as fluid intelligence — meaning the ability to reason and have flexible thinking. This leads to smarter decision-making regarding yourself and others.
As we age, our memory will decline, but regular reading can help keep minds sharper longer according to research published in Neurology. Frequently exercising your mind was also proven in that same study to lower mental decline by 32 percent.
“Our study suggests that exercising your brain by taking part in activities such as these across a person’s lifetime, from childhood through old age, is important for brain health in old age,” study author Robert. S. Wilson of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago said in a statement. “Based on this, we shouldn’t underestimate the effects of everyday activities, such as reading and writing, on our children, ourselves and our parents or grandparents.”
Reading can help make you more empathetic — researchers from the Netherlands designed two experiments showing that people who were “emotionally transported” by a work of fiction experienced boosts in empathy,
“In two experimental studies, we were able to show that self-reported empathic skills significantly changed over the course of one week for readers of a fictional story by fiction authors Arthur Conan Doyle and José Saramago,” they wrote in their findings. “More specifically, highly transported readers of Doyle became more empathic, while non-transported readers of both Doyle and Saramago became less empathic.”
Even More Reasons Read Books
Aside from these deeper reasons to read books, here are some more basic ones:
Books are a lot easier on the eyes than screens, which will provide a nice break for many of us as we are spending an increasing amount of time staring at screens at work, at home, on our smartphones while watching Netflix — your eyes could use the break.
One survey of 429 university students revealed that nearly half had complained of strained eyes after reading digitally. Electronic books can cause screen fatigue, which may lead to blurred vision, redness, dryness, and irritation. With print books, you don’t have to worry about any of that.
If you are reading an actual book, there is less of a chance that you will be distracted compared to reading on your phone. A book has no notification pings, buzzes or pop-ups, and you can ensure this distraction free time by leaving your phone in another room or putting it on silent or on airplane mode while reading.
Another great thing about books and the wonderful byproduct of less screen time is less exposure to electromagnetic frequencies, if you don’t have your phone on you, and perhaps you even have your Wi-Fi turned off while not in use you are giving your body a bit of a break from the constant bombardment of these frequencies.
Reading books before bed can help you sleep better, the main reason being — they do not emit blue light, or any kind of light at all actually, which has been shown to interfere with a good night’s rest. Not only that, but personally I find in general, reading a book tends to make me sleepy, so I enjoy reading a few chapters before putting my head down for the night.
Who doesn’t love the smell of a good book? You know that lovely, kind of musty smell old books give off? Or the fresh, crisp paper smell of a brand new book?
Final Thoughts To Consider?
Will reading books become an outdated thing of the past? Or will we be able to stand by the benefits of books and keep collecting them for generations to come? Only time will tell! To finish off, I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from the late, great, Dr. Seuss,
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss
An art piece and lunar calendar all in one. This calendar features moon phases for every day of the month for the entirety of 2020.
Hologrpahic foil set on a dark 11" x 11" poster makes the moon's phases shimmer as light strikes them in this unique art piece.Buy yours here!
Research Suggests Many Diagnosed With ADHD May Not Actually Have A “Disorder”
- The Facts:
The fact that ADHD is diagnosed strictly on behavioural characteristics and not brain imaging or other science means that many who have this label don't formally have a neurodevelopmental disorder.
- Reflect On:
Why is medication the only resort to combating the symptoms of ADHD? Why are other interventions, like meditation, dietary changes, a change in lifestyle/environment never really discussed or emphasized?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, has become an epidemic. According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviours (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active.
They go on to state that it’s normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. “However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviours. The symptoms continue, can be severe, and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.”
The CDC claims that children with ADHD might daydream a lot, forget or lose things a lot, squirm or fidget, talk too much, have a hard time resisting temptation, have trouble taking turns, and make carless mistakes or take unnecessary risks. But are these really symptoms of a serious “neurodevelopmental disorder?”
Is This Science-Based?
It’s not as if children are taken into the lab and have their brains scanned to determine if serious brain abnormalities exist. ADHD is diagnosed purely off of behaviour, and there may be something very wrong with diagnosing someone with neurological abnormalities simply baed on observation, instead of actual science. Who is to say that the behaviours listed above are not those of a normal child, or even a normal adult, especially within a school or work environment that does not seem to be foster a human being’s natural state? Perhaps the person or child in question doesn’t actually have neurodevelopmental problems, but is simply responding appropriately to the environmental that they find themselves in?
There is hardly any evidence suggesting that there is a neurological problem, as is often expressed by the medical industry. There are studies, however, that do show differences. For example, one of the largest imaging studies of ADHD to date recently identified differences in five regions of the brain, with the greatest differences seen in children rather than adults.
It’s important to note here the the brain of a child is still developing, and that the structure is not permanent and continues to develop until early adulthood. More than 3,000 people diagnosed with ADHD had an MRI compared to controls, to measure the volume and the size of seven regions of the brain that were thought to be linked to ADHD–the pallidum, thalamus, caudate nucleus, putamen, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and hippocampus. The study found that overall brain volume and five of the regional volumes were smaller in people with ADHD — the caudate nucleus, putamen, nucleus accumbens, amygdala and hippocampus.
“These differences are very small — in the range of a few percent — so the unprecedented size of our study was crucial to help identify these. Similar differences in brain volume are also seen in other psychiatric disorders, especially major depressive disorders.”–Dr Martine Hoogman, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.(source)
Smaller brain regions do not equate to a neurodevelopmental disorder or a lack of brain functioning though. This is simply an assumption. As with depression, where 6 decades of research that serotonin (or norepinephrine, or dopamine) deficiency is the cause of depression and anxiety, scientific credibility has not been achieved. This is well known. A New England Journal of Medicine review on major depression stated:
” … numerous studies of norepinephrine and serotonin metabolites in plasma, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid as well as postmortem studies of the brains of patients with depression, have yet to identify the purported deficiency reliably.”
Despite this fact, drugs are being prescribed that alter brain chemistry based on the prevailing unsubstantiated ‘theories’ regarding several ‘mental disorders.’ Here is an eye opening quote regarding the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:
“[DSM-V] is a wholesale imperial medicalization of normality that will trivialize mental disorder and lead to a deluge of unneeded medication treatment – a bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry but at a huge cost to the new false positive patients caught in the excessively wide DSM-V net.”–Allen Frances, DSMIV Taskforce Chair (source)
Financial Ties With Big Pharma
Speaking of the DSM, American psychologist Lisa Cosgrove and researchers have investigated financial ties between the DSM panel members and the pharmaceutical industry. She published her research in the journal Plos One. The study found that, of the 170 DSM members who sat on panels of ‘mood disorders,’ ‘schizophrenia’ and other psychotic disorders, most of them had financial ties to drug companies. The connections were especially strong in those diagnostic areas where drugs are the first line of treatment for mental disorders:
The revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), scheduled for publication in May 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), has created a firestorm of controversy because of questions about undue industry influence. Some have questioned whether the inclusion of new disorders (e.g., Attenuated Psychotic Risk Syndrome) and widening of the boundaries of current disorders (e.g., Adjustment Disorder Related to Bereavement) reflects corporate interests. These concerns have been raised because the nomenclature, criteria, and standardization of psychiatric disorders codified in the DSM have a large public impact in a diverse set of areas ranging from insurance claims to jurisprudence. Moreover, through its relationship to the International Classification of Diseases, the system used for classification by many countries around the world, the DSM has a global reach.
Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Carlat has said:
“And where there is a scientific vacuum, drug companies are happy to insert a marketing message and call it science. As a result, psychiatry has become a proving ground for outrageous manipulations of science in the service of profit.”
Questioning The System
Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and longtime Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal (NEMJ), also considered one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, said the following:
It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. (source)
Here is another great quote:
“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.”–Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard professor of medicine and former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Medical Journal (source)
A very interesting and uncharacteristic article in the New York times titled The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder raised awareness about this issue in 2013. The article discusses efforts to expose the manufacturing of a “profit driven machine into which our children are being fed.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990.
Behind that growth has been drug company marketing that has stretched the image of classic A.D.H.D. to include relatively normal behavior like carelessness and impatience, and has often overstated the pills’ benefits.
According to Kelly Brogan, MD, psychiatrist:
Psychiatric studies funded by pharma are 4x more likely to be published if they are positive, and only 18% of psychiatrists disclose their conflicts of interests when they publish data.
Psychiatry is particularly susceptible to industry corruption because of the highly subjective, non-biological, impressionistic nature of diagnostic criteria. With our “governing body” the American Psychiatric Association heavily funded by pharmaceutical companies, the temptation is all too great to open the diagnostic umbrella to encompass behavioral criteria like “makes careless mistakes” or “often has difficulty waiting his or her turn.”
Looking At ADHD Differently
What about other aspects of ‘ADHD’ that are never really emphasized? Recent work in cognitive neuroscience shows that people with an ADHD diagnosis and creative thinkers have difficulty suppressing brain activity that comes from the “Imagination Network.” This suggests people with ADHD might have differences in parts of the brain that actually makes them ‘superior’ in many ways, but it’s information that pharmaceutical companies can’t make a profit off of.
Currently, there are no school assessments to evaluate creativity and imagination. The fact remains, people who show characteristics of ADHD are more likely to reach higher levels of creative thought and achievement compared to those who don’t show these characteristics.
“By automatically treating ADHD characteristics as a disability– as we so often do in an educational context– we are unnecessarily letting too many competent and creative kids fall through the cracks.”–Scott Barry Kaufman, Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. (source)
Scrutinizing ADHD Treatment
A longitudinal NIMH study, the only one of its kind, demonstrated that after an initial decrease in ADHD symptoms, at three years, there was deterioration in the medicated group, and by six, worse attentional and behavioral symptoms than unmedicated controls, and increased functional impairment. Despite claims that stimulant side effects are “generally mild,” data accumulated by psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin has demonstrated quite the opposite. He cites studies that demonstrate concerning risks for:
- Motor and vocal tics
- Addiction, withdrawal and rebound
- Growth suppression
- Adverse cardiovascular effects
- Mania, suicidality, psychosis
A study by Nasrallah et al in which more than 50% of young adults treated with ADHD medication experienced PET-confirmed brain atrophy, concluding “cortical atrophy may be a long-term adverse effect of this treatment.” In rhesus monkeys, Wagner et al demonstrated long-term changes to dopamine levels and receptor density, related to compensatory changes the brain undergoes in the setting of chronic intoxication. Subjects abstinent from stimulants for three years were found to have persistent dopamine-related brain changes on PET scans, related to Parkinsonian pathology.
That being said, many people have reported success with medications, but could this be placebo?
Dr. Kelly Brogan sees pharmaceutical intervention for symptoms of ADHD as very harmful for a child’s development:
When we interfere with behavior and brain growth, when we force children to conform to our needs as busy, distracted, and often chronically ill adults, we may be fundamentally compromising their expression of self, as Breggin cites Greenough et al.
Spontaneous or self-generated activities–play, mastery, exploration, novelty seeking, curiosity, and zestful socialization-are central to the growth and development of animals and humans and necessary for the full elaboration of CNS synaptic connections. (source)
She looks at other ways to treat these symptoms, and feels the first line of defense is dietary solutions.
Some studies have, indeed, emerged that show a link between a gluten/casein free diet and improvement in autistic symptoms, and some parents have already seen the benefits of implementing this research.
The Mayo Clinic claims that certain food preservatives and colourings could increase hyperactive behaviour in some children. It would be best to avoid these, regardless of whether they are linked to ADHD or not.
It has also been suggested that EEG biofeedback (electroencephalographic) could help. It’s a type of neurotherapy that measures brainwaves. You can read more about that here.
In 2003, a study published in the journal Adolescence looked at how regular massages for 20 minutes twice a week could improve behaviour in the classroom. This is interesting because studies have also suggested that tai chi and yoga may also help improve ADHD symptoms. According to the studies, children with ADHD that practiced tai chi became less anxious or hyperactive. (source)
Other safe interventions are out there, you just have to look for them.
I hope this article provides insight for people as well as parents who are considering using medications if their child is labeled as having ‘ADHD’. This article is not meant ignore symptoms of ADHD, but the idea of administering drugs so someone can better fit into a regimented environment should be questioned.
A challenge to convention like this can often be vilified, and that’s ok. We are going through a period of time where it’s best to keep an open mind, as new information is emerging in various areas that challenge our long-held belief systems.
Research Shows We Can Heal With Vibration, Frequency & Sound
Cymatics is a very interesting topic. It illustrates how sound frequencies move through a particular medium such as water, air,...
Full Moon In Gemini: Learning, Healing, & Inspired Action
We are having a Full Moon in Gemini on December 11th-12th, depending on your location. This is the peak of...