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Research Exposes New Health Risks of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes & Salmon

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This article was written By Sayer Ji, Founder of Greenmedinfo.com. For more news from them, you can sign up for their newsletter here

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Just when genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes got their approval by the Cayman Islands and the government of Canada’s Prince Edward Island is trying to approve GM salmon, new research reveals unexpected and potentially dangerous effects of genetic engineering.

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Unfortunately, neither the makers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) nor their regulators conduct the studies that are necessary to protect the public. Being bitten by GM mosquitoes and eating GM salmon remains a serious gamble.

The new discomfiting research published in Nature Methods examined the unintended impacts of gene editing on the DNA of mice. Gene editing is touted by its promoters as the safer, more precise version of genetic engineering. The earlier version that was used to create the GM crops we all know about (soy, corn, etc.) forced genetic material from bacteria or viruses into plant DNA. Gene editing, on the other hand, does not necessarily introduce genes from foreign species. Rather, it cuts the DNA in a predetermined location. The cell’s DNA repair mechanisms are then activated to repair the cut.

Of all the gene editing techniques, the one that is easiest, least expensive, and most popular is called CRISPR-Cas9. Proponents claim it is so safe and predictable, it should not be regulated. They want to put their gene-edited products on the market without informing governments or consumers. And they don’t even want it to be called genetic engineering, since consumers have largely weighed in against GMOs. That is why the recent research is so damning.

Gene Editing Creates Predictable Mutations

The tools used for gene editing are designed to recognize and make changes only on specific DNA sequences.  In the Nature Methods research, for example, the engineers designed their tools to fix a defective DNA sequence that could restore sight to blind mice. But the defective DNA sequence that governs sight is also repeated in other places throughout the mouse genome—unrelated to vision. Therefore, the gene editing tools can also make unintended changes in these “off-target” locations.

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The unwanted mutations do not come from cutting the DNA. Rather, they occur when the cut ends are rejoined by the cells’ repair mechanisms. It results in either the loss of some DNA base units or the insertion of a few base units at the cut site.

If the mutation occurs in the middle of a known gene (or in a portion of the DNA that controls a gene) it can severely disrupt its function. Gene editors, therefore, rely on computer models of the genome to identify where the similar sequences are that are likely to become mutated and to predict what level of collateral damage that could create. If the risk is considered low enough, they proceed with editing.

Widespread Unpredicted Mutations Discovered

There is a joke that says molecular biologists don’t understand just two things: molecules and biology. Too often, the complex 3-D world doesn’t cooperate with their computer model predictions. This was again confirmed by the work of Stamford’s Dr. Kellie Schaefer, along with her colleagues from Stamford, Columbia, and the University of Iowa.

Instead of letting the computer guess which off-target changes would take place, Schaefer’s team actually sequenced the genome of the two gene-edited mice after they had undergone CRISPR-Cas9. They did find insertions and deletions (indels), which is the type of mutation that the computer predicts. One mouse had 164 indels; the other 128. But of the top 50 sequences that a computer would identify as most likely to be mutated, none were changed at all. Far more importantly, however, the computer model would totally miss their other finding: point mutations throughout the genome. One mouse had 1,736; the other 1,696.

A point mutation is the replacement of a single nucleotide along the DNA. But don’t let its smallness fool you. These so-called single-nucleotide variants (SNV) can have huge consequences. They can lead to many types of changes, including disease.

According to Dr. Michael Antoniou, a London-based molecular geneticist who routinely uses genetic engineering in his research, “Many of the genome editing-induced off-target mutations [both the point mutations and the indels] . . . will no doubt be benign in terms of effects on gene function. However, many will not be benign and their effects can carry through to the final marketed product, whether it be plant or animal.”  This could translate into possible toxins, allergens, carcinogens, or other changes that could affect those eating a GMO.

Dr. Michael Hansen, a Senior Scientist at Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, wrote, “While genome editing has been portrayed in the media as an incredibly precise process, where one can go in and literally only intentionally change one or a small number of nucleotide bases, the reality is that there can be large numbers of off-target effects.” He says, “This study raises troubling concerns.”

Another recently published study in Nature Communications used CRISPR/Cas9 to make 17 edits in the mouse genome. They too sequenced the genome and found unexpected insertions and deletions in all 17 places. Whereas deletions of approximately 9 base pairs are predicted, the actual size of the deletions was as high as 600 base pairs. No computer model predicts DNA damage this extensive.

third study published this year also found deletions of more than 500 base units. The researchers also confirmed that proteins produced by these mutated sections were altered. Such changes could theoretically transform a beneficial protein to a harmful one.

Hansen says the long deletions of DNA material “may not be routinely identified without whole genome sequencing.” But whole genome sequencing is rarely done by gene editors. Instead, they rely on their computers.

Even if they did sequence the genome, science doesn’t yet have the capacity to predict what the real-life consequences of all the mutations would be. Therefore, according to Antoniou, “it is also essential to ascertain the effects of these unintended changes on global patterns of gene function.” For this, both Antoniou and Hansen (as well as the National Academy of Sciences and the international standard setting body Codex Alimentarius) agree that the scientists must also analyze the changes in RNA, proteins, and metabolites.

Armed with this data, certain problems would be obvious—an increase of a known allergen or toxin, for example. But even if no red flags are raised at this point, according to Antoniou, “it is still necessary to conduct long-term toxicity studies” using animals. That’s because, once again, science is still not competent to figure out the complex interactions and side effects that can occur.

Antoniou concludes, “In the absence of these analyses, to claim that genome editing is precise and predictable is based on faith rather than science.”

And it is mere faith that supports the claims that GM mosquitoes and salmon are safe. Although they were not produced by the CRISP-Cas9 technique, they are the product of earlier gene-insertion techniques, which are also fraught with unpredictable mutations and altered gene expressions.

Earlier Research Warnings Ignored by GMO Makers

Just because this year’s research on gene editing shows unintended and potentially dangerous side effects does not mean that companies using the technology will change the way they operate. Indeed, back in 1999, a study showed widespread changes in the DNA due to gene insertion; but many GMO companies conveniently ignored the findings and continue to do so.

In that study, scientists studying cystic fibrosis inserted a gene into human cells. Using a microarray, they discovered that the insertion “significantly affect[ed] up to 5% of the total genes in the array.” This means that the presence of a single foreign gene might change the expression of hundreds, possibly thousands of genes. In the case of the human cell being studied, the scientists were at a loss to determine the impact. “In the absence of more biological information,” they wrote, “we cannot discern which directions are better or worse, since any of these may have positive or negative effects.”

Just like the recent gene editing studies, this 1999 discovery contradicted the assumptions of an entire industry, which marched forward on the false assumption that their GMOs were predictable and safe.

The Untested Danger of a GM Mosquito Bite

In January 2014, I testified at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, opposing their planned release of GM mosquitoes. Also testifying was Derric Nimmo, a principal scientist at Oxitec, the UK company that produces the mosquitoes.

Oxitec had already conducted limited releases with millions of Aedis Aegypti mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands, Brazil, Panama, and Malaysia. The male insects were engineered to mate with natural females and produce offspring that die before reaching adulthood. Their plan was to reduce the population and thereby reduce the incidence of dengue and other diseases that this type of mosquito carries.

The company had widely publicized that they were only releasing males, which don’t bite. But it turns out that their method of sorting males from females is flawed, and thousands of biting female mosquitoes are released. In addition, their method to create non-viable offspring is also flawed. Between 3%-15% of the offspring survive and prosper. This can easily translate into millions of biting females, born from a genetically engineered family tree.

After the Florida hearing was over, I asked Derric if they ever analyzed the saliva from their GM mosquitoes, since the saliva enters the bloodstream of the people who are bitten. He said that they were just now doing research to see if the protein produced by the inserted gene was found in the saliva.

Realizing that they had already exposed the population of four countries to their mosquito saliva before doing this research, I was unimpressed. Then…

I explained to Derric the findings of the cystic fibrosis study, showing that a single inserted gene can create widespread changes, including new toxins, allergens, or carcinogens. Shouldn’t his company analyze everything in the saliva, I asked? Derric responded, “Good idea.”

ln Derric’s defense, Oxitec is not the only company that is tampering with nature’s gene pool in spite of the fact that it is wholly unprepared and unqualified to do so. Other GMO makers also fail to use the modern molecular profiling techniques that reveal unintended side effects. However, when independent scientists conduct that type of research on GMOs, the results are sobering.

For example, long after Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn had been consumed by hundreds of millions of people, a team led by Dr. Antoniou found more than 200 significant changes in its proteins and metabolites, compared to non-GMO corn of the same variety. Two of the compounds that increased are aptly named putrescine and cadaverine, because they produce the horrific smell of rotting dead bodies. More worrisome; they are also linked to higher risks of allergies and cancer. Another Monsanto GM corn has a new allergen and their cooked soy has up to seven times the level of a known soy allergen, compared to cooked non-GMO soy.

The Typical Biotech Response: Ignore or Attack

If regulators and medical authorities knew in advance that a proposed GMO contained new or higher levels of dangerous allergens, it is unlikely that the GMO would have been introduced. (I’m being optimistic.) But once a GMO variety is released, grown on millions of acres and eaten by millions of people, somehow the crop enjoys a bizarre immunity. Confronted with hard evidence of allergens, GMO makers and government regulators typically ignore the problem. The offending GMOs are still on the market, and they don’t carry any warnings on the package to protect those who might react.

If independent scientists discover an adverse finding that might threaten their bottom line, companies like Monsanto enlist a veritable army of supporters to drum up opposition—often using unscientific excuses that are repeated so often that they appear to be facts.

Two gene-editing companies whose stocks plummeted after the Nature Methods article came out quickly mounted their attack. But according to GMWatch.org, “the findings reported in the article, along with other recent research papers that also report unintended effects of CRISPR gene editing, show that the companies are arguing on the wrong side of the science.”

The main argument used by the company Intellia was that the mutations were not from the gene editing at all. They claim that “the more plausible conclusion is that the genetic differences reflect a normal level of variation between individuals in a colony.” But the scientific literature does not support this conclusion, given that:

  1. Most of the mutations (117 indels and 1397 SNVS) were exactly the same in the two mice. According to GMWatch.org, “This indicates a targeted and non-random process.” If it were “a normal level of variation,” as Intellia insists, there would be much greater difference between the mice.
  2. Another study looked at the genomes of 36 different strains of mice. None of the point mutations that were found in the gene-edited mice were in any of these strains. Thus, they don’t appear to be naturally occurring at all.
  3. In fact, the sheer number of mutations in the edited mice was higher than scientists find among natural strains.

Perhaps the most strained logic used by Intellia to attack the research was that “there is no known mechanistic basis for Cas9 to induce SNVs.” In other words, the journal should not have published research showing unpredicted changes in the DNA simply because no one yet has figured out why those changes take place.

But if these widespread mutations exist in Crispr-Cas9 edited organisms, according to Antoniou they are likely happening with all the new gene editing techniques, which haven’t yet been studied in such detail.

Real Dangers and Perceived Dangers are Both Dangerous

If we apply these lessons to GM mosquitoes, there are serious consequences. If the saliva contains a new toxin or allergen, it might elicit mild or even deadly reactions. Since there are no human clinical trials and no public health surveillance related to the mosquito, the cause of any associated health problems could go unnoticed. It would require a large-scale outbreak of a serious reaction for health authorities to even mount an investigation, let alone consider the mosquito as a potential source.

Whether or not the GM mosquito causes harm, there is another problem that the Cayman authorities have surely overlooked. Suppose a girl who is vacationing on the island has a sudden onset of a serious health issue without an apparent cause. And suppose that her parents notice that she has also been bitten by mosquitoes. Now suppose that they draw the conclusion, correctly or incorrectly, that her condition is caused by the bite of a GM mosquito and that story is picked up by the media.

It doesn’t have to be a prominent media source for it to inspire some supermarket tabloid to dream up alarming headlines about the serious threat to American tourists by deadly engineered mosquitoes. The results could be disastrous for Cayman tourism.

The Cayman government is not only gambling that GM mosquitoes are safe (which cannot be guaranteed at this point), but also that no one draws the conclusion that they got harmed from being bitten by one. Who would want to vacation on an island where a mosquito bite could lead to who knows what?

It’s the who-knows-what that is the main point here. No one knows. But now that we understand that the generic genetic engineering process that created the mosquito also creates unpredictable and potentially dangerous changes, who in their right mind would release them? Oxitec would, obviously. And they still haven’t published any research on the composition of their GM mosquito saliva.

Oxitec is also planning to release genetically engineered moths in upstate New York. The male moths, like the mosquitoes, mate with natural females and produce larvae that don’t make it to maturity. But that larvae will inevitably be deposited into cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. What if the genetic engineering process alters the larvae and creates a toxin or allergen? Eating that vegetable might trigger a reaction. And just like the mosquito bite, it would be hard to trace, and the perception of harm (real or unreal) could damage produce sales from regions near the moths’ release.

Oxitec is owned by Intrexon, which also owns AquaBounty—the maker of GM salmon. The research on the salmon did show indications of off-target effects, with higher amounts of a cancer promoting hormone (IGF-1) and larger allergenic potential. But the number of fish used in the study was so small that the changes were not statistically significant. On behalf of Consumers Union, Hansen wrote to the FDA, “Because FDA’s assessment is inadequate, we are particularly concerned that this salmon may pose an increased risk of severe, even life-threatening allergic reactions to sensitive individuals. Instead of approving this product, FDA should be requiring studies with data from many more engineered fish, not the tiny sample of six fish on which it currently bases its conclusions. Unfortunately, even the data from those six fish raises concerns.” The FDA did not heed Hansen’s warning and instead approved the salmon for consumption.

At this point, there are no comprehensive analyses or feeding studies on any of these Intrexon GMOs. Their release might not only affect human health, they can permanently alter the gene pool. If the salmon escape confinement into the ocean, if the surviving GM mosquitoes or moths persist, there is no technology on earth to recall them. Any side effect can be with us for generations.

Although GMO companies like to argue that GMOs with built-in sterility will not persist in the environment. Given the fact that a percentage can survive, however, their argument is deceptive. In addition, studies confirm that after several generations, genetically engineered traits in insects can fail. A recent study, for example, showed that newly introduced traits in engineered mosquitoes failed in just 25 generations.

Intrexon can’t pretend it doesn’t know about the dangers and problems with genetic engineering technology, both real and perceived. Robert Shapiro has been on their board since 2011. He was the CEO of Monsanto who arranged to fast track the release of GMOs into the food supply. Monsanto inserted the company’s attorney into the FDA, where he pioneered the policy that allows GMOs onto the market without a single adequate safety study. Since then, numerous studies have pointed to serious health impacts, all of which are ignored or attacked.

Many of us who study the research on GMOs are convinced that they contribute to rising disease rates in the US. But even if we’re wrong, no one can pretend that the GMOs have been safe for the economy. All over the world and especially in the US, consumer rejection of GMOs has exacted a heavy economic toll on food companies and agribusiness.

But even if the regulators in the Cayman Islands and Prince Edward Island are ignoring the trends, others are wising up. According to Friends of the Earth, “more than 79 grocery retailers with more than 11,000 stores have now made commitments to not sell the GMO salmon,” if it gets introduced into the market. Major brands are already racing to eliminate derivatives of GM crops, even advertising on TV that their products are non-GMO. And many countries and regions that had considered Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes have said no and are opting for safer alternatives. And as long new studies continue to demonstrate serious unpredicted side-effects from genetic engineering, more consumers will take the necessary precautions.

The leading consumer advocate promoting healthier non-GMO choices, Jeffrey Smith’s meticulous research documents how biotech companies continue to mislead legislators and safety officials to put the health of society at risk and the environment in peril. His work expertly summarizes why the safety assessments conducted by the FDA and regulators worldwide teeter on a foundation of outdated science and false assumptions, and why genetically engineered foods must urgently become our nation’s top food safety priority. Mr. Smith’s feature-length documentary Genetic Roulette — The Gamble of Our Lives was awarded the 2012 Movie of the Year (Solari Report) and the Transformational Film of the Year (AwareGuide).

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Alternative News

Norway Investigates 29 Deaths in Elderly Patients After Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccination

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Norway has registered a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first Covid-19 vaccination shot, raising questions over which groups to target in national inoculation programs.

  • Reflect On:

    Should freedom of choice always remain here? Should governments and private institutions not be allowed to mandate this vaccine in order to have access to certain rights and freedoms?

What Happened: 29 patients who were quite old and frail have died following their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, Norwegian officials have since adjusted their advice on who should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to many given the fact that the clinical trials were conducted with people who are healthy. Older and sick people with co-morbidities were not used in the trials, and people with severe allergies and other diseases that can make one more susceptible to vaccine injury were not used either. It can be confusing given the fact that vaccination is being encouraged for the elderly in nursing homes and those who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.”

On the 15th of January it was 23 deaths, Bloomberg is now reporting that a total of 29 deaths among people over the age of 75 who’ve had their first COVID-19 shot. They point out that “Until Friday, Pfizer/BioNTech was the only vaccine available in Norway”, stating that the Norwegian Medicines Agency told them that as a result “all deaths are thus linked to this vaccine.”

“There are 13 deaths that have been assessed, and we are aware of another 16 deaths that are currently being assessed,” the agency said. All the reported deaths related to “elderly people with serious basic disorders,” it said. “Most people have experienced the expected side effects of the vaccine, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, local reactions at the injection site, and worsening of their underlying condition.”

Madsen also told the BMJ that,

There is a possibility that these common adverse reactions, that are not dangerous in fitter, younger patients and are not unusual with vaccines, may aggravate underlying disease in the elderly. We are not alarmed or worried about this, because these are very rare occurrences and they occurred in very frail patients with very serious disease. We are not asking for doctors to continue with vaccination, but to carry out extra evaluation of very sick people whose underlying condition might be aggravated by it. This evaluation includes discussing the risks and benefits of vaccination with the patient and their families to decide whether or not vaccination is the best course.

The BMJ article goes on to point out that the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Germany is also investigating 10 deaths shortly after COVID-19 vaccination, and closes with the following information:

In a statement, Pfizer said, “Pfizer and BioNTech are aware of reported deaths following administration of BNT162b2. We are working with NOMA to gather all the relevant information.

“Norwegian authorities have prioritised the immunisation of residents in nursing homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some of whom are terminally ill. NOMA confirm the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations. All reported deaths will be thoroughly evaluated by NOMA to determine if these incidents are related to the vaccine. The Norwegian government will also consider adjusting their vaccination instructions to take the patients’ health into more consideration.

“Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved families.”

Vaccine Hesitancy is Growing Among Healthcare Workers: Vaccine hesitancy is growing all over the globe, one of the latest examples comes from Riverside County, California. It has a population of approximately 2.4 million, and about 50 percent of healthcare workers in the county are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that they have top priority and access to it.  At Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one in five frontline nurses and doctors have declined the shot. Roughly 20% to 40% of L.A. County’s frontline workers who were offered the vaccine did the same, according to county public health officials. You can read more about that story here.

Vaccine hesitancy among physicians and academics is nothing new. To illustrate this I often point to a conference held at the end of 2019 put on by the World Health Organization (WHO). At the conference, Dr. Heidi Larson a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project Emphasized this point, having  stated,

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers. We have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen…still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider.

A study published in the journal EbioMedicine  as far back as 2013 outlines this point, among many others.

Pfizer’s Questionable History:  Losing faith in “big pharma” does not come without good reason. For example, in 2010 Robert G. Evans, PhD, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research Emeritus Professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC, published a paper that’s accessible in PubMed titled “Tough on Crime? Pfizer and the CIHR.”

In it, he outlines the fact that,

Pfizer has been a “habitual offender,” persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians and suppressing adverse trial results. Since 2002 the company and its subsidiaries have been assessed $3 billion in criminal convictions, civil penalties and jury awards. The 2.3-billion settlement…set a new record for both criminal fines and total penalties. A link with Pfizer might well advance the commercialization of Canadian research.

Suppressing clinical trial results is something I’ve come across multiple times with several different medicines. Five years ago I wrote about how big pharma did not share adverse reactions people had and harmful results from their clinical trials for commonly used antidepressant drugs.

Even scientists from within federal these health regulatory agencies have been sounding the alarm. For example, a few years ago more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out an anonymous public statement detailing the influence corporations have on government policies. They were referred to as the  Spider Papers.

The Takeaway: Given the fact that everything is not black and white, especially when it comes to vaccine safety, do we really want to give government health agencies and/or private institutions the right to enforce mandatory vaccination requirements when their efficacy have been called into question? Should people have the freedom of choice? It’s a subject that has many people polarized in their beliefs, but at the end of the day the sharing of information, opinion and evidence should not be shut down, discouraged, ridiculed or censored.

In a day and age where more people are starting to see our planet in a completely different light, one which has more and more questioning the human experience and why we live the way we do it seems the ‘crack down’ on free thought gets tighter and tighter. Do we really want to live in a world where we lose the right to choose what we do with our own body, or one where certain rights and freedoms are taken away if we don’t comply? The next question is, what do we do about it? Those who are in a position to enforce these measures must, it seems, have a shift in consciousness and refuse to implement them. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer, but there is no doubt that we are currently going through that possible process, we are living in it.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Awareness

Psycho-Acoustic Medicine: Science Behind Sound Healing For Serotonin Production

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A number of studies and experiments have shown that sound can be used as medicine for various ailments and diseases.

  • Reflect On:

    Is our modern day medical industry truly interested in the health and well-being of people, or do profit and control take more priority?

Mental illness has reached an all time high in the world, and yet the modern day medicines to relieve symptoms have gained controversy. This is, in part, why people have dug up the past to better understand alternative ways of healing.

Sound, for instance, has been a tool for promoting the physical and emotional health of the body for as long as history can account for, deeply rooted in ancient cultures and civilizations. The ancient Egyptians used vowel sound chants in healing because they believed vowels were sacred. Tibetan monks take advantage of singing bowls, which they believe to be “a symbol of the unknowable” whose “vibrations have been described as the sound of the universe manifesting.”

“Our various states of consciousness are directly connected to the ever-changing electrical, chemical, and architectural environment of the brain. Daily habits of behavior and thought processes have the ability to alter the architecture of brain structure and connectivity, as well as, the neurochemical and electrical neural oscillations of your mind.”

Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of the perception of sound, and it has fueled researchers paths to better understand how it can be used as medicine. For instance, in 1973, Dr. Gerald Oster, a medical doctor and biophysicist, proved, in his research paper, “Auditory Beats in the Brain,” how sound affects the how the brain absorbs new information, controls mood, sleep patterns, healing responses, and more, and how quickly. Thus, specific frequencies of sound and music can be used to generate neurotransmitters such as serotonin.

brain_scan

To understand the fundamentals of sound in healing, we must first understand our brain waves. The nucleus of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, is the communication between neurons. Brain waves are generated by way of electrical pulses working in unison from masses of neurons interacting with one another. Brain waves are divided into five different bandwidths that are thought to form a spectrum of human consciousness.

The slowest of the waves are delta waves (.5 to 3 Hz), which are the slowest brain waves and occur mostly during our deepest state of sleep. The fastest of the waves are gamma waves (25 to 100 Hz), which are associated with higher states of conscious perception. Alpha waves (8 to 12 Hz) occur when the brain is daydreaming or consciously practicing mindfulness or meditation.

According to Dr. Suzanne Evans Morris, Ph.D., a speech-language pathologist:

Research shows that different frequencies presented to each ear through stereo headphones… create a difference tone (or binaural beat) as the brain puts together the two tones it actually hears. Through EEG monitoring the difference tone is identified by a change in the electrical pattern produced by the brain. For example, frequencies of 200 Hz and 210 Hz produce a binaural beat frequency of 10 Hz (The difference in 210 Hz and 200 Hz is 10 Hz). Monitoring of the brain’s electricity (EEG) shows that the brain produces increased 10 Hz activity with equal frequency and amplitude of the wave form in both hemispheres of the brain (left and right hemisphere).

It is thought that different brain wave patterns are connected to the production in the brain of certain neurochemicals linked with relaxation and stress release, as well as better learning and creativity, memory, and more. Such neurochemicals include beta-endorphins, growth factors, gut peptides, acetylcholine, vasopressin, and serotonin.

A series of experiments conducted by neuro-electric therapy engineer Dr. Margaret Patterson and Dr. Ifor Capel, revealed how alpha brainwaves boosted the production of serotonin. Dr. Capel explained:

As far as we can tell, each brain center generates impulses at a specific frequency based on the predominant neurotransmitter it secretes. In other words, the brain’s internal communication system—its language, is based on frequency… Presumably, when we send in waves of electrical energy at, say, 10 Hz, certain cells in the lower brain stem will respond because they normally fire within that frequency range.

Additional research upholds the beliefs of mind-body medicine in this sense, stating that brainwaves being in the Alpha state, 8 to 14 Hz, permits a vibration allowing for more serotonin to be created.

It’s important for us to come to terms with the fact that there is science behind age-old medicinal practices that do not require putting unknown substances in our bodies to alleviate issues like stress, depression, anxiety, and more.

But even more intriguing is to think something as simple as sound, as music, which we have come to treat as utterly pleasurable entertainment, has not only been used to promote healing and well-being, but has proven to work through research as well.

If your mental health is of concern, try listening to a binaural beat to generate alpha waves between 8 and 14 Hz to produce more serotonin. Another option is to take advantage of music that promotes a relaxed alpha state in the brain such as classical music.

Related CE Article: Research Shows We Can Heal With Vibration, Frequency & Sound

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading

Awareness

Study: Short Break From Cosmetics Causes “Significant Drop of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas demonstrates how even a short break from certain kinds of makeup, shampoos and lotions leads to a large drop in levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in the body.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is this industry so poorly regulated?

A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle Salinas has demonstrated how taking even a short break from various cosmetics, shampoos, and other personal care products can lead to a substantial drop in the levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals present within the body.

The results from the study were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers gave 100 Latina teenagers various personal care products that were labeled to be free of common chemicals including phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and oxybenzone. These chemicals are used regularly in almost all conventional personal care products such as cosmetics, soap, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products, and animal studies have shown that they directly interfere with the body’s endocrine system.

“Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals,” said study lead author Kim Harley, associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health. “Teen girls may be at particular risk since it’s a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.”

Results

After just a three-day trial with the girls using only the lower-chemical products, urine samples showed a significant drop in the level of chemicals in the body. Methyl and propyl parabens, commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, dropped 44% and 45%, respectively, metabolites of diethyl phthalate, used often in perfumes, dropped by 27%, and both triclosan and benzophenone-3 fell 36%. The authors of the study were surprised to see an increase in two lesser common parabens, but, being minor, could easily have been caused by accidental contamination or a substitute not listed on the labels.

Co-director of the study Kimberly Parra explains why having local youths participate in the study was of particular importance:

The results of the study are particularly interesting on a scientific level, but the fact that high school students led the study set a new path to engaging youth to learn about science and how it can be used to improve the health of their communities. After learning of the results, the youth took it upon themselves to educate friends and community members, and presented their cause to legislatures in Sacramento.

Included in the CHAMACOS Youth Council were 12 local high school students who helped design and implement the study. One of the teen researchers, Maritza Cárdenas, is now a UC Berkeley undergraduate majoring in molecular and cell biology.

“One of the goals of our study was to create awareness among the participants of the chemicals found in everyday products, to help make people more conscious about what they’re using,” said Cárdenas. “Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference.”

The researchers noted that cosmetics and personal care products are not well-regulated in this country, and that getting data about health effects from exposure, particularly long-term ones, is difficult. But they say there is growing evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to neurobehavioral problems, obesity and cancer cell growth.

What Can You Do?

Well, you can be sure to check the labels on any products you purchase. Most personal care products contain a list of ingredients, but unfortunately many cosmetics do not. If you use a particular brand that you really love you can try contacting the manufacturer directly and asking them for an ingredient list.

You can also opt for more natural and organic products, but be sure to keep in mind that in the industry of personal care products, the words “natural” and “organic” are often meaningless. A safe bet would be to buy these products from a health food store and be sure to read the ingredients or ask the sales clerk. Generally, when products do not contain specific chemicals, the manufacturers are happy to label them as such.

The less demand for these chemically-laden products there is, the less these chemicals will be used. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR! We have the power to create the type of world we want. Be the change.

Check out The Story Of Cosmetics below!

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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