Sunday, 31 March 2013

Steps To Decide If The Person You're Dating Is Crazy

Feel as though your boyfriend/girlfriend has been collecting your toenails in a small jar underneath the bed? Wondering if that was his/her face skulking behind a plant while you were having drinks with friends? If you’ve been dating someone who you suspect is a little “off” you may want to launch a full scale investigation to determine if he/she is a little nuts before you find your pet rabbit cooking on the stove.

1. Observe any “unnatural” habits. 

Does she seem to have some odd quirks that go beyond nervous ticks or muttering to herself in the cracker aisle of the grocery store?

Obsessing too much over odd topics. If she (or he) obsessively talks about Twilight or seems to only want to talk about fuzzy bunnies 24/7 you may be flirting dangerously close to crazy town. Or if he/she wants to talk about changing you (changing your hair, clothing…personality) to the point where it’s all that the other person wants to talk about you may want to reconsider the relationship.

Extreme mood swings. Are you unsure which guy or girl you are going to get from moment to moment? Do you find that you could be having a completely rational, lovely conversation and then suddenly, without warning he/she gets upset or angry? Or does he/she become insane and completely irrational after having a few drinks, but then deny or blame others the next day for his/her behavior?

Scary bouts of anger or violence. Does he/she seem to enjoy hitting you or is into S&M (even after you tell the other person you like to kick intimacy old school)? Some people may also find auto-asphyxiation to be arousing, which may not necessarily mean that they are nuts, but if you are uncomfortable it may not be the relationship for you.

Odd habits. From odd collectibles to an insistence on making you wear a special jumpsuit upon entering his/her home; identify any outlandish habits that make you feel uncomfortable or seem off base.

2. Check out his/her circle of friends/family members. 

Sometimes you can tell if someone is psycho by the company he/she keeps or has kept. Does family seem to withdraw (or not exist at all) or are friends all in prison or float in and out of the person’s life?
Are his/her friends a little off? You can tell a lot about someone by the friends he/she chooses. Consider what the circle of friends enjoys doing or how they behave in public.

Does he/she seem to only have casual acquaintances? Often crazy people have a hard time maintaining friendships for a number of years. Does your date have long time friends or does he/she seem to only have a handful of folks typically called upon for nights when they go clubbing (this doesn't include someone who is new in town and only starting to meet people)?

Have you met his/her family or have you been told they “live abroad” or were “killed in a freakish accident?” While some unfortunate people have been orphaned or experienced tragedy in their life, you certainly want to be cautious if you believe you may have a Ted Bundy type on your hands.

3. Examine your interpersonal relationship with him/her.

How do you feel when you are with this person? Anxiety ridden or uncomfortable? Or do you feel at peace or wildly attracted to his/her personality or physical appearance?

Does he/she seem to be obsessed with you? Consider how your date regards you. After only dating a few days has he/she started to call you a boyfriend or girlfriend? Has he/she talked about marriage or a long term commitment during the initial phase of dating? Flying into something serious should send up the red flag.

Do you have difficulty communicating on a regular basis? Does he/she never really understand what you are talking about or misinterpret what you say (to your detriment)?

Does he/she have problems with other people and exhibit inappropriate behavior? Do other people tell you that he/she is nuts or have you observed odd behavior between your date and other folks?

4. Identify your relationship goals.

Be honest about what you really want to achieve with this relationship. Are you looking for the mother (or father) of your children or just someone you want to date for fun?

You only want to have fun. If you are only interested in a short term relationship then you don’t have to worry about flooding your gene pool with a crazy. However be especially cautious about how you eventually break it off with the other person--you don't want a casual relationship to turn into stalker situation.

You’d like to find “the one.” If you suspect the person you are dating is psychotic or even a little nuts, consider ending it sooner rather than later. The more time you invest in this relationship, the less time you have to find the person who could possible be as serious lifetime partner. Plus the other person will become more invested and could make the break up even more difficult.

You aren’t sure what you want from the relationship. Still on the fence about whether the other person is nuts? If you have time to kill and want to see where this thing is going stay the course, however veer off if you have a strong feeling that crazy is at your house.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Why Do We Cry?

The uniquely human phenomenon of crying when we are overcome by emotion developed as a means to communicate our feelings before the emergence of language, an influential scientist claims.

Michael Trimble, a professor of neurology, suggests that there must have been a time in our evolution when tears took on a meaning beyond their simple bio-mechanical function - keeping the eyeballs moist. He has written a new book - Why Humans Like To Cry - that attempts to shed light on the mystery of why our species is the only one in the animal kingdom to shed tears of anguish.

The work, according to its publisher, offers a wide-ranging discussion of emotional crying, looking at its physiology as well as its evolutionary past. Biologically, tears are needed to keep the eyeball moist and they contain proteins and other substances to keep it healthy and fight infections. In every other animal that seems to be extent of their function, but in humans, crying takes on a whole new, additional significance. We can shed tears of joy and tears of anger and for a whole range of other emotions. But, most commonly, we shed tears of sadness.

Professor Trimble, of University College London's Institute of Neurology, said it was this uniquely communicative nature of human crying that led him to investigate the phenomenon.
'Humans cry for many reasons,' he told Scientific American. 'But crying for emotional reasons and crying in response to aesthetic experiences are unique to us.
'The former is most associated with loss and bereavement, and the art forms that are most associated with tears are music, literature and poetry.
'There are very few people who cry looking at paintings, sculptures or lovely buildings. But we also have tears of joy the associated feelings of which last a shorter time than crying in the other circumstances.'

Professor Trimble said he hopes his work will release many, especially men, from the reluctance they feel to be seen shedding tears. They are a natural response to not only suffering, but also to feeling compassion for others, he said.
He added: 'We should not be afraid of our emotions, especially those related to compassion, since our ability to feel empathy and with that to cry tears, is the foundation of a morality and culture which is exclusively human.'
Assessing the phenomenon from the perspective of neuroscience, Professor Trimble suggests that the crying in this way must have emerged in humans at a specific evolutionary turning point. He believes that the emergence of emotional crying is connected with the dawning of self-consciousness and the development of a theory of mind - when early humans first realised their peers were also self-conscious beings. This, he claims, led to the realisation that the self and others can suffer, feel sadness - and disappear.
'Attachment emotionally to others, with the development of sophisticated facial gestures associated with suffering, and with loss and bereavement ensued,' he said.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A Glossary of Hypnosis Terms

Hypnosis is full of sometimes confusing jargon, so here is a great glossary of terms by John Rhodes listed in HypnoBusters to ease the understanding...

Abreaction - An involuntary release of emotion, often related to a negative experience in the client’s past, which releases pent-up feelings and can provide relief from the earlier trauma.
Affect Bridge - A technique hypnotherapists use to access a previous instance of a patient’s problem by accentuating the disturbing feelings in the present. This allows their current adult resources to resolve the source of the problem.
Age Progression - Also known as FUTURE PACING, involves suggesting the client imagines themselves in the future.
Age Regression - The hypnotherapist suggests the subject imagines a particular time or event of their past, regressing them to an earlier age.
Alpha Waves - This is the slow brainwave activity of hypnosis. It is also known as hypnoidal. Alpha is slower (deeper) than Beta, the awake state, and faster than Theta, which is a deeper hypnotic state. It occurs at 7-14 waves per second.
Analgesia - Removal of all perception of pain.
Anchor - A specific stimulus such as a word, image or touch that through association evokes a particular mental, emotional, or physiological state.
Amnesia - Forgetting events. Some people who have a talent for achieving deep states of trance may have spontaneous amnesia for the session. A hypnotherapist can give a post-hypnotic suggestion to forget what has been discussed during the hypnotherapy.
Anaesthesia - Removal of feeling or creating numbness in a specific area.
Association - A process by which a subject comes to respond in a desired manner to a previously neutral stimulus. This is achieved by repeatedly presenting it along with a stimulus that elicits the desired response. This is also known as Pavlovian conditioning. Pavlov fed dogs at the sound of a bell. The dogs soon began salivating at the sound of the bell.
Auto Dual - When a hypnotherapist gives suggestions in the first person, and the client repeats those suggestions, either out loud or internally.
Auto Hypnosis - Hypnotising yourself. More commonly known as SELF-HYPNOSIS.
Auto Suggestion - Giving suggestions to yourself. This is also known as SELF-TALK. Although it does not involve a formal trance, these messages are absorbed by the unconscious mind. Always aim to give yourself positive self talk, and encourage you clients to do the same, for this reason.
Aversion Therapy - Giving your client suggestions that focus on negative aspects of a habit. E.g. Feeling sick when smoking, or associating a bad taste when nail biting.
Auto Dual Induction - An induction usually given to ‘Intellectual Suggestibles’, where the patient believes they are hypnotizing themselves. While feeling their own pulse, the patient repeats what the hypnotherapist is saying.
Beta - Normal waking brain wave activity.
Body Syndrome - A physical manifestation of an emotional trauma. An unreleased, repressed emotion can be expressed in physical discomfort.
Cataleptic - A state in which the subject appears unconscious yet their muscles become rigid, and remain in whatever position they are placed. Hypnotists sometimes use this as a proof to a client that she is in hypnosis.
Clinical Hypnotherapy - the therapeutic use of hypnosis.
Compound Suggestions - A technique used for increasing the effectiveness of a suggestion through repetition or looping. E.g. “Your right foot is relaxed and as your right foot relaxes your calf is relaxed and as your foot and calf relaxes your leg muscles relax...”
Conscious - The logical, reasoning, decision making part of the mind. The conscious state is that which we use in our normal waking state. This part makes up less than 5% of total mind.
Critical Factor - The divider and regulator between the conscious and unconscious minds. This works as a filter taking information from the conscious, deciding what information should be accepted and stored in the unconscious, and what should be forgotten and discarded. This is thought to take place during sleep, and may be the reason why we ‘sleep on’ a particular problem, and feel better about it in the morning.
Deepener - A technique used to deepen the level of hypnotic trance. There are many techniques, such as going down stair cases, deep breathing etc.
Delta - The slowest and deepest brain wave activity. This happens during sleep, and the deepest levels of hypnosis.
Direct Suggestion - Giving a direct suggestion to do something, as opposed to a covert suggestion.
Dissociation - A ‘splitting off’ of the self so as to protect the mind from something undesirable. A hypnotised client can then distance himself from an otherwise disturbing event. This is commonly achieved by suggesting that the client can see themselves in the third person – often on a TV or cinema screen.
Double Bind - When a subject is given two alternative suggestions within a sentence, they will more
likely respond to the stronger suggestion.
Ego - The part of you that decides how you will react to your environment and situations within your environment.
Ego Boost - A hypnosis session that aims to give general feelings of calmness and well being. Ideal first session for most therapies.
Ericksonian Hypnosis - A branch of hypnosis named after Milton Erickson.
Esdaile State - This is thought to be the deepest state of hypnosis currently known. It was named after James Esdaile. The state is said to be extremely peaceful and deeply relaxing.
Eye Accessing Cues - Studying the movements of the eyes which indicate visual, auditory or kinesthetic thinking when moving in certain directions.
Eye Fixation - An induction which involves staring at something, such as your hand or a swinging watch.
Forensic Hypnosis - Legal applications of hypnosis. Although hypnosis cannot be used for testimony, it is sometimes used by police to gather evidence by improving the recall of witnesses.
Fractionation - Bringing a client in and out of hypnosis during the session either as an induction or to deepen the level of hypnosis. This is often used with clients that are a little nervous of the hypnotic process.
Gestalt Therapy - Therapy involving role play.
Glove Anaesthesia - A technique whereby the hypnotherapist numbs the hand by giving suggestions that it feels numb like wearing a leather glove when touched. This numbness can then be passed on to another area of the body.
Hartland’s Ego Strengthening Script - The first ego boosting script which, although still useful, is generally thought to be out dated.
Hypnoanalysis – Using hypnosis to get to the root of an issue.
Hypnobirthing - The use of hypnotherapy to aid in a painless, yet drug free birth.
Hypnogogic – The state where a person is going into a hypnotic trance.
Hypnoidal - A light trance state.
Hypnopompic - The state where a person is leaving a hypnotic trance.
Hypnosis - The act of introducing a person into a hypnotic trance. Hypnosis is like daydreaming - a form of relaxed concentration. Definitions of hypnosis vary, and there is no single accepted definition.
Hypnosis Download - Where a pre made hypnosis session can be instantly downloaded from a computer, usually for the purposes of therapy.
Hypnotherapist - One who performs hypnosis for therapy; a specialist in hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy - Hypnotising someone and then using psychotherapeutic techniques for the goal of positive change.
Hypnotic Trance - A state of (usually) relaxed, yet focused awareness.
Hypnotic Tunnel - Using the same words, phrases and speech patterns as your client.
Hypnotisability - A person’s individual susceptibility to hypnosis.
Hypnotism - An earlier word for “hypnosis.”
Ideo Motor Response (IMR) - Involuntary unconscious physical movement. This is commonly used to communicate with the unconscious mind e.g. “Raise the left index finger for yes, raise the right index finger for no.”
Indirect Suggestion - Using permissive suggestions such as “Whenever you wish, you may allow your eyes to close”.
Induction - The process of guiding someone into hypnosis.
Initial Sensitizing Event (ISE) - The original memory responsible for causing the symptoms in which the client is suffering from.
In Vitro - In reality.
In Vivo - In the mind.
Law Of Compound Suggestions - It uses the idea that a first suggestion is weak; a second suggestion strengthens the first; and a third suggestion strengthens the second, which in turn strengthens the first, and so on.
Minds Eye Deepener - A deepener which suggests that your mind also has an eye which can close, causing a deep state of relaxed concentration.
Mirroring - A hypnotherapist might align himself in a similar position or posture as the subject order to establish rapport.
Modelling - Studying and imitating the behavior of others who excel in order to try and replicate their success. This provides the basis for Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).
Negative Hallucination - When a hypnotised person cannot see what is really there.
Neuro Pathways - These pathways within our mind are created with every thought and new memory we have.
Pacing - Mirroring someone’s posture, behavior, and/or language in order to help build rapport.
Parts Therapy - A therapy in which specific egos or personalities within the unconscious are addressed and worked with.
Past-life Regression - Taking one through the memories and events of their possible past-lives. It is open to debate as to whether these are actually past lives or created metaphorically in the mind. What is known is that these past-lives have proven useful in therapy for many clients of hypnotherapy.
Patter - Refers to the form of speech that the hypnotherapist will use whilst communicating with the subject during a hypnotic trance.
Positive Hallucination - When a hypnotised person sees what is not really there.
Post Hypnotic Suggestion - A suggestion made while a person is in hypnosis to be acted upon after the session. This may include stopping smoking, exercising more etc.
Pre-Induction - The interview which takes place before the actual trance work. This time is usually spent gaining rapport and easing any concerns the patient might have.
Progressive Relaxation - A technique used to progressively relax the entire body by focusing on isolated areas, and then relaxing them.
Rapid Reactional Hypnosis - When a person is taken in and out of a hypnotic trance to accomplish a much deeper state of hypnosis.
Rapport - Refers to the communication between the hypnotist and the subject before trance work has commenced. A good sense of rapport between the client and the hypnotherapist is essential for a successful hypnosis session, since the client may otherwise resist the therapy.
Reframing - This is often used during age regression or parts therapy, when a past event is altered to release emotional trauma.
Resistance - A clinical hypnotherapist cannot force a subject into a hypnotic state, and so a patient is said to be in a state of resistance if they block the hypnotherapists suggestions.
Script - A pre-written script of what a hypnotherapist will say during trance work. These are usually adapted to take into account the individuality of the client, and their particular goals.
Secondary Gain - Where a seemingly negative or problematic behavior actually carries out some positive function. For example putting on weight may help a person who has commitment issues and does not want to attract a mate.
Self Hypnosis - Where you guide yourself through a hypnotic trance without the aid of a hypnotherapist.
Somnambulism - A deep state of trance.
Stage Hypnotist - A hypnotist who performs hypnosis for the purpose of entertainment.
Staircase Deepener - A hypnotherapist deepens a trance by guiding the subject down a staircase, suggesting that they get deeper relaxed with each step down.
Unconscious - The part of the mind that holds our beliefs, morals, habits, addictions, memories, etc. The unconscious makes up over 95% of the total mind, making it far superior to the conscious mind.
Symptom Producing Event - The event that triggered the symptoms the client is currently suffering from.
Symptom Substitution - Swapping or replacing one symptom for another.
Systematic Desensitisation - The use of imagery in a systematic way to help desensitise someone from an anxiety or phobia by gradually taking them through greater anxiety provoking situations.
Time Distortion - A characteristic effect of being in hypnosis. Time can be subjectively experienced as longer or shorter than usual. Often a subject comments that a session felt shorter than it actually was.
Under - How lay people often describe hypnosis. This should be discouraged as it implies that the hypnotherapist has complete control over the subject.
Yes Set - Asking several questions where you know the answer will be ‘yes’, in order to help convince the subject to agree to a suggestion by getting him in a ‘yes’ mode of thinking.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Brain Workouts: How Much More Intelligent Can They Make You?

How much does environment influence intelligence? Several years ago University of Virginia Professor Eric Turkheimer demonstrated that growing up in an impoverished and chaotic household suppresses I.Q. – without nurture, innate advantages vanish. What about genes? They matter too. After decades of research most psychologists agree that somewhere between 50% and 80% of intelligence is genetic. After all, numerous studies demonstrate that identical twins raised apart have remarkably similar I.Q.’s.

A 2008 paper out of the University of Michigan turned all of this on its head. The researchers led by Susanne M. Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl, now at the University of Maryland, found that participants who engaged in short sessions of “cognitive training” that targeted working memory with a simple but difficult game known as the n-back task boosted a core feature of general intelligence called fluid intelligence. Crystalized intelligence improves with age and experience. Fluid intelligence, in contrast, is the capacity to make insights, solve new problems and perceive new patterns to new situations independent of previous knowledge. For decades researchers believed that fluid intelligence was immutable during adulthood because it was largely determined by genetics. The implication of the 2008 study suggested otherwise: with some cognitive training people could improve fluid intelligence and, therefore, become smarter.

This brings me to a brand new paper recently published in the journal Neuroscience by DRDC Toronto researcher and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto-Scarborough, Oshin Vartanian. In the study, Vartanian and his team asked if working memory training improved performance on a test of divergent thinking known as the Alternate Uses Task. Psychological research demonstrates that divergent thinking “loads” on working memory, meaning that when people engage a divergent thinking task their working memory capacity is accessed accordingly. If cognitive training strengthens working memory then participants should improve their performance on divergent thinking tasks. The researchers also wondered how working memory training affected participants at the neurological level. That is, will participation in a short regiment of working memory training be correlated with greater “neural efficiency” during the Alternate Uses Task? Given that divergent thinking is linked to creativity, it also sheds light on the effect of working memory training for boosting creativity.

To answer these questions Vartanian and his team gathered 34 participants and assigned each of them to either an experimental or control group. In the first part of the study the researchers measured fluid intelligence using Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAPM), a hallmark of standardized tests since the 1930s. They are visual analogy problems, consisting of two patterns with three shapes and a third pattern with two shapes. The task is to select the missing shape to complete the third triad from a set of alternatives in order match the overall pattern. Participants completed as many RAPM problems in ten minutes as possible, immediately prior to and following cognitive training so the researchers could calculate a possible gain in fluid intelligence.

For the cognitive training portion of the study participants took part in three training sessions on separate days. Participants in the experimental condition completed the n-back task. Here’s how it works. On a monitor a participant sees a series of letters flash in the same location every two and a half seconds. Their task is to indicate if the letter is repeated. The first level is easy because participants must press the space bar every time they see a letter repeated on two consecutive trials (e.g., K followed by K). The second level gets harder – participants must press the space bar every time they see a letter that matches a letter presented two trials earlier. This gets even harder at level three, where they have to make matching decisions compared to three trials earlier. Meanwhile, participants in the control condition completed a 4-choice reaction time task that controlled for task engagement.

Following the RAPM and cognitive training each participant laid in an fMRI scanner and completed the Alternate Uses Task where they generated novel uses for common objects. For example, imagine a researcher asks you to generate a list of uses for a brick. You could use a brick to build a house but a more creative solution might be to use a brick to prop open a door. The purpose of the Alternate Uses Task is to test divergent thinking, an important component of creativity. In Vartanian’s study the participants had 12 seconds to generate uses of a common object, and three seconds to enter their responses using an MRI-compatible keypad. They repeated this task for 20 trials.

Vartanian and his fellow researchers found that the results mostly confirmed the original hypotheses. First, the experimental group improved their RAPM scores compared to the control group, confirming previous research that cognitive training can boost fluid intelligence. However, they did not discover a difference between the two groups with respect to the number of uses generated in the Alternate Uses Task. In other words, participants who completed the n-back tasks did not score higher on divergent thinking, suggesting that training working memory does not boost divergent thinking.

The most provocative findings were at the neurological level. Namely, activation in the ventrolateral and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, areas of the brain associated with divergent thinking, was much lower during the generation phase of the Alternative Uses Task in the experimental group. This means that even though working memory training and subsequent gains in fluid intelligence did not transfer to better performance on the Alternate Uses Task, participants who engaged in the cognitive training were neurally more efficient during divergent thinking. In other words, just like a long-distance runner uses his lungs and muscle’s more efficiently, participants who practiced the n-back task used less neural resources in the divergent thinking task compared to participants in a control condition.

Gains in fluid intelligence moreover predicted lower activation in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. However, Vartanian reminded me in a recent email that results are correlational. “Drawing a causal link between working memory training and neural efficiency requires more experimentation.”

It’s still unclear if gains from working memory training “transfer” to other tasks. Researchers know that training working memory improves working memory capacity. The question is if working memory training improves cognitive performance across the board just like working out improves your fitness in general. Vartanian says reliable evidence for this transfer effect is the “holy grail everyone is after” even though, he clarified, not every lab has found that the n-back task leads to an increase in fluid intelligence.

All of this brings up the question: What is intelligence anyway? I stated at the outset that intelligence has a genetic component but environment plays a vital role as well. It’s more complicated than that, of course. Consider the Flynn effect. It demonstrates that I.Q. scores have been rising in many parts of the world since 1930. Are people getting smarter or are they just getting better at taking I.Q. tests? The idea that I.Q. is the measurement for intelligence is waning. Yes, I.Q. correlates with success later on in life but it’s unclear what, exactly, it measures. Compounding these queries is the question of multiple intelligences. Researchers like Harvard’s Howard Gardner believe that intelligence isn’t a single thing like a black box in the mind but a series of distinct mental capacities. This makes sense to me – I can write articles on cognitive science but a calculus problem makes me shiver – but the evidence for this line of reasoning is spotty.

Another contentious area of study concerns the relationship between divergent thinking and creativity. Psychologists have historically equated divergent thinking with creativity because divergent thinking is about generating multiple solutions to a single problem, free-flow thinking, and originality. This is true, but like intelligence this paradigm doesn’t address what creativity is in the first place. Today more and more researchers believe that performance on divergent thinking tasks is merely one piece of the creativity pie. This is why a number of creativity researchers are advocating for a broader definition of creativity as well as a shift away from the idea that creative “types” exist, a false suggestion that people are either creative or not.

One of those researchers is Scott Barry Kaufman, NYU Adjunct Professor of Psychology and author of the up and coming Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined. “Pathbreaking creativity requires many years of acquiring a deep knowledge base from which you can draw to make novel connections,” Kaufman explained to me. “Since divergent thinking tests rely so heavily on working memory and fluid reasoning, they don’t allow people to bring their rich database of life experiences to the task. Psychologists are missing out on a large chunk of their creative potential because creativity can be manifested in many ways. By solely judging a person’s intelligence or creativity based on a single decontextualized testing session, you are ignoring that person’s unique mind, and the possibility for that mind to display incredible cognitive feats when allowed to express itself in its own way over an extended period of time.”

Intelligence and creativity are thorny components of our psychologies. Studying them is difficult, defining them even harder. But the overall trend in cognitive science is positive. Researchers like Vartanian and Kaufman are broadening our conception of intelligence and creativity with innovative research and fresh ideas. This is vital. The future of education will depend not just on policy but what we know about how the brain learns, makes insights and solves problems. “Ideally, in educational and other applied settings we would have the ability to train individuals on a few core abilities and then observe performance benefits in many target activities” said Vartanian. “For this to happen, we first need a good understanding of the core abilities that contribute to the desired outcomes, and then we need to differentiate between what can and cannot be trained.”

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Mind And Machine... At World Cup Brazil 2014

Neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis went on The Daily Show in 2011 and told Jon Stewart that he would develop a robotic body suit that would allow paralyzed people to walk again simply by thinking about it — and he’d do it in just 3 or 4 years.

It was an audacious, some might say reckless, claim. But two years later, Nicolelis insists he’s on track. And he hopes to prove it in brazen fashion in front of billions of people during one of the world’s most-watched events: the World Cup.

The tournament, which will be held in his native Brazil, is less than 16 months away. If all goes according to plan, during the opening ceremony, a young paralyzed person will step onto the field in a robotic exoskeleton operated by electrodes implanted in his or her brain, walk about 20 steps, and kick a soccer ball.

This may sound incredible, but in recent years, research on using signals from the brain to operate machines has taken great strides. Scientists have developed brain-machine interfaces that allow paralyzed humans to move a computer cursor or even use a robotic arm to pick up a piece of chocolate or touch a loved one for the first time in years. Nicolelis has set his sights even higher: He wants to get paralyzed people up and walking around. If he succeeds it could be a tremendous advance. Right now he’s still developing this technology in monkeys. There’s a long way to go.

But Nicolelis was brimming with confidence in January when I visited his lab at Duke University to see how his work is progressing. “We’re getting close to making wheelchairs obsolete,” he said.

Such proclamations don’t sit well with everyone. In the Brazilian media, some scientists have criticized Nicolelis’ plan as premature, an expensive stunt, funded with scarce federal research money and aimed more at creating a spectacle than advancing science. Meanwhile, some U.S. researchers fear he could deal a setback to the fast-moving field of brain-machine interfaces by promising too much, too soon.

“Nicolelis may enjoy being provocative, and certainly that could strike many people as not being as cautious as one could be,” said Krishna Shenoy, who studies brain-machine interfaces at Stanford. But Shenoy doesn’t necessarily take it as a sign of recklessness. “I think he may tend to over-promise as a way to motivate himself and his crew,” he said.

Brain-controlled prostheses are one of the hottest areas in neuroscience. In December, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh published a case study in The Lancet of a 53-year-old woman named Jan Scheuermann who was paralyzed from the neck down by a genetic neurodegenerative condition. Scheuermann learned to control a nearby robotic arm after surgeons implanted a small grid of electrodes in her brain.

In videos released with the paper and aired on 60 Minutes, she moves the arm in 3 dimensions and uses it to grasp and move objects, stacking several plastic cones, for example. The arm itself is a marvel of engineering: It cost DARPA more than $100 million to develop, and its hand and fingers can do almost everything the real deal can. Scheuermann’s movements are slow and sometimes faltering, but they are astonishing nonetheless. After all, she’s controlling the arm just by thinking about it. And she’s making the most sophisticated movements yet made by a human being with a brain-controlled prosthetic.

Nicolelis thinks he can do much better.

As a boy growing up in São Paulo, he was inspired by the Apollo program to become a scientist. Now he sees neural prostheses that free people from paralyzed bodies as a 21st century moonshot. He also feels compelled to give something back to his native country, which he left at the age of 27 to study in the U.S.

The giving goes both ways. Nicolelis says the Brazilian government has awarded him $20 million to pursue his grand plan. Only a small part of that will go toward the demo at the World Cup, which he says was approved in a meeting with the secretary general of FIFA, the world governing body of soccer. The rest will be used to establish a neurorobotic rehabilitation and research center at a hospital in São Paulo.

Nicolelis thinks the next big leap in the performance of neural prosthetics will come from two types of advances. One is using information from a much larger number of neurons to enable faster, more natural movements. So far, electrode grids used in human patients can capture the electric blips of about 100 neurons. Nicolelis and colleagues at Duke have pushed that number to 500, and they’ve implanted up to four of these electrode arrays in a single monkey, enabling them to record from nearly 2,000 neurons simultaneously.

And there’s no reason to stop there, especially in the much larger brain of a human patient, Nicolelis says. With 20,000 or 30,0000 neurons, the fluidity of movements would be even better.

“I could get them to kick Brazilian style,” he said. “Not British, Brazilian.”

The other key, in his view, is incorporating tactile feedback. In 2011, his team broke new ground by demonstrating a neural prosthesis with an artificial sense of touch in monkeys. Electrodes implanted in a brain region responsible for the feeling texture enabled the monkeys to identify different virtual objects by “feel.”

Sensors on the exoskeleton will eventually feed directly into the brain in a similar manner to provide crucial feedback on the position of the limbs and when the feet hit the ground, Nicolelis says. “None of these robotic devices will work for real without tactile feedback,” he said. “You can’t walk without knowing where the floor is.“ The extent to which sensory feedback will be ready for the World Cup demo remains to be seen.

And with less than a year and a half to go, Nicolelis is still working exclusively with monkeys.

In a small control room at Duke during my visit in January, a young woman dressed hairnet to booties in blue surgical garb monitors an experiment on several screens. She’s training a monkey in an adjacent room to control an avatar with its mind. Small grids of electrodes record signals from the animal’s primary motor cortex, creating softly crackling background noise on an audio monitor. A computer translates those signals into commands that control the avatar. What the real monkey thinks, the virtual monkey does. Or that’s the idea. For now the computer is doing most of the work.

On one screen, a cartoonish monkey avatar can be seen from the back, ambling slowly down what looks like a bowling lane towards a ghostly, translucent cube. The monkey sees the same thing on another screen inside its room. When the avatar monkey’s arms touch the cube, the real monkey gets a drop of juice, and the routine starts over. The juice reward teaches her that good things happen when the avatar touches the block. This monkey is just starting to learn the task, but with time the researchers will dial down the computer’s contribution to controlling the avatar and the monkey’s brain will take over, telling each leg when and how to move.

This animal is one of two being trained to test a monkey-sized prototype of the robotic exoskeleton. Once the animals master the avatar, they’ll take a crack at controlling the exoskeleton.

The monkey version of the exoskeleton looks vaguely insect-like. Color-coded wires hang from the ceiling. When a student switches it on, it sounds like an air gun firefight has suddenly broken out as pneumatic pistons spring to life with clicks and pffft’s and the empty exoskeleton takes a few steps.

It’s suspended over a treadmill and attached to a harness. Nicolelis’ team is currently training the two monkeys to sit in the harness and let their legs go limp so the exoskeleton can do its thing. A few months from now the whole system will be subjected to a sterner test: Researchers will temporarily paralyze the legs of a monkey with an injection, and the primate will then try to transfer what it’s learned from playing with the avatar to control the exoskeleton with its thoughts. If it goes according to plan, the monkey will walk on the treadmill.

The brain of a monkey is about half the size of a person’s fist. A human brain is about 15 times larger. And that’s not the only anatomical difference. “The space between the skull and the brain is different in monkeys, it’s very tight and holds things in place,” said Shenoy. Electrodes in a human brain are more likely to move around and potentially lose the signal, which may be one reason neural prostheses have consistently performed better in monkey experiments than they have so far in people, Shenoy said.

“That translation between monkeys and humans is not a done deal.”

So far only two research teams, the one in Pittsburgh and another started by researchers at Brown University, have published reports on neural prostheses controlled by electrodes implanted in the brains of paralyzed people. Both declined to comment on Nicolelis or his plans.

“He’s a polarizing figure,” said Brendan Allison, a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Diego who researches brain-machine interfaces.

Whether the World Cup demo, if it happens, represents a scientific milestone depends on how much of the work is done by the exoskeleton and how much is done by the patient’s brain, Allison says.

“Getting a signal from the brain to do a task is much easier than people think,” he said. “I could put an electrode cap on your head, in a public place with lots of electrical noise, and within 10 minutes, you could send a reliable signal with thought alone.” If signals from the brain are used to issue simple commands to a super smart exoskeleton – walk, now kick – that’s less of a technological leap, Allison says.

If, on the other hand, signals from the patient’s brain can be used to control exactly when and how each leg of the exoskeleton moves, all while maintaining balance as the patient walks and shifts his or her weight to kick a ball, that would be a phenomenal advance, says Shenoy.

“If he really does what he says he can do, it’s a huge thing,” he said. But Shenoy adds that it will be hard for the public — or even experts — to know exactly what they’re seeing, or more specifically, how much of the exoskeleton’s movement is under neural control. “With a few billion people tuning in, think of the pressure to have something work.”

Gordon Cheng, the roboticist who is developing the physical exoskeleton at the Technical University of Munich in Germany admits that the deadline is tight. “We have bits and pieces of different prototypes being built and tested, we even have a complete mockup built,” he said. “We’re pushing it.”

By design, the exoskeleton will use a mix of signals. “If the signal from the brain is very good, the brain will take control. If the signal from the brain is not so reliable, the robot can take over more of the control,” Cheng said. “This is mainly to guarantee safety.”

Even if the patient’s safety can be guaranteed, some bioethicists see potential red flags.

“I always get nervous with medical breakthroughs that are done partly as showmanship,” said Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “They risk exploiting the subject.”

Whether that’s the case depends largely on what happens to the patient after the demo, adds Dan O’Connor of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University. “Will Nicolelis and his lab be the real beneficiaries here, or is it this paraplegic Brazilian kid?” O’Connor asks. “What sort of access will he or she have to the technology [after the demo], and who will pay for it?”

Nicolelis insists the patient selected for the demo, and many others, will benefit from the technology for years to come, thanks to the largesse of the Brazilian government. That’s the goal of the center in São Paulo, he says. “The project doesn’t end with the World Cup, it starts with the World Cup.”

Nicolelis says his colleagues in Brazil are currently combing a database of thousands of patients to identify 10 for initial training. Their ideal profile: a smallish young adult, no more than 70 kilograms (roughly 150 pounds), whose injury isn’t too new or too old. Like the monkeys in the lab at Duke, the trainees will start by learning to control an avatar on a computer screen, but with brain signals recorded by non-invasive EEG electrodes to start. Then, if the plan stays on track, one brave recipient will go under the knife to receive electrode implants in his or her motor cortex.

The clock is running. The outcome is far from certain, but if the demo happens, one thing is clear: The world will be watching.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Video: Periodic Table of Intoxicants

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

11 Ways To Decrease Relationship Stress

Stress has an insidious way of undermining every aspect of our health and happiness. Nowhere is this more obvious then in our closest and most valued relationships. Have the anxieties and pressures of daily life or a constricting economy begun to seep into your home life?

When we are stressed out, we need to feel that our home is a safe haven where we can find relief and comfort. A happy relationship can make all the difference during challenging times. Sadly, more and more couples are experiencing the divisive influence of outside stress in their relationship with their mate.

Growing closer while facing challenges

Are there steps we can take to protect the happiness of our relationship during trying times? When the pressure rises, is there some way for couples to actually draw closer rather than allowing their relationship to be torn apart?

Handled correctly, challenging experiences can actually bring couples closer together. This is not to say that they will be immune to the stress. What it means is that working together and facing their challenges as a unified partnership can deepen their bond and add new depth to their relationship.

11 ways to decrease relationship stress
1. Avoid making negative assumptions.

If something happens that you have no control over, don’t make things worse by assuming the worst. If someone loses their job it doesn’t help to conclude that you will also lose your home and everything you have worked for. Instead of focusing on the negative possibilities, sit down with your mate and discuss possible solutions. If you work together in a creative way you may be able to turn this challenge into an opportunity. This is the time to let your partnership shine.

2. Don’t be critical or assign blame.

The blame game is very destructive to a relationship and it never contributes to unity. The goal here is to draw closer as a couple, not to alienate your best friend and life partner. The same goes for being critical of one another, all that will do is divide the relationship. Let’s face it, sometimes bad things happen, that’s just the way life is. Looking at each challenge as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship bond will help you avoid the temptation to blame your mate.

3. Acknowledge your partner’s concerns.

If something goes wrong and we feel responsible, it is easy to turn defensive when our partner expresses their concerns. Rather that turning it into a confrontation by defending ourselves, we need to put our egos aside and acknowledge their concerns with an understanding heart. If we are truly partners then we are in it together. That means we probably have similar concerns that we need to work on in a spirit of cooperation.

4. Respond rather than react.

The difference between a response and a reaction has to do with the amount and type of emotion that’s involved. When we just react to bad news it is very likely that our reaction will also include a negative emotional component. If we choose to respond rather than react, our knee jerk reaction will be softened by our desire to maintain peace and unity in our relationship. A response allows room for more positive emotions like compassion and understanding.

5. Honor each other’s feelings.

The way men and women respond to stress is often very different. To the man, it might seem like she is attaching too much emotional significance to the situation. To the woman, it might seem like he is just blowing it off or ignoring the problem. Recognizing that we all express our concerns in different ways makes it easier to honor the feelings and expressions of our mate. The fact that we express our feelings differently does not mean that one person’s way is more valid than their mate’s, it’s just different.

6. Identify the real source of the stress.

If we are feeling stress in our relationship, we need to figure out where it is coming from. If the source of the stress is external (outside the relationship), don’t treat it like a relationship problem. See it for what it is! Statistically, money issues account for more relationship problems than any other source. But in reality, money is a financial problem. It only becomes a relationship problem if you let it. Working together as partners is a much more effective way to solve money problems than fighting about it.

7. Treat your mate with respect.

There is an old saying that familiarity breeds contempt. How sad is that? Unfortunately, we tend to be less resourceful when we are under stress. The last thing we want to do under those conditions is be disrespectful to the person we share our life with. In reality, it’s not familiarity that breeds contempt; it’s a lack of respect and consideration. You can promote unity and decrease relationship stress by always maintaining a high level of respect for your partner, regardless of the challenges you face.

8. Seek opportunities to encourage each other.

How do you feel when your partner expresses confidence in you? It’s encouraging, isn’t it? And this is especially true during those challenging times when you may be experiencing feelings of self-doubt. Nothing lifts us up and restores our confidence like the encouragement of our special someone. Mutual encouragement is one of the most powerful anti-stress tools your relationship has, be sure to make good use of it. Instead of waiting for stressful situations to present themselves, why not seek every opportunity to be encouraging.

9. Differentiate between the relationship and the problem.

It is vital to always recognize the difference between the actual relationship and the problems and challenges you face. The love you feel for one another needs to be protected from the problems you encounter. Confusing the two is relationship suicide. To do this we need to work at confining our response to stress so it doesn’t poison our feeling about our mate.

10. Reaffirm your partnership often.

It is important to remind yourself that you are allies in every struggle and challenge. Remind each other that you are there for your mate no matter what. If you make a mistake, being quick to apologize demonstrates your commitment to the partnership. Being forgiving has a similar effect. Regularly letting your partner sense how much you value the relationship will help clear away any doubts caused by trying situations.

11. Get help if you need it.

When things get confusing, don’t be too proud or stubborn to seek qualified help. Sometimes we are so close to a situation that we lose our objectivity. An impartial third party like a relationship coach can often see things much more clearly and provide valuable insight at just the right time. If we truly value our closest relationship then we should be willing to do whatever it takes to strengthen those special bonds of love and unity.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Video: Hidden Cost of Stress

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Avoid Thinking Positive?

Mention a problem to just about anyone and you'll be inundated with positive advice. "Things will get better soon. Just keep a positive outlook. Chin up, my friend! Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining. When one door closes, another opens. Your attitude determines your altitude. You'll be fine. Everything turns out for the best in the end."

Positive thinking dominates our conscious minds. When we have a thought we can control, we try to make it positive. This is a massive problem; it may be humanity's deadly flaw. All those negative thoughts you cannot control, therefore, have a basis in unconscious negativity, an area we are motivated to avoid, especially since the advent of the positive thinking culture.

What is unconscious originates outside of our awareness. What is outside of our awareness is outside of our control. To control negativity, we need to be able to see it, focus on it, confront it, deal with it - NOT avoid it.

The positive side of life is valid part of the story. Denying the rest of the story goes against ancient spiritual wisdom, psychological evidence, common sense and sets you up for a lifetime of disappointment and self-sabotage.

Look at the world around you. Look at your own mind and behavior honestly. It is not all positive. Focusing only on the positive and denying the negative is a recipe for disaster. The disaster is in full force all around us. We continue to deny it at our own peril.

We need holistic thinking, not positive thinking.

Positive thinking is the act of thinking good or affirmative thoughts. Many people engage in positive thinking to rid themselves of negative thoughts, even though it is the worst way to get rid of them.

Positive thinking goes against holistic thinking on so many levels. Holistic thinking embraces all of life, the positive and the negative, to the point of transcending them. By transcending them, I don't mean avoiding negativity, but achieving balance between these opposing forces that are not going away, no matter how much we pretend otherwise.

Focusing solely on the positive empowers the negative, because the negative and the positive are connected. It works like a teeter-totter. Sit on one side and the other pops up. Put equal weight on both sides and you can live in balance and harmony.

Lessons from Taoism

Taoism teaches us that the seeming opposites in life actually give rise to each other. Many natural dualities (such as female and male, dark and light, low and high, cold and hot, water and fire, life and death, and so on) are thought of as physical manifestations of the yin-yang concept.

Christian apologist C.S. Lewis spoke highly of the Tao in his book, The Abolition of Man:

The Tao, which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected.
Denying negativity - especially our unconscious attachments to it - is a flat rejection of the Tao.

The Old Testament lays it out clearly, in Eccelesiates 3: 1-8

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

If a "positive thinker," as opposed to (theoretically) King Solomon, had written Ecclesiastes, here is what we might have gotten:

A time to be born, but you never have to die if you see the glass as "half-full."

A time to laugh, but weeping is not necessary because nothing in life is sad if you have a positive mental attitude.

A time to search, and never give up regardless of the evidence.

A time to love, but we're not comfortable mentioning that other word.

A time for peace, so let's pretend there are no bad guys in the world.

A time to heal, but we're not comfortable admitting there is such a thing as killing, or even suffering.

If we are going to deal with the negative before it swallows us, we need to learn to focus on it, intentionally. This involves learning how it operates in our own psyche. We need to face it productively, rather than ignore it. Facing negativity can change your life for the better in ways you have never imagined.

When you face negativity - including the natural negativity within you - with open eyes and an open mind, you naturally put your magnificent intelligence to work to solve problems, not deny them. Self-sabotage, which results from an unconscious attachment to negativity, becomes a thing of the past. To learn more about how to overcome self-sabotage by understanding negative attachments.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Anger Management

Anger is a natural response that we all experience. Some of us feel this emotion more frequently than others. Similarly, some of us control our emotions better than others.

Anger leaves a bad taste in your mouth in the sense that it transmits a lingering feeling of negativity. The angrier you get the deeper the emotional reaction and the longer the bad taste lingers.

Whilst it can be quite healthy to quickly vent one's angry feelings, this should be distinguished from a prolonged rant. The former gets the emotion out and leaves it there. You can then return to a comfortable state of equanimity and turn your focus to better things. The latter, however, has quite a different long-term effect. The ranting serves to anchor the negativity and embed it more deeply thereby ensuring that it is more difficult to shift and move away from.

When you are angry your emotional state is in turmoil. When you wish to control anger you have a choice as to how you go about achieving this aim.

You could approach the subject of overcoming anger from the perspective of changing your thoughts. Thoughts create emotions and these determine your actions. By choosing to change your thoughts to something that is more peaceful you will inevitably begin to feel calmer and more relaxed. The anger will shift along with the focus of your thoughts.

An alternative approach to overcoming anger is to focus upon your emotional state. Although I just said that thought creates emotions that in turn predict behavior, your mind and body interact in a two-way process. Just as mind works upon body the reverse is also the case.

When you are angry everything in your body feels tense. Everything is tight. Your breathing is shallower and more rapid and your heart beats at a swifter rate. Adrenalin flows and you are poised to fight. This is the state that anger creates.

You could beat a cushion and get the tension out that way. You could run it off. Or you could focus upon your state and intentionally shake your muscles loose, deepen your breathing and calm your heart rate.

Hypnosis provides a way in which you can control anger from both angles. Hypnosis is in itself a state of relaxation and so merely by using hypnosis you change both your focus and your state. With hypnosis you can create a state of relaxed awareness at a moments notice and step back from situations so as to see them from a different angle.

There is an added benefit to using hypnosis in that it provides access to your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is the part where automatic patterns of thought and reaction are stored. If your anger thermostat has gotten used to being turned up higher than you wish you could make suggestions to lower this threshold and hence not rise to the bait so swiftly or frequently. 

By Roseanna Leaton

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Video: Can Sleep Make You More Intelligent?

Monday, 11 March 2013

The State of Health of Unvaccinated Children

Vaccinations are a topic of hot medical debate in recent times, with this study providing empirical evidence exactly why. Should we be tampering with the immune system of babies? Why are there so many allergies amongst children these days? If I had children it would be something I would be thinking very seriously about. Scroll down to the final graphic in the article to see the overwhelming comparison between vaccinated and unvaccinated children. 

Illnesses In Unvaccinated Children

 The results of our survey with currently 11921 participants show that unvaccinated children are far less affected by common diseases than vaccinated children. Information about country, gender, age, age distribution, breastfeeding, preferred treatment can be found here.

Atopic diseases among unvaccinated children

Asthma, hayfever and neurodermatitis are seen very frequently today. A recent German study with 17461 children between 0-17 years of age (KIGGS) showed that 4.7% of these children suffer from asthma, 10.7% of these children from hayfever and 13.2% from neurodermatitis. These numbers differ in western countries, i.e. the prevalence of asthma among children in the US is 6% whereas it is 14-16% in Australia (Australia’s Health 2004, AIHW)
The prevalence of asthma among unvaccinated children in our study is around 2.5%, hayfever 3% and neurodermatitis 7%.
According to the KIGGS study more than 40% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 years were sensitized against at least one allergen tested (20 common allergens were tested) and 22.9% had an allergic disease. Although we did not perform a bloodtest, around 10% stated that their children had an allergy.

If you want to compare the results with the results of the survey on our German website go here.

ADS, Hyperactivity, Autism, Sleeping problems, concentration problems and migraine

ADS and Hyperaktivity is between 1 and 2 % in our survey, the prevalence of ADHD in Germany is 7,9% and another 5,9% which were not yet diagnosed, but were borderline cases(KIGGS).

There are also autism cases in unvaccinated children. Among all participants there were 4 severe autism cases.

Of these 4 children one tested very high for metals(mercury, aluminum, arsenic), in another case the mother was tested very high for mercury.

The CDC estimates that about 1 in 88 (1,1%) children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)(Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network). ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54; 1,8%) than among girls(1 in 252;0,39%).(Jon Baio, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008, March 30, 2012 / 61(SS03);1-19)

Otitis media, Sinusitis, Herpes, Warts, Polyps and fungal infections
KIGGS showed that 12.8% of the children in Germany had herpes and 11% suffer from otitis media (an inflammation of the middle ear). If you compare this to unvaccinated childen you can see that herpes among unvaccinated children is very rare (less than 0.5%).

The prevalence of sinusitis in young children has gone up as high as 32% (Albegger KW. Banale Entzüngen der Nase und der Nasennebenhöhlen. In: Berendes J, Link JR, Zöllner F, eds. Hals, Nasen-,OhrenHeilkunde in Praxis und Klinik. Band I. Obere und untere Luftwege. Stuttgart: G Thieme Verlag, 1979: 11.1–11.32.)
In our survey less than 1% of the children have problems with sinusitis, in around 2% it happened only once or rarely.

In young kids under the age of 3 warts are very rare. Above the age of three years however the prevalence is rising. In the ages between 4 and 6 years, 5-10% of the kids have warts, in the age group 16-18, 15-20% have warts.(
Only 3% of unvaccinated children in our survey have warts.

Fine motor skill problems, dentificvation problems, growth pains and scoliosis

Diabetes, Epilepsy and seizures, neurological and autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders
The national institute of health in the USA states that 23.5 % Americans suffer from autoimmune disease. This is a prevalence of more than 7% of children.

Diabetes affects 0.2% of the children under 20 years of age in the USA (National Diabetes Fact Sheet)

The KIGGS study showed prevalences of epilepsy with 3.6%, prevalence of Diabetes in Germany with 0.1% and diseases of the thyroid gland with 1.7%.

Other disorders and diseases
As we included open questions in our survey we evaluated the prevalence (of the first 10070 participants) of some other disorders and illnesses. Unvaccinated children show very low prevalences of the following disorders:

Dyslexia 0,21%
Speech delay/articulation problems 0,38%
Sensory Processing disorder 0,28%
Anxiety 0,25%
Depression 0,12%
Bedwetting 0,12%
Celiac disease 0,12%
Gluten sensitivity 0,41%
GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) 0,06%

* Direct comparison KIGGS study (and other studies) and (July 2012)

** National Institutes of Health
***Jon Baio, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008, March 30, 2012 / 61(SS03);1-19
****National Diabetes Fact Sheet