27 Science Fictions that became facts in 2012

Image

27 Science Fictions that became facts in 2012

27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2012

We may never have our flying cars, but the future is here. From creating fully functioning artificial leaves to hacking the human brain, science made a lot of breakthroughs this year.

posted about 2 weeks ago
Donna Dickens
BuzzFeed Staff

Share45K Email726Pin it
1. Quadriplegic Uses Her Mind to Control Her Robotic Arm

mind control

At the University of Pittsburgh, the neurobiology department worked with 52-year-old Jan Scheuermann over the course of 13 weeks to create a robotic arm controlled only by the power of Scheuermann’s mind.  The team implanted her with two 96-channel intracortical microelectrodes. Placed in the motor cortex, which controls all limb movement, the integration process was faster than anyone expected. On the second day, Jan could use her new arm with a 3-D workspace. By the end of the 13 weeks, she was capable of performing complex tasks with seven-dimensional movement, just like a biological arm.

To date, there have been no negative side effects.
Source: gizmodo.com

2. DARPA Robot Can Traverse an Obstacle Course

Once the robot figures out how to do that without all the wires, humanity is doomed.
DARPA was also hard at work this year making robots to track humans and run as fast as a cheetah, which seems like a great combination with no possibility of horrible side effects.
Source: jwherrman

3. Genetically Modified Silk Is Stronger Than Steel

as strong as steel

Photo Courtesy of Indigo Moon Yarns.
At the University of Wyoming, scientists modified a group of silkworms to produce silk that is, weight for weight, stronger than steel. Different groups hope to benefit from the super-strength silk, including stronger sutures for the medical community, a biodegradable alternative to plastics, and even lightweight armor for military purposes.
Source: bbc.co.uk

4. DNA Was Photographed for the First Time

Using an electron microscope, Enzo di Fabrizio and his team at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa snapped the first photos of the famous double helix.
Source: newscientist.com / via: davi296

5. Invisibility Cloak Technology Took a Huge Leap Forward

invisible cloak

British Columbia company HyperStealth Biotechnology showed a functioning prototype of its new fabric to the U.S. and Canadian military this year. The material, called Quantum Stealth, bends light waves around the wearer without the use of batteries, mirrors, or cameras. It blocks the subject from being seen by visual means but also keeps them hidden from thermal scans and infrared.
Source: toxel.com

6. Spray-On Skin

ReCell by Avita Medical is a medical breakthrough for severe-burn victims. The technology uses a postage stamp–size piece of skin from the patient, leaving the donor site with what looks like a rug burn. Then the sample is mixed with an enzyme harvested from pigs and sprayed back onto the burn site. Each tiny graft expands, covering a space up to the size of a book page within a week. Since the donor skin comes from the patient, the risk of rejection is minimal.
Source: news.discovery.com

7. James Cameron Reached the Deepest Known Point in the Ocean

Cameron was the first solo human to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench. At 6.8 miles deep, it is perhaps more a more alien place to scientists than some foreign planets are. The 2.5-story “vertical torpedo” sub descended over a period of two and a half hours before taking a variety of samples.
Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

8. Stem Cells Could Extend Human Life by Over 100 Years

8

When fast-aging elderly mice with a usual lifespan of 21 days were injected with stem cells from younger mice at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburgh, the results were staggering. Given the injection approximately four days before they were expected to die, not only did the elderly mice live — they lived threefold their normal lifespan, sticking around for 71 days. In human terms, that would be the equivalent of an 80-year-old living to be 200.
Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

9. 3-D Printer Creates Full-Size Houses in One Session

The D-Shape printer, created by Enrico Dini, is capable of printing a two-story building, complete with rooms, stairs, pipes, and partitions. Using nothing but sand and an inorganic binding compound, the resulting material has the same durability as reinforced concrete with the look of marble. The building process takes approximately a fourth of the time as traditional buildings, as long as it sticks to rounded structures, and can be built without specialist knowledge or skill sets.
Source: gizmag.com

10. Self-Driving Cars Are Legal in Nevada, Florida, and California

no hands driving

Google started testing its driverless cars in the beginning of 2012, and by May, Nevada was the first state to take the leap in letting them roam free on the roads. With these cars logging over 300,000 autonomous hours so far, the only two accidents involving them happened when they were being manually piloted.
Source: en.wikipedia.org

11. Voyager I Leaves the Solar System

Launched in 1977, Voyager I is the first manmade object to fly beyond the confines of our solar system and out into the blackness of deep space. It was originally designed to send home images of Saturn and Jupiter, but NASA scientists soon realized eventually the probe would float out into the great unknown. To that end, a recording was placed on Voyager I with sounds ranging from music to whale calls, and greetings in 55 languages.
Source: space.com

12. Custom Jaw Transplant Created With 3-D Printer

A custom working jawbone was created for an 83-year-old patient using titanium powder and bioceramic coating. The first of its kind, the successful surgery opens the door for individualized bone replacement and, perhaps one day, the ability to print out new muscles and organs.
Source: telegraph.co.uk

13. Rogue Planet Floating Through Space

13

Until this year, scientists knew planets orbited a star. Then, in came CFBDSIR2149. With four to seven times the mass of Jupiter, it is the first free-floating object to be officially defined as an exoplanet and not a brown dwarf.
Source: sciencenews.org

14. Chimera Monkeys Created from Multiple Embryos

While all the donor cells were from rhesus monkeys, the researchers combined up to six distinct embryos into three baby monkeys. According to Dr. Mitalipov, “The cells never fuse, but they stay together and work together to form tissues and organs.” Chimera species are used in order to understand the role specific genes play in embryonic development and may lead to a better understanding of genetic mutation in humans.
Source: bbc.co.uk

15. Artificial Leaves Generate Electricity

Using relatively inexpensive materials, Daniel G. Nocera created the world’s first practical artificial leaf. The self-contained units mimic the process of photosynthesis, but the end result is hydrogen instead of oxygen. The hydrogen can then be captured into fuel cells and used for electricity, even in the most remote locations on Earth.
Source: sciencedaily.com

16. Google Goggles Bring the Internet Everywhere

16

Almost everyone has seen the video of Google’s vision of the future. With their Goggles, everyday life is overlaid with a HUD (Head’s Up Display). Controlled by a combination of voice control and where the user is looking, the Goggles show pertinent information, surf the web, or call a loved one.
Source: heraldsun.com.au

17. The Higgs-Boson Particle Was Discovered

17

Over the summer, multinational research center CERN confirmed it had discovered a particle that behaved enough like a Higgs boson to be given the title. For scientists, this meant there could be a Higgs field, similar to an electromagnetic field. In turn, this could lead to the scientists’ ability to interact with mass the same way we currently do with magnetic fields.
Source: forbes.com

18. Flexible, Inexpensive Solar Panels Challenge Fossil Fuel

At half the price of today’s cheapest solar cells, Twin Creeks’ Hyperion uses an ion canon to bombard wafer-thin panels. The result is a commercially viable, mass-produced solar panel that costs around 40 cents per watt.
Source: extremetech.com
19. Diamond Planet Discovered

19

An exoplanet made entirely of diamonds was discovered this year by an international research team. Approximately five times the size of Earth, the small planet had mass similar to that of Jupiter. Scientists believe the short distance from its star coupled with the exoplanet’s mass means the planet, remnants of another star, is mostly crystalline carbon.
Source: io9.com

20. Eye Implants Give Sight to the Blind

20

Two blind men in the U.K. were fitted with eye implants during an eight-hour surgery with promising results. After years of blindness, both had regained “useful” vision within weeks, picking up the outlines of objects and dreaming in color. Doctors expect continued improvement as their brains rewire themselves for sight.
Source: telegraph.co.uk

21. Wales Barcodes DNA of Every Flowering Plant Species in the Country

Photo Courtesy of Virtual Tourist.
Led by the National Botanic Garden’s head of research and conversation, a database of DNA for all 1,143 native species of Wales has been created. With the use of over 5,700 barcodes, plants can now be identified by photos of their seeds, roots, wood, or pollen. The goal is to help researchers track things such as bee migration patterns or how a plant species encroaches on a new area. The hope is to eventually barcode both animal and plant species across the world.
Source: walesonline.co.uk

22. First Unmanned Commercial Space Flight Docks with the ISS

SpaceX docked its unmanned cargo craft, the Dragon, with the International Space Station. It marked the first time in history a private company had sent a craft to the station. The robotic arm of the ISS grabbed the capsule in the first of what will be many resupply trips.
Source: nytimes.com

23. Ultra-Flexible “Willow” Glass Will Allow for Curved Electronic Devices

23

Created by New York–based developer Corning, the flexible glass prototype was shown off at an industry trade show in Boston. At only 0.05mm thick, it’s as thin as a sheet of paper. Perhaps Sony’s wearable PC concept will actually be possible before 2020.
Source: bbc.co.uk

24. NASA Begins Using Robotic Exoskeletons

The X1 Robotic Exoskeleton weighs in at 57 lbs. and contains four motorized joints along with six passive ones. With two settings, it can either hinder movement, such as when helping astronauts exercise in space, or aid movement, assisting paraplegics with walking.
Source: news.cnet.com

25. Human Brain Is Hacked

Usenix Security had a team of researchers use off-the-shelf technology to show how vulnerable the human brain really is. With an EEG (electroencephalograph) headset attached to the scalp and software to figure out what the neurons firing are trying to do, it watches for spikes in brain activity when the user recognizes something like one’s ATM PIN number or a child’s face.
Source: extremetech.com

26. First Planet with FOUR Suns Discovered

26

Discovered by amateur astronomers, the planet closely orbits a pair of stars, which in turn orbit another set of more distant stars. It’s approximately the size of Neptune, so scientists are still trying to work out how the planet has avoided being pulled apart by the gravitational force of that many stars.
Source: io9.com

27. Microsoft Patented the “Holodeck”

The patent suggests Microsoft wants to take gaming beyond a single screen and turn it into an immersive experience — beaming images all over the room, accounting for things like furniture, and bending the graphics around them to create a seamless environment.
Source: bbc.co.uk

You can read this in full on http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/27-science-fictions-that-became-science-facts-in-2

In pain? want to work with me for free?

Image

In pain? want to work with me for free?

I am looking to help five people that suffer from chronic pain. I am specifically looking for people with the following conditions or problems:

* Chronic injury – any type

* Chronic back pain – lower/upper/middle

* Frozen shoulder

* IBS / Lupus / Rheumatoid Arthritis / Carpal Tunnel Syndrome /

* Phantom Limb Pain

You will get the opportunity of working with me completely free of charge for one session. This would usually cost at least £220.  I can work over Skype / Phone / or face-to-face at my practise in London.

Yes, it’s an opportunity to work with me totally free of charge but in exchange I would like permission from you to film the sessions so that I can use them on my website.

If you are interested – or know anybody that is – you can email my assistant, Celeste, at pa@careymann.com.

Sour Cherries: Natures Painkiller

Image

Sour Cherries: Natures Painkiller

Sour Cherries: Natures Painkiller!

Written by Tovah Kersner at http://www.2baware.net/healthy-foods/sour-cherries-natures-painkiller/

Sour cherries: natures painkiller! Why you may ask, should something so ordinary like sour cherries, be one of natures painkillers? It’s all to do with Anthocyanins, a very powerful antioxidant compound in this fruit. Along with providing the dark red pigment in sour cherries, scientists have linked phytonutrients, to high antioxidant ratio. Reducing inflammation at levels comparable to some well-known pain medications.

In fact, sour cherries: natures painkiller! are one of the highest levels of antioxidants than many other foods. Coming in 14th out of the top fifty foods for highest antioxidant properties. More than Prunes, dark chocolate and red wine.

I know from personal experience how tart, sour cherries help me as natures painkiller! I have osteoarthritis a very debilitating disease. I used to have to take high doses of anti-inflammatory medication, prescribed by my doctor, to kill the pain and be able to walk, but all they did was upset my stomach.

It’s so much more advantageous to eat natural whole foods, than taking medicine or even supplements. Besides eating a good natural diet, I eat 8-10 dried organic tart sour cherries every day. I’m now able to workout in the gym, swim 20 laps 3 times a week, ride a bike and play table-tennis (ping-pong)

The main anti-inflammatory benefits of Sour Cherries: Natures Painkiller! are for:

Osteoarthritis
Gout
extensive benefits for heart health
help reduce post-exercise muscle and joint pain

Sour Cherries are available all year round in one form or another.

Dried
Frozen
Juice concentrate
Fresh – in certain parts of the world.

The technical name for sour cherries is Prunus Cerasus.

There are a variety of tart, Sour Cherries: Natures Painkiller! Montmorency or Amorelle cherry, Balaton and Morello tart cherries. Montmorency is the most commonly grown tart sour cherry in the U.S.A. Canada France. The Balaton sour cherry originated in Hungary and the Morello cherry originating in Europe and southwest Asia. Australia have their own specific sour cherry tree called: Syzygium Corynanthum

A word of warning:

To get the full benefit of tart sour cherries, it’s best to avoid chemical pesticides, and pay a little more money for organic fruit!
There are also dark sweet cherries that can be bought in markets in some areas in summer, but sweet cherries don’t have the same properties as tart sour cherries.
Antioxidant Capacity of Tart Sour Cherries

ORAC (Per 100 grams)
Frozen Cherries (1 cup) 2,000
Dried Cherries (½ cup) 6,800
Cherry Juice (8 ounces) 1,600
Cherry Juice Concentrate (1 ounce) 12,800

What is ORAC
Is a measure of antioxidant strength (Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity) ORAC measures how many oxygen radicals a specific food can absorb and deactivate. The more oxygen radicals a food can absorb, the higher its ORAC score.

There are more benefits from eating tart sour cherries: natures painkiller!

Tart Sour Cherries are fat-free, low in sodium and provide a number of vitamins and minerals.
Contain antioxidants which will block enzymes that cause inflammation.
Tart Cherries contain 19 times more vitamin A than blueberries or strawberries.
Contain vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium
One serving of tart cherries provides 25% of the daily food value of vitamin A.
Tart cherry juice has been used by arthritis and gout sufferers since the 50’s
Scientists have linked tart cherries to a number of cardiovascular benefits.
Lower cholesterol.
Reduced belly fat.
Decreased risk for atherosclerosis.
Decreased risk of metabolic syndrome.
Helps to reduce high fat and sugar levels.

EXERCISE RECOVERY AND PAIN RELIEF:

Tart cherries could help athletes reduce muscle damage to recover faster from a tough workout.

Experiments have been conducted by giving 12 ounces of cherry juice or a placebo drink twice a day for eight days, to 14 college guys. On the fourth day the men were asked to perform strenuous weight lifting exercises of two sets of 20 reps each. Their loss of strength after exercise was only 4 percent with the tart cherry juice drinkers, compared to 22 percent with the placebo juice drinkers. The tart cherry juice drinkers also had much less pain.

Many studies have been done regarding this subject, but again I know from my own personal experience that eating tart cherries greatly relieves symptoms for post-workout pain. I certainly recommend that everyone incorporate a few tart, sour cherries: natures painkiller! into their diet every day. Manage your diet to manage your pain!

FIVE WAYS TO ADD TART CHERRIES TO YOUR ROUTINE

Swap your typical berries for dried cherries and add them to your cereal, oatmeal, yoghurt or pancakes.
Grab some 100% cherry juice or fill a water bottle with diluted cherry juice concentrate each morning before you hit the gym to help aid in muscle recovery.
Makes a change from your standard blueberry muffin recipe and use dried or frozen cherries instead.
Keep a bag of frozen cherries in the freezer and layer with lowfat va nilla yogurt and granola.
Make a refreshing cherry spritzer by adding cherry juice concentrate to ice cold seltzer water for a refreshing treat.

Start today – eating Tart, Sour Cherries: Natures Painkiller!

To good health … and I hope that you will visit us soon at:

http://www.outoftheboxremedies.com/

Resources for this blog:

http://www.choosecherries.com/

http://www.choosecherries.com/pdfs/cherries_FINAL_Red_Report.pdf

Does the heart have a memory?

Video

Knowing By Heart: Cellular Memory in Heart Transplants
by Kate Ruth Linton

Throughout history, a number of individuals in the scientific community have proven reluctant to accept or even acknowledge new concepts simply because they have not been able to fit them into the confines of their limited understanding concerning the natural world. In the realm of heart transplantation technology, uncharted and controversial territory is beginning to emerge as a result of a concept known as cellular memory. What is cellular memory, particularly in relation to the technology of heart transplantation? And is cellular memory, in fact, a valid concept worthy of further investigation? These are precisely the concerns/questions I intend to address today.

On May 29, 1988, a woman named Claire Sylvia received the heart of an 18-year-old male who had been killed in a motorcycle accident. Soon after the operation, Sylvia
noticed some distinct changes in her attitudes, habits, and tastes. She found herself acting more masculine, strutting down the street (which, being a dancer, was not her usual manner of walking). She began craving foods, such as green peppers and beer, which she had always disliked before. Sylvia even began having recurring dreams about a mystery man named Tim L., who she had a feeling was her donor.

As it turns out, he was. Upon meeting the “family of her heart,” as she put it, Sylvia discovered that her donor’s name was, in fact, Tim L., and that all the changes she had been experiencing in her attitudes, tastes, and habits closely mirrored that of Tim’s (Sylvia179).

Some members of the scientific community and of society, as a whole, may brush this off as being merely a strange coincidence. However, some believe that episodes such as this one offer evidence of a concept known as cellular memory, which s beginning to gather more and more attention in the scientific community as the technology of heart transplantation improves and affects more people throughout the world (Bellecci 1).

Cellular memory is defined as the idea that the cells in our bodies contain information about our personalities, tastes, and histories (Carroll 1). Evidence of this phenomenon
has been found most prevalently in heart transplant recipients. Though cellular memory may seem too far-fetched for some, several scientists and physicians have looked further into it as a valid concept and have come up with various theories to try and gain more understanding of it.

Some have tried to gain a deeper understanding of cellular memory through the realm of chemistry. One such scientist is Candace Pert, Ph. D., who studies biochemistry. Her findings helped support one belief which a growing number of scientists have now adopted: “every cell in our body has its own ‘mind’…and if you transfer tissues from one body to another, the cells from the first body will carry memories into the second body” (Sylvia 221). In other words, these scientists believe cellular memory does, in fact, exist…although they would probably prefer not to word their belief as such.

Candace Pert discovered that at least one aspect of our minds has been distributed to other organs throughout the human body. She found that the brain and the body send messages to each other through short chains of amino acids known as neuropeptides and receptors. These amino acid chains were previously known to exist exclusively in the brain. However, Pert and her colleagues have found them in places all throughout the body, especially in major organs such as the heart (Pert 1).

Another scientist whose attempts to grasp the concept of cellular memory were made through chemical terms is Dr. Andrew Armour. Armour was one of the early pioneers in neurocardiology, a new discipline in which the communicative relationship between the brain and heart via the nervous system is explored.

Recent research has shown that communication between the heart and brain is a “dynamic, ongoing, two-way dialogue, ith each organ continuously influencing the other’s function” (HeartMath Institute 1).

In 1991, Armour introduced the concept of a functional “heart brain.” He discovered that the heart has its own intrinsic nervous system and that the complexity of this system is great enough to qualify it as a “little brain” in its own right. Thus, Armour calls the heart’s intrinsic nervous system the “little brain in the heart.”

Basically, the heart’s brain is an intricate network of several types of neurons,transmitters, proteins, and support cells that allow it to act independent of the “cranial brain—to learn, remember, and even feel and sense” (HeartMath 1). Information is translated into neurological impulses by the heart’s nervous system and sent from the heart to the brain through various pathways. These impulses reach the medulla, located in the brain stem, where they have a regulatory role over many of the blood vessels, glands and organs. However, they also reach higher centers of the brain, where they may influence “perception, decision making and other cognitive processes” (HeartMath 2).

Armour describes in his book, Neurocardiology, that the heart’s intrinsic nervous system, which functions independently of the brain and nervous system at large, is what allows a heart transplant to work: under normal circumstances, the heart and brain communicate with each other via nerve fibers running through the spinal column. In a heart transplant, however, these nerve connections are severed and do not reconnect for an extended period of time, if at all. Fortunately, the transplanted heart is still able to function in its new body using its intact, intrinsic nervous system (HeartMath 2). Certainly the independent quality of the heart’s “little brain” would have a part in retaining and recalling cellular memory, regardless of whose body may be housing it. However, as previously stated, the discipline of neurocardiology is relatively new, so theories such as this may not yet be firmly established in the scientific community.

Some physicians and scientists have tried to gain understanding of cellular memory through psychological, metaphysical, and even supernatural terms. One can see why they would go to these unconventional lengths in order to try and explain cellular memory when faced with such disturbing incidents as this: several years ago, an eight-year-old irl received the heart of a ten-year-old girl who was murdered. Shortly after receiving her new heart, the girl began having recurring nightmares about the man who had murdered her donor. She believed she knew who the murderer was. Her mother finally brought her to a psychiatrist and after several sessions, the girl’s psychiatrist “could not deny the reality of what the child was telling her.” They decided to call the police and, using the descriptions from the little girl, they found the murderer. According to the psychiatrist, “the time, the weapon, the place, the clothes he wore, what the little girl he killed had said to him. Everything the little heart transplant recipient reported was completely accurate” (Pearsall 7). Needless to say, the psychiatrist was eager to find any available explanation for this particular patient’s experience.

Several transplant surgeons have contributed to a theory for cellular memory essentially based on psychological and metaphysical conditions, which Dr. Paul Pearsall has pieced together. Pearsall is a psychoneuroimmunologist, or a licensed psychologist who studies the relationship between the brain, immune system, and an individual’s life experiences. Pearsall calls this theory the “Lowered Recall Threshold” (Pearsall 120). Basically, it suggests that the immunosuppressive drugs that transplant recipients must take are what bring about associations to donor experiences in recipients. Immunosuppressive drugs minimize the chances of rejection of the new, foreign heart by suppressing the recipient’s immune system. Scientists believe these drugs could also possibly act as psychotropic, meaning “acting on the mind” (Merriam-Webster 1090), stimulants that lower the patient’s “thresholds for accessibility” and enhance their perception, allowing them to recall memories they may have long forgotten. In other words, transplant recipients who claim to be having experiences with the cellular memories of their donors are actually just recalling their own memories of their own life experiences (Pearsall 120). However, in instances such as the eight-year-old girl’s who received the murdered girl’s heart, this certainly does not seem to be the case.

James Van Praagh, one of the “foremost spiritual mediums in the world” (James 1), speculates that cellular memory is due to the presence of the donor’s spirit that has not yet moved on to its next home. Praagh is a “survival evidence medium,” one that is able to ake connections between the world of the living and the world of the dead by providing proof of life after death through detailed messages. In his own words, he “feels the emotions and personalities of the deceased” (James 1), much like Whoopi Goldberg in the film, Ghost. Praagh points out that donated organs often come from young people who were killed in unexpected ways, and died quickly. Because their spirits feel they have not yet completed their time on earth, they may linger in whatever physical aspect of them is still being put to use; in this case, their donated heart (Sylvia 229).

An extension of this theory, developed by other spiritual mediums, suggests that because of the suddenness of many donors’ deaths, the donor’s spirit may not have yet realized that its body is dead. Thus, the transplanted heart continues to function as if it were in its original body, not realizing that its original owner is no longer there (Pearsall 119).

Theories such as these are indeed very intriguing and do seem to make sense for cellular memory. However, because theories involving spiritual phenomena are somewhat elusive and difficult to prove scientifically, many people are reluctant to accept them as truth.
Hospitals are very strict concerning the disclosure of donor information to recipients. In order to protect the family members of the donor as well as the recipient, hospital authorities do not allow recipients to know anything about the person whose organ they have received (Sylvia 200). Despite this control, many nurses claim that cellular memory is really just the patient piecing together information about the donor that they may have gathered from discussions by various health-care staff who were around them. This is called the “Hospital Grapevine Theory” (Pearsall 119). Although it is unlikely that these discussions could have taken place in the patient’s presence while he or she was conscious (because of the hospital policy concerning disclosure), it is possible that the health-care staff talked about the donor while the patient was anesthetized.

One previously discussed heart transplant recipient, Claire Sylvia, thought this may have been the case with her cellular memory experiences. However, once she contacted one of the physicians present in the operating room where she received the transplant, she found hat the room had been absolutely silent. . .”the way Dr. Baldwin (the surgeon) likes it” (166). At least for Sylvia’s case, the Hospital Grapevine theory does not seem to apply.

Of course, not all heart transplant recipients experience as great a degree of cellular memory as Claire Sylvia, if any at all. One such individual is Larry Slagle, one of my
professor’s friends, kind enough to allow me to interview him. On May 19, 1995, Larry, a then 60-year-old man, received the heart of a 33-year-old motorcyclist who had been killed while riding in Delaware (or so he vaguely remembers being told by the transplant coordinator). When asked whether he or anyone else around him has noticed changes in his person since the operation, Larry jokingly replied that he now finds himself craving “beer and peppers” all the time (referring to Claire Sylvia’s experience with cellular memory: after her operation she began craving beer and peppers, like her donor).

Apparently, he had read up on cellular memory, but still gave “no credence” to the theory. There were some changes that he did admit to though: he finds that he has
become more kind, more inclined to set goals for himself (like bicycling regularly, an activity he enjoyed prior to his operation), and he now has a tremendous desire to feel
useful. Also, despite his delight at being alive, he mentioned that he is very irritable.

This particular change, he claims, is due to Pritazone, one of man immunosuppressive drugs he takes daily. His explanation for the other changes all had to do with the psychology of being a transplant recipient: the renewed kindness came out of being a beneficiary of “such kindness and skill,” the desire to feel useful came out of his attitude that “to get a gift like that and waste it would be a terrible thing,” and the goals he sets for himself are his “answer to depression,” his way of going on with life. In other words, Larry feels he has not experienced any degree of cellular memory…or “at least been aware of it,” as he chose to put it.

Although my interview with Larry did not yield the results I had hoped for (a compelling account of cellular memory, of course), he did pose some interesting questions that
challenged my resolve about cellular memory and really made me think. One question that particularly struck me was: If cellular memory is, in fact, a valid concept, then why doesn’t it occur more often than not? Bruce Lipton, a former Stanford research scientist who received training in cellular and developmental biology, proposed one possible explanation for this trend. His reason implements Candace Pert’s discovery of neuropeptides in the heart, which function as keys that fit into specific types of receptors located on the surface of heart cells: A transplanted heart comes with the donor’s unique set of self-receptors, which differ, naturally, from those of the recipient. As a result, the recipient now possesses cells that respond to two different “identities.” Not every recipient will sense that a set of cells within their body is now responding to a second signal. But if anyone is going to experience this change, it might well be a dancer who is acutely aware of her own body, referring to Claire Sylvia. Sylvia 222.

In other words, instances of cellular memory in heart transplant recipients may be relatively uncommon since the average transplant recipient most likely does not have a finely tuned awareness of his/her own body (refusal to take note of their body’s signals may actually be what landed them in line for a transplant in the first place). Thus many transplant recipients probably would not notice the, many times, subtle changes that may occur due to the second set of receptors now present in their body.

Although instances of cellular memory do seem to be the exception to the rule, one must not allow them to be ruled out entirely. In the words of famed psychiatrist and
philosopher, William James, “If you wish to disprove the laws that all crows are black, it is enough if you prove one single crow to be white (Bellecci 2). These rare instances of cellular memory are medical white crows.

There may not be enough evidence to say one way or another whether cellular memory is valid. However, judging from the theories and accounts of cellular memory discussed above, one can certainly see a need for further investigation of it. Cellular memory may be baffling, and the scientific community may know very little about it. But is that not the impetus behind most scientific research? To explore the unknown and find answers to the unanswered? I believe that it is. And for that reason, I believe that we, as members of society, owe it to the generations to come to support research in this area.

With further investigation of cellular memory, perhaps someday we will be able to really nlock the heart’s mysteries and memories and truly understand what the statement, “knowing by heart,” means.

The extent to which cellular memory is currently being investigated reaches only as far as heart research. One of the more cutting-edge heart research institutes is HeartMath, located in Boulder Creek, California. Here, the relationship between the heart and brain, and the ways in which this relationship affects one’s physical, mental, and emotional health is explored.

Cellular memory has not yet entered the arena of serious investigation, though I believe it should. Perhaps scientists could work to find a cure for cellular memory, a means for suppressing memories in donor organs so that recipients would not have to undergo the emotional stress caused by cellular memory, in addition to the physical trauma that they have suffered during the operation

How to rewire your brain

Image

How to rewire your brain

By Deborah Kotz, Globe Staff

Former British prime minister Winston Churchill once described success as the “ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” He might have been more than a little prescient because researchers have since found that optimism plays a key role in achievement in life — as well as increasing our odds of living longer and healthier.

But where scientists once thought that having a sunny outlook, or a rainy one, was set in stone on the day we were conceived, the latest research suggests that genes play only a 30 percent to 40 percent role in our outlook and that, with a little training, our brains have the ability to shift over time from a more negative outlook to a more positive one.

A book published this week provides a roadmap for rewiring the brain and redefines what optimism is. “It’s not just positive thinking but for positive actions,” said Oxford University cognitive neuroscientist Elaine Fox, author of the book, Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain. Persistence is key: Rather than sitting and passively waiting for life to happen, optimistic people take steps to implement their goals.

A 2005 University of Kentucky study found that optimistic folks spent a minute longer trying to solve an unsolvable anagram word puzzle than those who were more pessimistic. “They literally don’t give up as easily and this links to greater success in life,” said Fox. “Optimists tend to think they can change things; they have a real sense of control, even if it’s illusory.”

Clearly, we need our darker side to pull us back from ultimately fruitless pursuits, but overall, we’re better off believing that we can surmount any challenge life throws our way. “Optimism needs to be tied to realism,” explained Fox, “understanding that things are going to go wrong but that you’ll be able to deal with them.”

If you’re not sure where you fall on the optimism/pessimism scale, take this life orientation test. If you already know that you see life as one bad roll of the dice after another, Fox said there are several things you can do to increase optimism. “Research is encouraging. We know that we can change how the brain circuits function to change a person’s outlook, but a person needs to put a lot of effort into it,” Fox said.

Someone with severe pessimism that causes anxiety disorder or clinical depression, for example, might need to see a professional for cognitive behavioral therapy to learn how to challenge and dispel negative thoughts that prevent positive action.

Those who have milder pessimistic tendencies can try the following to shift to a sunnier outlook.

1. Make a daily tally of negative and positive events. Create a list — starting from when you wake up in the morning — of all the little things that go right and all those things that go wrong, from burning the toast at breakfast to running into an old friend on the train to work. “People prone to feeling depressed and down tend to be surprised at how many good things happened to them that day,” said Fox. “Something as simple as making a list can help people gradually, over time, notice the good things when they happen, drawing the brain’s attention more and more to positive things and away from the negative.”

2. Aim for three positive experiences for every one negative one. Most optimists engage in three enjoyable activities for every one they wish they could avoid, whether it’s drinking their favorite brand of coffee, taking a yoga class, or watching a short clip online of their favorite movie just before they have to tackle that dreaded phone call to an irritated relative. The key is to build things into your day that you look forward to and to cut back on things, when possible, that you don’t.

3. Exercise every day. Getting some sort of physical activity every day works like a natural antidepressant to boost your mood, giving you a more positive feeling about life, thanks to an elevation of certain brain chemicals such as serotonin and BDNF. Yes, you should engage in activities that are pleasurable — take a dance class if you hate jogging — so you don’t violate step #2.

4. Engage in mindfulness meditation. Learning to be present in the moment can help build regions of the brain responsible for mediating your emotional states, research has shown. Those who practice mindfulness tend to feel happier and more at ease in life simply from focusing their brains on the present rather than mulling over the past or fretting about the future. Take a class or check out this video to learn the basic techniques.

Deborah Kotz can be reached at dkotz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.

One Lovely Blog Award

Image

One Lovely Blog Award

The courageous, and inspiring http://wellcallmecrazy.wordpress.com/ has nominated me for One Lovely Blog Award.  I cannot tell you how much it has lifted my spirit this week. If your experience of life right now feels a little bit dark, and hopeless then her blog will inspire you and no doubt give you a new found hope.

If you are nominated and would like to pay-it-forward, so to speak, then this is what you need to do.

1. Display the award logo
2. Link back to the person that nominated you
3. State 7 things about yourself
4. Nominate 8-15 other bloggers for this award and link to them
5. Notify those bloggers and the award requirements

7 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME

1. I have 2 cats called T2 and Mel Gibson.

2. I spend my summers in Sweden.

3. The first time that I met my Husband’s parents, everybody was naked in a sauna.

4. I was crippled with chronic pain until I stumbled across EFT.

5. I was born in Essex but graduated from New Milford High School in Connecticut, USA.

6. I have converted from atheism to spirituality – thanks to Dr. Bruce Lipton.

7. I love learning about neuroscience and quantum physics.

 

I AM NOMINATING THE FOLLOWING BLOGS

1. http://wellcallmecrazy.wordpress.com/
This is a really beautifully written blog that I think many people will be inspired by. She talks openly about the ups and downs of life, and her experience of mental illness.

2. http://mindhacks.com/
This blog has a collection of posts that ‘probe into the moment-by-moment workings of the brain’, which helps me to understand myself, and others, better.

3. http://painlessexhibition.wordpress.com/
I have only just started following this blog. I believe that it has been written to support an existing exhibition at The Science Museum in London. You are likely to enjoy this blog If you have an interest in chronic pain, or experience chronic pain yourself.

4. http://www.thesartorialist.com/
As well as a healthy passion for science I also love fashion. This blog is written by Scott Schuman. I love the way that he can suck people in to a fashion debate with a mere photo. The blog has a mixture of Men’s and Women’s fashion, and it’s really what I call Fashion Street Life.

5. http://weirdscience.ca/
This is a fun, witty, easy to read, and understand, science blog. I promise you that you won’t feel like you are back in the classroom. And I am sure that you will fall in love with Tiko his dog, just as i have.

6. http://50yearproject.wordpress.com/
I love this blog because it brings to life one of my favourite quotes “If you want something that you’ve never had, go do something that you’ve never done”. The blog is a compelling read and it’s inspiring to know that people are out there focusing on what they want, rather than what they don’t want. Bravo!

7. http://motivationalrants.wordpress.com/
I love a good ole’ rant sometimes and this blog does it with a positivity that’s both motivational and nourishing. Thank you for a wonderful blog.

8. http://www.persistenceunlimited.com/
A curious adventurer that can help you with any goal setting task. His blog is full of articles that can help you to make more money, create great relationships, feel more motivated, lose weight and lots more. It’s really a great place to go if you need help.