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Magic Mushrooms can ‘Reset’ Depressed Brain

A hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms can “reset” the brains of people with untreatable depression, raising hopes of a future treatment, scans suggest.

The small study gave 19 patients a single dose of the psychedelic ingredient psilocybin.
Half of patients ceased to be depressed and experienced changes in their brain activity that lasted about five weeks.

However, the team at Imperial College London says people should not self-medicate.

There has been a series of small studies suggesting psilocybin could have a role in depression by acting as a “lubricant for the mind” that allows people to escape a cycle of depressive symptoms.
But the precise impact it might be having on brain activity was not known.

The team at Imperial performed fMRI brain scans before treatment with psilocybin and then the day after (when the patients were “sober” again).

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed psilocybin affected two key areas of the brain.

  • The amygdala – which is heavily involved in how we process emotions such as fear and anxiety – became less active. The greater the reduction, the greater the improvement in reported symptoms.
  • The default-mode network – a collaboration of different brain regions – became more stable after taking psilocybin.

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial, said the depressed brain was being “clammed up” and the psychedelic experience “reset” it.

He told the BBC News website: “Patients were very ready to use this analogy. Without any priming they would say, ‘I’ve been reset, reborn, rebooted’, and one patient said his brain had been defragged and cleaned up.”

However, this remains a small study and had no “control” group of healthy people with whom to compare the brain scans.

Further, larger studies are still needed before psilocybin could be accepted as a treatment for depression.

However, there is no doubt new approaches to treatment are desperately needed.

Prof Mitul Mehta, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said: “What is impressive about these preliminary findings is that brain changes occurred in the networks we know are involved in depression, after just a single dose of psilocybin.

“This provides a clear rationale to now look at the longer-term mechanisms in controlled studies.”

By James Gallagher    Health and science reporter, BBC News website    14 October 2017
 
source: www.bbc.com
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Fun Fact Friday

  • You’re chances of dying are greater in the taxi cab on the way to/from an airport than on the actual flight itself.

  • Having excessive body hair is linked to higher intellect.

 

  • When digested, cheese releases casomorphin, a compound that stimulates fat intake, slows digestion, and may even have a narcotic effect.

  • The population of Japan spends $300 million a year on mushrooms alone.


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Psychology says, when we’re constantly wishing for something, we overlook everything we already have.

  • The mushrooms in Mario games are based on a real species called ‘Amanita Muscaria’ that when eaten, make people feel like they’re growing.

 

  • Straightening out the physical aspects of your life can also bring clarity to the mental one.

  • Drinking white or green tea every day will minimize the environmental damage done to your skin, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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The Healthiest Way to Cook Mushrooms Is Totally Surprising

Scientists have revealed the best way to cook mushrooms — and it’s not in a frying pan.
Mushrooms are healthy because of the significant amount of dietary fiber, protein, amino acids, vitamins (including B1, B2, B12, C, D and E) and trace minerals that they contain, as well as the fact that they’re low in fat and calories.

But, according to researchers from the Mushroom Technological Research Center of La Rioja in Spain, mushrooms’ composition, antioxidant capacity and nutritional content can be negatively affected by the cooking process.

For the study, which was published in the International Journal of Food Sciences, the team evaluated the influence of boiling, microwaving, grilling and frying white button, shiitake, oyster and king oyster mushrooms. After cooking the four types of mushrooms, which were chosen because they are the most widely consumed species of mushroom worldwide, the samples were freeze-dried and analyzed, with the results compared to raw versions.

The researchers concluded that the best way to cook mushrooms while still preserving their nutritional properties is to grill or microwave them, as the fried and boiled mushrooms showed significantly less antioxidant activity. The fried mushrooms in particular revealed a severe loss in protein and carbohydrate content, but an increase in fat.”Frying and boiling treatments produced more severe losses in proteins and antioxidants compounds, probably due to the leaching of soluble substances in the water or in the oil, which may significantly influence the nutritional value of the final product,” said Irene Roncero, one of the study’s authors, in a statement.

Kate Samuelson     May 22, 2017     TIME Health
 
source: time.com


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‘Magic Mushroom’ Psychedelic May Ease Anxiety, Depression

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The psychedelic drug in “magic mushrooms” can quickly and effectively help treat anxiety and depression in cancer patients, an effect that may last for months, two small studies show.

It worked for Dinah Bazer, who endured a terrifying hallucination that rid her of the fear that her ovarian cancer would return. And for Estalyn Walcoff, who says the drug experience led her to begin a comforting spiritual journey.

The work released Thursday is preliminary and experts say more definitive research must be done on the effects of the substance, called psilocybin (sih-loh-SY’-bihn).

But the record so far shows “very impressive results,” said Dr. Craig Blinderman, who directs the adult palliative care service at the Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He didn’t participate in the work.

Psilocybin, also called shrooms, purple passion and little smoke, comes from certain kinds of mushrooms. It is illegal in the U.S., and if the federal government approves the treatment, it would be administered in clinics by specially trained staff, experts say.

Nobody should try it on their own, which would be risky, said the leaders of the two studies, Dr. Stephen Ross of New York University and Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Psychedelic drugs have looked promising in the past for treating distress in cancer patients. But studies of medical use of psychedelics stopped in the early 1970s after a regulatory crackdown on the drugs, following their widespread recreational use. It has slowly resumed in recent years.

Griffiths said it’s not clear whether psilocybin would work outside of cancer patients, although he suspects it might work in people facing other terminal conditions. Plans are also underway to study it in depression that resists standard treatment, he said.

The new studies, published in the Journal of Psychotherapy, are small. The NYU project, which also included psychotherapy, covered just 29 patients. The Hopkins study had 51.

Bazer, who lives in New York, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010, when she was 63. Treatment was successful, but then she became anxious about it coming back.

“I just began to be filled with a terrible dread,” she said in an interview. “You’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. … (The anxiety) was ruining my life.”

She swallowed a capsule of psilocybin in 2012 in the company of two staff members trained to guide her through the several hours that the drug would affect her brain. As she listened to music through headphones, her eyes covered with a sleep mask, the drug went to work.

“Suddenly I was in a dark, terrifying place, lost in space, lost in time,” she recalled. “I had no bearings and I was really, really terrified.”

magic-mushrooms

Then she saw her dread of a cancer recurrence as a black mass in her abdomen, and she furiously yelled at it to leave.

“As soon as that happened, the fear was gone,” she said. “I was just floating in the music … like being carried in a river.”

Then she felt deep love for her family and friends, and sensed their love for her. “It felt like I was bathed in God’s love … I’m still an atheist, by the way, but that really seemed to be the only way to describe it.”

Researchers said such mystical experiences appeared to play a role in the drug’s therapeutic effect.

Walcoff, 69, a psychotherapist in Rochester, New York, also entered the NYU study because of her anxiety over a cancer recurrence, in her case, lymphoma. (Most participants had active cancer.)

Psilocybin “opened me up to pursue meditation and spiritual searching,” Walcoff said, and as a result of that “I have become reassured and convinced that that phase of my life is over and it’s not going to come back.”

Most funding for the studies came from the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit organization that supports studies of psilocybin and other hallucinogens.

In both studies, psilocybin treatment had more effect on anxiety and depression than a placebo did. For example, by the day after treatment, about 80 per cent of the treated NYU patients no longer qualified as clinically anxious or depressed by standard measures. That compares to about 30 per cent for the placebo group. That’s a remarkably fast response, experts said, and it endured for the seven weeks of the comparison.

The studies took different approaches for formulating a placebo. At NYU, patients were given niacin, which mimics some effects of psilocybin. At Hopkins, the placebo was a very low dose of psilocybin itself.

Researchers in both studies eventually gave full psilocybin treatment to the placebo groups and followed all the patients for about six months. The beneficial effects appeared to persist over that period. But the evidence for that is less strong than for the shorter term, because there was no longer any placebo comparison group.

No severe side effects arose from the treatment.

Dr. William Breitbart, chief of the psychiatry service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who didn’t participate in the studies, said they were improvements over prior research on the topic. But there were still enough shortcomings to make him cautious about drawing conclusions, he said.

In any case, Bazer and Walcoff say the treatment affected more than their cancer anxieties. Walcoff said it has helped her work on being less judgmental and more self-accepting. Bazer said it made her a more patient driver and more active socially.

“It really changed everything for me,” Bazer said. “And I still do not have anxiety about the cancer coming back.”

 

MALCOLM RITTER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS         12.01.2016

 


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The Nut That Protects Against Liver Cancer

When it comes to keeping the doctor away, apples could have some serious competition.

Based on new research, the adage could easily be changed to be “Two Brazil nuts a day keeps the doctor away.” That’s because according to the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a deficiency in the mineral selenium is linked to a marked increase in liver cancer risk. And, you guessed it: Brazil nuts are an amazing source of selenium.

The researchers recognized that selenium deficiency is a widespread health concern that appears to be a risk factor for liver cancer and possibly other forms of cancer, although this study only examined the mineral deficiency’s effect on liver health. The researchers found that suboptimal selenium status may be linked to an appreciably increased risk of liver cancer—up to 10 TIMES the risk.

Eating a diet that contains adequate amounts of the mineral is not only critical to liver health and cancer prevention, it is also imperative to fertility and reproduction, thyroid hormone synthesis, immunity and DNA health. The mineral is also a potent antioxidant that helps to scavenge free radicals before they can damage the body’s cells and tissues.

Earlier studies in the journal Biomedical and Environmental Sciences show that adequate selenium intake also reduces skin cancer risk.

Some of the symptoms of selenium deficiency include: immune weakness, gastrointestinal (GI) problems, hair loss, diarrhea, cirrhosis, fatigue and mood swings. As with many nutritional deficiencies and medical conditions, there can be overlap in symptoms so having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have a selenium deficiency. Conversely, if you have these symptoms you should consult your physician to rule out any other possible health conditions.

brazil-nuts

Selenium-Containing Foods

Oysters, tuna, whole grains, sunflower seeds, crimini mushrooms, poultry and eggs are all good sources of selenium; however Brazil nuts are by far the best. Just one ounce of these nuts (about 6-8) contains 544 micrograms of selenium. The recommended daily intake is 55 micrograms for adult males and females; however, pregnant and lactating women require 60 to 70 micrograms, respectively.

Selenium is also available in supplement form: as either selenomethionine or selenite. Selenomethionine is the more absorbable form of this mineral. Keep in mind that selenium can build up in tissues and can become harmful in excessive doses.

While an apple a day is still a good idea, you might want to add some Brazil nut butter or a handful of raw, unsalted Brazil nuts to round out the healing properties of this classic snack.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook       @mschoffrocook       September 8, 2016
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Life Force Diet: 3 Weeks to Supercharge Your Health and Get Slim with Enzyme-Rich Foods.

 

source: www.care2.com


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Top Cancer Fighting Foods

‘Let Food Be Thy Medicine’!  Use Food to Aid in Your Cancer Fight!

Health Science & Tech   Apr 2, 2016

The moment you receive a cancer diagnosis, your doctor will probably go through a list of your treatment options and what he or she will do in your particular case.  Many people have similar conversations with family, friends, and co-workers about the future and what help you’ll need in your personal and professional life.

Now an important question.  What can you do to help yourself?

It may be tempting, even easy, to give up control of your life until you’re better.  That’s a mistake.  This is your disease now.  It’s your body, your choice and your responsibility.  Let the experts do their job (and ask lots of questions) but remember to keep actively working toward your own recovery.

Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery deplete your mind, body, and spirit.  Any person who has dealt with cancer personally or in regards to someone they love can attest to the turmoil the disease causes in so many areas.  It is easy to become lost in feelings of helplessness and worry.

Diet is a simple yet crucial aspect of your life that you can control.  It’s critical to pay close attention to the food you consume during treatment.

Enlist Food in the Cancer Fight

Internally you’re waging a war and you need to feed yourself foods that support your fight that might even boost the effectiveness of standard cancer therapies.

Many doctors turn up their collective noses at the use of superfoods during treatment and recovery.  They may attempt to mock your questions and some may threaten that healthy, whole foods are detrimental to cancer drug efficacy.

Cancer-fighting foods contain a wealth of powerful antioxidants.  They fight free radicals in your system, slowing and even stopping molecules that cause cellular damage.  Since cancer is the result of damaged or mutated cells, it makes sense that you don’t need more!

Oncologists imply that antioxidants interfere with the drugs administered during chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments by neutralizing them.  However, patients undergoing these treatments are commonly prescribed amifostine and dexrazoxane – both incredibly powerful antioxidants.

This represents the primary division between the “traditionalists” who wish to stick with business as usual from those seeking to “compliment” cancer treatments by boosting your body’s ability to help itself.

In studies begun in the 1970s, patients consumed antioxidant-rich foods during their cancer treatments while researchers logged the results.  The outcome proved – as it has time and time again – that antioxidants do not interfere with drug therapy effectiveness.  In fact, in many cases, these cancer-fighting foods enhance the power of the drugs for better results for the patient!

Follow up studies found that the patients who maintained these healthier eating regimens after treatment had higher survival rates.  Though the American Cancer Society corroborated these findings, they continue to downplay the importance of food in aiding the fight.

Obviously, choosing a healthy diet is a good idea for everyone.  It is especially critical for cancer patients.  If chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery are part of your treatment protocol, your body will be fighting the disease as well as the results of the treatment.

Your body needs all the help it can get!  Patients will feel proactive in their own case, try new foods and recipes, and give their bodies a little something extra during their treatment.  One of the biggest issues after cancer therapy is that your immune system is ravaged.  It can take years to rebuild it and for some, it may never return to pre-cancer strength.

Food is such a simple addition.  It does help protect you from many of the side effects and might protect some of your cells from destruction by chemo or radiation.  Here at The Truth About Cancer, we talk a lot about using food to ease symptoms, protect your healthy cells, and even give your body antibodies to prevent cancer in the first place.

letthyfood

Five Cancer-Fighting Foods

Fatty Fish

Fish oils contain long chain omega-3 fatty acids.  These healthy fats are a potent anti-inflammatory and protect the body from negative hormones produced during treatment that inflame and irritate.  Oily fish like mackerel, wild salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring also contain vitamins A and D – known to be forceful fighters in the battle against cancer.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts like walnuts, Brazil nuts and almonds contain selenium, a strong anti-cancer compound.  Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are packed with zinc and vitamin E.  The vitamin E provides your immune system with a huge boost and zinc aids in the absorption of vitamin C.

Red and Yellow Peppers

Red and yellow peppers are packed with vitamin C.  This influential antioxidant strengthens your immune system and neutralizes toxins.  Peppers contain even more vitamin C than is commonly found in oranges.  They also contain carotenoids that convert to vitamin A.  Other sources of these are carrots, sweet potatoes, and dried apricots.

Mushrooms

Chinese medicine has used medicinal mushrooms for hundreds of years as blood purifiers, immune system balancers, and to aid in the performance of internal organs.  Shiitake, Miatake, Portobello and even button mushrooms all contain natural medicines.  They’ve been shown to reduce some of the worst side effects of treatment such as hair loss and nausea.  They boost immunity, increase survival rates, and studies reported that they shrank certain cancerous tumors by as much as 70%.

Purple Foods

No one talks about purple foods and we should!  Purple eggplant, dark purple grapes, beets, blueberries, plums, and cherries all contain massive amounts of anthocyanins.  Anthocyanins have been proven in countless studies to kill cancer cells.  Other benefits include supporting internal organs and boosting immunity.  Recent studies show anthocyanins compounds are easily absorbed by the body and immediately begin defending the body against diseases that result from poor diet and negative lifestyle habits.

More Thoughts to Remember

  • Drink a cup or two of fresh brewed green tea per day (hot or iced)
  • Use good oils and fats such as butter, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, and extra-virgin olive oil
  • Limit refined sugar, grains, and flour
  • Buy organic where you can
  • Increase your consumption of probiotic foods
  • Search for more fantastic information about the cancer-fighting foods that might already be in your kitchen!

A healthy diet might seem hard to accomplish but you’ll be shocked how quickly you feel the effects on your entire body.  Enlist friends or family for suggestions on recipes or menus.  If you have a friend who loves to cook, ask for help with meals that can be made ahead of time and stock your freezer for days when you have no energy.

No matter how tempting or easy, do everything you can to stick with your new healthier, cancer-fighting food nutrition plan.

There is a Better Way

No one wants cancer and if you get it once, you never want to go through the emotional, financial, and physical trauma again.  All over the world, incredible advances are being made in the fight against cancer.  It’s strange that they don’t make big news in the United States while the rest of the world is fascinated by them.

For instance, did you know…

1-in-5 cancer deaths is due to obesity?

A compound found in eggplant cures most types of skin cancer without side effects?

There are two primary food additives that are responsible for brain damage and multiple types of cancer?  (MSG and aspartame)

Cancer is big business and we need to opt out of being part of its bottom line.  Experts estimate that more than half of the cancers diagnosed in the world are preventable.

Be in the half that beats the odds.

References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17283738
http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx
http://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorshipduringandaftertreatment/nutritionforpeoplewithcancer/nutritionforthepersonwithcancer/index
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082903/