Tag Archive | self awareness

Now Discovered the Lungs Make Blood*

Now Discovered the Lungs Make Blood*

Researchers have discovered that the lungs play a far more complex role in mammalian bodies than we thought, with new evidence revealing that they don’t just facilitate respiration – they also play a key role in blood production.

In experiments involving mice, the team found that they produce more than 10 million platelets (tiny blood cells) per hour, equating to the majority of platelets in the animals’ circulation. This goes against the decades-long assumption that bone marrow produces all of our blood components.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco also discovered a previously unknown pool of blood stem cells that makes this happen inside the lung tissue – cells that were incorrectly assumed to mainly reside in bone marrow.

“This finding definitely suggests a more sophisticated view of the lungs – that they’re not just for respiration, but also a key partner in formation of crucial aspects of the blood,” says one of the researchers, Mark R. Looney.

“What we’ve observed here in mice strongly suggests the lung may play a key role in blood formation in humans as well.”

While the lungs have been known to produce a limited amount of platelets – platelet-forming cells called megakaryocytes have been identified in the lungs before – scientists have long assumed that most of the cells responsible for blood production are kept inside the bone marrow.

Here, a process called haematopoiesis was thought to churn out oxygen-laden red blood cells, infection-fighting  white blood cells, and platelets – blood components required for the clotting that halts bleeding.

But scientists have now watched megakaryocytes functioning from within the lung tissue to produce not a few, but most of the body’s platelets.

So how did we miss such a crucial biological process this whole time?

The discovery was made possible by a new type of technology based on two-photon intravital imaging – a similar technique to one used by a separate team this week to discover a previously unidentified function of the brain’s cerebellum.

The process involves inserting a substance called green fluorescent protein (GFP) into the mouse genome –  a protein that’s naturally produced by bioluminescent animals such as jellyfish, and is harmless to living cells.

The mouse platelets started to emit bright green fluorescence as they circulated around the body in real time, allowing the team to trace their paths like never before.

They noticed a surprisingly large population of platelet-producing megakaryocytes inside the lung tissue, which initially didn’t make much sense, seeing as they’re usually associated with bone marrow.

“When we discovered this massive population of megakaryocytes that appeared to be living in the lung, we realised we had to follow this up,” says one of the team, Emma Lefrançais.

They found that this huge supply of megakaryocytes is actually producing more than 10 million platelets per hour in the lungs of mice, which means at least half of the body’s total platelet production is occurring in the lungs.

Here’s what it looks like:

Further experiments also revealed vast amounts of previously hidden blood stem cells and megakaryocyte progenitor cells (cells that give rise to megakaryocyte and red blood cells) sitting just outside the lung tissue – about 1 million per mouse lung.

When the researchers traced the entire ‘life cycle’ of the megakaryocytes, they found that they likely originate in the bone marrow, then make their way to the lungs, where they start platelet production.

“It’s fascinating that megakaryocytes travel all the way from the bone marrow to the lungs to produce platelets,” says one of the team, Guadalupe Ortiz-Muñoz.

“It’s possible that the lung is an ideal bioreactor for platelet production because of the mechanical force of the blood, or perhaps because of some molecular signalling we don’t yet know about.”

The researchers wanted to investigate if their discovery could have an effect on how we treat disorders such as lung inflammation, bleeding, and transplantation in the future, by transplanting lungs with fluorescent megakaryocyte progenitor cells into mice with low platelet counts.

The transplants produced a massive burst of platelets that quickly restored the depleted platelet counts to normal levels, and the effect lasted for several months.

Another experiment tested what would happen if the bone marrow wasn’t playing a role in blood production.

The team implanted lungs with fluorescent megakaryocyte progenitor cells into mice that had been engineered to have no blood stem cells in their bone marrow.

As Michael Irving reports for New Atlas, they watched as the fluorescent cells from the transplanted lungs made their way to the bone marrow, where they not only helped to produce platelets, but also other key blood components, such as neutrophils, B cells and T cells.

The findings will need to be replicated in humans before we can know for sure that the same process is occurring within our own bodies, but the study makes a strong case for this hidden function in what could be one of our most underrated organs.

It will likely also prompt scientists to investigate further how the bone marrow and lungs work together to produce our blood supply.

“It has been known for decades that the lung can be a site of platelet production, but this study amplifies this idea by demonstrating that the [mouse] lung is a major participant in the process,” Traci Mondoro from the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, who was not involved in the study, said in a press statement.

“Looney and his team have disrupted some traditional ideas about the pulmonary role in platelet-related hematopoiesis, paving the way for further scientific exploration of this integrated biology.”

The research has been published in Nature.

Source*

Related Topics:

Tuberculosis: An old Disease on the Rise Again!

Proper Movements in Muslim Prayer can Reduce Lower Back Pain*

Your Appendix may be more Important than you Think!

99.9999999% of Your Body is Empty Space*

Fifteen Foods to Detox Your Body*

The Human Body Emits, Communicates with, and is Made from Light*

Plant Neurobiology Shows How Trees are Just Like Humans*

Neuroscientists Discover New ‘mini-neural computer’ in the Brain*

Parents Told Five Times to Abort Boy with ‘no brain’ – Now He’s a Thriving 4-year-old*

Similarities between the Brain and the Universe*

Meet the Hidden Second Layer of Information in Your DNA*

Meet the Hidden Second Layer of Information in Your DNA*

By Brett Tingley

The human genome is one of the last frontiers of modern medical research. Recent developments in genetics have shown that scientists are now capable of some making some fairly radical alterations to DNA, leading to all sorts of strange genetic developments. Now that human genome editing trials have begun, the strangest developments are certainly still yet to come.

DNA: the new plaything of biological tinkerers everywhere.

 

Despite these advances, modern science has only recently begun to unlock the secrets of our genetic building blocks and many mysteries surrounding our DNA are left unsolved. However, a team of physicists from the Leiden Institute of Physics claims they might have solved one of these enduring questions about the function and mechanisms behind genetic encoding of traits.

According to physicist Helmut Schiessel and his team, there is a second ‘hidden’ layer of information stored in strands of DNA. While it has long been understood that the strings of four DNA nucleotides  G, C, A, and T encode all of our genetic information, scientists have been unable to conclusively determine how the same strings of nucleotides contain information for vastly different biological processes and physiological traits. Until now, that is: the researchers from Leiden claim to have designed an experiment that conclusively determined the mechanism behind epigenetic expression. In their open source publication in PLOS One, the researchers claim that this is due to the actual physical arrangement of nucleotides, which transmits genetic information through its mechanical structure:

[We] have shown that the major features of the nucleosome positioning rules can be predicted by the sequence dependent DNA geometry and elasticity […] these findings suggest the intriguing possibility that nucleosome positions are the product of a mechanical evolution of DNA molecules.

This research not only helps explain how DNA is able to encode such vast amounts of genetic information but also potentially opens the doors for new approaches to genetic modification and manipulation. While CRISPR/Cas-9 surgically ‘cuts and pastes’ sections of DNA, new techniques could be developed which can ‘unfold and refold’ sections of nucleosomes in order to alter the expression of certain genes. Bioengineering is about to get real weird, real fast.

Source*

Related Topics:

Missouri to Ban Mercury and Foreign DNA in Vaccines*

Los Alamos Study Finds Airport Scanners Alter DNA*

Cosmic Rays Evolve Consciousness and Transform DNA*

DNA study Proves Indigenous Australians Date Back 50,000 yrs*

Human DNA Tied Mostly to Single Exodus from Africa Long Ago*

Collecting your DNA: When Stop-and-Frisk Turns Into Stop-and-Spit*

DNA Testing Proves Genealogy of indigenous Americans is One of the Most Unique in the World*

DNA Study Finds Ice Age Europeans Predominantly Had Dark Complexions and Brown Eyes*

CIA’s Venture Capital Arm Is Funding Skin Care Products That Collect DNA*

The Effects of Fluoride on Consciousness and the Will to Act*

The Effects of Fluoride on Consciousness and the Will to Act*

By Jordan Resnick

New evidence has linked fluoride and other chemicals to brain disorders. What other unknown effects might this industrial by-product added to our water supply have? An examination of water fluoridation’s shadowy history reveals potentially disturbing ramifications for human consciousness.

Recent research has brought the controversial practice of water fluoridation back into the spotlight, revealing links between water fluoridation and brain disorders, particularly in regard to its effect on children.

Troublingly, the report found that side-effects do not only come from direct ingestion by children, but also from higher levels of chemicals such as fluoride in expectant mothers’ blood and urine, which was linked to brain disorders and lower IQs in their children. In many cases, the changes triggered can be permanent. This evidence flies right in the face of spurious claims by skeptics that ingestion of fluoride in low concentrations has no harmful effects on our health.

Is it any wonder then that only seven countries in the world actually fluoridate more than 50 percent of their water supply? Although it is often portrayed in America as if every country does it, this is very far from the truth. In fact, the United States accounts for more than 50 percent of all the fluoridated water drinkers in the world, while the vast majority of European countries for example avoid this practice altogether.

So what is fluoride and why do a few countries continue to infuse their public drinking water with this controversial chemical? What ramifications might its side effects have for human development?

How Water Fluoridation Came to Be

Although there is widespread acceptance that fluoride is toxic in high doses, a trend emerged in the twentieth century to add this chemical to drinking water at dosages deemed to be “safe.” Where did this trend originate?

It may surprise you to hear that apparently the first occurrence of purposefully putting sodium fluoride into drinking water took place in the German ghettos of the 30s and 40s, and shortly thereafter in Nazi concentration camps. Clearly, the Nazis would not be concerned with the strength and resilience of their prisoners’ teeth; so, what could be the real reason to fluoridate the water? What effects does it really have upon us? And why are countries such as the United States still doing it?

Let’s now look at how water fluoridation started in America. An industry researcher from the Mellon Institute financed by the Alcoa Company first recommended water fluoridation in America in 1939. Seeing as Alcoa had toxic waste, a bi-product from aluminum otherwise known as fluoride and stood to benefit from finding a way to sell and dispose of it, could this really be a coincidence? The report convinced dentists and the public at large that water fluoridation is good for our teeth. With this, whether intended or not, the industry gained a way to get toxic waste off their hands, and moreover, even be paid to get rid of it—by selling it off to be dumped into the public water supply.

In 1946, an attorney and former counsel to Alcoa was appointed to head the U.S. Public Health Service. Shortly thereafter, he ensured that the water fluoridation “experiment” passed essentially unchallenged and unchecked by any real public study or research and was soon given a $750K private bonus from Alcoa. In today’s dollars, that’s worth anywhere from $6.89 million to $55.3 million, depending on how you account for inflation.

But some people have identified a more sinister agenda behind water fluoridation that goes beyond apparent greed and convenience. At the end of World War II, Charles Elliot Perkins, a researcher in chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, and pathology, was sent to Germany to take charge of their chemical plants. He later wrote in response to what he had seen and heard while there:

The real purpose behind water fluoridation is to reduce the resistance of the masses to domination and control and loss of liberty … Repeated doses of infinitesimal amounts of fluorine will in time gradually reduce the individual’s power to resist domination by slowly poisoning and narco-tizing this area of the brain tissue, and make him submissive to the will of those who wish to govern him.”

How Fluoride Suppresses Consciousness

Pineal gland parenchyma with calcifications. Attribution: Wiki User Difu Wu

 

But how does a chemical bi-product dumped into the water supply actually work upon those who ingest it over time? There are many ways sodium fluoride consumption affects our bodies, but one aspect we’ll focus on in this article is that sodium fluoride calcifies the pineal gland. British scientist Jennifer Luke published a study which found that fluoride deposits tended to accumulate in the pineal gland and calcify it. In addition, a 450 page review on fluoride toxicity published by the National Research Council in 2006 reported that fluoride produced a range of negative side effects including “decreased melatonin production” and “other effects on normal pineal function, which in turn could contribute to a variety of effects in humans.”

Not just scientists, but mystics too have explored the effects of the pineal gland within us (from different angles): physically, it plays an important role in regulating sleep patterns and sexual development; spiritually, it is said to be a connection between the body and the soul, and is referred to by some as our “third eye.” Either way, when the pineal gland is calcified by sodium fluoride, it obviously cannot function properly. This could have grave effects both physically and spiritually upon humanity.

There is more to the human body than its physical apparatus. This is widely evident in phenomenon such as near-death experiences, whereby people have had accounts of experiencing existence while their brain and body has been clinically dead. However, while we are here physically, the spiritual components depend upon the physical apparatus in order to function properly and thereby communicate and actively participate in the physical world. When an important seat of consciousness such as the pineal gland cannot function properly, by logical extension, consciousness itself cannot function properly within us, since the physical means with which it functions in the world has been damaged.

Thus, it is not only that fluoride consumption has adverse health effects and reputedly makes people easier to control (as the Nazi’s believed), but the very spiritual essence of who we are, our consciousness, can be hindered from manifesting in our lives. Within our consciousness are all the spiritual feelings such as love, peace, happiness, and freedom, as well as mystical experiences and psychic faculties. The consciousness gives us the ability to be “here,” “awake,” and present psychologically.

There are sinister agents in the world and beyond who wish to see consciousness suppressed. There appears to be an evil behind water fluoridation that runs deeper than mere convenience, and the implications go beyond fluoride’s reputed effects of making a people compliant who would otherwise question questionable things (such as water fluoridation – the irony notwithstanding). On the deepest level, it’s about a person’s individual ability to awaken consciousness and experience their full potential.

Concluding Remarks

Over ten years ago already, in November 2003, the United States passed the Water Act, which made it impossible for water companies to undergo civil or criminal hearings as a result of adding fluoride to public water supplies. It becomes more and more difficult to affect change on a mass scale to practices such as water fluoridation when those who have political, military, and legal control enact these types of measures. Fortunately, it is still within people’s ability to take measures to avoid fluoride and speak out however, and to personally do what they can to preserve, exercise, and awaken their own consciousness.

Source*

Related Topics:

Bottled Water Containing Fluoride*

U.S. EPA Scientist Fired for Telling the Truth about Climate Engineering + Fluoridated Water*

Doctors List 50 Reasons Why You Must Stop Drinking Fluoridated Water Now*

U.K. to Put Fluoride in Milk for School Children*

Social Engineering and an Inconvenient Tooth

Scientists Find Fluoride Causes Hypothyroidism Leading To Depression, Weight Gain, and Worse…*

How to Resist From a Place of Love: Self-Care for the Long Haul*

How to Resist From a Place of Love: Self-Care for the Long Haul*

By Colin Beavan

There is a heated conversation in some activist circles that goes like this: Should our work draw strength from fear and anger or from a place of love and compassion? I have heard people say that if we stop being angry and start being loving, we would be letting the culprits off the hook. We would be blinding ourselves to the bad things happening and—in indulging our nice feelings—forget to help those endangered.

In workshops I give to help activists and concerned citizens cope, there’s an experiment I use that addresses this. It goes like this:

Conjure up all the fear and anger you have about the world and the politicians from the other side and the scandals and the targeting of those least able to defend themselves. Probably you’ll get a physical sensation. Where is that sensation? For most people it is in the throat and top of the chest. Now, imagine that you are powering your voice from there and that you are shouting at a march or speaking to an elected official. Try speaking from there right now, out loud. How long could you sustain it? Do you get the sense that before long you would go hoarse?

Next, imagine the love you feel for nature and the compassion you feel for those who need help. Now ask yourself where in your body the physical sensation is. For many, the feeling is located just below the naval. Now try to power your voice from that place, speaking out loud again. How long could that energy last?

If you are anything like me, you might get the feeling you could go forever.

And that is the thing about fear and anger versus love. Regardless whether the other side “deserves” anger, we must sustain ourselves for the work ahead. Can we actually go on forever with a blaming mentality, or will our work be better served by love? Our vision for the world is more likely to be achieved if it is grounded in compassion and love.

Recently, because so many people in my community were anxious and exhausted after the election, I held a workshop called “The Long Haul: Wisdom for Activists and Concerned Citizens.” The goal was to search for an attitude that would help us continue to work steadfastly toward a fair, compassionate, just, safe world without burning out.

There were nearly 40 of us. Some were seasoned activists alarmed by the bottom dropping out of all they thought they had achieved. Others were formerly disengaged citizens woken up by the election. Others were just concerned citizens, tired of being isolated behind their computer screens with all that worried them.

Here are three exercises we did.

Witnessing each other’s good work and giving thanks

We walked around the room introducing ourselves to each other, briefly recounting actions we had taken, like visiting elected officials or going on marches. Each of us attempted to really listen, then offered heartfelt thanks and hugged or touched each other’s shoulders or squeezed each other’s hands. This exercise helps change our view of the world from a dangerous, hate-filled place to a loving, hope-filled place. Keeping our focus on the good in the world helps many of us sustain our work.

Owning our complicity in the world’s problems

In groups of four, we each owned aspects of our own personal responsibility for the problems in the world. We talked about how we used fossil fuels even as we condemned the fossil fuel industry. We talked about how we had never bothered to take note of the 3 million to 4 million deportations that happened each year prior to Trump.

Bringing the world’s problems home and owning our part in them allows us to dissolve the imaginary monsters we see in Trump voters and people whose ideas differ from ours. Owning our complicity allows us to see ourselves in and have compassion for those we blame. We get to see that all of us—all of us—get caught up in deluded thinking and actions.

Create a positive vision rather than react to negative events

Next, we took turns in pairs telling each other our visions for the world. We each talked not about what we wanted to resist but about what we wanted to create. We talked about the clean air and water that comes with renewable energy. We talked about the resilient communities that come with racial and economic justice. We talked about the capable children that come with good schools. This provided us with a sense of agency and defined the good things we wanted for the world.

After the workshop, I was heartened to see how the energy in the room had lightened. People seemed inspired to carry on.

“I realize I have been clinging to my anger and my need to make someone else wrong with more energy than I have been trying to figure out how I can do what’s right,” someone said.

The point of this kind of work is simply not to let ourselves sink so deeply into our own despair that we can no longer act to combat the suffering of others. Caring people need to take care. We may have to find ways to put aside our unsustainable anger and fear in favor of our endless reserves of love and compassion.

Source*

Related Topics:

Why do we Hate?

Radical Kindness: Inspiration from a Fearless Rebel*

The False Alien Threat to Be Used to Keep Populations in Fear*

U.S. Students form Protective Wall around Praying Muslim Classmates*

Singing Your own Song – A Source of True Joy and Belonging*

Charlie Chaplin’s Final Speech in the Great Dictator*

As I Began to Love Myself…*

The Delusion ‘I Am Not Responsible’*

This Man Riddled their Mosque With Bullets, now They’re Forgiving Him*

Are You Awake? Or Just Informed*

It’s OK, I Didn’t Know How To Meditate Either*

 

Plant Neurobiology Shows How Trees are Just Like Humans*

Plant Neurobiology Shows How Trees are Just Like Humans*

By Sarah Ripper

Understanding the Connection

You have more in common with trees than you think. It’s not such a weird idea when the emerging field of plant neurobiology is seeing increasing collaborations with other fields into the nature of plant intelligence. These studies are prompting scientists and spiritual communities, such as Damanhur, to reconsider the scope of communication and adaptation found in nature.

From a spiritual perspective, plants can be viewed as the ultimate alliance for human beings as all life forms part of a spiritual ecosystem where matter and form co-exist. Within this co-existence, the environment is an integral part of leading a holistic and balanced life. Science is beginning to echo what indigenous peoples, tree-huggers, shamans and spiritual teachers have been saying for a very long time. We do have far more in common with our leafy friends than we once thought.

Is being more sensitive to plant’s feelings the key to future adaptation? Well, plants have scientifically documented senses just like humans and animals. Thanks to plant neurobiology’s use of human analogies we can begin to understand how plants experience senses. According to Professor Stefano Mancuso, who leads the International Laboratory for Plant Neurobiology at the University of Florence, plants are a lot more sensitive than animals. He discovered that the very root apex of a plant has the capacity to detect 20 different physical and chemical parameters including gravity, light, magnetic field pathogens and more.

Plants have genes similar to those of an animal nervous system, specific proteins that have been shown to have definite roles in neural function and whilst they are not exactly the same as those found in animals, they are believed to behave in very similar ways. Through recognizing the sensory capacity of the ‘wood wide web’, a term coined by Professor Suzanne Simard, to describe the interconnectedness of trees, perhaps we’ll look at their sensory expressions a little differently.

The Importance of Our Plant Life

We know we need plants to live. With a rapidly altering natural environment, human population increasing, and changes in weather patterns, particularly precipitation, it’s important for us to know how plants sense, adapt and respond to their environment if we are interested in protecting biodiversity, eating plant-based ingredients and, you know, breathing clean air. Professor Daniel Chamovitz of What a Plant Knows regards the complex biology of plants as being completely underappreciated and underestimated, and claims that if we do not embrace and learn from the amazing complexity of plant life, we may find a host of big problems awaiting us in 50 to 100 years time.

The ‘wood wide web’ describes the interconnectedness of trees, through their root systems.

 

According to Damanhur’s founder, Falco Tarassaco, during the past few decades more old growth forests have been destroyed than throughout humankind’s presence since the Palaeolithic period. He claimed that within 50 years, 50% of all our planets trees have been felled.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. – Albert Einstein

If we take a closer look, here are a few things we humans have in common with trees.

We Experience Time

We both experience the passing of time. From a Damanhurian perspective, plants have a longer and slower experience of time and life than humans, and an ability to store collective memory. Trees synthesize subtle and gross forms of energy to feed themselves – light, water, and nutrients from the soil; the quantity and quality playing a key role in their overall health and vitality. The electrical signals in a tree’s tissues travel approximately one to two seconds per inch meaning their reaction to events takes place within minutes, hours or days. Because these signals can take several minutes to travel from the crown of the tree to the roots, trees simultaneously transfer information through chemical signals sent out from their leaves.

Trees transfer information through chemical signals sent from their leaves (photo credit: Kirlian Photography).

 

We Need Food and Rest

A recent Hungarian-Finnish-Austria study showed us that trees also need their rest with the circadian rhythm being measured by the drooping of leaves overnight, seen as a form of tree sleep. Using laser scanners, so as not to disturb the exposure the trees had to light, the branches of 5-metre birch trees progressively drooped by 8 to 10 centimetres, with their lowest position right before sunrise, and then returning to full form a few hours after sunrise. It has not yet been determined whether the rays of the sun, the trees’ own inner rhythm or a combination of the two induce this tree sleep.

We Digest

Humans, animals, and plants share some digestive similarities, microbiological similarities – all of them sustain microcolonies that in turn sustain them. A plant uses their external ‘guts’ (roots) which somewhat simplifies the study, in comparison to the internal human and animal guts. Yet scientists have found the microbial ecologies that reside in all these forms of life and considerably impact the development, health, and wellbeing of their respective hosts.

These microbial helpers share similar job descriptions as they play a key role in gene expression, metabolic processes, and protection against pathogens, and even share evolutionary trends. Just as food quality and choices affect the human digestive system and well-being, so too does the soil health affect the health of plant life.

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. – Gautama Buddha

We Pass on Information

Both humans and plant life have an intergenerational exchange of knowledge.

Damanhurian researchers claim that if we detach from the green brain (the collective plant knowledge of the planet), we detach from a connection with planetary memory. This connection serves humankind in terms of biodiversity and spiritual knowledge, as well as limiting the knowledge we can access of the human and planetary experience, which goes well beyond what has been documented by historians in various world cultures.

Plants communicate by releasing chemicals (picture credit: Robert Krulwich.)

 

Scientists are discovering not only that neurotransmitter molecules facilitate cell-to-cell communication, and that the exchanging of carbon from a dying tree to its neighbours has been measured, but also that the study of plant intelligence requires an integrated approach to plant signalling, adaptive behaviour and it’s potential impacts for the future. It also reflects back to us this cyclical and intrinsic collective coexistence. We are not as dissimilar to plant or animal life as we think we are. We grow, we shed, and we adjust to the seasonal rhythm of our climate. Just as modern mystic Sadhguru said:

“You may attach much of your birth, life, and death, but for Mother Earth, it is just a recycling process.

The knowledge that is exchanged between trees can be viewed akin to the intergenerational passing on of mythology, language, or family stories, tribal information or spiritual teachings.

“Nature does nothing without purpose or uselessly. – Artistotle

We Have Social Networks

The interconnectedness of trees is taken further by German forester and author, Peter Wohlleben, in his best-selling book the Hidden Life of Trees, which draws on revolutionary scientific discoveries as well as many anthropomorphic examples to describe the social network and family structure of trees. Wohllenben explains how tree parents ‘suckle their children’ and suggests that mother trees even have favourites! These family chats enable trees to share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, warn of forthcoming dangers or adjust to weather conditions such as droughts by altering their water consumption strategies to conserve energy.

Plants interact as a community, working together to sustain life.

 

Through understanding forests as a network, Wohlleben believes foresters and plantation workers are able to foster healthier trees producing more timber and living possibly double the lifespan if their social network is not interrupted by thinning methods which leaves a tree ‘single’. For trees in protected natural habitats, the social relationships amongst and between species have another level of depth.

“This world is indeed a living being endowed with a Soul and intelligence… a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related. – Plato

The green brain of knowledge and social network mirrors our human family’s, or community’s, need to belong and contribute to the whole. Damanhurian teachings ask people to consider that what we see of a tree is actually the plant’s skeleton; the rest of it is its energy system. The trees’ aura contains parts of its form that cannot be seen by the untrained eye but can be felt with practice when sensitizing the hands to feel the subtle energy and walking around the tree to feel its aura.

Plants too have auric fields. Left: Organic mushroom, right: Commercially grown.

 

These processes are subtle, and their capacity to be measured by our physical senses or diagnostic tools is limited. However, the Music of the Plants device is a bridge to this type of understanding, whereby the plants’ vibration is converted into musical tones and communicated to humans. The plants have to ‘learn’ how to use this device and, through years of experimentation, Damanhurians have observed that plants tend to do a scale once they are connected to the machine, just before they play. They think this is for the plant to understand the tonal possibilities. It’s also been observed that potted plants have a higher pitch than plants in the ground. I saw a potted plant connected to the device ‘jam’ with an old oak tree it was placed beside. The difference in tone and ‘call and response’ was a tangible and fascinating example of plant communication.

We Have the Potential for Continual Evolution and Innovation

The observation of plant signaling, communication, adaptive behavior and purposeful interrelating with other trees fuels plant science, and its potential applications and implications for sustainability and research. As human consciousness expands, perhaps so too does the scope science is capable of measuring and considering. Biomimicry has already seen an exciting shift in seeking solutions for problems through nature’s answers – from mosquito inspired ‘nicer needles’, to what termites can reveal about construction. A new field of bio-robotics is also developing which could also be used for lots of purposes, including space applications or environmental monitoring.

Understanding the importance of plant life helps us to better conserve and care for them.

 

Emerging planetoid robots are using the natural function of plant intelligence to gather data for scientific research. This would have a trunk, branches, and leaves, just as a real plant, along with artificial roots, which would be constructed from 3D printers. These robots could be tailor made for specific needs to further our understanding of the environment both on this planet and beyond. With what we are beginning to learn about plants and their thinking, sleeping, and family relationships and their applications, a new chapter is emerging. As we expand what there is to know, we expand our possibilities.

Source*

Related Topics:

African Trees Kill Both Malaria Mosquitoes and the Parasite*

They Lost their Jungles to Plantations, but these Indigenous Women Grew them Back*

Monsanto Backs Out Of Seed Plant in Argentina after Protests*

Some Plants that Reduce Toxins from Air*

An Incredible System that Generates Electricity from Living Plants*

On the Rights of Nature*

Do Women Who Surround Themselves With Nature Live Longer?

Schooled in Nature: There’s a way to Teach Children Without Colonizing Their Minds*

Nature Doesn’t Need People

Bringing Adventure, Nature and Imagination Back into Children’s Play Time*

Mathematics – God’s Language for Nature*

Neuroscientists Discover New ‘mini-neural computer’ in the Brain*

Neuroscientists Discover New ‘mini-neural computer’ in the Brain*

This is a dendrite, the branch-like structure of a single neuron in the brain. The bright object from the top is a pipette attached to a dendrite in the brain of a mouse. The pipette allows researchers to measure electrical activity, such as a dendritic spike, the bright spot in the middle of the image. Credit: Spencer Smith

Dendrites, the branch-like projections of neurons, were once thought to be passive wiring in the brain. But now researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that these dendrites do more than relay information from one neuron to the next. They actively process information, multiplying the brain’s computing power.

“Suddenly, it’s as if the processing power of the brain is much greater than we had originally thought,” said Spencer Smith, PhD, an assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine.

His team’s findings, published October 27 in the journal Nature, could change the way scientists think about long-standing scientific models of how neural circuitry functions in the brain, while also helping researchers better understand neurological disorders.

“Imagine you’re reverse engineering a piece of alien technology, and what you thought was simple wiring turns out to be transistors that compute information,” Smith said.

“That’s what this finding is like. The implications are exciting to think about.”

Axons are where neurons conventionally generate electrical spikes, but many of the same molecules that support axonal spikes are also present in the dendrites. Previous research using dissected brain tissue had demonstrated that dendrites can use those molecules to generate electrical spikes themselves, but it was unclear whether normal brain activity involved those dendritic spikes. For example, could dendritic spikes be involved in how we see?

The answer, Smith’s team found, is yes. Dendrites effectively act as mini-neural computers, actively processing neuronal input signals themselves.

Directly demonstrating this required a series of intricate experiments that took years and spanned two continents, beginning in senior author Michael Hausser’s lab at University College London, and being completed after Smith and Ikuko Smith, PhD, DVM, set up their own lab at the University of North Carolina. They used patch-clamp electrophysiology to attach a microscopic glass pipette electrode, filled with a physiological solution, to a neuronal dendrite in the brain of a mouse. The idea was to directly “listen” in on the electrical signaling process.

“Attaching the pipette to a dendrite is tremendously technically challenging,” Smith said. “You can’t approach the dendrite from any direction. And you can’t see the dendrite. So you have to do this blind. It’s like fishing if all you can see is the electrical trace of a fish.” And you can’t use bait. “You just go for it and see if you can hit a dendrite,” he said. “Most of the time you can’t.”

A network of pyramidal cells in the cerebral cortex. These neurons have been simulated using a computer program which captures the beautiful dendritic architecture of real pyramidal cells. These dendrites have now been shown to carry out sophisticated computations on their inputs. Credit: UCL

But Smith built his own two-photon microscope system to make things easier.

Once the pipette was attached to a dendrite, Smith’s team took electrical recordings from individual dendrites within the brains of anesthetized and awake mice. As the mice viewed visual stimuli on a computer screen, the researchers saw an unusual pattern of electrical signals – bursts of spikes – in the dendrite.

Smith’s team then found that the dendritic spikes occurred selectively, depending on the visual stimulus, indicating that the dendrites processed information about what the animal was seeing.

To provide visual evidence of their finding, Smith’s team filled neurons with calcium dye, which provided an optical readout of spiking. This revealed that dendrites fired spikes while other parts of the neuron did not, meaning that the spikes were the result of local processing within the dendrites.

Study co-author Tiago Branco, PhD, created a biophysical, mathematical model of neurons and found that known mechanisms could support the dendritic spiking recorded electrically, further validating the interpretation of the data.

“All the data pointed to the same conclusion,” Smith said.

“The dendrites are not passive integrators of sensory-driven input; they seem to be a computational unit as well.”

His team plans to explore what this newly discovered dendritic role may play in brain circuitry and particularly in conditions like Timothy syndrome, in which the integration of dendritic signals may go awry.

Explore further: Control of brain waves from the brain surface

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The Astonishing Vision and Focus of Namibia’s Nomads*

The Astonishing Vision and Focus of Namibia’s Nomads*

The Himba people of Namibia can see fine details and ignore distraction much better than most other human beings – a finding that may reflect the many ways that modern life is changing our minds and abilities.

By David Robson

Nestled in a grassy valley of north-eastern Namibia, Opuwo may seem like a crumbling relic of colonial history. With a population of just 12,000, the town is so small that it would take less than a minute to drive from the road sign on one side of town to the shanty villages on other. Along the way, you would see a hotchpotch collection of administrative offices, a couple of schools, a hospital and a handful of supermarkets and petrol stations.

For many of the people living in the surrounding valley, however, this small town is also the first taste of modern life. The capital of the Kunene region, Opuwo lies in the heartland of the Himba people, a semi-nomadic people who spend their days herding cattle. Long after many of the world’s other indigenous populations had begun to migrate to cities, the Himba had mostly avoided contact with modern culture, quietly continuing their traditional life. But that is slowly changing, with younger generations feeling the draw of Opuwo, where they will encounter cars, brick buildings, and writing for the first time.

How does the human mind cope with all those novelties and new sensations? By studying people like the Himba, at the start of their journey into modernity, scientists are now hoping to understand the ways that modern life may have altered all of our minds. The results so far are fascinating, documenting a striking change in our visual focus and attention. The Himba people, it seems, don’t see the world like the rest of us.

The first hints that modernisation could change our vision came from the Victorian anthropologist WHR Rivers, who explored the islands of the Torres Strait, between Australia and Papua New Guinea at the turn of the 20th Century. As he met the locals, he offered them various sensory tests, including the following phenomenon, known as the Muller-Lyer illusion. Take a look at the two lines below left, and try it for yourself:

Which arrow appears to be longer – top of bottom? Your answer may depend on the ‘carpentered’ corners in your house (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

In reality, the lines are exactly the same, but if you ask people to estimate their size, most Westerners claim that the second line (with the ‘feathers’ pointing outwards) is around 20% longer than the top line. During his expedition to the Torres Strait, however, Rivers found that the locals were far more accurate – they just didn’t seem to be as susceptible to the illusion. The anthropologist later repeated the experiment on the Toda people of southern India, finding exactly the same effect, and the same result has since been found in many other pre-modern societies, including the San people of the Kalahari Desert.

It’s a profound finding, showing that even the most basic aspects of our perception – which you may assume to be hardwired in the brain – are shaped by our culture and surroundings. One theory is that the illusion results from the fact that modern humans spend more time indoors, with lots of “carpentered corners”. If the angles along the edge of an object are out, an object is usually further away from us, like the distant wall of a room, whereas if the angles point inwards, it is usually closer to us, like the near side of a table (see above). The brain has learnt to process this perspective rapidly, helping us to estimate size at distance, but in the case of the illusion, that brain processing backfires. Like an irregular lens, our modern, urban brains distort the images hitting our retina, magnifying some parts of the scene and shrinking others.

When Jules Davidoff visited a Himba ‘kraal’, he found no traces of western influence in their way of life (Credit: Alamy)

 

Such studies, comparing different cultures, had been few and far between, however. As I have previously explored in another article for BBC Future’s The Human Planet series, most psychological studies have tended to use Weird (Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic) participants, using experiments on American undergraduate students to represent the whole of humanity. But Jules Davidoff at Goldsmith’s University in London, U.K., has bucked this trend, and his studies of the Himba offer some striking evidence that many more factors, beyond our “carpentered corners”, may be influencing our perception.

In many ways, the Himba are the absolute counterpoint to our modern, urban lifestyles. The herders live in small groups of wooden huts surrounding a sacred fire – thought to be the spiritual link to their ancestors – and a day’s work revolves around the rearing of cattle, sheep and goats, which they keep in an enclosure known as the “kraal”. The villages are semi-nomadic, and will move with the seasons to find new pastures for the livestock. To many Westerners, the Himba are most famous for their striking appearance, thanks to the rich red ochre that they spread over their skin and hair.

Davidoff’s team were scrupulously sensitive to the Himba’s way of life. They had to gain the permission of the village chief for each experiment, and typically performed the experiments outside the kraal; he says he was only once invited inside.

“The hut was really like this Stone Age thing – it was truly remarkable,” he says.

“There were no Western artefacts in their society,” he says.

Despite these basic circumstances, they are general healthy and well-fed.

“They really don’t seem to want for very much – it’s a nice life in many ways.”

Initially, Davidoff had been concerned about the ways these people would react to the laptops and electronic equipment that were crucial to some parts of his research; one colleague told him that the Himba would even be unfamiliar with pen or paper, let alone a computer. But he needn’t have worried; they seemed to adapt to the technology with no qualms at all. And so, with the chief’s permission and with the help of a translator, he has gently probed the ways they see the world.

Many of his first experiments centred on the Ebbinghaus Illusion:

Which circle appears bigger? Again, your reaction to this optical illusion will depend on your cultural background (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

Westerners tend to see the central circle in the first picture as being smaller than the central circle in the second – when they are actually the same size. And just as Rivers had seen with the Muller Lyer illusion, Davidoff’s team found that the traditional Himba were far less susceptible than those of us living in modern societies.

The phenomenon seemed to reflect a basic bias towards “local processing” – they were more focused on the smaller details (the central circles) while ignoring the context (the surrounding ring) that warps your perception. To test this phenomenon further, he asked them to compare abstract figures made up of smaller figures – such as a square made of crosses, or a cross made of squares. (You can see examples here.) When judging the similarity of these pictures, the Himba were more likely to base their judgements on the smaller elements, rather than the overall shape – again suggesting a ‘local’ bias on fine details.

More strikingly still, later experiments showed this enhanced focus also seemed to be reflected in their ability to hold their attention and ignore distraction: when they were asked to quickly search for shapes in a grid, for instance, they were less easily distracted by the movements of other objects on the screen. In fact, they appeared to be the most focused of any groups previously studied.

Davidoff emphasises that the traditional Himba are flexible: they can easily see the “big picture” when encouraged to do so. Even so, their strong preference for focusing on the local details is puzzling.

One explanation for their astonishing focus may come from the cattle rearing itself. Identifying each cow’s markings was apparently essential for their daily life – and this practice may perhaps train the eye with a focus and attention that was lacking in all modern societies.

“I think that does come from their traditional lives – the powers to concentrate,” says Davidoff.

Himba people living their traditional life appear to have remarkable visual concentration, an ability to stay focused on the smallest details (Credit: Alamy)

 

But it could also be that modern life itself makes us more easily distracted by our surroundings. And it is for this reason that Opuwo is so interesting, as younger generations slowly migrate to the shanty villages on the edge of the small town. As the anthropologist David P Crandall put it in his book The Place of Stunted Ironwood Trees: “The fascination and attraction of city lights, even the dimmed and often fractured ones of Opuwo, proffer an allure and mystique, a cosmopolitan novelty to be found nowhere else in their world.” It is, he says, “the vanguard of change for the entire region… a crossroads of several worlds.”

To discover how this move might influence the Himba’s psychology, Davidoff’s team compared Himba migrants to the small town, with those still living the traditional lifestyle. As they had expected, the Himba who had spent years living on Opuwo were less focused on the local details (making them more susceptible to the Ebbinghaus illusion, for instance) than those living in the countryside. But you didn’t need to have spent your whole life in the town for it to have an effect; the team found that even very short day trips to Opuwo seemed to have had a lasting impact their perception, making them less focused on differences in the local details (and more conscious of the overall shape) when comparing two abstract figures, for instance. Needless to say, the influence was much greater for those who lived in the town – but it was still present even for the Himba who had only visited a couple of times. “There does seem to be a ‘dose effect’ – the more of it you have, the greater the effect becomes,” says Davidoff.

As Davidoff points out, urban environments are naturally more cluttered than the Kunene valley, with more objects vying for our attention. Just think about crossing the road, as your eyes dart from the traffic lights to the oncoming cars and the fellow pedestrians making their way towards you. Our attention needs to be more diffuse.

Then there’s the stress of urban life, compared to the relative tranquillity of life in the kraal. As Crandall described in The Place of Stunted Ironwood Trees:

“Though a stranger might at first hear only silence, the beat of a distant drum, the bicker of chatting voices, the grinding stones, the bleating and lowing of livestock, the rushing of wind, the chirping of birds, the clicking of insects, the stamping of feet, and the clapping of hands form a constant and familiar stream of sounds.”

The hustle and bustle of a town, in contrast, may put you on high-alert, and this stress primes your visual system to cast its net wider, as it is on the lookout for threat.

A Himba woman goes grocery shopping in Opuwo. Exposure to this busy visual environment may permanently change her perception (Credit: Alamy)

 

These are just hypotheses, however – and it is interesting to put it in the context of other research exploring non-Western cultures. The psychologist Richard Nisbett at the University of Michigan, for instance, has strong evidence that our vision can be influenced by our social lives: people who live in more interdependent, collectivist societies like Japan and China tend to focus more on the context of a social situation – and they also tend to pay more attention to the backgrounds of pictures; they are more ‘holistic’ and less ‘analytical’.

“If you are paying attention to the social world, you incidentally pay attention to the physical world too, so you end up noticing things that wouldn’t be noticed by someone with an analytical mindset,” says Nisbett.

(For more information, see our in-depth article: How East and West think in profoundly different ways.)

The Himba appear to live in a tight-knit community, rich in traditions that bind the whole group – so they would seem to be an exception to this rule. But Nisbett has also shown that people’s professions make a difference, even within the same culture: shepherds in Turkey tended to be less holistic than farmers or fishermen, for instance, perhaps because it brings a greater focus on the individual and less cooperation between group members. A closer examination of the Himba’s working and social lives, compared to other indigenous peoples, will help pick apart the various factors that shape their view of the world.

Davidoff also points out that we should beware reports exaggerating the perceptual differences in indigenous populations. He has seen some articles arguing that pre-modern people are puzzled by photographs, for instance – failing to comprehend the flat, 2D images of the world around them. In fact, the Himba were quite the opposite: they would often ask him to bring back photos on their return trips.

“They recognised other people in the group very quickly,” he says.

“I’m certain there was no concern about photographic reality.”

The love of a good selfie, it seems, can cross all cultural boundaries.

Source*

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