Jun 8, 2017


Broken Brain

The Brain Literally Starts Eating Itself When It Doesn't Get Enough Sleep

The reason we sleep goes far beyond simply replenishing our energy levels every 12 hours - our brains actually change states when we sleep to clear away the toxic byproducts of neural activity left behind during the day.

Weirdly enough, the same process starts to occur in brains that are chronically sleep-deprived too - except it's kicked into hyperdrive. Researchers have found that persistently poor sleep causes the brain to clear a significant amount of neurons and synaptic connections, and recovering sleep might not be able to reverse the damage.

A team led by neuroscientist Michele Bellesi from the Marche Polytechnic University in Italy has examined the mammalian brain's response to poor sleeping habits, and found a bizarre similarity between the well-rested and sleepless mice.

. . .

Think of it like the garbage being cleared out while you're asleep, versus someone coming into your house after several sleepless nights and indiscriminately tossing out your television, fridge, and family dog.

In an Unexplained Case, Brain Activity Has Been Recorded as Much as 10 Minutes After Death

Doctors in a Canadian intensive care unit have stumbled on a very strange case - when life support was turned off for four terminal patients, one of them showed persistent brain activity even after they were declared clinically dead.

For more than 10 minutes after doctors confirmed death through a range of observations, including the absence of a pulse and unreactive pupils, the patient appeared to experience the same kind of brain waves (delta wave bursts) we get during deep sleep. And it's an entirely different phenomenon to the sudden 'death wave' that's been observed in rats following decapitation.

"In one patient, single delta wave bursts persisted following the cessation of both the cardiac rhythm and arterial blood pressure (ABP)," the team from the University of Western Ontario in Canada reports.

They also found that death could be a unique experience for each individual, noting that across the four patients, the frontal electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings of their brain activity displayed few similarities both before and after they were declared dead.

Dying is a 'happier' experience than most people imagine, say scientists

Researchers at the University of North Carolina analysed blogs written by terminally ill patients and last words of prisoners on death row.

The emotions expressed in the accounts were not lonely and anxious but in fact “filled with love, social connection, and meaning”, they said.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, compared the real words of the dying to similar compositions by volunteers asked to imagine they only had a few months to live.

. . .

They found that as death approached, the words used by the dying became more positive in emotional tone, with an increased focus on meaningful topics such as family and religion.

Could we soon REVERSE death? US company to start trials 'reawakening the dead' in Latin America 'in a few months' - and this is how they'll do it

The first attempts to bring people back from the dead are slated to start this year.

Bioquark, a Philadelphia-based company, announced in late 2016 that they believe brain death is not 'irreversible'.

And now, CEO Ira Pastor has revealed they will soon be testing an unprecedented stem cell method on patients in an unidentified country in Latin America, confirming the details in the next few months.
To be declared officially dead in the majority of countries, you have to experience complete and irreversible loss of brain function, or 'brain death'.

According to Pastor, Bioquark has developed a series of injections that can reboot the brain - and they plan to try it out on humans this year.

A Pair of Merging Black Holes 3 Billion Light Years Away Sent Ripples of Spacetime Through the Earth

The folks at LIGO have done it again: For the third time they have detected the whisper-faint roar as a pair of black holes ended their long courtship by merging into a single, bigger black hole. By doing so, they have shown that gravitational wave astronomy is more than a novelty; it’s a fundamentally new field of astrophysics.

In this new case, two black holes three billion light-years away (!!) coalesced, their individual masses of 31.2 and 19.4 times the Sun’s mass combining to form a single black hole 48.7 times the mass of the Sun.

If you do the math, you see that two solar masses seems to be missing. Where did that go?

It was converted into the energy of shaking the very fabric of time and space itself.

Jury Finds Televangelist Jan Crouch Shunned Granddaughter’s Report of Rape

Carra Crouch was only 13 when she boarded a private plane for a trip to Georgia. The few days she would spend there in April 2006 were among the most important of the year for her famous family.

Ms. Crouch’s grandparents, Paul and Janice, had amassed a fortune preaching the “gospel of prosperity” to millions of viewers around the world. Their pulpit? A behemoth broadcasting network that the couple had built before Carra was born.

Ms. Crouch was to be a guest at a telethon for the Trinity Broadcasting Network. But according to a lawsuit she filed against the network, her trip quickly took a dark turn. The teenager was molested and raped in her hotel room by a 30-year-old network employee, according to the suit. And when she later told her grandmother what had happened, Ms. Crouch claimed, the congenial co-host of “Praise the Lord” screamed at her and blamed her for the sexual assault.

On Monday, a jury in Orange County, Calif., found after a monthlong trial that Jan Crouch’s handling of the ordeal amounted to “outrageous” conduct that had caused her granddaughter to suffer “severe emotional distress.” They awarded Carra Crouch, now 24, $2 million in damages for past and future “mental suffering.”

Massive crack in Antarctica ice shelf grows 11 miles in only 6 days

A massive crack in an Antarctic ice shelf grew by 11 miles in the past six days as one of the world's biggest icebergs ever is poised to break off.

The crack in the Larsen C ice shelf is now about 120 miles long, and only eight miles remain until the crack cuts all the way across, producing an iceberg about the size of the state of Delaware.

Adrian Luckman of Project MIDAS, a British Antarctic research project that's keeping watch on the ever-growing crack, said it's the largest jump since January. The full process is known as "calving," the timing of which is "very close," he added.

Once the iceberg breaks off, it "will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula," he said.

The US is relocating an entire town because of climate change. And this is just the beginning

The water has been inching closer to Rita Falgout’s house, lapping at the edges of her front yard. Her home is one of 29 in Isle de Jean Charles, a narrow island in the bayous of southeastern Louisiana that is slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. The island, home to members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw and the United Houma Nation tribes, is reached by a lone road that passes through the marshland with water on either side. Since 1955, the island has lost 98% of its land.

“Now there’s just a little strip of land left,” Falgout, 81, tells Quartz. “That’s all we have. There’s water all around us.” She’s one of just 100 people who lives in Isle de Jean Charles. Few outside know or care what’s going on there. “I’m anxious to go,” she says.

On the other side of the US, a small village of approximately 350 people on the Ninglick river on the western edge of Alaska faces similar troubles ahead. In Newtok, rising seas and melting permafrost caused by climate change have meant the Ninglick is gradually eroding the land. “They see the river bearing down on them. They all accept it, they all know they have to leave,” said Joel Neimeyer, the co-chair of the Denali Commission, a federal agency tasked with coordinating government assistance for coastal resilience in Alaska. “The river is coming at 70 feet a year. You can just take out a tape measure and measure it.”

Both towns were left with an awful choice that is going to come to many who live in coastal areas across the US that are at risk of being inundated as the sea level continues to rise: Move or perish. But then they heard of an unusual, first-of-its-kind competition held by the Obama administration, which offered the chance for relocation. The National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) was organized by the federal government and aimed to help communities and states recover from previous disasters and reduce future risks.

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