Non-Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancers

A review article published on July 1, 2015, titled Non-Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancers — Current Perspectives, covers the following categories:

  • Physical Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Meditation and Yoga
  • Spirituality
  • Music
  • Cognitive Training
  • Brain Stimulation
  • Computer Based Interventions

And while this article is still rooted in a mainstream medical paradigm we do appreciate its willingness to explore non-drug methods and bring attention to areas like meditation, yoga, spirituality, and yoga, that are usually not considered.

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Dr. Horton’s Damning Statement on Modern Medical Research

The Aspen Institute organized the presentation of the 2013 Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health Award in Geneva on the margins of the 66th World Health Assembly. The Gambia, Kenya, Zambia and Sierra Leone were recognized for their achievements as part of a USAID funded effort to recognize and encourage improvements in reproductive health. HHS Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, Dr. Nils Daulaire and USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health, Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez spoke at the event which was broadcasted live on the web by the U.S. Mission Public Affairs team. U.S. Mission Geneva / Eric Bridiers

Dr. Richard Horton, known and respected for his role as editor of the esteemed medical journal The Lancet, has stated:

“Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

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Vitamin D for Chrohn’s Disease and Intestinal Permeability


In the follow study:

Effects of vitamin D supplementation on intestinal permeability, cathelicidin and disease markers in Crohn’s disease: Results from a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study [PDF file of study]

Researchers utilized just 2000IU a day of Vitamin D for 3 months and found reduced inflammation and reduced intestinal permeability, once again pointing to the importance of Vitamin D.

Visit out Vitamin D Discussion thread to discuss this study or Vitamin D further.

Serendipitous Discovery Sheds Light on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Like many health conditions that do not present in obvious ways to the current diagnostic technology of Western medicine, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been a marginalized.  It is often seen as psychogenic or “not having a medical cause”.

Traditional health practitioners often focus on enhancing digestion and resorting general health of people with CFS symptoms.  It can be hard to determine what is the root cause of a person’s problems if their digestion is weak and their diet and lifestyle are not optimal.

Rituximab, a drug which effects cells the make antibodies, was used to treat lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis.  But it was also noticed to benefit CFS symptoms. In a recently published study researchers from Norway put this drug to the test for CFS and found it helped participants significantly.

From the findings of the study:

Major or moderate responses, predefined as lasting improvements in self-reported Fatigue score, were detected in 18 out of 29 patients (intention to treat). Clinically significant responses were seen in 18 out of 28 patients (64%) receiving rituximab maintenance treatment. For these 18 patients, the mean response durations within the 156 weeks study period were 105 weeks in 14 major responders, and 69 weeks in four moderate responders. At end of follow-up (36 months), 11 out of 18 responding patients were still in ongoing clinical remission.

“Chronic Fatigue Syndrome usually responds, slowly, to continued use of Restorative Herbs backed up by short bursts of Immune System stimulants, plus lots of loving attention.” — Christopher Hedley

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Those Without Electric Light Sleep More


This is hardly a surprising conclusion.  Yet the effects of modern sleep habits on health tend to be underestimated.

The recently published study Access to Electric Light Is Associated with Shorter Sleep Duration in a Traditionally Hunter-Gatherer Community studied two similar groups of people, except one had access to electricity whereas the other didn’t. They found that the group that relied on natural light got more sleep (43 minutes more during the summer and 56 more during the winter).

Abstract: Access to electric light might have shifted the ancestral timing and duration of human sleep. To test this hypothesis, we studied two communities of the historically hunter-gatherer indigenous Toba/Qom in the Argentinean Chaco. These communities share the same ethnic and sociocultural background, but one has free access to electricity while the other relies exclusively on natural light. We fitted participants in each community with wrist activity data loggers to assess their sleep-wake cycles during one week in the summer and one week in the winter. During the summer, participants with access to electricity had a tendency to a shorter daily sleep bout (43 ± 21 min) than those living under natural light conditions. This difference was due to a later daily bedtime and sleep onset in the community with electricity, but a similar sleep offset and rise time in both communities. In the winter, participants without access to electricity slept longer (56 ± 17 min) than those with access to electricity, and this was also related to earlier bedtimes and sleep onsets than participants in the community with electricity. In both communities, daily sleep duration was longer during the winter than during the summer. Our field study supports the notion that access to inexpensive sources of artificial light and the ability to create artificially lit environments must have been key factors in reducing sleep in industrialized human societies.

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Jamu: Indonesia’s Ancient System of Health and Lifestyle


I by chance encountered a Time Magazine article today titled Jamu: Why Isn’t Indonesia’s Ancient System of Herbal Healing Better Known?  This is the first time I heard of Jamu.

The Wikipedia article on Jamu is not very long but does provide a concise overview. From the Wikipedia article:

It [Jamu] is claimed to have originated in the Mataram Kingdom some 1300 years ago. Though heavily influenced by Ayurveda from India, Indonesia is a vast archipelago with numerous indigenous plants not found in India, and include plants similar to Australia beyond the Wallace Line. Jamu may vary from region to region, and often not written down, especially in remote areas of the country.

We started a discussion thread on Jamu on our Ecoja discussion forums.  Please feel free to comment if you have more information about this system of health.

A short video on Jamu herbal beverages is displayed below:

Single Gene able to Reverse Certain Kinds of Cancer?


We are often sceptical of cancer research, especially when a large claim is being made or a panacea has been claimed to be found.  Scepticism does not mean outright rejection, however, and one must be open to new findings.  The following study caught our eye:

Lukas E. Dow, Kevin P. O’Rourke, Janelle Simon, Darjus F. Tschaharganeh, Johan H. van Es, Hans Clevers, Scott W. Lowe. Apc Restoration Promotes Cellular Differentiation and Re-establishes Crypt Homeostasis in Colorectal Cancer. Cell, 2015; 161 (7): 1539 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.05.033

In this study the researches found that:

Our study reveals that colorectal cancers (CRC) cells can revert to functioning normal cells given appropriate signals and provide compelling in vivo validation of the Wnt pathway as a therapeutic target for treatment of CRC.

This is a very technical paper but the unique finding was that by reactivating a single gene the cancer cells were influenced to return to a normal, non-cancerous state.

This study was done using mice and is very early stage research but the potential promise this line of inquiry holds is clear.

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