Ispectrum magazine #05

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Issue #5 commences with “Flashbulb Memories”. I am sure you remember what you were doing during the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre Towers. Do you want to know why you remember? You will have to read this. Markus Köller went to an important international symposium in Münster, Germany, to interview Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker about climate change. It’s a matter of importance to listen to what he has to say. Elaine Vieira is a well known scientist and a tireless researcher. She shares with us in this issue her latest discoveries in the field of our biological clock and healthy sleep. What do they have to do with obesity, diabetes and other diseases? We will find out by reading about her findings.

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Ispectrum magazine #05

  1. 1. ISPECTRUM Issue 05/January-February 2014 MAGAZINE FLASHBULB MEMORIES WHY ITS HARD TO FORGET THE PAST BIOLOGICAL CLOCK ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT INTERVIEW WITH PROF. DR. VON WEIZSÄCKER THE INFLUENCE OF EMOTIONS ON GENETICS
  2. 2. CONTENTS FEATURES 08 14 03 FLASHBULB MEMORIES WHY ITS HARD TO FORGET THE PAST 06 Explaining FBMs 08 FBM variations and accuracy 14 BIOLOGICAL CLOCK HEALTHY SLEEP 15 Sleep restriction 18 Our life is a rhythm 24 INTERVIEW WITH PROF. DR. VON WEIZSÄCKER ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT 28 Energy efficiency 33 Climate protection 34 CO2 Emissions 3 24 37 1 37 THE INFLUENCE OF EMOTIONS ON GENETICS 38 Environmental influences can influence genes 41 Positive and Negative Emotions: How can they affect our health? 43 DNA for all: To laugh or to cry, that is the question 44 Music for Emotions 46 Mother Emotions: Fear and love. Can we control our emotions?
  3. 3. editorial Mado Martinez Editorial Director Dear readers, I hope the year 2014 we have just started will be even better than the one we left behind. Let’s move forward! Issue #5 commences with “Flashbulb Memories”. I am sure you remember what you were doing during the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre Towers. Do you want to know why you remember? You will have to read this. Markus Köller went to an important international symposium in Münster, Germany, to interview Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker about climate change. It’s a matter of importance to listen to what he has to say. Elaine Vieira is a well known scientist and a tireless researcher. She shares with us in this issue her latest discoveries in the field of our biological clock and healthy sleep. What do they have to do with obesity, diabetes and other diseases? We will find out by reading about her findings. All these very interesting things, and a little bit more, launch us into what will be a fascinating year. Don’t forget to share with us your comments and feel free to submit your own articles. Ispectrum magazine Editorial Director Mado Martinez madomartinez@ispectrummagazine.com Art Director Rayna Petrova raynapetrova@ispectrummagazine.com Copy Editing and Proofreading Matt Loveday mattloveday@ispectrummagazine.com Contributing Writers Rob Hutchinson Markus Köller Elaine Vieira Images Cover Photo : 9/11 World Trade Centre,NY commons.wikimeadia.org, public domain photos, morguefile.com WWW.ISPECTRUMMAGAZINE.COM admin@ispectrummagazine.com +44 7938 707 164 (UK) Follow Us 2
  4. 4. Ever wondered why there are certain events that stick in your mind and no matter what you do you just cannot bury them in the past? 3
  5. 5. FLASHBULB MEMORIES WHY ITS HARD TO FORGET THE PAST BY ROB HUTCHINSON WEBSITE WWW.ISPECTRUMMAGAZINE.COM A major world event or an accident you witnessed or experienced yourself, these memories can seem as vivid as the day you experienced them many years later. Take for example 9/11. If you ask anybody what they were doing that day as the Twin Towers fell the vast majority will be able to tell you where they were, what they were doing, even what the weather was like. The reason for these 4 exceptionally sharp memories are that they are flashbulb memories (FBMs) a snapshot taken at a shocking or highly emotional time that sears the event into the memory. But do these FBMs diminish over time and what affect does it have on eyewitness testimony? Surely a memory as powerful as this will be strong evidence in court and be an asset to the criminal justice system.
  6. 6. MEMORY TYPES -WHERE DO FBMS FIT IN? The way information is stored depends on the type of memory it is. There are two main memory categories short and long term memory. Because it is not necessary to store all the information we process in our brain these memory types act as a filter. After being perceived information passes to the short term memory, which can store the information for around 20 seconds. After this the information is either lost or transferred to long term memory. This transfer happens due to the repeated use of the information or rehearsal of it. The long term memory is limitless, although the memories in this vast storage unit can decay over time or due to illness. Long term memory is obviously the more complex of the two and has separate categories of its own. These memories can be split into explicit (requiring conscious thought 5 to retrieve the memory), implicit (the major form of long term memory that does not require conscious thought, almost like an autopilot) and autobiographical memory, which contains specific life events that we remember better than others. FBMs fit into this last category of autobiographical memory. These precise, long lasting and concise memories are remembered with astounding clarity. However, it is not the same as photographic memory, as it is possible for FBMs to decay over time and little details to be lost. FBMs are like taking an instant image of everything that is presentw
  7. 7. 9/11, 2001 Attack on the World Trade Center,New York at the time of a shocking event in a person’s private or public life. Feelings and emotional responses, those present with them at that time, even the exact thing they were doing the moment before the incident can all be recorded with amazing detail. In a 2002 study on 9/11 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press 97% of those interviewed had a FBM for the attacks. Interestingly 38% of those said that for them 9/11 was the biggest life event for that year, which explains why so many recorded a FBM. The key for recording a FBM is that the event is of great personal importance and contains high emotion and surprise alongside drastic consequences. For the memory to be so long lasting it needs 6 to be highly distinctive and significant. But how are these FBMs any different from traumatic memories? The key is that traumatic memories contain high levels of stress caused by anxiety or fear, which are generally absent from FBM. This is not to say the two are not similar. During a traumatic event arousal is increased, leading to increased attention to surroundings and events causing the memory to be more detailed. Much of the research into FBMs have focused on events where important public figures who were loved by many have been murdered. The death of John F Kennedy
  8. 8. has always held a place in the hearts of many Americans, and provided a dearth of research into FBMs. In the many studies conducted a high proportion of people had a vivid memory of the day’s events, with the personal emotional effect on themselves and the shock being the main contributors to the formation of the FBM. It was JFK’s assassination that first prompted investigations into the FBM as many researchers at the time were surprised by just how accurate people’s memories were. Although certain aspects of the memory disappeared it was fixed into the brain in such a way that it did not appear to erode over time. Brown & Kulik studied these memories in depth and contributed to the definition of FBMs that we use today. EXPLAINING FBMS So how can FBMs be explained? There are a variety of different models, so here is just a taste of the most compelling and scientifically supported ones. The original FBM memory model was designed by Brown & Kulik. The Photographic Model determined that for a FBM to occur there must be a high level JFK 7
  9. 9. John Lennon,1975 of surprise, consequentiality and emotional arousal involved. A high level of arousal would cause more frequent rehearsal and a stronger memory reconstruction at later dates. The Comprehensive Model succeeds in going further than the Photographic Model by building an interconnected relationship between the variables involved in the recording of the FBM. Whilst the Photographic Model put forward a jumble of variables, the Comprehensive Model worked at explaining the correlation between them. The model proposes that knowledge and interest in the event determine the level of 8 importance to the individual, therefore also affecting the individual’s emotional arousal. The level of importance of this event contributes to the prior rehearsal of the memories, making the FBM so strong. Associating these together allows the individual to remember vivid aspects of the event such as what they were doing at the exact time and the people they were with, alongside a detailed explanation of the event itself. A different take on the FBM is provided by the Importance-Driven Emotional Reactions Model, which focuses on personal consequences as the most important event. If the personal consequence is high then the emotional reaction will be strong, both important factors in the creation of a FBM.
  10. 10. This model is actually based on the experiences of people who experienced an earthquake. Victims of the earthquake were interviewed alongside a control group and their memories recorded. At a later date participants were interviewed again, with the long term memories of the victims being understandably more durable and accurate than those of the control group. From this they proposed the model, with the importance of the personal consequences seen as a fundamental part for the formation of FBM. However, being based only on the one study it has very clear problems, and cannot explain why the murder of John Lennon affected so many people despite his death not having any close personal consequences to many of those who remember the event so well. 9 FBM VARIATIONS AND ACCURACY Like many aspects in psychology cultural and gender variations can affect the level of accuracy in FBM. Edery Halpern & Nachson (2004) looked into the gender differences involved in FBMs. Israeli university students completed questionnaires about their memories for certain terror attacks, with the results showing that men had more distinct FBMs than women and that they also recounted more significant details of the events. Women, however, reported more emotional reactivity than the men. Due to the lack of research into this area it is
  11. 11. hard to draw conclusions from one study or try to link the differences in responses to any corresponding factors. Across cultures the factors that affect FBMs remain constant, but there are cultural variations that influence the vividness of the recounting. Kulkofsky et al (2011) studied the formation of FBM across five different countries; the USA, UK, China, Germany and Turkey. They found that the Chinese memories were less influenced by any personal factors connected to the event. This could be because in Asian culture there is less emphasis on individuality, so their recollections of 10 FBMs show less personal connection with the event. Age differences also play a part in the vividness of the memory. The younger you are the more likely you will be to have a strong recollection later in life. Cohen et al (1993) examined age related differences in FBMs. They tested participants 11 days after an important event and then again 11 months later. Less than half the adults had a FBM of the event but nearly all of the younger participants did.
  12. 12. As a tool for giving wit- the event then this is ness testimony in crim- almost priceless eviinal cases the evidence dence. would strongly suggest that FBMs provide a compelling account of events and that they cannot be brought into question. However, it is possible for FBMs to be incorrectly recorded and it is always best to take an account of these memories as soon as possible after the event. In a courtroom a year later these memories can be questioned, but if a witness statement was taken immediately after 11 The accuracy of these memories have been brought into question, Pearl Harbour , 1941
  13. 13. Space Shuttle Challenger the classic example of Ulric Neisser’s account of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 demonstrating that key points of the memory can in fact be wrong. He recounted listening to a baseball game at the time of the attack when in fact no baseball games were being played at that time. People who were asked about their memories of the Challenger shuttle disaster in 1986 also showed discrepancies with the actual events and what they were actually doing at the time. It seems possible that FBMs can have discrepancies, so even the smallest incorrect detail could 12 have implications in the testimony of people who witnessed a crime. Researchers at Duke University interviewed participants days after the 9/11 attacks about their memories of the event alongside other mundane events that happened that same day.
  14. 14. Interviewed one week, six weeks, or 32 weeks later they found that the consistency of the memories for the attack and the mundane events was actually the same, with the number of consistencies in both sets of memories dropping. 13 Participants remained very confident of their memories and were unaware of the inaccuracies that were creeping in. FBMs are a vivid snapshot of a highly consequential and shocking life event that is burnt into the
  15. 15. FBMs are a vivid snapshot of a highly consequential and shocking life event FBMs are yet another example of the combrain like a hot iron branded into an animal. It will be there until the end plexities and endlessly astounding of your life unless illness causes it to qualities of our decay. It has its uses, but we must minds. be careful not to rely on their accuracy too much. 14
  16. 16. BY ELAINE VIEIRA WEBSITE HTTP://WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/ BIOLOGICAL CLOCK HEALTHY SLEEP O besity is considered today an important health problem in modern society, leading to preventable causes of deaths worldwide. It reduces life expectancy by increasing the rates of hearth disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep disorders and cancer. Recently, new possible contributors have been identified as possible causes of obesity. Among them, circadian (cycles of 24 hours) disturbances have been proposed as triggers of obesity and type 2 diabetes. How do we disrupt our circadian cycles, our biological clock? Humans are the only species that do no follow their biological clock! 15
  17. 17. In our modern society we are constantly exposed to these problems which are occurring in parallel with the epidemics of obesity. Today many researchers say that obesity could be a result of not how much we eat; but the time we eat! SLEEP RESTRICTION The circadian biological clock is controlled by the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), a group of cells in the hypothalamus that respond to light DEREGULATION OF YOUR BIOLOGICAL CLOCK CAN MAKE YOU FAT AND AT RISK OF METABOLIC DISEASES and dark signals. Light reaches the SCN, and tells our internal clock that it is time to be awake. The SCN then signals to other parts of the brain that control hormones and other functions that make us feel sleepy or awake. With this exposure to light in the mornings, the SCN also sends We are constantly changing the time we eat, the time we sleep, etc. The most common ways that we disrupt our biological clock are: Lack of sleep (sleeping less than 7 to 8 hours), eating at the wrong time, exposure to artificial light at night, working at night and eating high fat diets. 16
  18. 18. signals to raise body temperature and produce cortisol. The SCN also responds to light by decreasing melatonin secretion, which is associated with sleep onset. Melatonin production then increases during the night and stays elevated throughout the night, promoting sleep. Thus, it is important to pay attention to our biological clock and not disrupt the sleep-awake cycle. The recommended amount of hours for a person to sleep is between 7 to 8 hours. If you sleep less than 7 hours per day, this could be cause for concern. Everybody knows that a bad night sleep can make people tired but today the scientific community has demonstrated that lack of sleep can also increase the pre disposition to metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. The average 17 amount of sleep has declined by 1.5 hours over the past century together with an important increase in obesity. In 1999, a study from Eve Van Cauter from the University of Chicago has changed the idea
  19. 19. that the only effect of lack of sleep was tiredness. His group showed that sleep restriction in healthy young men led to signs of insulin resistance which can lead to type 2 diabetes. The mechanism behind these effects seems to involve two important hormones that regulate hunger (ghrelin) and satiety (leptin). The group who slept fewer hours had an increase in the levels of ghrelin and a decrease in the levels of leptin increasing their appetite1. Indeed, many studies have found that people who sleep poorly are more susceptible to develop obesity and more risk of developtype 2 diabetes. ing diabetes. One study showed that people who slept for 5 Is sleep duration more hours each night had important than sleep an increase of 3.6% quality? Sleep qualin body mass index. ity is just as important Interestingly, the group as sleep duration. The that slept fewer hours same effect of reduced had a preference for insulin sensitivity was fatty substances and found in people who carbohydrates and con- slept 7 to 8 hours but sumed more calories were prevented from through foods of this entering deep sleep. type. Reducing sleep- This effect could be ing time has a power- explained by the fact ful effect on cells in our that the onset of slowbody. wave sleep coincides For instance a study with hormonal changes by Tasali, Brady and in our body. van Cauter demonstrated that four nights of just 4.5 hours of sleep reduced t h e reducing sleeping time insulin has a powerful effect sension cells in our body tivity of fat cells2. It means that these people have 18
  20. 20. Our biological clock is regulated by complex mechanisms involving several hormones and, at a molecular level, by the so called ‘clock genes’. The body clock is important because it regulates the time we eat, when we sleep and other physiological functions. Today we know that besides the central clock located in the body clock is important the SCN in because it regulates the time the hypowe eat, when we sleep and thalamus, other physiological functions every cell in the body has its own clock that helps to regulate the cells metabothat a lack of another lism. Mice that lack the clock gene clock gene called Rev-erb alpha develop high blood sugar, high cho- leads to impaired insulin and glucalesterol levels and become obese3. gon secretion, the two key hormones My research with Dr. Ramon Gomis in the development of diabetes 4,5. group at IDIBAPS-CIBERDEM, Nutrients such as high fat diets can Barcelona, together with research- disrupt the circadian pattern of clock ers Dr. Ivan Quesada and Dr. Angel gene expression in cells that could Nadal from Universidad Miguel be responsible for impairment in Hernandez, Elche, Spain, has shown their function. Indeed, she showed 19
  21. 21. that mice fed with high fat diet for 6 weeks had a loss of circadian clock gene expression in pancreatic islets (tiny clusters of cells that produce insulin, glucagon and other hormones important to maintain glucose homeostasis) that could be involved in defects of the beta-cell function during obesity and type 2 diabetes 4. 20
  22. 22. Eating at different times can also affect our biological clock. Mice fed a high fat diet only during the day time, when these nocturnal animals should be sleeping, gained significantly more weight than mice that got the same diet but were allowed to eat at a normal time6. This study could be translated to the human situation when people eat during the night time. Indeed, people with a nocturnal lifestyle characterized by having a dinner late at night and eating snacks at night showed high levels of glucose and low levels of leptin and melatonin (important hormone that regu21 lates sleep) during the night. Nowadays having a nocturnal lifestyle is considered one of the main risks for obesity and diabetes. The exposure of bright light at night through the use of computers, TV and cell phones can also disrupt our body clock. Studies in humans showed that bright light at night reduces the secretion of melatonin7. The reason is that the artificial
  23. 23. light emits wavelengths that can activate cells in the retina and send the light signals to the SCN telling the body: “it is still day time”, so melatonin production decreases. The reduced melatonin levels can disrupt sleep keeping people awake for a longer time, which makes them eat more during the night. Importantly, exposure of bright light at night is already being considered a risk for cancer development. 22
  24. 24. Changing sleeping time such as in the case of shift work can also affect our health. One of the effects of industrialization was the adoption of 24-hour continuous work in a number of industries. This has resulted in an increase in the proportion of the population engaged in shift work. Epidemiological studies show that shift work is associated with obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, abdominal obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease8. Thus, it is clear that if we do not pay attention to our biological clock we can cause metabolic problems. 23
  25. 25. time and protection from artificial light could be solutions to normalize our biological clock and prevent many diseases. Scientists are now using tools to restore the biological rhythms to treat some diseases. For instance, helping obese people to lose weight just by improving their sleep time and quality. Thus, future therapies that aim to correct the time of meals, sleeping scientists are now using tools to restore the biological rhythms to treat some diseases References: 1- Siegel, K. et al. Ann. Intern. Med. 141, 846-850 5- Vieira, E. et al. PloS One. 8, e69939 (2013). (2004). 6- Megumi Hatori. et al. Cell Metabolism. 15, 848–860 2- Broussard, J. et al. Ann Intern. Med. 157, 549-557 (2012). (2012). 7- Reiter, RJ. et al. Crit. Rev. Oncog. 13, 303-28 3- Turek, F. et al. Science 308, 1043-1045 (2005). (2007). 4- Vieira, E. et al. Endocrinology. 153, 592–601 8- Knutsson A. Occup Med. 53: 103-08 (2003). (2012). 24
  26. 26. INTERVIEW WITH PROF. DR. VON WEIZSÄCKER ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT BY MARKUS KÖLLER WEBSITE WWW.MEDIEN-LOGE.DE D aily economic challenges require forward-looking decisions. The German m:ut-symposium set an objective to solve entrepreneurial questions. One of the greatest environmental scientists of our time was the main speaker of the event: Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker is known for his courageous commitment for sustained economic growth in unison 25 with environment protection. One of his main propositions is that with an increase of the efficiency of resources by a factor of 5 (80%), we can solve current global issues. In a quiet corner of the event he has answered several questions for our journalist Markus Köller. Read about von Weizsäckers concerns, his private life and how a better future can start today!
  27. 27. Photo:(C) 2013 Ingo Kannenbäumer, MEDIEN LOGE 26
  28. 28. M.K. : Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker, today’s event is called „m:ut” which is the German word for „bravery”. When have you shown bravery in your life? Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker Hardly ever. Well, I don’t think of myself as a brave man. I’m just courageous in facing opportunities of teach- ing and changing individuals by being quite frank in public speeches and presenting what I think is the right thing to do. So if you´d call that kind of actions spirited, then perhaps I’m brave. Photo:(C) 2013 Ingo Kannenbäumer, MEDIEN LOGE 27
  29. 29. M.K. : Isn´t a retirement a way to show bravery, too? To me the age of 74 years seems like a good time to retire. Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker Actually I find it more amusing to travel around the world and try to change peoples’ behavior by teaching them good science and physics. Everybody I met so far was very interested, listening and learning from the things I was saying, which I find important. So, my work is one way of enjoying life. Of course I do enjoy life at home, too. As a matter of fact I have an agreement with my wife: in summer we both have to call off all other exter- nal obligations for four weeks. In this time we stay at a lovely lake resort in Austria and enjoy our togetherness. Christmas is another date, of course, when I enjoy staying with the whole family at our house. M.K. : A little guessing game: How many kWh (Kilowatt Hour) do you need to move a ten kilogram object on the top of Mount Everest? Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker Yes, very good! I love to ask people this question, because the answer is so astonishing! Every time I ask my students, the answer is everything between 300 kWh and a thousand kWh. Actually the answer is just a quarter – which is absolutely astonishing! In this difference lies one of the hugest problems of our society: our expectation of what a 28 kWh can do is roughly a thousand times less from what a kWh can do in reality. On this assumption, which depends on wrong physics, we are basing all of our estimates of
  30. 30. energy demand. That is a scandal! The result of this misbelief is an immense wastefulness in the use of energy. If protecting climate, environment and bio diversity requires less consumption of energy, water and minerals, we better have to start with correct physics. M.K. : The increase of energy efficiency is the main point of your theory for a better future. Your goal is to raise the productivity of resources up to 80%. Here, at the m:ut symposium, are many German decision makers. If I‘d tell them to increase energy efficiency about the amount of that percentage, they would call me crazy. Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker Well, actually this increase is just the beginning. So many people think I’m crazy, and if you call it brave of me to propose such technology and correct things, then indeed I’m physics. brave. I find it completely normal. It’s just good science, good 29
  31. 31. M.K. : Do you really think your factor 5 thesis is a realistic approach to the climate issues? Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker Oh, absolutely! I always give examples in my speeches, which show the possibility of an increase in efficiency even by a factor of 10. Photo:(C) 2013 Ingo Kannenbäumer, MEDIEN LOGE 30
  32. 32. M.K. : How can politics encourage this development? Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker You can define the connection with a ‘ping pong’ metaphor: If you raise productivity, you can get higher wages. If you raise wages, you have a stronger incentive to rationalize labor… So that’s the basis of our economic world. The same ping pong mechanism can be initiated in the energy efficiency section: Political decisions and develop- ment has to become a ‘ping pong’ between resource productivity and resource prices. I often recommended politics to increase resource prices exactly by the percentage that resource productivity has been raised. So increase resource prices and productivity goes up, raise productivity and prices go up and so forth. This will go in a 31 ping pong mechanism, maybe it will be going for a hundred years. Of course it is easier to establish the ping pong mechanism between wages and labor productivity, because workers take to the street if they are unfairly paid. Whereas a kWh has no union, no lobby and remains silent in the corner without fighting for a higher price.
  33. 33. M.K. : Here in Germany the prices for energy are already rising. But I heard the amount of energy being wasted – even CO2-Emission – is not going down. So a kind of opposite development is recognizable. Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker The increase of energy prices is very good for Germany. Nevertheless, as you said before, the emissions are rising. This has a totally different background: In the USA, a new method of raw material production has been 32 discovered and is used for a short amount of time now: it is called FRACKING and is a method of extracting
  34. 34. natural gas from the ground. This production method has strikingly decreased the coal prices on the US-market. The solution of the coal producers was to sell the excess coal to Europe. And now they blame the Europeans for increasing their carbon emissions. Process of Hydraulic fracturing (FRACKING) 33
  35. 35. M.K. : I think the current state of climate protection is perfectly explainable with the so called „prisoner’s dilemma” – no one wants to move first, because the one who’s moving first is losing. So how do we start? Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker Exactly. That’s the current mentality of the decision makers and the attitude of the climate negotiators. Nobody wants to move first. Part of my message is, you can overcome the situation of the prisoner’s dilem- ma and move into the first-mover-advantagesituation, by improving resource productivity. M.K. : Big goals need the support of everybody. Isn’t it very frustrating for you to watch the inconclusive debates between politicians and economists over the years? For instance, as with the debates at the last United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw (Poland)? Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker Of course it’s frustrating sometimes. I also know that we’ve to be patient with long term developments, because the engagement for a better environment and especially for those changes is com- ing in waves. About 10 years ago, after Al Gore published his INCONVENIENT TRUTH, everybody believed that climate protection had to be the first priority of every government. For example the British and 34 the German government were very active. Since then, the priority of environmental protection has decreased in northern America and in Europe, too.
  36. 36. M.K. : China is known as a “Climate Killer”, it barely ascended one rank up in THE CLIMATE CHANGE PERFORMANCE INDEX 20141 from the state “very poor” to “poor”. Do you think that this is an ongoing tendency? Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker I should think so. What many persons wouldn’t believe is that the good exception in the field of reducing CO2 Emissions is Asia. The „Climate Killer” label for China is a very wrong term, because the Chinese are slowly facing the right direction. I mean, they managed things in 30 years, where we needed more than 100. By transferring this kind of development to the actual goals in environmental and climatic protection ambitions, we can expect a fast and positive change in the country. Benxi heavy steel industries in 2013 (China) 1 Cf.: http://germanwatch.org/en/7677 35
  37. 37. M.K. : In comparison to China, how do you rate the activities of the United States of America regarding climate issues? President Barack Obama Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker I think that President Obama’s ambitions are dichotomous. The top priority was to overcome the scandal of the northern American health insurance situation: one quarter of the Americans has no health insurance. This 25% are simply dying if they are deadly sick, because they can’t afford medical treatment. So he considered the overcoming of that scandal a higher priority than combating climate change. The biggest problem is that the US-Senate, the American congress and the House of Representatives has been utterly conserva- tive for many decades, ed. Sadly Obama gave maybe since the Reagan up on his environmental years, so hardly any ambitions in the end. progress can be expect36
  38. 38. M.K. : Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker, one last question: What is your inward urge? What is still driving you after a lifelong commitment for humanity and the planet? Prof. Dr. von Weizsäcker My motivations are my children and grandchildren. They should get the possibility of having a better future. 37
  39. 39. Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net BY MADO MARTINEZ WEBSITE WWW.MADOMARTINEZ.COM THE INFLUENCE OF EMOTIONS ON GENETICS Lash out in anger, fall into a melancholy state, laugh, feel grateful, experience fear... Emotions are within the river of the state of mind that flow in the sea of our organism. Scientific studies suggest that what we feel influences the genetic printing of modifications that could determine the difference between a healthy life and one of illness. 38
  40. 40. ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES CAN INFLUENCE GENES I approached the Public Biomedical Research Center in Barcelona. Here works Elaine Vieira, PhD, from the University of Uppsala in Sweden. She investigates chronobiology and has a post doctorate from the Karolisnka Institutet in Estocolmo and the Universidad Miguel Hernández. Apart from having a warm smile and the charming disposition to collaborate with me, when I asked her if emotions can influence my genetics, she responded; Yes, much more than we imagine. Not only emotions, nutrition, the environment, too. How is this possible? The idea that our environment can alter our genes is not new and it has a name: 39 Epigenetics. The name literally means “genetic control” and completely changed the idea of life sciences. In the last decade research has established that epigenetic patterns of DNA passing through genes are not definitive, ie, there are environmental influences such as nutrition, stress and emotions that can influence genes. One consequence of epigenetic modifications is that changed genes can pass on to future generations.
  41. 41. YOU ACCLIMATIZE OR YOU ‘ACCLIMADIE’ I have always heard that eating food that contains harmful chemicals results in these chemicals being deposited in my body. Not only are these transmitted in the food chain, but also from parents to children for generations. Elaine opens the door to even more possibilities. I called Doctor Luis Bardasano, biologist and physician, bioelectro- magnetics specialist and Director of Medical Specialties at the Faculty of Medicine in Madrid. This great sage considers himself a neolamarckian and speaks very clearly about the relationship between emotions and genetics. Stress, for example, can be considered from a neurochemical and neuroelectric viewpoint as an element that could alter, or modify, 40
  42. 42. In life you acclimatize or you ‘acclimadie’. If you can acclimate, you pass your genes to your descendants. A plum tree that is sick but overcomes the illness gives the following year’s best and highest quality fruits, and consequently gives the best seeds with a greater capacity to fight disease and become immune. The same happens between parents and children. the genetic component of a cell when it exceeds certain conditions. What about the possibility that we pass on to our children the genetic modifications acquired by the influence of our emotions? Doctor Bardasano believes this is so, and he replies with a simple botanical example: 41
  43. 43. POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EMOTIONS: HOW CAN THEY AFFECT OUR HEALTH? To say that having a positive attitude and a cheerful disposition from childhood will mean a healthy life almost sounds like a fairy tale. So “good” emotions have good consequences and “bad” emotions have bad consequences. The famous Dr. Deepak Chopra, author of several diverse books, including Quantum Healing, explains how positive and negative emotions influence the spread of disease and/or the acceleration of healing process or the opposite: The labyrinth of the mind-body connection is not so easy to solve. If we ask why a positive mind is not necessarily a promise of good health, when it would make sense, we realize that the answer lies in the definition we give to the word “ mind.” It is not a philosophical question, but a practical problem. If a patient comes to me with cancer, at what point am I to judge his mental state on the day of diagnosis, much earlier or much later? Dr. Lawrence LeShan, author of pioneering studies in the fifties, established a relationship between feelings and cancer in childhood. He used to track his patients childhood to banish the black seed that poisoned their psyche, thus defending a theory that there is a seed which 42
  44. 44. lies dormant in the Amit Goswami is a the- its applications to the subconscious for years oretical nuclear physi- mind-body problem. He before inducing the dis- cist and member of the is the author of, among ease. I myself treated a Institute of Theoretical other books, Quantum patient with lung cancer Physics at the University Doctor. Goswami conwho could survive com- of Oregon, where he firms experiences that fortably for five years taught physics for 32 demonstrate the preswith a major injury in years. After a period ence of subtle fields the lungs. There was of distress and anguish (when he refers to the no suspicion that the in his private and pro- chakras, we must take injury was cancerous into account the tradition but the cancer gradfrom which Goswami, ually arrived, and who received his when I told him doctorate in the diagnosis Calcutta) in the of lung canhuman body. cer, he panThis brilliant icked. After mind nuclenegative emotions a month, ar theointerfere with the body’s he began ry states internal programming to cough that negawhich affects up blood tive emothe immune system and he died tions interthree months fere with the later. If it is true body’s internal that his mental programming state helped prewhich affects the cipitate the events, he immune system. had to act fast. This patient could overcome fessional life when he his tumor, but not his was 38, he became diagnosis. interested in quantum cosmological theory, quantum physics and 43
  45. 45. DNA FOR ALL: TO LAUGH OR TO CRY, THAT IS THE QUESTION The scientist and engineer Gregg Braden, author of such exciting books as The Divine Matrix, has interesting theories. Considering various experiments performed on DNA he suggests that there is an energy field through which DNA is communicating with photons. He also says that living cells are recognized by a form of energy that is not 44 affected by distance or by time, an energy that exists everywhere and all the time. Curiously the results also shows that DNA changes shape according to the feelings of those whom they studied, depending on if they feel fear, anger, stress, or relaxation, love, joy, gratitude or appreciation. It is worth mentioning that experiments conducted in the Math Heart Institute confirmed that individuals who were trained to feel a deep love were able to change the shape of their DNA. According to him, there is an energy similar to a closely knit network that connects all matter, and that this network may be influenced by our vibrations.
  46. 46. MUSIC FOR EMOTIONS I contacted with Marco Antonio Diaz, director of Radio Evolution, dedicated to science and music. Could music affect our emotions? Regarding your question about whether there is a possibility that music and musical emotions also affect our genetics, the answer would be obvious, he answered me. Exposing our state of mind to music can change our predisposition into other directions. Dan Winter, in fact, 45 explained about the study conducted by Manfred Clynes on emotions and pressure. The study generated a test where they put people in situations that have made them experience several emotional responses and after
  47. 47. feeling the emotion, they pressed a button. The button recorded the changes in pressure on the button over time. Clynes realized that people pressed the same in China as in Mexico and in New York. The emotions we receive are transferred in a clear and concise way through our pressure, he explained. Therefore someone playing a musical instrument produces the same emotional effect on the vast majority of people. Lets say that the sounds give shape to material, therefor that is why cymatics (the study of waves) shows that grains of sand that are moved by the vibrations of a speaker and as you increase the frequency emitted by the speaker, 46 the sand grains adopt more and more complex shapes. In biology it is exactly the same, and therefore we can say that emotions definitely affect our genetics, they rebound and resonate to the state of our society, the planets and the stars, he concluded.
  48. 48. MOTHER EMOTIONS: FEAR AND LOVE. CAN WE CONTROL OUR EMOTIONS? Chinese tradition says the world of emotions translates into yin and yang. Indeed, Eastern wisdom establishes two mother emotions, from which all others derive: Fear and love. But can we control emotions? A psychological consultation can give me the answer. Years ago, in a discussion with Ana Moyano, psychologist in Alicante, we were faced with this challenge. What was it I was told by this woman? That emotions come from thoughts, but you can control what you think. It’s simple: Think of a red dinosaur. Have you thought about it? Great. Now think of a blue dinosaur. Yes? There you go. From this point of view, controlling our emotions is as easy as choosing what to think of every time. If you do not want to feel a sad emotion you have to replace the negative thinking that is causing it 47
  49. 49. (stop thinking that I lost my job, for example) and replace it with a positive thought (think how good it feels to bask in the sun in the garden or how lucky I am to have good friends, for example) that will trigger a range of emotions in line with the vibration of thought. GENERAL ADAPTION SYNDROME: YOU MAY BE STRESSED Do you feel tense? You may be under much pressure, your interests are blocked, you feel threatened, isolated, frustrated, and you feel forced to process many information in a little time during difficulties at work, or you could even feel surrounded by harmful environmental stimuli. Have you thought what to do to combat stress? No? Maybe you 48
  50. 50. should know that stress has a reason to battle your body and create conditions and diseases that arise that cause your body to stop working. Why? Because stress is a natural and necessary response for your sur- vival, a defense mech- ties that impede your anism against abuse of body. Or you lie in your your life and the causes grave. You choose. of negative emotions in your body. This authentic soldier called stress can unchain the serious health problems and pathological abnormali49
  51. 51. “Fat cells need their sleep as well” (Dr. Matthew Brady ,University of Chicago) WWW.ISPEC TRUMMAGAZINE.COM 50

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