We Need to Stop Calling Breast-Feeding Natural

Public health advocates often use the phrase natural in their attempts to promote breast-feeding. As a marketing strategy, it’s a shrewd move. Most mothers will feel at least a little bit guilty about going the “unnatural” route and will be too tired to question the speciousness of what’s being implied. But as a public health strategy, this use of natural may not be a very wise move at all.

In a new paper recently published in Pediatrics, bioethicists Jessica Martucci and Anne Barnhill argue that the emphasis on the “natural” aspects of breast-feeding can easily backfire. By endorsing breast-feeding as natural, they say, breast-feeding advocates are reinforcing the idea that natural is A) something that actually exists and B) healthier. By setting up this dichotomy, these pro–breast-feeding campaigns might serve as unintentional fodder for concerns against “unnatural” interventions like vaccinations.

“The idea of the ‘natural’ evokes a sense of purity, goodness, and harmlessness,” Martucci and Barnhill write. “Meanwhile, synthetic substances, products, and technologies mass produced by industry (notably, vaccines) are seen as ‘unnatural’ and often arouse suspicion and distrust. Part of this value system is the perception that what’s natural is safer, healthier, and less risky.”

There are currently no studies demonstrating a direct link between the promotion of breast-feeding as natural and the rise of parents who don’t vaccinate their children. Still, it’s not hard to find examples of how this unwavering, and often unfounded, preference for all things natural feeds such beliefs. One popular parenting writer whose blog is titled “Mama Natural,” says that instead of vaccines she finds “natural and gentle ways to boost [her son’s] immunity.” Or as a mom explains in the documentary film The Vaccine War: “As a parent, I would rather see my child get a natural illness and contract that the way that illnesses have been contracted for at least 200,000 years that homo sapiens have been around.”

Martucci and Barnhill also point out that to describe breast-feeding as natural is to make a number of assumptions about gender roles and family life. Are two gay dads raising their child unnaturally if they formula-feed? What about a family who adopts? Or a mom who can’t or doesn’t want to breast-feed? Surely, these are all environments in which a baby could thrive.

In a recent paper from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, an independent ethics organization based in the U.K., the authors consider how mushy a category “natural” is and whether it’s time to get rid of it.

“The concept of nature itself, and perceptions about the link between nature and value, also change and are reflected differently in philosophy, social science, and literature at different points in history,” they write. “Associating what is natural with what is good and what is unnatural with what is bad is not, therefore, straightforward: It is difficult to define natural and unnatural things or processes.”

They conclude the paper by recommending that scientists, governments, and doctors stop using the phrase natural—which, they determine, has no fixed meaning—unless they are very clear about the beliefs and values behind it. I’d love to see the rest of us do the same.

Link original: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/03/08/calling_breastfeeding_natural_may_be_fueling_anti_vaccine_fears.html

What Is Yohimbe: Sleep Apnea Patients May Find Relief In All-Natural Aphrodisiac

A natural aphrodisiac thought to help with erectile dysfunction and weight loss could now get a third use: sleep apnea cure. Researchers found that yohimbe, a dietary supplement derived from tree bark, could provide a more comfortable alternative to the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that while effective, is also inconvenient and annoying for sleep apnea sufferers.

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10 Workout Shortcuts to Maximize Your Calorie Burn

If you could cut your workout time significantly while burning more calories, gaining strength and even improving your performance, would you do it?

Most people would do so in a heartbeat, which is why, if you’re still spending an hour or more exercising at a steady pace, there’s some major news you should know.

By increasing the intensity of your workout and interspersing it with short periods of recovery, you can increase your excess post oxygen consumption (EPOC), sometimes known as the afterburn effect. This means that you’ll continue burning calories after you’re done working out – a win-win situation no matter how you look at it! Want to know more? Leer Más

How emotions are ‘made’: why your definition of sadness is unlike anyone else’s

La Conciencia Su-fi empieza por la unificación de lo que en apariencia son polaridades separadas … cuánto más distantes y aisladas aparezcan a un perceptor las polaridades de un asunto menos uso de estas facultades sutiles se está haciendo…
Este texto abajo muestra una vez más el como alguien en ves de sumar y unificar intenta polarizar cayendo en «esto no, lo mío si»… es una forma más bien egocéntrica de percibir y de tratar las cosas… El texto abajo pretende mostrar que las emociones son una construcción específica de cada quien, pretendiendo que la forma básicas entre creida que es que nascemos con los genes prepuestos para emociones específicas en especial las que adjudican a las conductas de supervivencia y evolucionistas … el punto es que para nosotros el ser humano es unificado y como un todo es una ser infinito y nuestro cerebro es gigante y un desconocido y para conocer este elefante en la oscuridad tendremos que ser profundos auto observadores hasta llegar a la percepción unificada más integrada posible… para la mayoría de los auto observadores que llegaron a la realización de lo que no son y de lo que si son en términos de esencia, las emociones son tanto parte del hard Drive o sea veníamos con los programas genéticos específicos, así como también son aprendidas y creadas o sea parte de la individualidad adquirida , el soft Drive … solo en esto ya percibimos el asunto unidamente … pero cuando entrenamos en el sentir de los atributos como estados esenciales algo todavía más grande debe unificarse y esto es la naturaleza de lo divino y humano el macro y micro cosmos , el «tercer factor» con el primer y segundo … la Física cuántica , la Qualia , la materia … en fin nuestra era evolutivamente hablando demanda el desarrollo de los poderes perceptivos como nunca antes y parte de esta evolución se nuestra por la percepción unificada … así que cuando Nosotros en el trabajo interno captamos algo que sea muy polarizado intentemos atender al otro polo y hagamos él ejercicios de concebirlos unificados … esta unificación no mantiene mitad de uno y mitad del otro … al casar dos polos obtenemos un otros nivel creativo de percepción un tercer punto generando así un triángulo o sea , la creación de una arista ascendente unificado todos los ángulos … este triángulo a su vez puede moverse en diferentes formas y dimensiones generando diferentes y infinitas formas geométricas … recuerden como dice Rumi que : Más allá de las crecías de bien y mal hay un campo y que nos podemos encontrar y encontrarlo en el


Lisa Feldman Barrett says we need to revamp our thinking on emotions. She’s a professor of psychology at Northeastern University in Boston, where she applies psychology and neuroscience research to explore how emotions arise in the brain.

In her new book, How Emotions are Made, she challenges the classical view, which holds that emotions are hard-wired into our brains and generated automatically by distinct regions, making them universally recognisable across all humans. Feldman Barrett argues instead for a more holistic view: the theory of constructed emotion, which she coined. With it, she explores the evidence that emotions are instead created spontaneously, by several brain regions in tandem, and shaped by factors like an individual’s previous experiences.

She talks to WIRED about the logic behind this theory, how technology could make use of it, and calls attention to the unforeseen impacts that our emotional interactions will have on society as a whole.

WIRED: What does the classical view of emotion say?

Lisa Feldman Barrett: It’s the idea that a small select set of emotions are universal to human nature. The classical view maintains that the brain comes pre-wired with neurons dedicated to a specific emotion, and that they’re triggered by something that happens in the world, going off like a little bomb. The neurons, once triggered, produce a fingerprint that identifies the emotion — like a specific facial expression that is universally recognised. But in every era of scientific study, there is evidence that doesn’t match this view. When I observe other people and myself, I realise that I don’t have one distinct sadness, for instance; I have an entire vocabulary of sadness. I don’t have one happiness, one feeling of awe, or one feeling of gratitude; I have many. And they’re each highly specific to the situation.

What made you believe the classical view was flawed?

I came to the general conclusion that part of the problem is scientists begin with common sense categories [of emotion], and then they search for that distinctiveness in biology — in the brain, the body, genes. I think a better approach is to start with the structure of the brain and nervous system, and try to understand, what kind of emotions could a nervous system like this produce — and how would it do that?

What does this reveal about how emotions are made?

If you think about it from a brain’s standpoint, it’s trapped in a dark, silent box called your skull, and has no access to the causes of the sensations it receives. It only has the effects, and it has to figure out what caused them. So how does it do this? There’s one other thing it can use, and that’s past experience. The idea is that your brain is constantly predicting what sensory inputs to expect and what action to take, based on past experience. Then it uses the incoming input to either confirm its prediction, or change it. It works this way for vision, hearing, taste—for every sense. I think the way emotions are made is not special: your brain makes an emotion by using prior experiences of emotion to predict and explain incoming sensory inputs, and guide action.

Can you give an example?

Say in the past you’ve experienced a variety of angers, each with its own neural pattern, pattern of bodily changes and movements. In the present situation, then, your brain has the capacity to make any of these angers, and each will fit the existing situation to some degree. Your brain contains selection mechanisms to help determine which anger fits the situation best.

Do our more conventional, classical views on emotion have real-world implications?

Could we use that technology better?

Well, one thing we’ve never really been able to do is observe a person across multiple contexts over time. If I studied you over time, I’d learn about the vocabulary of your facial movements when you’re angry, or happy, or sad. I’d learn how to predict your behaviour in context. Let’s say I could do that with 1,000 people: now that technology has made the data so easy I could discover what generalises across people, and what doesn’t. This could be very powerful, if we take the big science and apply it to individuals.

Are there links between your own theory and human health?

My collaborators and I recently published a paper on superagers, people over the age of 65 whose memories work as well as a 25-year-old’s. It got a lot of press because it showed that the brain areas most important for superaging are those traditionally thought to be associated with emotion, rather than memory, per se. In fact, many of these brain regions are important for launching predictions. There’s some evidence that physical exercise, or learning something challenging like how to play a new instrument, will help to keep these predicting brain regions thick and healthy. So right now, we’re testing the hypothesis that challenging yourself now and then may help to keep you mentally sharp.

Are you taking your research in any new directions?

Yes. The theory I’ve introduced makes it clear that we’re a social species, which means we regulate each others’ nervous systems. I can make your heart rate speed up or slow down, just by my choice of words. Something I have a particular interest in is that in the United States there’s a problem with the casual brutality of social interactions. For example, in US schools bullying is accepted as a way of life. I believe it takes its toll in a really specific way. If you’re spending all your time in an environment that’s socially harsh, you don’t have the resources to take risks and fail academically—which is what we need to do to create an innovative and creative workforce. So I think we’re affecting brain development in a way that’s going to impact society. The emotional climate of a culture is something we should be having serious conversations about: I would like to bring that dialogue to the public. I haven’t quite figured out how, but I want to connect those ideas to the biology, to show why this is plausible.



Link original: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/lisa-feldman-barrett-emotions