[VIDEO] What’s Wrong with E-Cigarettes? 

Are e-cigarettes a safe alternative to cigarettes? Could they help millions of smokers quit smoking? If so, why would anti-tobacco activists oppose e-cigarettes? Get the truth about e-cigarettes in this short video.


[VIDEO] Premiere of Phelim McAllen’s GASHOAX

GASHOAX — A short film by Phelim McAleer highlighting the health hoaxes pushed by Josh Fox.

GasHoax has been produced to call attention to Fox’s ongoing health scares from flaming faucets to breast cancer to the latest unfounded allegations contained in his latest film GASWORK which is also being released today…(more here)

Source: Breitbart


Kim Suozzi’s Brain Freeze: A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future

Cancer claimed Kim Suozzi at age 23, but she chose to have her brain preserved with the dream that neuroscience might one day revive her mind.

Amy Harmon writes: In the moments just before Kim Suozzi died of cancer at age 23, it fell to her boyfriend, Josh Schisler, to follow through with the plan to freeze her brain.

As her pulse monitor sounded its alarm and her breath grew ragged, he fumbled for his phone. Fighting the emotion that threatened to paralyze him, he alerted the cryonics team waiting nearby and called the hospice nurses to come pronounce her dead. Any delay would jeopardize the chance to maybe, someday, resurrect her mind.

It was impossible to know on that cloudless Arizona morning in January 2013 which fragments of Kim’s identity might survive, if any. Would she remember their first, fumbling kiss in his dorm room five years earlier? Their private jokes and dumb arguments? The seizure, the surgery, the fancy neuroscience fellowship she had to turn down?

An operating room at Alcor. The clear box is used to prepare the patient's head for preservation. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

An operating room at Alcor. The clear box is used to prepare the patient’s head for preservation. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

More than memories, Josh, then 24, wished for the crude procedure to salvage whatever synapses gave rise to her dry, generous humor, compelled her to greet every cat she saw with a high-pitched “helllooo,” and inspired her to write him poems.

They knew how strange it sounded, the hope that Kim’s brain could be preserved in subzero storage so that decades or centuries from now, if science advanced, her billions of interconnected neurons could be scanned, analyzed and converted into computer code that mimicked how they once worked.

[Read the full story here, at The New York Times]

But Kim’s terminal prognosis came at the start of a global push to understand the brain. And some of the tools and techniques emerging from neuroscience laboratories were beginning to bear some resemblance to those long envisioned in futurist fantasies.

For one thing, neuroscientists were starting to map the connections between individual neurons believed to encode many aspects of memory and identity.

The research, limited so far to small bits of dead animal brain, had the usual goals of advancing knowledge and improving human health. Still, it was driving interest in what would be a critical first step to create any simulation of an individual mind: preserving that pattern of connections in an entire brain after death.

“I can see within, say, 40 years that we would have a method to generate a digital replica of a person’s mind,” said Winfried Denk, a director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Germany, who has invented one of several mapping techniques. “It’s not my primary motivation, but it is a logical outgrowth of our work.”

Mad-Science

Other neuroscientists do not take that idea seriously, given the great gaps in knowledge about the workings of the brain. “We are nowhere close to brain emulation given our current level of understanding,” said Cori Bargmann, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller University in New York and one of the architects of the Obama administration’s initiative seeking a $4.5 billion investment in brain research over the next decade.

“Will it ever be possible?” she asked. “I don’t know. But this isn’t 50 years away.”

There would not, Kim and Josh well understood, be any quick reunion. But so long as there was a chance, even a small or distant one, they thought it was worth trying to preserve her brain.

Might her actual brain be repaired so she could “wake up” one day, the dominant dream of cryonics for the last half-century? She did not rule it out. But they also imagined a different outcome, that she might rejoin the world in an artificial body or a computer-simulated environment, or perhaps both, feeling and sensing through a silicon chip rather than a brain.

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The containers that are used to store frozen brains and bodies at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

“I just think it’s worth trying to preserve Kim,” Josh said.

For a brief period three years ago, the young couple became a minor social media sensation as they went to the online forum Reddit to solicit donations to pay for her cryonic storage and Kim posted video blogs about her condition.

And she agreed to let a Times reporter speak to her family and friends and chart her remaining months and her bid for another chance at life, with one restriction: “I don’t want you to think I have any idea what the future will be like,” she wrote in a text message. “So I mean, don’t portray it like I know.”

[Read the full story here, at The New York Times]

In a culture that places a premium on the graceful acceptance of death, the couple faced a wave of hostility, tempered by sympathy for Kim’s desire, as she explained it, “not to miss it all.”

Family members and strangers alike told them they were wasting Kim’s precious remaining time on a pipe dream. Kim herself would allow only that “if it does happen to work, it would be incredible.” “Dying,” her father admonished gently, “is a part of life.”

Part of the container in which Kim's preserved brain is stored. A third of the $80,000 fee Kim paid for preservation has been placed in a trust for future revival. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Part of the container in which Kim’s preserved brain is stored. A third of the $80,000 fee Kim paid for preservation has been placed in a trust for future revival. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Yet as the brain preservation research that was just starting as Kim’s life was ending begins to bear fruit, the questions the couple faced may ultimately confront more of us with implications that could be preposterously profound. Read the rest of this entry »


Holy Smoke: 23% of Beijingers Light Up

china-smokes

Laurie Burkitt reports: China’s capital city has a grand total of 4.19 million smokers, each of whom inhales around 15 cigarettes per day, just shy of a pack, according to a new survey from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.

To give some perspective on the smoking scale, Beijing’s smokers outnumber the population of the city of Los Angeles. About one in five people in the capital smoke, and the number of people they subject to secondhand smokeis around 10 million in addition to themselves, according to health officials cited in the Beijing News.

An advertisement for Shanghai's Meili brand cigarettes in the 1920s.[Photo/tobaccochina.com]

An advertisement for Shanghai’s Meili brand cigarettes in the 1920s.[Photo/tobaccochina.com]

The survey of nearly 8,500 Beijingers found that smokers on average spend around 160 yuan a month on cigarettes.

Beijing’s officials are drawing attention to the city’s full ashtrays ahead of a new ban on smoking indoors that will take effect June 1. The citywide ban takes aim at restaurants, bars and other indoor locations.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

It’s part of a national push to improve the health of Chinese. China’s lung cancer rates are rising with the country’s high tobacco usage and the effects of secondhand smoke.

china-smoking

The latest survey is an improvement over the previous one six years ago, which found that 27.4% of Beijing’s people smoked.

Still, some people, even health experts, are skeptical that Beijing’s ban will take hold, particularly given the high numbers of smokers. Beijing passed a ban previously, but it was all (cough) smoke and mirrors. Read the rest of this entry »