NPR – China says it has more than 20,000 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, representing a huge leap from the 4,400 cases reported as of last week. Chinese health officials said Monday morning that 2,829 new cases had been diagnosed in the previous 24 hours alone.
Outside of mainland China, nine countries or regions are reporting double-digit cases of the coronavirus, led by Japan with 20, according to a global dashboard created by the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering.
The respiratory virus has killed more than 427 people, 425 in mainland China. The first coronavirus fatality outside China was reported in the Philippines over the weekend. Hong Kong reported its first coronavirus death on Tuesday.
In a sign of the economic toll, China’s stock markets were pummeled Monday — the first day of trading since the Lunar New Year holiday — with the Shanghai Composite Index falling by nearly 8%. Trading was halted for hundreds of Chinese companies after prices for their stocks dropped by 10% — triggering a mandatory hold.
Despite those sharp declines, many markets in the U.S. and elsewhere were holding steady early. The S&P 500 rose by about 1% in its first hour of trading, and the Euro Stoxx 50 Index also rose slightly.
Several Chinese nationals have shared their concern over a fog which has engulfed Wuhan, fuelling fears the death toll inside coronavirus-hit China is higher than what has been reported
Clips appear to show Wuhan engulfed in a mysterious haze which residents say has “come out of nowhere”.
The strange videos have sparked concerns the fog is actually smoke from crematoriums burning coronavirus infected bodies “24 hours a day”.
Several Chinese nationals have shared their concern to social media suggesting the death toll could be “unthinkably higher” than reports if incinerators are running all day.
There is no hard evidence to confirm that the smog is anything to do with bodies being burnt.
However that hasn’t stop people speculating about the increased pollution, with one twitter user writing: “Incinerators are running 24 hours a day.
“It takes 1-3 to incinerate a body, that’s burning 112-336 bodies A DAY!
“Death toll is definitely unthinkably higher than what’s been given.”
Another woman wrote on social media: “Everyone knows the seriousness, but at this time, I can only express it here!
“The crematoriums of major funeral homes in Wuhan currently working 24 hours!
“Before, it was only half a day to open the stove! Even in special circumstances, it is only a full day shift!”
Communist Party officials have issued strict instructions about the handling of the dead as the death toll continues to rise.
The party have banned funerals and burials to speed up the disposal of bodies and stop the spread of the virus further.
Residents have also expressed concern over the air pollution in city which hasn’t dropped below Wuhan’s annual average since last week.
According to the World Air Map Wuhan’s pollution level is at “dangerous” with highs of 121 AQI, despite the fact the city has been in lockdown for over a week.
Chinese officials have confirmed at least 426 deaths inside the country with the first death outside mainland China reported in the Philippines.
South China Morning Post – Hong Kong has confirmed two more cases of the deadly new coronavirus, just hours after a 39-year-old man became the first to die in the city after being infected.
Health officials said there was no obvious source of infection for the two most recent cases but it was suspected it had been transmitted locally. It took the total number of cases in the city to 17.
Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said so far four confirmed cases presented “no obvious source of infection”, and warned of the possibility of outbreaks in the community.
“It is highly probably the four cases were infected locally, so there could be invisible chains of infection happening within communities,” Chuang said. “We do not rule out a large spread [of the virus] in the future.”
She urged people to maintain good personal hygiene and wash their hands frequently, and said some reports had shown the virus could linger on door handles.
Natural News – Over the past week, novel coronavirus has dominated headlines as the infection continues to spread both in China and abroad. And it wasn’t even days into the crisis that several entities, including Novavax, announced that they’re already feverishly working on new vaccines for the disease.
The company recently announced that, because of its extensive history working with other types of coronavirus, including both M.E.R.S. and S.A.R.S., it has what it takes to tackle this one with ease.
“Using Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle vaccine technology, the company expects to develop a vaccine candidate from the genetic sequence of the Wuhan coronavirus,” Novavax announced in a statement.
The news caused an almost instantaneous spike in Novavax’s share value, which surged an astounding 60 percent that same day.
Since that time, numerous other vaccine manufacturers have announced that they, too, are planning to develop their own vaccines for coronavirus.
One of these is Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which is facing a criminal investigation over the presence of toxic asbestos in its talc-based baby powder products.
The biotech firms Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Moderna are also entering the fray of trying to develop their own respective vaccines for this emerging viral threat, which as of this writing has infected nearly 10,000 people and killed at least 213 others, according to the official numbers.
Guess who’s paying, at least in part, for these up-and-coming coronavirus vaccines? Taxpayers!
Since it’s expensive to do this, especially for outbreaks that come and go – and perhaps never come back – each of these companies is reportedly relying on funding from non-profit groups as well as the government – meaning taxpayers.
Moderna, for instance, is receiving cash from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (N.I.A.I.D.), as well as from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a nongovernmental organization (N.G.O.) funded by governments and private foundations.
“We are leveraging not our shareholders’ capital, but not-for-profit capital, in a way that’s nondilutive to the rest of our efforts,” says Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer.
Scientists in China are also working on a coronavirus vaccine, and are currently in the process of investigating how monoclonal antibodies, which were first developed for S.A.R.S, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, might be reused to develop vaccines and antiviral drugs for novel coronavirus.
These scientists have reportedly discovered an antibody that can be bound to the surface of novel coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, in order to neutralize it, which they hope will be able to tackle the disease sooner rather than later.
Activist Post – A controversial group currently in the crosshairs of the establishment, which was also discussed at Event 201, is known as the Anti-Vaccine Movement. And now we see the UK Government working on a new law to jail people who spread “Anti-Vaccine Propaganda” online. Currently, people are protected from prosecution if they sincerely believe the misinformation or propaganda is real, but the government is looking to reform this provision and make it a criminal offense to post anything online, particularly social media, which is deemed to be “Anti-Vaccine.”
Where does the CDC stand on this issue? Well, when we examine a CDC document published at the National Academies website, we see what they call, “A Recipe for Fostering Public Interest and High Vaccine Demand.”
The CDC document appears to contain outright talking points and a strategy to be carried out and propagated to the public via health officials and the media.
See: Posting anti-vaccine propaganda on social media could become criminal offence, Law Commissioner says – New Law Commissioner Penney Lewis is leading wide-ranging review into whether UK’s offence and abuse laws are fit for the Social Media age (Telegraph)
Opinion: The BTLR report proposes to destroy what makes the internet free, popular and innovative and to make it resemble the Canadian broadcasting system
Financial Post – How could any group of seven apparently sane and certainly highly educated specialists believe that Canada will legislate into being a system of state control of communications as pervasive, as illiberal and as unfree as what they have proposed in the final report of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review (BTLR), which they submitted to the federal government last week? By grossly expanding what is called “broadcasting,” the report’s authors aim at nothing less than a statist counter-revolution against the internet.
The report is a classic case of perceptual blinkers. It sees the internet as “broadcasting,” so everything about the internet is relentlessly squeezed into the conceptual model that a half century of micro-managing Canadian regulation has created for “broadcasting.” When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Or as Einstein said, theory determines what is observed.
Broadcasting may seem to be a technology or a kind of business. It is not; in Canada, at least, it is a legal regime of pervasive regulation and licensing. The BTLR report proposes to wreck what makes the internet free, popular and innovative and to make it resemble the Canadian broadcasting system: tidy, licensed and harnessed to government objectives. The report has already been trashed by my former CRTC colleague Peter Menzies and by the University of Ottawa’s Prof. Michael Geist as mad regulatory overreach, and with good reason. The question is how did the review panel arrive at such insane regulatory hubris?
MSN – Police cordoned off one of the busiest areas of central London on Monday after what’s thought to be an unexploded World War II bomb was dug up at a construction site.
The Iowa caucus results appear to be indefinitely delayed, as the state party blames “coding issues” with its reporting system.
Politico – A technical meltdown in Iowa Monday night set off bedlam in the critical first contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, triggering competing claims of victory and stoking doubts about the legitimacy of the eventual outcome.
No results had been reported by midnight Eastern, and the Iowa Democratic Party said on Tuesday morning that it planned to release caucus results “as soon as possible today,” while also emphasizing that its ultimate goal is to ensure the “integrity and accuracy of the process.”
NBC – The Iowa presidential caucuses were thrown into chaos late Monday after the state Democratic Party said it found “inconsistencies,” delaying results and causing widespread confusion across the state.
The Iowa Democratic Party said early Tuesday that it would release the results of the Iowa caucuses later Tuesday after “manually verifying all precinct results.”
Party chair Troy Price said the party is “validating every piece of data we have against our paper trail. That system is taking longer than expected, but it’s in place to ensure we are eventually able to report results with full confidence.”
The state Democratic party’s communications director, Mandy McClure, said on Monday night that there were “inconsistencies” in the reporting of three sets of results. “In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report,” McClure said.
Breitbart – Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed dramatic momentum for his campaign on Monday despite zero caucus results reporting from the Iowa Democrat caucuses.
“Tonight, an improbable hope became an undeniable reality,” Buttigieg said after taking the stage at his campaign rally in Des Moines.
The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor spoke just before midnight after all of the other top Democrat candidates had already delivered their speeches.
Supporters shouted “Boot-Edge-Edge” as the former mayor delivered what appeared to be a pre-written speech praising Iowa’s role in the Democrat nomination process despite the party badly botching the caucus results reporting system.
“We don’t know all the results, but we know by the time it’s all said and done, Iowa, you have shocked the nation,” he said. “By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”
Buttigieg claimed momentum in the race, thanking Iowa for choosing a “new path” forward in the Democrat presidential primary.
“Iowa chose a new path,” he said. “You chose to move on not just from the broken policies of these last few years but from the broken politics that got us here.”
Buttigieg said there were many in the Democrat party who were skeptical, calling his campaign too “naive.”
“Tonight I say with a heart full of gratitude, Iowa, you have proved those skeptics wrong,” he said to the cheering crowd of supporters.
Buttigieg said he would go on to the New Hampshire primary, previewing an ultimate victory for his campaign.
“How about a hand for the future first-gentleman of the United States?” Buttigieg shouted, referring to his husband. “Let’s hear it for Chasten!”
Liberation Information – A shady firm named “Shadow” which was paid by both the Iowa Democratic Party and Pete Buttigieg’s campaign reportedly developed an app said to be responsible for the delayed election results in the Iowa caucus.
From The Huffington Post, “This Is The Buzzy Democratic Firm That Botched The Iowa Caucuses,” subheadline, “Shadow, a Democratic digital firm, created the app that was supposed to deliver quicker caucus results”:
The tech arm of ACRONYM, a Democratic digital nonprofit group that has rapidly expanded in recent years, was responsible for building the Iowa caucus app that contributed to delays in reporting Monday night’s results in the first vote in the party’s presidential race. Multiple Democratic sources, including one of the presidential campaigns, confirmed the app’s creator.
State campaign finance records indicate the Iowa Democratic Party paid Shadow, a tech company owned by ACRONYM, more than $60,000 for “website development” over two installments in November and December of last year. A Democratic source with knowledge of the process said those payments were for the app that caucus site leaders were supposed to use to upload the results at their locales.
ACRONYM founder Tara McGowan and a spokesman for the group did not immediately respond to phone calls requesting comment.
McGowan is a big Buttigieg supporter and is married to one of his advisers.
Double also: @taraemcg is married to a Buttigieg advisor.
My sources confirm all of this reporting. https://t.co/Wyh43O85pU
— Kara Voght (@karavoght) February 4, 2020
The Conservative Tree House – From the DNC Club’s perspective there were three strategic needs surrounding the Iowa caucuses: (1) Hide the collapse of Joe Biden; (2) Diminish the win by Bernie Sanders; and (3) cover-up a less than enthusiastic voter turnout. Given the nature of very public primary races, this three-pronged challenge seemed almost impossible.
If everything just seemed to collapse, go wrong, and become a mess; and if the end of the night outcomes could be delayed and undetermined; well, in that scenario the objective would be considered ‘mission accomplished‘ on all three points.
That exact scenario just coincidentally happened.
Despite the media proclaiming Biden was leading the field for the past six months during the impeachment narrative, Joe Biden likely came in fourth or fifth. He may not have gained any delegates in Iowa. No-one will pay attention to that now… and few will question how the “media polling” could have gotten it so wrong. [Tip: they lie]
Simultaneously, Bernie Sanders didn’t stand on stage, declare victory, and receive the praise earned in 2020 that was robbed from him in 2016. No results means no grand victory and momentum. Oh, it’ll probably be declared sometime today that Bernie Sanders won, but, meh, doesn’t deliver the same electoral value. [DNC Club smiling here]
Turnout? The media have been hyping the Democrats chomping at the bit, drowning in buckets of enthusiastic voters who can’t wait to defeat the orange-man. This media narrative has been hyped dramatically for well over a year… building…. building…. to the exact moment last night when such incredible turnout would have been visible. [It wasn’t]
Instead all the candidates claimed victory with Pete Buttigieg unashamedly standing atop the tallest podium and decrying his campaign won the state of Iowa and he was heading to New Hampshire the most victorious of them all. ….as if, well, as if that was pre-planned.
True Pundit – And he wasn’t the only GOP official calling the Iowa Caucus delayed results of the Democratic candidates rigged on Monday.
Are these Dems in the bag for Biden in Iowa and using delays to toss Bernie to the curb?
This story is developing.
UPDATE: As it turns out, tech snafus and ‘human error’ weren’t solely to blame for last night’s caucus catastrophe. A columnist for the Iowa Gazette reported that new rules introduced for this year’s caucus, plus a lack of clarity on the rules of the esoteric ritual apparently prompted some local precinct supervisors to make illegal decisions about supporters of ‘non-viable’ candidates joining together.
After the Warren campaign spent hours instructing its precinct captains in the arcane rules of the caucus, some wondered whether nonpartisan volunteers in charge of the process had received adequate training.
“Are you going to report how this was a (beep) show?” asked Megan Lange, a Warren supporter. “If this is going on in other caucuses, how reliable is it?”
“We had to do two hours of training so we knew how it was supposed to work,” said Diane Bean, another Warren backer, who wondered whether volunteers were trained well enough.
“This is like a badly organized middle school assembly,” Harris said. “As a young voter, this is very disappointing.”
Gateway Pundit – President Trump is running uncontested tonight in the Iowa Republican caucus.
Despite this NUMEROUS Republican caucus venues are packed tonight to show their support for President Donald J. Trump.
The Associated Press called the race at 7:25 p.m. Central Time, just 25 minutes after Iowans convened for the first presidential nominating events of 2020.
Trump had 97% of the GOP vote at the time of the call. Two challengers — former Massachusetts Governor William Weld and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh — each had about 1%.
Donald Trump Jr. filled up the caucus in Ames, Iowa.
PJ Media – On Monday, Judicial Watch reported that eight counties in the state of Iowa have registration rates above 100 percent, adding at least 18,658 extra names to the Iowa voting rolls. The Iowa caucuses are to be held on Monday.
Of course, this phenomenon isn’t limited to just Iowa. According to Judicial Watch’s analysis of government data, “378 counties nationwide that have more voter registrations than citizens living there who are old enough to vote, i.e., counties where registration rates exceed 100%.”
These 378 counties have a combined 2.5 million registrations over the 100% mark. This problem is even bigger considering that the Census Bureau estimated in 2014 that that 64.6 percent of eligible adults were registered to vote in 2014. There are many other counties with suspiciously high registration rates.
“Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections and Iowa needs to undertake a serious effort to address its voting rolls,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that states can purge their voter rolls of dormant and invalid voter registrations, in a ruling widely believed will hurt Democrats for the obvious reasons connected to voter fraud.
>> House Democrats Pass Bill to Fight Voter ID Laws Nationwide (December 7, 2019) – While the country is being distracted by the Democrats’ bogus impeachment, House Democrats passed H.R. 4, the so-called Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019, on a mostly party-line vote. Democrats claim the legislation is about fighting voter suppression—because when Democrats lose elections it can only be because of voter suppression, obviously. “Action is urgently needed to combat the brazen voter suppression campaign that is spreading across America,” Nancy Pelosi claimed at a press event Friday before the bill’s passage.
The bill, if signed into law, would require states to obtain “preclearance” from the Justice Department in order to make changes to voter laws—a blatant infringement of states’ rights. Why would Democrats want such a law in place? According to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019, “is a good step to right the wrongs that’ve dismantled the fundamental right to vote through Voter ID laws, purging voter rolls & closing majority-minority polling places.”
In an explosive interview Dr. Francis Boyle, who drafted the Biological Weapons Act has given a detailed statement admitting that the 2019 Wuhan Coronavirus is an offensive Biological Warfare Weapon and that the World Health Organization (WHO) already knows about it.
Francis Boyle is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He drafted the U.S. domestic implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention, known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, that was approved unanimously by both Houses of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
In an exclusive interview given to Geopolitics and Empire, Dr. Boyle discusses the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China and the Biosafety Level 4 laboratory (BSL-4) from which he believes the infectious disease escaped. He believes the virus is potentially lethal and an offensive biological warfare weapon or dual-use biowarfare weapons agent genetically modified with gain of function properties, which is why the Chinese government originally tried to cover it up and is now taking drastic measures to contain it. The Wuhan BSL-4 lab is also a specially designated World Health Organization (WHO) research lab and Dr. Boyle contends that the WHO knows full well what is occurring.
Dr. Boyle also touches upon GreatGameIndia‘s exclusive report Coronavirus Bioweapon – where we reported in detail how Chinese Biowarfare agents working at the Canadian lab in Winnipeg were involved in the smuggling of Coronavirus to Wuhan’s lab from where it is believed to have been leaked.
Watch Dr. Francis Boyle’s interview with Geopolitics and Empire below:
Newsmax – President Donald Trump is reportedly excluding CNN from a Tuesday luncheon with network anchors in advance of his State of the Union address.
CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer had attended last year’s lunch. However, they are not invited this year, the news network said.
Presidents traditionally invite anchors from all major networks to dine in advance of the State of the Union. Conversations during the lunch are considered off the record. However, the anchors are able to talk to the president before they oversee coverage of the speech.
CNN reported it is the first time in “recent memory that a president has singled out one network and opted not invite any anchors from there.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham did not respond to a request for comment, according to the news network.
Trump has regularly attacked CNN during his time in the White House and has refused all the network’s request for a sit down interview.
NaturalNews – First it was gun control. Now it’s vaccine policy that the police state of Virginia is trying to manipulate so that minors can choose to get vaccinated or even obtain birth control without the knowledge or consent of their parents.
Senate Bill 104, introduced by Virginia Democrats, would basically treat children as adults for the purpose of consenting to birth control, vaccines, and “medical or health services required in case of … pregnancy or family planning except for the purposes of sexual sterilization.”
While S.B. 104 would still require children to receive parental consent for abortion, it would not require that their parents be notified in the event that they choose to receive “[m]edical or health services needed to determine the presence of or to treat venereal disease or any infectious or contagious disease that the State Board of Health requires to be reported.”
Sponsored by Virginia Senator Barbara Favola, a Planned Parenthood-endorsed liberal whose website explains that she’s a “lifelong pro-choice advocate” and “LGBTQ Rights” activist, S.B. 104 would create an anything-goes medical circus throughout the Commonwealth, allowing underage children who live there to essentially control their own lives independently of their parents.
This is all being made possible, of course, by the Democratic seizure of both chambers of the Virginia legislature and governorship back in November – the first time this has happened in 26 years, by the way. Now that the Left has total control of the state of Virginia, in other words, “progress” is now being ramrodded through the system, whether the people of Virginia like it or not.
Activist Post – The emerging coronavirus pandemic is already crimping global commerce. In response, the S&P 500 has thus far put in two weeks’ worth of declines (the index fell 2.1% last week) since making new highs to start the year.
Even though the U.S. stock market hasn’t even entered a true “correction” phase yet, Wall Street is already clamoring for more Fed stimulus.
Mainstream stock market mavens figure the central bank will step in to limit downside – and they are probably right.
Following the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision on Wednesday to keep rates unchanged, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said he is “carefully monitoring the situation” with regard to the Chinese virus.
It is hitting inflation-sensitive commodities copper and crude oil especially hard. Oil prices dipped 5% last week while copper plunged more than 6%.
Powell is vowing to push the inflation up to a “symmetric” target of 2% – which in practice means pushing it above 2% for a sustained period to counteract the prolonged period of sub-2% inflation (at least officially).
Last Friday’s U.S. inflation data showed the central bank’s preferred “core” rate running at 1.6% as of December.
The Fed now appears likely to re-embark on a rate-cutting campaign in the months ahead. Meanwhile, it continues to pump liquidity into the Treasury bill and repo markets.
Last week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York pushed another $83 billion into short-term lending facilities.
In China, central bankers are hitting the panic button and pulling out their monetary bazookas.
As the Associated Press reported on Sunday, “China’s central bank announced plans Sunday to inject 1.2 trillion yuan ($173 billion) into the economy to cushion the shock to financial markets from the outbreak of a new virus when trading resumes on Monday.”
It added, “Chinese authorities have massive resources for intervening to staunch panic selling of shares and have deployed them in past times of crisis.”
The same could be said of U.S. authorities. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin convened the “Plunge Protection Team” during Christmas week 2018 to stop the bleeding in the stock market. It has been upward and onward since… owing also to more recent support from the Fed’s rate cuts and balance sheet expansion programs.
Ongoing official back-stopping has made investors more complacent than ever. But the interventions haven’t stopped gold from rising.
Last week, gold quietly posted its highest closing price since 2013. Yes, gold is in a bull market even though virtually nobody in the mainstream financial media is talking about it.
The media will take notice when gold makes a new all-time record high – which could come later this year it keeps up its current rate of ascent.
Activist Post – Want healthy kids? Doctors have been warning for many years that NO ONE should be sleeping with their cell phones next to their beds.
Blue Light from screens can cause serious health problems including insomnia (see 1, 2, 3). Wireless radiation exposure from cell phones can also cause serious health problems, especially in kids. It’s not just about increased cancer risk either. Exposure can cause a variety of undesirable symptoms and illnesses including “Microwave Sickness” and Electromagnetic Sensitivity (ES). In fact, no “safe” level of wireless radiation has even been scientifically determined for children or pregnant women. There’s also a class action lawsuit against 11 smartphone models for exceeding federal RF safety levels up to 500%!
Unfortunately, most kids – at least in the UK – are still sleeping with cell phones next to their beds AND spending many of their waking hours with cell phones turned on and near them even when not in use.
From the BBC:
The Childwise report found children getting mobiles at an earlier age, with most now having their own phone by the age of seven.
The average time spent on mobiles by seven to 16-year-olds is three hours and 20 minutes per day.
There are 57% who always have the phone beside their bed and 44% who feel “uncomfortable” if they are ever without a phone signal.
There are 42% who say they keep their phone on them at all times and never turn it off.
“The moment a child owns a mobile phone, it can be a challenge to monitor what your child is accessing online because it’s such a private technology that most keep literally close to their chest,” said Mr Leggett.
Most kids keep their phones literally close to their chests?!!!! Even the phone manufacturers warn everybody NOT to do that!
West Virginia University neuroscientists have reported intricate details how it can especially affect cardiac patients.
From Medical Express:
WVU neuroscientists are studying whether wearing glasses with orange lenses at night can improve outcomes in cardiac patients. The glasses filter out blue light, which the researchers tied to inflammation, brain-cell death and greater mortality in a recent study based on animal models.
In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, West Virginia University neuroscientists linked white light at night—the kind that typically illuminates hospital rooms—to inflammation, brain-cell death and higher mortality risk in cardiac patients.
Randy Nelson, who chairs the Department of Neuroscience in the WVU School of Medicine, and Courtney DeVries, the John T. and June R. Chambers Chair of Oncology Research at WVU, re-created cardiac arrest in animal models. Doing so temporarily interrupted the brain’s oxygen supply. Then the researchers and their colleagues divided the models into three groups that would spend their nights in—respectively—dim red light, dim white light and the dark.
After seven nights of this regimen, the researchers evaluated the health of the models’ brain cells. Exposure to white light at night caused multiple poor outcomes. The researchers’ findings are published in Experimental Neurology.
Cardiac arrest was more likely to be lethal for models in the white-light-at-night group, whereas the mortality rate in the red-light-at-night group did not differ from the group that stayed in darkness.
Exposure to white light at night also correlated to greater cell death in the hippocampus—a part of the brain that’s key to memory formation—and more aggressive inflammation overall. In fact, just one dimly illuminated night was enough to cause pro-inflammatory cytokines—tiny proteins critical to immune responses—to surge. This was only the case, however, if the light was white. Red light had no effect.
“When you see long-wavelength, blue light first thing in the morning, those long wavelengths set your circadian clock to precisely 24 hours. The problem is, if you see blue light at night—from your phones, TVs, computers and compact fluorescent lights—they’re disrupting your circadian system all night long. Those lights look white to us, but frankly, they’re mostly blue,” explained Nelson, who—along with DeVries—receives support from the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute. His previous research has associated nocturnal blue light with higher rates of obesity, metabolic disorders and depression.
To that end, the researchers are exploring whether white light at night provokes a similar physiological response in people. For four nights in a row, they outfit one group of hospitalized cardiac patients in special “gaming glasses” with orange lenses that filter out the troublesome blue light. Wearing the glasses seems to bathe everything in warm, sunset tones. Another group of patients wears identically shaped glasses that have clear lenses, allowing the full spectrum of white light—including blue tones—to pass through.
“The cool thing from our perspective is, we believe these longer-wavelength lights won’t have that detrimental effect, and people will recover faster,” Nelson said. If studies bear out the researchers’ hunch, gaming glasses may be an affordable, practical option for preserving brain function, reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of death in cardiac patients.
Another affordable and practical option for “preserving brain function, reducing inflammation, and lowering the risk of death in cardiac patients” — changing all the CFL and LED light bulbs in hospitals and their parking lots to incandescent (aka halogen) AND limiting patients’ use and exposure to LED screens.
NaturalNews – Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on an AI project that can accurately map what people look like just by analyzing voice recordings from the internet. The researchers published their first paper on the project: “Speech2Face: Learning the Face behind a Voice.”
The researchers trained the AI neural networks using millions of YouTube audio clips taken from the internet. The clips included voice audio from over 100,000 individuals. The AI was able to make clever distinctions in voice tone and inflection and could accurately predict the age, gender and ethnicity of the individuals. Most shocking: The AI attempted to recreate the faces of the people based on the sound of their voice alone. The computer simulation was able to determine key features on people’s faces and then generate lookalike photos of the people — all based on random audio clips.
The researchers did not intervene in the project. The AI grew smarter on its own. After analyzing millions of audio clips, the computer was able to recreate faces that closely resembled the original speaker in the video clip. The AI was not 100 percent accurate and failed to judge some of the ethnicities, especially when a person spoke more than one language.
Natural Blaze – Using results of a survey of more than 2,700 self-reported users of the herbal supplement kratom, sold online and in smoke shops around the U.S., Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers conclude that the psychoactive compound somewhat similar to opioids likely has a lower rate of harm than prescription opioids for treating pain, anxiety, depression and addiction.
In a report on the findings, published in the Feb. 3 issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, the researchers caution that while self-reporting surveys aren’t always entirely reliable, they confirmed that kratom is not regulated or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and that scientific studies have not been done to formally establish safety and benefits. They say that U.S. drug agencies should seek to study and regulate rather than ban kratom sales outright because of its seemingly safe therapeutic potential, and as a possible alternative to opioid use.
The American Kratom Association (AKA), a consumer advocacy group, estimates that 5 million people in the U.S. regularly use kratom by either eating its ground leaves in food or brewing them in tea. Kratom is a tropical plant related to coffee trees, and grown mainly in Southeast Asia. It contains a chemical called mitragynine, an alkaloid that acts on the brain opiate receptors and alters mood. In Asia, where use has long been widespread, people use it in small doses as an energy and mood booster, similar to coffee use in the West. They use larger amounts for pain, or recreationally like beer and wine.
A 2015 study in Thailand that reported that people in Asia have been using kratom successfully to treat opioid addiction for decades renewed interest among researchers in the U.S.
Of these participants, 91% reported taking kratom to alleviate pain on average a couple times a day for back, shoulder and knee pain, 67% for anxiety and 65% for depression. About 41% of survey responders said they took kratom to treat opioid withdrawal, and of those people who took it for opioid withdrawal, 35% reported going more than a year without taking prescription opioids or heroin.
Natural Blaze – Individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) because of family history or genetic predisposition who engaged in six months of aerobic exercise training improved their brain glucose metabolism and higher-order thinking abilities (e.g., planning and mental flexibility) called executive function; these improvements occurred in conjunction with increased cardiorespiratory fitness. The results of this study are published in a special issue of Brain Plasticity devoted to Exercise and Cognition.
Drugs currently available to treat AD have limited therapeutic capacity. At a time when both the human and monetary costs of the disease are projected to rise dramatically in the coming decades, there is a critical need to provide individuals with readily-deployable strategies that can decrease the likelihood of acquiring the disease or slow its progression. Researchers therefore investigated whether exercise training in asymptomatic individuals harboring risk for AD improves markers associated with AD.
“This study is a significant step toward developing an exercise prescription that protects the brain against AD, even among people who were previously sedentary,” explained lead investigator Ozioma C. Okonkwo, PhD, of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.