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Plant Science Breakthrough Paves The Way To Photosynthesis 2.0

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Plant Science Breakthrough Paves The Way To Photosynthesis 2.0
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Andrea D. Steffen, Intelligent Living

Biologists unlocked a critical mechanism in plants by solving a complex protein structure. Their discovery could lead to improvements in how photosynthesis works. What that means for the real world are faster-growing plants and higher crop yields that could help better feed the growing population. Not only could it help to feed the world, but it could also be applied to biofuel crops, reducing the amount of land required for both food and carbon-neutral fuel.

As perfect as photosynthesis is already, scientists are still working out ways to make it even better. So now a group of researchers from the University of Sheffield has uncovered new insights into how an electrical, chemical reaction can significantly influence growth in plants. They dubbed the mechanism; the “beating heart” of photosynthesis. The research has been published in Nature.

The chemical reaction occurs in a protein complex called cytochrome b6f. The complex is what powers a plant’s conversion of CO2 into carbohydrates during photosynthesis. This commencement system of cytochrome b6f could ultimately be utilized by plant biologists to improve the powers underlying photosynthesis. In so doing, they’ll be able to create more robust plants, like better rice and wheat.

The team used cryo-electron microscopy to create their high-resolution structural model of the cytochrome b6f. This enabled the scientists to understand the complicated spaghetti-like shape of the protein complex. They were able to see the electrical connections between a duo of light-powered chlorophyll-proteins within these plant cells. These proteins – called Photosystems I and II – are what convert sunlight into chemical energy.

The cytochrome b6f protein structure. Credit: University of Sheffield
The cytochrome b6f protein structure. Credit: University of Sheffield

Then they built a model replica of what they saw. In this model, they could see how the cytochrome b6f taps into the electrical currents flowing through it. It draws into it to power-up a proton gradient – something like a natural plant rechargeable battery. You can think of it as a “proton battery.” The cell stores the energy in it, and that energy is then used by the plant to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—which is the energy currency of cells.

Study co-author Matt Johnson explained in an email to Gizmodo:

“The proton gradient acts like a battery that allows for the synthesis of ATP—an essential metabolite needed for CO2 conversion to carbohydrate. We have obtained the structure of the plant cytochrome b6f complex by cryo-electron microscopy, and it shows how it processes its electron-carrying [molecule] in such a way to double the number of protons it moves across the membrane.”

The study’s first author, Lorna Malone, a Ph.D. student at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, said in a statement:

“Ultimately this reaction provides the energy that plants need to turn carbon dioxide into the carbohydrates and biomass that sustain the global food chain.”

This new study is the first to reveal the plant structure of cytochrome b6f, as well as where the action is taking place within this protein complex. It provides new insights into how the mechanism works.

This article (Plant Science Breakthrough Paves The Way To Photosynthesis 2.0) was originally created for Intelligent Living and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Remarkable New T-Cell Discovery Can Kill Several Cancer Types In The Lab

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Photo Credit: Science Alert

The discovery of a new kind of immune cell receptor could pave the way for a new type of T-cell cancer therapy that can attack a diverse range of cancers in human patients without requiring tailored treatment.

The researchers behind the discovery emphasise that testing is still at an early stage, having been conducted only in mice and in human cells in the lab, not yet in living patients. But the preliminary results are promising, and suggest we could be on the verge of a significant advancement in T-cell therapies.

To understand why, let’s backtrack a little on what T-cells are, and what T-cell therapies do, because they’re still very much an emerging field of treatment in oncology.

T-cells are a type of white blood cell involved in the function of our immune system. When T-cells are activated by coming into contact with defective or foreign cells in the body, they attack them, helping us fight off infection and disease.

In T-cell therapy – the most common form of which is called CAR-T (for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cells), scientists hijack and augment this natural function of T-cells to steer them towards tumour cells in particular.

In CAR-T treatments, doctors extract T-cells from patients’ blood, genetically engineering them in the lab to make them specifically identify and target cancer cells. The edited T-cells are then multiplied in the lab before being administered to patients.

Some of the limitations of the CAR-T technique are that the edited T-cells are only able to recognise a few kinds of cancer, and the entire therapy needs to be personalised for different people because of a T-cell receptor (TCR) called human leukocyte antigen (HLA).

HLA is what enables T-cells to detect cancer cells, but it varies between individuals. And that’s where this new discovery comes in.

In the new study, led by scientists at Cardiff University in the UK, researchers used CRISPR–Cas9 screening to discover a new kind of TCR in T-cells: a receptor molecule called MR1.

MR1 functions similarly to HLA in terms of scanning and recognising cancer cells, but one big difference is that, unlike HLA, it doesn’t vary in the human population – which means it could potentially form the basis of a T-cell therapy that works for a much broader range of people (in theory, at least).

We’re not there yet; but preliminary experiments in the lab involving MR1 are indeed promising, although we need to be aware that the results need to be replicated safely in clinical trials before we can confirm this is a treatment suitable for humans.

In lab tests using human cells, the MR1-equipped T-cells “killed the multiple cancer cell lines tested (lung, melanoma, leukaemia, colon, breast, prostate, bone and ovarian) that did not share a common HLA,” the authors write in their paper.

Tests upon mice with leukaemia – in which the animals were injected with the MR1 cells – revealed evidence of cancer regression, and led to the mice living longer than controls.

Right now, we don’t yet know how many types of cancers a technique based on this receptor might treat. That said, the early results certainly suggest a diverse range could be susceptible, according to the study.

If these sorts of effects can be replicated in humans – something the scientists hope to begin testing as early as this year – we could be looking at a bright new future for T-cell treatments, experts say.

This research represents a new way of targeting cancer cells that is really quite exciting, although much more research is needed to understand precisely how it works,” says research and policy director Alasdair Rankin from blood cancer charity Bloodwise, who was not involved in the research.

To that end, the next step for the team – in addition to organising future clinical trials – will be learning more about the mechanisms that enable MR1 to identify cancer cells at a molecular level.

There’s a lot more to learn here before we can truly proclaim this is some kind of universal cancer treatment, but there certainly look to be some exciting discoveries on the horizon.

“Cancer-targeting via MR1-restricted T-cells is an exciting new frontier,” says senior researcher and cancer immunotherapy specialist Andrew Sewell.

“It raises the prospect of .. a single type of T-cell that could be capable of destroying many different types of cancers across the population. Previously nobody believed this could be possible.”

The findings are reported in Nature Immunology.

This article (Remarkable New T-Cell Discovery Can Kill Several Cancer Types In The Lab) was originally created for Science Alert and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Science Says Silence Is Vital For Our Brains

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Science Says Silence Is Vital For Our Brains
Photo Credit: Getty

If you’re the average person, you wake up to the sound of an alarm. That alarm sends you to the bathroom where you quickly get yourself ready for your workday. If you have the time, you might eat something before jumping into your car to listen to music or the radio while you sit in traffic on your way to work.

Once you get there, it’s all people, customers, co-workers, cars, trucks, planes, lawn mowers, construction, phone calls, and tasks for the next 8 hours. These noises that most of us experience in excess send our bodies into stress states, decreasing our quality of life and potentially reducing our lifespan. It appears that noise, in excess, is not healthy for humans. Silence, on the other hand, can have huge benefits, but let’s explore the damage caused by noise before we get to the benefits of silence.

Before we get into the research, I’d like to note that the word ‘noise’ is said to come from the Latin word nausea, or the Latin word noxia, meaning seasickness, sickness, hurt, damage, or injury. Is it any wonder ‘noise’ is not healthy for us?

The Studies

Outside of your anecdotal reflection, there is scientific evidence that supports the negative effects of noise on our health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) examined and quantified its health burden based on a European study that involved 340 million people living in Western Europe. It found that residents were cumulatively losing about a million years off their lives due to noise every year. That’s like one in every three people losing an entire year off their life due to excessive noise!

A study that was published in 2011 in Psychological Science examined the effects Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Professor Gary W. Evans of Cornell University noted that the children who were exposed to noise developed a stress response that caused them to ignore the noise. These children not only ignored harmful noises, but also regular stimuli that are important to pay attention to like speech. Wonder why people have trouble paying attention these days? Perhaps we are exposed to too much noise and too many sounds.

“This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise–even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage–causes stress and is harmful to humans.” – Professor Gary Evans

Going back to anecdotal evidence for a moment, I always find that staying with my friends who live in cities produces a much more uncomfortable situation for myself than when I’m in more quiet situations, or living at my quiet, somewhat isolated home in nature. I always share with friends that the environment of living in a city seems to be unhealthy; not just the air, but the energy, hustle and bustle, and the noise as well. Reading these studies clearly illustrates that it does not appear to be natural or healthy for humans to live or work in loud environments every day.

Noise has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, tinnitus, and loss of sleep. Living in consistently noisy environments will cause you to experience much higher levels of these harmful hormones. Of course, there is something you can do about this should you take action on it, but it requires that–action.

The Benefits of Silence

Again, pointing to anecdotal evidence for a moment, think back to the moments where you were on your own, retreating to the cottage or somewhere else quiet. Did you notice how often you NOTICED the silence? Not only had that, but you likely felt a lot better after 3 or 4 hours of being there.

It isn’t just cleaner air or taking some time away from work, it’s the silence and lack of distraction. This can be observed by playing loud music and partying the entire time at a cottage as well. You’ll realize it isn’t relaxing, but simply another distraction. When you contrast the two different experiences, the benefits become clearer.

An interesting study observed the effects of noise, music, and silence on the brain. The study was published in the journal Heart and found that the two minute pauses randomly placed between the ‘relaxing music’  in the study were far more relaxing for the brain than the relaxing music. The longer the silence, the more benefits experienced by the participants. Study author L. Bernardi found that his ‘irrelevant’ blank pauses were the most important aspects of the study. Silence is heightened by contrast.

What You Can Do & The Takeaway

So, what can you do if you experience a lot of noise and are looking to avoid loud noises or simply take a break? Firstly, the good news is that the brain recovers from too much noise over time. According to the attention restoration theory, the brain’s finite cognitive resources can begin restoring when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input. In silence, the brain essentially lets down its sensory guard and restores some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.

The practical end of this would look like making an extra effort to be or spend time in silence. This means no music, movies, friends, conversations, phone chimes, etc, even if it’s only for 30 minutes or an hour each day.

This silence would not only allow your brain to restore its cognitive functions like creativity, but it can give you the opportunity to disconnect, quiet down and connect with yourself as well.

Years ago, I created a challenge called the 5 Days of You Challenge that’s designed to do just that – help people slow down, reduce noise and distraction, and connect deeper with themselves. Over the years, I have sent 180,000 people through this challenge and it has resulted in an incredible number of positive transformations.

If you’re looking to:

  • Clear emotional blocks
  • Connect deeply with yourself
  • Find more peace in your life
  • Develop greater self-awareness and presence
  • Slow down and enjoy life more

Then this challenge is something I highly recommend. I’ve made this challenge available to everyone to experience for free. You can check it out on CETV here.

This article (Science Says Silence Is Vital For Our Brains) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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The World Is Getting Increasingly Dumber, Study Finds

And just like that, another sign of the ‘Idiocracy’ apocalypse has emerged.

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https://www.collective-spark.xyz/the-world-is-getting-increasingly-dumber-study-finds/
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge

Western Europe is home to a cluster of developed economies that boost some of the highest standards of living in the world. But that could soon change. Because as Evan Horowitz writes on NBC News’s new “Think” vertical, IQ scores in France, Scandinavia, Britain, Germany and even Australia are beginning to decline.

The trend has been well-documented across Western Europe, and could soon carry over to the US as well. Which means the data have confirmed what millions of Americans who have watched cable news or logged on to Twitter over the past three years probably already suspected: The world is getting dumber.

And just like that, another sign of the ‘Idiocracy’ apocalypse has emerged. Though, unlike the movie, which posits that the population of Earth will become steadily dumber as stupid people outbreed their more intelligent compatriots, the cause of the trend in Europe has yet to be determined, because even the children of relatively intelligent Europeans are getting dumber.

“Details vary from study to study and from place to place given the available data. IQ shortfalls in Norway and Denmark appear in longstanding tests of military conscripts, whereas information about France is based on a smaller sample and a different test.

But the broad pattern has become clearer: Beginning around the turn of the 21st century, many of the most economically advanced nations began experiencing some kind of decline in IQ.

One potential explanation was quasi-eugenic. As in the movie “Idiocracy,” it was suggested that average intelligence is being pulled down because lower-IQ families are having more children (“dysgenic fertility” is the technical term). Alternatively, widening immigration might be bringing less-intelligent newcomers to societies with otherwise higher IQs.

However, a 2018 study of Norway has punctured these theories by showing that IQs are dropping not just across societies but within families. In other words, the issue is not that educated Norwegians are increasingly outnumbered by lower-IQ immigrants or the children of less-educated citizens. Even children born to high-IQ parents are slipping down the IQ ladder.”

Possible explanations include: The rise of smartphones and other devices, which have worn away at our ability to focus, the rise of lower-skill service work that isn’t as intellectually stimulating and less-nutritious food.

Whatever the cause, the trend seems to portend a decline in long-term productivity and economic success, factors that have long been correlated with IQ.

But for now, at least, readers can find contentment in the knowledge that it’s not just us: Everybody really is getting dumber.

By Tyler Durden | ZeroHedge.com | Republished under Creative Commons.

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Research Shows We Can Heal With Vibration, Frequency & Sound

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Photo Credit: CE

Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution

Cymatics is a very interesting topic. It illustrates how sound frequencies move through a particular medium such as water, air, or sand and as a result directly alter physical matter. There are a number of pictures all over the internet as well as youtube videos that demonstrate how matter (particles) adjust to different sounds and different frequencies of sound.

When it comes to ancient knowledge, sound, frequency and vibration have always been perceived as powerful forces that can influence and alter life all the way down to the cellular level. Sound healing methods are often used by Shamans, who employ drums and singing to access trance states. Research has even demonstrated that drumming and singing can be used to slow fatal brain disease, and it can generate a sense of oneness with the universe . Sound therapy is getting more popular, and it can have many medical applications, especially within the psychological and mental health realms.

Sound, frequency and vibration are used all throughout the animal kingdom, and there are many examples. If we look at the wasp, they use antennal drumming to alter the caste development or phenotype of their larvae. Conventional thinking has held for quite some time that differential nutrition alone can explain why one larvae develops into a non-reproductive worker and one into a reproductive female (gyne).  However, this is not the case, according to a 2011 study:

“But nutrition level alone cannot explain how the first few females to be produced in a colony develop rapidly yet have small body sizes and worker phenotypes. Here, we provide evidence that a mechanical signal biases caste toward a worker phenotype. In Polistes fuscatus, the signal takes the form of antennal drumming (AD), wherein a female trills her antennae synchronously on the rims of nest cells while feeding prey-liquid to larvae. The frequency of AD occurrence is high early in the colony cycle, when larvae destined to become workers are being reared, and low late in the cycle, when gynes are being reared. Subjecting gyne-destined brood to simulated AD-frequency vibrations caused them to emerge as adults with reduced fat stores, a worker trait. This suggests that AD influences the larval developmental trajectory by inhibiting a physiological element that is necessary to trigger diapause, a gyne trait.”

This finding indicates that the acoustic signals produced through drumming within certain species carry biologically meaningful information (literally: ‘to put form into’) that operate epigenetically (i.e. working outside or above the genome to affect gene expression).

Pretty fascinating, isn’t it? Like many other ancient lines of thought, this has been backed by modern day scientific research.

Cancer 

Another example comes from cancer research. In his Tedx talk, “Shattering Cancer with Resonant Frequencies,” Associate Professor and Director of Music at Skidmore College, Anthony Holland, tells the audience that he has a dream. That dream is to see a future where children no longer have to suffer from the effects of toxic cancer drugs or radiation treatment, and today he and his team believe they have found the answer, and that answer is sound. Holland and his team wondered if they could affect a cell by sending a specific electric signal, much like we do with LCD technology. After searching the patent database for a device that could accomplish this, they came across a therapeutic device invented by New Mexico physician Dr. James Bare. The device uses a plasma antenna that pulses on and off, which, as Holland explains, is important because a constant pulse of electricity would produce too much heat and therefore destroy the cell. For the next 15 months, Holland and his team searched for the exact frequency that would directly shatter a living microorganism. The magic number finally came in the form of two inputs, one high frequency and one low. The high frequency had to be exactly eleven times higher than the low, which in music is known as the 11th harmonic. At the 11th harmonic, microorganisms begin to shatter like crystal glass.

After consistently practicing until they became efficient at the procedure, Holland began working with a team of cancer researchers in an attempt to destroy targeted cancer cells. First they looked at pancreatic cancer cells, eventually discovering these cells were specifically vulnerable between 100,000 – 300,000 Hz.

Next they moved onto leukemia cells, and they were able to shatter the leukemia cells before they could divide. But, as Holland explains in his talk, he needed bigger stats in order to make the treatment a viable option for cancer patients.

In repeated and controlled experiments, the frequencies, known as oscillating pulsed electric field (OPEF) technology, killed an average of 25% to 40% of leukemia cells, going as high as 60% in some cases. Furthermore, the intervention even slowed cancer cell growth rates up to 65%.

You can read more about the story, find sources, and watch that TEDx talk here.

Another example occurred in  1981, when biologist Helene Grimal partnered with composer Fabien Maman to study the relationship of sound waves to living cells. For 18 months, the pair worked with the effects of 30-40 decibel sounds on human cells. With a camera mounted on a microscope, the researchers observed uterine cancer cells exposed to different acoustic instruments (guitar, gong, xylophone) as well as the human voice for 20-minute sessions.

They discovered that, when exposed to sound, cancer cells lost structural integrity until they exploded at the 14-minute mark. Far more dramatic was the sound of a human voice — the cells were destroyed at the nine-minute mark.

After this, they decided to work with two women with breast cancer. For one month, both of the women gave three-and-a-half-hours a day to “toning” or singing the scale. Apparently, the woman’s tumour became undetectable, and the other woman underwent surgery. Her surgeon reported that her tumour had shrunk dramatically and “dried up.” It was removed and the woman had a complete recovery and remission.

These are only a few out of multiple examples that are floating around out there.

Let’s not forget about when Royal Rife first identified the human cancer virus using the world’s most powerful microscope. After identifying and isolating the virus, he decided to culture it on salted pork. At the time this was a very good method for culturing a virus. He then took the culture and injected it into 400 rats, which, as you might expect, created cancer in all 400 rats very quickly. The next step for Rife was where things took an interesting turn. He later found a frequency of electromagnetic energy that would cause the cancer virus to diminish completely when entered into the energy field.  You can read more about that story here.

More Research

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Huntington’s Disease found that two months of drumming intervention in Huntington’s patients (considered an irreversible, lethal neurodegenerative disease) resulted in “improvements in executive function and changes in white matter microstructure, notably in the genu of the corpus callosum that connects prefrontal cortices of both hemispheres.” The study authors concluded that the pilot study provided novel preliminary evidence that drumming (or related targeted behavioural stimulation) may result in “cognitive enhancement and improvements in callosal white matter microstructure.”

A 2011 Finnish study observed that stroke patients who were given access to music as cognitive therapy had improved recovery. Other research has shown that patients suffering from loss of speech due to brain injury or stroke regain it more quickly by learning to sing before trying to speak. The phenomenon of music facilitating healing in the brain after a stroke is called the “Kenny Rogers Effect.”

A 2012 study published in Evolutionary Psychology found that active performance of music (singing, dancing and drumming) triggered endorphin release (measured by post-activity increases in pain tolerance), whereas merely listening to music did not. The researchers hypothesized that this may contribute to community bonding in activities involving dance and music-making.

According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, “Music effectively reduces anxiety for medical and surgical patients and often reduces surgical and chronic pain. [Also,] Providing music to caregivers may be a strategy to improve empathy, compassion, and care.” In other words, music is not only good for patients, it’s good for those who care for them as well.

Below is an interesting interview with Dr. Bruce Lipton. You can view his curriculum vitae here.

What About The Mind?

A few years ago, these scientists held an International Summit on Post-Materialist Science, and created a manifesto to explain its significance. The scientists involved were Mario Beauregard, PhD (University of Arizona), Gary E. Schwartz, PhD (University of Arizona), and Lisa Miller, PhD (Columbia University), in collaboration with Larry Dossey, MD, Alexander Moreira-Almeida, MD, PhD, Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, and Charles Tart, PhD.

There are hundreds of published peer-reviewed publications showing statistically significant results for this type of science, yet unfortunately, it is still shunned by mainstream academia, even though so many mainstream academic scientists support it. What is going on here?

The idea that the mind affects physical material reality is not trivial, and it’s been demonstrated repeatedly with statistically significant results through fascinating research undertaken by government programs, places like the Institute of Noetic Sciences (founded by Dr. Edgar Mitchell), and, in more recent developments, the group of internationally recognized scientists mentioned above.

Many studies have been conducted in these realms as well. Let’s look at water.

Experiments over the past four decades have investigated whether human intention alone can affect the properties of water. This question has been of interest to alternative medicine research, because the human body is made up of approximately 70% water. Interest in this topic has been rekindled recently by multiple researchers suggesting that intentionally influenced water can be detected by examining ice crystals formed from samples of that water. Scientists have hypothesized and shown that water influenced by intention can indeed influence the physical formation of the ice crystals that water produces. Consistent results commonly point to the idea that positive intentions tend to produce symmetric, well-formed, aesthetically pleasing crystals, and negative intentions tend to produce asymmetric, poorly formed, and unattractive crystals.

Dean Radin, the Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, along with Masaru Emoto, Takashige Kizu, and Nancy Lund, designed an experiment that tested this hypothesis.

As the study’s description reads:

“Over three days, 1,900 people in Austria and Germany focused their intentions towards water samples located inside an electromagnetically shielded room in California. Water samples located near the target water, but unknown to the people providing intentions, acted as ‘‘proximal’’ controls. Other samples located outside the shielded room acted as distant controls. Ice drops formed from samples of water in the different treatment conditions were photographed by a technician, each image was assessed for aesthetic beauty by over 2,500 independent judges, and the resulting data were analysed, all by individuals blind with respect to the underlying treatment conditions. Results suggested that crystal images in the intentionally treated condition were rated as aesthetically more beautiful than proximal control crystals (p < 0.03, one-tailed). This outcome replicates the results of an earlier pilot test.”

You can access the full study here.

If thought alone does indeed have an effect on physical material reality, just imagine what it could do to our body? Something to think about

The Takeaway

The information presented in this article isn’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes the medical applications of sound, frequency and vibration, which are all obviously correlated. One thing is clear, however, which is that there are many more methods out there, like the ones discussed in this article, that should be taken more seriously and given more attention from the medical establishment. It seems all mainstream medicine is concerned about is making money and developing medications that don’t seem to be representative of our fullest potential to heal. “Alternative” therapies shouldn’t be labelled as alternative, they should be incorporated into the norm.

Other sources used

This article (Research Shows We Can Heal With Vibration, Frequency & Sound) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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