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Category: Science

How Entheogenic Plants & Fungi Affect Memory

A major area of psychedelic research is its potential clinical applications in psychiatry. In particular, a major area of study has concentrated on the potential therapeutic effects of shrooms, acid, and MDMA for treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Memory plays a central role in the psychedelic experience,” begins a 2020 Psychopharmacology review. “The ability for psychedelics to provoke vivid memories has been considered important to their clinical efficacy.”

Throughout their review, the researchers found that psychedelics enhance autobiographical memory recall, which has therapeutic potential for overcoming traumatic experiences. However, psychedelics also have a dose-dependent effect of impairing memory task performance.

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Thought-to-Text Interfaces are Just Around the Corner

While mind-reading interfaces that convert thoughts to text sound like a dystopian sci-fi plot that could go horribly wrong disturbingly fast, the reality may not be so far away — or as fallible, either.

When you first hear “thought to text,” your knee-jerk response might be, “Uhh, no way. What if I have an intrusive thought that I don’t really mean to send? Or an impulse to text someone I know I shouldn’t?” But the most recent brain-computer face interface studies don’t rely on decoding your internal monologue or raw thoughts.

Rather, researchers have programmed a brain-computer interface that decodes “attempted handwriting movements” from motor cortex activity. This technology allows people who have been paralyzed for years to imagine handwriting and translate that into texting at speeds of 90 characters per minute with 94.1 percent accuracy, which is comparable to average smartphone typing speeds.

Furthermore, that accuracy climbs to 99 percent with general-purpose autocorrect.

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Health Diary Digital PDF Planner — Now Available on ETSY!

Editor burgundy bug has just released her Health Diary PDF planner templates on Etsy! The health diary comes in three different versions: a flattened PDF, fillable PDF, and DELUXE BUNDLE.

Along with both the flattened and fillable PDF templates, the deluxe bundle includes 22 free digital stickers to decorate your planners with. Burgundy Bug is also running a 25 percent off sale on all of her physical prints and stickers to celebrate the release of her Health Diary PDF.

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Radiotrophic Fungi: The Fungus Among Us that Eat Radiation

Mushrooms: everybody’s favorite quirk of nature. From the psychedelic genus psilocybe and the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis that “mind control” ants, to the mushrooms that clean up oil spills and the mushrooms that may serve as planetary habitats, researchers have found yet another use for fungi: radiation protection.

“The greatest hazard for humans on deep-space exploration missions is radiation,” says a preliminary report in the bioRxiv journal. “Certain fungi thrive in high-radiation environments on Earth, such as the contamination radius of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant… These organisms appear to perform radiosynthesis, using pigments known as melanin to convert gamma radiation into chemical energy. It is hypothesized that these organisms can be employed as a radiation shield to protect other lifeforms.”

Radiosynthesis runs parallel to photosynthesis — but instead of eating sunlight (UV radiation), these shrooms are eating gamma radiation. And it’s all possible through melanin, the same pigment that determines hair and skin color.

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Gluten & Inflammation — What’s the Link?

Brain fog. Fatigue. Headaches. Upset stomach. Widespread aches. Rashes. Sound familiar? Approximately 1 percent of the global population has Celiac Disease, an autoimmune condition triggered by gluten that damages the small intestines.

Meanwhile, it’s estimated that somewhere between 0.6 to 6 percent (or potentially more) have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Although they share similar symptoms and characteristics, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity doesn’t trigger an immune response that damages the intestines. The symptoms are short-term and have less serious consequences than Celiac Disease.

In either case, however, gluten triggers inflammation among those with CD and NCGS. But… why? Hasn’t bread been a staple of the human diet for the last 10,000 years or so?

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Tune-In Tuesdays #105: Beacon Bloom on Releasing Their NFT-Integrated Music Video for “Nothing Here But You”

Hailing from New Zealand, the electronic trio Beacon Bloom sends sparks through their audience with their rhythmic, dream-like single and music video for their latest single, “Nothing Here But You.”

Shot in one take, the music video takes the viewer on a scenic, immersive journey — and the best part? “Nothing Here But You” is NFT-integrated, offering fans and collectors a chance to connect with the song’s narrative in an entirely new way. 10 percent of the initial NFT sales are also being donated to The Orangutang Foundation and Regenerative Agriculture.

Recently, we spoke to Beacon Bloom’s Ryan Ferris to learn more about the band, the single, the music video, and NFTs via email. During the interview, we also learned more about the band’s passion for environmental efforts, such as regenerative agriculture.

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Planet-Friendly Agriculture: It’s “Farming,” not “Harming”

Beyond the “modern-day necessities” — cars, gas, electricity, and TikTok — the historically fundamental necessity, farming, contributes to a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions globally. These emissions arise from agricultural practices, forestry, and land-use changes.

… Oh, and cow farts (or rather, their burps). Lest we forget the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that 14.5 percent of GHG emissions come from livestock, with cattle contributing to more than half of those emissions.

Since not-farming is not an option (and we can’t expect cows to never be gassy, even with dietary interventions), it’s high time for a sustainability overhaul of the agricultural industry: planet-friendly farming.

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Vegetables Aren’t Real

By now, we’ve all heard the age-old argument about whether tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable. Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled tomatoes were a vegetable for “tax purposes” in 1893, a botanist would tell you that vegetables aren’t real and that tomatoes are actually a berry.

While we’re at it, cucumbers, peppers, avocados, pumpkins, pomegranates, watermelons, oranges, lemons, limes, grapes, and bananas are all berries, too. Strawberries and raspberries, however, are not. They’re “accessory fruits.”

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