WHEW, we’re entering triple digits now, are we? Well, in any case, thank you for sticking along with the ride — whether you’ve been here the whole time, reading along since Weekly Newsletter #1, or whether this is your first time reading The Burgundy Zine. We appreciate you, bug buddies.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.”
Happy Pi Day, bug buddies — or as we declared last year, happy ViHart day. And in case you were wondering, yes. The mathemusician YouTuber ViHart has already uploaded the 2021 installment of her infamous annual Pi Day series, which you can watch here.
Now that you’ve sampled a slice of pi, and you’re all cozied up at the screen, let’s start chowing down on some whacky science stories, virtual events, and Burgundy Zine community news.
Added sugars. Saturated fats. Sodium. Mmm, tasty, right? These are the food groups The U.S. Department of Agriculture says our population is over-indulging in.
But hey, they can’t hurt in moderation, right? Alright, alright. If balance is key, then surely cheat days shouldn’t make too much of a difference, no?
Well, according to a study in the Neurobiology of Pain journal, eating healthy most of the time (five days a week) might not be enough to curtail the negative impact cheat days could have on your health.
More specifically — the impact cheat days could have on your ability to heal from inflammation, which is a staple of chronic pain.