In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, a group of American university professors has for the first time launched a national campaign calling for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
While Israeli academics have grown used to such news from Great Britain, where anti-Israel groups several times attempted to establish academic boycotts, the formation of the United States movement marks the first time that a national academic boycott movement has come out of America. Israeli professors are not sure yet how big of an impact the one-week-old movement will have, but started discussing the significance of and possible counteractions against the campaign.
"As educators of conscience, we have been unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel's indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions," the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel stated in its inaugural press release last Thursday. Speaking in its mission statement of the "censorship and silencing of the Palestine question in U.S. universities, as well as U.S. society at large," the group follows the usual pattern of such boycotts, calling for "non-violent punitive measures" against Israel, such as the implementation of divestment initiatives, "similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era."
The campaign was founded by a group of 15 academics, mostly from California, but is, "currently expanding to create a network that embraces the United States as a whole," according to David Lloyd, a professor of English at the University of Southern California who responded on behalf of the group to a Haaretz query. "The initiative was in the first place impelled by Israel's latest brutal assault on Gaza and by our determination to say enough is enough."
"The response has been remarkable given the extraordinary hold that lobbying organizations like AIPAC exert over U.S. politics and over the U.S. media, and in particular given the campaign of intimidation that has been leveled at academics who dare to criticize Israel's policies," Lloyd wrote in an e-mail to Haaretz Monday. "Within a short weekend since the posting of the press release, more than 80 academics from all over the country have endorsed the action and the numbers continue to grow."
Asked if the group would accept the endorsement of Hamas supporters, Lloyd said, "We have no a priori policy with regard to the membership or affiliation of supporters of the boycott so long as they are in accord with the main aims stated in the press release."
He argued that, "on several occasions Hamas has sought direct negotiations with Israel, a pursuit that constitutes de facto recognition of Israel, and has openly discussed abandoning its call for the destruction of the state of Israel conditional on reciprocal guarantees from Israel."
Lloyd wrote that to the best of his knowledge, all supporters of the anti-Israel boycott were also opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Asked if logic wouldn't dictate that he and his colleagues boycott themselves, he responded, "Self-boycott is a difficult concept to realize. But speaking for myself, I would have supported and honored such a boycott had it been proposed by my colleagues overseas."
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009
In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, a group of American university professors has for the first time launched a national campaign calling for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
Now that former U.S. president George W. Bush is an ordinary citizen again, many legal and human rights activists in Europe are demanding that he and high-ranking members of his government be brought before justice for crimes against humanity committed in the so-called war on terror.
"Judicial clarification of the crimes against international law the former U.S. government committed is one of the most delicate issues that the new U.S. president Barack Obama will have to deal with," Wolfgang Kaleck, general secretary of the European Centre for Human and Constitutional Rights told IPS.
U.S. justice will have to "deal with the turpitudes committed by the Bush government," says Kaleck, who has already tried unsuccessfully to sue the former U.S. authorities in European courts. "And, furthermore, the U.S. government will have to pay compensation to the innocent people who were victims of these crimes."
Kaleck and other legal experts consider Bush and his highest-ranking officials responsible for crimes against humanity, such as torture.
Many agree that the evidence against the U.S. government is overwhelming. U.S. officials have admitted some crimes such as waterboarding, where a victim is tied up and water is poured into the air passages. Also, human rights activists have gathered testimonies by innocent victims of torture, especially some prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
In an interview with the German public television network ZDF, Austrian human rights lawyer Manfred Nowak, UN special rapporteur on torture, said that numerous cases of torture ordered by U.S. officials and perpetrated by U.S. authorities are well documented.
"We possess all the evidence which proves that the torture methods used in interrogation by the U.S. government were explicitly ordered by former U.S. defence minister Donald Rumsfeld," Nowak told ZDF. "Obviously, these orders were given with the highest U.S. authorities' knowledge."
"George W. Bush is without doubt responsible for crimes such as torture," says Dietmar Herz, professor of political science at the university of Erfurt, 235 km southwest of Berlin.
"According to the U.S. constitution, the U.S. president is responsible for all actions carried out by the executive," Herz told IPS. "Therefore, George W. Bush is responsible for the torture methods used by U.S. authorities, such as waterboarding."
International justice against crimes against humanity began in 1945, with the Nuremberg trials against Nazi criminals, says Kaleck. Leading prosecutor Robert Jackson said at the opening of the trials in October 1945 that "we are able to do away with...tyranny and violence and aggression by those in power against the rights of (the) people...only when we make all men answerable to the law."
But since then this promise has been fulfilled only in exceptional cases, Kaleck said.
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In the dying days of Brazil's military dictatorship, in late January 1984, a group of nearly a hundred "landless" farmers from across Brazil met in Cascavel, Paran· to debate the founding of a movement for agrarian reform which would unite landless campesinos and farm workers from around the country. It was an unlikely challenge in the world's fifth largest nation, where even today less than two percent of landowners control nearly half of the total territory.
Two and a half decades later, the tiny Landless Worker's Movement (MST) has grown in to a formidable force. According to MST co-founder Jo„o Pedro StÈdile, the movement has forced the expropriation of 35 million acres of land- larger than the country of Uruguay. MST numbers show that in the last 25 years, 370,000 families have acquired their own land, and 100,000 families are currently in encampments waiting for land. The movement has built hundreds of public schools and taught tens of thousands of its members to read and write. MST members have formed 400 association and cooperatives to collectively produce their food.
"But those are just statistics," said StÈdile in his closing comments of the movement's 25th birthday celebration on Saturday. "The most important thing that we have built over these last 25 years is that when someone joins the MST, he or she stops walking with their head down, and acquires dignity, and thinks with their brains, organizing their companions in struggle."
The birthday celebration marked the close of last week's 13th national meeting of the MST, in which 1500 MST members from across the country descended on the Southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul to debate the direction of the movement.
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India and Pakistan, in an expensive winner-takes-all race to tap the power of the Kishenganga river in Kashmir, are separately aiming to build large hydro-electric projects just 70 kilometers apart on the same fast-flowing water on their respective sides of the divided region.
India's Kishenganga hydro-power project, which the government last February priced at US$740 million, involves a 330-megawatt plant in the Gurez Valley. That is about a third the capacity of the 963MW Neelum-Jhelum project planned at an estimated cost of US$2.16 billion in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the project name reflecting the change from Kishenganga to Neelum of the river's name as it crosses to the Pakistani side of the divided region.
According to the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) signed between the two countries in 1960, the country whose project is completed first will get the complete rights of this river. Despite the fear of losing billions of dollars and possible international embarrassment, both sides have taken up the gamble and speeded up construction work.
Changing climatic conditions add to the pathos of the race. Declining levels of snowfall and receding glaciers in the Himalayas are reducing the water level in most Kashmiri rivers.
Indian-administered Kashmir (IAK) sits at the head of major rivers feeding large parts of Pakistan. Sharing the water was a major problem after the two countries gained independence from Britain in 1947, until in the World Bank arbitrated between the two countries resulting in the signing of the IWT.
The pact grants India exclusive rights to the three major southern rivers of Ravi, Beas and Sutluj, while Pakistan has the rights to three large northern rivers that first flow through Indian-administered Kashmir - the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab. The Jhelum and Kishenganga, by then known as the Neelum, join each other near Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
The treaty has withstood two wars and numerous other conflicts between the two countries, but now the situation seems to be changing. The growing economies of both countries and increased energy needs are compelling exploitation of the rivers to the last drop, even if that means violating the IWT. Pakistan, being the lower riparian state, faces the disadvantage of geography.
The Indian project involves building a dam and a 16-kilometer diversion channel, which will change the river's course by 100km. On completion of the project, the Kishenganga waters will join Wular lake and ultimately the river Jhelum, still within Indian-administered Kashmir, before flowing on to the Pakistan-administered side. The diversion will raise the lake's water level as well as add 52 cubic meters of water to the downstream 480MW Uri I and 240 MW Uri II hydroelectric project on Indian side.
Pakistan's hydro project, with an underground power station, will be built at Nauseri, near Muzaffarabad. Pakistan has signed up the help of Chinese companies, namely the CGGC-CMEC Consortium China, to build the project with the aim of beating India to completion and securing priority rights for the river.
Pakistan fears that once India's Kishenganga project is complete it will have a devastating effect on the PAK's own hydro-power plans, the local economy and on the ecology. The Indian project, according to Pakistan, will curb water flow to the Pakistani project by 30%, besides affecting the local flora and fauna due to diversion of water from its original course. Pakistan also alleges that the project will adversely affect 133,209 hectares of agricultural land in the Neelum Valley and the Muzaffarabad district.
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German troops will be stationed in France for the first time since World War Two when German forces occupied much of the country, a source said on Monday, a sign of ever closer military ties between the two historic foes.
A battalion of some 450-800 soldiers will probably be stationed near the northeastern city of Strasbourg, but France and Germany are still negotiating over the precise location, the diplomatic source told Reuters.
"The question of whether this will happen has basically been decided, it's now about the 'how' and 'how many' and 'where'," the source said.
Relations between Germany and France used to be bitterly hostile as a result of the 1870 Franco-German conflict and two world wars, but the former enemies now run a bi-national brigade and have shaped the core of Europe's joint defence strategy.
"The prospect of seeing German troops settle in France again regularly makes my grandfather splutter," wrote a French reader on the website of newspaper Liberation when the idea was first floated by President Nicolas Sarkozy last November.
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It's one of the most common accusations by defendants and defense attorneys -- that police officers don't tell the truth on the witness stand.
Of course, defendants themselves can be the ones lying, but the problem of police perjury -- and what can be done about it -- is being debated anew. Fueling the discussion are recent court cases in New York City and Boston that indicated officers may have lied and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month that could have broader implications for cases in which improperly obtained evidence is in dispute.
Questionable testimony by police comes up most often in firearm- or drug-possession cases in which officers often testify that a defendant had a bulge in his pocket -- which they thought might be a gun -- or dropped drugs in plain sight as they approached him, giving the officers the right to seize the contraband. Defense lawyers say in many of these cases, officers are "testilying" and that the guns or drugs were actually discovered when their clients were unjustly frisked by officers. They also say testilying frequently occurs in more serious cases.
In Boston, a federal judge last week ruled that a police officer there falsely testified at a pretrial hearing in a gun-possession case about the circumstances of the defendant's arrest. The judge, Mark Wolf, is considering sanctions against the prosecutor for not immediately disclosing that the officer's testimony contradicted what he told prosecutors beforehand.
A federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., last fall ruled that a U.S. marshal and a New York City police officer lied when they testified that a defendant dropped two bags of drugs in front of them and then invited the officers to his apartment, where he revealed a large cache of cocaine.
Though few officers will confess to lying -- after all, it's a crime -- work by researchers and a 1990s commission appointed to examine police corruption shows there's a tacit agreement among many officers that lying about how evidence is seized keeps criminals off the street.
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A novel that sets out to be diligently authentic in its treatment of history may deserve admiration. But it's more impressive when a subject amply documented by historians is transformed into an independent work of the imagination, and we keep reading not because our knowledge of the past is being enhanced but because the fiction earns our attention in its own right, as a verbal adventure that uses historical material without being constrained by it. In the words of Brendan Gill, Wright's biographer, “Even the most sympathetic feats of restoration carry the taint of an embalmment.” Though Gill is referring to the dangers of restoring buildings, his warning elucidates the challenges inherent in “The Women.” Boyle offers a reasonably accurate representation of Wright, who stands as the powerful centripetal force of the novel. Yet Boyle isn't just a restorer. After gathering the information he'll use to get the motor of invention running, he goes on to create an array of indelible characters — eccentrics so absorbed in the expression of their passions that they fail to notice or care when their actions turn destructive.
The most immediately influential character in “The Women” is not Wright; it is the narrator, Tadashi Sato, a (fictional) Japanese architect who has spent several years as one of Wright's apprentices and sets out to compose a biography of his mentor. Tadashi doesn't hide the fact that his view of Wright is limited. In an introductory passage, he explains: “I was a cog in his machine for a certain period, one of many cogs, that and nothing more.” It helps, he says, that he knew other apprentices, along with Wright's third wife and his children. Familiarity, though, doesn't necessarily give him access to the whole truth. At one point he asks about Wright, “But did I know him?” — a question that will resonate through the novel as Tadashi offers his own revealing yet limited account of Wright's romantic entanglements (all of it communicated with the help of his “translator,” one Seamus O'Flaherty, who is also Tadashi's grandson-in-law and pops up now and then in the footnotes to vie with Tadashi as a Nabokovian arbiter of the truth).
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In July 1837, Charles Darwin had a flash of inspiration. In his study at his house in London, he turned to a new page in his red leather notebook and wrote, "I think". Then he drew a spindly sketch of a tree.
As far as we know, this was the first time Darwin toyed with the concept of a "tree of life" to explain the evolutionary relationships between different species. It was to prove a fruitful idea: by the time he published On The Origin of Species 22 years later, Darwin's spindly tree had grown into a mighty oak. The book contains numerous references to the tree and its only diagram is of a branching structure showing how one species can evolve into many.
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Ever since Darwin the tree has been the unifying principle for understanding the history of life on Earth. At its base is LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all living things, and out of LUCA grows a trunk, which splits again and again to create a vast, bifurcating tree. Each branch represents a single species; branching points are where one species becomes two. Most branches eventually come to a dead end as species go extinct, but some reach right to the top - these are living species. The tree is thus a record of how every species that ever lived is related to all others right back to the origin of life.
For much of the past 150 years, biology has largely concerned itself with filling in the details of the tree. "For a long time the holy grail was to build a tree of life," says Eric Bapteste, an evolutionary biologist at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France. A few years ago it looked as though the grail was within reach. But today the project lies in tatters, torn to pieces by an onslaught of negative evidence. Many biologists now argue that the tree concept is obsolete and needs to be discarded. "We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality," says Bapteste. That bombshell has even persuaded some that our fundamental view of biology needs to change.
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A documentary that examines the struggles of black rock musicians and the industry's ambivalence towards them.
* Causes Feeling of Sleepiness
* Converts Nervous System Signals to Endocrine Signals
* Regulates Endocrine Functions
* Secretes the Hormone Melatonin
Overview: the Pineal Gland Center of the Physical Brain
If anything could be called the center of the physical brain, it would have to be the Pineal Gland. This solid cone-shaped structure located at the roof of the posterior third ventricle is about the size of a grain of rice and weighs approximately 100 - 180 milligrams. It begins its composition at about the 36th day of gestation when two small cell masses-anlages-fuse together to form the gland. Almost undetectable at its beginning and still when it reaches differentiation at around birth, the gland is centered between the cerebellum and is attached to it. The gland is part of the circuitry involved in the translation of all visual messages received through the retina. Even though pineal glands have until recently been considered functionless phylogenetic relics, vestigiality has been imposed on the gland for no valid scientific reason as many advances in the past few decades have demonstrated its multi-faceted functions in humans and mammalians. The gland has also been referred to as the epiphysis, parietal eye, and in spiritual realms as the third eye. The pineal appears to be involved in synchronization of bodily functions(s) with the environment as a “regulator of regulators” and more recent research has demonstrated that the gland performs a pivotal, and perhaps critical role, in the identification of specific patterns of malignancies to include breast cancer and lymphomas. Strikingly, it has been changes in pineal activity that have been useful indicators in the identification of these other diseases and we see that changes in pineal activity and expression are indicators in compulsive behavior that leads to substance abuse and affective disorders.
The Mysterious Pineal Gland
Seat of the Human Soul - Keep the Pineal Healthy & Maintain Youth
Philosophers and Spiritual Adepts have long contemplated the function of the Pineal. For example, the Ancient Greeks believed it to be our connection to the realms of thought and French philosopher Renee Descartes referred to it as the seat of the human soul. Most mystical traditions and esoteric schools have known this area to be the connecting link between the physical and spiritual worlds and consider it a powerful source of ethereal energy initiating supernatural powers. Thus, the hormones released by this gland play a part in the stimulation of the higher-mind and the development of intellectual pursuits. Toxins in this gland indicate the spirit is weak due to lack of will combined with an invasion of the psyche.
On a physiological level, the Pineal is activated by light, and controls the various biorhythms of the body through the secretion of the hormone melatonin. It is integral to the life cycle and sends signals to the reproductive system set a child’s birth in motion. Working in harmony with the Hypothalamus Gland it directs the body's thirst, hunger, sexual desire and biological clock which determines our aging process. Edgar Cayce said, ‘Keep the pineal gland operating and you won't grow old – you will always be young!’
Pineal Gland Chakra
Melatonin is implicated in many human activities, and perhaps human behavioral disorders. Melatonin regulates the human daily body rhythms, most notably the day and night cycle, and perhaps the depression and tiredness some people feel during long periods of overcast skies and short days during the winter months is in response to an over production of melatonin? If this is true, I wonder how melatonin production effects blind people? Are blind people more susceptible to depression because of a melatonin imbalance?
Melatonin can be found throughout the animal kingdom. In reptiles and birds, the pineal gland is found close to the skin; it needs no interaction with with the eye to sense whether it is day or night. Interestingly enough, this is where the term "third eye" originated. The pineal gland is therefore the master clock for these animals. For mammals, however, the pineal gland is subordinate to the eye and the suprachiasmatic nucleus because light severely stops the production of melatonin.
Medical dissection has revealed that the front section of the pineal gland is equipped with the complete structure of a human eye. Since it grows/exists inside the human skull, it has been called a vestigal eye.
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Now, there has been some confusion as to what the human "Third Eye" is and where it is located. This confusion seems to stem mostly from the location of the pituitary and pineal gland and the similarity of their names.
The "magical" Third Eye and the Ajna chakra have been mentioned in many religions as dwelling between the eyes, eyebrows, center of the forehead, etc., and its association with light.
In the 2nd century, Galen was the first to mention the Third Eye to the West. He believed it to be a valve that regulated thought.
18th century French scientist and philosopher Rene Descartes believed it was the chief interpreter of vision and the "seat of the human soul."
In 1644, Descartes' theory of vision and interaction with the pineal gland is expressed in this woodcut. He believed light particles interacted with the eyes and the image seen (the light particles themselves) were then transmitted to the pineal gland - the pineal gland being the nexus between the mind and the body.
"In man, soul and body touch each other only at a single point, the pineal gland in the head."
This drawing depicts an external stimulus being transmitted into an act of will by pointing, an act sent by the pineal gland.
In 1918, Nils Holmgrenin, a Swedish anatomist, referred to the pineal gland as the "Third Eye" because he discovered cells that looked very much like retina cone cells in the tip of the gland in frogs and dogfish sharks. AND, recent discoveries have found that the pineal gland in the Western Fence Lizard contains a photo-receptive element scientist called a "third eye" that protruded from the top of its head. Interesting. - SOURCE: www.suneye.org
Now let me ask you a very interesting question: While napping or just falling asleep, have you been able to see the room you are sleeping in, or room(s) of your house/apt while your eyes have been closed?! You feel, you KNOW your eyes are closed, yet you can see as if your eyes were open!!!??
The Third Eye and the Pineal Gland
To activate the 'third eye' and perceive higher dimensions, the pineal gland and the pituitary body must vibrate in unison, which is achieved through meditation and/or relaxation. When a correct relationship is established between personality, operating through the pituitary body, and the soul, operating through the pineal gland, a magnetic field is created.
The negative and positive forces interact and become strong enough to create the 'light in the head.' With this 'light in the head' activated, astral projectors can withdraw themselves from the body, carrying the light with them. Astral travel, and other occult abilities, are closely associated with the development of the 'light in the head'. After physical relaxation, concentration upon the pineal gland is achieved by staring at a point in the middle of the forehead. Without straining the muscles of the eye, this will activate the pineal gland and the 'third eye'.
Beginning with the withdrawal of the senses and the physical consciousness, the consciousness is centered in the region of the pineal gland. The perceptive faculty and the point of realization are centralized in the area between the middle of the forehead and the pineal gland. The trick is to visualize, very intently, the subtle body escaping through the trap door of the brain. A popping sound may occur at the time separation of the astral body in the area of the pineal gland. Visualization exercises are the first step in directing the energies in our inner systems to activate the 'third eye'. The magnetic field is created around the pineal gland, by focusing the mind on the midway point between the pineal gland and the pituitary body. The creative imagination visualizes something, and the thought energy of the mind gives life and direction to this form.
Opening The Third Eye
Opening the Third Eye is directly related to the 6th chakra; the psychic chakra, located on the middle of the forehead above the brows. It is closely associated with the "pineal" gland. The pineal gland id dormant in most people,as is the true 3rd eye. French Philosopher Rene Descartes believed the pineal gland to be "the seat of the soul" where mind and body met.
In the average person, the pineal gland is atrophied and dormant. The following exercise will change that. Please read this thoroughly, as much of the exercises I write of are very advanced and can cause problems if one does not do them correctly.
The pineal gland is like a grape in size; like a raisin in most people where it remains dormant.
Opening the third eye/pineal gland:
This is done with a specific tone and chant. You only need to do this exercise for 3 days, afterwards, it is permanent.
"Power Of Pineal Gland 2" (3rd Eye) All Seeing Eye Experience
Fluoride Deposition in the Aged Human Pineal Gland
In conclusion, this study presented evidence that fluoride readily accumulates in the aged pineal. Fluoride may also accumulate in a child's pineal because significant amounts of calcification have been demonstrated in the pineals from young children [Cooper, 1932; Wurtman, 1968; Kerényi and Sarkar, 1968; Tapp and Huxley, 197 1; Doskocil, 1984]. In fact, calcification of the developing enamel organs and the pineal gland occur concurrently. If fluoride does accumulate in the child's pineal (this needs verification), the pinealocytes will be exposed to relatively high local concentrations of fluoride. This could affect pineal metabolism in much the same way that high local concentrations of fluoride in the developing enamel organ affect ameloblast function. Research is presently underway to discover whether fluoride affects pineal physiology during childhood: specifically pineal synthesis of melatonin.
The pineal gland.
What is it?
The pineal gland, the most enigmatic of endocrine organs, has long been of interest to anatomists. Several millennia ago it was thought to be a valve that controlled the flow of memories into consciousness. René Descartes, the 17th-century French philosopher-mathematician, concluded that the pineal was the seat of the soul. A corollary notion was that calcification of the pineal caused psychiatric disease, a concept that provided support for those who considered psychotic behavior to be rampant; modern examination techniques have revealed that all pineal glands become more or less calcified.
The pineal organ is small, weighing little more than 0.1 gram. It lies deep within the brain between the two cerebral hemispheres and above the third ventricle of the spinal column. It has a rich supply of adrenergic nerve fibers that greatly influence its secretions. Microscopically, the gland is composed of pinealocytes (rather typical endocrine cells except for extensions that mingle with those of adjacent cells). Supporting cells that are similar to astrocytes of the brain are interspersed.
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Melatonin was previously known to cause the skins of amphibians to blanch, but its functions in mammals remained uncertain until research discoveries in the 1970s and '80s suggested that it regulates both sleeping cycles and the hormonal changes that usher in sexual maturity during adolescence. The pineal gland's production of melatonin varies both with the time of day and with age; production of melatonin is dramatically increased during the nighttime hours and falls off during the day, and melatonin levels are much higher in children under age seven than in adolescents and are lower still in adults. Melatonin apparently acts to keep a child's body from undergoing sexual maturation, since sex hormones such as luteotropin, which play a role in the development of sexual organs, emerge only after melatonin levels have declined. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that children with tumors of the pineal gland often reach sexual maturity unusually early in life, presumably because the pineal's production of melatonin has been hampered. Melatonin also seems to play an important role in regulating sleeping cycles; test subjects injected with the hormone become sleepy, suggesting that the increased production of melatonin coincident with nightfall acts as a fundamental mechanism for making people sleepy. With dawn the pineal gland stops producing melatonin, and wakefulness and alertness ensue. The high level of melatonin production in young children may explain their tendency to sleep longer than adults.
The Pineal Gland (Custom Homeopathics)
Pineal Gland Calcification
The important question, of course, is what impact calcification in the pineal gland has on those of us with FM/CFS/OA/Lupus/toxicity, outside of the fact that we feel like we are a 150 years old when we are only 55.
The pineal has wide ranging effects, and affects most aspects of our body's functions. Its most commonly know function is to produce melatonin.
The Pineal Gland and "Brainfog"
In the tasks of daily life, calcification in the pineal gland affects our brain's ability to function. Increased calcification impairs our sense of direction(21) and explains how we can become disoriented and miss a turn off on a road we've driven a 100 times. The effects of disturbed sleep on memory are well documented. Studies have shown increased pineal calcification is significantly related to sleep disturbance and day time tiredness.(22)
The Pineal Gland and Hormone Regulation
a) Human Growth Hormone - Calcification of the pineal gland, and the resultant sleep disturbance, means we don't get the deep sleep that is necessary for the production of Human Growth Hormone, a hormone needed to repair muscles.(23)
b) Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis - The pineal gland, through its production of melatonin and its effect on serotonin, affects many neuroendocrine functions. Reduced melatonin, through various pathways, disrupts cortisol rhythms, and significantly impairs the sensitivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.(24) As well, one study has shown a reciprocal relationship between the pineal and pituitary gland,(25) so that if the pineal is impaired, it affects the pituitary. This has a whole cascade of effects on the other glands and hormone production.
c) Reproductive Hormones - The pineal gland is instrumental in our sexual development at puberty for both sexes. Menstrual cycling and menopause are associated with melatonin fluctuations,(26) as is pregnancy, with melatonin increasing 200-300% in the first 20 weeks of gestation. Melatonin stimulates the production of progesterone. It is argued that compromised pineal gland function may be implicated in spontaneous abortions not due to chromosomal anomalies.(27) Pathologies of the pineal gland have been associated with disruption of reproductive hormones,(28) and administered melatonin has been shown to alter the semen quality in healthy men.(29)
d) Thyroid - One study shows that administering melatonin produces changes in thyroid hormones.(30)
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Melatonin's interaction with serotonin, and its resultant role as an anticoagulant has been demonstrated repeatedly.
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The role of melatonin in "taking out the garbage" and protecting us from building it up in the first place, is explained best in the following (emphasis and paragraphing added) : "Melatonin, the chief secretory product of the pineal gland, is a direct free-radical scavenger and indirect antioxidant. In terms of its scavenging activity, melatonin has been shown to quench the hydroxyl radical, superoxide anion radical, singlet oxygen, peroxyl radical, and the peroxynitrite anion. Additionally, melatonin's antioxidant actions probably derive from its stimulatory effect on superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase;-and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and its inhibitory action on nitric oxide synthase. Finally, melatonin acts to stabilize cell membranes, thereby making them more resistant to oxidative attack.
[ ... ]
When a disease is predominantly experienced by women, scientists tend to look first for a chromosome link, and feminists look to social/medical establishment factors. We think that while both of these factors may come into play, neither provide the total explanation. Since, so far, studies have shown no significant differences in the calcification rate among men and women, we think it is the cascade of effects that happen after the pineal calcification that results in more women than men experiencing this symptom cluster. Comparatively, men have a much simpler hormone system than women. Puberty does not produce the hormonal cycling in men that it does in women. Procreation is hormonally a simple affair for men and life changing for women's hormonal balance. Men do not experiences the huge surges in melatonin that women can. While men may experience menopause, its effects are much milder and less wide spread than women's. With women's hormonal balance so complex and easily disrupted, it would stand to reason that they are much more vulnerable to the effects of pineal calcification and the cascade of events within the body chemistry that it produces.
The Playpower Foundation is using 8-bit learning games to improve education for millions of people worldwide. New 8-bit computers can be sold for as little as $12, since they use a TV as a screen and use a computer technology which is now in the public domain (Famicon/NES). Our goal is to design and discover high-quality 8-bit learning games in order to make computer-aided learning affordable for people everywhere.
Join our open-source development community and help build new 8-bit games and learning programs...
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