Saturday, August 10, 2013

Could mobiles affect some more than others?

Could mobiles affect some more than others?

The findings don't point to an effect on health per se raises questions about the reliability of previous research findings, say researchers (iStockphoto: Ragip Candan)
The findings don't point to an effect on health per se raises questions about the reliability of previous research findings, say researchers (iStockphoto: Ragip Candan)
Mobile phones affect the brainwaves of some individuals more than others, say researchers, who are calling for a rethink about how we study the effects of the pervasive technology.
Professor Rodney Croft, of the University of Wollongong, and colleagues, report their findings in the journalBioelectromagnetics.
"The kind of studies that we do may be overlooking some problems," says Croft, who studies radiofrequency health effects.
Some studies have suggested that mobile phones can increase human electroencephalogram (EEG) activity during wake and sleep, says Croft.
But findings, including those made by Croft and colleagues in an NHRMC-funded study, have found that the increase in brainwave activity does not appear to have health effects.
"We found on average there was an increase but it was very small and there was no effect on sleep quality," says Croft.
But, Croft and colleagues did notice that the effect on the brainwaves was much greater in some people than in others.
They hypothesised that the averaging out of effects across the whole group was masking individual variability in sensitivity to mobile phone emissions.
"It could be that people are responding quite differently, with some people exhibiting no effect and others exhibiting a substantial effect," says Croft.

Follow-up study

To test if there were any individual differences in the effect of mobile phones on EEG and sleep, the researchers retrieved 20 volunteers who had been involved in their previous study and tested them again.
"The logic was that if there were individual differences, we'd find that those who had an effect the first time would have an effect the second time," says Croft. "And those that didn't have an effect the first time wouldn't have an effect the second time."
For two consecutive nights, volunteers were exposed for 30 minutes to a mobile phone, positioned in a cradle over the right temporal region, before going to sleep.
On one night the phone was continuously transmitting and on the other it was turned off - a so-called 'sham control'. The volunteers didn't know whether the phone was turned or not.
Brainwave monitoring during sleep showed, in keeping with previous findings, that exposure to mobile phones increased EEG activity during the first 30 minutes of non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep.
But what was most interesting was the increase was more prominent in those individuals who had shown an increase in the previous study, supporting Croft and colleagues' hypothesis.
"The response to mobile phones seems to be mediated by some kind of individual difference," says Croft.
While Croft and colleagues still found no impact on the quality of sleep, they say the findings question the reliability of previous studies, including those which have found no effect on EEG.
"Finding no effect or a very small effect could be the result of averaging people together. By looking at groups as a whole we may be missing important things," says Croft. "It raises the question whether we can be as confident in past research as we have been."
"Given the far-reaching implications of mobile phone research, we may need to rethink the interpretation of results and the manner in which research is conducted in this field," say Croft and colleagues.

Sensitive subgroup?

The research has been welcomed by Dr Edoardo Aromataris, of the The Joanna Briggs Institute, which assesses evidence for healthcare.
Aromataris says the study suggests that there could be a subgroup of people whose EEGs are predisposed to being effected by mobile phones.
"It might be a physiological difference, or it might be a psychological difference," he says. "If this is true, all of what has gone before will be put to question."
Aromataris says individual differences in physiology are already known to be very important. For example, it causes some individuals to be more sensitive to the effect of drugs than others, something that is often not discovered until after drugs are on the market.
He suggests it could be useful for researchers to eventually develop and test hypotheses about which subgroups of people are most sensitive to mobile phone impact on EEG.
"This is really how science progresses," says Aromataris. "[Croft and colleagues] have seen something there that others haven't and that could potentially spin off [research] in another direction or it could not."

La electro hipersensibilidad: una nueva enfermedad causada por la tecnología

La electro hipersensibilidad: una nueva enfermedad causada por la tecnología  

Friday, August 09, 2013

Don't Use Your Ipad Or Mobile Phone Shortly Before Bed:

Don't Use Your Ipad Or Mobile Phone Shortly Before Bed:

Scientists Warn Gadgets With A Backlit Display Can Cause Sleep Problems

31 August, 2012 - It is tempting to go to bed with your Ipad and read a book for an hour or so before sleep, or maybe just to reply to some emails or perhaps chat with your friends on facebook, or similar.

This is not a good idea though, not unless you want to sleep well that night. Researchers are now saying that using gadgets with a backlit display, such as Ipads, other tablets and most phones for more than one hour before bed can disrupt your sleep.

A study conducted by scientists from the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute shows that a two-hour exposure to electronic devices with self-luminous "backlit" displays causes melatonin suppression, which might lead to delayed bedtimes, especially in teens.

In order to simulate typical usage of these devices, 13 individuals used self-luminous tablets to read, play games, and watch movies.

The actual melatonin suppression values after 60 minutes were very similar to those estimated for spending an hour in sunlight and was not deemed significant.

However, after a two-hour exposure there was significant suppression.

"Our study shows that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent.

Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using the devices prior to bedtime," said Mariana Figueiro, associate professor and team leader

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland at night and under conditions of darkness in both diurnal and nocturnal species.

It is a "timing messenger," signaling nighttime information throughout the body. Exposure to light at night, especially short-wavelength light, can slow or even cease nocturnal melatonin production.

Suppression of melatonin by light at night resulting in circadian disruption has been implicated in sleep disturbances, increased risk for diabetes and obesity, as well as increased risk for more serious diseases, such as breast cancer, if circadian disruption occurs for many consecutive years, such as in nightshift workers.

Using your Ipad before going to bed can cause sleep problems.

Tablet display was found to suppress the body's sleep chemicals and researchers called for manufacturers of gadget to test how their products could be affecting sleep patterns.

"In the future, manufacturers might be able to use data and predictive models to design tablets for tailored daytime light exposures that minimize s ymptoms of seasonal affective disorder, and sleep disorders in seniors," the researchers wrote in their science paper.

"Technology developments have led to bigger and brighter televisions, computer screens, and cell phones," said Britanny Wood, who used the study as the basis for her master's thesis.

"To produce white light, these electronic devices must emit light at short wavelengths, which makes them potential sources for suppressing or delaying the onset of melatonin in the evening, reducing sleep duration and disrupting sleep.

This is particularly worrisome in populations such as young adults and adolescents, who already tend to be night owls."

TransPacific Partnership Will Undermine Democracy, Empower Transnational Corporations

TransPacific Partnership Will Undermine Democracy, Empower Transnational Corporations

Wednesday, 27 March 2013 09:12By Margaret Flowers and Kevin ZeeseTruthout | News Analysis
The leaders of the member nations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pose for a group photo, November, 2010.The leaders of the member nations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pose for a group photo, November, 2010. (Photo: Gobierno de Chile; Edited: JR / TO)Think the world needs an alternative to corporate media? Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to Truthout and keep independent journalism strong.
Our country's democratic values could be under threat if President Obama fast tracks the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
On critical issues, the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated in secret by the Obama administration willundermine democracy in the United States and around the world and further empower transnational corporations. It will circumvent protections for health care, wages, labor rights, consumers' rights and the environment, and decrease regulation of big finance and risky investment practices.
The only way this treaty, which will be very unpopular with the American people once they are aware of it, can be approved is if the Obama administration avoids the democratic process by using an authority known as "Fast Track," which limits the constitutional checks and balances of Congress.
If the TPP is approved, the sovereignty of the United States and other member nations will be dissipated by trade tribunals that favor corporate power and force national laws to be subservient to corporate interests.
Circumventing the Checks and Balances of US Democracy
President Nixon first developed the idea of "Fast Track" in 1973 as a way to secure Congressional approval of trade agreements, and it has been a key to passing many unpopular agreements such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and NAFTA. As people have caught on to the offshoring of jobs and other detrimental consequences of these agreements, civil society now understands how important it is to not allow a president to circumvent the democratic role of Congress. Fast Track expired in 2007, so President Obama must have it re-instated in order to pass the TPP. His administration is moving to have Fast Track approved and hopes it will happen by this summer.
Under Fast Track, the president was allowed to negotiate and sign trade agreements with whatever countries the executive branch selected - all before Congress voted on the agreement. Fast Track meant that the Congressional committee processes were circumvented and the executive branch was empowered to write lengthy implementing legislation for each trade pact without Congress. These executive-only authored bills required US law to conform to the trade agreement. For example,Glass-Steagall had to be repealed under President Clinton to conform to the WTO. And, Fast Track empowered the president to submit the executive-branch written bill for a mandatory vote within a set number of days, with all amendments forbidden, normal Senate rules waived, and debate limited in both chambers of Congress. Fast Track clearly undermined democracy.
Indeed, Fast Track turned the US Constitution on its head. Under Article I Section 8, Congress has exclusive authority "to regulate commerce with foreign nations" and to "lay and collect taxes [and] duties." Under the Constitution, the president is empowered to negotiate treaties, but Congress must vote to approve them. Thus, Fast Track took constitutional power from Congress and prevented the checks and balances needed to prevent an imperial presidency.
For most of the history of the United States, treaties and trade agreements went through the normal congressional process described in the Constitution. Fast Track is a relatively new concept that coincides with an era of increasing presidential power, which includes the power to declare war and to murder US citizens without warning or judicial oversight. If Congress had reviewed agreements such as the WTO and NAFTA beforehand and civil society had been able to participate in a democratic process, would the United States have made the mistake of passing these laws that have so injured our economy and others?
Fast Track is very unpopular, so now President Obama and others who advocate for it do not use the term. Instead they call it by the euphemism "Trade Promotion Authority." But changing the name does not change what it is - a method of ceding the constitutional power of Congress and undermining the checks and balances built into the constitutional framework.
Congress needs to consider what agreements such as the TPP will do to jobs, trade balances and the environment. Since Nixon, Fast Track has been used by presidents to go way beyond trade and tariffs. These agreements have been used to change US law by establishing "rules related to domestic environmental, health, safety and essential-service regulations, including deregulation of financial services; establishment of immigration policies; creation of limits on local development and land-use policy; extension of domestic patent terms; establishment of new rights and greater protections for foreign investors operating within the United States that extend beyond US law; and even limitation of how domestic procurement dollars may be spent." Thus, not only has the constitutional power of Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations been undermined, but a whole host of domestic laws have been rewritten to satisfy international trade.
The TPP Undermines US Law, Prevents Progressive Policy Around the World
The TPP is much broader than the usual trade agreement and will impact many aspects of society from the Internet to health care to regulation of risky bank speculation. For this reason alone, it is especially important to have a transparent, public debate on the agreement. The TPP contains 26 chapters, but only five of them concern traditional trade issues. The TPP has been negotiated in secret except for over 600 corporate representatives who have been advising the US trade representative on its language. In Washington, DC K Street lobby firms have been getting involved in the process, including pushing for Fast Track. Many of those corporations that have failed to get what they want from Congress are now getting their way through the secret back door of the TPP.
Though the TPP negotiations are being conducted in secrecy, portions of the text have been leaked. Here is what is known about some of the key issues that the TPP will affect:
Prevent Buy America Manufacturing Preferences: The TPP's procurement chapter ends 'Buy America' preferences by requiring that all firms operating in any signatory country are provided equal access to US government procurement contracts over a certain dollar threshold, the same access that domestic firms have. To implement this, the United States would agree to waive "Buy America" procurement policies.
Undermine Environmental Laws and Regulations: Similarly, governments who are seeking to encourage localization and green manufacturing through procurement preferences will be stopped. A recent example involved Ontario, Canada, which has employed a renewable energy program that requires energy generators to source solar cells and wind turbines from local businesses so as to cultivate a robust supply of green goods, services and jobs.  The program has earned acclaim for its early success in generating 4,600 megawatts of renewable energy and 20,000 green jobs. But, the WTO ruled that this violated WTO rules. In another case, a US company Lone Pine Resources is suing the Canadian government under NAFTA for more than $250 million due to lost profits from Quebec's moratorium on fracking, which prevents Lone Pine from fracking under the St. Lawrence River. This is not an isolated incident:
. . . corporations such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill have launched 450 investor-state cases against 89 governments, including the United States. Over $700 million has been paid to corporations under US free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties, about 70 percent of which are from challenges to natural resource and environment policies. Corporations have launched attacks on a range of public interest and environmental regulations, including bans or phase-outs of toxic chemicals, timber regulations, permitting rules for mines, green jobs and renewable energy programs, and more.
Undermine Internet Freedom: The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) argues that the intellectual property chapter (see the February 2011 draft US TPP IP Rights Chapter [PDF]) would have extensive negative ramifications for users' freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples' abilities to innovate. Its provision on copyrights will adversely affect the creator's ability to create content, the ability of technology companies to make innovative products, and the ability of users to use content in new ways. EFF summarizes the attack on Internet freedom by the TPP, writing:
In short, countries would have to abandon any efforts to learn from the mistakes of the US and its experience with the DMCA over the last 12 years, and adopt many of the most controversial aspects of US copyright law in their entirety. At the same time, the US IP chapter does not export the limitations and exceptions in the US copyright regime like fair use, which have enabled freedom of expression and technological innovation to flourish in the US. It includes only a placeholder for exceptions and limitations. This raises serious concerns about other countries' sovereignty and the ability of national governments to set laws and policies to meet their domestic priorities.
Destroy Food and Agriculture: Agriculture trade rules have both undermined US producers' ability to earn a fair price for their crops at home and in the global marketplace. Multinational grain-trading and food-processing firms have made enormous profits, while farmers on both ends have been hurt. The results are that hunger is projected to increase, along with illicit drug cultivation, and undocumented migration. Dairy farmers fear the TPP could decimate the US dairy industry and have urged Congress to refuse to Fast Track it. Failure to establish new agriculture terms would intensify the race to the bottom in commodity prices, pitting farmer against farmer and nation against nation to see who can produce food the cheapest, regardless of labor, environment or food-safety standards. Regarding food safety, current trade agreements contain language requiring the United States to accept imported food that does not meet our domestic safety standards and limiting inspection of imported foods and products. The TPP is expected to continue these practices.
Prevent Health, Safety, Environment, Consumer and Labor Laws:According to leaked documents, the TPP contains provisions with special rights for corporations. The provisions protect investors by providing them with compensation for loss of "expected future profits" from health, labor, environmental and other laws. The negative effect is that nations will not pass laws that threaten corporate profits in order to avoid lawsuits and heavy fines. Court cases in which corporations are suing governments over laws and regulations that cause loss of expected profit will be tried before a trade tribunal of three judges. These judges can include corporate lawyers on temporary leave from their corporate job while they serve as judges. Global Trade Watch reports that under previous trade agreements "Over $3 billion has been paid to foreign investors under US trade and investment pacts, while over $14 billion in claims are pending under such deals, primarily targeting environmental, energy, and public health policies." The right to sue governments will create a hurdle for governments considering actions to protect workers, consumers, health and the environment.
Privatize Health Care and Make it Unaffordable: Leaked documents showthat the US Trade Representative is pressuring TPP member countries to expand pharmaceutical monopoly protections, which essentially trade away access to medicines. In a recent letter, Doctors Without Borders wrote that the TPP will be "the most harmful trade deal ever for access to medicines in developing countries." The TPP does this damage by inflating pharmaceutical prices through lengthy patent protections, as Doctors Without Borders writes:
One proposed TPP provision would require governments to grant new 20-year patents for modifications of existing medicines, such as a new forms, uses or methods, even without improvement of therapeutic efficacy for patients. Another provision would make it more expensive and cumbersome to challenge undeserved or invalid patents; and yet another would add additional years to a patent term to compensate for administrative processes. Taken together, these and other provisions will add up to more years of high-priced medicines at the expense of people needing treatment waiting longer for access to affordable generics.
There is also concern that the TPP will force public health systems to open up their medication programs to pharmaceutical corporations giving them greater access and greater control over the price of medications, effectively destroying the ability of the public health system to negotiate for a low price. The same may occur with public health systems in the US such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and the Veterans Health Administration, making medications more expensive and potentially out of reach for their patient populations.
In addition, countries that provide health care through a national public health program, rather than a market-based system dominated by for-profit insurance, are threatened by provisions that oppose state-owned enterprises. Corporations view state provision of services as unfair competition and therefore a violation of free trade. This will make it more difficult for the United States to adopt a single-payer health system, and it will make it more difficult for countries with such systems to protect them from privatization and health insurance domination.
Prevent Public Banks and Banking Regulation: These same provisions about state-owned enterprises will affect public banking too. North Dakota is the only state in the US to have a public state bank, although over a dozen states and cities are considering them. Public banks are used to hold taxes that are collected, administer payroll for public employees and provide loans for public projects. The advantage is that all public dollars are managed in a public institution rather than having to pay fees and interest to a private bank. But the TPP would consider public banks to have unfair advantages and therefore violate free trade.
And trade agreements protect big finance by (1) preventing regulation of the finance industry by locking in a model of extreme financial service deregulation; and (2) allowing capital to move in and out of countries without restrictions. This prevents countries from controlling the flow of capital, which has many negative consequences. Over 100 economists wrote trade representatives urging them to ensure that the TPP, unlike other trade agreements, will allow governments to control and regulate capital without the threat of investor lawsuits, writing:
Authoritative research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the International Monetary Fund, and other institutions has found that limits on short-term capital flows can stem the development of dangerous asset bubbles and currency appreciations, grant nations more autonomy in monetary policy-making, and protect nations from the dangers of abrupt capital flight.
Thus, the TPP and other corporate trade agreements will undermine the ability of governments to regulate health, safety, labor, environment and finance. The 600 corporate advisers to the TPP see this as an opportunity to do an end-run around laws and policies that they have been unable to put into effect through the normal democratic process. This is why the TPP is being called a global corporate coup that makes corporations more powerful than governments.
Corporate Trade Agreements Hurt the US Economy
The evidence is stark that so-called 'free' trade agreements, really corporate trade agreements, are bad for the US economy.
Newly-released government trade data for 2012 show job-eroding US trade deficits have ballooned in countries with which the US has a corporate trade agreement and have declined in the rest of the world. The numbers are stark. In countries where the US has a trade agreement, the trade deficit has grown by more than 440 percent, while in countries where there is no agreement, the deficit has declined by 7 percent. In fact, the aggregate US trade deficit with trade-agreement partners is more than five times higher than it was before the deals went into effect, while the aggregate deficit with non-trade-agreement countries has actually fallen slightly.
And, this means a tremendous loss of jobs. Using the Obama administration's net exports-to-jobs ratio, the FTA trade deficit surge means the loss of nearly one million American jobs. 
We should have learned this lesson from NAFTA because what we are seeing with corporate trade agreements since NAFTA is more of the same. Under NAFTA, the US deficit with Canada ballooned and the small US surplus with Mexico turned into a $100 billion-plus deficit. As a result of NAFTA, the United States lost 692,000 jobsaccording to the Economic Policy Institute.
But, instead of learning from NAFTA, President Obama pushed a trade agreement with South Korea, promising it would result in economic benefits for the United States. One year has now passed since the Korean trade agreement was put into effect and the US ended up with the same result as it experienced with NAFTA. Eyes on Trade reports:
US goods exports to Korea have dropped 9 percent (a $3.2 billion decrease) since the Korea FTA took effect, in comparison to the same months in the year before FTA implementation. US imports from Korea have climbed 2 percent (an $800 million increase). The US trade deficit with Korea has swelled 30 percent (a $4 billion increase). The January data from the US International Trade Commission show that the US trade deficit with Korea skyrocketed 81 percent above December's level, topping $2.4 billion – the largest monthly US trade deficit with Korea on record. The ballooning trade deficit indicates the loss of tens of thousands of US jobs."
Exports are not as robust as advocates of trade agreements would like to believe. Between 2002 and 2012, US exports to trade-agreement partner countries grew annually at a rate of only 4.8 percent, while exports to non-trade-agreement countries grew at 6.6 percent per year on average. This has only worsened with the passage of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in 2005, which nearly doubled the number of trade-agreement countries. Since then, average US export growth to non-trade-agreement countries has topped average export growth to trade-agreement partners by 46 percent.
Advocates for corporate trade agreements manipulate statistics in order to make a false claim of economic benefit from the agreements. They create obvious falsehoods by not counting many major trade agreements put in place before 2003. This would exclude big agreements like NAFTA, count "re-exports" - goods made elsewhere that are shipped through the United States en route to a final destination, omit imports in their calculations so people do not see the trade imbalance, and not correct for inflation in order to exaggerate exports.
Sadly, rather than being honest about the failure of corporate trade, the Obama administration works overtime to mislead the public. The recently released 2012 annual trade report leaves out critical details from the very beginning. Eyes on Trade analyzes the Obama report:
Take the first sentence: 'Trade is helping to drive the success of President Obama's strategy to grow the US economy and support jobs for more Americans.' Almost makes you forget that last year's non-oil trade deficit rose to a five-year high, implying the loss of millions of jobs, doesn't it?  How about the second sentence: 'The Obama Administration's trade policy helps US exporters gain access to billions of customers beyond our borders to support economic growth in the United States and in markets worldwide.'  That's an interesting way to frame a year whose sluggish two percent export growth rate put us 18 years behind schedule in achieving Obama's export-doubling goal."
Time for a Democratic Revolt Against the TPP
A unique feature of the TPP is that it contains a "docking agreement." This means that other countries can sign onto the agreement after it has been negotiated as long as they are willing to accept the previously negotiated terms. The US started the negotiations with allies such as Australia and New Zealand and a number of small countries such as Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Chile and Peru. Larger countries are able to force smaller, more desperate countries to accept terms that are detrimental to them. As more countries sign on, the TPP could become an agreement that defines global trade.
The TPP has gone through 16 rounds of negotiations in almost total secrecy. Some portions of the text have been leaked, but most remain secret. Throughout the process more than 600 corporate advisers have been working with the US Trade Representative in shaping the proposals and specific language of the text. Civil society has only been marginally involved, not provided drafts and ushered intostakeholder meetings where they can ask questions but only receive vague answers.
Despite this effort at secrecy, civil society groups have been getting organized to oppose the TPP, stop Fast Track and prevent the global corporate coup. More than 400 organizations, including our own organization, It's Our Economy, representing a diverse range of issues including labor, environment, public health, famers, Internet freedom, banking regulation, human rights, faith, Native American and much more, have signed on to a letter to Congress emphasizing how the TPP negotiations have been "inconsistent with democratic principles," opposing Fast Track and outlining expectations of how key issues should be addressed in 21st century trade agreements.
Citizens Trade Campaign summarizes writing: "The letter includes eight broad categories that the TPP, a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement and any other US trade pact must address in order to improve quality of life for Americans and people throughout the world: (1) prioritization of human and labor rights; (2) respect for local development goals and the procurement policies that deliver on them; (3) no elevation of corporations to equal terms with governments; (4) protection of food sovereignty; (5) maintaining access to affordable medication; (6) safeguards against currency manipulation; (7) space for robust financial regulations and public services; and (8) improved consumer and environmental standards."
On February 27, the AFL-CIO released an executive council statement questioning the TPP saying "The United States cannot afford another trade agreement that hollows out our industrial base and adds to our substantial trade deficit." The executive council of the AFL-CIO went on to say, "We do not need another trade deal that simply boosts corporate profits by encouraging offshoring good jobs while undermining wages, benefits and worker rights. We must do better." Americans have clearly learned the lessons of previous trade agreements - they only work for the transnational corporations and oligarchs around the world, they undermine workers, and spur lower wages and environmental destruction.
Arthur Stamoulis of Citizens Trade Campaign summarizes the antidemocratic actions of the Obama administration with regard to the TPP saying, "This is a rollback in transparency, and an extremely undemocratic way to craft policy that is likely to influence jobs, health care costs, financial regulations, consumer safety, the environment and more for decades to come. The only way to prevent the public from being saddled with a bad agreement is for Congress to exert its authority."
The TPP is the battleground for defining democracy in the 21st century and setting up the rules for international commerce in the era of transnational corporate power. No matter what issues you are concerned about, if the TPP becomes law, it will undermine national sovereignty and hopes for progressive policies that put the people's needs before corporate profits. The time is now to get active, work to oppose the antidemocratic Fast Track approach in Congress and say "no" to the democracy-undermining Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is a trade agreement that will be opposed by most Americans and a battle on which the people can prevail, but only if they know it exists.
For more information and to get involved, visit:
You can listen to our interview with Arthur Stamoulis of Citizens Trade Campaignand Ben Beachy of Eyes on Trade on the TransPacific Partnership versus Democracy on Clearing the FOG.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.


Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD co-host on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC and on Economic Democracy Media, co-direct It's Our Economy and are organizers of the Occupation of Washington, DC. Their twitters are @KBZeese and @MFlowers8.

Divine Conversations: Planet Radiation

Planet Radiation

Guest: Eileen O' Connor

This conversation will be challenging and a no holds barred frank conversation about the radiation we are living with on our planet. What are the options open to you and what can you do about this invisible nightmare that is causing untold damage?

Eileen is the Director for the Radiation Research Trust (RRT), Founder board member for the International EMF Alliance, Stakeholder for the EU Commission Dialogue Group and Member of the UK Health Protection Agency, EMF Discussion Group

 Listen to the Replay Here: Powered By



Mobilize is an investigative documentary that explores the potential long-term health effects from cell phone radiation including brain cancer and infertility. This thought-provoking film examines the most recent scientific research and the harsh challenges politicians face trying to pass precautionary legislation. Featuring interviews with expert researchers, major mobile associates, and prominent politicians; Mobilize illuminates how finance can corrupt public health.



By Cort Johnson on August 9, 2013 17 Comments 0 inShare 1 Print PDF 

“This indicates a large unmet need to diagnose and treat migraine in GWI and CFS” Could chronic fatigue syndrome be a form of migraine? That might not be so wacky an idea as it sounds. About ten years ago Puri and Chaudhuri suggested chronic fatigue syndrome was similar to migraine. In the last two years not only have Baraniuk’s studies indicated high rates of migraine are present in ME/CFS but  other studies have found that many people with migraine meet the criteria for ME/CFS. Are similar central nervous system problems contributing to both migraine and chronic fatigue syndrome? Finding similar incidences of migraine in Gulf War Syndrome and ME/CFS in their latest study, Baraniuk and Rayhan smushed the two together and then added fibromyalgia to the mix as they proposed GWI, ME/CFS, FM and migraine are kind of like kissing cousins. “Similar patterns of gray and white matter abnormalities and altered brain energetics in GWI, CFS, FM, and migraine suggest that common central mechanisms may contribute to the type of headaches and cognitive impairments perceived as ‘brain fog’. “ Let’s check out more of the migraine/ME/CFS connection. The ME/CFS Migraine Connection Besides symptoms and high rates of comorbidity, the relapsing remitting nature of both disorders, the problems with barometric pressure changes, some similar triggers (including exercise for some), similar central nervous system abnormalities, etc. make a possible connection between migraine and ME/CFS/FM an intriguing one. Consider that about three times as many women as men get migraines. Consider that both migraines and ME/CFS symptoms are often substantially reduced during pregnancy. Consider that central nervous system hyperactivity plays a role in both conditions, that both feature blood vessel problems and inflammation is a key factor in both. Consider that stress often plays a key role in triggering both migraines and symptoms in ME/CFS. Consider that during migraines and relapses in ME/CFS exertion and exposure to stimulit often must be curtailed dramatically. Whether in the midst of a ME/CFS crash or migraine attack hypersensitivity to lights, sounds and odors is common. Let’s see what their studies found. The Studies Migraine in gulf war illness and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: prevalence, potential mechanisms, and evaluation Front Physiol. 2013 Jul 24;4:181. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00181. Rayhan RU, Ravindran MK, Baraniuk JN. GET OUR FREE ME/CFS AND FIBROMYALGIA INFO Like the blog? Make sure you don't miss another by registering for our ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia blog and newsletter here. Migraine headaches in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): comparison of two prospective cross-sectional studies. Ravindran MK, Zheng Y, Timbol C, Merck SJ, Baraniuk JN. BMC Neurol. 2011 Mar 5;11:30. doi: 10.1186/1471-2377-11-30. Baraniuk and Rayhan did ‘structured headache evaluations’ and tested for the evidence of widespread ‘hyperalgesia’ (increased sensitivity to pain) in 50 Gulf War Illness (GWI), 39 ME/CFS, and 45 controls in the 2013 study. The presence of hyperalgesia was tested by applying pressure to different areas of the body. A person was classified as having migraine if they had had five or more episodes lasting 4-72 hours that included at least two of the following: Unilateral headache (headache on one side of the head) Pulsatile quality Moderate-severe pain severity Aggravation of the headache by doing usual activities A representation of a scotoma or zigzaggy line sometimes occurring in auras in migraines. In addition, sensitivity to light or sound or nausea (with or without vomiting) was required. (Many forms of migraine exist; abdominal migraines involve nausea but do not cause head pain; cluster headaches typically cause eye pain, eye watering and a stuffy nose. Aura’s can involve vision problems (zigzag lines, flashing lights, blind spots, eye pain, blurred vision), pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg, speech problems and weakness. Aura’s typically precede headaches in about 20% of migraines and are not always followed by a headache. Other migraine symptoms can include increased sweating and urination, face swelling and fatigue.) The Results High rates of migraine occurred in both ME/CFS and GWI groups. Migraines were present in 64% of GWI and an astonishing 82% of ME/CFS patients vs. 13% of the healthy controls. Fully two-thirds of the ME/CFS and the GWI patients experienced auras (flickering lights, rotating discs, photosensitivity, loss of vision) with their migraines. That people experiencing auras also tended to experience more pain suggested that when things go wrong they really go wrong. Almost 70% of ME/CFS migraine sufferers also had tension headaches. Most people with ME/CFS had migraines and many migraine sufferers meet the criteria for ME/CFS Low rates of tension headaches without migraine in ME/CFS (8%) patients and GWI patients (20%) suggested the two types of headaches usually occurred together. ME/CFS patients with just tension headaches had lower pain scores overall. Except for lower rates of migraine with aura, the 2011 ME/CFS study found similar results. As if migraine wasn’t enough, systemic hyperalgesia (increased and widespread pain sensitivity) was present in 62% of GWI and 70% of ME/CFS patients. With that kind of result it wasn’t too surprising to find that over half of ME/CFS (56%) and 38% of the GWI participants meet the criteria for fibromyalgia. That both ME/CFS and GWI patients with migraines had significantly lower systemic and sinus pain thresholds suggested to these Georgetown researchers that they were suffering from a ‘central sensitization’ disorder that increased their pain levels system-wide. Systems Biology Approach Requested Rayhan and Baraniuk called for a ‘fresh, systems biology’ approach in ME/CFS, GWI, FM and migraine that integrated all the systems involved in filtering and assessing sensory data from the body. This would include systems such as the insular cortex where misinterpreted sensory data would perceived as a ‘serious illness’, and inflammation or other triggered glutamate releases that resulted in increased pain signals (hypersensitivity). They proposed that dysregulated sensory inputs to the brainstem could cause many problems including high levels of pain, fear (PTSD), and reduced executive functioning (decision-making and planning, aka brain fog). They suggested, interestingly, that ion channelopathies–which we haven’t heard about for awhile–that trigger widespread neurotransmitter release (e.g., glutamate?), may be present.  Basant and Puri proposed that a neurological channelopathy was present in ME/CFS about 210 years ago. See A Neurological Channelopathy in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? – Cort Johnson Migraine Model Proposed for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome “It is tempting to speculate that the parallel findings of GWI, CFS and migraine indicate a shared underlying pathophysiological mechanism” Rayhan and Baraniuk, 2013 Noting that 67% of migraine sufferers meet the criteria for ME/CFS, they suggested that the cortical spreading depression (CSD) known to occur in migraine may provide a model for the central sensitization at work in ME/CFS and GWI. Several processes can cause CSD but the most relevant for ME/CFS involve a) a wave of ischemia (caused by low blood levels) or (b) a wave of blood vessel vasodilation (opened blood vessels) following by a wave vasoconstriction (narrowed of the blood vessels) across areas of the brain. A similar process was proposed by ME/CFS researchers about 10 years ago. GET OUR FREE ME/CFS AND FIBROMYALGIA INFO Like the blog? Make sure you don't miss another by registering for our ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia blog and newsletter here. Brain blood flow problems appear to play a role in both migraine and chronic fatigue syndrome CSD depression typically leaves in its wake hypoxia (low blood oxygen levels) and an emphasis, not surprisingly, on anaerobic metabolism with a corresponding increase in lactate levels (which we do see in ME/CFS). CSD is usually a time-limited event, but Baraniuk and Rayhan propose that it’s become chronic in ME/CFS and contributes to the anxiety, fear, fatigue, pain, allodynia and cognitive problems in ME/CFS and similar disorders. Some alternate hypotheses (Unitary hypothesis, periaqueductal gray matter hypothesis (PAG), neurolimbic hypothesis), all very complex, are proposed. Maizel’s neurolimbic migraine model actually includes fibromyalgia. Maizel proposes dysfunctional brain networks originating in the brainstem and reaching out to the limbic system (amygdala, insula, anterior cingulate cortex, prefrontal cortex, hypothalamus) produce migraine and fibromyalgia. Brain imaging studies indicated interesting patterns of increased and decreased activity occur in these networks in migraine (and ME/CFS/FM). Clearly taken by Maizel’s brain network focus, the study authors proposed that future research should focus on network connections, brain blood flows, and integrity of the white matter in the brain. (Baraniuk’s most recent GWI paper focused on the over-activation of the fatigue and pain-producing network in the brain.) Treatment CFS patients “were often unaware of migraine with aura headaches and the potential to use beneficial migraine treatments.” Ravindran and Baraniuk 2011 In the 2011 study only forty percent of migraine sufferers had been diagnosed, and only a third were being treated with drugs. That thirteen out of the fourteen ME/CFS patients with migraines reportedly were responded well to sumatriptan (Imitrex) suggested many people with ME/CFS may be missing out on a valuable treatment option. Anti-migraine treatments may be beneficial for CFS-related symptoms even in subjects who do not have migraines. Ravindran and Baraniuk 2011 Ravindran and Baraniuk weren’t just talking about migraines, though, when they discussed treatments. Given the similar central nervous system processes they believe are behind ME/CFS, migraine, GWI and FM, they proposed anti-migraine drugs could be helpful in ME/CFS patients without migraines. Triptans and Sumatriptan Triptans include sumatriptan (Imitrex, Imigran, Cinie, Illument, Migriptan), rizatriptan (Maxalt), naratriptan (Amerge, Naramig), zolmitriptan (Zomig), eletriptan (Relpax), almotriptan (Axert, Almogran), frovatriptan (Frova, Migard, Frovamig), and avitriptan (BMS-180,048). Sumatriptan is a well-known anti-migraine drug that reduces inflammation in arteries and veins in the brain by enhancing 5-HT (serotonin) production. Increased 5-HT production causes over-dilated veins to constrict. Sumatriptan also deceases the activity of nerves called the trigeminal nerves that are associated with cluster headaches. Interestingly, some research suggests triptans may be affecting the periphery (the body) more than the brain. Triptans’ difficulty in passing the blood-brain barrier has led researchers elsewhere to figure how they’re doing what they’re doing. Studies suggest triptans reduce pain-producing peptides such as substance P in the periphery. Migraine – Another Difficult Disorder to Treat Acknowledging the frustration physicians face with “difficult to treat and understand” ME/CFS/GWI and migraine patients, Baraniuk and Rayhan quote Maizel’s description of the presentation of a typical patient: “..a middle-aged woman with chronic migraine and medication overuse, as well as fibromyalgia. In addition, there is anxiety and depression, fatigue and insomnia, and the familiar exhaustive list of psychotropics and antiepileptic drugs tried and failed” Baraniuk and Rayhan propose that Maizel’s neurolimbic model which incorporates dysfunctional serotonergic pathways and central sensitization (i.e., overheated neural networks) is a good place to approach treating these disorders, and they refer a table produced by Maizel. Besides the triptans both Baraniuk and Maizels approach to ME/CFS/FM and migraine emphasized stress reduction Maizel’s approach is similar to others taken in the field that attempt to tone down central nervous system activity. Other than the use of triptan drugs, his approach relies mostly on behavioral practices to reduce the activation of the neural networks producing the central sensitization, arousal, etc. Maizel proposes that physicians examine issues such as personality styles, stressful lifestyles, and psychiatric comorbidity that can have a profound negative effect on ones quality of life. Noting that depression and anxiety increase the risk of migraine, Maizel educates patients about the role the limbic system plays in regulating mood, emotion, perceptions and stress. He includes the following recommendations for physicians: Treat any mood disorders that are present. Use CBT, carefully prescribed activity, acupuncture, tai chi and other means to retrain the brain and reduces the stress that triggers migraines/relapses and pain. Explore triptan drugs, topiramate. and other migraine therapies in ME/CFS, GWI and FM. Check out Migraines and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia  for more on the commonalities between these diseases and treatment options for migraine. Do You Have Migraines and Not Know it? Check out slideshow on migraines Check out Migraine and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Take the ID Migraine Questionnaire Below   Results will be announced in a couple of days.

Read more: Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) A Form of Migraine?


Environ Health Perspect. 1998 March; 106(3): 101–103.
PMCID: PMC1533043
Research Article

Headaches from cellular telephones: are they real and what are the implications?

A H Frey
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This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
There have been numerous recent reports of headaches occurring in association with the use of hand-held cellular telephones. Are these reported headaches real? Are they due to emissions from telephones? There is reason to believe that the answer is “yes” to both questions. There are several lines of evidence to support this conclusion. First, headaches as a consequence of exposure to low intensity microwaves were reported in the literature 30 years ago. These were observed during the course of microwave hearing research before there were cellular telephones. Second, the blood-brain barrier appears to be involved in headaches, and low intensity microwave energy exposure affects the barrier. Third, the dopamine-opiate systems of the brain appear to be involved in headaches, and low intensity electromagnetic energy exposure affects those systems. In all three lines of research, the microwave energy used was approximately the same–in frequencies, modulations, and incident energies–as those emitted by present day cellular telephones. Could the current reports of headaches be the canary in the coal mine, warning of biologically significant effects?
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