Dr. Erik Peper is interviewed by Dr. Larry Berkelhammer about the research he did in the late 60s and early 70s on EEG alpha training. He describes how he learned to turn off alpha brain rhythms in one hemisphere and turn them on in the other.
Neurofeedback equipment allows researchers and clinicians to get extremely useful feedback, allowing people who are hooked up to get very good at identifying their own brain rhythms and to alter them at will. This can potentially allow us to re-train our brains. Dr. Peper talks about how the real gift of science is about being open to explore rather than to assume our beliefs are factual. Science is about curiosity, experimentation, and exploration. In studying people with cancer and other diseases it is vital that we study more than just pathology–we need to study those individuals who are the outliers, that is, those who recovered against all odds–let’s see what they did to mobilize their health.
Cellphones and laptops are part of our world; however, they are also a health risks as described in the previous blogs: Wireless devices may cause harm and Screens will hurt your children. For a superb summary of current research data see Louise Kuo Habakus’s post, An open letter to Apple Inc. It points out the dangers of tablets and smart phones’ radiation.
A poetic summary of risks and what can be done, read Lawrence Klein’s poem, Cell Phone Harm,
Phone Harmful: Poem
Keep mobile phones, tablets or laptops away from your body,
Wireless Devices may cause harm, this research is not shoddy,
Cervical spine stress caused by your communication possession,
Your head forward position increases cervical compression
On top of that there is an increase risk of brain cancer
It is enough to make you pause, before you answer,
Keep your cell phone away from your body and place
it in your purse or outer coat pocket, not near your face!
And use your speaker phone or ear phones instead
of placing the phone directly against your head.
It is impossible to belief that that only a few years ago,
there were no cell phones. So now when you go
home, put the phone away so you can be with your family.
Cell phone use is ubiquitous, sometime you need to get free!
Copyright Lawrence Klein 2015
A couple of customers reported that they could eat our baguette even though they were gluten intolerant. –Clerk at a bakery that sells organic baguettes
When I was a little boy, allergies almost never occurred. I remember only one boy in our class of 38 who had asthma and allergies. –71 year old male
Fruit flies fed on organic raisins, bananas, soy, and potatoes, lived significantly longer, had much higher fertility and survived longer after starvation than those fed non-organic foods. –From Chhabraet al, 2013). For more detail see: Live longer-Enhance fertility and increase stress resistance-Eat organic foods.
After a year of practicing stress management and changing to a totally organic food diet, to my own surprise my nut allergy totally disappeared. --25 young woman (Peper, 2015).
Many people report being allergic to gluten, nuts, cat hair, etc, or have hay fever or some form of autoimmune disorder. In our 2014 survey 36% of 264 students at an urban university (average age 24.5 years) reported having allergies (Peper and Del Dosso, 2015 unpublished). Over the last forty years more and more people are reporting allergies. Allergies are often dismissed because they are not a serious—just uncomfortable and may limit what you eat or where you visit (e.g., I can’t eat a morning bun or I can’t visit my aunt because she has a cat). In rare cases it may trigger life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) which usually can be resolved by injecting a single dose of epinephrine using an EpiPen®
Allergies and autoimmune illnesses have become so common that we forget that they may be markers of immune incompetence and may affect the ability of the body to optimize health. The increase in allergies is an early indicator that something harmful is affecting the body. People who have allergies, autoimmune illnesses, diabetes or other disorders are possibly the “canaries in the coal mine” for the rest of the population. In earlier times before carbon monoxide and other poisonous gasses could be measured with instruments, miner used a canary as a poisonous gas meter. If the canary died, the miners would exit the mine before they would die of the poisonous gasses.
There are many factors that contribute to the radical increase in asthma, rhinitis, allergies, Type 2 diabetes and autoimmune disorders. These include excessive hygiene, lack of breast feeding and introducing foreign foods too early in the first year of a baby’s life, ingestion of acetaminophen (Tylenol) by the pregnant mother and during the first year of baby’s life, low Omega 3 levels during pregnancy, increased exposure to plastics and other endocrine disruptors, stress, etc. Many of these factors are outside of our control; however, diet and the ingestion of residual herbicides and pesticides in food appear to be a major risk factors.
In the last thirty years there has been a radical change in our diet. The food may look and even taste the same, yet it is totally different. Almost all grains, corn, soy, processed foods, and meats contain low levels of Monsanta’s herbicide Roundup® and other herbicides and pesticides. Almost all grain, corn, soy and cotton are now genetically modified crops and herbicide tolerant to Roundup®.
Roundup® was first introduced in 1974 by Monsanto and is the most widely used herbicide for farm and urban use. The active ingredient is glyphosate with numerous other inert ingredients which may also be harmful to humans. According to the US Department of Agriculture, as of 2012, 99% of durum wheat, 97% of spring wheat has been treated with herbicides. It is also used on rice, seeds, alfalfa, dried beans and peas, sugar cane and sweet potatoes (Swanson et al, 2014). As Roundup® and equivalent herbicides are used more and more, numerous illnesses including food allergies have increased. For the correlation between celiac disease (gluten intolerance) and glyphosate use see Figure 1.
Figure 1. The correlation between increase in celiac disease (gluten intolerance) and increase of the use of the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup®) on the genetically modified grain (From: Samsel, A., & Seneff, S. 2013)
Presently, more than 95% of all grain, corn and soy as well as cotton is genetically modified to be herbicide tolerant as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Adoption of GE crops in US (From: Swanson et al, 2014).
In the USA glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide and about 250 million pounds are applied to U.S farms and even lawns every year. In addition, the common wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup® several days prior to harvesting. This allow crops to dry down for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest (Swanson et al, 2014; Sarah, 2014). Glyphosate and the many other herbicides and pesticides are in our food, animal fodder and thus in the meat, clothing, water supply and even air. Almost all human and animal food now contains low levels of glyphosate and its inert but poisonous additional ingredients which may impact our health.
The increased application of glyphosate with the increase of chronic diseases over the last 35 years correlates highly (great than 0.9) and is highly significant for obesity (R=0.96), diabetes (R=0.98), end stage renal disease death (R=0.97), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (R=0.94), death due to intestinal infection (R=0.97), autism in children (6-21 years) (R=0.99), deaths from senile dementia (R=0.99), and death from Alzheimer’s (R=0.93). Figure 3 and 4 shows the relationship between diabetes, autism and glyphosate.
Figure 3. Correlation between age-adjusted diabetes prevalence and glyphosate applications and percentage of US corn and soy crops that are genetically engineered (From: Swanson et al, 2014).
Figure 4. Correlation between children with autism and glyphosate applications (From: Swanson et al, 2014).
Correlations are not proof and similar correlations could be plotted between increased production of plastics, high fructose corn syrup, cell phone use, antidepressant and ADHD medications. Correlations may suggest possible relationship which should be investigated. It is very difficult to investigate the correlation because most people unknowingly have ingested glyphosate. When using naturalistic observations such as comparing people who eat organic versus non-organic foods, there are many other variables that could account for the differences.
Roundup® residues in food is harmful is from a biological perspective. The purpose of using glyphosate and its inert ingredients is to act as a herbicide and biocide to suppress weed growth and act as a drying agent to improve harvest. As human beings are biological organisms, glyphosate affects our cellular metabolism and especially our bacteria that live in our gut and are necessary for our health. As Samsel & Seneff, (2013) point out, ‘it kills the beneficial bacteria in our gut, leading to the steep rise in intestinal diseases.’ Specifically, Shehata et all (2012) found that “highly pathogenic bacteria as Salmonella Entritidis, Salmonella Gallinarum, Salmonella Typhimurium, Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium botulinum are highly resistant to glyphosate. However, most of beneficial bacteria such as Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Bacillus badius, Bifidobacterium adolescentis and Lacto-bacillus spp. were found to be moderate to highly susceptible” (Swanson et al, 2014).
Given the very strong correlations of increased disease with increased use of Roundup®, the demonstrated evidence that glyphosate disrupts gut bacteria balance, cellular metabolic processes, kills human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells, and acts as endocrine disrupters, I strongly recommend avoiding glyphosate and other types of herbicide and pesticide contaminated foods. Use the precautionary principle and eat only organic foods.
If the radical increase of allergy and immune incompetence is linked to low level chronic exposure to glyphosate, than avoiding glyphosate and other pesticide and herbicide laced foods may reverse the allergy and immune incompetence. When people adapt an holistic lifestyle which includes stress management and eating organic foods, some report that their immune system became more competent and their allergies disappeared. For example, a 25 year old young woman who successfully reversed cervical dysplasia and eliminated high strains of HPV (her last Paps were normal and the HPV was gone) also found that her nut allergy disappeared (Peper, 2015). As she stated, “I was able to rid myself of a nut allergy that I developed when I was 19. I frequently had trouble breathing therefore I went to an allergist and they told me I had a nut allergy to peanuts (4 out of 4) and tree nuts (2 out of 4). This past July, knowing how truly healthy I had become and after noticing a little to no reaction when I accidentally consumed a nut, I decided to go back to the allergist. I got the test done, and no signs of a nut allergy came up. I believe it was due to this lifestyle change.”
In summary eat only organic foods when possible and follow the wisdom of numerous countries that have banned the use of Roundup®. This year, the Netherlands followed Russia, Tasmania, and Mexico to ban Roundup®. To understand more of the hidden dangers in our food supply from genetic engineering, herbicides and pesticides watch the following impressive videos by Robyn O’Brien presented at TEDxAustin 2011 and MIT researcher Dr. Stephanie Seneff describing in detail the politics and the harmful physiological impact of glyphosate.
Chhabra R, Kolli S & Bauer JH (2013). Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS ONE 8(1): e52988. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052988
Peper, E. (2015). Thinking out of the box with biofeedback for the treatment of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, vulvodynia, and CIN III carcinoma in situ cervical dysplasia. Paper accepted for the 46th Annual Meeting of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, Austin, Texas, March 11 – 14, 2015.
Peper, E. & Del Dosso, A. (2015 unpublished). Skipping breakfast a risk for blanking out on exams.
Samsel, A., & Seneff, S. (2013). Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdisciplinary toxicology, 6(4), 159-184.
Sarah (2014). The real reason wheat is toxic (it’s not the gluten). The Healthy Home Economist, November 13, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2015 http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/real-reason-for-toxic-wheat-its-not-gluten/
Saw, L., Shumway, J., & Ruckart, P. (2011). Surveillance Data on Pesticide and Agricultural Chemical Releases and Associated Public Health Consequences in Selected US States, 2003–2007. Journal of medical toxicology, 7(2), 164-171. http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/604/art%253A10.1007%252Fs13181-011-0152-8.pdf?auth66=1421018047_4db65b4e5f0e0349a608560a6c1392e7&ext=.pdf
Shehata, A. A., Schrödl, W., Aldin, A. A., Hafez, H. M., & Krüger, M. (2013). The effect of glyphosate on potential pathogens and beneficial members of poultry microbiota in vitro. Current microbiology, 66(4), 350-358.
Swanson, N. L., Leu, A., Abrahamson, J., & Wallet, B. (2014). Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration of health in the United States of America. Journal of Organic Systems, 9(2), 6-37. http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/JOS_Volume-9_Number-2_Nov_2014-Swanson-et-al.pdf
I never believed that this would be possible. I restarted my life.
Receiving an end stage cancer diagnosis for cancer is overwhelming. A common factor often overlooked is that our bodies create cancer cells all the time. If the immune system is less competent, then cancer may grow and spread; however, if our immune system is competent then the cancer cells will not develop into cancer and are eliminated. Thus treatment may be enhanced if it also includes supporting the immune system. When patients are treated with such an approach (e.g., the Gorter Protocol), a number of patients with stage 4 cancer have experienced remission. Watch the remarkable documentary in Dutch with English subtitles of Jeannette Hoogervorst who was diagnosed with breast cancer with metastasis to the liver and is now returning to work and life.
The Gorter protocol is described in our book, Fighting Cancer: A non-toxic approach to treatment.
After a catastrophic event occurs a person often becomes depressed as the future looks bleak. One may keep asking, ”Why, why me?” When people accept–acceptance without resignation— and concentrate on the small steps of the journey towards their goal, remarkable changes may occur. The challenge is to focus on new possibilities without comparing to how it was in the past. The limits of possibility are created by the limits of our beliefs. We may learn from athletes who aim to improve performance whereas clients usually come to reduce symptoms. As Wilson and Peper (2011) point out, “Athletes want to go beyond normal—they want to be superb, to be atypical, to be the outlier. It is irrelevant what the athlete believes or feels. What is relevant is whether the performance is improved, which is a measurable and documented event”. They have described some of the factors that distinguish work with athletes from work with clients which includes intensive transfer of learning training, often between 2 and 6 hours of daily practice across days, weeks, and months. This process is described by the Australian cross-country skier, Janine Shepherd, who had hoped for an Olympic medal — until she was hit by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Her message: You are not your body, and giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar. Watch Janine Shepherd’s 2012 Ted talk, A broken body isn’t a broken person.
Wilson, V.E. & Peper, E. (2011). Athletes Are Different: Factors That Differentiate Biofeedback/Neurofeedback for Sport Versus Clinical Practice. Biofeedback, 39(1), 27–30.
Shepherd, J. (2012). A broken body isn’t a broken person. Ted talk. http://www.ted.com/talks/janine_shepherd_a_broken_body_isn_t_a_broken_person
It is impossible to belief that that only a few years ago there were no cell phones.
When I go home, I purposely put the phone away so that I can be present with my children.
I just wonder if the cell phone’s electromagnetic radiation could do harm?
Cell phone use is ubiquitous since information is only a key press or voice command away. Students spend about many hours a day looking and texting on a cell phone and experience exhaustion and neck and shoulder discomfort (Peper et al, 2013). Constant use may also have unexpected consequences: Increased stress on the cervical spine and increased risk for brain cancer.
Increased cervical spine stress
As we look at the screen, text messages or touch the screen for more information, we almost always bend our head down to look down. This head forward position increases cervical compression and stress. The more the head bends down to look, the more the stress in the neck increases as the muscles have to work much harder that hold the head up. In a superb analysis Dr. Kennth Hansraj, Chief of Spine Surgery 0f New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, showed that stress on the cervical spine increases from 10-12 lbs when the head is in its upright position to 60 lbs when looking down.
Figure 1. Stress on the cervical spine as related to posture. (From: Hansraj, K. K. (2014). Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surgical technology international, 25, 277-279.)
Looking down for a short time period is no problem; however, many of us look down for extended periods. This slouched collapsed position is becoming the more dominant position. A body posture which tends to decrease energy, and increase hopeless, helpless, powerless thoughts (Wilson & Peper, 2004; Peper & Lin, 2012). The long term effects of this habitual collapsed position are not know–one can expect more neck and back problems and increase in lower energy levels.
increased risk for brain cancer and inactive sperm and lower sperm count
Cell phone use not only affect posture, the cell phone radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation by which the cell phone communicates to the tower may negatively affect biological tissue. It would not be surprising that electromagnetic radiation could be harmful; since, it is identical to the frequencies used in your microwave ovens to cook food. The recent research by Drs Michael Carlberg and Lennart Hardell of the Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden, found that long term cell phone use is associated by an increased risk of developing malignant glioma (brain cancers) with the largest risk observed in people who used the cell phone before the age of 20. In addition, men who habitually carry the cell phone in a holster or in their pocket were more likely to have inactive or less mobile sperm as well as a lower sperm count.
What can you do:
Keep an upright posture and when using a cell phone or tablet. Every few minutes stretch, look up and reach upward with your hands to the sky.
Enjoy the cartoon video clip, Smartphone Ergonomics – Safe Tips – Mobile or Smart Phone Use while Driving, Traveling on the Move.
Agarwal, A., Singh, A., Hamada, A., & Kesari, K. (2011). Cell phones and male infertility: a review of recent innovations in technology and consequences. International braz j urol, 37(4), 432-454. http://www.isdbweb.org/documents/file/1685_8.pdf
Carlberg, M., & Hardell, L. (2014). Decreased Survival of Glioma Patients with Astrocytoma Grade IV (Glioblastoma Multiforme) Associated with Long-Term Use of Mobile and Cordless Phones. International journal of environmental research and public health, 11(10), 10790-10805. http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/10/10790/htm
De Iuliis, G. N., Newey, R. J., King, B. V., & Aitken, R. J. (2009). Mobile phone radiation induces reactive oxygen species production and DNA damage in human spermatozoa in vitro. PloS one, 4(7), e6446.
Hansraj, K. K. (2014). Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surgical technology international, 25, 277-279.
Peper, E. & Lin, I-M. (2012). Increase or decrease depression-How body postures influence your energy level. Biofeedback, 40 (3), 126-130.
Peper, E., Waderich, K., Harvey, R., & Sutter, S. (2013). The Psychophysiology of Contemporary Information Technologies Tablets and Smartphones Can Be a Pain in the Neck. In Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 38(3), 219.
Wilson, V.E. and Peper, E. (2004). The Effects of upright and slumped postures on the generation of positive and negative thoughts. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.29 (3), 189-195.
“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world; unreasonable people persist in trying to adapt the world to themselves. Therefore all progress depends on unreasonable people.”
–Paraphrased from Bernard Shaw
Having the right equipment and work environment will reduce injury and improve performance. This is true for athletes as well as for people using computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. We look down and curve our upper spine to read the tablet, crane our heads forward to read the screen, lift our shoulders, arms and hands up to the laptop keyboard to enter data, and we bend our heads down and squint to read the smartphone—all occurring without awareness (Straker et al, 2008; Asunda, Odell, Luce, & Dennerlein, 2010; Peper et al, 2014). We are captured by the devices and stay immobilized until we hurt. At the end of the work day, we are often exhausted and experience neck and shoulder stiffness, arm pain and eye fatigue. This stress immobility syndrome is the twenty first century reward for digital immigrants and natives.
We hurt because we fit ourselves to the environment instead of changing the environment to fit us. The predominant slouched position even affects our mood and strength (Peper and Lin, 2012). Experience how your strength decreases when you slouch and look downward as compared when you sit tall with your spine lengthened at your laptop, tablet or phone. You will need a partner to do this practice as shown in Figure 1.
Sit in your slouched position while looking down and extend your arm to the side. Have your partner stand behind you and gently press downward on your upper arm near your wrist while you attempt to resist the pressure. Now relax and let your arms hang along the side of your body. Now sit upright in a tall position with your spine lengthening while looking straight ahead. Again extend your arm and gently have your gently press downward on your upper arm near your wrist while you attempt to resist the pressure.
You probably experienced significantly more strength resisting the downward pressure when sitting erect and tall than when sitting collapsed as we discovered in our study at San Francisco State University in with students as shown in figure 2.
Figure 2. Change in perceived strength resisting a downward pressure on the extended arm while sitting. Reproduced by permission from Schwanbeck, R., Peper, E., Booiman, A., Harvey, R., and Lin, I-M. (in press).
Increase your power and take charge! Arrange your laptop, computer and tablet so it fits you. This usually means changing your home and office chairs and desks; since, they have been manufactured for the average person. Just like the average coach airplane seat – it is uncomfortable for most people. As my colleague Annette Booiman who is a Mensendiek practitioner has pointed out, “An incorrectly adjusted chair or table height will force you to work in a dysfunctional body position while an appropriately adjusted chair or table height offers you the opportunity to work in a healthy position.”
Become the unreasonable person and fit the world so that you are comfortable while using digital devices. There are solutions! Take responsibility and adjust your posture to a healthy one–it will make your life so much more energetic. Sit on your sit bones (ischial tuberosities) as if they are the feet of your pelvis and feel your spine lengthening as you sit tall. Alternatively, stand while working and adjust the desk height for your size. Regardless of whether you sit or stand while working, take many breaks to interrupt your immobilized posture. Install a software program on computer to remind you to take breaks and watch the YouTube clips on cartoon ergonomics for working at the computer.
Implement the following common sense ergonomic guidelines:
For working at a computer sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, the elbows bend at 90 degrees with the hands, wrists, and forearms are straight, in-line and roughly parallel to the floor so that the hands can be on the keyboard while the top of monitor is at eye brow level as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Optimum position to sit at a computer work station. From: http://bmarthur.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/good-posture-how-to-sit-at-a-desk.png
For working with a laptop you will always compromise body position. If the screen is at eye level, you have to bring your arms and hands up to the keyboard, or, more commonly, you will look down at the screen while at the same time raising your hands to reach the keyboard. The solution is to use an external keyboard so that the keyboard can be at your waist position and the laptop screen eye level as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4. Optimum position to sit while using a laptop. From: http://www.winwin-tech.com/uploadfile/cke/images/6.jpg
For working with tablets and smart phones you have little choice. You either look down or reach up to touch the screen. As much as possible tilt and raise the tablet so that you do not have slouch to see the screen.
If you observe that you slouch and collapse while working, invest in an adjustable desk that you can raise or lower for your optimum height. An adjustable height desk such as the unDesk offers the opportunity to change work position from sitting to standing as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5. Example of a height adjustable desk (the unDesk) that can be used for sitting and standing.
Although office chairs can give support, we often slouch in them. While at home we use any chair that is available—again encouraging slouching. Reduce the slouching by sitting on a seat insert such as a BackJoy® which tends to let you sit more erect and in a more powerful and energizing position see Figure 6.
Finally, whether or not you can change your environment, take many, many short movement breaks– wiggle, stretch, get up and walk–to interrupt the muscle tension and allow yourself to regenerate. To remind yourself to take breaks while being captured by your work, install a reminder program on your computer such as Stretchbreak that pops up on the screen and guides you through short stretches to regenerate.
Cartoon videos on ergonomics: http://peperperspective.com/2014/09/30/cartoon-ergonomics-for-working-at-the-computer-and-laptop/
Healthy computing tips: http://biofeedbackhealth.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/health-computing-email-tips.pdf
Seat insert such as BackJoy®: http://www.backjoy.com/sit/
Height adjustable desk such as The unDesk: http://www.theundesk.com/
Interrupt computer program such as Stretchbreak: http://www.paratec.com
Asundi, K., Odell, D., Luce, A., & Dennerlein, J. T. (2010). Notebook computer use on a desk, lap and lap support: Effects on posture, performance and comfort. Ergonomics, 53(1), 74-82.
Peper, E., & Lin, I. M. (2012). Increase or decrease depression-How body postures influence your energy level. Biofeedback, 40 (3), 126-130.
Peper, E., Booiman, A., Lin, I-M., & Shaffer, F. Making the Unaware Aware-Surface Electromyography to Unmask Tension and Teach Awareness. Biofeedback, 2(1), 16-23.
Schwanbeck, R., Peper, E., Booiman, A., Harvey, R., and Lin, I-M. Posture changes with a seat insert: Changes in strength and implications for breathing and HRV. Poster submitted for the 46th Annual Meeting of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.
Straker, L. M., Coleman, J., Skoss, R., Maslen, B. A., Burgess-Limerick, R., & Pollock, C. M. (2008). A comparison of posture and muscle activity during tablet computer, desktop computer and paper use by young children. Ergonomics, 51(4), 540-555.
* Adapted from: Peper, E. (in press). Become the unreasonable person: Adjust your world to fit you! Western Edition and Schwanbeck, R., Peper, E., Booiman, A., Harvey, R., and Lin, I-M. (in press). Posture changes with a seat insert: Changes in strength and implications for breathing and HRV.