Summary of “The Healing Power of Gardens”

As a writer, I find gardens essential to the creative process; as a physician, I take my patients to gardens whenever possible.
In forty years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical “Therapy” to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens.
I cannot say exactly how nature exerts its calming and organizing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens, even for those who are deeply disabled neurologically.
In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.
Biophilia, the love of nature and living things, is an essential part of the human condition.
Hortophilia, the desire to interact with, manage, and tend nature, is also deeply instilled in us.
The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological.
Complement this particular fragment of the altogether delicious Everything in Its Place with naturalist Michael McCarthy on nature and joy, pioneering conservationist and Wilderness Act co-composer Mardy Murie on nature and human nature, and bryologist and Native American storyteller Robin Wall Kimmerer on gardening and the secret of happiness, then revisit Oliver Sacks on nature and the interconnectedness of the universe, the building blocks of identity, the three essential elements of creativity, and his stunning memoir of a life fully lived.

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Summary of “The Life-Changing Magic of Mushroom Hunting in Central Park”

Experienced mushroom foragers have an uncanny knack for spotting mushrooms.
In Norway, mushroom inspectors voluntarily man checkpoints during the mushroom season and check mushrooms brought to them by the public, free of charge.
Such a visit can entail having to throw away all your mushrooms because you’ve managed to slip one tiny but deadly mushroom in with the rest of the day’s haul.
While on a visit to America, I was invited on a private mushroom hunt in New York by no less a person than the late, great Gary Lincoff, former president of the North American Mycology Association and author of the American field bible, The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms.
An interest in mushrooms can awaken primeval foraging instincts you didn’t know you had. Since 2006, the New York Mycological Society has been running a registration project in Central Park.
During my walk through the park with Gary Lincoff, I found the mushroom that the Chinese value above all others, due to its medicinal properties-the lingzhi mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum.
Going mushroom hunting with someone who is equipped with a mental treasure map of likely sites is a very different matter from searching aimlessly for mushroom gold.
I’d gone mushroom hunting in Central Park with a man who enjoyed rock star status in American mycology circles.

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Summary of “Microplastics Have Invaded The Deep Ocean”

The largest habitat for life on Earth is the deep ocean.
The deep ocean is being invaded by tiny pieces of plastic – plastic that people thought was mostly floating at the surface, and in amounts they never imagined.
There’s a place along the California coast where it’s relatively easy: The edge of the continent takes a steep dive into the deep ocean at Monterey Bay.
The team they created has been sending Ventana up to 3,000 feet deep into the Bay in search of plastic.
“The deep ocean is the largest ecosystem on the planet,” says Van Houtan, “And we don’t know anything about the plastic in the deep ocean.” Scientists do know about plastic floating on the surface, and have tried to measure how much there is.
She says the deep ocean is like a giant feeding trough.
The deep ocean is filled with sea creatures like larvaceans that filter tiny organisms out of the water.
Robison says 70 years of manufacturing plastic may have created a global ocean problem.

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Summary of “Burgers, berries, bread: 10 foods you should consider buying organic”

There are a variety of reasons a growing number of consumers are choosing organic foods in their weekly grocery run.
Many people are wary of chemical residues frequently found in foods grown with the use of pesticides that have been tied to cancer, reproductive concerns and additional health problems.
Organic foods often cost more than conventionally grown foods and may be harder to find in every grocery store.
One sample of strawberries examined by USDA scientists contained residues of 22 different pesticides.
Non-organic salad fixings often also come with traces of potentially unhealthy pesticide residues.
Though kale is widely considered a popular health food, the USDA has reported finding residues of 17 different pesticides in some kale samples.
Bread. Preservatives and other additives have been found to be almost four times higher in conventional bread than in organic bread. The food additive potassium bromate is one additive often used in conventional bread to improve the rise of bread dough and to make it whiter, but it is banned in Europe and IARC classifies it a possible human carcinogen.
Glyphosate is also used as a desiccant on some non-organic wheat, and residues of the weedkiller have been found in bread products.

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Summary of “The Healing Power of Gardens: Oliver Sacks on the Psychological and Physiological Consolations of Nature – Brain Pickings”

Walt Whitman knew this when he weighed what makes life worth living as he convalesced from a paralytic stroke: “After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on – have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear – what remains? Nature remains; to bring out from their torpid recesses, the affinities of a man or woman with the open air, the trees, fields, the changes of seasons – the sun by day and the stars of heaven by night.”
Those unmatched rewards, both psychological and physiological, are what beloved neurologist and author Oliver Sacks explores in a lovely short essay titled “Why We Need Gardens,” found in Everything in Its Place: First Loves and Last Tales – the wondrous posthumous collection that gave us Sacks on the life-altering power of libraries.
As a writer, I find gardens essential to the creative process; as a physician, I take my patients to gardens whenever possible.
I cannot say exactly how nature exerts its calming and organizing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens, even for those who are deeply disabled neurologically.
In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.
Biophilia, the love of nature and living things, is an essential part of the human condition.
The role that nature plays in health and healing becomes even more critical for people working long days in windowless offices, for those living in city neighborhoods without access to green spaces, for children in city schools, or for those in institutional settings such as nursing homes.
Complement this particular fragment of the altogether delicious Everything in Its Place with naturalist Michael McCarthy on nature and joy, pioneering conservationist and Wilderness Act co-composer Mardy Murie on nature and human nature, and bryologist and Native American storyteller Robin Wall Kimmerer on gardening and the secret of happiness, then revisit Oliver Sacks on nature and the interconnectedness of the universe, the building blocks of identity, the three essential elements of creativity, and his stunning memoir of a life fully lived.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Happy ever after: 25 ways to live well into old age”

Together, Saunders and Streets started researching the latest science on how to have a healthier, happier old age and how to apply it to their own lives, and blogged about their findings for five years.
Their Age Well Project has now been published as a book, compiling almost 100 shortcuts to health in mid- and later life – and Streets and Saunders, who are both in their 50s, say they have never been in better health.
We started our project to age well by compiling ancestral health trees, listing any known illnesses in old age and the causes of mortality and ages at death of as many direct ancestors as possible.
Experts believe resistance training is as important for ageing as aerobic exercise, eating vegetables and sleeping well.
While many of us dream of a golden age of retirement, a 2016 study found that people who worked longer lived longer, a fact reflected in earlier longitudinal studies that found correlations between retirement and poor health.
Study after study has found that supplements have very little benefit; we invest in good food instead. However, when it comes to vitamin D and zinc, the data is robust: vitamin D – in the right dosage – can help us age well while zinc has been shown to reduce the severity of coughs and colds.
Pollution is rapidly becoming the biggest threat to our ability to age well, with more and more research linking particulate matter to lung cancer, heart disease, dementia, hypertension and diabetes.
The health benefits of owning a dog are obvious: dogs need walking, caring for and routine, all of which help us age better.

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Summary of “These startups are chasing the $70 billion business of sleep aids”

These startups are chasing the $70 billion business of sleep aids.
Initially, many of these sleep tools were tech gadgets, including sleep trackers, apps, lights, and noisemakers, many of which I tested for a story in 2017.
Part of the reason today’s consumers are so eager to buy sleep aids is that they appear to be more willing than generations past to acknowledge their own mental health, and take charge of it.
“There are brands like Casper and Brooklinen that are creating products for you to sleep on, but there’s this separate market of sleep aids which are really part of the anxiety economy,” says Hamm.
“In some ways, the sleep aids industry springs out of the mental health industry, and more consumers are willing to acknowledge that they struggle with psychological issues like stress.”
In its report, the firm made the case that this was because of two factors: “The growing incidence of sleep disorders and rising initiatives by several government and non-government organizations for increasing awareness about sleep disorders and sleep hygiene.”
The global wellness industry is now worth $4.2 trillion, as consumers around the world invest in products that claim to promote wellness, from fitness classes to better food to sleep aids.
The well-off generally sleep more, and if they struggle with insomnia, they can afford to shell out hundreds of dollars on sleep aids.

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Summary of “There’s just no getting away from microplastic contamination”

A huge amount of small plastic particles end up in the sea, but recent research has also found them in lakes and mountain river floodplains, and even as airborne pollution in megacities.
The researchers estimated that the particles could have traveled from as far as 95km away, but they suggest that it could be possible for microplastics to travel even farther on the wind-meaning that even places relatively untouched by humans are now being polluted by our plastics.
A huge part of getting a handle on the consequences is just understanding where all the plastic ends up.
Microplastics were found in every sample the researchers gathered-on average, 365 particles per square meter were deposited every day.
The number of particles being deposited correlated strongly with wind speeds, with more particles being found following higher winds.
The researchers looked at the wind speeds and directions that had been recorded throughout the study, and they used this to calculate how far particles of the sizes they found could have been transported, estimating that the plastics could have come from nearly 100km away.
As particles get smaller, their ability to be dispersed far and wide increases.
Microplastics have now been found everywhere from drinking water to city air, and there’s evidence of plastic particles in fish liver, suggesting that they could pass through organ systems.

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Summary of “The Definitive Superfood Ranking”

At least for now, it’s best to view research on MCT with skepticism: a 2015 review of studies on MCT supplementation found that while most research did show some sort of weight loss, the studies were often flawed or commercial bias was present.
The researchers concluded: “Further research is required by independent research groups using large, well-designed studies to confirm the efficacy of MCT and to determine the dosage needed for the management of a healthy body weight and composition.”
Chia Seeds Many runners began incorporating these small seeds into their diet after Christopher McDougall’s 2009 bestseller, Born to Run, described them as nutritionally equivalent to a mix of “Salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone.” But a few recent studies-like one in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and one in the journal Nutrients-have found that the seeds offer runners no performance benefit.
There is research showing that it can boost your basic metabolic rate by 3 to 4 percent, “And it’s profoundly anticancer,” says Talbott, thanks to compounds called catechins.
“They’re high in fiber, iron, and B vitamins,” says Talbott, and research has shown that diets rich in legumes can lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and your total risk of morbidity from all causes.
Red Wine Go ahead and rejoice: there is evidence-based research showing that wine may have anti-inflammatory and blood pressure-lowering benefits, thanks to the polyphenol micronutrient called resveratrol, which research has linked to a host of cardiovascular benefits.
The body of research on turmeric is fairly deep, with several large-scale studies, and turmeric may have more benefits than researchers yet realize-early results from one small study in the UK showed a potential for turmeric to change gene expression in a way that might help fight cancer.
Blueberry’s power comes from the compound oligomeric proanthocyanidins, and Talbott says that you don’t need a ton of it to get results: a half-cup per day of fresh or frozen blueberries results in a “Significant longevity benefit.” Plus, there’s plenty of research showing that blueberries can reduce post-exercise stress and inflammation among athletes.

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Summary of “The Day the Dinosaurs Died”

In 2004, DePalma, at the time a twenty-­two-year-old paleontology undergraduate, began excavating a small site in the Hell Creek Formation.
DePalma’s adviser, the late Larry Martin, urged him to find a similar site, but one that had layers closer to the KT boundary.
As DePalma shaved back the layers to make a cross-­section of the crater, he found the thing itself-not a hailstone but a small white sphere-at the bottom of the crater.
The microtektites he had found earlier might have been carried there by water, but these had been trapped where they fell-on what, DePalma believed, must have been the very day of the disaster.
“With this deposit, we can chart what happened the day the Cretaceous died.” No paleontological site remotely like it had ever been found, and, if DePalma’s hypothesis proves correct, the scientific value of the site will be immense.
For five years, DePalma continued excavations at the site.
DePalma listed some of the other discoveries he’s made at the site: several flooded ant nests, with drowned ants still inside and some chambers packed with microtektites; a possible wasp burrow; another mammal ­burrow, with multiple tunnels and galleries; shark teeth; the thigh bone of a large sea turtle; at least three new fish species; a gigantic ginkgo leaf and a plant that was a relative of the banana; more than a dozen new species of animals and plants; and several other burrow types.
Jan Smit, a paleontologist at Vrije University, in Amsterdam, and a world authority on the KT impact, has been helping DePalma analyze his results, and, like Burnham and Walter Alvarez, he is a co-author of a scientific paper that DePalma is publishing about the site.

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