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Cemento pericoloso

settembre 30, 2017

http://bari.repubblica.it/cronaca/2017/09/28/news/cemento_prodotto_con_i_veleni_di_ilva_e_enel_31_indagati_in_puglia_sigilli_a_cementir_e_ai_2_colossi-176734596/amp/

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The Virtues of Isolation Under the right circumstances, choosing to spend time alone can be a huge psychological boon.

luglio 26, 2017

In the ’80s, the Italian journalist and author Tiziano Terzani, after many years of reporting across Asia, holed himself up in a cabin in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. “For a month I had no one to talk to except my dog Baoli,” he wrote in his travelogue A Fortune Teller Told Me. Terzani passed the time with books, observing nature, “listening to the winds in the trees, watching butterflies, enjoying silence.” For the first time in a long while he felt free from the incessant anxieties of daily life: “At last I had time to have time.”

But Terzani’s embrace of seclusion was relatively unusual: Humans have long stigmatized solitude. It has been considered an inconvenience, something to avoid, a punishment, a realm of loners. Science has often aligned it with negative outcomes. Freud, who linked solitude with anxiety, noted that, “in children the first phobias relating to situations are those of darkness and solitude.” John Cacioppo, a modern social neuroscientist who has extensively studied loneliness—what he calls “chronic perceived isolation”—contends that, beyond damaging our thinking powers, isolation can even harm our physical health. But increasingly scientists are approaching solitude as something that, when pursued by choice, can prove therapeutic.

This is especially true in times of personal turbulence, when the instinct is often for people to reach outside of themselves for support. “When people are experiencing crisis it’s not always just about you: It’s about how you are in society,” explains Jack Fong, a sociologist at California State Polytechnic University who has studied solitude. “When people take these moments to explore their solitude, not only will they be forced to confront who they are, they just might learn a little bit about how to out-maneuver some of the toxicity that surrounds them in a social setting.”

In other words, when people remove themselves from the social context of their lives, they are better able to see how they’re shaped by that context. Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and writer who spent years alone, held a similar notion. “We cannot see things in perspective until we cease to hug them to our bosom,” he writes in Thoughts in Solitude.

Much of this self-reconfiguring happens through what Fong calls “existentializing moments,” mental flickers of clarity which can occur during inward-focused solitude. Fong developed this idea from the late German-American sociologist Kurt Wolff’s “surrender and catch” theory of personal epiphany. “When you have these moments, don’t fight it. Accept it for what it is. Let it emerge calmly and truthfully and don’t resist it,” Fong says. “Your alone time should not be something that you’re afraid of.”

Yet, at the same time, it is not only about being alone. “It’s a deeper internal process,” notes Matthew Bowker, a psychoanalytic political theorist at Medaille College who has researched solitude. Productive solitude requires internal exploration, a kind of labor which can be uncomfortable, even excruciating. “It might take a little bit of work before it turns into a pleasant experience. But once it does it becomes maybe the most important relationship anybody ever has, the relationship you have with yourself.”

Yet today, in our hyper-connected society, Bowker believes that solitude is “more devalued than it has been in a long time.” He points to a recent study at the University of Virginia in which several participants–a quarter of the women and two-thirds of the men–chose to subject themselves to electric shock rather than be alone with their thoughts. Bowker sees this heightened distaste for solitude playing out in pop culture as well. For example, vampires used to be portrayed in stories as secluded hermits, whereas now you’re more likely to see them on camera as sexy socialites, he notes.

And even though many great thinkers have championed the intellectual and spiritual benefits of solitude–Lao Tzu, Moses, Nietzsche, Emerson, Woolf (“How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table”)– many modern humans seem hell-bent on avoiding it. “Every time we have a chance to go running we plug in our headphones. Every time we sit in the car we listen to NPR,” laments Bowker. “I mean, my students today tell me they can’t go to the bathroom without their phone on.”

This is not to say that true solitude necessarily requires an absence of stimuli. Rather, “the value of solitude depends on whether an individual can find an

interior solitude” within themselves, says Bowker. Everyone is different in that regard: “Some people can go for a walk or listen to music and feel that they are deeply in touch with themselves. Others cannot.”

Generally, Bowker contends that our “mistrust of solitude” has consequences. For one, “we’ve become a more groupish society,” he says. In A Dangerous Place to Be: Identity, Conflict, and Trauma in Higher Education, an upcoming book Bowker co-authored with David Levine, a psychoanalyst at the University of Denver, the authors trace a line between the devaluing of solitude and the ongoing ideological conflicts afflicting college campuses. “We’re drawn to identity-markers and to groups that help us define [ourselves]. In the simplest terms, this means using others to fill out our identities, rather than relying on something internal, something that comes from within,” Bowker says. “Separating from the group, I would argue, is one thing that universities should be facilitating more.”

 

“It really lifts you out of problems.”

 

That is where solitude comes in. Such a separation requires what psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott called the “capacity to be alone.” This is key to Bowker’s idea of solitude as self-strengthening. “You have to have that capacity: the ability to know that you’re gonna survive, that you’re gonna be okay if you’re not supported by this group,” Bowker says. “Put another way, a person who can find a rich self- experience in a solitary state is far less likely to feel lonely when alone.”

There is a catch to all of this: For solitude to be beneficial, certain preconditions must be met. Kenneth Rubin, a developmental psychologist at the University of Maryland, calls them the “ifs.” Solitude can be productive only: if it is voluntary, if one can regulate one’s emotions “effectively,” if one can join a social group when desired, and if one can maintain positive relationships outside of it. When such conditions aren’t met, yes, solitude can be harmful. Consider the hikikomori phenomenon in Japan, where hundreds of thousands of depressed or troubled young people quarter themselves away, sometimes for years, often requiring extensive reintegration therapy to move on. The difference between solitude as

rejuvenation and solitude as suffering is the quality of self-reflection that one can generate while in it, and the ability to come back to social groups when one wants to.

When preconditions are met, solitude can be restorative. For Fong, who meditates 15 minutes a day and takes monthly solo camping trips, it is at least as essential as exercise or healthy eating. Possibly, he says, it is necessary for a truly healthy mind. “It really lifts you out of problems. It really, really has a powerful function for making you understand your predicament in this universe,” he says.

Yet, because the study of solitude as a positive force is new, it’s hard to speak in precise scientific terms about it: We don’t know what the ideal amount is, for instance, or even if there is one. Most likely, such measures are different for everybody. But researchers recommended taking it where you can get it, by meditating, taking solo walks or going on camping trips alone. Bowker makes a point of driving in silence. The point is to be away from social interaction and looking inward, however this may be achieved for you. “Solitude does not have form,” says Fong. “It is amorphous.”

After his month-long seclusion in Japan, during which he “put [himself] back together,” Terzani, already a well-known reporter in Italy, went on to build a successful career as an author. Though he was an atheist, Terzani gained an almost religious following for his later writings, much of which interweaved reportage with personal experience and philosophical musings. After his death in 2004 from stomach cancer, the adoption of him as a guru-like figure was something which some intellectuals bemoaned, calling it a disservice to his message. “The only real teacher is not in a forest, or a hut or an ice cave in the Himalayas,” he once remarked. “It is within us.” One imagines him reaching the conclusion alone. (B.Crane)

Antibacterial liquid soap triclosan ineffective and unsafe

settembre 2, 2016

Fda According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there isn’t enough science to show that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. To date, the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap haven’t been proven. In addition, the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health.

Air Quality report in USA cities 2016 by LUNG association

giugno 2, 2016

IS really worrying how out air quality sometimes is very dangerous, especially when you cannot handle a particulate of 2.5 micron.

In this report you will find cities and counties polluted by short and long term particulate (PM 2.5) 2.5 micron and Ozone.

The great part of that is in California but sometimes is a surprise to find Arkansas or Uintah (Ozone).

Good luck!

Here is the articleAir Quality USA 2016

Many Antidepressant Studies Found Tainted by Pharma Company Influence

ottobre 30, 2015

A review of studies that assess clinical antidepressants shows hidden conflicts of interest and financial ties to corporate drugmakers

Tom Varco/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

After many lawsuits and a 2012 U.S. Department of Justice settlement, last month an independent review found that antidepressant drug Paxil (paroxetine) is not safe for teenagers. The finding contradicts the conclusions of the initial 2001 drug trial, which the manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline had funded, then used its results to market Paxil as safe for adolescents.

The original trial, known as Study 329, is but one high-profile example of pharmaceutical industry influence known to pervade scientific research, including clinical trials the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires pharma companies to fund in order to assess their products. For that reason, people who read scientific papers as part of their jobs have come to rely on meta-analyses, supposedly thorough reviews summarizing the evidence from multiple trials, rather than trust individual studies. But a new analysis casts doubt on that practice as well, finding that the vast majority of meta-analyses of antidepressants have some industry link, with a corresponding suppression of negative results.

The latest study, published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, which evaluated 185 meta-analyses, found that one third of them were written by pharma industry employees. “We knew that the industry would fund studies to promote its products, but it’s very different to fund meta-analyses,” which “have traditionally been a bulwark of evidence-based medicine,” says John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University School of Medicine and co-author of the study. “It’s really amazing that there is such a massive influx of influence in this field.”

Almost 80 percent of meta-analyses in the review had some sort of industry tie, either through sponsorship, which the authors defined as direct industry funding of the study, or conflicts of interest, defined as any situation in which one or more authors were either industry employees or independent researchers receiving any type of industry support (including speaking fees and research grants). Especially troubling, the study showed about 7 percent of researchers had undisclosed conflicts of interest. “There’s a certain pecking order of papers,” says Erick Turner, a professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University who was not associated with the research. “Meta-analyses are at the top of the evidence pyramid.” Turner was “very concerned” by the results but did not find them surprising. “Industry influence is just massive. What’s really new is the level of attention people are now paying to it.”

The researchers considered all meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials for all approved antidepressants including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, atypical antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and others published between 2007 and March 2014.

If the authors did not report any conflict of interest, as is typically required, the researchers examined random samples of articles published by the corresponding author in the same year for relevant declarations of conflicts. Two investigators not aware of the author’s names or potential conflicts assessed whether the meta-analysis included any negative or warning statements about the drug in the abstract or conclusion of the article.

Although a third of the papers were written by industry employees; of the majority of authors, 60 percent were independent, university-affiliated researchers with conflicts of interest. For the 53 meta-analyses where the author was not an industry employee and did not report any conflicts of interest, 25 percent had unreported conflicts of interest that the researchers identified in their search and included in their evaluation. “The meta-analyses that have industry links are very different than those that don’t have industry links,” Ioannidis says. Those with industry ties had much more favorable coverage and fewer caveats. “Conversely, when no employees were involved, almost 50 percent had caveats,” Ioannidis says.

Meta-analyses by industry employees were 22 times less likely to have negative statements about a drug than those run by unaffiliated researchers. The rate of bias in the results is similar to a 2006 study examining industry impact on clinical trials of psychiatric medications, which found that industry-sponsored trials reported favorable outcomes 78 per cent of the time, compared with 48 percent in independently funded trials.

Ioannidis believes that pharmaceutical companies should be restricted from funding meta-analyses to safeguard objectivity. He is fine with industry funding for other types of research, “but not when it comes to the final appraisal of whether should patients take this drug or not,” he says.

All of the major pharmaceutical companies were represented in the review, including GlaxoSmithKline; Eli Lilly and Co., maker of the popular antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine); and Pfizer, which makes Zoloft (sertraline chloride). “As to meta-analyses,” Pfizer is an “active participant” in the conversation “about how to define scientifically robust frameworks for reanalysis of data,” wrote Dean Mastrojohn, Director of Global Media Relations at Pfizer, when reached for comment.

By definition, a meta-analysis should be “as comprehensive as possible a review,” says Andrea Cipriani, a psychiatry professor at the University of Oxford who was not involved with the study. “Clinicians are bombarded by information” and turn to meta-analyses “because they don’t have the time to do a full critical appraisal for themselves. The word means ‘shortcut to a lot of evidence.’”

Cipriani agrees that it is important to point out the manipulation of meta-analyses are by the pharmaceutical industry. “We need to highlight that these meta-analyses are more a marketing tool than a science,” he says. But Cipriani, who had seven articles flagged in the review for reported conflicts of interest, thinks that it is an oversimplification to condemn all studies with industry ties. Rather, Cipriani advocates transparency and says that the main problem is the lack of disclosure. To his credit, even with conflicts of interest present Cipriani included caveats in the conclusion or abstract in two of his papers. He was one of the few researchers with stated conflicts to do so, however.

According to Cipriani, academic journals, the gatekeepers of scientific evidence, are the ones who should be responsible, both for looking into conflicts of interest and weeding out those studies whose conclusions do not match up with the supplied data. That was part of the problem with Study 329, led by Martin Keller, then a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, which reported all data accurately but misleadingly downplayed the teen suicide risk and exaggerated the benefits in the conclusions.

But journals often have their own conflicts of interest, something Cipriani acknowledges. Ioannidis and his colleagues originally tried to publish their latest study in psychiatry journals that they thought would be more pertinent, but the reception was cold. “Some people felt pretty angry about it and many of their editors have strong ties to the industry.” Ioannidis says.

Publication bias, where journals have shown a preference for new, positive and exciting results over replication of past studies—an essential part of the scientific process—is also a widespread problem within scientific publishing. This trend exists regardless of funding source or treatments assessed. In a study also published last month Turner found publication bias and inflated results in several National Institutes of Health–funded studies on psychotherapy.

Antidepressants are one of the largest pharmaceutical markets, with sales of $9.4 billion in the U.S. in 2013. Cipriani and Ioannidis believe the problem extends to other drugs with high market value, such as heart and cancer medications. “The whole field needs some soul searching,” Ioannidis says.

From : scientificamerican.com

How healthy is the place where you dine

ottobre 19, 2015

This site provides information to users that will help them to make informed decisions about where they dine.

This web site includes food establishment inspections, ranking information, the number of critical violations and non-critical violations, details of violations and current closures. You will also find useful links at the top of the search page.  Regardless of the rating if a food establishment is open, it met acceptable health department requirements at the time of the last inspection.
Inspections in the database began to be entered on January 1, 2008.  It will take two to four years to compile a full history of an establishment.
Inspections completed earlier than January 1, 2008, as well as information about complaints may be obtained by submitting a GRAMA request to the Environmental Health Division.
This is the link of the INSPECTIONS just click on it and write the name of your favourite restaurant
Scoring is like GOLF, less points better quality, from 1 to 100.
this is the General LINK to Health Department food inspections
Next time before to trust on on line reviews, take a look here and be awarenes of your next dine.

Fighting on the workplace

ottobre 19, 2015

Disagreements and debate at work are healthy. Fighting is not. That’s because fighting with one’s boss is just as confusing and destructive as fighting with a powerful family member. Fighting with a colleague feels like fighting with a friend or a sibling. Fighting with people who have more or less power than we do feels like bullying.

Naturally, we have to learn to deal with aggression at work. But first, we need to understand the real sources of conflict—not the textbook “struggle over resources” issues—but the underlying psychological reasons why people fight. Then, we can develop ways to engage in conflict that keep us sane, help others, and hopefully support the organization.
What does conflict at work look like?
Conflict at work comes in several forms. First, there are the people who pretend there’s no problem when there’s an obvious problem. They may say something like: “I don’t see an issue here.” When you try to explain, you’re hit with: “You’re being illogical.” When things escalate, this becomes the ultimate insult: “You’re too emotional.” (Women, beware.) Turning the conflict around so it’s about you is a tactic—a crazy-making tactic. No matter what you do, you’re seen as unreasonable or you’re labeled as the one picking a fight. In this scenario, they win and you lose.
Another common approach to conflict at work is outright aggression. People who habitually choose this approach are bullies. They are the hyper-competitive, anything-goes, take-no-prisoners, narcissists among us. These people prove their worth by dominating. They’re especially dangerous because they often have vicious followers who do their bidding. When these bullies get mad, watch out.
Then there’s my least favorite tactic of all—passive aggressiveness. Passive aggressive people seem to be supportive, logical, and even helpful—until you read between the lines. Their attacks don’t seem like attacks because they are so good at hiding their word-weapons. Sometimes, you don’t even know you’ve been hit until later. Fighting with these people is like shadow boxing.

Why do people fight at work?
Disagreements and even true conflict are inevitable at work, for some pretty good reasons: the constant flood of information means that we are always touching different parts of the elephant and constant change requires constant debate. In a perfect world, we follow the textbook advice, treat these sources of conflict logically, behave like adults, and get on with it.
The problem is, we’re not working in a perfect world, and none of us is perfect. We each bring our own baggage to work each day. And, some of our issues rear their heads again and again. At the top of my list of sources of work conflict are: personal insecurity, the desire for power and control, and habitual victimhood. Let’s take these each in turn.
Insecurity. We are all insecure about something. And when insecurity gets triggered, we can find ourselves behaving in ways that don’t make us proud. We try to hide our mistakes, avoid healthy debate, shy away from disagreements and even lash out unnecessarily, just to protect ourselves. Sometimes we even start fights just to distract people.
Nobody’s perfect. So why spend so much time and energy trying to prove that we are? Wouldn’t it be better to just work with our shortcomings, rather than create complicated work-arounds that confuse people and inevitably cause conflict?
Desire for power. Most people want to feel that they have some control over their lives and actions—at work as well as at home. We want to have impact. We want to help people achieve goals, and we want the recognition we deserve. This is natural and healthy: proactively looking for ways to influence and impact people for the sake of the group is the epitome of good leadership. Unfortunately, many people are at the mercy of this very human need. Instead of working with others, the goal becomes to position ourselves above others. When it’s pathological, shared goals don’t really matter anymore, and shared credit isn’t an option. This stance, however well hidden, puts everyone on high alert and on the defensive. This is because we know that even normal disagreements about things like resources are actually primal struggles about who has power over whom.
Habitual victimhood. Insecurity can be a good thing—it can mean that we are in touch with our shortcomings and that we are ready to learn. And many people use their power well, for the good of the group. Habitual victimhood, however, has no redeeming value whatsoever. Still, it is all too common to find perpetrator-victim pairs in organizations. The script is so predictable: “He does thus-and-so all the time and I can’t do anything about it.” Really? You can’t do anything about being metaphorically kicked to the ground over and over again? Why do people put themselves in this position? It’s deep, for sure, and quite honestly if you find yourself the victim over and over, it wouldn’t hurt to talk with a good therapist. Or at least a good friend. You need to figure out how being a victim serves you. For example, giving up control means that we have a ready-made excuse and can’t be held accountable.

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