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Research looks at COVID vaccine hesitancy and refusal among the U.S. public

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo, BSNBy Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo, BSN
Mar 4 2021
Source: News – Medical Life Science

Vaccination against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rolled out in many countries, including the United States. As the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to rise, vaccinating many people in the population is crucial. Despite campaigns to inform residents of the benefits of vaccines, many are still reluctant to get vaccinated.

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the University of California, San Francisco, found that over one-third of the study respondents were hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. To increase vaccine acceptance, the team suggested public health interventions to target vaccine-hesitant populations, with messaging that addresses their concerns about the vaccines’ efficacy and safety.

COVID-19 vaccination

There are more than 250 vaccines against COVID-19 in development by pharmaceutical companies across the globe. Of these, 71 are in clinical evaluation. Vaccines are now being widely administered, these include Moderna’s vaccine, the Pfizer+BioNTech vaccine, the AstraZeneca + University of Oxford vaccine, and more recently the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

One of the ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is attaining herd immunity. For COVID-19 vaccination to effectively confer herd immunity, health experts said that at least 60 to 70 percent of the population must be vaccinated.

However, vaccine hesitancy deters this. For instance, influenza vaccine hesitancy rates have increased by about 40 percent. The researchers aimed to see the most common reasons why Americans are hesitant to get vaccinated for COVID-19.Main Predictors of Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Personograph plot of the classification tree analysis, which identified previous influenza vaccine coverage and political affiliation as significant predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. The main reasons given for vaccine were concerns about side effects and safety of the vaccine (75%,Main Predictors of Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Personograph plot of the classification tree analysis, which identified previous influenza vaccine coverage and political affiliation as significant predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. The main reasons given for vaccine were concerns about side effects and safety of the vaccine (75%, n=497), the need for more information about the vaccine (53%, n=351), and doubts regarding the efficacy of the vaccine (17%, n=110).
Source: News – Medical Life Science
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The study

The study, published on the preprint server medRxiv*, aimed to determine the U.S. population rate of COVID-19 hesitancy, identify characteristics linked to hesitation, and determine the reasons for reluctance.

The researchers distributed a 43-question survey on Amazon Mechanical Turk, an online labor marketplace where people receive a nominal fee for completing tasks, to 1,756 respondents between November 17 and 18, 2020.

The expected primary outcome measure was the rate of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, which is defined as either non-acceptance or being unsure about accepting the vaccine. Secondary outcomes included patient characteristics tied to vaccine hesitancy, reasons for being hesitant, and health care sites where they would like to be vaccinated.

Study findings demonstrated that a total of 663 participants were COVID-19 vaccine-hesitant, wherein 374 were decided to be non-acceptors, and 289 were unsure about accepting the vaccine.

Further findings showed that vaccine hesitancy was tied to not receiving the influenza vaccine in the past five years. Also, females, Blacks, having a high school education or less, and being in the Republican party affiliation were more likely to be vaccine-hesitant.

The reasons cited for vaccine hesitancy included the potential side effects, the need for more information about the vaccine, and doubts about vaccine effectiveness. For the preferred cites for vaccination, vaccine acceptors opted to go to their primary doctors, dedicated vaccination areas, and pharmacies.

“Optimal health policy deliberations for COVID-19 vaccine distribution require consideration of vaccine hesitancy and reasons for refusal,” the researchers explained.

“To improve efficient and equitable vaccine distribution, educational messaging campaigns should seek to address non-acceptors’ primary concerns of safety and side effects of the vaccine,” they added.

The team also recommended widening the efforts to disseminate information on the benefits of vaccination against infections. This can help control and spread the virus, and at the same time, aid in the attainment of herd immunity.

As the virus continues to wreak havoc globally, boosting vaccination campaigns can help control the pandemic. To date, more than 115 million people have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Of these, 2.55 million have died.

*Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.Source:

Journal reference:

There is a huge interest in understanding and overcoming COVID-19 Vaccine hesitation. COVID-19 hesitation has hit all communities across the world. Some countries have encouraged influencers to get public vaccinations to encourage vaccination. How do you feel about COVID-19 Vaccination? Why? Have you received the vaccination?

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16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Written by Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD on August 28, 2018
Source: Health Line

Source: Shidonna Raven – Garden and Cook, all rights reserved
You many contact us for re-publishing requests and citation information.
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This is the second part of the articles for today. Again, in the midst of COVID 19 and with Healthy being the New Normal we want to share with you natural ways you can eliminate stress and the health implications that come along with it. Below are 16 ways to reduce stress. We are also adding a few of our own:

  • Identify the source of the stress
  • Eliminate the roots of stress (changing those things that you can and accepting the things you can not change)…continue down the list
  • Prayer & Worship (for those who are religious)
  • Avoid addictions

Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily.

Here are 16 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety.

walking the dog
Source: Health Line
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

1. Exercise

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.

It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress.

The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise (1).

There are a few reasons behind this:

  • Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones — such as cortisol — in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
  • Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
  • Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
  • Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga.

Activities — such as walking or jogging — that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.

SUMMARY

Regular exercise can help lower stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins and improving your sleep and self-image.

2. Consider supplements

Several supplements promote stress and anxiety reduction. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common ones:

  • Lemon balm: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects (2Trusted Source).
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: One study showed that medical students who received omega-3 supplements experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms (3Trusted Source).
  • Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat stress and anxiety. Several studies suggest that it’s effective (4Trusted Source).
  • Green tea: Green tea contains many polyphenol antioxidants which provide health benefits. It may lower stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels (5Trusted Source).
  • Valerian: Valerian root is a popular sleep aid due to its tranquilizing effect. It contains valerenic acid, which alters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors to lower anxiety.
  • Kava kava: Kava kava is a psychoactive member of the pepper family. Long used as a sedative in the South Pacific, it is increasingly used in Europe and the US to treat mild stress and anxiety (6Trusted Source).

Some supplements can interact with medications or have side effects, so you may want to consult with a doctor if you have a medical condition.

Shop for ashwagandhaomega-3 supplementsgreen tea, and lemon balm online.

SUMMARY

Certain supplements can reduce stress and anxiety, including ashwagandha, omega-3 fatty acids, green tea and lemon balm.

3. Light a candle

Using essential oils or burning a scented candle may help reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety.

Some scents are especially soothing. Here are some of the most calming scents:

  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Vetiver
  • Bergamot
  • Roman chamomile
  • Neroli
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang ylang
  • Orange or orange blossom
  • Geranium

Using scents to treat your mood is called aromatherapy. Several studies show that aromatherapy can decrease anxiety and improve sleep (7Trusted Source8Trusted Source9Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Aromatherapy can help lower anxiety and stress. Light a candle or use essential oils to benefit from calming scents.

4. Reduce your caffeine intake

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety (10Trusted Source).

People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate.

If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back.

Although many studies show that coffee can be healthy in moderation, it’s not for everyone. In general, five or fewer cups per day is considered a moderate amount.

SUMMARY

High quantities of caffeine can increase stress and anxiety. However, people’s sensitivity to caffeine can vary greatly.

5. Write it down

One way to handle stress is to write things down.

While recording what you’re stressed about is one approach, another is jotting down what you’re grateful for.

Gratitude may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.

Shop for journals online.

SUMMARY

Keeping a journal can help relieve stress and anxiety, especially if you focus on the positive.

6. Chew gum

For a super easy and quick stress reliever, try chewing a stick of gum.

One study showed that people who chewed gum had a greater sense of wellbeing and lower stress (11).

One possible explanation is that chewing gum causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people. Another is that chewing gum promotes blood flow to your brain.

Additionally, one recent study found that stress relief was greatest when people chewed more strongly (12).

Shop for chewing gum online.

SUMMARY

According to several studies, chewing gum may help you relax. It may also promote wellbeing and reduce stress.

7. Spend time with friends and family

Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.

Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.

One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called “tend and befriend,” and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response (13Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that both men and women benefit from friendship.

Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety (14Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.

8. Laugh

It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing. It’s good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:

  • Relieving your stress response.
  • Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.

In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.

A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted (15Trusted Source).

Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.

SUMMARY

Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.

9. Learn to say no

Not all stressors are within your control, but some are.

Take control over the parts of your life that you can change and are causing you stress.

One way to do this may be to say “no” more often.

This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, as juggling many responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Being selective about what you take on — and saying no to things that will unnecessarily add to your load — can reduce your stress levels.

SUMMARY

Try not to take on more than you can handle. Saying no is one way to control your stressors.

10. Learn to avoid procrastination

Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.

Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality (16).

Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.

Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.

SUMMARY

Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.

11. Take a yoga class

Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.

While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal — to join your body and mind.

Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.

Some studies have examined yoga’s effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety (17).

However, many of these studies are limited, and there are still questions about how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.

In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.

It may help lower cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate and increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that is lowered in mood disorders.

SUMMARY

Yoga is widely used for stress reduction. It may help lower stress hormone levels and blood pressure.

2. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment.

It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking (18).

There are several methods for increasing mindfulness, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation.

A recent study in college students suggested that mindfulness may help increase self-esteem, which in turn lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression (18).

SUMMARY

Mindfulness practices can help lower symptoms of anxiety and depression.

13. Cuddle

Cuddling, kissing, hugging and sex can all help relieve stress (19Trusted Source20Trusted Source).

Positive physical contact can help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. This can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are physical symptoms of stress.

Interestingly, humans aren’t the only animals who cuddle for stress relief. Chimpanzees also cuddle friends who are stressed (21).

SUMMARY

Positive touch from cuddling, hugging, kissing and sex may help lower stress by releasing oxytocin and lowering blood pressure.

14. Listen to soothing music

Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.

Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.

Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too (22).

Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they’re often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.

SUMMARY

Listening to music you like can be a good way to relieve stress.

15. Deep breathing

Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signaling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode.

During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing and constricted blood vessels.

Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response.

There are several types of deep breathing exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing and paced respiration.

The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises.

This helps slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel more peaceful.

This video explains how to practice diaphragmatic breathing.

SUMMARY

Deep breathing activates the relaxation response. Multiple methods can help you learn how to breathe deeply.

16. Spend time with your pet

Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood.

Interacting with pets may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood (23Trusted Source).

Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active and providing companionship — all qualities that help reduce anxiety.

SUMMARY

Spending time with your pet is a relaxing, enjoyable way to reduce stress.

The bottom line

Although stress and anxiety may arise in your workplace and personal life, there are many simple ways to reduce the pressure you feel.

These tips often involve getting your mind away from the source of stress.

Exercise, mindfulness, music and physical intimacy can all work to relieve anxiety — and they will improve your overall work-life balance as well.

What calms you? What gives you energy? In what ways are you dealing with the pandemic?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.

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The Effects of Stress on Your Body

Source: Health Line
Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., CRNP — Written by Ann Pietrangelo — Updated on March 29, 2020

Source: Shidonna Raven – Garden and Cook, all rights reserved
You many contact us for re-publishing requests and citation information.
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With COVID 19 still looming we would like to pause and highlight what stress looks like for those who maybe experiencing stress during these times. Many people have lost jobs, companies, homes and apartments not to mention loved ones without funerals and a final goodbye so, many maybe experincing stress along with other disease. With Healthy being the New Normal we want to encourage you with ways to address your stress: read the other article for this day.

You’re sitting in traffic, late for an important meeting, watching the minutes tick away. Your hypothalamus, a tiny control tower in your brain, decides to send out the order: Send in the stress hormones! These stress hormones are the same ones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles ready for action. This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. But when the stress response keeps firing, day after day, it could put your health at serious risk.

Source: Health Line
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. It can help you cope with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.

Yet if your stress response doesn’t stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival, it can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being. Symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • headaches
  • insomnia

Central nervous and endocrine systems

Your central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of your “fight or flight” response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rev up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most in an emergency, such as your muscles, heart, and other important organs.

When the perceived fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to normal. If the CNS fails to return to normal, or if the stressor doesn’t go away, the response will continue.

Chronic stress is also a factor in behaviors such as overeating or not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal.

Respiratory and cardiovascular systems

Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.

Under stress, your heart also pumps faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles so you’ll have more strength to take action. But this also raises your blood pressure.

As a result, frequent or chronic stress will make your heart work too hard for too long. When your blood pressure rises, so do your risks for having a stroke or heart attack.

Digestive system

Under stress, your liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to give you a boost of energy. If you’re under chronic stress, your body may not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge. Chronic stress may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The rush of hormones, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate can also upset your digestive system. You’re more likely to have heartburn or acid reflux thanks to an increase in stomach acid. Stress doesn’t cause ulcers (a bacterium called H. pylori often does), but it can increase your risk for them and cause existing ulcers to act up.

Stress can also affect the way food moves through your body, leading to diarrhea or constipation. You might also experience nausea, vomiting, or a stomachache.

Muscular system

Your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury when you’re stressed. They tend to release again once you relax, but if you’re constantly under stress, your muscles may not get the chance to relax. Tight muscles cause headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body aches. Over time, this can set off an unhealthy cycle as you stop exercising and turn to pain medication for relief.

Sexuality and reproductive system

Stress is exhausting for both the body and mind. It’s not unusual to lose your desire when you’re under constant stress. While short-term stress may cause men to produce more of the male hormone testosterone, this effect doesn’t last.

If stress continues for a long time, a man’s testosterone levels can begin to drop. This can interfere with sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction or impotence. Chronic stress may also increase risk of infection for male reproductive organs like the prostate and testes.

For women, stress can affect the menstrual cycle. It can lead to irregular, heavier, or more painful periods. Chronic stress can also magnify the physical symptoms of menopause.

Immune system

Stress stimulates the immune system, which can be a plus for immediate situations. This stimulation can help you avoid infections and heal wounds. But over time, stress hormones will weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s response to foreign invaders. People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections. Stress can also increase the time it takes you to recover from an illness or injury.

Identifying the source of your disease is an important part of addressing the disease. Have you experinced stress during COVID 19. What are the sources of these stressors. Why? Read the other article for today for ways to address stress.

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Do it yourself? When the researcher becomes the subject

Poldrack in scanner
Stanford psychologist Russell Poldrack, shown here in his 105th MRI scanning session during an 18-month experiment, is one of a number of researchers who are enlisting as subjects in their own studies. TIM LAUMANN
Source: Science Magazine
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By Esther LandhuisDec. 5, 2016 , 12:30 PM
Source: Science Magazine
Photos Source: Science Magazine

Some scientists analyze fruit flies. Others use zebrafish. Many conduct studies with mice. But occasionally, researchers choose to experiment on a different animal: themselves. Consider the medical officer who in the early 1800s fed himself spoiled sausage to determine the source of foodborne botulism. Or the physician who in 1929 performed the world’s first cardiac catheterization on himself, and the young doctor who in 1984 guzzled Helicobacter pylori broth to prove that the bacterium causes ulcers. The latter two went on to win Nobel Prizes, but others haven’t been as fortunate. During the Spanish–American War, when yellow fever was killing thousands of U.S. soldiers, physician Jesse Lazear died after intentionally exposing himself to infected mosquitoes.

Medical martyrdom is rarer these days, in part due to increased regulation of human subject research after World War II, and fewer researchers dying for their work can only be a good thing. Nonetheless, autoexperimentation continues. The access to the subject is matchless, and the allure of big data and personalized medicine seems to be some nudging self-experimenters toward new types of studies. However, the regulatory environment remains somewhat vague, leaving it up to researchers to weigh practicality against ethical considerations. But if care and diligence accompany the appetite for adventure, scientists can responsibly conduct self-experimentation studies that help advance science—and potentially offer some fun and personal benefit to boot.

Balancing ease with ethics

For scientists whose work isn’t particularly risky, it’s hard to beat a prime motivation for self-experimentation: convenience. “It’s easy to draw your own blood and analyze it,” says Laura Stark, a bioethics historian at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “You don’t have to worry about someone suing you or deciding you can’t use their sample.”

That was a key factor when Lawrence David, a Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the time, and his adviser, bioengineer Eric Alm, sought to monitor how daily activities influenced the human gut and oral microbiomes over the course of a year. They needed to determine feasibility limits—for example, how frequently samples could be collected and how many variables could be measured. When the researchers couldn’t immediately find participants, they decided to enroll themselves. “We thought that by participating, we’d gain firsthand understanding of those limits,” says David, now an assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Each day, the two researchers saved spit samples and pooped into sterile bags. They used an iPad app to log their weight and everything they did and ate. Several months into the study, David went to Bangkok for a few weeks but stuck with the regimen, shipping home 3 to 5 pounds of stool on dry ice. That commitment eventually paid off when the results were published.

Russell Poldrack, a psychologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, also had an ambitious study plan that required more than what the average participant would tolerate. That’s what led him to climb into an MRI machine every Tuesday and Thursday morning for 18 months to get his brain scanned. The idea started simmering years before, when Poldrack’s studies to understand psychiatric disorders stalled because they lacked a good control for normal brain function variability over time. At some point, he recalls, while he was directing the Imaging Research Center at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, artist-in-residence Laurie Frick “really started pushing me, saying, ‘You’ve got this MRI scanner. Why aren’t you getting in there and scanning yourself?’”

While Poldrack was mulling over this possibility, Stanford geneticist Michael Snyder published a 2012 paper describing an “integrative Personal Omics Profile” of a 54-year-old male volunteer—himself. Snyder’s genome was sequenced and analyzed, and over 14 months, the research team made more than 3 billion measurements of his blood, saliva, mucus, urine, and feces. During the study—conducted as a proof of principle and to learn what a baseline “healthy” state looks like—Snyder discovered that he was genetically at risk for type 2 diabetes. With that information and the accompanying data, he was able to investigate biological pathways that kicked in as he developed signs of disease, which could have implications beyond Snyder’s individual health. Seeing Snyder’s work made Poldrack think that his crazy brain study might “not just be a goofy boutique project; it could actually have some scientific impact.”

He was right: His 18-month ordeal produced the most detailed map of functional brain connectivity in a single person to date.

Despite the potential advantages of using oneself as a subject, scientists contemplating this approach should consider research ethics guidelines. In the United States, the National Institutes of Health enacted policies in 1954 that restrict the use of employees as research subjects. The National Research Act, passed by Congress in 1974, requires research involving human subjects to be vetted by an institutional review board (IRB). Current rules, which date from 1981, outline additional protections for vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, children, and prisoners. U.S. federal law does not, however, explicitly address self-experimentation by a scientist or physician, says Jonathan Moreno, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. As Stark explains, it is “a blind spot in the current human subjects regulations.” That means that, at least for now, it is up to researchers to decide whether they’re comfortable experimenting on themselves and whether they need to seek IRB approval.

Conducting research in this vague regulatory environment can create confusion, even when researchers do everything they can to make sure they’re proceeding according to regulations and requirements. Before Poldrack started his brain study, for example, he submitted a proposal to the IRB at UT Austin, where he worked at the time. The board said that it did not consider his project to be human subjects research and therefore it did not require approval, so Poldrack got started collecting his scans without worrying about any further paperwork.

About 6 months after Poldrack started collecting data, however, the situation became more complicated. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis learned of the study and wanted to use some of Poldrack’s data. When they checked with their IRB to see whether a formal protocol was required, they hoped the IRB would say it was unnecessary. After all, it was data being collected at a different institution that hadn’t required IRB approval—“essentially just a data transfer from our point of view,” says M.D.-Ph.D. student Tim Laumann, one of the researchers interested in accessing the data. However, the Washington University IRB did require a protocol to be written and approved—a process that took about a month even when expedited, Laumann says.

Looking back, Poldrack suspects that things could have gone more smoothly if he had gotten IRB approval from his institution to begin with. “It would have made data sharing much easier because the data would not have been living in an ethical gray zone”—although, he adds, other aspects of the study, such as the fact the data cannot be de-identified, “might also have raised issues even with IRB approval.” In the absence of hard-and-fast rules for self-experimentation, researchers wishing to study themselves should trust their best judgment while allowing for hiccups that could arise in this less-chartered realm.

The power of doing it yourself

Beyond administrative challenges, self-experimentation studies can raise questions about whether analyses of just a few individuals are scientifically valid. Self-monitoring experiments are not randomized or blinded like traditional human studies, and the experimenter’s personal involvement and motivations could make the research seem less objective.

Despite these concerns and caveats, there are scenarios where self-experimentation may be not only acceptable but optimal. Studies such as Poldrack’s, which aim to correlate hard-to-describe personal experiences such as mood or emotion with concrete measurements, for example, are among them because the researchers have particular expertise that makes them ideal subjects. Researchers “know the categories used to describe feelings and side effects and can articulate them in a way that translates easily into scientific language,” Stark says. Self-experimentation, therefore, can offer a way to calibrate tools and technologies that are otherwise hampered by relying on an individual’s subjective experience.

And for University of California, San Francisco, neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley, who develops video games to help improve brain function, the small sample size is exactly what he wants. The video games automatically adjust their difficulty based on the user’s performance, creating a personalized digital therapy, which is a key part of his lab’s effort to shift “away from just focusing on large populations and focusing more on the individual, the n of 1,” Gazzaley says. “We’re looking to understand more about how to make meaningful statements about data from a single person.”

<p>Adam Gazzaley underwent various measurements, including EEGs, as a participant in his own studies.</p>
Adam Gazzaley underwent various measurements, including EEGs, as a participant in his own studies. JO GAZZALEY
Source: Science Magazine
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Every once in a while, when Gazzaley gives talks about the project, someone from the audience would ask him whether he played the games himself. His answer was “no” until the summer of 2015, when Gazzaley decided to put his time where his mouth is and became a research participant. For 2 months he played an hour of Body Brain Trainer, a physical and cognitive fitness game, three mornings a week. He also did 30 minutes of a meditation game called Meditrain on weeknight evenings, and for 3 weeks he played the newest game, Neurodrummer, which aims to improve cognition through rhythm training. He also had to get numerous measurements taken via saliva and blood samples, MRIs, EEGs, sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, and more.

“Playing games I helped invent and being in studies I helped design and validate, but doing it from the perspective of a participant, was really helpful,” Gazzaley says. Experiencing firsthand the challenges of compliance, especially for something “not as quick as a pill,” has inspired Gazzaley to develop ways to not only push people to work harder during the game but also to sustain motivation over the long haul.

As for whether he plans to publish the data collected on himself, he says he might play the games again, perhaps annually, “to get a more longitudinal view.” For now, though, the personal reasons for self-experimentation could be just as strong as the scientific motivation. Now in his late 40s, Gazzaley says he is “approaching the age range of the adults we treat in some of our older studies. We know middle-aged folks have declining cognitive control. This seemed a great way for me to try and get out in front of it.”

Regardless of why scientists engage in self-experimentation, they should be transparent, making a public statement—perhaps a paragraph in the manuscript—explaining why they’re doing a study on themselves and what they hope to learn by conducting the research this way, Moreno says. “It says the researcher isn’t just using patients as guinea pigs.” Time will tell whether these types of studies establish worth that goes beyond provocative one-offs. Then again, with certain research questions, he adds, “if you don’t give it a shot, you may never know.”

doi:10.1126/science.caredit.a1600160

Esther Landhuis

Esther Landhuis is a freelance science journalist based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Why don’t more doctors and scientist use themselves as subjects since they have confidence in their trails? Why don’t patients know about informed consent? Why don’t doctors and scientist get it? Why are clinical trials infamous for their fines? Are unethical medical experiments really a thing of the past? Why are there so many modern day instances of unethical medical experiments?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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THE NUREMBERG CODE AND ITS IMPACT ON CLINICAL RESEARCH

Posted by Natalie Jarmusik on Tue, Apr 9, 2019
Source: IMA Research

Created more than 70 years ago following the notorious World War II experiments, this written document established 10 ethical principles for protecting human subjects. 

What Is the Nuremberg Code?

When World War II ended in 1945, the victorious Allied powers enacted the International Military Tribunal on November 19th, 1945.  As part of the Tribunal, a series of trials were held against major war criminals and Nazi sympathizers holding leadership positions in political, military, and economic areas.  The first trial conducted under the Nuremberg Military Tribunals in 1947 became known as The Doctors’ Trial, in which 23 physicians from the German Nazi Party were tried for crimes against humanity for the atrocious experiments they carried out on unwilling prisoners of war.  Many of the grotesque medical experiments took place at the Auschwitz concentration camp, where Jewish prisoners were tattooed with dehumanizing numbers onto their arms; numbers that would later be used to identify their bodies after death.

The Doctors’ Trial is officially titled “The United States of America v. Karl Brandt, et al.,” and it was conducted at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany.  The trial was conducted here because this was one of the few largely undamaged buildings that remained intact from extensive Allied bombing during the war.  It is also said to have been symbolically chosen because it was the ceremonial birthplace of the Nazi Party.  Of the 23 defendants, 16 were found guilty, of which seven received death sentences and nine received prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. The other 7 defendants were acquitted. 

The verdict also resulted in the creation of the Nuremberg Code, a set of ten ethical principles for human experimentation. 

What Are The Nuremberg Code’s Ethical Guidelines For Research?

The Nuremberg Code aimed to protect human subjects from enduring the kind of cruelty and exploitation the prisoners endured at concentration camps. The 10 elements of the code are: 

  1. Voluntary consent is essential
  2. The results of any experiment must be for the greater good of society
  3. Human experiments should be based on previous animal experimentation
  4. Experiments should be conducted by avoiding physical/mental suffering and injury
  5. No experiments should be conducted if it is believed to cause death/disability
  6. The risks should never exceed the benefits
  7. Adequate facilities should be used to protect subjects
  8. Experiments should be conducted only by qualified scientists
  9. Subjects should be able to end their participation at any time
  10. The scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment when injury, disability, or death is likely to occur

Want to learn more about the history of clinical research? Take a minute to watch the video and explore our History of Clinical Research timeline for more detail.

The History of Clinical Research Timeline by IMARC Research

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Source: IMA Research
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The Significance Of The Nuremberg Code

The Nuremberg Code is one of several foundational documents that influenced the principles of Good Clinical Practice (GCP)

Good Clinical Practice is an attitude of excellence in research that provides a standard for study design, implementation, conduct and analysis. More than a single document, it is a compilation of many thoughts, ideas and lessons learned throughout the history of clinical research worldwide.

Several other documents further expanded upon the principles outlined in the Nuremberg Code, including the Declaration of Helsinki, the Belmont Report and the Common Rule. 

Although there has been updated guidance to Good Clinical Practice to reflect new trends and technologies, such as electronic signatures, these basic principles remain the same. The goal has always been—and always will be—to conduct ethical clinical trials and protect human subjects. 

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You Might Be in a Medical Experiment and Not Even Know It

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By Alice Dreger, January 31, 2017 1:34 PM
Source: Discover Magazine
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Hush Naidoo 

In the long view, modern history is the story of increasing rights of control over your body – for instance, in matters of reproduction, sex, where you live and whom you marry. Medical experimentation is supposed to be following the same historical trend – increasing rights of autonomy for those whose bodies are used for research.

Indeed, the Nuremberg Code, the founding document of modern medical research ethics developed after the Second World War in response to Nazi medical experiments, stated unequivocally that the voluntary, informed consent of the human subject is essential. Every research ethics code since then has incorporated this most fundamental principle. Exceptions to this rule are supposed to be truly exceptional.

Yet today, more and more medical experimenters in the United States appear to circumvent getting the voluntary, informed consent of those whose bodies are being used for research. What’s more, rather than fighting this retrograde trend, some of the most powerful actors in medical research are defending it as necessary to medical progress.about:blankabout:blank

A few years ago, I fell in with a growing group of professionals in medicine and allied fields such as bioethics who have mobilised to defend the right to informed consent in medical experimentation. As a historian of medicine, I had worked since 1996 with intersex rights activists on improving care for children born with bodies in between the male and female types. In 2009, colleagues alerted me that a group of parents judged ‘at risk’ of having a child born with a particular genetic intersex condition appeared to be unwitting subjects in a medical experiment.

A major researcher and physician was promoting the prenatal use of a drug (dexamethasone) aimed at preventing intersex development. Targeting would-be parents who knew they had this condition running in their families, the researcher told them that the ‘treatment’ had been ‘found safe for mother and child’.

In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved dexamethasone for preventing intersex development, much less found it ‘safe’ for this use. Indeed, the FDA has noted dexamethasone causes harm in foetal animals exposed to it. No one seems to have told the parents that this ‘treatment’ had not gone through anything like the normal route of drug approval: there has been no animal modelling of this use, no blinded control trial for effectiveness, and no long-term prospective safety trials in the US, where thousands of foetuses appear to have been exposed.

Shockingly, at the same time that this researcher was pushing the ‘treatment’ as ‘safe’, she was obtaining grants from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use the same families in retrospective studies to see if it had been safe. A Swedish research group has recently confirmed – through fully consented, prospective studies – that this drug use can cause brain damage in the children exposed prenatally.

As I sought allies in defending the rights of these families, I discovered that, while this was an especially egregious case of failure to obtain informed consent to what amounted to a medical experiment, the lapse was not unique. Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, a Washington-based NGO, has been leading the work in tracking cases where medical researchers fail in their obligations to obtain informed consent.about:blankabout:blank

Recently, Public Citizen, together with the American Medical Student Association, sounded an alarm about two clinical trials, one called iCOMPARE, the other FIRST. In these studies, researchers extended the working hours of newly trained physicians to see if these physicians and their patients were better or worse off with the most inexperienced doctors working longer, more tiring shifts.

The young doctors used in these studies were not given the option of not participating. If their residency programmes participated, they were in. More concerning, their patients were never informed that they were experimental subjects, even though a primary research goal was to see if patients treated by residents working longer shifts would experience higher rates of harm.

Some studies tracked by Public Citizen reveal downright bizarre ethical mistakes. A recent study funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, led by a US Department of Veterans Affairs researcher, sought to determine whether, if brain-dead kidney donors’ bodies were cooled after brain death, living recipients of the transplanted kidneys did better. The researchers decided they didn’t need to get voluntary consent to the experiment from the living kidney recipients. They simply maintained the dead donors were the experimental subjects.

The largest contemporary fight over failure to obtain informed consent has been over the Surfactant Positive Airway Pressure and Pulse Oximetry Trial (or SUPPORT). This was a large NIH-funded study meant to determine, in part, whether higher or lower levels of oxygen after birth provided very premature babies with benefit or harm. The consent forms for this study did not inform the parents that the experiment’s purpose was to see if, by being randomly assigned to one of two experimental oxygen ranges, babies end up more likely to be blind, neurologically damaged or die.

Most parents also weren’t informed that the researchers would use experimental measuring devices meant to ‘blind’ professional caregivers to the babies’ real oxygen levels to try to make the study more rigorous. Researchers told many parents that the study involved no special risks because all the procedures in the research were supposedly standard of care. This was a demonstrably untrue claim.

In this case, the US Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) – an agency meant to protect the rights of people in federally funded research – agreed with Public Citizen and an allied group of more than 40 of us in medicine and bioethics that the informed consent for this trial was seriously inadequate. But in a series of emails meant to stay private, top NIH officials pressured the OHRP to back off its criticisms. OHRP is supposed to oversee NIH’s work, not the other way around!

NIH leaders also partnered with the editor of The New England Journal of Medicineto publicly defend this study. The journal’s editor-in-chief tried actively to limit the ability of us critics to respond. Meanwhile, the parents were never officially informed of what happened to their babies.

Those defending these troubling studies often argue that elaborate consent procedures can get in the way of obtaining important scientific results. They say that subjects might encounter the risks of the experiment even in ‘normal’ patient care, so we might as well engage them in studies without scaring them off through frightening research consent forms.

It is true that the current research ethics system in the US is cumbersome, inefficient and dysfunctional. Researchers often find themselves confused and frustrated by the bureaucracies of research ethics systems.

But that is no excuse not to vigorously maintain the first principle of the Nuremberg Code: the voluntary consent of the subject is essential. We can’t afford the risk to medical research that sloppy ethics entail; when the public finds out about the circumvention of informed consent – as in the case of the infamous US Public Health Service syphilis study at Tuskegee – the damage to the integrity and authority of the medical research community is inevitably significant and long-lasting.about:blank

The tenets of the Nuremberg Code were not meant only for Nazis. If Nazis presented the only danger to people being used for medical experiments, eliminating the Nazis would have solved our problems. The Nuremberg Code was written to guide all of us, because good intentions are not enough.

This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

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Department of Computer Science Research

Robots Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact (ARTSI) Alliance

PI: Dr. Chutima Boonthum
Co-PI: Mr. Solomon Isekeje (Department of Fine and Performing Art)
Source: School of Science, Hampton University
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Possessed-Photography

The Department of Computer Science, School of Science, Hampton University received a $125,667 grant (2007-2010) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to enhance the robotics programs for undergraduate students and to create outreach events for local K-12 students. The award is a part of a $2 million grant awarded to the Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact (ARTSI) Alliance, a collaboration of institutions including eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and seven Carnegie Research I Institutions.

How do you think robots impact our society? How do you think robots impact other societies? Why?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.

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Eliot Coleman – The New Organic Grower

Eliot Coleman the new organic grower shidonna raven

Start something new and you will discover just how much you do not know. This was true for us when we started our Organic Garden. We knew the basics that we learned in science class at school but that was about it. Well we had learned somethings along the way and knew enough to be dangerous. So, we decided to start at the library for our research. We have found the library to be a wonderful resource and wealth of information as they always are. We were tremendously lucky to have come across this book: The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman. We not only found Eliot Coleman to be talented and successful at gardening and farming, he is a thoughtful and highly researched student of the discipline and a Master at his craft. He deals in paradigms and concepts as well as detailed applications of his craft. He is someone we definitely hope to meet one day.

Sharon weeding in the garden
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As we stated, we had much room to grow in the gardening department when it came to learning. The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman answered many questions for us as people very interested but knew to organic gardening. He helped dispel myths and common misunderstandings. He gave us a practical and authentic definition of what organic really means. It is one thing to preach organics and something different entirely to live it. Eliot not only practiced what he preaches he helped us implement it in our own garden with some practical and realistic things we could do in a garden of our size. I have referred to many of Eliot Coleman’s suggestions in his book and shared them with you. Because we think they are that valuable. He introduced us to Soil Blocks and so far they have been a tremendous game changer for our garden and disease prevention. This book has by far been the most valuable book we checked out of the library and most valuable resource we have found on our organic journey thus far.

What have you found to be the most valuable resource for you thus far? How has this helped you become a better consumer of food not just gardener? Do you have an organic resource that has been helpful to you? Share it with us by leaving a comment and sending us pictures. As always you are the best part of what we do.

The Garden before we Broke Ground
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