The Science Delusion and #teamslugslayer

ScienceDelusion

Happy Friday Geeks,

Hope you all had a great week. My week was amazing. It was amazing because one of my dearest friends and sister who was diagnosed with stage four cancer not too long ago received the greatest news from her Doctors. After only three cycles of chemotherapy treatment the cancer was found to have decreased by 30%. Words cannot truly express to you all the happiness and love I felt upon receiving this news, it was so so much I literally thought my heart was going to explode.

I am sharing this with you here because, this morning when I was going through my labelled folder of topics to write about and the first one I instinctively opened was the TED video by Rupert Sheldrake discussing his book titled The Science Delusion. I read the book earlier this year and really enjoyed it. His book dissects the often ignored statement that our current form of mechanistic materialism based on outdated “set” laws of physical matter or theory, is a detriment to scientific enquiry and is in-fact very destructive to the evolution of scientific research, and medicine in the modern world (note that non-modern Scientific enquiry started out as scientific philosophy based on the laws of the “gods” or “stars” thousands of years ago, all over the world from East to West).

He discusses how we can’t approach important mind-body topics such as consciousness or the origins of life while we still treat matter in 17th-century style as if it were dead, inert stuff, incapable of producing life. And we certainly can’t go on pretending to believe that our own experience – the source of all our thoughts – is just an illusion, which it would have to be if 17th-centuary style laws were indeed the only reality.

I am not going to go into it too much here in writing as I think Rupert does a good job of explaining it, with a sprinkle of humour, in his TED talk below. Instead I am going to share with you a short story.  When I was fresh in university as a first year undergraduate, my evolutionary genetics lecturer, who also happened to be my supervisor, would continuously pull me to the side after our once a week class and try to “negotiate” with me the “fact” that we evolved from monkeys. Now, I am a very faithful person, true to the name my grandmother (RIP) bestowed upon me which means faith. I would listen to his argument but was absolutely resolved in telling him I believed we came from Adam and Eve, and they were created by God; and God is the beginning and end of everything and nothing he could give me as proof would change my faith in that. He would get red faced and insisted he could not understand how I kept getting good grades if I didn’t believe in anything he was teaching me or I was writing down in my exam papers. I would always say, I understand the theory but that doesn’t mean I have to have faith in it and believe it.

I am a scientist and yes, I do understand and hold a lot of respect for the process and power of scientific inquiry, but I also believe in the power of God, the power of  our minds (not brains), the power of our souls and energy, as do hundreds of other scientists around the globe. My father is also a cancer sufferer and to this date he has beaten it three times alhamduliallah, the most recent being 6 months ago. He beat it with the aid of chemotherapy and amazing surgeons who have the skills and knowledge to remove the cancer. However, he also beat it due to his faith. Despite the pain of surgery and side-effects of chemotherapy, he would still pray 5 times a day, no matter what. He always maintained a positive attitude and was surrounded by an abundance of love and prayers from his family and friends. Each time the Doctors would be amazed by his recovery. Furthermore, every time his cancer re-appeared, it followed a very stressful and negative period in his life.

Rupert Sheldrake, who has long called for the need to develop medicine and science beyond the 17th century laws, spells out this need forcibly in his book. He shows how materialism only has gradually hardened into a kind of anti-faith, an ideology rather than a scientific principle, claiming authority to dictate theories and to veto inquiries on topics that don’t suit it, such as unorthodox medicine, let alone religion. He shows how completely alien this static materialism is to modern physics where matter is dynamic. He ends each chapter with some very intriguing “Questions for Materialists”, questions such as: “Have you been programmed to believe in materialism?”; “If there are no purposes in nature, how can you have purposes yourself?”; “How do you explain the placebo response?”; “How do you explain the thousands of spiritual healings that are reported annually?” and so on.

Click play below and hear him out.

My beautiful sister Yosra, who’s amazing news this week made my heart near explode from happiness is surrounded by a team of wonderful friends and family, globally, both near and far. She calls us her team of slug slayers, as she affectionately named her tumour the “slug”. We, under her guidance and love have been collectively showering her with a constant abundance of love and prayers to help her destroy the “slug” and restore her to full health. Her treatment cocktail includes chemotherapy, love, light, positive energy, food, more blessed food, blessed water, water, homoeopathic remedies, laughter, tears, more prayers and even more love. This woman is amazing and an inspiration to so many people, I feel beyond honoured and blessed to be a part off her team. I believe the 30% reduction in her cancer is not only due to the effects of the chemotherapy drugs, medicine and scientific research expertise of the talented Doctors around her, but a combination of all that came with #teamslugslayer and the homeopathic remedies alongside the chemotherapy. That, as a scientist, I have 100% faith in.

If you want to follow her journey more closely please visit her blog www.teamslugslayer.com

To learn more about Yosra’s care and cancer visit

www.maggiescentres.org

www.macmillan.org.uk

www.cancerresearchuk.org

In the name of fairness, if you read Rupert Sheldrakes The Science Delusion (2012) you should also read Richard Dawkings The God Delusion (2006) for the counter argument. All things fair in love and war as they say.

This song has already been dedicated to you by Beyonce herself but here it is again honey, I love you and your slug but wont be sad to see the slug gone  #teamslugslayer #healingwithlove

Have a great weekend everyone.

E

Update; literally 30mins after I posted this post. This happened. Beautiful. Masha’allah. We got your back monkey, we’re with you. Thank you Beyonce and the tour family for this amazing gift.

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Can I live?

Can I liveSweater by my friend with skills on his label B-Side by Wale. For more click here.

Hello Geeks,

Firstly and most importantly I need to say a huge THANK YOU to you for all the lovely messages of support and appreciation I have received thus far. I do not have the words to convey to you how much it means to me to open my in-box after a few weeks and find so many encouraging messages. I know I have been very slack of late with my posts and so I wanted to take a moment to let you all in on what has unintentionally kept me away for so long.

This year has been exceptionally busy and I have learnt lots. I have definitely learnt that running your own consultancy business, writing a bog, teaching, caring for your parents and having a social life all at the same time totally messes with your time management scenario. However, you will be pleased to know that I think I have a handle on it all now and will be religiously aiming to put geeky science associated words to keyboard every Friday at the very least from this day on. Word to my mama (who is visiting from Sudan at the moment :-).

I wanted to give you a quick run down of some of the things I have been doing lately and let you in on what I’m working on next before moving onwards and upwards with the blog. I find it quite difficult to talk about myself in this context but I have been given strict advice by my mentor and good friends to start self promoting myself more, so here it goes. Of-course, I have “scientific” evidence to show for my lack of postings and self promotion in the form of stories and photographs you will be please to know.

I was asked to panel on the Africa Today show with Henry Bonsu to discuss the use of genetically modified foods in Africa. It was my first major TV experience and I was super nervous having only been asked to do it a few days before. I had a lot of fun and I am looking forwards to more experience in that area in the near future (watch this space).

TVA month or so later, I was invited to speak at Oxford University. I shared my experiences in science to date, my PhD research, my blog and what I thought the future of science education and research would be. It was an amazing experience, one that I will not forget and the food at the gala was immense.

Oxford1Oxford2I have also been busy giving lectures, talks and panelling at events in and around greater London, visiting schools, Universities as well as community groups. It has been humbling to meet so many varied people ranging from Essex to Lewisham to Eaton and I have learned so much in the process. The new generation of youngsters coming out of school are incredibly inspiring. I cant wait for the world to meet them.

SchoolThe most recent event I had the pleasure of being invited to panel on was hosted  at the Deutsche Bank head quarters in London for the STEMettes event aimed at presenting Women in Science Technology, Engineering and Maths. I met some amazing women and will be sharing more of that with you soon.

STEMettesI also just came back from an amazing vacation in Brazil, Salvador Bahia. I was starting to burn out and I have always been a firm believer in the concept that if you want to achieve great things you need to give your body the energy and love it needs to keep taking you upwards and onwards. So I listened, and ignored all the millions of reasons for why I should not take a break and listened to my tired body, mind and spirit and spent three weeks relaxing in the sun, sea and sand. It was bliss.

BahiaBeachSunsetI am so thankful for the blessings that I have been given so far and I have returned from Bahia with so much renewed energy. I am very excited about what’s coming next and look forwards to sharing with you. I will be adding a new subsection to my blog and it is going to be called Real Geeks where I will be interviewing some of the many new and interesting people I am meeting who I feel are total geeks who can share with us all some amazing stories about what they do and/or what they are passionate about in the world of science, art, health and more. It is going to be so much fun, I cant wait to share the first interview with you. In the meantime, I am going to share with you some new music that I love. If you do not have the new Omar album titled The Man, please do yourself a favour and buy it now. Click play below for a taster.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed reading my story and I’m looking forwards to writing and posting my next FIG post. Oh, I am also in the middle of designing a new logo for the blog that I will reveal soon, good times :-).  Have a great weekend all.

E

Weapons of choice – guerilla gardening

GG1

Hello Geeks,

I have been meaning to post this video for over two weeks when a good friend of mine put me on it. You may have guessed I am a big fan of TED videos so I make no apologies for posting up yet another amazing story.

Ron Finley had a major problem with the fast food culture in his community and would drive for 45mins out of town to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables to help him maintain a healthy diet and life-style. This video is about how one inspirational man and his vision provided some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”

He plants vegetable gardens in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs in South Central LA. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some hope for future generations. Press play and witness how one man’s great vision/seed grew and became a pillar of education, empowerment and hope for his community.

One of my favourite quotes from his talk is “you will be surprised how much of a difference a sunflower makes, they are beautiful just to look at”

Sunflower

So on that note I want to leave you with one of my all time favourite songs. Special shout out to my London people fighting the April snow.

Eyman

p.s We are trying to grow our own avocado plant at home.  The roots have started to shoot but we are not sure if it’s time to pot it or not? anyone got any tips they can send my way? or even better some photos.

The 3D Printing Craze- Anyone for a 3D printed foetus?

3Dbaby1

Happy Friday Everyone,

The weekend is here but before we all get into the swing of things I wanted to share with you a debate I have been having with myself, in my own head, as you do, so please indulge me :-). You may or may not have come across technology’s newest advancement in printers, the 3D printer. These printers literally mean you can design something and print a 3D model either in miniature or to scale (if the design fits within the parameters of the printers settings of-course, some things do not change!). All sorts of things are being printed, tea-cups, mini-architectural designs, spoons, key rings and well you get the idea right?

Or, if you live in Japan, you can get a 3D printed foetus. Yep, that’s right, a 3D foetus. A Japanese clinic is offering parents-to-be the chance to hold their baby months before the child leaves the womb. The technology offered by Fasotec and Hiroo Ladies Clinic in Tokyo, Japan, creates a 3D model of the mother’s fetus and womb using a “Bio-Texture” process and MRI scans. The service is interestingly named “Shape of an Angel” and can be yours for a mere £764 or about $1,276 not including the cost of the MRI.  You get a small, plastic, anatomically accurate (if low on resolution) model of your son or daughter, encased, if you wish, in a see-through reproduction of the mothers midriff.

3Dbaby2

For the above price, the company will squeeze you or your partner into a MRI machine – a noisy, uncomfortable-for-the-patient piece of medical equipment capable of generating a 3D picture of the body’s interior – for an hour or so. I know you are thinking, that doesn’t sound nice but according to the Fasotec representative Tomohiro Kinoshita, the Japanese women loved it.

“We actually got three expectant mothers to try this out. They said it felt great to see how their babies looked before birth, and to be able to actually hold the inside of their own body,”  He goes on to say “They also enjoyed looking at the model after giving birth, thinking, ‘This is how my baby looked inside me’ and recalling how it felt to be pregnant.”

I am making light of it here but the technology is actually quite amazing. The service is in truth something of a PR stunt designed to promote Fasotec’s “bio-texture modelling” business, for which it has high hopes of making big money by connecting medical imaging technology to 3D printing. Fasotec also sees roles for the technology in plastic and reconstructive surgery, and in dentistry. My younger brother is an orthopaedic surgeon (aka the bone gods) and he thinks this will be the way medical students will learn to become surgeons in the future. Click on the video below to see for yourself. Pretty impressive stuff.

Although I have much respect for the technology and its promise of medical advancement, I just do not know how I feel about having a 3D print out of my foetus, when did a picture of your baby become a thing of the past? and why does this not excite me? Do they charge extra for twins, I wonder? the debate goes on….3D printed shoes however, I’ll take that.

3D_Shoes13Dshoes2

I love this song and all the shoes in this video, it has been the background song to my internal dialogues this week. Click play and enjoy while you ponder on the possibility of allowing a 3D print out foetus in your life.

Have a great weekend

Eyman

Older Fathers Linked to Kids’ Autism and Schizophrenia Risk

If you are a woman, you are familiar with all the pressures and challenges attached to your reproductive system. Especially in particular, your biological clock and the increasing risks to your health and your childs developmental health the later in life you decide to have kids.

However, I was surprised to learn recently that now they have now discovered a link between older fathers and a risk of Autism and Schizophrenia in children. It has been shown that older men are more likely to have children with autism or schizophrenia than younger ones. This is due to the fact that older fathers pass on significantly more random genetic mutations onto their children increasing the risk of their children having these conditions.

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Fasting makes you younger

Hello Geeks,

As it is Ramadan again, I thought it would be a good idea to re-post this blog post to help keep us fasting people motivated lol. It is the third day in and this year I can honestly say I am struggling. Summer Ramadan’s are not the one, the day is so long and come 9.20pm I am not the most pleasant person to be around but at least I know I will look younger. Please re-blog, re-tweet and like the post.

Ramadan Kareem everyone, Love, Light and blessings to all.

Eyman

Hey All,

Hope you have all been well. Some of you may know that it is the holy month of Ramadan in the Islamic calender. This special month means that from sunrise to sunset, people of the Muslim faith abstain from eating and drinking (yes, not even water!!!). Ramadan is my favorite month, but I have to admit, this year it has been tough as the days are super long and I am definitely feeling it.

A friend of mine sent me this link to the third horizon episode called Eat, Fast and Live Longer presented by Michael Mosley.  I wanted to write a post on the scientific health benefits of fasting towards the beginning of the month but it is so much and can get very complicated. This episode is the perfect introduction into the world of health metabolics and you can see Mr Mosley take him-self through all the different types of fasts and the huge mental and physical health benefits he personally gained from actually doing the fasts. Clink on this link and watch it on bbc iplayer before it’s gone.

In-case you do not have the time to watch the whole episode. I am going to do my best to summarise the power of fasting here.

Mosley goes through different phases of food restrictions before delving into fasting. Calorie restriction, eating well but not much, is one of the few things that has been shown to extend life expectancy, at least in animals. We’ve known since the 1930s that mice put on a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet live far longer. This is also true in monkeys, the mammal of choice for testing a theory before human trials.

The world record for extending life expectancy in a mammal is held by a new type of mouse which can expect to live an extra 40%, equivalent to a human living to 120 or even longer. 120 years of life, i’m not sure I want to live to 120 but some of you may 🙂

Why I hear you ask does this mouse have such a healthy and long life? the answer is it has been genetically engineered so its body produces very low levels of a growth hormone called IGF-1, high levels of which seem to lead to accelerated ageing and age-related diseases, while low levels are protective. Tah Dah!

A similar, but natural, genetic mutation has been found in humans with Laron syndrome, a rare condition that affects fewer than 350 people worldwide. The very low levels of IGF-1 their bodies produce means they are short, but this also seems to protect them against heart disease, strokes, cancer and diabetes, all age-related diseases.

The IGF-1 hormone (insulin-like growth factor) is one of the drivers which keep our bodies in go-go mode, with cells driven to reproduce. This is fine when you are growing, but not so good later in life, it makes us get old :-/.

How does all this relate to fasting? I’m getting there, evidence suggests that IGF-1 levels can be lowered by what you eat. The reason seems to be that when our bodies no longer have access to food they switch from “growth mode” to “repair mode”. As levels of the IGF-1 hormone drop, a number of repair genes appear to get switched on according to ongoing research by Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California.

Mosley had a go fasting for 3 days and saw his levels of IGF-1 drop by over half, dramatically reducing his chances of age associated diseases and diabetes, to 1 in a billion! His face on hearing this information is priceless. Finding three continuous days of fasting difficult he researches fasting diets further and goes for the Alternate Day fasting (ADF). This diet involving eating what you want one day, then a very restricted diet (fewer than 600 calories) the next, and most surprisingly, it does not seem to matter that much what you eat on non-fast days says Dr Krista Varady of the University of Illinois at Chicago who carried a range of clinical trials.

Mosley decided, he couldn’t manage ADF, it was just too impractical. Fair enough, he was being honest with himself. Instead he did an easier version, the so-called 5:2 diet. As the name implies you eat normally 5 days a week, then two days a week you eat 500 calories if you are a woman, or 600 calories, if you are a man. It worked for him but it is important to note that there are no firm rules because so far there have been few proper human trials.

The final conclusion, fasting can be good for you both physically, mentally and spiritually. Why not try it? If you want to read some of the hard-core science click on this link.

Hope you enjoyed the read, now I’m going to enjoy my fasting experience just that little bit more knowing that it’s giving my aging processes a run for it’s money. I’m working on being forever young again like Ghost. Click on the video below for Napolean Dynamites reinterpretation of Forever Young.

Until next time, happy fasting.

Eyman

The Science of Happiness

What is happiness?  What makes people happy? The answers to these questions are still heavily debated because it is still uncertain what conditions and interventions improve happiness or quality of life. On the 29th May 2012, I attended a talk at UCL on behalf of Dr Eyman, entitled ‘The Science of Happiness’.

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The power of scent

Hey world, So this is my first post. Here goes. Hope you enjoy.

These days, body odour is something most people shy away from. Just taking a walk around the cosmetics section of any supermarket and you’ll be overwhelmed by the abundance of deodorants that all claim to combat sweat and keep you smelling fresh for even up to 72 hours. If this actually truly works we’ll never know but when you look at the perfume industry, and the various products all offering to give you the smell of sophistication, fun, mystery or any other random buzz word they can come up with and you can understand why the way we smell is so important in society. To put it simply, there is a lot of money in scent.

However, it is thought that these perfume companies might be getting it wrong. Instead of masking our odour, enhancing our natural odour or elements of it in order to attract member of the opposite sex is something that is being researched. As well as the obvious body odour that we all associate with heavy exercise or stress, like mammals in the wild we all have a unique scent that we may not be aware of but those outside of house are. This distinctive scent has subconscious effects on not only the opposite sex but everyone we come into contact with in our day to day lives. Our sense of smell is extremely sensitive, more so the female sense of smell than males and it is thought that our noses can even decode messages in other people’s odours. Recent research suggests that the scents we make could relay information about our personalities. But why would perfume companies be interested in our body scents?

Research has found that women prefer the smell of dominant men, especially during the most fertile stage of their menstrual cycle. Dominance is seen as an attractive characteristic as it could be linked to higher levels of testosterone and the ability of the man to provide and protect offspring. Men however find women more attractive during ovulation and least attractive during menstruation. These are very subtle scents, yet they can be picked up by men. If perfume manufacturers are able to determine and isolate the natural compounds that make men more attractive to women and vice versa, these could be added to women’s perfumes or men’s aftershaves. To find more click on this link.

Nowadays, our natural inclination is to hide our natural scent. These artificial scents have a profound influence on our behaviour and how other people perceive us. It is thought that we feel more confident and more attractive with artificial fragrances as opposed to our own natural scent. Socially it is not acceptable to smell of body odour, but to those who are concerned with attracting the opposite sex with their grooming habits perhaps going au natural might be the way forward. But clean au natural, there is a difference. In the words of Jill Scott, your scent is exclusive

Please share the knowledge 🙂

Lukeki

Monthly Cycle Madness- Geekformation

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last-night I had one of those life changing realisations and I couldn’t wait to share it with you all. For the past 6 months, I have been logging my often random monthly cycles with this handy I-phone app called M-Calender (one of the many reasons I am #teamiphone).

During what I thought was yet another bout of random insomnia, I tapped into the app at 4am and looked at my “symptoms” section. What I noticed actually made me get up and write this post in the middle of the night. I noticed that just before my period is about to start I have about two nights of insomnia. I noticed a pattern!! aaaaaaaargh I silently screamed, it all makes sense now.

The reason I am sharing this little piece of information with you is simple. I realised that instead of spending two nights tossing and turning in my bed trying to force my natural insomniac self to sleep during this pattern, I can simply use the 4 or 5 hours doing something productive. For example, catching up on my writing, admin and making those skype calls to all my friends across the pond. Light-bulb moment. Replace frustration with understanding and productivity 🙂

I learned so much about myself, some of the things I thought occurred, I was able to confirm by seeing the pattern (for example, my body temperature goes up around two days before and the newly-acquired moderate moodiness that accompanies it needs getting used to). The power of self-knowledge is amazing, I feel so much more in control of all those “in-controllable” symptoms just by knowing why and when they occur.

Ladies I wholeheartedly suggest you start logging your “symptoms” and help yourselves, your associates, husbands, partners, friends, family, flatmates…basically, all those who come into contact with you during that time of the month. I know a few of my girlfriends who I might just start logging alongside myself just to help me mediate their monthly life-crises.

This is how I feel inside when I am going through this experience, however you would never know as I and many other ladies make a point of carrying it gracefully (if you are unfortunate enough to get excruciatingly bad cramps like I do, I know you feel me, they are almost as bad as the man Kelis is screaming at!)

Hope my geekformation proves to be useful and please let me know if it works for you.

Until next time,

Health, love and life.

Random Geekformation- Coca Cola and Cocaine

Hey Geeks,

Hope you are all having a great week so far. I was having a discussion with my sister the other day whom I believe is actually addicted to the Coca-Cola soft-drink. I thought everyone knew the story behind Coca-Cola and it’s “success” or “rise” but apparently not, so I decided to write this post and wet your appetite for random bits of geeky information (geekformation) that I tend to collect in my already cluttered brain 🙂

Coca-Cola is one of the most well known and wealthiest companies in the world. However, the company has a very interesting narrative. Coca-Cola was started by John Pemberton during a short lived prohibition on the sale of alcohol in Atlanta. Pemberton sought an alternative to alcohol, so he made a tonic that contained carbonated water, kola nut extracts, fruit flavors, and coca leaves. Brilliant idea. Here comes the crazy part; cocaine from the coca leaves was included in the drink, which is why it caught on so fast! Once this was realised by the Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA) it was made illegal and the government limited the usage of the leaves. Not the greatest of starts right?

Then the story goes that no more cocaine was in the drink, yet the flavor was still necessary and had to be obtained from the coca.Therefore, Coca-Cola continued to use coca leaves. It was not until later when the US government completely banned any importation of coca leaves into the country that Coca-Cola was really in trouble. Because the procurement of coca leaves was illegal, Coca-Cola no longer had their key flavor. Now what are they going to do?

Of-course, money talks and Coca-Cola struck a deal with the DEA allowing them to continue to import the leaves, but ensuring the cocaine was removed. This is still the practice.The leaves are imported from Peru and Bolivia and DEA officers “watch closely” to make sure all the cocaine is removed from the leaves sent to Coca-Cola factories to be made into cola! Not think off how big Coca-cola is around the world and think of how much cocaine uhm I mean coca leaves are needed for total production. Crazy right? Peru and Bolivia…are they rich countries? hmmmm I wonder….

RIP Amy

Hope you enjoyed the random but true fact. Until next-time. Share the knowledge please.

Take Care