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Every Parent Should Avoid These Household Chemicals Which Lower Children’s IQ

Every Parent Should Avoid These Household Chemicals Which Lower Children’s IQ

Household chemicals adversely affect human health, especially children. They disrupt human glands, including those that produce thyroid and testosterone hormones. A recent study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health reports that a child exposed to elevated levels of two common household chemicals may suffer a significant drop in IQ.

Household Chemicals Containing Toxins

Common household products contain chemicals that are toxic and contribute to a variety of ailments people, especially young children, suffer from. Di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) is a synthetic chemical found in many familiar household products: nail polish, glue, hair spray, insect repellent, and carpet backing, to name a few. Most people are exposed to low levels of this chemical in the air. In addition, people become exposed to DnBP through foods packaged and stored in materials that contain this toxic chemical.

Di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP) is an additive used to help keep plastic flexible. DiBP is used in everyday products many of us use: cosmetics, printing inks, perfumes, shoe-soles, flooring, wall coverings, cables, tubing, and wiring.

According to the recent Columbia University study, children of mothers who were exposed to concentrated levels of DiBP and DnBP during pregnancy had IQs 6.6 to 7.6 points lower than children of mothers exposed to lower concentrations of these common household chemicals.

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Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, lead author and associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School said the following about the results of their recent study:

“Pregnant women across the United States are exposed to phthalates almost daily; many at levels similar to those that we found were associated with substantial reductions in the IQ of children.”

Senior author, professor of Environmental Health Sciences, and Deputy Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School, Dr. Robin Whyatt had this to say:

“The magnitude of these IQ differences is troubling. A six- or seven-point decline in IQ may have substantial consequences for academic achievement and occupational potential.”

Dr. Factor-Litvak added more on their findings:

“While there has been some regulation to ban phthalates from toys of young children, there is no legislation governing exposure during pregnancy, which is likely the most sensitive period for brain development. Indeed, phthalates are not required to be on product labeling.”

Reduce the Risk of Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

It is practically impossible to avoid exposure to dangerous and toxic household chemicals. However, concerned individuals, families, parents, caregivers, and pregnant women can take precautionary steps to reduce exposure to these toxins.

Toxic levels of phthalates are their highest in new products. Children chewing on some plastic toys may be exposed to toxic household chemicals, as well.

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In addition, avoid microwaving food in plastics in order to avoid potential exposure.

Moreover, scented candles, dryer sheets, air fresheners, and recyclable products labeled 3, 6, or 7 should also be avoided.

This last September, researchers reported a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and risk for asthma in children. These recent findings confirm earlier studies that suggest an association between prenatal exposure to DiBP and DnBP and a child’s motor and cognitive development and behavior at the age of three.

Phthalates have been an important ingredient used in the creation of plastics and other materials. They have many uses, which include consumer products, medicine, and other industries. However, national and international organizations are continuing their review of the environmental and health effects and risks of exposure to phthalates.

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Recent reviews claim phthalates in toys pose a risk. Additionally, researchers suggest exposure to phthalates in workplaces should be reduced.  In the United States, several phthalates have been banned from children’s toys and other childcare articles since 2009.

However, steps to protect the developing fetus by alerting pregnant women to possible exposures have not been enforced. For that matter, in the U.S., phthalates are hardly ever listed as ingredients on products in which they are used. Nevertheless, concerned individuals and families should be aware, exercise caution, and heed the scientific advice pertaining to household chemicals to avoid.

Featured photo credit: U.S. Customs & Border Protection via tribwgntv.files.wordpress.com

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George Zapo

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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