Proof Cannabis DOES Lead Teenagers to Harder Drugs

Teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are 26 times more likely to turn to other drugs by the age of 21.

The study of the lives of more than 5,000 teenagers produced the first resounding evidence that cannabis is a gateway to cocaine, amphetamines, hallucinogens and heroin.

It also discovered that teenage cannabis smokers are 37 times more likely to be hooked on nicotine and three times more likely to be problem drinkers than non-users of the drug.

The findings from Bristol University provide authoritative support for those warning against the liberalisation of drugs laws.

Medical researchers have argued for years that cannabis is far from harmless and instead carries serious mental health risks. (Read more from “Proof Cannabis DOES Lead Teenagers to Harder Drugs” HERE)

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New Frontier in Cancer Care: Turning Blood Into Living Drugs

Ken Shefveland’s body was swollen with cancer, treatment after treatment failing until doctors gambled on a radical approach: They removed some of his immune cells, engineered them into cancer assassins and unleashed them into his bloodstream.

Immune therapy is the hottest trend in cancer care and this is its next frontier — creating “living drugs” that grow inside the body into an army that seeks and destroys tumors.

Looking in the mirror, Shefveland saw “the cancer was just melting away.” A month later doctors at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center couldn’t find any signs of lymphoma in the Vancouver, Washington, man’s body. (Read more from “New Frontier in Cancer Care: Turning Blood Into Living Drugs” HERE)

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Top 10 Critical Items You Must Have to Survive the Apocalypse

When it comes to survival, there is a fundamental fact that you need to know in order to be fully prepared.

It all comes down to the simple truth that the average human can live up to 3 hours in bad weather, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.

Once you understand this, you can easily develop survival strategies and pick the right gear that will serve you well if the time ever comes where you find yourself stuck in nature with no help in sight.

In this article, we are going to go over the top 10 most critical pieces of gear that you must have in order to survive in natural disasters or in situations where the world as you know it has ended.

A Word About Survival Kits

Before we jump right into the gear, it’s important to get our bearings on the different types of survival kits that are popular today.

The first type is something called a Bug Out Bag, or BOB for short. This type of kit is intended to last you 72 hours, so that you can make it to a pre-designated bug out location, or BOL. A BOB is usually preloaded with a little drinking water and other necessities to get you through 3 days of a possibly long hike.

For example, my personal bug out bag, which can be found at Trek Warrior, is a backpack with gear that weighs 31.6 pounds, and includes 3 liters of water as well as 3600 quick energy calories of food. I have plenty of gear and backup gear that will take care of all of my survival needs for over 3 days. I give the entire list for my BOB in that article.

There are also kits called I’m Never Coming Home, or INCH for short. The INCH bag is set up a little differently, and focuses more on long-term survival in many different environments. It will also focus more on specialized tools for shelter building, as well as a means to hunt and fish for meat.

A third kit that is very popular is called a Get Home Bag, or GHB. This is a bag that you put together so that you can keep it at work, school, or your vehicle with enough gear to help you get home if disaster should ever strike. Items like a change of clothes, better walking shoes, and basic camping equipment are great choices in case you had to get home from where you are at on foot.

With those three kits in mind, there are actually some fundamental pieces of gear that you will find in all of them. Combined with the right survival skills, you will be set for almost anything.

At the heart of each kit is the gear that you need to meet the core rule of survival that we discussed at the beginning of this article.

The gear addresses the needs of shelter, water, and food in their order of importance. Let’s jump right into the most critical items.

Survival Knife

If you could have just one item in nature, it would have to be a great survival knife. With a knife, you can make shelter, prepare fuel for a fire, defend yourself, and prepare food. It is the work horse of survival.

It turns out that you don’t want a knife that is too small or too big. The reason is that if it’s too small, you won’t be able to manipulate bigger branches for shelter, or even defend yourself against threats.

And if your knife is too big, you can’t use it for precision tasks like making proper tinder and kindling for your fire, or skinning an animal.

What is the proper size? An overall knife length of around 10 inches is ideal. Other features that you want in a survival knife are that it’s a fixed blade with a full tang, it has a tip point, the blade has a single sharp edge, and the bottom of the knife is flat for crushing objects.

If you get a knife with these features, then you are guaranteed to be able to use it for all of the different types of tasks you might need in nature.

Some great examples include the Ontario Black Bird SK-5, KA-BAR Becker BK2, and the Buck 119 Special.

Fire Kit

You will definitely need the ability to make a fire in order to warm your body, purify water if needed, or even cook food.

There are many ways to create fire from a gear standpoint. The easiest way, believe or not, is with a cheap plastic lighter. The technology built into a basic lighter has made creating fire trivial.

Another method is by using waterproof matches. Regular matches are not a good option here, because most likely you won’t find yourself in a nice dry environment when you need a fire.

A sure-proof way to make fire when you know what you are doing is with a ferro rod and striker. This tool is the type where you take a piece of metal and strike it on a rod, which generates hot sparks. You must practice proper fire building skills here in order for this to work well.

A great fire kit will have all three of these items in it: plastic lighter, waterproof matches, and a ferro rod with a striker.

As for knowing how to make a fire under all conditions that you might find yourself in, remember that it’s a simple rule of three: tinder, kindling, and fuel.

Tinder is a very fine material that will catch a spark easily and help it ignite. Kindling is a little bit bigger strips of material that can help the fire burn longer. Fuel is the final burning material for the fire that will burn a long time.

The best type of material for tinder includes cotton balls, fine wood flakes, and dryer lint. If you can’t find any in your environment, you can always shave off some of your cotton clothes in an emergency. Otherwise, grab some of that old dryer lint after you do your laundry and put it in a zip lock bag to keep it handy with your fire kit.

Kindling is made easily by shaving off strips of wood for your fire. You simply use your survival knife and branches to make it. Your main fuel should usually include wood from trees, furniture, or any other source you can find.

You can build a simple pyramid type structure where you light or throw sparks onto the tinder, which is surrounded by kindling, which is surrounded by fuel. Blow on the sparks to provide fresh oxygen until you get the fire roaring. It takes practice, so it’s a good idea to go camping to test out your skills.

Some great examples here include a BIC lighter, UCO Stormproof matches, and the Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter.

Poncho

A poncho is something that most of us are already familiar with. It’s simply a plastic covering that will keep you dry when it’s raining.

However, all ponchos are not created equal. The really cheap ones that you often see are intended for a one-time use and easily fall apart.

It’s much better to invest in a good one that has thicker material and is big enough to cover you properly. A military poncho is a popular choice for these reasons, and it also has reinforced grommets in the corners. This will let you use it as a tarp if you need to.

Paracord

With the luxuries of the modern world and civilization, many of us have never learned how to tie knots for making shelter while camping.

It turns out that our ancestors used cordage back in the day extensively for almost everything, from shelter to ships.

Modern technology has produced some much better materials, which makes even better cordage that we have access to compared to those that came before us.

Paracord is the type that you want for survival situations. It gets its name because it is similar to the type of cordage used for parachutes. The typical high-quality stuff can handle 550 pounds of stress, which makes it plenty strong for survival needs.

Getting a good 100-200 feet of it should give you plenty to do what you need to do in a bad situation. Just make sure that it is 550 rated or better.

Tarp/Tent

Being able to put up a shelter to get out of the elements is critical so that you can avoid hypothermia, which is where your body temperature gets too low.

Depending on how big your carry space is for your items, two popular choices here are tarps and tents. There are some lightweight one-person tents out there that are extremely compact.

A great feature about getting a military poncho like we discussed earlier is that it also doubles as a great tarp that you can use to make a shelter if you use it with paracord.

Ideally, you can get a tent here, and use your poncho as a fallback shelter if something goes wrong.

Bivvy

Getting out of the wind and the rain is the first step in stabilizing your body temperature. However, you will also need something that you can wrap yourself in that will help you warm up if you need to.

There are many emergency blankets out there that you can wrap yourself with that will reflect a lot of your body heat back onto you, warming you up.

An even better option is something called a bivvy. It is like an emergency blanket, but usually thicker and more durable, and it also has a zipper so that it resembles a thin sleeping bag.

With a bivvy, you can get much better coverage around your body so that it won’t let too much reflected heat escape. This warms you up better. Plus, it’s waterproof.

A proper sleeping bag works here, too, but is much more bulky than a bivvy, so it can be harder to fit into a kit.

A great example here is the SOL Escape Bivvy.

Water Purifier

Water is something you have to have in order to live. You will definitely need the ability to purify water so that you can avoid some nasty critters that often inhabit drinkable water sources.

Our ancestors fell victim to bugs in drinking water, which often can lead to death. Modern technology gives us some great options for purifying water, though.

If you had to get just one item, it should be a drinkable straw filter. There are a couple of brands out there that do a fantastic job including Survival Straw and Survivor Filter.

Another option is water purification tablets. They usually come in small bottles of tablets that you can throw into a container of water and wait for several minutes to get water clean of bugs.

Finally, a more primitive solution is simply boiling water. It’s best to have a metal container for your water so that this is easy, which we will discuss next.

Some great examples here are the Survival Straw and Potable Aqua tablets.

Canteen

You will need a container to carry your drinking water. They come in different materials and many different shapes and sizes.

In order to give yourself the best options for purification, it makes sense to get a good metal canteen so that you can actually boil water if you need to.

A one-liter container is a common size. If you must have a hard plastic container, then make sure and get a metal cup that fits over the bottom of it so that you have something to boil water in.

ou can also go for collapsible plastic containers as spares to be able to store even more water. Just try to get at least 1 metal container so that you can boil water. There are many great options out there, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding them.

Food

As for food, typically quick energy snacks are the best way to go for your kit.

If you want to be able to cook, you will have to not only carry cooking gear and eating utensils, but you will also need to bring actual food and more water to cook with.

Unless you are a great hunter and gatherer in your own right, you need to consider that it might be harder to cook food in nature than you are aware of.

An option that I like is ready to eat emergency rations. This is food that is ready to eat right out of the package and will give you quick energy.

The SOS Emergency Food Rations is the perfect choice here. It gives you 9 bars that are individually packaged and are 400 calories each. The package has a 5-year shelf life.

Multi-tool

Last, but not least is a proper multi-tool. There is a wide array of these tools out there that you can choose from.

You want to select one that gives you a few core tools like regular and Philips head screw driver, small scissors, and a file.

Depending on what you might be up against in an emergency, you can pick other features for your multi-tool that will serve you well.

The Leatherman Wingman is one of the most popular items, with over 14 tools included to give you the best options. The Schrade ST1NB is a cheaper option, but works well.

Conclusion

To wrap it up, we looked briefly at the three most popular types of emergency kits out there right now. They include a bug out bag, a I’m never coming home bag, and a get home bag.

At the heart of these type of kits are certain pieces of gear that support your fundamental requirements that you need to survive.

Again, you can live up to 3 hours in bad weather, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food for the average human.

We then looked at the 10 most critical pieces of gear that you must have in order to meet these needs for survival.

It’s wise to go gather up this gear into one place now when you have the time, so that it’s there if catastrophe strikes. That way, you are prepared to survive. (For more from the author of “Top 10 Critical Items You Must Have to Survive the Apocalypse” please click HERE)

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What Happens When You Leave Your Dog at Home Alone

…Most dog lovers have no idea how their animals cope once they have been left alone.

Now scientists have revealed how dogs spend up to half an hour howling, barking and whining after their owner leaves them alone . . .

The first few minutes of isolation are the most stressful for a dog, according to the researchers.

Alice Potter, a pet scientist at the RSPCA, told MailOnline: ‘The separation reaction is displayed soon after the departure of the owner, normally commencing within 30 minutes, and often within the first few minutes.’

‘The most common behavioural signs of seperation-related behaviour are destructive behaviour often targeted at the door the owner leaves through, various types of vocalisations (howling, barking and whining), defecating and urinating. (Read more from “What Happens When You Leave Your Dog at Home Alone” HERE)

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Wearable Technology Aims to Predict Relationships, Intervene When Computer Detects Trouble

Predictive behavior technology is all the rage in everything from advertising to policing to medicine, and is something that we have covered extensively at Activist Post (see our archives here). Technocrats everywhere believe that the supreme being of the universe should be a computer algorithm; because, after all, in its perfection it knows us better than we know ourselves.

The following research from the University of Southern California is a chilling example of how the State could easily employ this technology for literal interventions where potential violence could occur. Beyond the micromanagement of adult relationships, note the final direction at the end of the article: parent-child relationships.

Are we really this lazy to turn over our most intimate interactions to the advice of a computer and hope that it can help manage our every emotion? Are we really that eager to completely eradicate human free will?

Mobile sensing system developed by joint USC Dornsife and USC Viterbi team could give couples the power to anticipate each other’s emotional states and adapt behavior

Your partner comes in and slams a door. What was that about? Something you did? What if you knew to anticipate it because you were notified in advance from an automated text message that he/she didn’t have a great day at work? Might that change the dynamic of your interactions?

You had a bad day. The last thing you need is to get into an argument when you get home because your partner also had a bad day. What if technology could automatically send you a notification advising you to do a short meditation module to restore your mental state? How might this affect the quality of your interactions with your partner?

In the near future, researchers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Dornsife College of Arts, Letters and Sciences believe technology might be employed to help de-escalate any potential conflicts among couples. In a collaboration between the Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory (SAIL) in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering and the Family Studies Project in the Psychology Department at USC Dornsife, researchers employed multi-modal ambulatory measures to develop a system in order to detect if conflict had occurred between a couple—a sort of seismometer of the shakes, rattles and rolls in a relationship.

The research, documented in “Using Multimodal Wearable Technology to Detect Conflict among Couples,” by Adela C. Timmons, Theodora Chaspari, Sohyun C. Han, Laura Perrone, Shrikanth S. Narayanan, and Gayla Margolin, is published by the IEEE Computer Society this month.

In order to detect intra-couple conflict, the researchers with support from the National Science Foundation, developed algorithms to assess whether conflict was present among couples. This algorithm pulled together data from various sources including wearables, mobile phones, and physiological signals (or bio-signals) to assess couples’ emotional states. Data collected included body temperature, heart activity, sweat, audio recordings, assessment of language content and vocal intensity. The algorithm analyzing this data has proved to be up to 86 percent accurate in its ability to detect conflict episodes (based on participants’ hourly self-reports of when conflict occurred). The authors of the study believe it is the first instance in which passive modal computing is being collected and employed to detect conflict behavior in daily life.

Theodora Chaspari, an Electrical Engineering Ph.D student in Shri Naryanan’s SAIL lab at USC Viterbi, speaks of why this particular collaboration appealed to her and the SAIL group: “We could help beyond pure engineering domains, providing a more quantitative measures of human behavior.”

Lead author Adela C. Timmons, a psychology Ph.D student in Gayla Margolin’s Family Studies Project team at USC Dornsife, together with Chaspari runs the USC Couple Mobile Sensing Project with “the eventual goal of developing interventions to improve couple functioning.” In addition to the notion of helping couples who can’t often replicate the interventions and behavioral strategies they learn and practice in therapist’s office, Timmons spoke about the importance of this research in detecting and perhaps having couples minimize conflict in their relationships. She indicates that negative relationships (or the absence of positive relationships) have long been recognized as a health risk. The quality of relationships, Timmons said, can provide health benefits. Further, she indicates that research has shown that those with healthy relationships have less stress and that chronic stress is known to cause “wear and tear” on the body.

The authors say that the next step in the research is using such unobtrusive, passive technologies to anticipate conflict —perhaps five minutes before it might occur, by letting computer software determine the likelihood that conflict will occur. The other part of anticipating conflict is developing early interventions—possible real-time interventions or behavioral prompts such as text notifications of a partner’s psychological state or to guide an individual to meditate before bringing that conflict home.

Chaspari acknowledges that this is not a one-fits-all approach. Machine learning software can learn what is most useful in an individual. For example, for any given person, certain factors might have more weight in predicting conflict.

Once this system has been proven, the authors anticipate that it can be employed to other important relationships such as a parent-child dynamic. (For more from the author of “Wearable Technology Aims to Predict Relationships, Intervene When Computer Detects Trouble” please click HERE)

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Riots, Fear, Anger Predicted by AI: Simulation ‘Detects Your Emotions Under Stress’

It is true that how you react to a situation will determine whether or not you achieve a successful outcome.

During an emergency, the strength and resolve of your mindset, and of your psychological state, will ultimately be the driving factor in whether you become a survivor or a victim. Your supplies and plans will be secondary to that. During a large-scale breakdown, keeping calm under stress and resisting crowd forces to join into mayhem will be among the most valued traits.

If the animal overtakes rational man, the battle is lost. Society will immediately devolve into the worst behaviors, and people will get hurt before order is restored.

Now, a new generation of artificial intelligence is using a facial recognition feed of users’ features to detect emotional states during a major crisis scenario (while immersed in a VR simulation). While the software hasn’t evolved to a stable level yet, it is determining the threshold for which violence, chaos and absolute unrest sets in. Experts believe that AI now understands when a person is upset enough to resort to rioting, and may be directing people to keep their calm instead.

via the London Guardian:

An immersive film project is attempting to understand how people react in stressful situations by using artificial intelligence (AI), film and gaming technologies to place participants inside a simulated riot and then detecting their emotions in real time.

[…]Riot was inspired by global unrest, and was specifically inspired by [immersive filmmaker Karen] Palmer’s experience of watching live footage of the Ferguson protests in 2015. “I felt a big sense of frustration, anger and helplessness. I needed to create a piece of work that would encourage dialogue around these types of social issues. Riots all over the world now seem to be [the] last form of [community] expression,” she said.

[…]Designed as an immersive social digital experience, the objective is to get through a simulated riot alive. This is achieved through interacting with a variety of characters who can help you reach home. The video narrative is controlled by the emotional state of the user, which is monitored through AI software in real time.

[…] We see looters, anarchists and police playing their parts and “interacting” directly with us. What happens next is up to us: our reactions and responses determine the story, and as the screen is not enclosed in a headset, but open for others to see, it also creates a public narrative.

Currently,Riot’s pilot interface can recognise three emotional states: fear, anger and calm.

Is there ultimately something we can learn about ourselves in simulations of how we would react under stress, and to the harsh environments of an unstable society during which some actors will resort to ugly extremes?

The emotional state is directly influenced by physiological reactions by the body under stress – and the ultimatum fight or flight response kicks in. As Lizzie Bennett wrote:

The Physiological Basics

Pupils dilate to take in as much light as possible
Blood-glucose levels increase
Veins in the skin contract allowing extra blood flow to the muscles
Smooth muscle relaxes to allow extra oxygen for the lungs
Heart rate increases
Blood pressure increases
Non-essential systems shut down (digestion for example)
The only focus is the task in hand

Such information may be useful to training; and, indeed, a computer-fed feedback loop could help an individual doing repeated simulations to learn to keep calm, maintaining such factors as blood pressure and heart rate under thresholds for calm and sober reactions.

Awareness of these factors may increase your control over them, to aid in your advantage.

The other side of the coin is predictive behavior, real-time surveillance analysis of the population, and the programming of artificial stimuli to make people react. Now they know what makes them tick – and they know what type of event, real or manufactured, might make them react.

“We have been doing research in emotion detection from facial expression, voice, body gesture, EEG, etc for many years,” said Meng. He hopes the project’s success will make people see the benefits of AI, leading to the development of smart homes, building and cities.

The only question is whether they want to provoke a crowd into riots (maybe to demonize the opposition) or whether they want to calm and pacify the crowds (maybe to keep people from caring about the effects of oppressive laws or bad policy).

The near-future now promises to regulate our lives this way – this technology will be used to direct people in real-life living environments, with inputs from smart devices nudging your behavior, socially engineering your meaningful activities, and perhaps your thinking.

How will you prepare for a future of tracking and behavior monitoring? Will it alter your preps, change your thinking or lead you to alternate strategies? (For more from the author of “Riots, Fear, Anger Predicted by AI: Simulation ‘Detects Your Emotions Under Stress'” please click HERE)

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Elon Musk Launches Neuralink, a Venture to Merge the Human Brain With AI

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is backing a brain-computer interface venture called Neuralink, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company, which is still in the earliest stages of existence and has no public presence whatsoever, is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence. These enhancements could improve memory or allow for more direct interfacing with computing devices.

Musk has hinted at the existence of Neuralink a few times over the last six months or so. More recently, Musk told a crowd in Dubai, “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.” He added that “it’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.” On Twitter, Musk has responded to inquiring fans about his progress on a so-called “neural lace,” which is sci-fi shorthand for a brain-computer interface humans could use to improve themselves.

These types of brain-computer interfaces exist today only in science fiction. In the medical realm, electrode arrays and other implants have been used to help ameliorate the effects of Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and other neurodegenerative diseases. However, very few people on the planet have complex implants placed inside their skulls, while the number of patients with very basic stimulating devices number only in the tens of thousands. This is partly because it is incredibly dangerous and invasive to operate on the human brain, and only those who have exhausted every other medical option choose to undergo such surgery as a last resort. (Read more from “Elon Musk Launches Neuralink, a Venture to Merge the Human Brain With AI” HERE)

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Something Disgusting Was Just Found in These Coca Cola Cans

Police have launched an investigation after what appears to be human waste was found in a shipment of drinks cans at a Co Antrim factory.

Multinational Coca-Cola said it was probing the matter with the PSNI. It added products currently on sale were not affected.

The night shift at Lisburn’s Coca-Cola plant was disrupted last week when a container of cans thought to have arrived from Germany clogged up the machines – only for workers to discover a number were filled with what looked like human waste.

“It was absolutely horrible, and the machines had to be turned off for about 15 hours to be cleaned,” a source said. “It was unusual because normally the cans come from somewhere else in the UK, but this time they apparently came from Germany.

“The rumour is that some poor immigrants could have made that long journey in the lorry and that in their desperation were forced to use the cans instead of a toilet. (Read more from “Something Disgusting Was Just Found in These Coca Cola Cans” HERE)

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Bigfoot Blamed in Idaho Car Crash

A northern Idaho woman told police she crashed into a deer because she was distracted by a sasquatch in her rearview mirror.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports that the 50-year-old Tensed woman was driving south on U.S. Highway 95 on Wednesday when she struck a deer near Potlatch.

The woman told Benewah County Sheriff’s officials that she saw a sasquatch chasing a deer on the side of the road while driving. She says she checked one of her mirrors to get a second look at the beast and when she looked up, the deer ran in front of her. (Read more from “Bigfoot Blamed in Idaho Car Crash” HERE)

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In an Unexplained Case, Brain Activity Has Been Recorded as Much as 10 Minutes After Death

Doctors in a Canadian intensive care unit have stumbled on a very strange case – when life support was turned off for four terminal patients, one of them showed persistent brain activity even after they were declared clinically dead.

For more than 10 minutes after doctors confirmed death through a range of observations, including the absence of a pulse and unreactive pupils, the patient appeared to experience the same kind of brain waves (delta wave bursts) we get during deep sleep. And it’s an entirely different phenomenon to the sudden ‘death wave’ that’s been observed in rats following decapitation.

“In one patient, single delta wave bursts persisted following the cessation of both the cardiac rhythm and arterial blood pressure (ABP),” the team from the University of Western Ontario in Canada reports.

They also found that death could be a unique experience for each individual, noting that across the four patients, the frontal electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings of their brain activity displayed few similarities both before and after they were declared dead.

“There was a significant difference in EEG amplitude between the 30-minute period before and the 5-minute period following ABP cessation for the group,” the researchers explain. (Read more from “In an Unexplained Case, Brain Activity Has Been Recorded as Much as 10 Minutes After Death” HERE)

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