Dolphins are smart, sociable predators. They don’t belong in captivity and they shouldn’t be used to ‘cure’ the ill…
An autistic child swims with a dolphin. âThe dolphin smile is natureâs greatest deception,â said Ric OâBarry, who trained the dolphins in the TV series Flipper. Photo by Andrew Bosch/MCT/Getty
Imagine this. Jay, an eight-year-old autistic boy, whose behaviour has always been agitated and uncooperative, is smiling and splashing in the pool. A pair of bottlenose dolphins float next to him, supporting him in the water. Jayâs parents stand poolside as a staff member in the water engages him in visual games with colourful shapes. She asks him some questions, and Jay, captivated by his surroundings, begins to respond. He names the shapes, correctly, speaking his first words in months. With all this attention Jay is in high spirits; he appears more aware and alert than ever before. A quick, non-invasive EEG scan of his brain activity shows that it is indeed different from before the session.
Jay’s parents, who had given up hope, are elated to have finally found a treatment that works for their son. They sign up for more sessions and cannot wait to get home and tell their friends about the experience. They are not surprised to find that dolphins have succeeded where mainstream physicians have not. Everyone believes that dolphins are special â altruistic, extra gentle with children, good-natured. And any concerns the parents might have had about the welfare of the dolphins have been allayed by assurances from the trainers that they are happy and accustomed to the role they are playing. After all, as the parents can see for themselves, the dolphins are smiling.
âJayâ is a composite character drawn from the dozens of testimonials that appear on dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT) websites, but stories like his, stories about the extraordinary powers of dolphins, have been told since ancient times. Much of our attraction to these creatures derives from their appealing combination of intelligence and communicativeness, and the mystery associated with the fact that they inhabit a hidden underwater environment. Dolphins are the Other weâve always wanted to commune with. And their âsmileâ, which is not a smile at all, but an anatomical illusion arising from the physical configuration of their jaws, has led to the illusion that dolphins are always jovial and contented, compounding mythological beliefs that they hold the key to the secret of happiness.
Read all of this at AEON.
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U.S. Kids Born in Polluted Areas More Likely to Have Autism
Babies born in areas with high airborne levels of mercury, diesel exhaust, lead, manganese, nickel and methylene chloride were more likely to have autism than those in areas with lower pollution
Women who live in areas with polluted air are up to twice as likely to have an autistic child than those living in communities with cleaner air, according to a new study published today.
Building on two smaller, regional studies, the Harvard University research is the first to link air pollution nationwide with autism. It also is the first to suggest that baby boys may be more at risk for autism disorders when their mothers breathe polluted air during pregnancy.
Babies born in areas of the United States with high airborne levels of mercury, diesel exhaust, lead, manganese, nickel and methylene chloride were more likely to have autism than those in areas with lower pollution. The strongest links were for diesel exhaust and mercury.
âThe striking similarity with our results and the previous studies adds a tremendous amount to the weight of evidence that pollutants in the air might be causing autism in children,â said Andrea Roberts, a research associate at the Harvard University School of Public Health and lead author of the new study published online in Environmental Health Perspectives.
Read it all HERE.
Is Heroin a Wonder Drug or Recipe for Addiction?
One of the most notorious drugs in society today, a drug that some would call âthe drug of all drugsâ.
Heroin, an opioid drug that has cost the lives of so many. An addiction to heroin is one of the most difficult to treat. The recovery rate is not impressive.
But, was this drug always deemed as dangerous as it is today? Were there medical uses for heroin years ago?
Oddly, that appears the exactly the case. A surprising finding shows that in 1898, a German chemical company did exactly that.
In the early nineteenth century, using chemically based medications was something very new to the world of medicine. Research would suggest that one of the biggest drug companies in the world actually promoted the use of this drug in children. (1)
Bayer was widely known for promoting heroin for the use of coughâs and bronchitis in children. It was one of the biggest campaigns (1898-1912) that Bayer launched to this day.
Pictures showing parents giving their children spoonfuls of heroin were splashed all over the newspapers. How could this be? It was an actual push for parents to treat their childrenâs ailments with such an addictive opioid medication.
Where was the research of the potential for the possibility of habit forming behavior? In November of 1898, a chemist from Bayer presented the drug as more effective than morphine for pain with only one tenth of the toxic side effects.
Read it all HERE>
Grammar May Be Hidden in Toddler Babble
The little sounds and puffs of air that toddlers often inject into their baby babble may actually be subtle stand-ins for grammatical words, new research suggests.
For their study, Cristina Dye, a Newcastle University researcher in child language development, made recordings of tens of thousands of utterances of French-speaking children between 23 months and 37 months old.
Dye and her colleagues analyzed each sound the kids made and the context in which it was produced. The team said they documented a pattern of sounds and puffs of air that seemed to replace grammatical words in many cases. Their findings suggest that toddlers may properly use little words (as, a, an, can, is) sooner than thought. [That's Incredible! 9 Brainy Baby Abilities]
Finish reading HERE.
Christopher Jobson describes Anthony Howeâs sculptures as âhypnotic.â Thatâs just the right word to describe his metal forms that change shape in the wind. This one, entitled âAbout Face,â is my favorite. With 100 spinning copper panels, this face is constantly changing its expression.
You can view many more sculptures with videos at the linkâand I suggest that you do so.
American cave and rock art that lay hidden for SIX THOUSAND YEARS offers unique and remarkable insight into how Native American societies lived their lives
Archaeologists have discovered Americaâs oldest cave and rock art that has remained hidden for more than 6,000 years.
The faded images were found in Tennesseeâs Cumberland Plateau and are believed part of the most widespread collection of such art ever found in the U.S.
Some of the pictures were drawn using shallow lines made with a pointed tool and these show events such as hunting, or depict animals that the Native Americans would have lived with and eaten.
Other images are more elaborate, depicting mythical creatures and representing the Nativeâs spiritual beliefs.