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The website of Author/Writer and Psychic Medium Astrid Brown. Making the most of 'YOU' i.e. how to achieve well-being and beauty from within ourselves. A truly holistic blog providing information on all aspects of psychic mediumship, spiritualism, philosophy, holistic therapies, nutrition, health, stress, mental health and beauty with a little bit of Wicca for good measure. Feeling and looking good is as much a part of how we feel inside as the outside.

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I am a great believer in Karma, but just what is it? Karma comes from the Sanskrit and ancient Indian Language with the underlying principal that every deed in our lives will affect our future life. For example, if we treat others badly during our lifetime we will have negative experiences later on in that lifetime or in future lifetimes. Likewise, if we treat others well we will be rewarded by positive experiences.

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Today I am blogging about inexperienced Psychics/Mediums. There are many psychics/mediums around who give the profession a bad name, t...

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Thursday, 27 November 2014


  • Dr. Turhan Canli is a professor from Stony Brook University, in the U.S. 
  • Argues depression should be re-conceptualised as an infectious disease
  • Condition is caused by parasites, bacteria or viruses, he claims
  • People with depression show sickness like those suffering infection
  • If his theory is true, a vaccination against depression could be possible

Depression should be re-defined as an infectious disease rather than an emotional disorder, argues one scientist.
The condition could result from a parasitic, bacterial or viral infection and future research into the condition should search for these micro-organisms, argues Dr. Turhan Canli, of Stony Brook University, U.S. 
If his theory is true, he hopes a vaccination to protect against depression could be developed in future.
Writing in the journal Biology of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Dr Canli said: 'It is time for an entirely different approach.
Depression should be re-conceptualised as an infectious disease caused by parasites, bacteria or viruses, argues Dr Turhan Canli, a professor at Stony Brook University, U.S.
'Instead of conceptualising major depression as an emotional disorder, I suggest to re-conceptualise it as some form of an infectious disease.
'I propose that future research should conduct a concerted search for parasites, bacteria, or viruses that may play a causal role in the etiology of major depression.'
He divides his theory into three arguments.
He said patients with depression exhibit sickness-like behaviours.
They lose their energy, have difficulty getting out of bed and lose interest in the world around them, displaying the same symptoms as people who have an infectious disease.
Studies of the patients with depression also show the presence of inflammatory markers in their brains, he said.
These inflammatory markers might indicate the immune system has been activated in response to some kind of pathogen, which could be a parasite, bacterium or virus - this being what is causing the symptoms of depression, he argued.


Women in positions of power at work are at risk of poorer mental health than women further down the career ladder, a study has found.
Researchers found that while men tend to feel better the more authority they have, the reverse is often true for women.
‘Women with job authority – the ability to hire, fire and influence pay – have significantly more symptoms of depression than women without this power,’ said Tetyana Pudrovska, of the University of Texas, who carried out the study.2
‘In contrast, men with job authority have fewer symptoms of depression than men without such power.
‘What’s striking is that women with job authority in our study are advantaged in terms of most characteristics that are strong predictors of positive mental health,’ she added.
‘These women have more education, higher incomes, more prestigious occupations, and higher levels of job satisfaction and autonomy than women without job authority.
‘Yet they have worse mental health than lower-status women.’
His second argument is that there are examples of parasites, bacteria or viruses affecting emotional behaviour throughout nature.
The best known example is Toxomaplasma gondii (T.gondii), a parasite which lives in the intestinal tract of a cat.
There, it lays eggs which are dispersed into the environment when the cat excretes.
When a rat comes in contact with these eggs and becomes infected, it becomes attracted to the scent of cat urine.
The rat’s behaviour is through parasitic cysts being deposited across its brain, activating the same pathways involved in sexual arousal.
He says one third of the world’s population is thought to be infected with T.gondii. The infection is associated with markers of inflammation, as observed in depressed patients.
Of patients with a diagnosed major depression or bipolar disorder, those with a history of attempting suicide had higher levels of antibodies created to fight T.gondii bacteria.
‘Yet, large-scale studies of major depression and T. gondii or systematic searches to discover other potential parasitic infections have not yet been conducted,’ Dr Canli argued in his paper.
Similarly, he cites a number of studies in which rodents’ emotional behaviour changes when they are exposed to bacteria.
Large studies looking at associations between viruses and depressions exist already too, he said.
He cites an analysis of 28 studies, which found a link between viruses and depression. These included the Borna disease virus (BDV), the herpes virus responsible for cold sores, varicella zoster virus, which causes chicken pox and and Epstein-Barr virus, which causes glandular fever.
One study found BVD virus was 3.25 more likely to be found in depressed people than in non-depressed people, he said. Another found BVD in the brain’s of two out of 30 depressed patients.
His final argument is that re-conceptualising depression as an infectious disease is useful when thinking about the genetics of the disease.

If his theory is true, he hopes a a vaccination to protect against depression could be developed in future
The search for specific genes linked to depression has come up empty, he said, adding: ‘Perhaps, we have been looking at the wrong organism.’
While studies have looked for internal changes in human genes, which might explain depression, 8 per cent of the human genome is based on external changes, such as from viruses.
Bacteria, viruses and parasistes could transfer genes into our cells, leading to changes in our genetic structure.
They could also be passed during birth or through contact between parents and their children, he said.
He concluded that large scale studies involving patients with depression and people without the condition should be carried out to see if parasites, viruses or bacteria could be the cause.
He added: ‘Such efforts, if successful, would represent the ‘end of the beginning’ , as any such discovery would represent the first step toward developing a vaccination for major depression.’ 

Astrid Brown (Author)
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Monday, 10 November 2014


I am glad to see this development as there has been no significantly new antibiotics for sometime. Over prescribing of antibiotics is something that really annoys me, it's all too easy to blame doctors but its the public who are at fault and its the public who have created the super bugs such as MRSA, through their ignorance, though there's been plenty of attempts to educate them on the use of antibiotics. Many countries sell antibiotics over the counter without a doctors prescription, this is wrong as taking antibiotics for relatively minor conditions leads to the bacteria developing resistance to the antibiotic. If you are ill enough to feel you need antibiotic please see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Even ointments containing antibiotics, however how much are still antibiotics at the end of the day and the body does have the capacity to deal with minor infections, if the condition continues to worsen please see a doctor. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses or fungal conditions, so going to the doctor when you have a cold and asking for antibiotics is pointless. Doctors I have to say are now aware of this more. And one of the worse culprits for leading to resistance is failing to finish the course prescribed, this leads to the bacteria developing immunity to the antibiotic, so if you are prescribed an antibiotic finish the entire course even if you are feeling much better. When I was a young nurse I was trained to gown up i.e. to wear gloves, a mask and a protective gown when administering antibiotic injections, this was to prevent us becoming sensitive to the antibiotic, this no longer is the case, for the less we are exposed to antibiotics the less we are likely to develop allergies and for bacteria to become resistant. I hope in the future people will become aware to how valuable and wonderful antibiotics are and not take them for granted and listen to medical advice.


Could HORSE MANURE develop a new generation of antibiotics? Mushrooms on dung could be effective at killing bacteria

  • Substance, known as copsin, can be found on the gray shag mushroom
  • Scientists say that copsin has the same effect as traditional antibiotics
  • It belongs to a different type of biochemical family because it is a protein
  • As well as antibiotics, it may also be possible to use copsin in the food industry to tackle pathogens such as Listeria

Scientists claim the rise of untreatable bacteria is one of the biggest health threats facing the world.
To prevent minor infections killing people globally, researchers are in a race against time to develop new and better types of antibiotics.
Now scientists in Switzerland believe they have found one solution to the problem in an unlikely place: the gray shag mushroom that grows on horse dung.
Scientists in Switzerland believe they have found a substance that can lead to a new type of antibiotic in an unlikely place: the gray shag mushroom (pictured) 
The three-dimensional structure studied by ETH researchers exhibits the compact form of copsin
The gray shag mushroom grows on horse manure

Scientists have created the first viable alternative to antibiotics, marking the next step in the fight against drug-resistant superbugs

Scientists in Switzerland believe they have found a substance that can lead to a new type of antibiotic in an unlikely place: the gray shag mushroom (pictured) 
The substance, known as copsin, has the same effect as traditional antibiotics, but belongs to a different type of biochemical family because it is a protein.
The researchers led by Markus Aebi, a mycology professor at ETH Zurich, discovered the substance in the common inky cap mushroom Coprinopsis cinerea.
Copsin belongs to the group of defensins, a class of small proteins produced by many organisms to combat microorganisms that cause disease.
The human body also produces defensins to protect itself against infections. They have been found, for example, on the skin and in the mucous membranes.
The gray shag mushroom grows on horse manure. It contains a substance known as copsin, The three-dimensional structure studied by ETH researchers shows the compact form of copsin on the left
For Professor Aebi, the main focus of this research project was not primarily on applications for the new substance.
'Whether copsin will one day be used as an antibiotic in medicine remains to be seen. This is by no means certain, but it cannot be ruled out either,' he says.
The ETH professor is now looking at how fungi have used defensins and other naturally antibiotic substances for millions of years to protect themselves against bacteria - without becoming resistant. 
Scientists have created the first viable alternative to antibiotics, marking the next step in the fight against drug-resistant superbugs
Scientists have created the first viable alternative to antibiotics, marking the next step in the fight against drug-resistant superbugs.
A small test study has found the new drug is effective at targeting the bacteria that causes MRSA.
Researchers believe the likelihood of the bug developing a resistance to the new drug is 'very limited'.
A version of the drug is already used in specialist creams to treat conditions including acne, eczema, rosacea and skin irritations.
Dutch biotech firm Micreos claims Staphefekt is the first endolysin - a bacteria-killing enzyme - available for use on human skin.
While targeting MRSA and other strains of bacteria resistant to antibiotics, the drug's make up means it leaves 'good' bacteria unharmed - important in the case of long-term use.
The firm unveiled its discovery at the EuroSciCon meeting, Antibiotics Alternatives for the New Millenium, in London last week. 
'Fungi have internal instructions on how to use these substances without resulting in selection of resistant bacteria. How to decode these instructions is an intriguing problem for basic research,' explains Professor Aebi.
In addition to being used as an antibiotic in medicine, it may also be possible to use copsin in the food industry as well.
This is because copsin kills many pathogens including Listeria, a type of bacteria that can cause severe food poisoning and is therefore feared, especially in the production of non-heat treated foodstuffs such as raw milk cheeses and dried meats.

Astrid Brown (Author)
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Tuesday, 4 November 2014



Girls who are stressed and prone to depression 'age faster than their peers'
Girls with a family history of depression respond differently to stress
Their bodies release higher levels of the hormone cortisol
They also have telomeres that are shorter by the equivalent of six years
Telomeres are caps on the end of chromosomes which are linked to ageing
Shorter telomeres are linked to premature death, and increase in disease
Exercise has been shown to delay telomere shortening, experts advised ..............continued below.................



Well this goes way back to the times when we were developing as humans and in early periods in history. The body's chemistry was designed to protect us with "The fight or flight response". For example man sees a big bear approach what does he do? he either tackles it or he runs off. Nature is very clever and gives us the capacity to do this. However in 2011 we no longer have the bears, wolves, etc. (ok some of you may) like of yesteryear we have different stresses. Your work colleagues or your neighbours may annoy you but you can't fight them, nor can you run away, but you can learn to deal and dissipate your stress levels so that it doesn't impinge on your health.

But firstly we need to deal with the science bit for if we understand the physiology of stress we're half way there to solving the impact stress has on our lives.


Deep within the brain we have an area known as the Hypothalamus (1), its the home of our moods and emotions and a very primitive part of the brain. The Hypothalamus is also the area that maintains equilibrium in our bodies and it maintains and regulates every bit of our body's chemistry. It is the area that controls the Endocrine system, it forms part of the Autonomic Nervous System and part of the Limbic System. It is Hypothalmus  that is the key to managing stress and all its detrimental effects on our mind and body. It is directly through this area that the holistic therapy Aromatherapy works and is managed by other holistic therapies.

 Since the Hypothalamus is the home of moods and emotions anything that affects these will influence the Hypothalamus, thus will have an effect on the body's equilibrium.

Now if we are stressed and modern stressors are not the same as those stressors we had as we were evolving as humans, they still have the same effect resulting in "the fight or flight response"
(1)The Role of the Hypothalamus

The Hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls the endocrine system.

The Pituitary gland lies beneath the Hypothalamus  and it is this that controls the other endocrine glands.

The Hypothalamus receives information about the Homeostasis (balance) of the body, this is achieved by two means:

  • The blood circulation i.e. temperature, blood glucose levels and hormone levels
  • The nervous system i.e. The Autonomic Nervous system i.e. the part of the nervous system that regulates automatic functions e.g. breathing, heart rate etc. and mental and emotional states, our feelings: these influence ‘automatic responses’ e.g. ‘The fear, flight response’

The Hypothalamus responds to these changes by:

  • Secreting Hormones (chemical messengers) that regulate hormones to be released by the anterior lobe of the pituitary
  • The hypothalamus also directly releases hormones via the Posterior Lobe of the Pituitary , Vasopressin (ADH) and Oxytocin
  • And by stimulating a nerve response to the ‘Central Nervous System’ (Brain & spinal Cord)


Moods/emotions affect the hypothalamus, the hypothalamus evokes a reaction on the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland produces Adrenocorticotropic hormone this in turn targets the adrenal glands causing them to secrete Cortisone, Cortisone in turn effects the kidneys causing a rise in blood pressure by causing changes in the amount of salt secreted, this hormone causes the body to retain salt. Now remember the Hypothalamus one of its jobs is to maintain the body's equilibrium, it detects a rise in salt levels in the blood so to keep balance it causes the body to retain fluid, it is this retained fluid that increases blood pressure. At the same time, the Hypothalamus being part of the Central Nervous System evokes what is known as the Sympathetic Nervous System this diverts blood away from the digestive system and to lesser important body structures such as the skin and concentrates the blood to the heart, lungs and muscles. Simultaneously this nervous response influences the adrenal glands to produce Adrenalin and Noradrenalin, it is these hormones that induces vasoconstriction (reduces the blood supply) to the skin and peripheral tissues, thus also raising blood pressure.

Now this is putting it simply there are a few other processes also going on to increase blood sugar to give the body fuel to either run off or fight, Corticotrophic hormones influence the pancreas to secrete glucagon this has the opposite effect as insulin.

When the stress is over the Parasympathetic Nervous reverses the process again it is the Hyptholamus that instigates this.

Obviously its much more complex than this and I have focused on a few key hormones as it the action of these hormones that affects our well-being, the ageing process and blood pressure.

The fight or flight response was not designed to last forever it was meant ti instigate an action to deal with an aggressor, be it a wild animal or in a fight with an attacker therein lies the problem modern stressors tends to be work, work colleagues etc. the stress becomes long acting, this kind of reaction is fine in the short term but very detrimental to the body in the long term.

Take Cortisone, it has a damaging effect on specialised cells within the dermis (the skin), fibroblasts, these cells produce collagen and elastin, it is collagen and elastin that gives our skin elasticity and support. Adrenalin reduces blood supply to the peripheral tissues, such as the skin and hair, therefore, these structures do not receive adequate nourishment from the blood. So the effect of long term stress affects the skin resulting in ageing of the skin

Stress and how it affects us 

Stress The dictionary definition of stress is: a constraining or impelling force, effort or demand upon physical or mental energy. A stressor is a person or situation that makes you become stressed. We are more likely to suffer stress in society today than that of our ancestors. 70% of all illness to day is now directly attributed to stress. Modern society with all its pressures traffic congestion, over-crowding, noise, fears and general uncertainties about work, mortgages and family life present situation after situation where the state of stress is ever present. Stress is an everyday part of modern life, everyone experiences at sometime or another and everyday stresses are not necessarily harmful. A certain about of stress keeps us motivated and stimulated to make life more enjoyable and interesting. It is the effect of long-term stress that can be positively harmful to our bodies.

When do stress levels become harmful? 

The factors that seem to make any situation dangerously stressful are:

• Lack of predictability
• Lack of control
• Lack of outlets for frustration

For when these elements are present even simple situations can become stressful and produce a reaction that is completely out of proportion to the cause. It is not the situation but our reaction to it that creates the stress in our lives. The problem with us humans we have this tendency to dwell on the past and worry about the future and this takes our attention away from the present. Yet it is in the present moment that we have the greatest clarity to deal with any situation. We should enjoy our life in the present for in holding on to the past and holding back the future we create fear and ultimately stress. Growth in our lives is usually preceded by change the problem is handling change can be difficult in the short term and life-changing events such as:

• Bereavement
• Moving House
• Debt
• Ill Health
• Difficult Relationships
• Stressful Work
• Family Problems Have been identified as the most likely to cause negative or harmful stress.
Even positive events such as:
• Marriage
• Pregnancy
• A child starting school or University May cause you stress and can ultimately lead to illness.

Your personality and coping mechanisms will largely determine how you deal with these daily stresses and strains.

MPB (c)


Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced within the adrenal cortex in the adrenal glands, these are cone shaped organs sitting on top of the kidneys. It's a very important hormone and responsible for proper glucose metabolism, helping regulate blood pressure, has a part to play in insulin and blood sugar levels and is part of the inflammatory response. It's often known as the stress hormone but as you can see that's only part of its functions, and this is because it's secreted in higher levels as part of the 'Fight or Flight response'. When secreted in short bursts its beneficial to the body as due to it's actions, it helps mobilise energy reserves, heightens memory and lowers response to pain. This is how and why it's beneficial in the 'Fight and Flight response', it acts quickly and helps survival, however today's stresses are not the same as yesteryear and therein lies the problem.

When there is prolonged secretion of this hormone, when stress is on going, it causes blood sugar imbalances, affects bone density, causing it to decrease and also causes a decrease in muscle tissue. It raises blood pressure affects the body's immune system making us more susceptible to infection and leads to poor healing. It also causes shifts in body fat by increasing more fat around the abdominal areas and leads to higher levels of cholesterol.

The Hypothalamus & the Relationship to the Endocrine System in ‘Stress’

Below the flow chart illustrates how our minds' emotions and feelings trigger a reaction in the Hypothalamus to instigate what happens in the 'Fight or Flight' response. The Hypothalamus then in turn influences both the Autonomic Nervous System and the Endocrine system. This is fine short term it helps us cope in dangerous scenarios and was designed as a protective response, however the stresses of today are not those of yesteryear. No harm comes to our bodies in the short term, this is not the case in long term stress. All is not lost for there are ways we can influence the Hypothalamus to prevent the long term damaging effects of stress on our health. I shall be exploring this under Holistic Therapies. 

Girls who are stressed and prone to depression may age prematurely, a new study has found.
The research shows girls with a family history of depression respond to stressful situations by releasing higher levels of the hormone cortisol.
Scientists believe that in large amounts, cortisol can damage the immune system and organs, including the brain.
Girls with a history of depression also have telomeres that are shorter by the equivalent of six years in adults, researchers found. 
Girls prone to depression respond to stress by producing more of the hormone cortisol. They have shorter telomeres -  the caps on the end of chromosomes - which is a sign of ageing
Girls prone to depression respond to stress by producing more of the hormone cortisol. They have shorter telomeres -  the caps on the end of chromosomes - which is a sign of ageing

Telomeres are caps on the ends of chromosomes, which get a little shorter every time a cell divides, or as a result of exposure to stress.
Telomere length is like a biological clock corresponding to age, getting shorter as adults grow up.
Previous studies have shown links between shorter telomeres and premature death, more frequent infections, and chronic diseases in adults.  
Professor Ian Gotlib, from Stanford University said the findings came as a surprise.
He said: 'I did not think that these girls would have shorter telomeres than their low-risk counterparts — they're too young.'
For the study, researchers recruited 10 to 14-year-old healthy girls with a family history of depression and compared them to healthy girls without that background. 
They measured the girls' response to stress tests, asking them to count backward from 100 by seven, and interviewing them about stressful situations.
Before and after the test, the team measured the girls' cortisol levels and also analysed DNA samples for telomere length.
'No one had examined telomere length in young children who are at risk for developing depression,' before the study, Professor Gotlib said. 
Healthy but high-risk 12-year-old girls had significantly shorter telomeres - a sign of premature aging. 
Exercise has been shown to delay telomere shortening in adults, so girls at high-risk girls should take exercise and learn other stress reduction techniques, experts advised
Exercise has been shown to delay telomere shortening in adults, so girls at high-risk girls should take exercise and learn other stress reduction techniques, experts advised

Professor Gotlib said: 'It's the equivalent in adults of six years of biological aging.
But he added that 'it's not at all clear that that makes them 18, because no one has done this measurement in children'.
Exercise has been shown to delay telomere shortening in adults, so girls at high-risk girls should learn stress reduction techniques, he advised.
Other studies show that neuro-feedback and attention bias training – which redirects attention toward the positive - appear promising.
Other investigators are studying techniques based on mindfulness training.
Professor Gotlib said he and colleagues are continuing to monitor the girls from the original study and it seems as though those with shorter telomeres are more likely to become depressed.
'It's looking like telomere length is predicting who's going to become depressed and who's not' he said.
The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Astrid Brown (Author)
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Sunday, 2 November 2014


If you want to read more about my books and excerpts of my writing please hop over to my other website http://www.astridbrownauthor.com

Astrid Brown (Author)
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I am often asked various questions pertaining to the spirit world and various aspects of the psychic, here are some of them: I will in time feature more questions and answers as this webpage evolves

Q. Is a psychic or medium a fortune teller?
A. It may surprise you to know psychics and mediums are not fortune tellers
Q. Is it possible to forecast the future?
A.Well not 100% and this is because of free will.
Q. What is free will?
A. Free will is YOUR right to decide what you want to do about a situation, it is a choice
Q. How does free will affect a situation?
A. Well before we incarnate as Spirit in a human body, we decide on what experiences and challenges that will benefit our spiritual growth. However we are given the choice (free will) as to whether we go through with the experience or challenge. In effect we are allowed to change or mind.
Q. So are you saying we all know what lies before us?
A. Well in a way we all do. Remember we are 'Spirit' in a human body and your spirit does retain a memory but it is deep in our subconscious. This memory is retained deeply for a reason to help us fulfill our experiences and challenges we ourselves chose. However it is also at this deep level so we are not so aware. If you knew what lay before you would you go through with it? Probably not but we still retain this memory deeply and this reflects in our Aura.
Q. So what is the Aura?
A.The aura is The Aura is an electromagnetic field that surrounds living bodies, this includes people, animals, plants and crystals and is composed of several layers that are constantly moving. The Aura links us to whats known as Universal energy i.e. that is all the knowledge in the Universe past, present and future. It is on this aura that psychics are able to tap into and access your past, whats going on in the present and the possible future and I say possible specifically if your goal or desire is dependent on other people, for remember every person involved in a situation has free will.