Scientists Figure out the Cause of Brain Farts
January 12, 2010
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A "brain fart" is a term for an inexplicably stupid error in a straightforward task made by someone with abundant skill and experience. Everyone is prone to them. Neuroscientists call these episodes "maladaptive brain activity changes."
The latest research seems to indicate that brain farts are a unique type of cognitive mistake. They have a predictable neural pattern that emerges up to 30 seconds before they happen.
Basically, your brain will take any opportunity to shut down some of its processing systems. Here's the process step by step:
You're daydreaming, and your medial temporal lobe subsystem, precuneus, medial prefrontal subsystem, and posterior cingulate cortex, which together make up the default mode network (DMN) are all active.
You confront a demanding task, such as driving home. Your anterior cingulate and right prefrontal regions, brain areas involved in attention, begin to activate, as do the cerebellum and the parietal, visual, and temporal cortices, which control the motor coordination you need to pilot through traffic. At the same time, the DMN deactivates.
Your route is extremely familiar. Your frontal lobes, bored by this habitual task, begin to power down. The retrosplenial cortex in the posterior section of the DMN begins to stir again. When the balance of activity between the DMN and the attention network reaches a certain threshold, you enter an error-prone state. You miss your exit off the highway.
Your frontal lobes fire up again at high levels in an attempt to compensate for the error. They return to a state of optimal performance, ready to work on a corrective action.
The stress of having made a blunder activates the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, your brain's "panic button." You experience a surge of the stress hormone cortisol.
What Are GMOs?
From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.
GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.
Help Support GMO Labeling
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.
Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.
The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.
Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve
Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.
Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.