How to use the 4 7 8 sleep method to fall asleep fast and curb anxiety

By Claire Davies published about 6 hours ago

Loved the military sleep technique? The 4 7 8 sleep method is even easier — here’s how to use it

 Comments (0)

A man with dark hair sleeps on his side covered by a white comforter

(Image credit: Getty )

If you’re having trouble sleeping, your mind is whirring and you want an easy yet powerful breathing technique to help you fall asleep fast, then it’s time to get familiar with the 4 7 8 sleep method.

This popular sleep trick was developed by Dr Andrew Weil, Founder and Director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. Dr Weil described the 4 7 8 sleep method as “a natural tranquilliser for the nervous system”. Sounds good, right?

Also known as the Relaxing Breath, this breathing technique is one of three recommended by breathwork expert Dr Weil. Here’s it works, and how it can help you fall asleep faster and curb stress and night time anxiety…

How does the 4 7 8 sleep method work?

When talking about the 4 7 8 breathing technique, Dr Weil explained how, “this exercise is subtle when you first try it, but gains in power with repetition and practice.” 

The 4 7 8 sleep method works by activating your parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). Psychologists describe the PSNS as the system responsible for rest and relaxation, and for switching off the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) – the one that kick-starts your stress response and ‘fight or flight’ mode.

Through deep, rhythmic breathing, this powerful technique helps you fall asleep faster while reducing any anxiety and stress you might be feeling. Here’s how to use it tonight… 

A woman sits at the foot of her bed practising a relaxing deep breathing technique to help her fall asleep
(Image credit: Getty)

How to use the 4 7 8 sleep method 

First things first, you need to practice this breathing technique twice a day every day. Just like the military sleep method, the 4 7 8 sleep method increases in power the more you use it. 

Secondly, if you have asthma or a respiratory condition, speak to your doctor first to make sure this breathing technique is safe for you to use. Ready to start? Then here’s how to use the 4 7 8 sleep method tonight…

1. Get into a comfortable position and relax your body.

2. Place the tip of your tongue against the tissue behind your upper front teeth.

3. Exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.

4. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.

5. Now hold your breath for 7 seconds.

6. Exhale fully through your mouth for 8 seconds, making a whooshing sound as you breathe out.

7. That counts as one cycle of breath. Repeat this cycle 3-4 times, twice a day.

If you find it hard to hold your breath for that long to begin with, you can speed up the count in the beginning as long as you stick to the 4:7:8 ratio per breath. 

It may take four to six weeks to notice any big changes, but with twice-daily practice you’ll soon be falling asleep faster and feeling more peaceful when drifting off.

And if you wake up often at night, you can also use the 4 7 8 sleep method to get back to sleep quickly. Here’s Dr Weil on how to use this breathing technique and what it sounds like when you do it right:

How does deep breathing help us fall asleep fast?

Deep breathing is a natural sleep aid and, best of all, it’s completely free and easy to do. Research has shown that it can be effective for people with insomnia, and how slow, deep breathing – especially when used with sleep hygiene techniques – can help people initiate sleep faster.

Deep breathing is also one of the best ways to quickly lower stress in the body as, according to guidance shared by the University of Michigan Health, ‘it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body.’

The 4 7 8 sleep method takes no time to practice, so try it twice a day for the next four to six weeks and see how it benefits your sleep. If you have any concerns about your quality of sleep though, speak to your healthcare professional to see what help is available to you.

JANUARY 27, 2022

Scientists enhance energy storage capacity of graphene supercapacitors via solar heating

by Chinese Academy of Sciences

Scientists Enhance Energy Storage Capacity of Graphene Supercapacitors via Solar Heating----Chinese Academy of Sciences
Schematic diagram of fabricating process for the solar-thermal micro-supercapacitor and their energy storage performance under different light intensities. Credit: Li Nian

Prof. Wang Zhenyang’s research group from the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has enhanced the energy storage capacity of graphene supercapacitors via solar heating. Related research results were published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

In low temperature environments, the hindered diffusion of electrolyte ions seriously restricts the electrochemical performance of supercapacitors. Electrode materials with solar-thermal properties are expected to provide a new strategy to solve this problem. However, it remains a challenge to develop electrode materials with both excellent solar-thermal properties and high energy storage capacity.

In this research, the researchers prepared graphene films with three-dimensional porous structures using laser-induction technology. They composited the polypyrrole uniformly into the graphene network by pulse electrodeposition. Graphene/polypyrrole composite electrodes were obtained and a new type of solar-thermally enhanced supercapacitor was thus constructed.

This supercapacitor has many advantages. When the temperature dropped to -30°C, the electrochemical performance of the supercapacitor, which is normally severely degraded, could be enhanced rapidly to room temperature under solar irradiation at light intensities of 1.0 kW m-2. Meanwhile, at room temperature (15°C), the surface temperature of the devices increased by 45°C under solar irradiation at light intensities of 1.0 kW m-2.

“After the temperature of electrodes was raised, the optimized pore structure and the increased electrolyte ion diffusion rate increased the energy storage capacity by 4.8 times. In addition, since the solid electrolyte was well protected, the capacitance retention rate of the supercapacitor was still as high as 85.8% after 10,000 times of charging and discharging,” said Dr. Li Nian, a member of the team.

This work provides new solutions for solving the low temperature problem of supercapacitors and developing high energy density devices.

Explore furtherGraphene electrodes for better-performance supercapacitors

More information: Xinling Yu et al, Enhancing the energy storage capacity of graphene supercapacitors via solar heating, Journal of Materials Chemistry A (2021). DOI: 10.1039/D1TA09222GJournal information:Journal of Materials Chemistry AProvided by Chinese Academy of Sciences

Health + Tech | Using speech-to-text software to boost efficiency in healthcare… | January 30, 2022 | 12:08 AMPreviousNext


The use of speech-to-text software can be a game-changer in healthcare as we continue to evolve with the incorporation of more advanced technology in our efforts to digitise the sector. Any clinician or administrator who seeks to improve efficiency across the board in the healthcare setting should consider this to help to speed up processes within their organisation.

Speech-to-text software can enable the user to speak into a microphone and have the vocals translated to text. This is mostly used for the electronic medical record, but can be used for any related notes for various departments and functions in a health facility. Interoperability has made it increasingly possible to merge various software products into a health information management system.

Interoperability is what makes an electronic system, well, a system. Connectivity is critical in any healthcare environment and this is what would enable the integration of speech to text. One much-used standard that facilitates interface and therefore interoperability is Health Level 7 (HL7). These are international standards related to the sharing of health and administrative information across various platforms and devices.

Documentation and transcription are two of the most time-consuming functions within the healthcare setting. With the introduction of the electronic health record, quick and easy documentation has become one of the most important requirements for physicians and patients alike. This is fast becoming a major industry with a number of large technology companies offering various speech-to-text solutions.

According to, “the global speech-to-text API market size [is set] to grow from US$2.2 billion in 2021 to US$5.4 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.2% during the forecast period”. The reasons for growth of this are varied and industrywide, but there is no doubt that the healthcare industry is set to benefit from the growth, development and use of such software.

Headlines Delivered to Your Inbox

Sign up for The Gleaner’s morning and evening newsletters.

Speech to text software can work for any size organisation. Outside of the software, the additional investment include microphones and training of personnel. Training is usually very simple and can take just minutes. Once this is done, it is usually easy enough for physicians to dictate patient reports and health information to the electronic medical record (EMR) section of the health information management system. This allows for more time to be spent with the patient in consultation and less time on documentation during and afterwards.


Most speech-to-text software in healthcare are equipped to handle complex and technical medical jargon as well as optimise and learn speech types and nuances, including accents, for less errors over time. This is not to say that it isn’t important to check for errors. No system is infallible, and for patient safety, reading over dictated text is always recommended. However, it still enables the doctor to focus more on patient care rather than having to use much of his/her time to catch up on writing notes to the EMR. This alone can significantly reduce time spent working on this element of patient care and, therefore, help with alleviating physician burnout and increasing productivity.

Patient satisfaction will invariably increase when a physician can focus more and spend more time on treating patients rather than taking written notes. The physician is able to listen closely to patients and be much more attentive when using speech-to-text software for capturing medical and diagnostic information. A lot of times, patients complain of not getting enough time with their doctor. We see this in both the public and private setting. When note-taking time is reduced through the use of speech to text, the time saved can be dedicated to properly listening to, advising and treating patients. Better quality of care will result from this.

Outside of the benefits to overall healthcare, speech to text can help a facility to save money by reducing the need to hire additional personnel for data entry to ensure that information is properly captured when regular staff is unable to spend time on this. Staff is also able to focus on other tasks. thereby increasing productivity and profitability.

How to sleep: Two of the worst foods to have before bed – the surprising ‘culprits’

SLEEPING through the night is not something everyone is always able to do, and there is a lot of advice to be found around improving your quality of sleep, and adopting healthy sleep routines.

By HARRIET WHITEHEAD21:19, Mon, Jan 31, 2022 | UPDATED: 21:19, Mon, Jan 31, 20220Copy link

This Morning: Dr Zoe discusses carbohydrates in your diet seconds of 57 secondsVolume 0% Sign up for FREE health tips to live a long and happy life SUBSCRIBE

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Everyone needs different amounts of sleep. On average adults need seven to nine hours, while children need nine to 13 hours. Toddlers and babies need 12 to 17 hours of sleep, every day. The NHS says how we sleep and how much sleep we need is different for all of us and changes as we get older.

The NHS says: “Most people experience problems with sleep in their life. In fact, it’s thought that a third of Brits will have episodes of insomnia at some point.”SponsoredAll Things AutoNew Mazda’s Are Almost Being Given Awayby Taboola

“Some people are naturally lighter sleepers or take longer to drop off, while some life circumstances might make it more likely for your sleep to be interrupted, like stressful events or having a new baby.”The Sleep Association says tomatoes are “not good pre-bedtime”. The health body adds: “Tomatoes aren’t the only food that can cause acid reflux. Onions create gas as they move through your digestive system.”

Indeed, it explains: “That gas affects the pressure within your stomach, which can send acid back up your esophagus, especially when you’re lying down flat. Sadly, both raw and grilled onions have this effect.”

It adds: “You already know to stay away from coffee late at night, but that’s not the only culprit when it comes to sleep issues and food.”

READ MORE: Diabetes: How to ‘flush out’ excess sugar – signs of high blood sugar

woman lying down

Everyone needs different amounts of sleep. (Image: GETTY)


Caffeine and alcohol can stop you falling asleep and prevent good quality sleep. Therefore, it is recommended that people cut down on alcohol and avoid caffeine close to bedtime.

Caffeine interferes with the process of falling asleep, and also prevents deep sleep.

Cutting out caffeine is not as simple as just ditching coffee. Caffeine can be found in other sources too. These include:

Dream work: the new creativity hack Hollywood stars swear by

Jane Campion, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sandra Oh all say they have used a coach to harness the power of their dreams and say the results have been extraordinary

A woman relaxing with her eyes closed. Posed by a model
Dream on … ‘to create more authentic work’. Photograph: PeopleImages/Getty Images (Posed by a model.)

Mon 31 Jan 2022 18.07 GMT


Name: Dream work.

Age: People have been dreaming since people have been people. This is more about the exploration of dreams.

Freud, Jung, those dudes? Attempts to understand dreams predate them. Ancient Egyptians thought dreams were communications with gods; for the Greeks, they were prophecies; the Bible is crawling with dreams …Advertisement

I know! (Though mainly from Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, to be honest). Anyway, this is about even more than understanding them; it’s about using dreams, exploiting them even.

Who does that? Jane Campion, for one.

The New Zealand film director, who made The Piano? And much more. While making her most recent critically acclaimed movie, The Power of the Dog, she enlisted a dream coach, by the name of Kim Gillingham. “She’s the only person I think that really helped me as a director go very deep,” Campion said.

Kim Gillingham rings a distant bell … In the first series of Friends, she played Joey’s ex. Plus, she was in an episode of Seinfeld. More importantly, and more interestingly, she now practises dream work.

And what exactly is dream work? It “offers access to the rich and undiscovered content of the unconscious, allowing artists of all disciplines to create more authentic work”, apparently.

I’m thinking about my own dreams, and what films I’d make from them: there’d be a movie about not being prepared for an exam, another about missing a plane, a film about falling and … well, quite a lot of X-rated material to be honest. That’s probably why you don’t make films. Also, it’s not simply a question of making a film about your dream.

What else is it about? Gillingham, who works with two other coaches, uses artwork and exercises “to bring the material to the top side world and invite it into expression. The practice cultivates unique and authentic creativity, acceptance, permission and presence.”

Is it a load of hippy-dippy new-age nonsense? Well Campion obviously doesn’t think so. Or Sandra Oh, who thanked Gillingham on stage when collecting an award for Killing Eve. Bill Pullman and Benedict Cumberbatch have, also worked with her – Cumberbatch called her “an amazing woman”. There are other practitioners of dream work as well, Kirsten Dunst has used one.

OK, I get it, dream work is hot right now. If you’re in a creative field, get involved so as not to get left behind. Not just creative: Gillingham has also seen a scientist or two.

Hang on, I’ll take a look in my dream … oh yes, there’s the theory of everything. You mock, but Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is said to have come to him in a dream.

Do say: “Sign me up, I’m ready to go deep and unlock.”

Don’t say: “Yeah, keep dreaming.”


Data misrepresentation may win you big gigs, but it makes a bad name for scientistsGARY SMITH JANUARY 31, 2022Share 

Matthew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology and founder of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has become famous for his book and a TED talk promoting the importance of sleep for health and performance. He even got a job at Google as a “sleep scientist.”

Walker has a receptive audience because he is entertaining and his arguments make sense. In one of his books, Walker used a graph similar to the figure below to show that a study done by other researchers had found that adolescent athletes who sleep more are less likely to be injured.

The figure is compelling, but there are several potential problems. The hours-of-sleep data were based on 112 responses to an online survey of athletes at a combined middle school/high school. The injury data were from logs of students who came to the school athletic trainer’s room for “evaluation and/or treatment.” Overall, 64 the 112 athletes made a total of 205 visits.

Online surveys are notoriously suspect and recollections of the average hours of sleep are likely to be unreliable. The training room data were over a 21-month period but, nonetheless, seem high. Perhaps some middle school/high school students preferred the trainer’s room to being at practice.

The most serious problem, however, is not that Walker was relying on flimsy data. Finnish fitness blogger Olli Haataja took the trouble to read the original study, perhaps because he was interested in the sample size or the age of the athletes. He discovered that the graph below, which was reported in the original study, showed five sleep categories, instead of the four Walker reported. Walker had omitted the 5-hour category, which contradicted his argument! It is difficult to explain the omission as anything other than a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the results of the study.

Independent researcher Alexey Guzey put this falsification on a website he maintains listing errors in Walker’s work. Andrew Gelman, a professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University, then wrote about Walker’s distortion in a blog and in an article co-authored with Guzey, arguing that, “When it comes to unethical statistical moves, hiding data is about as bad as it gets.”

A software developer named Yngve Hoiseth was so incensed that he contacted the University of California to report that Walker had been guilty of research misconduct, as defined by the University:

Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.


Walker clearly misrepresented the research record by omitting some results.

The University staunchly defended its celebrity professor:

Thank you for your interest in this matter, which we have pursued in accordance with our policy. In conversation with Walker and with the professor who conducted the inquiry, the conclusion was that the bar omitted from the graph on the book did not alter the findings in an appreciable way, and more importantly, that the bar was not omitted in order to alter the research results.


Gelman subsequently asked the obvious question: “If the removal of the bar from the graph didn’t matter, then why did you remove the damn bar?”

This misrepresentation of results does not seem to be an isolated incident. Markus Loecher, a professor of mathematics and statistics at the Berlin School of Economics and Law, reported similar mischief in Walker’s TED talk, “Sleep is your superpower.” At one point, Walker made this dramatic argument:

I could tell you about sleep loss and your cardiovascular system, and that all it takes is one hour. Because there is a global experiment performed on 1.6 billion people across 70 countries twice a year, and it’s called daylight saving time. Now, in the spring, when we lose one hour of sleep, we see a subsequent 24-percent increase in heart attacks that following day. In the autumn, when we gain an hour of sleep, we see a 21-percent reduction in heart attacks. Isn’t that incredible? And you see exactly the same profile for car crashes, road traffic accidents, even suicide rates.


After listening to this, Loecher wrote:

Now I tend to be sensitive to gross exaggerations disguised as “scientific findings” and upon hearing of such a ridiculously large effect of a one-day-one-hour sleep disturbance, all of my alarm bells went up!

He contacted Walker and was told that the source of these claims was a study of Michigan heart attacks following four spring and three fall daylight savings time changes, not “a global experiment performed on 1.6 billion people across 70 countries.”

The table below shows that there was indeed a 24 percent increase after the spring change and a 21 percent decrease after the fall change, as Walker stated, but these fluctuations did not happen, as Walker claimed, the “following day.” Saturday night is when we have one less or one more hour of sleep and the following day is Sunday. The spring increase in the Michigan data was on a Monday and the fall decrease was on a Tuesday, two seemingly random days — except for the fact that they were the only days to have had p-values (0.011 an 0.044, respectively) below 0.05. The Sunday after the time changes, the number of heart attacks went in the opposite direction. There were also bulges and declines on other days. Even if the day of the week didn’t matter, some days will inevitably, by chance, have more or fewer heart attacks than others.

But perhaps, you will say, the sleep effects are felt during the entire week following the time changes. Nope. The Michigan authors clearly state that, “There was no difference in the total weekly number of [heart attacks] for either the fall or spring time changes.” The authors also caution that they had used multiple statistical procedures and that,

No adjustments were made for multiple comparisons, and the analysis is intended to be exploratory in nature. As such, nominally significant results should be interpreted as hypothesis generating, rather than confirmatory evidence.


Relative Risk of Heart Attack During the Week After Daylight Saving Time Changes

Spring Time ChangesFall Time Changes

Walker took the puzzling and perhaps coincidental results of a small exploratory study and inflated it into a claim that were well-documented worldwide surges and declines in heart attacks on the Sunday following time changes.

Loecher also reported that, unsurprisingly, the puzzling Michigan results did not hold up in other data. He contacted one of the authors of the Michigan study and was told that the authors “looked for the same signal in more recent data and it is markedly attenuated and no longer significant.” Loecher also reported — and this, too, should come as no surprise — that, “I was unable to find any backing of the statement on ‘exactly the same profile for car crashes, road traffic accidents, even suicide rates’ in the literature.”

Boring results do not receive worldwide publicity, TED talk invitations, or Google jobs — which is why it is tempting to misrepresent and exaggerate in order to impress and entertain. The social cost is that misrepresentations and exaggerations undermine the credibility of scientists by making them seem more like snake-oil peddlers than dispassionate scientists.

Patients who are slow to wake up after severe COVID-19 are likely to recover consciousness, study indicates

by Eric W. DolanJanuary 29, 2022in COVID-19Mental Health

Functional brain connectivity for patients with COVID-19 disorders of consciousness compared to healthy controls.

Functional brain connectivity for patients with COVID-19 disorders of consciousness compared to healthy controls.

Most patients who suffer impaired consciousness as a result of COVID-19 recover within six months, according to new research published in Neurology. The findings provide new insight into the outcome of neurological complications related to severe COVID-19.

“During the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly became apparent that some patients with severe COVID-19 would not wake up as expected once sedating medications were discontinued. And worse, it was uncertain if and when such patients would ever wake up again. This uncertainty had profound implications,” explained researcher David Fischer (@dbfisch), a neurocritical care fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

“For some patient families, who had already seen their loved ones endure weeks or months of intensive medical care, the prospects of prolonged neurologic disability was too much to bear, and life-sustaining treatment was subsequently withdrawn. Patients died as a result. Though COVID-19 has taken so many lives in so many ways, as a physician, this means of death was particularly distressing – patients were dying not only because of the virus, but because we as physicians could not tell families what to expect in terms of neurologic recovery.”

“To understand the chances of recovery from these disorders of consciousness, we launched a prospective study, screening every patient with COVID-19 at our hospital to identify those who did not wake up as expected after sedation was discontinued.

Between July 2020 and March 2021, the researchers screened 1,105 patients with COVID-19 at Massachusetts General Hospital and enrolled twelve individuals with disorders of consciousness unrelated to sedative medication. Two patients were comatose, eight were in a vegetative state, and two were in a minimally conscious state. The patients ranged in age from 33 to 82 years and were 63.5 years old on average.

One patient died of COVID-19 shortly after enrollment and another patient improved neurologically shortly after enrollment. Fischer and his colleagues used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare the remaining 10 COVID-19 patients’ brain structure and connectivity to 14 healthy controls and 18 patients with disorders of consciousness due to severe traumatic brain injury.×60&!3&btvi=1&fsb=1&xpc=5REmWyFr9I&p=https%3A//

“Of those patients who survived, all eventually recovered consciousness, though recovery could sometimes take over a month. The recovery of consciousness was difficult to predict; no clinical variables reliably predicted when consciousness would be recovered,” Fischer told PsyPost. Half of the patients regained consciousness within a week after sedation was discontinued.

“Though all patients were disabled at hospital discharge due to prolonged critical illness, after 6 months, almost all returned home with normal cognition and minimal disability (two patients had more severe disability related to weakness),” Fischer said. “This study also taught us about the potential pathophysiology of this condition; patients with these disorders of consciousness had diminished connectivity of brain networks, though the cause of such diminution remains unclear.”

The researchers observed reduced connectivity within the default mode network along with reduced connectivity between the default mode network and salience network among the COVID-19 patients. They also observed reduced white matter integrity. Moreover, four patients had microhemorrhages, three had leukoencephalopathy, and two had both.

“The findings of this study imply that, with enough time, patients who are slow to wake up after severe COVID-19 are likely to recover consciousness, and barring further medical complications, are likely to regain significant neurologic function in the following months,” Fischer said.

“Moving forward, as the pandemic continues to affect many, we hope to better understand the cause of these disorders of consciousness. Are these disorders predictable based on patient demographics and characteristics of their illness? Can we better anticipate how long patients will take to recover, so we can counsel families more specifically? And ultimately, once we better understand the pathophysiology and cause of these disorders, we hope to develop therapeutics to assist patients in their recovery of consciousness.”

The study, “Disorders of Consciousness Associated With COVID-19: A Prospective Multimodal Study of Recovery and Brain Connectivity“, was authored by David Fischer, Samuel B. Snider, Megan E. Barra, William R. Sanders, Otto Rapalino, Pamela Schaefer, Andrea S. Foulkes, Yelena G. Bodien, and Brian L. Edlow.

Cannabis chemistry degree offers rare opportunity for scientific discovery

Lake State University’s cannabis chemistry degree meets need in a growing IndustryNeil Moranabout 8 hours ago

weed oil
Stock photo

Listen to this article00:05:10

One of the fastest growing and most wide-ranging sectors of scientific inquiry these days is cannabis. Trained chemists are needed in the cannabis industry to not only ensure the proper potency and purity of cannabis products but also to explore the seemingly unlimited potential of its chemical properties.

Trained chemists are in demand across the country to fill the need in this burgeoning industry. Students looking to enter the lucrative field of cannabis chemistry need go no further than Lake Superior State University to receive top notch training in this field. 

“Truly experienced staff have been stretched thin so there is a need for a trained workforce,” says Steve Johnson, PhD, Dean of the College of Science and the Environment at LSSU. The industry is expected to add 500,000 jobs in 2022 and more and more states are legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational use. Hemp is already legal in all 50 states. 

Johnson is quick to dispel some of the preconceptions of the program. He says students graduating with a cannabis chemistry degree will be chemists first. “Obviously, you would be a little concerned,” says Johnson, recalling when the degree was first being considered. “Like, ‘are they attracted to the idea of studying cannabis or cannabis chemistry?’ We found out really quickly it was cannabis chemistry; it’s a chemistry degree with serious scientific discovery.”

Johnson says students will have a lot of math, chemistry, and biology under their belts when they graduate from the program. “They will be well-paid scientists when they graduate, but let’s say they want to pivot out of that, they’re still chemists, the instrumentation is largely the same.”

The instrumentation in LSSU’s chemistry lab is impressive and surely matches some of the best chemistry labs in the nation. Agilent Labs, a world-renowned maker of state-of-the-art analytical and diagnostic instruments, donated over 3 million dollars worth of equipment to the lab. For instance, one widely used piece of equipment in LSSU’s lab, the Agilent Ultivo LC-QQQ, a spectrometer used for measuring wavelengths, retails at around $650,000.

“Students will be able to use these instruments to pull the data out and be able to interpret, disseminate and troubleshoot,” says Johnson. He added that despite the growth of the program (there are currently over 100 students seeking a degree) the labs are still small enough for a lot of one-on-one instruction and hands-on experience, something that might not be available at larger institutions. 

“We’re keeping lab sites small enough so students can get hands-on experience with the instruments,” says Johnson. “Larger universities may not be able to offer hands-on opportunities or students may have to work in groups of 5.” 

Todd Savard, of St. Ignace has been receiving the academic and hands-on training the program offers and is looking forward to putting his chemistry degree to work when he graduates. He says he’s an “entrepreneur at heart” and wants to someday own a cannabis microprocessing facility.

“I want to have my own micro business or production line.” says Savard. “The cannabis chemistry program is one way for me because I don’t have a lot of money and it would be a good way to market myself to future investors in my business.” He added that if the business doesn’t go as planned he’ll have a degree to fall back on in a very in-demand field. With a cannabis chemistry degree Savard could be working in various capacities in the cannabis industry, including compliance and processing. 

“One of the things I want to do is innovation and I think there is going to be a lot of innovation in the way it (cannabis) can be delivered in your system,” says Savard. According to researchers there are over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, many with undiscovered potential. These chemical compounds are found in the trichomes in the flower portion of the cannabis plant and contain THC and CBD. Cannabis in various forms is currently used to treat pain, anxiety, autism, PTSD, epilepsy, and for recreational purposes.

Students interested in cannabis chemistry aren’t just limited to a BA in Cannabis Chemistry. LSSU also offers an associates and an online certificate. In addition, LSSU offers a cannabis business degree. Johnson has plans on molding these two degrees into one and also adding a horticultural component to the learning experience.Space is currently available adjacent to the labs to grow hemp plants, which will provide hands-on experience in the horticultural aspects of cannabis. 

Currently, students can only experiment with the hemp flower, which has less than 0.3% THC as required under the 2018 Farm Bill. Johnson says as a federally funded institution they aren’t allowed to test anything over 0.3% THC in the lab but hopes that in the future this will change for the purpose of furthering scientific inquiry. 

Cannabis is undoubtedly on the frontier of scientific inquiry and LSSU is providing the tools to discover its potential.

“There is much more to discover,” says Savard, “the plant baffles me, it really does.”

JANUARY 26, 2022

Hot stuff: Lab hits milestone on long road to fusion power

by Seth Borenstein

Hot stuff: Lab hits milestone on long road to fusion power
This illustration provided by the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory depicts a target pellet inside a hohlraum capsule with laser beams entering through openings on either end. The beams compress and heat the target to the necessary conditions for nuclear fusion to occur. Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory via AP

With 192 lasers and temperatures more than three times hotter than the center of the sun, scientists hit—at least for a fraction of a second—a key milestone on the long road toward nearly pollution-free fusion energy.

Researchers at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California were able to spark a fusion reaction that briefly sustained itself—a major feat because fusion requires such high temperatures and pressures that it easily fizzles out.

The ultimate goal, still years away, is to generate power the way the sun generates heat, by smooshing hydrogen atoms so close to each other that they combine into helium, which releases torrents of energy.

A team of more than 100 scientists published the results of four experiments that achieved what is known as a burning plasma in Wednesday’s journal Nature. With those results, along with preliminary results announced last August from follow-up experiments, scientists say they are on the threshold of an even bigger advance: ignition. That’s when the fuel can continue to “burn” on its own and produce more energy than what’s needed to spark the initial reaction.

“We’re very close to that next step,” said study lead author Alex Zylstra, an experimental physicist at Livermore.

Nuclear fusion presses together two types of hydrogen found in water molecules. When they fuse, “a small amount (milligrams) of fuel produces enormous amounts of energy and it’s also very ‘clean’ in that it produces no radioactive waste,” said Carolyn Kuranz, a University of Michigan experimental plasma physicist who wasn’t part of the research. “It’s basically limitless, clean energy that can be deployed anywhere,” she said.

Researchers around the world have been working on the technology for decades, trying different approaches. Thirty-five countries are collaborating on a project in Southern France called the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor that uses enormous magnets to control the superheated plasma. That is expected to begin operating in 2026.×280&!1&btvi=1&fsb=1&xpc=7WfJ4Ey2Cq&p=https%3A//

Earlier experiments in the United States and United Kingdom succeeded in fusing atoms, but achieved no self-heating, said Steven Cowley, director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, who wasn’t part of this study.

Hot stuff: Lab hits milestone on long road to fusion power
This image provided by the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory shows the NIF Target Bay in Livermore, Calif. The system uses 192 laser beams converging at the center of this giant sphere to make a tiny hydrogen fuel pellet implode. Credit: Damien Jemison/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory via AP

But don’t bank on fusion just yet.

“The result is scientifically very exciting for us,” said study co-author Omar Hurricane, chief scientist for Lawrence Livermore’s fusion program. “But we’re a long way from useful energy.”

Maybe decades, he said.

It’s already taken several years inside a lab that is straight out of Star Trek—one of the movies used the lab as background visuals for the Enterprise’s engine room—and many failed attempts to get to this point. One adjustment that helped: Researchers made the fuel capsule about 10% bigger. Now it’s up to the size of a BB.

That capsule fits in a tiny gold metal can that researchers aim 192 lasers at. They heat it to about 100 million degrees, creating about 50% more pressure inside the capsule than what’s inside the center of the sun. These experiments created burning plasmas that lasted just a trillionth of a second, but that was enough to be considered a success, Zylstra said.

Overall, the four experiments in the Nature study—conducted in November 2020 and February 2021—produced as much as 0.17 megajoules of energy, That’s far more than previous attempts, but still less than one-tenth of the power used to start the process, Zylstra said. A megajoule is about enough energy to heat a gallon of water 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).

Preliminary results from experiments done later in 2021, which are still being reviewed by other scientists, pushed energy output to 1.3 megajoules and lasted 100 trillionths of second, according to a government press release. But even that is shy of the 1.9 megajoules needed to break even.

“The major problem with fusion is that it is hard,” said Princeton’s Cowley. “Otherwise, it might be the perfect way to make energy—sustainable, plentiful, safe and minimal environmental impact.”

Explore furtherResearchers at the brink of fusion ignition at National Ignition Facility

More information: A. B. Zylstra et al, Burning plasma achieved in inertial fusion, Nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04281-w


Growing old is getting old.

Getty ImagesDANIEL M DAVIS1.29.2022 11:00 AM

JEFF BEZOS IS on a mission to conquer aging. He has just recruited Hal Barron from GlaxoSmithKline to help lead Altos Labs, the ambitious new anti-aging company with billions of investment. So what does science say about this? Could we beat aging?

Aging isn’t just a change in how we feel or look, aging happens at a cellular level. In a lab culture dish, adult skin cells divide roughly 50 times before stopping. But skin cells from a newborn baby can divide 80 or 90 times. And on the flip side, cells from someone elderly divide only around 20 times.MORE LIKE THISMIND AND BODY1.15.2022 10:01 PMPCR VS. RAPID TESTS: THE U.K. IS TAKING A BOLD NEW APPROACH TO COVID-19By SIMON KOLSTOESCIENCE1.15.2022 12:00 PMONE CELLULAR FIGHTER MIGHT BE THE KEY TO THWARTING COVID-19By LUKE O’NEILLMIND AND BODY1.22.2022 11:00 PMCOVID-19 QUARANTINE GUIDELINES: WHY THE U.K. IS TAKING A RADICAL APPROACHBy SALLY CUTLEREARN REWARDS & LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY.SUBMIT

Aging is also evident in our genes. Our genetic material is modified over time — chemicals can be attached that change which genes are switched on or off. These are called epigenetic changes, and they build up as we age.

Another kind of change takes place at the ends of our cell’s DNA. Repeating segments of DNA called telomeres act like the plastic tip of a shoelace, preventing the twisted coils of genetic material from fraying at the ends or knotting together. But these telomeres shorten each time a cell divides. We don’t know if short telomeres are merely a mark of aging, like grey hair, or are part of the process by which cells age.


Telomere is a repeating sequence of double-stranded DNA located at the ends of chromosomes. Each tim...
Telomeres are like the protective caps on the ends of shoelaces.Shutterstock

To keep alive and keep dividing, immune cells stop their telomeres shortening when they multiply, as do cancer cells. This is probably a contributing factor in their apparent immortality. Treatments that stop telomerase from working also show promise against cancer (although cancer cells can evolve resistance).


Given that aging has such a profound effect on our cells and genes — the effects mentioned here being just some examples — a much bigger question emerges: why does this happen? Why do we age?

It was once thought that aging happened for the continuing evolution of species. In other words, the evolution of a species requires a turnover of individuals. However, one problem with this idea is that most life on Earth doesn’t ever reach old age. Most animals’ lives end through predators, disease, climate, or starvation. So an inbuilt limit on an animal’s lifespan may not be important to evolution.

Another view is that aging is simply a side effect of the damage that builds up over time caused by metabolism or exposure to ultraviolet light from the Sun. We do know that genes are damaged as we age, but it is not proven that this drives aging directly.

Another possibility is that aging might have evolved as a defense against cancer. Since cells accumulate genetic damage over time, they may have evolved a process to not persist in the body for too long, in case this damage eventually causes a cell to turn cancerous.

As we age, some of the body’s cells enter a state called senescence, in which a cell stays alive but stops dividing. Senescent cells accumulate in the body over a lifetime — especially in the skin, liver, lung, and spleen — and have both beneficial and detrimental effects.

They are beneficial because they secrete chemicals that help repair damaged tissue, but over a long period of time, as senescent cells increase in number, they can disrupt the normal structure of organs and tissues. These cells could be an underlying cause of many of the problems we associate with aging. Mice in which senescent cells were cleared were profoundly delayed in showing signs of aging.

We can describe a lot of what happens during aging at the level of what physically happens to our genes, cells, and organs. But the fundamental question of why we age is still open. In all likelihood, there is more than one correct answer.

Of course, nobody knows whether Bezos’s company can succeed in helping extend the human lifespan. But what is clear is that by studying aging, exciting new discoveries are bound to emerge. Never listen to anyone who says the big questions have already been answered.

As I’ve recently detailed in a book about new technology and the human body, The Secret Body, I’m confident that dramatic breakthroughs will profoundly change the experience of being human in the coming century.