Junk Food Makes Our Brains Less Adaptable

Diet struggle and decision concept and nutrition choices dilemma between healthy good fresh fruit and vegetables or greasy cholesterol rich fast food with two dinner forks competing to decide what to eat.

Compared to a normal diet, one that is high in fat or sugar can cause changes in gut bacteria that may lead to a significant loss of “cognitive flexibility” – essentially the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations.

This effect was most serious on the high-sugar diet, which also showed an impairment of early learning for both long-term and short-term memory.

The research published in the journal Neuroscience, was done with laboratory mice fed different diets and then given a variety of tests, such as water maze testing, to monitor changes in their mental and physical function, and associated impacts on various types of bacteria.

Charting new pathways

Western diets are high in fat and sucrose and can influence behavior and gut microbiota. There is growing evidence that altering the micro biome  – a complex community in the digestive system of about 100 trillion microorganisms – can influence the brain and behavior.

“It’s increasingly clear that our gut bacteria, or microbiota, can communicate with the human brain,” said researcher Kathy Magnusson, a professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute.

“Bacteria can release compounds that act as neurotransmitters, stimulate sensory nerves or the immune system, and affect a wide range of biological functions,” she said. “We’re not sure just what messages are being sent, but we are tracking down the pathways and the effects.”

Brain flexibility helps us adapt

In this research, after just four weeks on a high-fat or a high-sugar diet, the performance of mice on various tests of mental and physical function began to drop, compared to animals on a normal diet. One of the most pronounced changes was in what researchers call cognitive flexibility.

“The impairment of cognitive flexibility in this study was pretty strong,” Magnusson said. “Think about driving home on a route that’s very familiar to you, something you’re used to doing. Then one day that road is closed and you suddenly have to find a new way home.”

A person with high levels of cognitive flexibility would immediately adapt to the change, determine the next best route home, and remember to use the same route the following morning, all with little problem. With impaired flexibility, it might be a long, slow, and stressful way home.

This study was done with young animals, she said, which ordinarily would have a healthier biological system that’s better able to resist pathological influences from their microbiota. The findings might be even more pronounced with older animals or humans with compromised intestinal systems.

What’s often referred to as the “Western diet,” or foods that are high in fat, sugars and simple carbohydrates, has been linked to a range of chronic illnesses in the United States, including the diabetes, heart disease and obesity. This new research suggests that the interaction between food and the micro biome could also influence diseases like Alzheimer’s as well.

2016-01-07T15:47:33+00:00

Related Questions

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    Q: While doing a candida cleanse, it was told to me that I should be following a raw food diet full of fruits and vegetables. Fruits have high sugar content and can feed a candida overgrowth, as it is a well known fact that candida albicans thrive on sugar. How can I justify eating fruits high in sugar? Thank you for your comments. Ozzy

    A: Yes, when you have a candida issue it's best to avoid refined sugar. Sugar from a natural source like fruits should be consumed moderately. In your case it would be best to consume fruits mainly in the mornings for breakfast when your body maximizes on food the most, avoiding the ones that are very high in sugar.

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    Q: I have a 17 years old daughter that is taking the brain toner for her epileptic seizures for about a month now. I wanted to know how long with the effects take place to allow sufficient oxygen to her brain, and will the seizures eventually cease? My daughter is on a herbal, and conscious diet, but I am still working on her eating out to restaurants every now and then. Working on her getting the proper rest each day, since she is a junior in high school. Please let me know if there is anything else I need to do, since she did have a small seizure today, which is better than the ones she has had in the past. I know it will take some time for the brain toner to work.

    A:

    Patience is required in healing, Beloved! Let nature take her natural course! Also, there may be underlying metaphysical causative factors for the seizures. I would suggest adding Ethereal Bliss with Brain Tuner, and she should also drink the Brain Tuner Tea along with taking the capsules. These are optional, but I do recommend them, at least to experiment with in hopes of facilitating elimination of the seizures. Have her perform deep breathing exercises on a daily basis too! A raw foods/vegan diet is BEST for her too! Undoubtedly so! Those restaurants are using some very dangerous chemicals. Drive this point home to her!

    Product Links:
    Ethereal Bliss
    Brain Tuner
    Brain Tuner Tea

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    Q: My 19 months old daughter has clostridium difficile bacteria. I had done some research but it is still very unclear, what needs to be done. I do not want to take her back to the M.D. I was very disappointed in the whole system. Hope you can help me to find a better way.

    A:

    Try the Children's Detox and put the liquid extracts in the child's milk (or water). This cleanse contains all herbal extracts for children that nourishes all of the organs in the body to support optimal health.

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    Q: Dear Dherbs.com, my mother is here visiting and she is diabetic and has high blood pressure. The high blood pressure medicine they switched to has made her very ill. Please help! I know if she detoxes all meds will be purged from her system and at this I am afraid she will fall deathly ill before the cleansing sets her system on the right track. I love my mother dearly and I am very afraid at this point. I am desperate for whatever advice and/or product you can offer. I am pulling her diet under control.

    A:

    Check out the Full Body Cleanse. The Dherbs.com Full Body Cleanse is a safe and effective 20-day herbal-based Cleanse that helps you work toward ensuring that your entire body is functioning at an optimal level: your immune system, circulatory system, digestive system, respiratory system, organs, vessels, and more.

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    Q: In regards to Group B Strep. Is there a high risk for the fetus to contract this bacteria during labor? Are there any herbs that could help alleviate this bacteria?

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    Have her take liquid extract of Echinacea & Goldenseal, and Electric Greens Combo (6 capsules).

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    Electric Greens Combo

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    Q: What do you recommend for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high sugar level (not diabetic yet). I need help with excess weight and lack of energy.

    A:

    We recommend you perform our Full Body Cleanse. The cleanse will help eliminate toxins, balance your weight, and restore your body to its optimal state.

    After the cleanse, order CARDIOVASCULAR FORMULA, CHOLESTEROL FORMULA, BOWEL MOTION, and SUGAR CONTROL to maintain the healthy progress you have made.

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    Q: I see a lot of your tea formulas if not all of them are also offered in pill form. Which is recommended the tea or the pill? Also I am pretty sure I have a bacterial infection of some sort. I have been to 2 different doctors neither one of them actually ran any test to find out what the infection was. They really didn’t even listen to me at all when I went there. Actually I told them flat out what tests I wanted done and they still didn’t do them. Now I remember why I hate traditional doctors. One doctor took an x-ray and told me I have a whole lot of bacteria in my ingestions what an x-ray shows there I don’t know because even if it appears cloudy bacteria is SUPPOSE to be there anyway. I already knew I had a problem bacteria there as I am having mucus in my stools. He just gave me an antibotic and that was it. either way his 3 day antibiotic didn’t work and I felt ripped off paying a copay for 3 pills. So I have a question about a recommendation here. I know for sure the bacteria is affecting my intestines as the mucus in my stool. I don’t know where else it has worked into but I am thinking it’s starting to effect my eyes some as well as I have noticed they appear much more watery than normal and looks like they get a discharge from them and they are much more red than normal. Regardless to what the doctor says I don’t have allergies. I know my body much better than he does I have never had allergy problems in the past so I don’t think its caused from that. so what products should I be looking at? and are the teas or pills recommended?

    A:

    Capsules are more potent than teas but teas get into the body faster. So you can choose what you're looking for. Both capsules and teas work however! For bacterial infection: First perform the FULL BODY DETOX and follow that up with the 10-DAY SUPREME COLON CLEANSE. Change your diet: raw foods (75%) and vegan (25%). Drink plenty of vegetable juice. Drink Dherbs MUCUS BUSTER TEA daily (1-2 cups) p.s. - Don't hate traditional doctors! It's negative energy. Read my article â€LEAVE MEDICAL DOCTORS ALONEâ€.

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    Q: Is there a regime for dementia/Altzheimers like symptoms? My husband was diagnosed hiv+ 6 years ago. He stopped taking medication 3 years ago when I shared all info I could on hiv/aids myth/hoax. Unfortunately my husband is not sure what is true and I am afraid that the stress of this diagnosis has planted the seeds for his current physical and mental decline. He suffers from chronic bronchitis, body aches/pains, extreme weight loss, depression and now has memory loss and is often disorientated in his own home. For the past six months I have been able to get him to eat a predominately raw fruit and vegetable diet. Two weeks ago he was admitted to the hospital because he passed out while taking a hot bath. Several tests were done. We refused to have the hiv test done. Needless to say this got back to his VA doctors who now believe that all of this is due to him being non compliant to taking his hiv meds. In a follow up meeting they now declare that my husband has full blown AIDS and will die in six months if he does not take medication. Can your detox regime help now and what about the dementia-like symptoms? Is there a product/herb that can help this? I can make sure that the diet is raw.

    A:

    AIDS and HIV is a full blown hoax used on the ignorant, fearful, government-dependent, irresponsible, immature, and unconscious American people (95% of them, at least) to control them and make money off of them in the process. I would suggest your husband start reading as many of our free health articles as possible to help change his mindset which is the only thing that can kill him, of course with corresponding physical actions. Your husband can save his life by performing the FULL BODY DETOX kit, followed by the ANTI-VIRAL CLEANSE AND REGIMEN, followed by the RESPIRATORY CLEANSE AND REGIMEN. After these kits, if he takes 5 capsules of ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD 5-6 times a day and drink 1-2 cups of RAINFOREST TONIC TEA and BRAIN TUNER TEA, he will be amazed at how he feels. Dementia: take 3 capsules of BRAIN TUNER daily! There's so much your husband can do to reclaim his health and life. But it all starts in the mind. We are here to assist if he so desires the assistance.

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    Q: I have herd that many animals in the wild eat hippopotamus feces before the fight, for the high levels of testosterone contained in the poop. Therefore, I am wondering if we could make a dietary supplement, with high levels of all natural testosterone in it?

    A:

    No, I'm not interested in making a product like that. I will not follow nature's course. The human body has all it needs.

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    Q: My Doctor wants me to start using the Cholesterol medication, Zocor. He says my high cholesterol is due to genetics. I'm not crazy about the idea of using this medication that he says may affect my liver. I've tried lowering the 'bad' cholesterol with diet and exercise. What are my natural food options? Thanks! After you do the full body detox and want to pursue other cleanses do you have to stay on a raw diet. Can you eat cooked beans or the herbs won’t be as effective? I’m a college student and I need food for thought and sometimes things aren’t accessible.

    A:

    I'd recommend you start taking CHOLESTEROL BUSTER, ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD, and INTESTINAL JANITOR (Fiber). Food-wise, all fruits and vegetables will help lower your cholesterol levels. Avoid meat and dairy products if your cholesterol levels are high.

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    Q: Greetings & Namaste, First, thank you for being U-activated! So many potential energies unable to convert into kinetic activities because of our Earthly baggage(s). Personally, I haven't found the right formula to keep my beautiful curves, which is the major reason I am not vegan/raw now. In my perfect world, I'd have a great-tasting, non-dairy,wheat & gluten source of protein, juiced exotic veggie/fruit smoothies, yummy raw nuts/raisins, and absolutely no meat- the fountain of youth, literally, running thru my body! As i'm sure the cognitive wheels of your expertise are spiraling ready solutions, I ask that you also factor in social-economic status, and workout regiment. From my perspective, the price of health food is aggressively over-inflated compared to the affordability of processed and junk foods; add to that a general inaccessibility to the impoverished & disenfranchised, and dysfunctional eating psychologies impregnating entire families (for generations). I prefer high energy, high impact, anaerobic & weight-lifting training activities. So, you can see a petite person's dilemma. Thanks so much for your time and thoughts. Ms. Tiffany

    A:

    Greetings & Namaste,

    First, thank you for being U-activated!  So many potential energies unable to convert into kinetic activities because of our Earthly baggage(s).  Personally, I haven't found the right formula to keep my beautiful curves, which is the major reason I am not vegan/raw now.  In my perfect world, I'd have a great-tasting, non-dairy,wheat & gluten source of protein, juiced exotic veggie/fruit smoothies, yummy raw nuts/raisins, and absolutely no meat- the fountain of youth, literally, running thru my body!  As i'm sure the cognitive wheels of your expertise are spiraling ready solutions, I ask that you also factor in social-economic status, and workout regiment. From my perspective, the price of health food is aggresively over-inflated compared to the affordability of processed and junk foods; add to that a general inaccessibility to the impoverished & disenfranchised, and dysfunctional eating psychologies impregnating entire families (for generations). I prefer high energy, high impact, anaeorobic & weight-lifting training activities.  So, you can see a petite person's dilemma.  Thanks so much for your time and thoughts.  Ms. Tiffany Janine"

    Being raw or vegan does not have to be hard or expensive. The most inexpensive food are rice and beans. If you are budget consciense you should gravitate towards those foods. Stach based foods are super cheap. You should check out the book "eating vegan on 4 dollars a day" or any of Dr. Mcdougal's programs. 

    I run an online health/fitness/nutrition coaching program that can be found at www.theveganeffect.com. There you might find your answers. 

    Exercise programs do not have to be expensive either. I am a master at building fitness plans with the minimal of equipment. If all you have is your body weight than I can build you a 90 day plan. The same goes if all you have is a resistance band, exercise ball, dumbells, kettlebell, etc.

    If you need any advice or have specific questions you should check out my website and message me there.

    Gary Gibson HHC CPT VLC BMI

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    Q: I have been experiencing very trying health issues for many years (over 25 years). The trouble began when my gall bladder was removed 26 years ago. I had mood swings, lack of energy, and severe diarrhea. Approximately 13 years ago I had an additional surgery for an umbilical hernia. Due to pre-op tests, my physician diagnosed me with thyroid disease and placed me on synthroid. This medication dramatically improved the digestive issues I had experienced for many years. I had very loose bowels when menstruating and when I was ill. I am overweight and have dealt with weight issues all my life. Three years ago I had a scare where I thought I experienced a heart attack. I spent three days in the hospital and learned of many health risks. My triglycerides were extremely high along with my sugar being borderline. I have been tested for diabetes on a number of occasions in my life but never show to be. There are numerous cases of diabetes in my family. My mother and one sister are insulin dependent and one other sister is on some form of pill medication for diabetes. At that time, I gave up sugar and began a regime at the gym. The have not eaten any sweets other than what I get in a little ketchup occasionally or some other kind of sauce that may contain some sugar. I have gone to the gym with minimal results in losing weight. I had a total hysterectomy six weeks ago. My regular GP has been on vacation and I've been dealing with one of her associates. This dr. sent me in for glucose tolerance and she has since diagnosed me as Type II Diabetic. She put me on a medication called "Metformin" and has me taking a 500 mg pill twice daily. I have only been on this medication for three days. I have been very careful to eat only what they say I can. I am experiencing the same issues as before with the diarrhea. Last night I was up all night with this and it is like water coming out of me. I am unable to find a physician who understands that I want to lose the weight, but cannot when I'm constantly dehydrated and feeling lethargic. When I have this constant problem, I am not able to do what I need to do for my overall health. Sorry to be so wordy but I wanted to explain the full extent of what I am experiencing. My friend told me to get on this website and explain my issues. He feels that you may be able to guide me in the direction of a natural product or products that can help me to have normal bowel movements and therefore begin doing the physical exercise that is needed for me to reduce my chances of becoming an insulin dependent diabetic.

    A:

    I WOULD LIKE FOR YOU TO FIRST TRY THE FULL BODY DETOX (TAKING THINGS ONE DAY AT A TIME). AFTER THIS CLEANSE, I WOULD LIKE FOR YOU TO PERFORM THE PANCREAS CLEANSE AND REGIMEN . LET'S TAKE THIS SLOWLY AND GET YOU BACK TO OPTIMAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING. FIRST THINGS FIRST, OKAY? ALSO, PLEASE CONSIDER A CONSULTATION AS THERE'S ONLY SO MUCH TIME I CAN GIVE TO RESPONDING VIA E-MAIL DUE TO ALL THE E-MAILS WE GET DAILY.YOU CAN HEAL. JUST CONCENTRATE ON HEALING, NOT DIABETES. LET'S START HERE, OKAY?

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    Q: I was recently diagnosed with having high-risk HPV one month ago. I also was diagnosed with lupus about two years ago. I do not take any medicine for the lupus. I am very interested in boosting my immune system with the anti-viral kit, however I am unable to swallow pills. Can the capsules be opened and taken with food or liquid? if so, will the effect be the same?

    A:

    Yes, you can open the capsules and the results will be the same.

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    Q: Is black cohosh good for clearing out the lymph system? My doctor says my tests are all normal but I've had painful armpit lymph nodes now for 7 weeks! I haven't had anything like this since the 80's when I had mononucleosis. I am a diet and exercise controlled type 2 diabetic. I'm also wondering if the ibuprofen I take for sciatica has triggered this weird reaction. The doctor keeps saying my tests are all fine but I know my glands are unhappy. I also am just starting menopause. I am about to go on a 3 week detox. Do you suggest any herbs?

    A:

    Black Cohosh is a great female tonic herb but if you want a great lymph cleansing herb, you should try LOBELIA, RED ROOT, WILD INDIGO BARK, CLEAVERS, GOLDENSEAL, ECHINACEA, or MULLEIN LEAF.

    You should consider detoxifying your body. Please give our Full Body Cleanse a try. It can provide a myriad of benefits for you and your body.

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    Q: Great article. Doctors and mothers often say that if a fever gets too high that it can cause brain damage. As I was writing the previous sentence- the answer intuitively came to me. The brain can get "cooked" if there isn't enough moisture in the body. So drinking a TON of water is imperative.

    A:

    THANK YOU, Beloved!

    Doctors taught scared ignorant mothers to believe that a high fever (if not brought down) can cause brain damage so as to sell fever medicine. Everything in Western medicine is based upon fear, fear, fear! Abd for what? PROFIT and CONTROL!

    The body intelligence would never cook the brain unless a person's dharma was so severe that the brain and the body would do the most craziest things to help kill the person so as to prevent/end the misery and suffering and to stop the severe breach of contract (as we contracted for our lives and physical body in this present incarnation).

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    Q: I have read about your detox system on your site and others. Here is the product that I am thinking about purchasing: Full Body Detox I have some questions... 1) Is there a diet plan or eating plan that comes with this order? and 2) I have 100 pounds to lose and am thinking about going on the Medifast plan. That is a high (vegetable) protein diet with no fruit and not a lot of vegetables allowed. Would these supplements in the detox plan help my organs that might be taxed a bit on this diet with very little vegetables and no fruit? I am skeptical about #2...I think raw fruits and vegetables are so important inour diets, yet, I do need to drop weight fast. I look forward to any thoughts that you might have.

    A:

    Yes, the Full Body Cleanse comes with a dietary regimen prescribing an all-raw foods diet (fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds). This means no meat, dairy, grains, or processed foods.

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    Q: I have consulted my doctor and he said I have a bacteria infection in my cerebrum (brain) it is airborne it is contagious it can be picked up by people who is close to me it effects my heart and liver kidneys. I want to know what is the best product to buy to get rid of this infection I had it for months and I want to know, what must I do to get the healing that I need?

    A:

    You should perform the Full Body Detox (for 3 weeks), change your diet, change your thoughts (positive thinking), change your lifestyle, and environment (if possible). This condition can be healed if you believe it can.

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    Q: I just purchased the FULL BODY DETOX for myself. But I need something for my 35 year old Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) son. He was in a motorcycle accident on April 14, 2007. He hit his head real hard. He injured his head all over. He was not wearing a helmet. This was his first time getting on a motorcycle without a helmet. First, Doctors said he would be dead in 3 days. Well, since he was still alive after 4 weeks they said that he would live in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. Well, now it's been 10 months and he is talking, asking questions, standing up on his good leg, because his right leg and arm is contracted. He is still out there a little but he is progressing very well. His speech is slurred a bit. He can feed himself a little, but like I said he is still out there some what. Oh, going to the bathroom is a hit and miss. Sometimes he will tell you he has to go and sometimes he will not. Then, sometimes he will tell you he has to go and then he will tell you it was a false alarm. We still put diapers on him. I still change him and he has not become ashamed yet. So I was just wondering if you have something for his brain injuries. His long term memory is getting there, but short term memory is short.

    A:

    Doctors are a straight mess, specializing in negativity! They taint hope, optimism, and inspiration. Have your son take Dherbs.Com NERVES FORMULA (3 caps every night), CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM FORMULA (3 caps daily), and BRAIN TUNER (6 caps daily) and drink the BRAIN TUNER TEA (1-2 cups daily) and he'll come back a round. Stay positive! Healing is a miracle, so claim and welcome it!

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    Q: Hi, I have been suffering from a dull pain the testicular area for over 2 years now. I have seen 2 urologists that have confirmed that I have enterococcus bacteria in either the prostate of genital area based on semen culture. I have also done testicle ultrasound and CAT scan of the area with good results. One of the urologist said that I have an inflamed prostate (prostitis) there was some varicose veins when ultra sound was done but the urologist continues to give me long term antibiotics. Some my symptoms have been dull pain in the testicular area when I need to have a bowel movement. low energy, moody, memory loss, irritable, confused, brain fog etc. I use to have a health sex drive but now my sex drive is really low. A bit of erectile dysfunction but I think that comes more from having the pain all the time and anxiety. I don't know if this is possible but my penis seems to have reduced in size when erect. The doctor ask me to try some cialis for the ED which I did for a short while but decided I needed something natural because of the long term problems of using those medications. I have had long periods of stress from a bitter business relationship about 2 years ago. My concern is that every time I go to the urologist all they want to do it give me antibiotics and that doesn't seem to be working. I am concern of the other organ damage caused by taking long term antibiotics. Is there an alternative you recommend? I have been looking at your Anti- virus treatment. I am 30 years old.

    A:

    I would suggest you perform the FULL BODY DETOXfollowed by the TOTAL MALE CLEANSE. Read some of our free health articles too on male reproductive health. Healing begins with knowledge!

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    Q: My 14 year old cousin's mom has checked her into to mental hospital. This entire school year she has ben dealing with alot going into high school, and other teen age issues. Her birth father is not in the home but, her mom has a pretty good man, that steps up, and does a good job with her two children. However, she has been battling with her weight, although she wasn't over weight she didn't feel thin enough like the other children at her school. Her mom found Hydroxycut in her room, and all hair feel out. This past weekend went to her mom's boyfriend and told him she tried to overdose on pills to kill herself, because of all the pressure. Her mom had her in therapy behind the weightloss issue, she thought she was ok, until this last suicidal mission. Is there any help or advice you can render. I told her mom that the hospital thing was a horrible idea due to the medication that they will be administering and other brain washing methods they use to further F*** you up so that when you are release you a labeled, and sure to be crazy. D-Herbs at 14 this is insane, her mom has given up hope, and gave her chiild into the hands of the enemy. I am conscious and try to talk to her but it doesn't seem to work.

    A:

    That's an unfortunate situation. Have the mother read the information on Dherbs.com or schedule a consultation so she can speak with me live and direct. These are the only ways I know to help, Beloved. I'm also about to write an article on DEPRESSION, and the DANGERS OF ANTIDEPRESSANTS. Hang in there and know that your cousin wrote her own life script (before she was born), so she is gaining an experience so as to learn a life lesson for her soul's purpose. It doesn't make sense on a lower level, but on a higher level, it all will add up and make sense. God's hand is over everything, even those things that appear bad.