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Knott's Berry Farm closes ride after complaints from mental health advocates

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A popular Halloween attraction at Knott's Berry Farm and California's Great America was shutting down, officials announced Wednesday, after some took to social media calling the display "offensive" to those suffering from mental illness.

The virtual reality attraction, which essentially focuses on a story line about a possessed patient running wild in a hospital, consists of strapping parkgoers into a chair before they are given VR goggles. If the game becomes too intense for them, customers can press the "panic button."

One person who took to social media was Kay Warren, wife of pastor and author Rick Warren, who lost his son to mental illness
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Kay Warren
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Knots Berry Farm has a psychiatric ward with a demonic patient in their Halloween set. This is NOT entertainment. I'm infuriated that they use the pain &suffering of millions of people for laughs or thrills. Take it down!

 

 

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      "The storm was just too much for it," the Calaveras Big Tree Association wrote on Facebook.
       
      It's unclear exactly how old the tree was, but The Los Angeles Times reports that the trees in the state park are estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. Sequoias can live for more than 3,000 years.
      The iconic tree was one of just a few tunneled-through sequoias in California. The most famous was the Wawona Tree, in Yosemite National Park; it fell during a winter storm in 1969 at an estimated age of 2,100 years. The other remaining sequoia tunnels are dead or consist of logs on their side, the Forest Service says.
      However, there are still three coastal redwoods (taller and more slender than sequoias) with tunnels cut through them. They're all operated by private companies, the Forest Service says, and still allow cars to drive through — one appeared in a recent Geico ad.
      SFGate.com spoke to Jim Allday, the volunteer who reported Pioneer Cabin's demise. He told the website that the tree "shattered" when it hit the ground on Sunday afternoon, and that people had walked through it as recently as that morning.

      An 1899 stereograph shows the Pioneer Cabin sequoia in Calaveras Grove, Calif.
      Local flooding might have been the reason the tree fell, SFGate reports:
      " 'When I went out there [Sunday afternoon], the trail was literally a river, the trail is washed out,' Allday said. 'I could see the tree on the ground, it looked like it was laying in a pond or lake with a river running through it.' "
      "The tree had been among the most popular features of the state park since the late 1800s. The tunnel had graffiti dating to the 1800s, when visitors were encouraged to etch their names into the bark.
      "Joan Allday, wife of Jim Allday and also a volunteer at the park, said the tree had been weakening and leaning severely to one side for several years.
      " 'It was barely alive, there was one branch alive at the top,' she said. 'But it was very brittle and starting to lift.' "
      Tunnel trees were created in the 19th century to promote parks and inspire tourism. But cutting a tunnel through a living sequoia, of course, damages the tree.
      "Tunnel trees had their time and place in the early history of our national parks," the National Park Service has written. "But today sequoias which are standing healthy and whole are worth far more."

      The Pioneer Cabin sequoia in Northern California's Calaveras Big Trees State Park was carved into a tunnel in the late 19th century. It fell on Sunday, brought down by a massive storm.
      http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/09/508919216/iconic-sequoia-tunnel-tree-brought-down-by-california-storm
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Date:
      December 13, 2016
      Source:
      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
      Summary:
      A study of older adults links consumption of a pigment found in leafy greens to the preservation of 'crystallized intelligence,' the ability to use the skills and knowledge one has acquired over a lifetime.

      Lutein helps with the preservation of “crystallized intelligence" and is acquire through the diet, primarily through eating leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, or egg yolks.
      Credit: © nyul / Fotolia
      A study of older adults links consumption of a pigment found in leafy greens to the preservation of "crystallized intelligence," the ability to use the skills and knowledge one has acquired over a lifetime.
      The study is reported in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
      Lutein (LOO-teen) is one of several plant pigments that humans acquire through the diet, primarily by eating leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, or egg yolks, said University of Illinois graduate student Marta Zamroziewicz, who led the study with Illinois psychology professor Aron Barbey. Lutein accumulates in the brain, embedding in cell membranes, where it likely plays "a neuroprotective role," she said.
      "Previous studies have found that a person's lutein status is linked to cognitive performance across the lifespan," Zamroziewicz said. "Research also shows that lutein accumulates in the gray matter of brain regions known to underlie the preservation of cognitive function in healthy brain aging."
      The study enrolled 122 healthy participants aged 65 to 75 who solved problems and answered questions on a standard test of crystallized intelligence. Researchers also collected blood samples to determine blood serum levels of lutein and imaged participants' brains using MRI to measure the volume of different brain structures.
      The team focused on parts of the temporal cortex, a brain region that other studies suggest plays a role in the preservation of crystallized intelligence.
      The researchers found that participants with higher blood serum levels of lutein tended to do better on tests of crystallized intelligence. Serum lutein levels reflect only recent dietary intakes, Zamroziewicz said, but are associated with brain concentrations of lutein in older adults, which reflect long-term dietary intake.
      Those with higher serum lutein levels also tended to have thicker gray matter in the parahippocampal cortex, a brain region that, like crystallized intelligence, is preserved in healthy aging, the researchers report.
      "Our analyses revealed that gray-matter volume of the parahippocampal cortex on the right side of the brain accounts for the relationship between lutein and crystallized intelligence," Barbey said. "This offers the first clue as to which brain regions specifically play a role in the preservation of crystallized intelligence, and how factors such as diet may contribute to that relationship."
      "Our findings do not demonstrate causality," Zamroziewicz said. "We did find that lutein is linked to crystallized intelligence through the parahippocampal cortex."
      "We can only hypothesize at this point how lutein in the diet affects brain structure," Barbey said. "It may be that it plays an anti-inflammatory role or aids in cell-to-cell signaling. But our finding adds to the evidence suggesting that particular nutrients slow age-related declines in cognition by influencing specific features of brain aging."
      Story Source:
      Materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Original written by Diana Yates. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
      Journal Reference:
      Marta K. Zamroziewicz, Erick J. Paul, Chris E. Zwilling, Elizabeth J. Johnson, Matthew J. Kuchan, Neal J. Cohen, Aron K. Barbey. Parahippocampal Cortex Mediates the Relationship between Lutein and Crystallized Intelligence in Healthy, Older Adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 2016; 8 DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2016.00297

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