As of March 2010, Google is no longer supporting FTP publishing of it's Blogger blogs. Therefore I will be consolidating all of my blogs into a single front page format that I will be experimenting with and changing from time to time until I find something I like.
America's Obesity Epidemic May Be Fueled by Chemicals in Everyday Products (Tara Lohan, AlterNet,October 3, 2009) The narrative we pound into our heads everyday is that we live in a country where fast food rules, where morning coffee drinks can provide nearly one-quarter of your daily calories before you even get to breakfast, and where you can have pizza topped with Oreos. . . . And there's the issue that less than a quarter of us exercise regularly, and on average we spend 142 hours a month lounging on our couches, our eyes glued to a TV. . . . So it's no wonder that the Centers for Disease Control report that more than a staggering 60 percent of adults and 16 percent of children are obese. . . . There is a lot of emphasis on personal responsibility when it comes to weight, but the prevalence of something scientists are now calling "obesogens" may put a crinkle in that posturing. . . . Evidence has been steadily accumulating that certain hormone-mimicking pollutants, ubiquitous in the food chain, have two previously unsuspected effects. They act on genes in the developing fetus and newborn to turn more precursor cells into fat cells, which stay with you for life. And they may alter metabolic rate, so that the body hoards calories rather than burning them, like a physiological Scrooge. . . . In addition to the plague of Big Macs, we now also have to figure exposure to chemical pollutants as a contributor to the obesity epidemic. . . . But especially for younger kids who are growing up in an increasingly more toxic environment, these chemicals may be all around them (and their moms during pregnancy). . . . All of these are among the much-maligned class of chemicals known as "endocrine disruptors," which responsible for other such feats in nature as sex-changing fish. In humans, we are learning that they are a frightening menace.
A Cure For Cancer? Eating A Plant-Based Diet (Kathy Freston, Huffington Post, September 24, 2009) On the subject of cancer, I've asked Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Cornell University and author of the groundbreaking The China Study to explain how cancer happens and what we can do to prevent and reverse it. . . . Although all cancer and other diseases begin with genes, this is not the reason whether or not the disease actually appears. If people do the right thing during the promotion stage, perhaps even during the progression stage, cancer will not appear and if it does, might even be resolved. Most estimates suggest that not more than 2-3 percent of cancers are due entirely to genes; almost all the rest is due to diet and lifestyle factors. Consuming plant based foods offers the best hope of avoiding cancer, perhaps even reversing cancer once it is diagnosed. Believing that cancer is attributed to genes is a fatalistic idea but believing that cancer can be controlled by nutrition is a far more hopeful idea.
[Please click the link above for the complete story.]
(NICHOLAS WADE, New York Times, August 18, 2009) It may be the ultimate free lunch - how to reap all the advantages of a calorically restricted diet, including freedom from disease and an extended healthy life span, without eating one fewer calorie. Just take a drug that tricks the body into thinking it's on such a diet. . . . It sounds too good to be true, and maybe it is. Yet such drugs are now in clinical trials. Even if they should fail, as most candidate drugs do, their development represents a new optimism among research biologists that aging is not immutable, that the body has resources that can be mobilized into resisting disease and averting the adversities of old age. . . . This optimism, however, is not fully shared. Evolutionary biologists, the experts on the theory of aging, have strong reasons to suppose that human life span cannot be altered in any quick and easy way. But they have been confounded by experiments with small laboratory animals, like roundworms, fruit flies and mice. In all these species, the change of single genes has brought noticeable increases in life span. . . . With theorists' and their gloomy predictions cast in the shade, at least for the time being, experimental biologists are pushing confidently into the tangle of linkages that evolution has woven among food intake, fertility and life span. "My rule of thumb is to ignore the evolutionary biologists - they're constantly telling you what you can't think," Gary Ruvkun of the Massachusetts General Hospital remarked this June after making an unusual discovery about longevity. . . . Excitement among researchers on aging has picked up in the last few years with the apparent convergence of two lines of inquiry: single gene changes and the diet known as caloric restriction. . . . . In caloric restriction, mice are kept on a diet that is healthy but has 30 percent fewer calories than a normal diet. The mice live 30 or 40 percent longer than usual with the only evident penalty being that they are less fertile. . . . People find it almost impossible to maintain such a diet, so this recipe for longevity remained a scientific curiosity for many decades. Then came the discovery of the single gene changes, many of which are involved in the body's regulation of growth, energy metabolism and reproduction. The single gene changes thus seem to be pointing to the same biochemical pathways through which caloric restriction extends life span. . . . If biologists could only identify these pathways, it might be possible to develop drugs that would trigger them. Such drugs could in principle have far-reaching effects. Mice on caloric restriction seem protected from degenerative disease, which may be why they live longer. A single drug that protected against some or all the degenerative diseases of aging would enable people to enjoy more healthy years, a great benefit in itself, even if it did not extend life span. . . . . Two experts on aging, Jan Vijg of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Judith Campisi of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, argued recently in Nature that the whole phenomenon of caloric restriction may be a misleading result unwittingly produced in laboratory mice. The mice are selected for quick breeding and fed on rich diets. A low-calorie diet could be much closer to the diet that mice are adapted to in the wild, and therefore it could extend life simply because it is much healthier for them. . . . "Life extension in model organisms may be an artifact to some extent," they wrote. To the extent caloric restriction works at all, it may have a bigger impact in short-lived organisms that do not have to worry about cancer than in humans. Thus the hope of mimicking caloric restriction with drugs "may be an illusion," they write. . . . Cells have not blocked the evolution of extremely long life spans, like that of the bristlecone pine, which lives 5,000 years, or certain deep sea corals, whose age has been found to exceed 4,000 years. . . . Some species seem to be imperishable. A tiny freshwater animal known as a hydra can regenerate itself from almost any part of its body, apparently because it makes no distinction between its germ cells and its ordinary body cells. In people the germ cells, the egg and sperm, do not age; babies are born equally young, whatever the age of their parents. The genesis of aging was the division of labor in the first multicellular animals between the germ cells and the body cells. . . . That division put the role of maintaining the species on the germ cells and left the body cells free to become specialized, like neurons or skin cells. But in doing so the body cells made themselves disposable. The reason we die, in the view of Thomas Kirkwood, an expert on the theory of aging, is that constant effort is required to keep the body cells going. "This, in the long run, is unwarranted - in terms of natural selection, there are more important things to do," he writes. . . . All that seems clear about life span is that it is not fixed. And if it is not fixed, there may indeed be ways to extend it.
The link above is 2009 news, and the video below is about what happened the last time the U.S. Government scared people into getting a needless flu shot. And you might want to investigate the statistics about how many are dying of this version of the flu vs. how many die of "normal" flu every year before you let the government give you a shot. ... My question is, why is it that the same people who are fearful of "government-run medical insurance" are the first to line up for a government-sponsored vaccination program?
The Whole-Cannabis Lozenge May Cure Flu (SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE), 4-27-09) Cannabis Science Inc. Reports on Prospective Life Saving Treatments for H1N1 Swine Flu and H5N1 Bird Flu in View of the Current Global Threat
Cannabis Science Inc. (OTCBB: GFON.OB), an emerging pharmaceutical cannabis company, reported today on the current state of development of its whole-cannabis lozenge in response to Homeland Security Administration Secretary Janet Napolitano's declaration of a public health emergency to deal with the emerging Swine Flu pandemic. The Company's non-toxic lozenge has properties that could alleviate many of the symptoms and harmful effects of the H5N1 bird flu and H1N1 swine flu viruses, and has offered its assistance to HSA today in a letter to Secretary Napolitano. The Company has offered to produce up to 1 million doses of its whole-cannabis lozenge, and provide them to HSA for distribution at cost. . . . Cannabis Science Inc., President & CEO, Steven W. Kubby said, "We have the science and preliminary anecdotal results confirming the anti-inflammatory properties of our new lozenges and indicating they may present an effective and non-toxic treatment for minimizing the symptoms and harm from influenza infections. Our lozenges appear to down-regulate the body's excessive inflammatory response to the influenza virus, which could reduce the deadly consequences of an infection into something that is more like a common cold. Because of my cancer and diminished auto-immune functions, even common influenza is a deadly threat, and I’ve had incredible symptomatic relief with the lozenge." . . . Dr. Robert J. Melamede, Director and Chief Science Officer, stated, "The influenza virus has a unique genetic make up that, in combination with its replicative machinery, has an extraordinary capacity to mutate. As a result, the high lethality of some strains can be attributed to the resulting adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is caused by an excessive immune inflammatory response driven by Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) that leads to the death of respiratory epithelial cells and resulting organ failure. Endocannabinoids are nature's way of controlling TNF activity. Existing peer reviewed publications have shown that phytocannabinoids can prevent this cell death by mimicking the endocannabinoids that nature has selected to prevent excessive inflammatory immune responses." . . . Dr. Melamede furthermore stated, "Based upon recent discoveries regarding the role that endocannabinoid system plays in maintaining human health, we have a unique solution to the looming threat posed by deadly influenza strains that we believe, if implemented, could save millions of lives. We will strive for an emergency review of our cannabis extract-based lozenge because we believe its availability will prevent many of the deaths associated with the hyper-inflammatory response associated with known lethal strains of the influenza virus. Current anti-influenza medications have a demonstrated decreased effectiveness against some of these lethal variants. Mankind cannot wait for the emergency situation to materialize. We must be proactive in gaining the necessary governmental approvals to test, and pending the outcome of our studies, produce our lozenge."
'Map Of Science' Shows Scientists' Virtual Trails Through Online Services ScienceDaily (Mar. 11, 2009) - Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have produced the world's first Map of Science-a high-resolution graphic depiction of the virtual trails scientists leave behind when they retrieve information from online services. . . . The research, led by Johan Bollen, appeared recently in PLoS One. "This research will be a crucial component of future efforts to study and predict scientific innovation, as well novel methods to determine the true impact of articles and journals," Bollen said. . . . Whenever a scientist accesses a paper online from a publisher, aggregator, university, or similar publishing service, the action is recorded by the servers of these Web portals. The resulting usage data contains a detailed record of the sequences of articles that scientists download as they explore their present interests. After counting the number of times that scientists, across hundreds of millions of requests, download one article after another, the research team calculated the probability that an article or journal accessed by a scientist would be followed by a subsequent article or journal as part of the scientists' online behavior. Based on such behavior, the researchers created a map that graphically portrays a network of connected articles and journals.
The link above will take you to the story about the deranged old men in the Vatican who have no right to speak of morality. Below are a few comments readers of the story left and with whom I happen to agree.
I cringe when the Catholic church has an opinion..We the US attacked a country ..unprovoked....killed women, children, innocent men...soldiers. . . . Church said not one word. . . . Some embryos that are and have been for years going into the trash ...church condemns my president. . . . Gee...who shall I side with here?
AMAZING.... You can hear them loud and clear on this... But, CHILD MOLESTATION ... ALL is QUIET. Hypocrites ...... Child Predators...
I can't believe that we (as the United States of America) have sat back and let these huge Male-Dominated Religions, set the rules (and laws) for so long and: Attempt to dominate our Lives, and dominate our Bodies and our Bedrooms. . . . It's obvious they have no feelings whatsoever for a gravely ill person with a disease that could possibly be cured by stem-cell, a child with a paralizing injury or a woman living in squallor with 12 children, all of them starving, and the woman trying to prevent having any MORE children she can't take care of and can't feed. . . . Their "Thinking" has never gone beyond about the 16th Century and they actually "Expect" us to go along with their insanity! Not only "Expect" but actually try to demand that the rest of the Country set our Laws to reflect the views of THEIR Religion.
They don't care that the embryos are thrown out in the trash - but when they are used to try to save lives - then they throw a fit!
Just 13 years ago, in 1996, the Vatican finally realized that Galileo Galilei was right and the Earth was both round and revolved around the Sun. . . . Flat-earthers have no crediblity when it comes to deciding anything relating to science.
Excuse me if I don't give a fig what the Vatican has to say on anything.
Maybe they should stick to excommunicating the mother, doctors and others who assisted that 9 year old rape victim who was pregnant by her stepfather. Or better yet, stick with ignoring priests who sexually assault little boys and girls.
And the comments go on for many pages ... didn't notice a single one supporting the sick old men in Rome.
Harvard Med Students Expose Big Pharma's Influence on Campus (DUFF WILSON, New York Times, March 2, 2009) In a first-year pharmacology class at Harvard Medical School, Matt Zerden grew wary as the professor promoted the benefits of cholesterol drugs and seemed to belittle a student who asked about side effects. . . . Mr. Zerden later discovered something by searching online that he began sharing with his classmates. The professor was not only a full-time member of the Harvard Medical faculty, but a paid consultant to 10 drug companies, including five makers of cholesterol treatments. . . . "I felt really violated," Mr. Zerden, now a fourth-year student, recently recalled. "Here we have 160 open minds trying to learn the basics in a protected space, and the information he was giving wasn't as pure as I think it should be." . . . Mr. Zerden's minor stir four years ago has lately grown into a full-blown movement by more than 200 Harvard Medical School students and sympathetic faculty, intent on exposing and curtailing the industry influence in their classrooms and laboratories, as well as in Harvard’s 17 affiliated teaching hospitals and institutes.
Discussing the Global Brain and the Future of the Web (Video)
At the DemoFall08 conference, back in September 9th there was a discussion titled "Where the Web is Going." After introductions and an overview of the participants, the panel discussion starts at 5:40 with the following people:
* Howard Bloom, author of The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century * Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google * Prabhakar Raghavan, Yahoo * Jon Udell, Microsoft
Why Neanderthal man may not have been as stupid as he looks (Steve Connor, The Independent, 26 August 2008) Neanderthals were not as stupid as they have been portrayed, according to a study showing their stone tools were just as good as those made by the early ancestors of modern humans, Homo sapiens. . . . Scientists who spent years learning how to make replicas of the stone instruments used by Neanderthals and Homo sapiens have found the Neanderthal tools were just as efficient as anything made by Stone Age man. . . . And researchers believe that the demise of the Neanderthals – which has often been explained by the supposed inferiority of their technology – could not have come about solely as a result of their stone tools being worse than those of their rivals. . . . "Our research disputes a major pillar holding up the long-held assumption that Homo sapiens were more advanced than Neanderthals. It is time for archaeologists to start searching for other reasons why Neanderthals became extinct," . . . Neanderthal man lived in Europe for about 300,000 years, surviving a number of ice ages before disappearing completely about 25,000 years ago, about 10,000 years after the arrival of modern humans in Europe. . . . Why the Neanderthals disappeared has been an enduring mystery but studies on DNA extracted from ancient bones suggest they died out without interbreeding with the new arrivals to Europe. It is likely that the two species of humans competed against each other for limited resources in the same habitat, with Homo sapiens being the victor. . . . However, the study on the stone tools used by both species suggests that the competition was not as one-sided as some anthropologists had believed. The Neanderthal flint tools were broader and thicker than the somewhat smaller and finer-bladed tools of Homo sapiens but they have turned out to be no less efficient, Mr Eren said. . . . One problem still remains – why did Homo sapiens switch from the type of tool technology used by the Neanderthals to something that was different but no more efficient? . . . Mr Eren said that the switch to a more streamlined technology during the time that Homo sapiens began colonising Europe may have played a role of social cohesion by giving the tool makers a shared identity. . . . "Colonising a continent isn't easy. Colonising a continent during the Ice Age is even harder. So, for early Homo sapiens colonising Ice Age Europe, a new shared and flashy-looking technology might serve as one form of social glue by which larger social networks were bonded," Mr Eren explained. . . . "Thus, during hard times these larger social networks might act like a type of life insurance, ensuring exchange and trade among members of the same team," he said.
In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine. . . . Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, because storing extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive and grossly inefficient. With today's announcement, MIT researchers have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy. . . . Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, this discovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all: the sun. "This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," said MIT's Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon." . . . "This is just the beginning," said Nocera, principal investigator for the Solar Revolution Project funded by the Chesonis Family Foundation and co-Director of the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center. "The scientific community is really going to run with this."
When you consider the fact that everything that is happening on the Web at this very moment was completely unpredicted just a decade ago, and the fact that today the Web is still less than 5,000 days old, it certainly gives one a reason to wonder what must be yet coming at us. At the 2007 TED Conference, Kevin Kelly makes a few predictions.
Click the link above to see the full video of this talk.
Sleeping soundly 'boosts memory' (BBC News, 14 July 2008) Researchers found sleep appears to have a dramatic impact on the way the brain functions the next day. . . . It appears to strengthen connections between nerve cells in the brain - a process key to both learning and memory. . . . The researchers studied a group of 32 volunteers who were taught a new skill or shown images they would later have to remember. . . . One group of participants was then allowed to sleep normally for eight hours, while others were deprived of sleep or only permitted a nap. . . . The next day they were asked to repeat the tasks or recall the images while their brains were scanned using a technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). . . . Those who had slept properly performed better, and this was reflected in their brain activity. . . . Lead researcher Dr Sophie Schwartz said: "Our results revealed that a period of sleep following a new experience can consolidate and improve subsequent effects of learning from the experience. . . . "This improvement comes from changes in brain activity in specific regions that code for relevant features of the learned material." . . . Dr Schwartz said sleep helped the brain consolidate learned experiences and harden up weak memories which otherwise might fade in time.
Study: 'Magic mushrooms' have long benefit (MSNBC, July 1, 2008) In 2002, at a Johns Hopkins University laboratory, a business consultant named Dede Osborn took a psychedelic drug as part of a research project. . . . She felt like she was taking off. She saw colors. Then it felt like her heart was ripping open. . . . But she called the experience joyful as well as painful, and says that it has helped her to this day. . . . "I feel more centered in who I am and what I'm doing," said Osborn, now 66, of Providence, R.I. "I don't seem to have those self-doubts like I used to have. I feel much more grounded (and feel that) we are all connected." . . . Scientists reported Tuesday that when they surveyed volunteers 14 months after they took the drug, most said they were still feeling and behaving better because of the experience. . . . Two-thirds of them also said the drug had produced one of the five most spiritually significant experiences they'd ever had. . . . The drug, psilocybin, is found in so-called "magic mushrooms." It's illegal, but it has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries. . . . The project made headlines in 2006 when researchers published their report on how the volunteers felt just two months after taking the drug. The new study followed them up a year after that. . . . With further research, psilocybin (pronounced SILL-oh-SY-bin) may prove useful in helping to treat alcoholism and drug dependence, and in aiding seriously ill patients as they deal with psychological distress, said study lead author Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins. . . . The experiment was funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The results were published online Tuesday by the Journal of Psychopharmacology. . . . Fourteen months after taking the drug, 64 percent of the volunteers said they still felt at least a moderate increase in well-being or life satisfaction, in terms of things like feeling more creative, self-confident, flexible and optimistic. And 61 percent reported at least a moderate behavior change in what they considered positive ways. . . . That second question didn't ask for details, but elsewhere the questionnaire answers indicated lasting gains in traits like being more sensitive, tolerant, loving and compassionate. . . . Dr. Charles Grob, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, called the new work an important follow-up to the first study. . . . He said it is helping to reopen formal study of psychedelic drugs. Grob is on the board of the Heffter Research Institute, which promotes studies of psychedelic substances and helped pay for the new work.
Medical plants 'face extinction' (BBC News, January 19, 2008) Hundreds of medicinal plants are at risk of extinction, threatening the discovery of future cures for disease, according to experts. . . . Over 50% of prescription drugs are derived from chemicals first identified in plants. . . . But the Botanic Gardens Conservation International said many were at risk from over-collection and deforestation. . . . Researchers warned the cures for things such as cancer and HIV may become "extinct before they are ever found". . . . They identified 400 plants that were at risk of extinction. . . . These included yew trees, the bark of which forms the basis for one of the world's most widely used cancer drugs, paclitaxel. . . . Hoodia, which originally comes from Namibia and is attracting interest from drug firms looking into developing weight loss drugs, is on the verge of extinction, the report said. . . . And half of the world's species of magnolias are also under threat. . . . The plant contains the chemical honokiol, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat cancers and slow down the onset of heart disease. . . . The report also said autumn crocus, which is a natural treatment for gout and has been linked to helping fight leukaemia, is at risk of over-harvest as it is popular with the horticultural trade because of its stunning petals. . . . But the report said as well as future breakthroughs being put at risk, the situation was likely to have a consequence in the developing world. . . . It said five billion people still rely on traditional plant-based medicine as their primary form of health care. . . . Report author Belinda Hawkins said: "The loss of the world's medicinal plants may not always be at the forefront of the public consciousness. . . . "However, it is not an overstatement to say that if the precipitous decline of these species is not halted, it could destabilise the future of global healthcare."
Human evolution is 'speeding up' (Anna-Marie Lever, BBC News, 11 December 2007) Humans have moved into the evolutionary fast lane and are becoming increasing different, a genetic study suggests. . . . In the past 5,000 years, genetic change has occurred at a rate roughly 100 times higher than any other period, say scientists in the US. . . . This is in contrast with the widely-held belief that recent human evolution has halted. . . . "The dogma has been these [differences] are cultural fluctuations, but almost any temperament trait you look at is under strong genetic influences. . . . "Genes are evolving fast in Europe, Asia and Africa, but almost all of these are unique to their continent of origin," he added. "We are getting less alike, not merging into a single, mixed humanity." . . . This is happening, he said, because "there has not been much flow" between different regions since modern humans left Africa to colonise the rest of the world. And there is no evidence that it is slowing down, he added. . . . "The technology can't detect anything beyond about 2,000 years ago, but we see no sign of [human evolution] slowing down. So I would suspect it is continuing," he told BBC News. . . . "Five thousand years is such a small sliver of time," said co-author Professor John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. "It's 100 or 200 generations ago. That's how long since some of these genes originated, and today they are [in] 30% or 40% of people because they've had such an advantage." . . . The researchers propose that there are two factors causing human evolution to speed up. . . . "One of them is there are a lot more people - the more people you have the more opportunities there are for an advantageous mutation to show up," said Professor Harpending. . . . A large population has more genetic variation and allows for more positive selection than a small one. . . . "The second is environmental change - our diets have changed, we are in radically new environments," he added. "With a large population size comes lots of new diseases." . . . At the moment we are in an evolutionary interval. We are in between two storms. One storm has more or less blown itself out, the storm of farming. . . . "The question is whether we are going to stay in the calms or whether another great storm will start. And if there is one, I would say it is most certainly to do with epidemic disease."