Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Xeno’s Daily Strange News Awards Blog

Posted by Anonymous on February 28, 2011

Welcome. There are over 13,000 posts here and over 11,000 comments. Note: Content in a dotted line box is a quoted excerpt. Click the link to view the entire original article. Click « Previous Entries or browse the calendar. Comments are now moderated due to excessive spam.


Posted in Blog | 36 Comments »

Damn, I have prediabetes (An Updated Guide to Healthy Living)

Posted by Anonymous on June 27, 2014

I was recently diagnosed with prediabetes from an A1C protein test. This test measures 3 month average blood sugar. Having blood sugar problems does explain many things, but I’m nastily surprised. I’m a white male, not overweight, I get moderate to heavy exercise (although I sit most of the day), and I don’t drink sodas or eat sweets (although I have been having two bananas each morning in my shake and plenty of carbs with meals).

The following is a collection of what is working for me and really, what most people interested in optimum health should consider.

What is prediabetes?

Insulin hormone normally triggers your body to remove glucose from your blood by shuttling it into your cells to burn as energy. This action keeps your blood sugar reading within a healthy range. Prediabetes is a condition where your fasting blood glucose is over a concentration of 100 mg/dl because either your cells have developed a resistance to insulin (Type 2 diabetes, most commonly) or your pancreas is not producing the insulin required (Type 1 diabetes)… or both.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where T cells mediate the destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in your pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder of insulin resistance in many cells and it can progress to stress-induced (we think) death of the beta cells.

How can I tell if my pancreas is producing enough insulin?

The C-peptide level may be measured to see if any insulin is still being produced by the body. It may also be measured in cases of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) to see if the person’s body is producing too much insulin.

Results: The standard range is 0.5 – 6.3 ng/mL. My fasting result was 1.5 ng/mL.

“Anything below the normal range of 0.5 to 3.0 ng/ml of blood means that insulin production has slowed down abnormally, and generally indicates type 1 diabetes. Type 2s, on the other hand, will often yield C-peptide results in the normal range, meaning their fluctuating blood sugars must be due to insulin resistance, rather than decreased production.”

Glad to be still making insulin, now to get my fasting blood sugar under control…

Why is it prediabetes dangerous?

Untreated, it will progress to full diabetes which kills one person every six seconds. Even if you never become diabetic, having a high fasting blood sugar is correlated with a shorter life, brain shrinkage, dementia and coronary artery disease.

What caused my prediabetes?

My car accident? One site says, “an automobile accident with injury can negatively affect glucose metabolism and result in blood levels far above 100 mg/dL, even during fasting.” How long does that last? I still have back pain from time to time from being rear ended in a car accident a few years ago.

I eat late, work out late (sporadically), don’t sleep enough, and by the morning when breakfast rolls around, I still have high blood sugar. My body is constantly producing insulin and it is now resistant, probably, unless I have rare adult-onset Type 1 diabetes where my beta-cells are not producing enough insulin.

Either way, resistance or lack of insulin production means I can’t get the glucose out of my blood, so I’m not storing enough for use when needed.  Insulin resistance also leads to dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar and that can cause panic feelings, mental fog, forgetfulness, and other serious issues such as damage to the heart and other organs.

Diabetes kills one person every six seconds and afflicts 382 million people worldwide, according to the International Diabetes Federation, which has been canvassing the help of people ranging from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Bob Marley’s nephew to raise awareness about the problem.

The number of diabetes cases has climbed 4.4 percent over the past two years and is more than 5 percent of the world’s population, according to new figures the Brussels-based federation released today. The number of people affected by the disease is expected to climb 55 percent to 592 million by 2035 as factors including poor diet, a more sedentary lifestyle, increases in obesity and life expectancy fuel an epidemic, it said. There were only 285 million sufferers worldwide in 2009.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-14/diabetes-kills-one-person-every-six-seconds-new-estimates-show.html

Pre-diabetes and diabetes are linked to a rapid loss of brain function, far more than would be expected from normal ageing, found the two-year Sydney Memory and Ageing Study

http://www.diabeteseducatorsupdate.com.au/latest-news/even-pre-diabetes-courts-dementia

What is Insulin Resistance (IR)?

The liver and muscles are your two most important organs that respond to insulin. A healthy liver responds to insulin by not producing glucose. A healthy muscle responds by using glucose. An insulin resistant liver, however, produces unwanted glucose (and more fat), and insulin resistant muscle cells cannot absorb glucose from the bloodstream, leading to high levels in the blood. Blood vessels become resistant, too. Insulin-resistant blood vessels don’t open up as well and don’t prevent the buildup of fatty plaques that can cause arteries to harden. It makes sense, therefore, that IR is correlated with stroke, even in non-diabetics.

What to Do?

Get a Blood Sugar Monitor and Start a Log

I’ve started a log of what I eat, how much I sleep, exercise and my blood sugar every morning. With this data, I’ve been plotting correlations to see what effects my blood sugar the most. Fasting blood glucose level seems to be an overall health indicator. Stable lower blood sugar levels correlate with long life and a healthy brain. Things that lower your insulin resistance (and put you in a healthy fasting glucose range) are generally good for your overall health.

Your Meter May Be Wrong

Some meters and/or test strip batches, even when not expired, seem to produce terribly inaccurate results! In one morning with my Bayer Contour 7151H meter with Bayer strips from Amazon that expire 2015-09 (lot DW3JJ3F03D), I had readings between 82 and 131. Am I under 100? No idea. Others have had problems with the Contour’s accuracy. I called Bayer, highly annoyed, and they are sending me the new latest model which they say is 10% to 15% more accurate. After months of testing, and using my morning result to change my behavior the next day, I discovered that my data may be useless? That is, apparently, a lot of sticking myself for nothing. And, yes, I washed my finger each time and quickly used the first blood that came out (evaporation concentrates blood sugar quickly in that little drop.) Even the test solution shaken each time and dropped with a fresh drop onto wax paper had a 10 point spread with the same batch of strips. As you can see, it appears that my blood sugar fell from 122 mg/dL to 82 mg/dL in three minutes, then then went up to 131 mg/dL four minutes later.

Unanswered Question: Can blood sugar change that fast, every few minutes, as fast as blood pressure?

The first drop of blood you squeeze out of your finger may contain more interstitial fluid the solution surrounding your cells, which can give a lower reading… but as you can see, my first test was higher than the next 5. Throwing out the highest (131 & 122) and lowest (82 & 85) readings my average this morning is 106.

20140719-091746-33466221.jpg

Meters like this measure glucose in “whole blood” which consists of plasma (liquid), and cells, mainly red cells. The hematocrit is the percentage of red cells in your blood, normally about 45% for men and 40% for women according to this.  The meter has no way of knowing your current hematocrit, so it uses a set reference to yield “plasma-equivalent” results. This is why the reading is only an estimate.

According to Kaiser, the standard range is 39.0 – 51.0 % and my latest reading was 43.2. From one study, it seems that athletes have lower hemocrits:

“… physiological values of hematocrit in these athletes are comprised between 36 and 48%; (b) “low” hematocrit (<40%) was associated with a higher aerobic capacity; (c) subjects with the higher hematocrits (>44.6%) were frequently overtrained and/or iron-deficient… ” – link

Some foods like red meat and dark green leafy veggies, beans, raisins, prunes, broccoli, citrus fruit and tomatoes can increase your heamatocrit, according to this page. If my hematocrit goes up from 43 to say, 45, and my meter has a set standard, this would, I assume, change make my “plasma-equivalent” glucose reading. With more red blood cells per volume, I would have (false) higher glucose readings.

How much does hematocrit vary from minute to minute, hour to hour?

C-peptide test

Verify the reason for the high fasting glucose with a C-peptide test. My 5.5 A1C reading says my average blood glucose over the past 3 months has been 110mg/dL which is high. My 1.4 ng/mL C-peptide test says I’m still making insulin, so I probably have an insulin-resistance problem (type 2)  rather than an autoimmune problem (type 1).

Fix Your Liver

The pancreas regulates blood sugar when you eat, but a larger organ, your liver, regulates your blood sugar while you are not eating.

The liver, your largest internal organ at 3-4 lbs, works 24 hrs/day to keep you alive by performing hundreds of critical functions, including the ability of the body to store and synthesize glucose.

Claims about things that help the liver:

Drink green tea which helps prevent fat build up in your liver, get enough B vitamins, eat bitter raw greens like kale and dandilion greens, take fish oil, raw milk from pastured grass-fed cows, eat two heaping tablespoons of ground organic flax meal which binds to hormone receptor sites, preventing excess hormones including synthetic xenoestrogens from plastics and other chemicals, from floating around your bloodstream.

Avoid these to protect your liver :

Pesticides prevalent in non-organic foods, especially non-organic meat, dairy products, butter, and eggs which have more pesticides than even non-organic greens and vegetables, avoid food additives, bottled water from plastic bottles, all sodas and soft drinks except sparkling water in glass bottles.

Exercise

An hour of afternoon exercise may lower glucose levels until the next morning, affecting the fasting blood sugar test.

Some people respond very well to short high intensity training three times per week, combined with simply moving as much as possible (not sitting) during the day. In four weeks, one BBC  reporter had a 20% improvement in insulin resistance in a lab glucose tolerance test. I’ve started push-ups, sprints (high intensity training), and walking 10,000 steps per day as monitored by my FitBit.

Note: Don’t overdo it. In my fanatical attempt to get my blood sugar down, three days in a row of high intensity training caused heart attack symptoms and almost sent me to the ER. It takes a full 24 to 48 hours for muscle (including your heart) to recover fully after being torn down. Do only three days a week of high intensity training, skipping a full day between sessions to recover.

Intermittent Fasting

The ideas is that if I clear my glucose by breakfast each day, then my pancreas will have a chance to rest (no need to produce insulin) and I should be able to regulate my blood sugar better.

So I thought. As I am underweight, this may have been a very bad idea. Waiting until my blood sugar level came down one morning until I ate, the result was that I got very shaky, then started to black out with a blood sugar level of 103 after 14 hours of fasting. I had dull chest pains and an panic adrenaline reaction, tingling in my hands and feet, my left foot cramped up for about 20 minutes and the bottom of my right foot felt like I was standing on a heater. That symptom, the hot foot, remained on and off for days.

Don’t Bloat Yourself with Food

Eat a little less (until no longer hungry, instead of until full), again to get back to an ability to store and clear the glucose with insulin.

Get Enough Deep Sleep

I’ve shifted my work hours so I eat an hour earlier, work out earlier, and get more sleep. It sounds mundane, but getting enough sleep seems to be the key for me.  University of Chicago Med Center researchers found that “suppressing deep sleep for just three nights causes a 25 percent drop in insulin sensitivity. the researchers say that the decrease in insulin sensitivity after three nights of bad sleep is equivalent to gaining 20 to 30 pounds.”

I normally pop awake after 6.5 to 7 hours of sleep, but going to sleep extra early and having a swig of raw goat’s milk before bed gave me an 8.5 hour sleep with a decent blood sugar reading the next morning. The effect of proper recovery seems cumulative. 7 hours sleep the following night was enough for my first fasting blood sugar under 100 in a week.

One study found that just a single night of inadequate sleep increases insulin resistance.

 

Get up! Get on up! Walk or Stand Rather than Sit Most of the Day

Standing at your desk rather than sitting, you burn about 50 calories per hour more and your  heart beats about 10 beats per minute more.

“… prolonged sitting has not only been linked to problems with blood glucose control, but also a sharp reduction in the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which breaks down blood fats and makes them available as a fuel to the muscles. This reduction in enzyme activity leads to raised levels of triglycerides and fats in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease.” – link

Cinnamon

Add cinnamon to meals which helps insulin work.

“Yes, it does work,” says , a research nutritionist with the University of California, Davis. He authored a recent published in the Journal of Medicinal Food that concluded that cinnamon lowers fasting blood glucose. “According to our results, it’s a modest effect of about 3 to 5 percent,” Davis says. This is about the level of reduction found in the older generation of diabetes drugs, he says. That makes the findings of interest not just to the 25 million Americans who already have diabetes, but also to the 80 million other people — of us — who have elevated fasting blood-glucose levels.
NPR

The most common kind, cassia cinnamon can contain high levels of coumarin, so keep it under 1 teaspoon per day to avoid reversible liver toxicity in case you are one of the few people who is sensitive to it.

- Eat a few fresh basil leaves with meals.

- Cut down from 2 grams/day to 1 gram of Vitamin C which competes with glucose for insulin transport into your cells. One person reported false positive high A1C and FBG readings from 4 grams of vitamin C.

- Started taking chromium picolinate (200 mcg/day) which can lower fasting blood sugar and insulin levels. It seems to help insulin work better in people with type 2 diabetes.

 Avoid too much Selenium

Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes. Selenium is required for proper functioning of the thyroid gland, and may protect against cancer, so you need some. A recommended amount according to the NIH is 55 mcg/day.  A long term deficiency can lead to a syndrome where the immune system attacks the thyroid.  However, too much can kill you.

“Researchers have identified a hormone, selenoprotein P (SeP), produced and secreted by the liver as a previously unknown cause of insulin resistance.  … When the researchers gave normal mice SeP, they became insulin resistant and their blood sugar levels rose. A treatment that blocked the activity of SeP in the livers of diabetic and obese mice improved their sensitivity to insulin and lowered blood sugar levels. ” – link

The evolved reduced utilization of selenium-containing proteins in mammals raises important questions in human and animal nutrition. Selenoprotein expression is regulated such that people don’t need to rely so heavily on dietary selenium which is often present in excess amounts in the diet. – link

Brazil nuts, for example, contain very high amounts of selenium (68–91 mcg per nut) and can cause you to go over the safe upper limit if you eat too many. … Too much over time can also cause garlic breath and nervous system problems, among others. At extremely high intakes, selenium can cause severe problems, including difficulty breathing, tremors, kidney failure, heart attacks, and heart failure. – link

Selenium is found naturally in seafood, meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products as well as breads, cereals and other grains. (more) Is excess selenium causing insulin resistance and diabetes?  400 mcg is probably the safe upper daily limit for Selenium intake for adults. If you’ve watched the movie Evolution, you probably know that selenium is a key ingredient in dandruff shampoo.

You should also be aware that selenium compounds, including those used in some medicated dandruff shampoos, are not easily absorbed through the skin. Most of the selenium that enters the body quickly leaves the body, usually within 24 hours. Beyond what the body needs, selenium leaves mainly in the urine, but also in feces and breath. Selenium in the urine increases as the amount of the exposure goes up. Selenium can build up in the human body, however, if exposure levels are very high or if exposure occurs over a long time.  – link

Unanswered Questions:
Low carb? Evenly spaced carbs? Low fat or high (good) fat? Is intermittent fasting good for thin prediabetics with no weight issues?  Intermittent fasting (IF) when you are prediabetic causes swings in glucose, resulting in mental discomfort and potentially increased cortisol and cardiac death.

‘There seems to be rather a lot of slim, fit people, who have had an excellent diet for years, that seem to be either diabetic or pre-diabetic, What is going on?’  http://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/threads/thin-fit-prediabetic-is-there-hope.43169/

What else can be done? Even for Type 1, there is new hope:

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) and UC San Diego School of Medicine scientists have shown that by encapsulating immature pancreatic cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC), and implanting them under the skin in animal models of diabetes, sufficient insulin is produced to maintain glucose levels without unwanted potential trade-offs of the technology. The research suggests that encapsulated hESC-derived insulin-producing cells hold great promise as an effective and safe cell-replacement therapy for insulin-dependent diabetes.

“Our study critically evaluates some of the potential pitfalls of using stem cells to treat insulin-dependent diabetes,” said Pamela Itkin-Ansari, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor in the Development, Aging, and Regenerative Program at Sanford-Burnham, with a joint appointment at UC San Diego.

“We have shown that encapsulated hESC-derived pancreatic cells are able to produce insulin in response to elevated glucose without an increase in the mass or their escape from the capsule. These results are important because it means that the encapsulated cells are both fully functional and retrievable,” said Itkin-Ansari.

In the study, published online in Stem Cell Research, Itkin-Ansari and her team used bioluminescent imaging to see if encapsulated cells stay in the capsule after implantation.

Previous attempts to replace insulin-producing cells, called beta cells, have met with significant challenges. For example, researchers have tried treating diabetics with mature beta cells, but because mature cells are fragile and scarce, the method is fraught with problems. Moreover, since the cells come from organ donors, they may be recognized as foreign by the recipient’s immune system — requiring patients to take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent their immune system from attacking the donor’s cells, ultimately leaving patients vulnerable to infections, tumors, and other adverse events.

Encapsulation technology was developed to protect donor cells from exposure to the immune system — and has proven extremely successful in preclinical studies.

Itkin-Ansari and her research team previously made an important contribution to the encapsulation approach by showing that pancreatic islet progenitor cells are an optimal cell type for encapsulation. They found that progenitor cells were more robust than mature beta cells to encapsulate, and while encapsulated, they matured into insulin-producing cells, which secreted insulin only when needed.

“We were thrilled to see that the cells remained fully encapsulated for up to 150 days, the longest period tested, said Itkin-Ansari. “Equally important is that we show that the progenitor cells develop glucose responsiveness without a significant change in mass — meaning they don’t outgrow their capsule.

“Next steps for the development of the approach will be to figure out the size of the capsule required to house the number of progenitor beta cells needed to respond to glucose in humans. And of course we want to learn how long a capsule will function once implanted. Given these goals and continued successful results, I expect to see the technology become a treatment option for patients with insulin-dependent diabetes,” said Itkin-Ansari.

http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2014-03-25-stem-cell-derived-beta-cells-replace-insulin.aspx

 

 

 

Posted in Biology, Education, Food, Health, Mind, Survival | 3 Comments »

LAPD to get Stealth Motorcycle

Posted by Anonymous on June 24, 2014

http://hw.infowars.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/lapd-stealthbike.jpgThe LAPD recently announced the purchase of a Zero MMX, an eletronic military-grade motorcycle developed for the U.S. Special Operations Forces.

Well, that’s kinda terrifying.

Santa Cruz-based Zero Motorcycles has said that it was only one bike as part of a “pilot program,” according to Wired. Zero has been supplying police departments across the country with electric motorcycles since 2011, with the biggest advantage of these bikes being their stealthiness. With no gas engine, it is easy to avoid being heard.

“Our officers have an added tactical advantage while on patrol,” said Officer Steve Carbajal of the LAPD Off-Road Unit in a press release. Among these tactical advantages aside from the quiet engine include the ability to go zero-to-60 in 4.4 seconds and ford water over three feet deep. The bike is designed for off-road use, but can even be used in indoor pursuits down with zero emissions. It has a top speed of 85 MPH.

via infowars

Posted in Technology | Leave a Comment »

Ebola virus outbreak, epidemic is out of control

Posted by Anonymous on June 24, 2014

http://img.rt.com/files/news/24/9b/50/00/000_was8471186_copy.si.jpgThe deadly Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has hit “unprecedented” proportions, according to relief workers on the ground.

“The epidemic is out of control,” Dr. Bart Janssens, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement.

There have been 567 cases and 350 deaths since the epidemic began in March, according to the latest World Health Organization figures.

In April, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta traveled to Conakry, Guinea, to report on what was being done to treat patients and contain the outbreak.

“It took only moments to feel the impact of what was happening here,” Gupta wrote after landing in Conakry. “There is a lot we know about Ebola, and it scares us almost as much as what we don’t know.”

Ebola outbreaks usually are confined to remote areas, making it easier to contain. But this outbreak is different; patients have been identified in 60 locations in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Officials believe the wide footprint of this outbreak is partly because of the close proximity between the jungle where the virus was first identified and cities such as Conakry. The capital in Guinea has a population of 2 million and an international airport.

People are traveling without realizing they’re carrying the deadly virus. It can take between two and 21 days after exposure for someone to feel sick.
Ebola outbreak not under control
Inside an Ebola isolation ward in Guinea

Ebola is a violent killer. The symptoms, at first, mimic the flu: headache, fever, fatigue. What comes next sounds like something out of a horror movie: significant diarrhea and vomiting, while the virus shuts off the blood’s ability to clot.

As a result, patients often suffer internal and external hemorrhaging. Many die in an average of 10 days. …

The good news is that Ebola isn’t as easily spread as one may think. A patient isn’t contagious — meaning they can’t spread the virus to other people — until they are already showing symptoms.

There is no cure or vaccine to treat Ebola, but MSF has shown it doesn’t have to be a death sentence if it’s treated early. Ebola typically kills 90% of patients. This outbreak, the death rate has dropped to roughly 60%. …

via CNN

Posted in Health, Survival | Leave a Comment »

A map of human problems

Posted by Anonymous on June 21, 2014

20140621-135253-49973427.jpgI want something I can’t find on the net, something big and important. I want a visual interactive map of human problems and where we are along the various paths to solutions. I want everyone to be able to interact with it, add to it, vote on it!

We have all this information, so organize it! Who can help? Google? I want a globe where the continents are categories.

Here is a great planet maker: http://planetmaker.wthr.us/# I’d like something like terrestrial planet X.0 with randomly generated continents like this:
http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~amitp/game-programming/polygon-map-generation/demo.html

I want to zoom in on a problem to see the bleeding edge technology with details explained so anyone could understand it.

Update:

“At this year’s CeBIT exhibition, the team from Fraunhofer IGD / Fraunhofer IDM@NTU, Singapore, presents a new, exciting, X3DOM-based prototype for fast, intuitive exploration of information, which is entitled InfoLand. Information is presented on a multi-touch interface through a graphical representation, serving as an information or marketing tool for industry partners and collaborators, researchers, and students. Information is presented in the form of text, images, videos and 3D models, which can be accessed intuitively.”

Sounds like the InfoLand engine is close to being capable of what I’m imagining, but it doesn’t seem to be available for anyone to use.  What are the big categories?

Here’s a nice model as a start, but replace the Earth continents with the human problem continents, let them take different shapes as people add content and as old ideas erode.

http://workshop.chromeexperiments.com/projects/armsglobe/

Posted in Alt Energy, Do stuff, Earth, Education, Health, human rights, Money, Physics, Survival, Technology, War | 5 Comments »

Solar Freakin’ Roadways

Posted by Anonymous on June 21, 2014

Not a good idea from an engineering point of view, but fun! For practical reasons we would be much better off building huge solar arrays across the Sahara desert, not to mention harnessing the tides.

Tides are more predictable than wind energy and solar power. Among sources of renewable energy, tidal power has traditionally suffered from relatively high cost and limited availability of sites with sufficiently high tidal ranges or flow velocities, thus constricting its total availability. However, many recent technological developments and improvements, both in design (e.g. dynamic tidal power, tidal lagoons) and turbine technology (e.g. new axial turbines, cross flow turbines), indicate that the total availability of tidal power may be much higher than previously assumed, and that economic and environmental costs may be brought down to competitive levels.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_power

Posted in Alt Energy | Leave a Comment »

CA Bill 1381 – Second Chance at GMO labeling

Posted by Anonymous on May 28, 2014

20140527-181305.jpg

If you live in California, please contact your California state Senator ( http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov ) and ask him or her to vote YES on California State Bill 1381 in favor of labeling GMO foods. The vote will likely be tomorrow, Wednesday, May 28.

Posted in Food, Health, Politics | 1 Comment »

U.S. charges Chinese military officers with cyberespionage

Posted by Anonymous on May 23, 2014

The U.S. Justice Department issued an indictment on Monday charging five Chinese military officers with hacking into the computer networks of American companies and stealing proprietary information. The move — which was swiftly repudiated by the Chinese government — “represents the first ever charges against a state actor” for hacking, Attorney General Eric Holder said. According to the indictment, the infiltrations began in 2006 and targeted organizations including Westinghouse Electric, U.S. Steel and the United Steel Workers Union. Los Angeles Times

Yeah, no muscling in on the NSA’s territory will be tolerated. Infiltrations, eh? How about the US charging the NSA with cyberespionage, then?

Posted in Crime, Politics, Technology | 1 Comment »

Can cutting carbohydrates from your diet make you live longer?

Posted by Anonymous on May 8, 2014

It’s an extraordinary claim. But scientists say you can extend your life AND stay fit throughout old age – just by a change of diet that switches on your youth gene…

Professor Kenyon has found out why drastically reducing calories has such a remarkable effect

For centuries man has dreamed of being immortal, fixated on tales of magic fountains that restore youth, the rejuvenating power of a vampire’s bite or asses’ milk.

More recently came claims that injections of monkey glands or hormone supplements would make us live longer.

But so far, what’s actually worked are medical advances such as vaccines and better living conditions. Over the past century these have boosted average life expectancy by far more than 50 per cent, from 50 to 88.

The problem is that this longevity does not mean a healthier life. Indeed, thanks to chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis, we’re becoming like the Struldbruggs — the miserable characters in Gulliver’s Travels who were immortal, but still suffered from all the ­diseases of old age.

Gradually they lost their teeth, their hair, their sense of smell and taste. All their diseases got worse and their memory faded, so they had no idea who their friends and relations were. At funerals they wept because they couldn’t die.

But now a U.S. geneticist is thought to have discovered the secret to a long life, full of health and energy. And the answer might be as simple as cutting down on carbohydrates.

Professor Cynthia Kenyon, whom many experts believe should win the Nobel Prize for her research into ageing, has discovered that the carbohydrates we eat — from bananas and potatoes to bread, pasta, biscuits and cakes — directly affect two key genes that govern youthfulness and longevity.

She made her remarkable breakthrough after studying roundworms, specifically the C.elegans, a worm just a millimetre in size that lives in soil in temperate climates all over the world.

By tweaking some of their genes she has been able to help these worms live up to six times longer than normal. ‘Not only that, but we also know how to make them stay healthy all that time as well,’ she told an audience at the Wellcome Collection in London earlier this month.

So, what do worms have to do with us?

A great deal, it seems. Professor Kenyon’s work has been successfully repeated in labs around the world — the genes she found controlling ageing in worms do the same thing in rats and mice, probably monkeys, and there are signs they are active in humans, too.

This work has revolutionised our understanding of ageing, explains Jeff Holly, professor of clinical sciences at Bristol University.

‘Ten years ago we thought ageing was probably the result of a slow decay, a sort of rusting,’ he says. ‘But Professor Kenyon has shown that it’s not about wear and tear, but instead it is controlled by genes. That opens the possibility of slowing it down with drugs.’

So how does a worm hold the key to human ageing?

At 18 days old the average roundworm is flabby, ­sluggish and wrinkled. Two days later it will probably be dead.

The carbohydrates we eat directly affect two key genes that govern youthfulness and longevity
However, Professor Kenyon, based at the University of California, San Francisco, found that damping down the activity of just one of their genes had a dramatic effect.

‘Instead of dying at about 20 days, our first set of mutant worms carried on living to more than 40 days,’ she says.

‘And they weren’t sluggish and worn out — they behaved like youngsters. It was a real shock. In human terms it was the equivalent of talking to someone you thought was about 30 and finding they were actually 60.’

With more sophisticated genetic manipulation, she now has some worms that have lived for an astonishing 144 days. An increase of that proportion would allow humans to live to 450.

Scientists already knew how to make laboratory animals live longer and healthier lives — you just cut back their calories to about three-quarters of their normal amount.

It’s not a practical solution for humans, because you feel cold and hungry all the time.

But what Professor Kenyon found out was why ­drastically reducing calories has such a remarkable effect.

She discovered that it changed the way two crucial genes behaved. It turned down the gene that controls insulin, which in turn switched on another gene, which acted like an elixir of life.

‘We jokingly called the first gene the Grim Reaper because when it’s switched on, the lifespan is fairly short,’ she explains.

The ­second ‘elixir’ gene seems to bring all the anti-ageing benefits — its proper name is DAF 16, but it was quickly nicknamed ‘Sweet Sixteen’ because it turned the worms into teenagers.

‘It sends out instructions to a whole range of repair and renovation genes,’ says Professor Kenyon.

‘Your supply of natural anti­oxidants goes up, damping down damaging free radicals.’

These are the ­compounds produced by our body and the environment, which are linked to a host of diseases from ­cancer to Alzheimer’s.

The Sweet Sixteen gene also ‘boosts compounds that make sure the skin and muscle-building ­proteins are working properly, the immune system becomes more active to fight infection and genes that are active in cancer get turned off,’ she adds.

Kenyon had stumbled on the genetic equivalent of Shangri-La, the fictional valley where people could live for years without really ageing.

Discovering the Grim Reaper gene has prompted the professor to ­dramatically alter her own diet, ­cutting right back on carbohydrates. That’s because carbs make your body produce more insulin (to mop up the extra blood sugar carbs ­produce); and more insulin means a more active Grim Reaper.

So the vital second gene, the ‘elixir’ one, won’t get turned on. To test this, last year she added a tiny amount of ­sugary glucose to the normal diet of some of her worms that had had their genes engineered so they were living much longer, healthier lives.

‘The effect was remarkable,’ she says. ‘The sugary glucose blocked the “youthful” genes and they lost most of the health gains.’

But was this just a special feature of the roundworm or did we all have it?

Following Kenyon’s lead, other researchers started looking for the Grim Reaper/ Sweet Sixteen combination in other animals — and of course in humans. They found it.

One clue came from a small remote community of dwarves living in northern Ecuador who are cancer-free. They are missing the part of the Grim Reaper gene that controls a hormone called insulin-like growth factor. The downside is they only grow to 4ft tall because the hormone is needed for growth.

But this missing bit of the Grim Reaper gene also means they don’t develop cancer and are less likely to suffer from heart disease or obesity.

Professor Jeff Holly, who specialises in insulin-like growth factor, confirms that it is linked to cancer of the prostate, breast and colon.

In fact raised insulin levels, triggered by high carbohydrate ­consumption, could be what ­connects many of our big killers.

Research is at its early stage, but raised insulin triggers an increase in cholesterol production in the liver, makes the walls of blood vessels ­contract so blood pressure goes up and stimulates the release of fats called triglycerides (linked to heart disease).

Professor Kenyon’s work is ­creating a wave of excitement among drug companies who’ve been researching molecules that will damp down the Grim Reaper and boost Sweet ­Sixteen, giving us the benefits of very low-calorie diets without the ­penalties. So far, none is very near being approved.

One way to reduce insulin levels is to exercise, which makes you more sensitive to it, which in turn means you need less of it. It also gives another health benefit in a surprising way. Exercise actually increases the level of damaging free radicals which stimulates the body to produce more protective anti-oxidants.

So should we all be trying to cut back on carbs to reduce our insulin levels?

It is a suggestion that flies in the face of 30 years of health advice to have a lower fat intake and eat plenty of long-lasting complex carbo­hydrates to keep the body supplied with energy.

There is no denying the extra­ordinary breakthrough Kenyon’s work represents and she ‘deserves the Nobel Prize for her findings about ageing’, says David Gems, deputy director of the Institute for Healthy Ageing at University ­College, London.

However he isn’t convinced we know enough for us all to start eating a low-carb diet.

‘The exact role of insulin in health and ageing is a promising and fascinating area,’ he says. ‘But I’m not sure the evidence for the benefit of cutting carbohydrates and keeping insulin levels down is strong enough yet.’

But Professor Kenyon herself doesn’t need convincing.

‘Carbo­hydrates, and especially refined ones like sugar, make you produce lots of extra insulin. I’ve been keeping my intake really low ever since I discovered this.

‘I’ve cut out all starch such as potatoes, noodles, rice, bread and pasta. Instead I have salads, but no sweet dressing, lots of olive oil and nuts, tons of green vegetables along with cheese, chicken and eggs.

‘I’ll have a hamburger without a bun and fish without batter or chips. I eat some fruit every day, but not too much and almost no processed food. I stay away from sweets, except 80 per cent chocolate.’

She is adamant it will be well worthwhile. ‘You could have two completely different careers if you could stay healthy to 90,’ she says. ‘How fascinating that would be.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1323758/Can-cutting-Carbohydrates-diet-make-live-longer.html#ixzz314XIcZys

This was interesting enough to bring me out of blog hibernation for a new post. Time to start exercising again. Less sitting every day too! I picked up a blood sugar meter and my fasting level is 114 on my last test. My dad says the safe range used to go up to 120 but they changed it to sell more drugs. That may be, but after reading the above article, I’d like to work on getting down to 90 or so.

A normal fasting blood glucose target range for an individual without diabetes is 70-100 mg/dL (3.9-5.6 mmol/L). The American Diabetes Association recommends a fasting plasma glucose level of 70–130 mg/dL (3.9-7.2 mmol/L) and after meals less than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L).

Posted in Biology, Health, Survival | 4 Comments »

Vermont passes GMO labeling law

Posted by Anonymous on May 4, 2014

http://cdn2.collective-evolution.com/assets/uploads/2014/04/gmo-300x199.jpegSenator David Zuckerman and Representative Carolyn Partridge describe the amazing efforts, which spanned more than a decade, resulting in this unprecedented, game-changing new law…. Here’s the quick facts:

1. Starting July 1, 2016, products sold in Vermont that contain more than 0.9% GMO content contamination will require a statement on the label indicating that genetic engineering was used.
2. Products that contain GMOs and are labeled can NOT also label their products as “natural.”
3. The bill does not apply to labels for milk, eggs, and meat from animals fed GMOs.
4. Unlike the bills passed in Connecticut and Maine, Vermont’s bill does not require other states to pass similar legislation before it is enacted.
5. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

Great start. What happens next?

How Vermont plans to defend the nation’s first GMO law

Efforts to label GMO foods, 2013. (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Issue Paper 54)Expect two things to happen now that Vermont’s legislature has passed H.112.

Any day now, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) is expected to make history by signing that bill into law as he has suggested, making his the first state to require genetically modified food to be labeled as such. Then, maybe not too long after that, expect the state to be sued over it.

There’s no guarantee of legal action, but legislators, officials and advocates are preparing for it. Earlier this month, state Attorney General Bill Sorrell told Vermont Public Radio that he would be “very surprised” if the state isn’t sued over the law. And officials were so sure of a challenge that the measure itself creates a $1.5 million legal defense fund, to be paid for with settlements won by the state. They think it’s coming, but they also say they’re ready.

“The threat of a lawsuit worked for a while, but now it doesn’t work anymore,” says Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, whose organization has for years worked with activists and lawmakers in Vermont on the issue. “I think they may go ahead and sue and do it rather quickly in the hopes that it may gather momentum,” he added, referring to biotech industry groups.

Other states have pursued similar measures, but Vermont’s law will be the first of its kind. Connecticut and Maine passed labeling requirements, but with trigger clauses requiring multiple other states to pass labeling requirements before their own go into effect. At least 25 states have considered such legislation, according to a Monday report on labeling requirements from the nonprofit Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. And advocates are hopeful they will get a measure on the Oregon ballot this year.
via WashPost

Despite widespread use of the weed killer glyphosate, and the prevalent myth that it is harmless, this pesticide is tied to acute human health effects and linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is found in two Monsanto products, available over the counter, RoundupTM and RodeoTM, making glyphosate one of the most widely used and well-known herbicides on the market.

via BeyondPesticides

For those still catching up, there are many types of genetically modified organisms in our stored today. Industry influence has allowed this without legitimate safety testing. Private labs indicate serious potential health risks including cancer.

Most commonly GMO plants are designed to survive high applications of pesticide/herbicide. The most common, glyphosate, kills beneficial organisms and damages the soil. It traps minerals so they can’t be used by plants, which is why you get LESS crop yield after the first year when you go GMO as a farmer.  What you get when you eat GMO foods are those pesticides which then kill or damage beneficial microbes in your gut, organisms we need to extract nutrients from food and which are part of a normal healthy human immune system. You get sick, or you get allergies and you spend money on allergy medicines. You’d be less miserable if you just spend the money up front on non-GMO foods. This is the main way that GMO foods weaken you.

Glyphosate is believed to operate by disrupting the shikimate (pronounced shə kih mut) pathway in plants, a process for manufacturing a group of amino acids called aromatic (though the term has nothing to do with odor). These include phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. Aromatic amino acids are required for a plant’s survival.

It’s been assumed that glyphosate is harmless in humans because the shikimate pathway does not exist in any animal. However, the shikimate pathway does exist in bacteria, including those in the mammalian gut. Until fairly recently, the importance of gut biota in health has largely been ignored. However, it’s now understood to be key in many aspects of the body’s function.

Gut bacteria are in a symbiotic relationship with the body. They digest food, synthesize vitamins, detoxify foreign substances, and are key in immune system function and gut permeability. Thus, anything that interferes with the shikimate pathway has the potential of causing severe harm. – link

Another GMO product came with a different danger.

The biotech industry is fond of bragging about their genetically modified (GM) crops that “resist pests.” This conjures up images of insects staying away from GM fields.

But resisting pests is a euphemism for contains its own pesticide. When bugs take a bite of the GM plant, the toxin from the plant splits open their stomach and kills them.

The idea that we consume that same toxic pesticide in every bite is hardly appetizing. But the biotech companies insist that the pesticide, called Bt-toxin, has a history of safe use.

Organic farmers, for example, have used solutions containing the natural form of Bt-toxin—produced from Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria—as a method of natural insect control.

Genetic engineers simply remove the gene that produces the Bt in bacteria and insert it into the DNA of corn and cotton plants. Moreover, they claim that Bt-toxin is quickly destroyed in our stomach; and even if it survived, it won’t cause reactions in humans or mammals.

Studies show otherwise.

If GMO genes that make a pesticide get incorporated into organisms in your gut through horizontal gene transfer, you end up with pesticide factories in your body. We do know that DNA transfer between different species happens in gut bacteria:

The modern science of genome analysis provides abundant evidence that movement of genes and gene-fragments between species are universal features of life on earth. – link to industry disinformation site, which nevertheless agrees about gene transfer between species

also see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1364539/

Horizontal gene transfer is the primary reason for bacterial antibiotic resistance,[2][3][4][5][6] and plays an important role in the evolution of bacteria that can degrade novel compounds such as human-created pesticides[7] and in the evolution, maintenance, and transmission of virulence.[8] This horizontal gene transfer often involves temperate bacteriophages and plasmids.[9][10] Genes that are responsible for antibiotic resistance in one species of bacteria can be transferred to another species of bacteria through various mechanisms (e.g., via F-pilus), subsequently arming the antibiotic resistant genes’ recipient against antibiotics, which is becoming a medical challenge to deal with. This is the most critical reason that antibiotics must not be consumed and administered to patients without appropriate prescription from a medical physician.[11] Most thinking in genetics has focused upon vertical transfer, but there is a growing awareness that horizontal gene transfer is a highly significant phenomenon and among single-celled organisms perhaps the dominant form of genetic transfer.[12][13]

via wikipedia

Can transgenes from gut bacteria then get incorporated into our own human DNA? This study says there is evidence that this could happen:

There are 10× more bacterial cells in our bodies from the microbiome than human cells. Viral DNA is known to integrate in the human genome, but the integration of bacterial DNA has not been described. Using publicly available sequence data from the human genome project, the 1000 Genomes Project, and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we examined bacterial DNA integration into the human somatic genome. Here we present evidence that bacterial DNA integrates into the human somatic genome through an RNA intermediate, and that such integrations are detected more frequently in (a) tumors than normal samples, (b) RNA than DNA samples, and (c) the mitochondrial genome than the nuclear genome. Hundreds of thousands of paired reads support random integration of Acinetobacter-like DNA in the human mitochondrial genome in acute myeloid leukemia samples. Numerous read pairs across multiple stomach adenocarcinoma samples support specific integration of Pseudomonas-like DNA in the 5′-UTR and 3′-UTR of four proto-oncogenes that are up-regulated in their transcription, consistent with conversion to an oncogene. These data support our hypothesis that bacterial integrations occur in the human somatic genome and may play a role in carcinogenesis. We anticipate that the application of our approach to additional cancer genome projects will lead to the more frequent detection of bacterial DNA integrations in tumors that are in close proximity to the human microbiome.

via PlosOne

I have dry eyes and have tested positive for Sjogrens-B Anti-Nuclear Antibody. I would not be surprised if Monsanto is to blame. Perhaps I should get my genes sequenced. I’ve been waiting for the price to come down and I’d also like my data to remain private. My view is that we each own the rights our own DNA.

Posted in Biology, Health | Leave a Comment »

Yes Men Strike at Homeland Security Conference

Posted by Anonymous on May 2, 2014

100% Renewable energy on the way for the USA?

Watch the video here. Awesome.

Posted in Alt Energy, Politics | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 882 other followers