Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Government launches two nights of spraying residents (and mosquitoes) with poison in Yolo County

Posted by Anonymous on August 7, 2014

A government aircraft flying low at about 300 feet sprayed for hours last night, Aug 6, 2014, and will be spraying again tonight, Aug 7, 2014, during a four hour window 8 PM to approximately midnight, covering about 22,000 acres. If you saw the plane, you would not see an apparatus for spraying connected to it. The spraying done in the dark will come from embedded 8 inch nozzles off of the wingtips of a piloted small blue and white two engine plane (Beechcraft perhaps) that will fly out of McClellan Air Force Base, a contaminated Superfund site.  Sprayed, so they say, will be 0.75 oz/acre of TRUMPET ( http://iaspub.epa.gov/apex/pesticides/f?p=PPLS:102:::NO::P102_REG_NUM:5481-481  an insecticide to kill adult mosquitoes. Well, that would be about 1,030 lbs of liquid insecticide if one plane covered all 22,000 acres.  That’s about 130 gallons. Trumpet is sold in 30 gallon drums. Of course, with one pilot flying out of a Superfund site closed to the public, this would be the perfect cover for another government experiment, wouldn’t it? I’ll be out of town. Have fun. Oh, did I mention that Trumpet was linked with leukemia and pancreatic cancer in lab tests? 1, 2

SAN FRANCISCO – Fifty-one years ago, Edward J. Nevin checked into a San Francisco hospital, complaining of chills, fever and general malaise. Three weeks later, the 75-year-old retired pipe fitter was dead, the victim of what doctors said was an infection of the bacterium Serratia marcescens. Decades later, Mr. Nevin’s family learned what they believe was the cause of the infection, linked at the time to the hospitalizations of 10 other patients. In Senate subcommittee hearings in 1977, the U.S. Army revealed that weeks before Mr. Nevin sickened and died, the Army had staged a mock biological attack on San Francisco, secretly spraying the city with Serratia and other agents thought to be harmless. The goal: to see what might happen in a real germ-warfare attack. The experiment, which involved blasting a bacterial fog over the entire 49-square-mile city from a Navy vessel offshore, was recorded with clinical nonchalance: “It was noted that a successful BW [biological warfare] attack on this area can be launched from the sea, and that effective dosages can be produced over relatively large areas,” the Army wrote in its 1951 classified report on the experiment.

See http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Serratia-has-dark-history-in-region-Army-test-2677623.php

http://www.democracynow.org/2005/7/13/how_the_u_s_government_exposed

 

http://news.maryland.gov/mda/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2014/06/mosquito-plane-jeff-moreland1.jpgJuly 1, 2014: SACRAMENTO – Officials moved to spray a wide swath of south Sacramento after a spike in West Nile Virus detection.

At 9:15 pm Monday, a lone aircraft took off from McClellan Air Park to begin spraying an organophosphate pesticide across thousands of acres from Broadway to the north to Meadowview Road on the south and from Interstate 5 on the west to Power Inn Road on the east.

To those wondering why this drought year has brought a spike in the detection of the virus in birds and mosquitos, the district points out that normally flowing water has turned stagnant this year.

“It’s the birds and the mosquitos and other insects congregating at these limited water sources that increases the risk of virus transmission between the birds and the mosquitos,” said Luz Maria Rodriguez, spokeswoman for the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.

The spraying has rekindled debate over the safety of the pesticide application and even the need for it.

“The main concern I have is that for a very small risk from the West Nile Virus, a large number of people are being exposed to a poison,” said primary care physician Dr. Kelly Sutton. …

http://www.news10.net/story/news/local/sacramento-central/2014/07/01/sacramento-west-nile-spraying/11835473/


 

Published: Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014 – 3:53 pm

Residents living in parts of Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks and Orangevale are advised to stay indoors with their pets tonight from 8 p.m. to midnight as aerial spraying for the West Nile virus begins.

The same advisory is in effect for Thursday evening, the second of two consecutive nights of overhead spraying for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus.

Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District officials said spreading insecticides over about 19,000 acres of dense suburban housing is necessary because of “intense West Nile virus activity,” measured by the large number of mosquitoes and dead birds testing positive for the virus.

The area to be sprayed is marked by Highway 80 and Garfield Avenue on the west to Hazel Avenue on the east. The southern boundary of the targeted neighborhoods is Lincoln Avenue and the northern border is the Sacramento County line.

The virus has also spread to other areas of Sacramento and Yolo counties, especially to the city of Davis, district officials said. Aerial spraying also covered large portions of Sacramento’s southern neighborhoods two weeks ago.

Aircraft will drop an insecticide that’s registered with the U.S. EPA and the California Environmental Protection Agency. The bug spray, called Trumpet, is expected to disperse in the air by morning.

http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/16/6561413/aerial-spraying-of-parts-of-citrus.html


 

Elk Grove, Ca— The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District announced today that aerial treatments for adult mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus are scheduled for two consecutive nights on Wednesday, August 6 and Thursday, August 7 from approximately 8:00 pm to midnight over the cities of Davis and Woodland and the surrounding agricultural areas in Yolo County.  “We are moving forward with plans for aerial spraying” said Gary Goodman, District Manager. For the past few weeks the District has been monitoring these locations which became areas of concern due to the many mosquito samples and dead birds that tested positive for the disease. “Our surveillance results indicate very high infection rates among mosquitoes and the need to spray in order to protect area residents from the threat of West Nile virus” added Goodman.

Aerial spraying will take place over two areas. The Davis block is approximately 20,000 acres and the boundaries are from County Road 29 on the north, down to Levee Road along Putah Creek on the south and from County Road 98 on the west to County Road 105 on the east.

The Woodland block is about 12,000 acres from Churchill Downs Ave on the north, to County Road 25A on the south and from County Road 97 on the west to County Road 102 on the east.  For exact spraying locations please refer to the attached map or visit www.FIGHTtheBITE.net.


 

McClellan AFB was closed as a result of BRAC 1995. After it officially closed on 13 July 2001, portions of McClellan and the surrounding area were converted into a business park.

The chemicals used in aircraft maintenance, such as solvents, caustic cleaners, fuel oils and lubricants have caused extensive contamination at McClellan, particularly of groundwater. In addition, there are small amounts of radioactive waste at the base. The contamination was the result of leaks of pipes and storage tanks, spills, landfills and fire training areas. At one time, it was one of the most heavily polluted bases in the nation. Cleanup started in the 1980s. As of 2005, it is still ongoing and expected to take at least another decade. McClellan is listed on the United States Environmental Protection Agency‘s National Priorities List as part of the Superfund created during the 1980s.[4][5]

McClellan’s air traffic control tower remains standing, but was deactivated following the closure of McClellan AFB. However, the airfield’s navigational aids such as the VOR/DME and ILS remain operational. McClellan Airfield now operates as an uncontrolled (non-towered) joint civil-military airfield with various mixed-use tenants as part of McClellan Park.[6] The remaining military activity consists of Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, operating HC-130 Hercules aircraft, as well as an AAFES BX, a commissary and VA Outpatient Clinic[7]VA Hospital which are primarily utilized by Coast Guard personnel, military retirees and National Guard and Reserve personnel, and their immediate families/dependents in the Sacramento area. McClellan is also the home of the Aerospace Museum of California. Since 2002, the base has also been home to the Pacific Region Campus for the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps.

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

 


 

EPA Registration Number:5481-481

Company Name: AMVAC CHEMICAL CORPORATION
Address: 4695 MACARTHUR COURT, SUITE 1200
City, State Zip: NEWPORT BEACH, CA 926601706

http://www.amvac-chemical.com/Product-Details/pid/199

rumpet EC is an emulsifier-based, water-washable formulation of naled that offers powerful pest-management performance and easy post-application clean-up. When used as directed, Trumpet EC controls mosquitoes and flies quickly and effectively, with no environmental persistence. Naled is a “Restricted Use Insecticide” ideally suited for agriculture, commercial pest control and public health or pest abatement programs. There is no known resistance to Trumpet EC, which may only be used by federal, state, tribal, local government or vector control officials, or by appropriately authorized or certified personnel. Product comes in a returnable 30-gallon drum with Micromatic fittings for added handler safety.

 

Posted in Health | 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 »

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 »

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. …

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).

9//25/14 Update: It turns out I have an “incurable” autoimmune disease that will destroy my pancreas and lead to type 1 adult onset diabetes where I’ll have to inject insulin to stay alive for the rest of my life. Good thing I stopped blogging because I’ve needed all the spare time to research options. Even if I can’t win, I can put up a hell of a fight. My fasting blood sugar was 111 this morning. Not great, but not horrible. Over the past few months I’ve had some really bad days where I’m over 150. I’ve learned so much, and will be sharing it in book form if possible. Do what you can to get your blood sugar down if it is high, because high blood sugar causes a lot of damage, and some of this damage causes even higher blood sugar.  In other words, high blood sugar causes high blood sugar.

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 »

A Toxin By Any Other Name: Aspartame’s Name Changed to AminoSweet

Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014

Used as a sugar substitute and often marketed as Nutrasweet and Equal, aspartame is an excitotoxin that destroys the brain and body. Its use has been a controversial subject since the 1980s when the CEO of Searle, Donald Rumsfeld, pushed for it’s approval to be sold on the market. Now, its name is being changed, with FDA approval, to try to dupe millions into purchasing and consuming this toxin once again.

Aspartame, even renamed Amino Sweet, is not safe. This substance is made using genetically modified bacteria in the US, but according to a Monsanto source, the UK market does not have to eat genetically modified bacteria excrement. Many ‘low-calorie’ foods contain GMO aspartame, however, even overseas. Aspartame may cause blindness, cancer, and brain tumors.

Just as a reminder of who is pushing this excrement – quite literally – on the consumers of the United states, it was Mr. Rumsfeld who went on to become George W. Bush’s secretary of Defense, and crony-Capitalist agenda-pusher. This one substance has continually been shown to cause harm to human health, so why is the FDA renaming it instead of banning it completely from the food supply? There is considerable evidence that artificial sweeteners cause cancer, including aspartame specifically – so why not name it something more appropriate at least? ‘Sickeningly Sweet’ might be more appropriate.

Even saccharin eventually had to be made with a label, mandated by Congress, that says, “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals”. The FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross told Congress that without a shadow of a doubt, aspartame can cause brain tumors and brain cancer and that it violated the Delaney Amendment.

via » Aspartame’s Name Changed to Amino Sweet: A Toxin By Another Name is Still a Toxin Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

Slowly poisoning someone is totally legal in the USA … as long as you make money from doing it. ;-)

Posted in Biology, Food, Health | Leave a Comment »

Guinea: Ebola death toll reaches 70

Posted by Anonymous on March 31, 2014


At least 70 people are reported to have died from Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Guinea, according to a statement from the West African nation’s health ministry.Officials say there are at least 111 suspected cases of the viral disease, which spreads in the blood and shuts down the immune system, causing high fever, headache and muscle pain. The virus is transmitted by contact with the fluids of infected people or animals.Medecins Sans Frontieres MSF describes Ebola as “one of the world’s most deadly diseases.” It is rare, but it creates panic, because there is no cure and it’s fatal in most cases, according to MSF.”The priority is to isolate suspected cases,” said MSF, which has set up two isolation facilities in the most affected districts, Gueckedou and Macenta, both in southern Guinea.Four of the fatalities from the disease are in Conakry, the capital city, which is on the coast.Genetic analysis of the virus shows that it is closely related to Zaire Ebola virus, which was reported in 2009 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo formerly Zaire, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Senegal’s Interior Ministry decided to close its border with Guinea until further notice to prevent the spread of the disease, according to Senegal’s state news agency.The World Health Organization says that, to date, no confirmed cases of Ebola have been found outside of Guinea, but at least 12 suspected cases are under investigation in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

via Guinea: Ebola death toll reaches 70 – CNN.com.

“Up to 90 percent of those who are infected may die,” said Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. “That’s why every outbreak is serious.” Outbreaks tend to be localized because victims of the virus are generally too ill to travel, so the risk of exposure in the United States is extremely unlikely, Jasarevic said. Reaching epidemic levels in northeastern Congo, the Ebola virus has stricken people in the towns of Isiro and Viadana in Orientale province, which borders southern Sudan and northern Uganda.

Its incubation – the time between infection and appearance of symptoms – lasts between two and 21 days. Death can occur within a few days. “The incubation period can be long,” Jasarevic said. “But once you start showing symptoms, it goes very fast.”

Onset of illness may manifest in the form of fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat and weakness. Other early symptoms, such as red eyes and a skin rash, are nonspecific to the virus and can be present in diseases that occur much more commonly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness progresses quickly to diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, impairment of kidney and liver function, and internal and external bleeding, which is why it is also called “hemorrhagic fever.” http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/09/13/ebola-death-toll-climbs-in-congo/

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“Major Fire” at Wilbur Hotsprings Hotel (March 29th, 2014)

Posted by Anonymous on March 30, 2014

UPDATE:

… Just before 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 29th, 2014, the Williams Fire Department along with several other area agencies were dispatched to the Wilbur Hot Springs Lodge for a possible structure fire.

Wilbur Hot Springs owner Dr. Richard Miller, his wife Jolee and daughter Sarana Miller, and friend Bruce Blake were eating breakfast in the dining hall at around 9:45 a.m. when a guest approached them to say he smelled smoke upstairs. All four rushed to the scene, accompanied by a few others, and found one of the west-side rooms on fire. They attempted to battle the blaze with fire extinguishers but the smoke and flames spread rapidly. Within minutes, the entire upstairs was engulfed in flames.

Wilbur Hot Springs main lodge building the day following the devastating fire. (Source: Facebook-Wilbur Hot Springs)
“I was in the building the morning of the fire,” said Shelia Shrum a visitor to the lodge, “I brought an extinguisher to the men on the second floor who were attempting to fight the blaze.”

Following training procedures, staff evacuated the hotel and guided guests to safety a quarter mile from the blaze. Dr. Miller and some staff used fire hoses to try to continue to fight the fire.

One man is believed to have escaped the blaze on the second floor by exiting a window onto a nearby tree.

Approximately 60 guests were at the resort at the time of the fire, everyone evacuated unharmed.

Dr. Miller was determined to save his beloved hotel and was forcibly pulled from the scene by his daughter Sarana, who witnesses said saved his life.

By the time firefighters arrived, the hotel was beyond saving and began to mitigate the damage and secure the buildings surrounding the hotel.

Due to the resorts severe remote location and the difficulty moving fire equipment along muddy, slippery dirt roads, it took fire crews nearly 30 minutes to arrive on scene.

The fire is believed to have started in a bedroom on the second floor, by a malfunctioning gas heater.

“Though that is a theory; however, the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation,” said a Williams Fire Department representative.

When fire crews extinguished the blaze, and the smoke settled, what remained was the charred ground floor and original cement structure of the lodge.

Photo of the Wilbur Springs Lodge after its completion in 1915. (Courtesy Photo)
The concrete hotel structure was built after the fire of 1915 by then-owner J.W. Cuthbert. This was the first known poured concrete building in California.

The property changed hands several times and was purchased in disrepair in 1972 by Dr. Miller, a psychologist who was seeking a place to create a therapeutic environment for people to heal themselves through exposure to nature and soaking in the sulfur and lithium-rich hot springs waters.

Fire agencies that responded and provided mutual aid included: Williams, Maxwell, Sacramento River Fire (Colusa), Capay Valley Fire, and North Shore Fire Departments.

The hotel was a complete loss and was not insured.

There has been an outpouring of community support worldwide in response to the fire. Community members may make contributions to a fund for rebuilding and staffing. There will also be ways for people to volunteer for the clean-up and rebuilding effort. …

http://williamspioneer.com/2014wilburhotspringsdistroyedbyfire/

UPDATE: 3/31/2014

hotelfire628x471 A fire raged through the historic lodge at Wilbur Hot Springs on Saturday, destroying much of the funky retreat in rugged Colusa County that’s provided solace for legions of harried and achy Bay Area residents.

The fire, reported around 10 a.m., ravaged the two-story lodge, a rustic wooden structure built in 1863 and remodeled in the 1970s. The fire apparently started in the kitchen and quickly engulfed the second floor.

“It’s still standing, but there’s definitely some work to be done,” said Kent Boes, a firefighter with the Williams Fire Protection Authority, a volunteer crew that helped douse the flames.

The facility’s owners could not be reached for comment, but the website says the retreat is closed, staff is not taking reservations and the phones are down.

Firefighters evacuated about 60 people from the retreat. No one was injured, Boes said.

Fans of Wilbur’s quiet isolation and age-old healing baths were devastated by the news.

“It had an intangible peacefulness about it,” said Ray Yokoi, a yoga instructor from Oakland who frequented Wilbur. “People were very respectful, and the staff was attentive. It had a Zen-like feel, but without a bunch of Buddha statues.”

For centuries, American Indians attributed healing powers to the bubbling, scalding springs along Sulphur Creek.

In the mid-1800s, settlers built a hotel and resort at Wilbur, capitalizing on the hot-springs rage that captivated wealthy pleasure-seekers in San Francisco and beyond.

But local residents, as well, loved Wilbur.

Billijean Durst, secretary of the Colusa County Historical Society, remembers picnics and overnights there as a kid.

“My parents went there, too. And their parents before them,” she said. “People said if you took the hot baths, it’d be good for arthritis. … Plus it was nice to get away from the valley sometimes.”

Wilbur Hot Springs is about 2 1/2 hours north of San Francisco, 22 miles west of Williams, in the oak-filled foothills of the Coast Range. The retreat includes a bevy of clothing-optional hot baths, cool springs and saunas, flanked by decks offering mountain views.

Richard Miller, a San Francisco psychologist, bought Wilbur in the 1970s and transformed it into a therapeutic retreat for those interested in Gestalt and other consciousness- raising techniques.

The lodge included a wraparound porch, about 20 guest rooms, several shared bathrooms and a communal kitchen. The dining room was filled with simple wooden furniture and old black-and-white photos, creating a cozy feel, Yokoi said.

“You’d end up sharing food and conversations with people,” he said. “It was a comfortable setting, but also very natural.”

The property also includes a 1,560-acre nature preserve, as well as numerous outbuildings, all of which were spared in the fire, Boes said.

Wilbur had a fire scare in August 2012 when the Walker Fire roared through the Coast Range, narrowly missing the retreat, thanks to firefighters’ efforts.

Several of the Williams volunteer firefighting crew spent Saturday night at Wilbur to make sure the flames did not reignite.

“We saw a few glows and got them out,” Boes said. “The staff were so appreciative. They invited us back to use the hot springs some day. I plan on it.”

The new message says, “We are not currently taking reservations; the hotel is temporarily closed and the phones are down.”

Written 3/29/2014:

I don’t have any information beyond this, but the hotel let a few people know that they will not be open to guests in the near future. The main hotel phone number doesn’t have anything about any problems. The web site says, “We are not currently taking reservations; the hotel is temporarily closed.”

I hope all the staff and guests are safe. The nature preserve surrounding Wilbur Hot Springs is a truly beautiful place to hike.

Post a comment if you have any info.

Updated comment 3/31:

Very glad no one was hurt! What a horrible loss. That picture really makes my hear sink.

The last time I was there was the day some new gas heaters were put in. A wall behind the newest heater in the entryway near the kitchen was hot and I made a big deal about fire potential to the staff at the time. I went to the front desk and told them I wanted my concern put in writing.

Posted in Health, History | 2 Comments »

GMO Science Credibility Falls with Two Retracted Studies

Posted by Anonymous on March 11, 2014

The pesticide producers are one of the most powerful industries on the planet, the influence they possess is enormous. You have probably heard that an Elsevier journal has retracted the Seralini study which showed evidence of harm to rats fed a GMO diet, despite admitting they found no fraud or errors in the study.

This journal had also just recently appointed an ex-Monsanto employee as an editor – one could only guess the value of this strategy for the pesticide industry. Expect Seralini to sue as this story develops, as it appears he has a very strong case.

Alas, the scientific ground on which the genetic engineering of plants is built may now be shakier than ever, thanks to GMO promoting scientists like Dr. Pamela Ronald. A recent article in Independent Science News1 questions whether she’ll be able to salvage her career, as two of her scientific papers (published in 2009 and 2011 respectively) were recently retracted.

With the loss of her credibility, and the domino effect these retractions are likely to cause within the scientific field, the entire chemical technology industry stands to suffer a great blow to its scientific integrity.

“Her media persona… is to take no prisoners,” Jonathan Latham, PhD writes.2 “After New York Times chief food writer Mark Bittman advocated GMO labeling, she called him ‘a scourge on science’ who ‘couches his nutty views in reasonable-sounding verbiage.’ His opinions were “almost fact- and science-free” continued Ronald.

In 2011 she claimed in an interview with the US Ambassador to New Zealand: ‘After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of two billion acres planted, GE crops have not caused a single instance of harm to human health or the environment.'”

She may have to turn down her criticism a notch, considering the fact that not one but two of her own studies were found to contain sizeable scientific errors, rendering her findings null and void. Questions have also been raised about a third study published in 2011, according to the featured article.

Public Face of GMOs Loses Scientific Credibility

Ronald’s research group claimed to have identified a molecule used by rice plants to detect pathogenic rice blight, as well as a quorum sensing molecule (meaning a molecule that can coordinate gene expression according to the density of the local population).

These two studies, both of which are now retracted,3, 4 formed the basis of her research program at the University of California in Davis, which is investigating how rice plants detect certain pathogenic bacteria.

Ronald blamed the erroneous work by long gone lab members from Korea and Thailand, referring to the errors as a “mix-up.” She didn’t name her bungling colleagues, however. And while media coverage applauded Ronald for “doing the right thing” by retracting the studies, the featured article5 questions whether she really deserves such accolades:

“[S]cientific doubts had been raised about Ronald-authored publications at least as far back as August 2012… German researchers had been unable to repeat Ronald’s discoveries… and they suggested as a likely reason that her samples were contaminated.

Furthermore, the German paper also asserted that, for a theoretical reason, her group’s claims were inherently unlikely. In conclusion, the German group wrote: ‘While inadvertent contamination is a possible explanation, we cannot finally explain the obvious discrepancies to the results…’

Pamela Ronald, however, did not concede any of the points raised by the German researchers and did not retract the Danna et al 2011 paper. Instead, she published a rebuttal.

The subsequent retractions, beginning in January 2013, however, confirm that in fact very sizable scientific errors were being made in the Ronald laboratory. But more importantly for the ‘Kudos to Pam’ story, it was not Pamela Ronald who initiated public discussion of the credibility of her research.

… Ronald’s footnotes [in the explanation that accompanied the retraction of her second article6 admit two mislabelings, along with failures to establish and use replicable experimental conditions, and also minimally two failed complementation tests. Each mistake appears to have been compounded by a systemic failure to use basic experimental controls.

Thus, leading up to the retractions were an assortment of practical errors, specific departures from standard scientific best practice, and lapses of judgment in failing to adequately question her labs’ unusual (and therefore newsworthy) results.”

The Snowball Effect of Retracted Studies

According to data from Thomson Reuters,7 the numbers of scientific retractions have climbed more than 15-fold since 2001. What many don’t realize is that even a small number of retracted studies can wreak absolute havoc with the science-based paradigm. Other scientists who have based their research on the results from studies that, for whatever reason, end up being retracted, are now perpetuating flawed science as well. In one example, two retracted medical studies led to the retraction of another 17.

In this case, the first of Dr. Ronald’s retracted studies has been cited eight times.8 The second? 113 times.9 That sounds like an awfully large cleanup job in a field that’s already heavily criticized for its preponderance of “lousy science,” to use the words of award-winning geneticist Dr. David Suzuki.

The Problem with GMO Plant Science

It’s important to realize that genetically engineered plants and animals are created using horizontal gene transfer (also called horizontal inheritance). This is in stark contrast to vertical gene transfer, which is the mechanism in natural reproduction. Vertical gene transfer, or vertical inheritance, is the transmission of genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction, i.e., breeding a male and female from one species.

Horizontal gene transfer, on the other hand, involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results. Proponents of genetically engineered crops assume they can apply the principles of vertical inheritance to horizontal inheritance, but according to Dr. David Suzuki, this assumption is flawed in just about every possible way and is “just lousy science.”

Genes don’t function in a vacuum — they act in the context of the entire genome. Whole sets of genes are turned on and off in order to arrive at a particular organism, and the entire orchestration is an activated genome. It’s a dangerous mistake to assume a gene’s traits are expressed properly, regardless of where they’re inserted. The safety of genetically modified food is based only on a hypothesis, and this hypothesis is already being proven wrong.

The kind of horizontal gene transfer that is currently used to create new crop seeds tends to produce highly inflammatory foreign proteins. As one would expect, were there a connection, inflammation-based chronic diseases have indeed increased right alongside with the proliferation of GMO foods in the US. Clearly, Dr. Ronald never bothered to look at such data, and her declaration that “GE crops have not caused a single instance of harm to human health or the environment”10 is as lacking in scientific support as her retracted research.

Posted in Biology, Food, Health, Technology | Leave a Comment »

 
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