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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 »

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 »

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 »

Doctors implant women with lab-grown vaginas

Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014

20140412-072528.jpgTo implant the lab-grown vaginas, surgeons first had to create a canal in the women’s pelvic areas. The surgeons then sutured the biodegradable scaffold to the patients’ already existing reproductive structures. In the weeks following the operation, the women’s nerves and blood vessels gradually expanded and started integrating themselves into the engineered tissue. As this was happening, the women’s bodies were slowly absorbing the scaffolding. By the time the scaffolding had completely disappeared, it was no longer needed — the cells had laid down their own permanent support structure.

More about the announcement:

… a miraculous scientific advancement was announced: The long-term success of lab-made regenerative human tissue! Between June 2005 and October 2008, laboratory generated vaginas were implanted in four teenage girls born with a rare genetic disease. The results of the procedures were published yesterday in the science journal the Lancet, and it was announced that up to eight years later, the women are doing quite well. The patients can now have painless sex and even orgasm!
The women were all born with the genetic disease Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, which affects one in 4,500 girls. The syndrome causes women to be born with either an underdeveloped or absent vagina and uterus. The lab-grown vaginal organ was implanted in women ages 13 to 18. Eight years later they all have normal organ function, according to Atlantida-Raya Rivera, who was a lead author of the study.
“Tissue biopsies, MRI scans and internal exams using magnification all showed that the engineered vaginas were similar in makeup and function to native tissue,” Rivera said. Dr. Rivera is also the director of the HIMFG Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the MRKH in Mexico City, the location of the surgeries….

http://www.salon.com/2014/04/11/miraculous_medicine_lab_grown_vaginas_successfully_implanted_in_4_women_born_with_rare_genetic_condition/

More:

Scans of the pelvic region were used to design a tube like 3D-scaffold for each patient
Four women have had new vaginas grown in the laboratory and implanted by doctors in the US.

A tissue sample and a biodegradable scaffold were used to grow vaginas in the right size and shape for each woman as well as being a tissue match.

They all reported normal levels of “desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction” and painless intercourse.

Experts said the study, published in the Lancet, was the latest example of the power of regenerative medicine.

In each woman the vagina did not form properly while they were still inside their mother’s womb, a condition known as vaginal aplasia.

Current treatments can involve surgically creating a cavity, which is then lined with skin grafts or parts of the intestine.

The scaffold is made of a biodegradable material
Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in North Carolina used pioneering technology to build vaginas for the four women who were all in their teenage years at the time.

Scans of the pelvic region were used to design a tube-like 3D-scaffold for each patient.

A small tissue biopsy was taken from the poorly developed vulva and grown to create a large batch of cells in the laboratory.

Muscle cells were attached to the outside of the scaffold and vaginal-lining cells to the inside.

The vaginas were carefully grown in a bioreactor until they were suitable to be surgically implanted into the patients.

One of the women with an implanted vagina, who wished to keep her name anonymous, said: “I believe in the beginning when you find out you feel different.

“I mean while you are living the process, you are seeing the possibilities you have and all the changes you’ll go through.

“Truly I feel very fortunate because I have a normal life, completely normal.”

All the women reported normal sexual function.

Vaginal aplasia can lead to other abnormalities in the reproductive organs, but in two of the women the vagina was connected to the uterus.

There have been no pregnancies, but for those women it is theoretically possible.

The scaffold is placed in an incubator
Dr Anthony Atala, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest, told the BBC News website: “Really for the first time we’ve created a whole organ that was never there to start with, it was a challenge.”

He said a functioning vagina was a “very important thing” for these women’s lives and witnessing the difference it made to them “was very rewarding to see”.

This is the first time the results have been reported. However, the first implants took place eight years ago.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26885335

Are the cells, and thus tissues and organs, grown this way the same biological age (in terms of number of times the cells can divide) as the donor or younger? Next up: replacement organs to prolong life.

Posted in Biology, Strange, Survival | Leave a Comment »

Reminder of Yellowstone threat: Animals Fleeing the Park?

Posted by Anonymous on April 2, 2014

Are you ready?

Posted in - Video, Survival | 1 Comment »

NASA Study: Civilization collapse difficult to avoid on current course

Posted by Anonymous on March 18, 2014

20140319-213029.jpgA new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”

By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”

Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with “Elites” based largely in industrialised countries responsible for both:

“… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”

The study challenges those who argue that technology will resolve these challenges by increasing efficiency:

“Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.”

Productivity increases in agriculture and industry over the last two centuries has come from “increased (rather than decreased) resource throughput,” despite dramatic efficiency gains over the same period.

Modelling a range of different scenarios, Motesharri and his colleagues conclude that under conditions “closely reflecting the reality of the world today… we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.” In the first of these scenarios, civilisation:

“…. appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature.”

Another scenario focuses on the role of continued resource exploitation, finding that “with a larger depletion rate, the decline of the Commoners occurs faster, while the Elites are still thriving, but eventually the Commoners collapse completely, followed by the Elites.”

In both scenarios, Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners”, allowing them to “continue ‘business as usual’ despite the impending catastrophe.” The same mechanism, they argue, could explain how “historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).”

Applying this lesson to our contemporary predicament, the study warns that:

“While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory ‘so far’ in support of doing nothing.”

However, the scientists point out that the worst-case scenarios are by no means inevitable, and suggest that appropriate policy and structural changes could avoid collapse, if not pave the way toward a more stable civilisation.

The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth:

“Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.”

The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business – and consumers – to recognise that ‘business as usual’ cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately.

… a number of other more empirically-focused studies – by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance – have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a ‘perfect storm’ within about fifteen years. But these ‘business as usual’ forecasts could be very conservative.

Continuity of Government, if the elites want it, is not going to be had by digging underground cities, stockpiling food, gas and water and waiting out the storm. The current fragile pyramid will not be maintained by the persecution of whistleblowers. Instead, the way to fix things is to get everyone to understand that we all fail if we don’t pull together. Teamwork or die.

Posted in Earth, Food, Politics, Space, Survival, Technology | 2 Comments »

Obamacare Surcharge Appearing on Restaurant Bills Across the Country

Posted by Anonymous on March 7, 2014

20140307-002324.jpgThe small business mandate doesn’t go into effect until 2015, but restaurants across the country are already passing the extra costs associated with having to offer healthcare to their employees on to consumers.

Double D’s Sourdough Pizza in Denver recently started adding a five percent charge to customer’s bills in order “to pay for half of the health care costs of all employees, both full- and part-time,” according to CBS Denver.

Double D’s owner Ted Dorr says he isn’t trying to make a political statement by subjecting patrons to the extra charge. He just wanted to be able to offer health care to his employees.

A restaurant chain in Florida also recently began adding a one percent surcharge to its customer’s bills.

According to CNN:

The Gator Group’s full-time hourly employees won’t actually receive health insurance until December. But the company said it implemented the surcharge now because of the compliance costs it’s facing ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate kicking in in 2015…

http://www.infowars.com/obamacare-surcharge-appearing-on-restaurant-bills-across-the-country/

Obama care sounds like a great idea, but who is going to pay for it?

“It is already paid for.”

Apparently not.

Posted in Health, Money, Politics, Survival | Leave a Comment »

Connecticut Patriot Group Fights Back Against Confiscation Order

Posted by Anonymous on March 2, 2014

The State of Connecticut is now demanding that gun owners across the state turn in all newly-banned, unregistered firearms and magazines or face felony arrest.
The State Police Special Licensing & Firearms Unit began mailing out notices to gun owners who attempted to register their firearms and accessories with the state but did not do so in time for the Jan. 1 deadline of Connecticut’s newly enacted gun control law.

The law bans the sale of magazines holding over 10 rounds and “assault rifles” manufactured after 1994 and requires that residents who possessed either before the ban to register them with the state.

It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to understand that the enforcement of this law can only come at the barrel of a gun. Therefore, we can conclude that we may soon see SWAT-style raids on the homes of suspected law breakers. Because we’re talking about gun confiscation, you can be fully assured that the state will not be knocking nicely, and they won’t be asking residents to exist (sic) their homes.

They’re going in full force.

But Americans simply don’t take well to being told what to do, especially as it relates to their Second Amendment rights.

These unreasonable demands, which have yet to pass muster with the U.S. Supreme Court, have prompted Mike Vanderboegh of Connecticut’s Sipsey Street Irregulars to go on the offensive. Earlier this week Vanderboegh publicly posted the names, addresses, phone numbers and provided direct access to pictures of all CT legislators involved with passage of the gun confiscation bill, saying that since the government has a list it “seems obvious to me that it is thus only fair to list those anti-constitutional tyrants.”

The Daily Sheeple reports:

Sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire. And that is exactly what Mike Vanderboegh has chosen to do. The state of Connecticut wants to make a list – a list of gun owners. So, Vanderboegh has created his own list – a list of those state legislators who are insisting that certain firearms be banned or registered.

Here is the post, A Sipsey Street Public Service Announcement: The Connecticut Tyrants List:

The state of Connecticut is making lists of firearm owners to raid. It seems obvious to me that it is thus only fair to list those anti-constitutional tyrants who will have blood on their hands the moment the first Connecticut citizen is shot by the CT state police while carrying out their orders. I will be sending these folks my own email later today.
http://www.infowars.com/connecticut-patriot-group-fights-back-against-confiscation-order/

Connecticut can only do something this blatantly unconstitutional as confiscate gun if they secede from the Union. The Feds are supposed to step in and protect the US citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights. Damn country is falling apart. Like it or not, guns are why you have the freedoms you have today. Take the guns from ordinary citizens and we will return to mass slavery at the hands of any tyrant who controls the military. Read history. It seems most people alive today are too stupid to understand freedom. Fools! The only protection from the deep human urge to control everything and everyone is to SPREAD the power around. That’s our Constitution’s main purpose. Learn it. Live it.

Posted in History, Politics, Survival | Leave a Comment »

Longevity Foods: The Amazing Azuki Bean

Posted by Anonymous on February 24, 2014

Jiroemon Kimura the man who lived longer than any other man in recorded history attributed his robust health to waking early in the day, watching his food portion sizes (a regular breakfast of rice porridge and miso soup), reading the newspapers and watching parliamentary debates on TV.

There may be something special about those red beans with rice.  “For his last birthday, he dined on grilled fish, steamed rice and red beans, a Japanese tradition on special occasions.” – (link)

I think Mr. Kimura was eating Sekihan (Japanese Azuki Beans & Rice). Was he growing his own food? He retired in 1962 at age 65 after 40 years as a postman and was then a farmer until age 90.

Azuki beans are a good source for a variety of minerals. They are rich in soluble fiber which lowers bad LDL cholesterol, low in calories and fat, they have healing properties for kidney, bladder and reproductive functions. The bean has diuretic effect to strengthen kidneys and may act an effective cure for urinary dysfunction and bladder infections. The presence of plant estrogens in these beans has been credited in breast cancer prevention by reducing body estrogen levels. The beans are high in protein (~25%) and easy to digest.

Azuki beans, 1 cup (230g) (cooked, boiled)
Calories: 294
Protein: 17.3g
Carbohydrate: 57g
Total Fat: 0.23g
Fiber: 16.8g
4.6 mg of Iron (~25% RDI)
119.6 mg of magnesium (~30% RDI)
1.223 g of potassium (~25 % AI)
4.0 mg of zinc (~25% RDI)
278 µg of folic acid (~70% RDI).

I’m going to try to grow some here in California. I was glad to hear that they are somewhat drought resistant.

Climatic requirements. Seeds do well during frost-free periods, with cool nights. The plant is reported to be somewhat drought resistant. Adzuki beans have similar requirements to soybeans or drybeans.

Propagation and care. Adzuki is a short-day plant that does not grow well in waterlogged soil. Information from the University of Minnesota recommends treating the seeds for fungi, insects and bacteria before planting. Adzuki beans emerge more slowly when the soil is 50 to 55�F. In Minnesota, the best planting time is between May and June. A good plant population is 105,000 plants per acre (25-35 pounds of seed). Plant seeds in rich, loamy soil, to 1 inch deep. Plants should stand 2 to 3 inches apart. Recommended row spacing varies from 12 to 18 inches, or 18 to 30 inches. Neutral to alkaline soil is required for maximum N fixation, and a medium to high soil test level of P and K should ensure adequate fertility levels and the best crop yield. Fertilize seedlings when they are 4 to 5 inches high and again when the flowers start to form pods. Moisture should be ample and at a consistent level. Uneven ripening is characteristic of adzuki beans. Expect mature pods, brownish in color, with slightly yellow and completely green pods on the same plant. Adzuki beans will fix nitrogen but require innoculation with a Rhizobium strain specific to this crop.

White mold, bacterial stem rot, and other bean diseases may affect adzuki beans. A good rotation program, furrow rather than overhead irrigation, use of disease-free seed and a spray program can help prevent these diseases. Most adzuki varieties are susceptible to a number of aphid borne viruses that attack legumes, including curly top virus.

Harvest and postharvest practices. To harvest as green beans, pick the adzuki pods when the beans are faintly outlined in the pod. Picking every 5 to 6 days is usually sufficient. In California Adzuki beans will mature in less thatn 120 days for use as dry beans.

Growers can cut and windrow adzukis in the morning to allow drydown and combine later in the day, or direct combine the beans with a grain header or row crop headers. Pods shatter very easily, especially if the harvest is delayed until late in the season or the day. To decrease losses, use slower speeds, open the concaves, and harvest only during appropriate hours. The entire plant, including dry pods, can be harvested and stacked in a dry, well-ventilated place for drying. Complete drying occurs a week or two after harvesting. After drying, shell the beans and store in refrigerated, air-tight containers.

Pest and weed problems. Adzuki beans compete poorly against weeds. Seed quality is critical to early vigor. Choose a location with light weed pressure and rotary hoe 7 to 10 days after planting. Cultivate the beans when the primary leaves are fully developed, and if necessary, 10 to 20 days later. …

https://www.rain.org/greennet/docs/exoticveggies/html/adzukibean.htm

Another important tip seems to be this: eat less!

So what does the world’s oldest man eat? The answer is not much, at least not too much. Walter Breuning, who turned 113 on Monday, eats just two meals a day and has done so for the past 35 years. “I think you should push back from the table when you’re still hungry,” Breuning said. At 5 foot 8, (“I shrunk a little,” he admitted) and 125 pounds, Breuning limits himself to a big breakfast and lunch every day and no supper. “I have weighed the same for about 35 years,” Breuning said. “Well, that’s the way it should be.”  “You get in the habit of not eating at night, and you realize how good you feel. If you could just tell people not to eat so darn much.” – link

I love food too much. Would you rather eat all you want and be happy and comfortable … and die 20 years earlier? There is no solid evidence yet in primates that reducing calories will make you live longer, but there are hints.  Azuki beans, which are low in calories, make it easier to accomplish calorie restriction with adequate nutrition (CRAN) because they give healthy levels of protein, vitamins and minerals. Do they taste good?

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

 
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