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 by Anonymous on May 28, 2014
Posted by Anonymous on May 23, 2014
The U.S. Justice Department issued an indictment on Monday charging five Chinese military officers with hacking into the computer networks of American companies and stealing proprietary information. The move — which was swiftly repudiated by the Chinese government — “represents the first ever charges against a state actor” for hacking, Attorney General Eric Holder said. According to the indictment, the infiltrations began in 2006 and targeted organizations including Westinghouse Electric, U.S. Steel and the United Steel Workers Union. Los Angeles Times
Yeah, no muscling in on the NSA’s territory will be tolerated. Infiltrations, eh? How about the US charging the NSA with cyberespionage, then?
Posted 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. …
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 by Anonymous on May 4, 2014
Senator 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
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.
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.
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
Horizontal gene transfer is the primary reason for bacterial antibiotic resistance, and plays an important role in the evolution of bacteria that can degrade novel compounds such as human-created pesticides and in the evolution, maintenance, and transmission of virulence. This horizontal gene transfer often involves temperate bacteriophages and plasmids. 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. 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.
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.
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 by Anonymous on May 2, 2014
100% Renewable energy on the way for the USA?
Watch the video here. Awesome.
Posted by Anonymous on April 27, 2014
The pedigree of Beck’s circle reveals he is not a libertarian and does not believe in the Constitution …
Glenn Beck, who fancies himself a libertarian, is working with corporate media insiders and a former CIA employee who flaunts his membership in the globalist Council on Foreign Relations. The objective of this group at the very heart of Beck’s operation, now readily apparent following the Cliven Bundy standoff, is to portray the Nevada rancher as a racist zealot, a member of a dangerous and outlaw sovereign citizen movement, and inseparable from violent and conspiracy crazed “militia” domestic terrorists. Beck’s campaign mirrors that of the Obama administration, Eric Holder’s Justice Department and the liberal media intelligentsia. …
The correlation between the Obama administration, the Justice Department and Beck became obvious as the standoff progressed, most notably when Beck began to repeat government talking points to attack Bundy and his supporters.
Establishment Talking Points
On April 13, as the Bundy standoff was in full swing, Becket Adams, writing for Beck’s The Blaze, openly echoed the government narrative. She attempted to disprove Senator Harry Reid’s connection to a Chinese energy firm and plans to build a solar plant on public land, an effort documented on April 11 by Infowars.com journalist Kit Daniels.
Beck and Adams also cited the debunked claim that the federal government owns and manages “public land” in Nevada (in direct violation of the Constitution) and insisted Bundy is breaking the law. This claim conforms to the narrative established by the federal government and its propaganda media.
In addition, Adams supported the claim pushed by the government and the establishment media that Bundy’s cattle grazing endangered a tortoise (in fact, as Adan Salazar demonstrates, the tortoise has in fact benefited from cattle grazing).
Finally, Adams tried to argue the Bundy family was a threat to heavily armed BLM agents because they cited Ruby Ridge and Waco and, like millions of ranchers, farmers and other rural Americans, keep and use firearms. Adams’ commentary is nearly indistinguishable from rhetoric put out by Democrats (and, to a lesser degree, Republicans…) and the establishment media. In fact, the establishment media dutifully ignored the story until it went viral in the alternative media and they were required to engage in damage control.
Beck’s accusation appeared several days before Senate majority leader Harry Reid made similar remarks. Reid characterized Cliven Bundy and his supporters as armed “domestic terrorists.” In addition, Reid called for a “united front” against Bundy, a call that paralleled Beck’s remark Americans should reject Bundy’s stand against the federal government and should distance themselves from his supporters who Beck slandered as crazed followers of Alex Jones.
Finally, sounding like a spokesman for FEMA and the government, Beck advocated non-resistance to government tyranny during the standoff.
“This morning I got up and I saw some more news reports, and more people in America that are standing up now and crying for revolution, insurrection, arming yourself, and a call to arms,” Beck said on his radio program on April 15. “I will tell you I believe in the Second Amendment, and I will defend myself. I believe in the rights that we have. But I will tell you more than I believe in my rights, I believe in the responsibilities that we have to God. And God does not call anyone to anger. God does not call anyone to vengeance ever, ever, ever.” …
Considering the pedigree of Beck’s circle, it is obvious he is not a libertarian and he does not believe in the primacy of the Constitution. It is accurate to say Beck is working with in concert with the government to sabotage patriotic Americans who believe the Bundy standoff and the armed and menacing reaction by the federal government represent a mortal danger. It is one worth drawing a line in the sand in response as Beck’s former colleague at Fox News, Andrew P. Napolitano, rightly said.
I’ve been ignoring the news lately, hoping it will go away? Bundy standoff? Domestic terrorists? Farmers? Revolution? Rather than another new gun, I just bought a refurbished Vitamix blender after tasting both hot soup and some healthy ice cream made in a live demo. I’m just not in the mood for a civil war. Let’s fix the government from within so real democracy is re-created and corporations no longer have rights exceeding those of individual Americans. This could happen if the economy totally collapses and/or if everyone marches on Washington demanding change. Glenn Beck IS a tool, by the way. He has been annoying for years. Too bad we can’t get people kicked off the air for lies. Let’s bring back that rule from… What was it , the 1950’s?
Posted by Anonymous on April 19, 2014
August Cassens – What’s one of your worst memories? How did it make you feel? According to psychologists, remembering the emotions felt during a negative personal experience, such as how sad you were or how embarrassed you felt, can lead to emotional distress, especially when you can’t stop thinking about it.
When these negative memories creep up, thinking about the context of the memories, rather than how you felt, is a relatively easy and effective way to alleviate the negative effects of these memories, a new study suggests.
Researchers at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, led by psychology professor Florin Dolcos of the Cognitive Neuroscience Group, studied the behavioral and neural mechanisms of focusing away from emotion during recollection of personal emotional memories, and found that thinking about the contextual elements of the memories significantly reduced their emotional impact.
“Sometimes we dwell on how sad, embarrassed, or hurt we felt during an event, and that makes us feel worse and worse. This is what happens in clinical depression—ruminating on the negative aspects of a memory,” Dolcos said. “But we found that instead of thinking about your emotions during a negative memory, looking away from the worst emotions and thinking about the context, like a friend who was there, what the weather was like, or anything else non-emotional that was part of the memory, will rather effortlessly take your mind away from the unwanted emotions associated with that memory. Once you immerse yourself in other details, your mind will wander to something else entirely, and you won’t be focused on the negative emotions as much.”
This simple strategy, the study suggests, is a promising alternative to other emotion-regulation strategies, like suppression or reappraisal.
“Suppression is bottling up your emotions, trying to put them away in a box. This is a strategy that can be effective in the short term, but in the long run, it increases anxiety and depression,” explains Sanda Dolcos, co-author on the study and postdoctoral research associate at the Beckman Institute and in the Department of Psychology.
“Another otherwise effective emotion regulation strategy, reappraisal, or looking at the situation differently to see the glass half full, can be cognitively demanding. The strategy of focusing on non-emotional contextual details of a memory, on the other hand, is as simple as shifting the focus in the mental movie of your memories and then letting your mind wander.”
Not only does this strategy allow for effective short-term emotion regulation, but it has the possibility of lessening the severity of a negative memory with prolonged use.
Posted by Anonymous on April 14, 2014
In an effort to spur innovation inside and outside the space industry, NASA is releasing more than 1,000 of its computer codes to the public Thursday through a new open-access software catalog.
As far as inventions go, the space agency is perhaps most famous for its hardware — its rockets, spaceships and telescopes — but many sophisticated software systems were born at NASA, too, from the primitive codes that guided the first astronauts to the moon to the codes that Earth-bound drivers of the Mars Curiosity rover write to get the robot to travel across the Red Planet.
“Software is an increasingly important element of the agency’s intellectual asset portfolio, making up about a third of our reported inventions every year,” Jim Adams, NASA’s deputy chief technologist, said in a statement. “We are excited to be able to make that software widely available to the public with the release of our software catalog.”
Many of the codes made available through the so-called Tech Transfer program will be free to use for U.S. citizens, though some systems will only be available to other federal agencies because of access restrictions, NASA officials said. …
… DARPA posted a similar catalog earlier this year. NASA will also start hosting the code online by next year; while all the code is free of copyright, people will need special clearance to get their hands-on projects like the rocket guidance system.Many of the projects are already available online, but they are spread out across many sites and difficult to find. One of the main purposes of NASA is to develop technology that can be transferred to other industries, but it is difficult to transfer technology if no one knows where to find the details.
“Our design software has been used to make everything from guitars to roller coasters to Cadillacs,” Technology Transfer Program executive David Lockney told Wired.
“Scheduling software that keeps the Hubble Space Telescope operations straight has been used for scheduling MRIs at busy hospitals and as control algorithms for online dating services.”The new code database is the result of a 2011 order from President Barack Obama that federal agencies increase the pace of technology transfer. Lockney told Wired that he would not be surprised to see many more projects added to the database after its release.
Thanks to NASA codes I upgraded the intelligence of every electric appliance in my home. My garage door opener started opening at random, but it wasn’t random. Turned out to be morse code. “N-E-E-D O-I-L”
Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014
The loss of a tooth is a minor deformity and a major pain. Although dental implants are available, the healing process can take months on end, and implants that fail to align with the ever-growing jawbone tend to fall out. If only adult teeth could be regenerated, right?
According to a study published in the latest Journal of Dental Research, a new tissue regeneration technique may allow people to simply regrow a new set of pearly whites.
Dr. Jeremy Mao, the Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, has unveiled a growth factor-infused, three-dimensional scaffold with the potential to regenerate an anatomically correct tooth in just nine weeks from implantation. By using a procedure developed in the university’s Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Dr. Mao can direct the body’s own stem cells toward the scaffold, which is made of natural materials. Once the stem cells have colonized the scaffold, a tooth can grow in the socket and then merge with the surrounding tissue.
Dr. Mao’s technique not only eliminates the need to grow teeth in a Petri dish, but it is the first to achieve regeneration of anatomically correct teeth by using the body’s own resources. Factor in the faster recovery time and the comparatively natural process of regrowth (as opposed to implantation), and you have a massively appealing dental treatment.
Columbia University has already filed patent applications in regard to the technology and is seeking associates to aid in its commercialization. In the meantime, Dr. Mao is considering the best approach for applying his technique to cost-effective clinical therapies.
I don’t recommend doing this at home just yet. If you don’t know what you are doing you might accidentally grow an ear, a toe, a nostril, or even a vagina in there, but the cool
thing is that the success with animals was four years ago so they may have secret trials with humans going on already.
Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014
To 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….
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.
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.