Tag: immune system

The Truth About Mind Control, Antibiotics and Beneficial Bacteria

Will Hartfield, ContributorMost of your body is, well, not human. Single-cell bacteria living in and on your body – mouth, nose, skin, but especially gut – outnumber your human cells by at least three to one, totaling a whooping 100 trillion(1). These bacteria are called microbiomes and together they form your personal microbiota, which has a huge impact on your physical as well as mental health. There’s a growing body of research that proves just how beneficial the [...]

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The Case of the Incredible Disappearing Cancer Patients

Tracy Kolenchuk, ContributorIt’s been almost 20 years since I met my first disappearing patient — a nurse in her early 40s, let’s call her Kate. Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a nurse, she had seen the results of breast cancer treatments. She was terrified, and determined. She was not heading for surgery, nor chemotherapy, nor radiation.But Kate worked in a hospital. She worked with the doctors who diagnosed her cancer, and she worked with [...]

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Roll Up Your Sleeves Folks: 271 New Vaccines in Big Pharma’s Pipeline

Gary Kohls, Green Med InfoAs of 2013, Big Pharma has had plans for the development of 271 new vaccines covering an array of diseases.  Into Whose Bodies Will They be Injected?“No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable…for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death.” – President Ronald Wilson Reagan, as he signed The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, absolving drug companies from [...]

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5 Cancer Myths Busted

Dr. E. Dahl, Prevent DiseaseCancer statistics are on the rise, and the growing numbers have moved the disease to a priority issue for the global community. AsThe Lancet reports, cancer deaths have increased 46% between 1990 and 2013. On Jan 1, 2016, new international development priorities called Sustainable Development Goals, will focus on decreasing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 2025.PreventDisease recently reported 5 cancer facts the cancer industry [...]

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Chronic Illness Begins With Breakdown In Your Gut

Dr. Ben Kim, GuestGood overall health begins with a healthy gut. Chronic illness begins with breakdown in the gut.This is where I typically start with clients looking to address any health challenge.If you’re looking for lasting improvement in any area of your health, it’s best not to think of your body parts as being independent compartments. Every cell communicates with every other cell, not always directly, but via the fluids, hormones, and neurotransmitters that trave [...]

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More People Reporting Wi-Fi Is Making Them Sick

Marco Torres, Prevent DiseaseWi-Fi signals are, unlike TV and radio signals, strong enough to penetrate concrete walls. Many health experts consider Wi-Fi radiation to be extremely dangerous to long-term health. Based on the existing science, many public health experts believe it is possible we will face an epidemic of cancers in the future resulting from uncontrolled use of cell phones and increased population exposure to Wi-Fi and other wireless devices. Now more people than ever are repo [...]

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Why Do We Still Vaccinate? – 25 Questions From A Former Vaccine Advocate

Brian Rogers, Prevent DiseaseI used to be pro vaccine. I know the feeling of thinking others were just plain crazy and wrong for not vaccinating their children and themselves. ‘Irresponsible!’ I said when pointing my finger. I’d use the same old arguments about polio and small pox and how vaccines saved us from all those horrible diseases and just swallowing and regurgitating the propaganda I was brought up with. It was only recently, in 2009 that I started question [...]

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11 Common Symptoms of the Global Depopulation Slow Kill

Sigmund Fraud, Staff Writer“Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.” – The Georgia GuidestonesThe full-spectrum global attack on human health is quite obvious to see for anyone who is paying attention and in search of wellness. So many of the factors that are negatively influencing public heath could easily be prevented or removed from society, yet the decisions of the ruling class continue to ensure that our food supply [...]

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US Government Admits Americans Have Been Overdosed on Fluoride

Dr. MercolaThe US government has finally admitted they’ve overdosed Americans on fluoride and, for first time since 1962, are lowering its recommended level of fluoride in drinking water.1,2,3About 40 percent of American teens have dental fluorosis,4 a condition referring to changes in the appearance of tooth enamel—from chalky-looking lines and splotches to dark staining and pitting—caused by long-term ingestion of fluoride during the time teeth are forming.In some areas, fluoro [...]

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Biologists fear DNA editing procedure can alter human DNA




Excerpt from themarketbusiness.com

A group of biologists was alarmed with the use a new genome-editing technique to modify human DNA in a way that it can become hereditary.
The biologists worry that the new technique is so effective and easy to use that some physicians may push ahead with it before its safety can be weigh up. They also want the public to understand the ethical issues surrounding the technique, which could be used to cure genetic diseases, but also to enhance qualities like beauty or intelligence. The latter is a path that many ethicists believe should never be taken.


“You could exert control over human heredity with this technique, and that is why we are raising the issue,” said David Baltimore, a former president of the California Institute of Technology and a member of the group whose paper on the topic was published in the journal Science.

Ethicists have been concerned for decades about the dangers of altering the human germ line — meaning to make changes to human sperm, eggs or embryos that will last through the life of the individual and be passed on to future generations. Until now, these worries have been theoretical. But a technique invented in 2012 makes it possible to edit the genome precisely and with much greater ease. The technique has already been used to edit the genomes of mice, rats and monkeys, and few doubt that it would work the same way in people.

The new genome-editing technique holds the power to repair or enhance any human gene. “It raises the most fundamental of issues about how we are going to view our humanity in the future and whether we are going to take the dramatic step of modifying our own germline and in a sense take control of our genetic destiny, which raises enormous peril for humanity,” said George Daley, a stem cell expert at Boston Children’s Hospital and a member of the group.

The biologists writing in Science support continuing laboratory research with the technique, and few if any scientists believe it is ready for clinical use. Any such use is tightly regulated in the United States and Europe. American scientists, for instance, would have to present a plan to treat genetic diseases in the human germline to the Food and Drug Administration.

The paper’s authors, however, are concerned about countries that have less regulation in science. They urge that “scientists should avoid even attempting, in lax jurisdictions, germ line genome modification for clinical application in humans” until the full implications “are discussed among scientific and governmental organizations.”

Though such a moratorium would not be legally enforceable and might seem unlikely to exert global sway, there is a precedent. In 1975, scientists worldwide were asked to refrain from using a method for manipulating genes, the recombinant DNA technique, until rules had been established.

“We asked at that time that nobody do certain experiments, and in fact nobody did, to my knowledge,” said Baltimore, who was a member of the 1975 group. “So there is a moral authority you can assert from the U.S., and that is what we hope to do.”

Recombinant DNA was the first in a series of ever-improving steps for manipulating genetic material. The chief problem has always been one of accuracy, of editing the DNA at precisely the intended site, since any off-target change could be lethal. Two recent methods, known as zinc fingers and TAL effectors, came close to the goal of accurate genome editing, but both are hard to use. The new genome-editing approach was invented by Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier of Umea University in Sweden.

Their method, known by the acronym Crispr-Cas9, co-opts the natural immune system with which bacteria remember the DNA of the viruses that attack them so they are ready the next time those same invaders appear. Researchers can simply prime the defense system with a guide sequence of their choice and it will then destroy the matching DNA sequence in any genome presented to it. Doudna is the lead author of the Science article calling for control of the technique and organized the meeting at which the statement was developed.

Though highly efficient, the technique occasionally cuts the genome at unintended sites. The issue of how much mistargeting could be tolerated in a clinical setting is one that Doudna’s group wants to see thoroughly explored before any human genome is edited.

Scientists also say that replacing a defective gene with a normal one may seem entirely harmless but perhaps would not be.
“We worry about people making changes without the knowledge of what those changes mean in terms of the overall genome,” Baltimore said. “I personally think we are just not smart enough — and won’t be for a very long time — to feel comfortable about the consequences of changing heredity, even in a single individual.”
Many ethicists have accepted the idea of gene therapy, changes that die with the patient, but draw a clear line at altering the germline, since these will extend to future generations. The British Parliament in February approved the transfer of mitochondria, small DNA-containing organelles, to human eggs whose own mitochondria are defective. But that technique is less far-reaching because no genes are edited.

There are two broad schools of thought on modifying the human germline, said R. Alta Charo, a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the Doudna group. One is pragmatic and seeks to balance benefit and risk. The other “sets up inherent limits on how much humankind should alter nature,” she said. 
Some Christian doctrines oppose the idea of playing God, whereas in Judaism and Islam there is the notion “that humankind is supposed to improve the world.” She described herself as more of a pragmatist, saying, “I would try to regulate such things rather than shut a new technology down at its beginning.”

Other scientists agree with the Doudna group’s message.
“It is very clear that people will try to do gene editing in humans,” said Rudolf Jaenisch, a stem cell biologist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was not a member of the Doudna group. “This paper calls for a moratorium on any clinical application, which I believe is the right thing to do.”
Writing in Nature last week, Edward Lanphier and other scientists involved in developing the rival zinc finger technique for genome editing also called for a moratorium on human germline modification, saying that use of current technologies would be “dangerous and ethically unacceptable.”

The International Society for Stem Cell Research said Thursday that it supported the proposed moratorium.

The Doudna group calls for public discussion but is also working to develop some more formal process, such as an international meeting convened by the National Academy of Sciences, to establish guidelines for human use of the genome-editing technique.

“We need some principled agreement that we want to enhance humans in this way or we don’t,” Jaenisch said. “You have to have this discussion because people are gearing up to do this.”

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Mysteries of the Early Human Ancestors #1 ~ Why did we grow large brains?

Human brains are about three times as large as those of our early australopithecines ancestors that lived 4 million to 2 million years ago, and for years, scientists have wondered how our brains got so big. A new study suggests social competition could be behind the increase in brain size. Credit NIH, NADA

livescience.com

There are many ways to try to explain why human brains today are so big compared to those of early humans, but the major cause may be social competition, new research suggests. 

But with several competing ideas, the issue remains a matter of debate. 

Compared to almost all other animals, human brains are larger as a percentage of body weight. And since the emergence of the first species in our Homo genus (Homo habilis) about 2 million years ago, the human brain has doubled in size. And when compared to earlier ancestors, such as australopithecines that lived 4 million to 2 million years ago, our brains are three times as large. For years, scientists have wondered what could account for this increase.

The three major hypotheses have focused on climate change, the demands of ecology, and social competition. A new statistical analysis of data on 175 fossil skulls supports the latter hypothesis. 

Behind the hypotheses

The climate idea proposes that dealing with unpredictable weather and major climate shifts may have increased the ability of our ancestors to think ahead and prepare for these environmental changes, which in turn led to a larger, more cognitively adept brain.
The ecology hypothesis states that, as our ancestors migrated away from the equator, they encountered environmental changes, such as less food and other resources. "So you have to be a little bit more clever to figure it out," said David Geary, a professor from the University of Missouri. Also, less parasite exposure could have played a role in the makings of a bigger brain. When your body combats parasites, it cranks up its immune system, which uses up calories that could have gone to boost brain development. Since there are fewer parasites farther away from the equator, migrating north or south could have meant that our predecessors had more opportunity to grow a larger brain because their bodies were not fighting off as many pathogens.


Finally, other researchers think that social competition for scarce resources influenced brain size. As populations grow, more people are contesting for the same number of resources, the thinking goes. Those with a higher social status, who are "a little bit smarter than other folks" will have more access to food and other goods, and their offspring will have a higher chance of survival, Geary said.


Those who are not as socially adept will die off, pushing up the average social "fitness" of the group. "It's that type of process, that competition within a species, for status, for control of resources, that cycles over and over again through multiple generations, that is a process that could easily explain a very, very rapid increase in brain size," Geary said.

Weighing the options

To examine which hypothesis is more likely, Geary and graduate student Drew Bailey analyzed data from 175 skull fossils — from humans and our ancestors — that date back to sometime between 10,000 ago and 2 million years ago.


The team looked at multiple factors, including how old the fossils were, where they were found, what the temperature was and how much the temperature varied at the time the Homo species lived, and the level of parasites in the area. They also looked at the population density of the region in order to measure social competition, "assuming that the more fossils you find in a particular area at a particular time, the more likely the population was larger," Geary said.


They then used a statistical analysis to test all of the variables at once to see how well they predicted brain size. "By far the best predictor was population density," Geary said. "And in fact, it seemed that there was very little change in brain size across our sample of fossil skulls until we hit a certain population size. Once that population density was hit, there was a very quick increase in brain size," he said.


Looking at all the variables together allowed the researchers to "separate out which variables are really important and which variables may be correlated for other reasons," added Geary. While the climate variables were still significant, their importance was much lower than that of population density, he said. The results were published in the March 2009 issue of the journal Human Nature.


Questions linger

The social competition hypothesis "sounds good," said Ralph Holloway, an anthropologist at Columbia University, who studies human brain evolution. But, he adds: "How would you ever go about really testing that with hard data?" 

He points out that the sparse cranium data "doesn’t tell you anything about the differences in populations for Homo erectus, or the differences in populations of Neanderthals." For example, the number of Homo erectus crania that have been found in Africa, Asia, Indonesia and parts of Europe is fewer than 25, and represent the population over hundreds of thousands of years, he said. 

"You can't even know the variation within a group let alone be certain of differences between groups," Holloway said. Larger skulls would be considered successful, but "how would you be able to show that these were in competition?" 

However, Holloway is supportive of the research. "I think these are great ideas that really should be pursued a little bit more," he said. 

Alternative hypotheses

Holloway has another hypothesis for how our brains got so big. He thinks that perhaps increased gestation time in the womb or increased dependency time of children on adults could have a played role. The longer gestation or dependency time "would have required more social cooperation and cognitive sophistication on the part of the parents," he said. Males and females would have needed to differentiate their social roles in a complementary way to help nurture the child. The higher level of cognition needed to perform these tasks could have led to an increase in brain size.


Still other hypotheses look at diet as a factor. Some researchers think that diets high in fish and shellfish could have provided our ancestors with the proper nutrients they needed to grow a big brain.
And another idea is that a decreased rate of cell death may have allowed more brain neurons to be synthesized, leading to bigger noggins. 

Ultimately, no theory can be absolutely proven, and the scant fossil record makes it hard to test hypotheses. "If you calculate a generation as, let's say, 20 years, and you know that any group has to have a minimal breeding size, then the number of fossils that we have that demonstrates hominid evolution is something like 0.000001 percent," Holloway said. "So frankly, I mean, all hypotheses look good."

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