Intrarenal Resistive Index after Renal Transplantation.


BACKGROUND

The intrarenal resistive index is routinely measured in many renaltransplantation centers for assessment of renal-allograft status, although the value of the resistive index remains unclear.

METHODS

In a single-center, prospective study involving 321 renal-allograft recipients, we measured the resistive index at baseline, at the time of protocol-specified renal-allograft biopsies (3, 12, and 24 months after transplantation), and at the time of biopsies performed because of graft dysfunction. A total of 1124 renal-allograft resistive-index measurements were included in the analysis. All patients were followed for at least 4.5 years after transplantation.

RESULTS

Allograft recipients with a resistive index of at least 0.80 had higher mortality than those with a resistive index of less than 0.80 at 3, 12, and 24 months after transplantation (hazard ratio, 5.20 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 2.14 to 12.64; P<0.001]; 3.46 [95% CI, 1.39 to 8.56; P=0.007]; and 4.12 [95% CI, 1.26 to 13.45; P=0.02], respectively). The need for dialysis did not differ significantly between patients with a resistive index of at least 0.80 and those with a resistive index of less than 0.80 at 3, 12, and 24 months after transplantation (hazard ratio, 1.95 [95% CI, 0.39 to 9.82; P=0.42]; 0.44 [95% CI, 0.05 to 3.72; P=0.45]; and 1.34 [95% CI, 0.20 to 8.82; P=0.76], respectively). At protocol-specified biopsy time points, the resistive index was not associated with renal-allograft histologic features. Older recipient age was the strongest determinant of a higher resistive index (P<0.001). At the time of biopsies performed because of graft dysfunction, antibody-mediated rejection or acute tubular necrosis, as compared with normal biopsy results, was associated with a higher resistive index (0.87±0.12 vs. 0.78±0.14 [P=0.05], and 0.86±0.09 vs. 0.78±0.14 [P=0.007], respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

The resistive index, routinely measured at predefined time points after transplantation, reflects characteristics of the recipient but not those of the graft.

 

Souirce: NEJM

 

 

A Phase 2 Trial of Ponatinib in Philadelphia Chromosome–Positive Leukemias.


BACKGROUND

Ponatinib is a potent oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor of unmutated and mutated BCR-ABL, including BCR-ABL with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor–refractory threonine-to-isoleucine mutation at position 315 (T315I). We conducted a phase 2 trial of ponatinib in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) or Philadelphia chromosome–positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-positive ALL).

METHODS

We enrolled 449 heavily pretreated patients who had CML or Ph-positive ALL with resistance to or unacceptable side effects from dasatinib or nilotinib or who had the BCR-ABL T315I mutation. Ponatinib was administered at an initial dose of 45 mg once daily. The median follow-up was 15 months.

RESULTS

Among 267 patients with chronic-phase CML, 56% had a major cytogenetic response (51% of patients with resistance to or unacceptable side effects from dasatinib or nilotinib and 70% of patients with the T315I mutation), 46% had a complete cytogenetic response (40% and 66% in the two subgroups, respectively), and 34% had a major molecular response (27% and 56% in the two subgroups, respectively). Responses were observed regardless of the baseline BCR-ABL kinase domain mutation status and were durable; the estimated rate of a sustained major cytogenetic response of at least 12 months was 91%. No single BCR-ABL mutation conferring resistance to ponatinib was detected. Among 83 patients with accelerated-phase CML, 55% had a major hematologic response and 39% had a major cytogenetic response. Among 62 patients with blast-phase CML, 31% had a major hematologic response and 23% had a major cytogenetic response. Among 32 patients with Ph-positive ALL, 41% had a major hematologic response and 47% had a major cytogenetic response. Common adverse events were thrombocytopenia (in 37% of patients), rash (in 34%), dry skin (in 32%), and abdominal pain (in 22%). Serious arterial thrombotic events were observed in 9% of patients; these events were considered to be treatment-related in 3%. A total of 12% of patients discontinued treatment because of an adverse event.

CONCLUSIONS

Ponatinib had significant antileukemic activity across categories of disease stage and mutation status.

 

Source: NEJM

 

Be Kind – What Goes Around Comes Back Around.


Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. ~Henry James

The Chain of Love

“One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even In the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry.

He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you. He said, ‘I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.’ Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to putthe jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two.

Soon he was able to change the tire.But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid. Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her.

She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, ‘And think of me.’ He waited until she started her car and drove off.

It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight. A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair.She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan .. After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill.

The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: ‘You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.’

Under the napkin were 4 more $100 bills. Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people tos erve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it?

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. ~Plato

With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard…. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, ‘Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.’”

Does this story mean anything to you apart from it just being another proverb? Well, I’d say it’s a reality. Try it out once. Afterall, miracles do happen! Hope the following story changes your outlook towards life (It did for me!). Keep shining

This beautiful story began as a story that appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Country Soul book in 1996, written by Jonnie Barnett and Rory Lee and it was shared with you by one of our readers- Manvita Gandhi.

starving-cancer-to-death-by-removing-one-food-refined-sugar.


While all of our cells need glucose (a form of sugar which is turned into energy), cancer thrives on a body full of simple carbohydrates (which become sugar in the body) and refined sugars that come from processed foods and overly sweet goodies. If you or someone you know is suffering from cancer, one of the best things they can do is take away the disease’s favorite food – sugar. 

Starving Cancer to Death by Removing one Food: Refined Sugar

Dr. Otto Wartburg and other health experts have been talking about how cancer loves sugar since the 1920s, but surprisingly many doctors don’t tell their cancer patients that as long as they continue to eat processed foods full of the stuff, they will likely have a more difficult time fighting this disease. The German physiologist, leading biochemist, medical doctor, and Nobel laureate was convinced that you could starve cancer right out of the body. While it may not always be that easy, this is something that could significantly change the game. His theory was that malignant cells and tumor growth was caused by cells that generated energy via adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through a nonoxidative breakdown of glucose (sugar). The recycling of the metabolite from this process called glycolysis and the circulation of adhA back into the body caused anaerobic respiration. This is the reverse of what happens with healthy cells. Healthy, non-cancerous cells generate energy for the body to use through the oxidative breakdown of pyruvate, the end product of glycolysis, which leads to oxidized mitochondria. He therefore concluded that cancer was really a mitochondrial dysfunction. The normal process of respiration of oxygen in the body is changed to the fermentation of sugar. If you remove the sugar, the body should not develop cancer. The connection between sugar and cancer development is certainly not new. 

Most people can easily remove the obvious culprits that are full of refined sugar – cakes, candies, cookies, etc. The problem is that many foods which are packaged and sold in the US and in other countries are full of refined sugar, but just very sneakily hidden in the packaging labels. Things like ‘healthy’ yogurt, cereals, whole wheat or whole grain breads, and even ‘low-calorie’ items can be full of sugar. Related Read: Kid Drinking 7 Trillion Calories of Sugar from Beverages The easiest way to eliminate unwanted refined sugars is to stop buying ‘convenience’ or pre-packaged foods, and at least temporarily, don’t eat out at restaurants – many dining establishments source their food from big companies that ‘season’ their food with lots of sugar and salt to make it more palatable after being frozen and shipped across the country in trucks. Even salad dressings can be loaded with sugar. To deal with cravings for sugary foods, increase your plant-based and healthy animal based proteins (no red meat) and eat more nutrition-packed foods. 

Cancer in a Can: The Shocking True Story of how ‘Pringles’ are Made.


To understand the nature of Pringles and other stack able chips, forget the notion that they come from actual potatoes in any recognizable way.

The Pringles Company (in an effort to avoid taxes levied against “luxury foods” like chips in the UK) once even argued that the potato content of their chips was so low that they are technically not even potato chips. 



So if they’re not made of potatoes, what are they exactly? 

The process begins with a slurry of rice, wheat, corn, and potato flakes that are pressed into shape. 

This dough-like substance is then rolled out into an ultra-thin sheet cut into chip-cookies by a machine. 

According to io9: 

“The chips move forward on a conveyor belt until they’re pressed onto molds, which give them the curve that makes them fit into one another. 

Those molds move through boiling oil … Then they’re blown dry, sprayed with powdered flavors, and at last, flipped onto a slower-moving conveyor belt in a way that allows them to stack. From then on, it’s into the cans … and off towards the innocent mouths of the consumers.” 

I suspect nearly everyone reading this likely enjoys the taste of potato chips. However, they are clearly one of the most toxic processed foods you can eat—whether they’re made from actual potato shavings or not. 

Potato Chips are Loaded with Cancer-Causing Chemical 

One of the most hazardous ingredients in potato chips is not intentionally added, but rather is a byproduct of the processing. 

Acrylamide, a cancer-causing and potentially neurotoxic chemical, is created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, whether baked, fried, roasted or toasted. Some of the worst offenders include potato chips and French fries, but many foods cooked or processed at temperatures above 212°F (100°C) may contain acrylamide. As a general rule, the chemical is formed when food is heated enough to produce a fairly dry and brown/yellow surface. 

Hence, it can be found in: 

Potatoes: chips, French fries and other roasted or fried potato foods
Grains: bread crust, toast, crisp bread, roasted breakfast cereals and various processed snacks
Coffee; roasted coffee beans and ground coffee powder. Surprisingly, coffee substitutes based on chicory actually contains 2-3 times MORE acrylamide than real coffee 

How Much Acrylamide are You Consuming? 

The federal limit for acrylamide in drinking water is 0.5 parts per billion, or about 0.12 micrograms in an eight-ounce glass of water. However, a six-ounce serving of French fries can contain 60 micrograms of acrylamide, or about FIVE HUNDRED times over the allowable limit. 

Similarly, potato chips are notoriously high in this dangerous chemical. So high, in fact, that in 2005 the state of California actually sued potato chip makers for failing to warn California consumers about the health risks of acrylamide in their products. A settlement was reached in 2008 when Frito-Lay and several other potato chip makers agreed to reduce the acrylamide levels in their chips to 275 parts per billion (ppb) by 2011, which is low enough to avoid needing a cancer warning label. 

The 2005 report “How Potato Chips Stack Up: Levels of Cancer-Causing Acrylamide in Popular Brands of Potato Chips,” issued by the California-basedEnvironmental Law Foundation (ELF), spelled out the dangers of this popular snack. Their analysis found that all potato chip products tested exceeded the legal limit of acrylamide by a minimum of 39 times, and as much as 910 times! Some of the worst offenders at that time included: 

Cape Cod Robust Russet: 910 times the legal limit of acrylamide
Kettle Chips (lightly salted): 505 times
Kettle Chips (honey dijon): 495 times 
Beware: Baked Chips May Be WORSE than Fried! 

If you think you can avoid the health risks of potato chips by choosing baked varieties, which are typically advertised as being “healthier,” think again. Remember that acrylamide is formed not only when foods are fried or broiled, but also when they are baked. And according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data on acrylamide levels in foods, baked chips may contain more than three timesthe level of acrylamide as regular chips! 

Interestingly, the same trend holds true for other foods, too, which suggests that baking processed potatoes at high temperature may be one of the worst ways to cook them. For instance, according to the FDA’s data, Ore Ida Golden Fries contained 107 ppb of acrylamide in the regular fried version and 1,098 when baked. So remember, ALL potato chips contain acrylamide, regardless of whether they are natural or not; baked or fried. Likewise, they will ALL influence your insulin levels in a very negative way. 

Acrylamide is Not the Only Danger 

Acrylamide is not the only dangerous genotoxic compound formed when food is heated to high temperatures. 

A three-year long EU project, known as Heat-Generated Food Toxicants (HEATOX), whose findings were published at the end of 2007, found there are more than 800 heat-induced compounds, of which 52 are potential carcinogens. In addition to their finding that acrylamide does pose a public health threat, the HEATOX scientists also discovered that you’re far less likely to ingest dangerous levels of the toxin when you eat home-cooked foods compared to industrially or restaurant-prepared foods. 

Additionally, the HEATOX findings also suggest that although there are ways to decrease exposure to acrylamide, it cannot be eliminated completely. 

According to their calculations, successful application of all presently known methods would reduce the acrylamide intake by 40 percent at the most—which makes me wonder whether chip manufacturers have really succeeded at this point in reducing acrylamide levels to within legal limits… There’s no updated data as of yet, so there’s no telling whether they’ve been able to comply with the 2005 settlement. 

For more in-depth information about acrylamide, I recommend reading the online report Heat-generated Food Toxicants, Identification, Characterization and Risk Minimization. In general however, just remember that cooking food at high temperatures is ill advised. A few of the most well-known toxins created in high-temperature cooking include: 

Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs): These form when meat is cooked at high temperatures, and they’re also linked to cancer. In terms of HCA, the worst part of the meat is the blackened section, which is why you should always avoid charring your meat, and never eat blackened sections. 

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): When fat drips onto the heat source, causing excess smoke, and the smoke surrounds your food, it can transfer cancer-causing PAHs to the meat. 

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures (including when it is pasteurized or sterilized), it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. When you eat the food, it transfers the AGEs into your body. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease. 
The Search for a “Healthful” Chip Continues… 

Like a modern-day search for the Holy Grail, chip manufacturers keep searching for methods to improve the image of their health-harming but profitable snacks. For example, by the end of 2011, about half of Pepsi’s Frito-Lay brand snacks will be reformulated with all-natural ingredients. The switch is part of PepsiCo’s master plan to tap into the healthy foods market share. The Wall Street Journal recently reported the company hopes to boost their nutrition business from $10 billion to $30 billion by 2020. 

The company will remove dietary hazards like monosodium glutamate (MSG), replacing it with natural seasonings, such as molasses and paprika. Artificial colors will be replaced with beet juice, purple cabbage and carrots. All in all, about different 60 snacks are scheduled to get an all-natural makeover. 

This is certainly a good example of how consumer demand can alter the direction of food manufacturers in a positive way. 

The reformulated chips may end up being less bad for you than the original formulations. However, chips will never be truly healthful. All-natural chips may be the lesser of two evils, but if consumed regularly, they will still push your health in the wrong direction… There’s no getting away from the fact that modern plagues such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes have a dietary component, and potato chips and French fries will always be a losing bet if you want to avoid becoming another disease statistic. 

How to Avoid Heat-Induced Toxins in Your Diet 

Ideally, you should consume foods that are raw or minimally processed to avoid these types of toxic byproducts—the more raw food, the better. My nutrition plan emphasizes the need for at least one-third of your foods to be consumed raw. Personally, I consume about 80 percent of my food raw, and I find it is one of the most important factors that help keep me healthy. 

It may take you awhile to switch over to a less processed diet, but throwing out the most obvious culprits would be a great start. 

These would include: French fries and potato chips, All sodas (both regular and diet, as artificial sweeteners may be more problematic than fructose, Doughnuts 
Healthy Eating Made Easy 

Aside from creating potentially toxic byproducts, cooking and processing also depletes the food of valuable micronutrients, which is another reason for eating as much raw food as possible. This includes protein sources such as eggs. Raw whole eggs from organic, pastured chickens are an incredible source of high-quality nutrients that many are deficient in. Raw milk is another good example of a food that is beneficial in its raw state but becomes harmful after it is pasteurized. 

By opting for foods that will benefit your health, such as raw, preferably organic and/or locally-grown vegetables, organic grass-fed meats, healthy oils, raw dairy, nuts and seeds, you can change your health for the better. These are the foods that are truly natural, and quite easy to prepare once you get the hang of it. 

For a step-by-step guide to make the transition to a healthier diet as simple and smooth as possible, simply follow the advice in my optimized nutrition plan. 

Remember, eating fresh whole foods is the “secret” to getting healthier, losing weight and really enjoying your food. It’s unfortunate that so many are under the mistaken belief that it’s “next to impossible” to create a meal without processed foods. Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough tackle this issue head-on in their book Real Food Has Curves, which is a great starting point to “relearn” the basics of how to enjoy and prepare real food. 

Once you get used to it, you’ll find you can whip up a healthful meal from scratch in the same amount of time it would have taken you to drive down the street to pick up fast food. The main difference will be greater satisfaction, both physically and mentally, and perhaps even financially, as processed foods typically end up being more expensive than cooking from scratch. 

Source: 

Dr. Mercola

A Bio-Patch Regrows Bone Inside the Body.


Researchers from the University of Iowa have developed a remarkable new procedure for regenerating missing or damaged bone. It’s called a “bio patch” — and it works by sending bone-producing instructions directly into cells using microscopic particles embedded with DNA.

In experiments, the gene-encoding patch has already regrown bone fully enough to cover skull wounds in test animals. It has also stimulated new growth in human bone marrow stromal cells. Eventually, the patch could be used to repair birth defects involving missing bone around the head or face. It could also help dentists rebuild bone in areas which provides a concrete-like foundation for implants.

To create the bio patch, a research team led by Satheesh Elangovan delivered bone-producing instructions to existing bone cells inside a living body, which allowed those cell to produce the required proteins for more bone production. This was accomplished by using a piece of DNA that encodes for a platelet-derived growth factor called PDGF-B. Previous research relied on repeated applications from the outside, but they proved costly, intensive, and more difficult to replicate with any kind of consistency.

“We delivered the DNA to the cells, so that the cells produce the protein and that’s how the protein is generated to enhance bone regeneration,” explained Aliasger Salem in a statement. “If you deliver just the protein, you have keep delivering it with continuous injections to maintain the dose. With our method, you get local, sustained expression over a prolonged period of time without having to give continued doses of protein.” Salem is a professor in the College of Pharmacy and a co-corresponding author on the paper.

While performing the procedure, the researchers made a collagen scaffold in the actual shape and size of the bone defect. The patch, which was loaded with synthetically created plasmids and outfitted with the genetic instructions for building bone did the rest, achieving complete regeneration that matched the shape of what should have been there. This was followed by inserting the scaffold onto the missing area. Four weeks is usually all that it took — growing 44-times more bone and soft tissue in the affected areas compared to just the scaffold alone.

“The delivery mechanism is the scaffold loaded with the plasmid,” Salem says. “When cells migrate into the scaffold, they meet with the plasmid, they take up the plasmid, and they get the encoding to start producing PDGF-B, which enhances bone regeneration.”

After reading this, you’ll never look at a Banana in the same way again.


Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. 
Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes.


  
But energy isn’t the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
  
DEPRESSION:

According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

  
PMS:

Forget the pills – eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

  
ANEMIA:

High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

  
BLOOD PRESSURE:

This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

  
BRAIN POWER:

200 students at a Twickenham school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

  
CONSTIPATION:

High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

  
HANGOVERS:

One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

  
HEARTBURN:

Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

  
MORNING SICKNESS:

Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

  
MOSQUITO BITES:

Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

  
NERVES:

Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system..
 
Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.
  
ULCERS:

The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chroniclercases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

  
TEMPERATURE CONTROL:

Many other cultures see bananas as a ‘cooling’ fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

  
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has FOUR TIMES the protein, TWICE the carbohydrate, THREE TIMES the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals.. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, ‘A BANANA a day keeps the doctor away.

Brain may play key role in blood sugar metabolism and diabetes development.


A growing body of evidence suggests that the brain plays a key role in glucose regulation and the development of type 2 diabetes, researchers write in the Nov. 7 ssue of the journal Nature. If the hypothesis is correct, it may open the door to entirely new ways to prevent and treat this disease, which is projected to affect one in three adults in the United States by 2050.

In the paper, lead author Dr. Michael W. Schwartz, UW professor of medicine and director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence, and his colleagues from the universities of Cincinnati, Michigan, and Munich,  note that the brain was originally thought to play an important role in maintaining normal glucose metabolism  With the discovery of insulin in the 1920s, the focus of research and diabetes care shifted to almost exclusively to insulin. Today, almost all treatments for diabetes seek to either increase insulin levels or increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

“These drugs,” the researchers write, “enjoy wide use and are effective in controlling hyperglycemia [high blood sugar levels], the hallmark of type 2 diabetes, but they address the consequence of diabetes more than the underlying causes, and thus control rather than cure the disease.”

New research, they write, suggests that normal glucose regulation depends on a partnership between the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, the pancreatic islet cells, and neuronal circuits in the hypothalamus and other brain areas that are intimately involved in maintaining normal glucose levels. The development of diabetes type 2, the authors argue, requires a failure of both the islet-cell system and this brain-centered system for regulating blood sugar levels .

In their paper, the researchers review both animal and human studies that indicate the powerful effect this brain-centered regulatory system has on blood glucose levels independent of the action of insulin. One such mechanism by which the system promotes glucose uptake by tissues is by stimulating what is called “glucose effectiveness.” As this process accounts for almost 50 percent of normal glucose uptake, it rivals the impact of insulin-dependent mechanisms driven by the islet cells in the pancreas.

The findings lead the researchers to propose a two-system model of regulating blood sugar levels composed of the islet-cell system, which responds to a rise in glucose levels by primarily by releasing insulin, and the brain-centered system that enhances insulin-mediated glucose metabolism while also stimulating glucose effectiveness.

The development of type 2 diabetes appears to involve the failure of both systems, the researchers say. Impairment of the brain-centered system is common, and it places an increased burden on the islet-centered system. For a time, the islet-centered system can compensate, but if it begins to fail, the brain-centered system may decompensate further, causing a vicious cycle that ends in diabetes.

Boosting insulin levels alone will lower glucose levels, but only addresses half the problem. To restore normal glucose regulation requires addressing the failures of the brain-centered system as well. Approaches that target both systems may not only achieve better blood glucose control, but could actually cause diabetes to go into remission, they write.

37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario.


It was just a few weeks ago that 50,000 bees were found dead in an Oregon parking lot, and now the ongoing problem has hit north of the border in Ontario, Canada where more than 37 million bees have been found dead. 

In the past, many scientists have struggled to find the exact cause of the massive die-offs, a phenomenon they refer to as “colony collapse disorder” (CCD). In the United States, for seven consecutive years, honeybees are in terminal decline.The problem has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables. 

37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario

According to the annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the US government’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), The number of managed honeybee colonies has fallen by over 30%.US scientists have found 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen, lending credence to the notion that pesticides are a key problem. “We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure and other stressors are converging to kill colonies,” said Jeffery Pettis, of the ARS’s bee research laboratory.The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute over 30 billion to the global economy. 37 Million Bees Dead in Ontario Dave Schuit, who runs a honey operation in Elmwood, Ontario says he’s lost more than 600 hives — that’s more than 37 million bees — in 2012 alone. Schuit says he’s been seeing his bees die at a rapid rate every spring in the last few years. “This is how they die,” Schuit explained to The Toronto Star, pointing with a broad hand to a bee that’s gone haywire, flailing erratically in the grass. “Their tongue sticks out and the venom drips out their backside.” According to the 48-year-old apiarist, neonicotinoid pesticides are to blame for the loss. The Collective Evolution finds that the deaths occur after the pesticide dust is blown into the air (used to coat corn seed with air seeders). A study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that the causes of CCD may be more varied than scientists expect. The bees may be dying not from a single toxin or disease but rather from an assault directed by a collection of pathogens. A research team led by entomologist May Berenbaum at the University of Illinois compared the whole genome of honeybees that came from hives that had suffered from CCD with hives that were healthy. The sick bees exhibited genetic damage that could account for the die-off, and that damage indicated that they might be afflicted with multiple viruses simultaneously. This could weaken them enough to trigger CCD. “It’s like a perfect storm,” says Berenbaum. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Industry began taking samples from dead bees in Ontario and Quebec. Schuit’s bee’s were a part of that study and now the agency is now “re-evaluating” the pesticides status while analyzing more samples this year. Bayer Pesticides Long Implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder Two of Bayer’s best-selling pesticides, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, are known to get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees. The marketing of these drugs also coincided with the occurrence of large-scale bee deaths in many European countries and the United States.

The non-profit group NRDC filed a lawsuit in August 2008 to force the U.S. government to release the studies it ordered on the effect of clothianidin on honeybees. NRDC attorneys believed the EPA already had evidence of a link between pesticides and the mass honeybee die-offs, yet was not making the information public. NRDC is now being allowed to look through the studies. There is some information already publicly available, though, and that’s the EPA’s fact sheet on clothianidin. It says right there in black and white that: “Clothianidin has the potential for toxic chronic exposure to honey bees, as well as other nontarget pollinators, through the translocation of clothianidin residues in nectar and pollen…In honey bees, the effects of this toxic chronic exposure may include lethal and/or sub-lethal effects in the larvae and reproductive effects on the queen.”

Unfortunately, the EPA approved neonicotinoid pesticides on the basis that the amounts found in pollen and nectar are not enough to kill bees. This says nothing of their potential to impact the bees on a non-lethal level, and, in fact, studies have shown that the substances can impair bees’ learning and memory even at low doses. France, meanwhile, after reporting large losses of bees after exposure to Imidacloprid, banned it for use on corn and sunflowers, despite protests by Bayer. In another smart move, France also rejected Bayer’s application for Clothianidin, and other countries, such as Italy, have banned certain neonicotinoids as well. After record-breaking honeybee deaths in the UK, the European Union has banned multiple pesticides, including neonicotinoid pesticides. Sources: thestar.com – mercola.com – guardian.co.uk 

Ambri liquid metal battery: Prototype deployment set for 2014.


November is a milestone month for Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spinoff company Ambri, where a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Marlborough, Massachusetts, on November 7 marked its new production facility. Ambri is targeting its liquid metal battery technology for use in the electricity grid. The company believes they have an electricity storage solution that will change the way electric grids are operated worldwide. Ambri’s liquid metal battery technology breaks away from other storage options; each cell consists of three self-separating liquid layers, two metals and a salt, that float on top of each other based on density differences and immiscibility, said Ambri. The system operates at elevated temperature maintained by self-heating during charging and discharging.Ambri liquid metal battery: Prototype deployment set for 2014

Cells are stacked into refrigerator-sized modules, placed into a 40-foot shipping container rated at 500 kW and 2 MWh storage capacity. For more , more systems can be deployed together side by side. The new production facility brings the team closer to their ultimate goals. “Here, we will demonstrate that Ambri’s Liquid Metal Batteries can be produced at comparatively low capital cost, and make large-scale  a practical reality,” said Phil Giudice, CEO of Ambri.

Ambri’s new factory will produce the company’s first prototype systems for deployment in 2014 and 2015. Ambri said it plans to commission its first full-scale manufacturing facility in 2015. Already, plans are under way for Ambri’s prototype systems produced in Marlborough to be installed at the Joint Base Cape Cod, Ambri’s system is to enable the base to reduce electricity costs but at the same time improve power quality and grid resiliency. Ambri also plans to deploy an energy storage system in Hawaii next year. Consumers in Hawaii experience high electricity prices with a system based primarily on diesel fuel. Wind and solar resources paired with viable energy storage represent a brighter renewable energy outlook. “As Hawaii transitions from an oil-based electricity system to one fueled by 70 percent clean energy, the Energy Excelerator is committed to funding the world’s best innovation needed to get us there,” said Dawn Lippert, senior manager of the Hawaii Energy Excelerator.

Ambri said it uses inexpensive materials, which keeps costs down; the team noted that the simplicity of the system also accommodates manufacturing at low costs. With the large cell design, fewer wires and connections are needed, reducing, they said, the number of potential points of failure.

The company was founded In 2010, with the goal of commercializing the liquid metal  which had its development roots at MIT in the lab of Professor Donald Sadoway.