Drug-induced orthostatic hypotension.


Drug-induced orthostatic hypotension is an important clinical problem. When symptomatic, it is poorly tolerated by the patient, and can be a cause for discontinuing treatment. It may have more serious consequences if it leads to syncope, falls and injury, or to sustained loss of perfusion of vital organs resulting in heart attack or stroke. Orthostatic hypotension is easily detected by procedures available to all physicians, who should maintain a high index of suspicion when prescribing drugs commonly known to cause this condition, especially in the elderly. Since the medical conditions calling for the use of these drugs are extremely prevalent, the screening and monitoring of orthostatic hypotension should be instituted as a routine precaution in appropriate patients. Hypertension affects two-thirds of elderly patients. Orthostatic hypotension is an infrequent adverse effect of most of the drugs in current use in the treatment of hypertension; it is, however, more common with alpha 1-blockers (first dose), adrenergic blockers and centrally acting drugs. Sudden loss of blood volume, or excess diuresis, may precipitate orthostatic hypotension in any hypertensive patient. Drugs used for the treatment of psychiatric illnesses are all associated with a significant incidence of orthostatic hypotension: phenothiazines, tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Cardiovascular drugs associated with hypotension include dopamine agonists, antianginals and antiarrhythmics.

Source: PubMed

Wikileaks Cables Confirm Existence of Extraterrestrial Life.


We’re already halfway through 2013 and the world continues to wake up to the fact that we are not alone in the universe. This year alone we’ve seen a tremendous step forward regarding UFO disclosure. In early May, researchers, activists, political leaders and high ranking military/agency personnel from around the world testified to the reality of the UFO/extraterrestrial phenomenon in front of several former United States members of congress. To watch an interview with the former 2008 presidential candidate and ex-congressman Mike Gravel (who participated in the hearings) click here. You can watch interviews with all of the senators that participated in the event here.

ufo

Prior to the recent hearing on UFOs and extraterrestrial life, we’ve had explosive statements made by NASA astronauts and professors, you can watch some of those statements here and here. Not only has the world heard from all of these credible people, its also been privy to official documentation released by dozens of governments worldwide that outline the reality of the UFO phenomenon. Documents indicate that UFOs are of concern to governments, and they put a significant amount of time, effort and resources into studying them. Apart from governments, agencies like the National Security Agency also released official files regarding UFOs, you can view some of these previously classified documents here.

It’s now a fact that UFOs are tracked on radar, performing maneuvers that defy our idea of physics. Jets are constantly scrambled to take a closer look at them. This is no longer a conspiracy theory, it’s a fact. Release of files began early in 2007 with the UK, among others. Since then they’ve released thousands of pages every year, with the latest ones published in June 2013 made available at the UK’s National Archives. You can view them here.

Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.
—Former CIA Director, Roscoe Hillenkoetter, 1960.
The UFO/extraterrestrial phenomenon is extremely top secret, access to this type of documentation and the deeper truth behind it is almost impossible. CIA directors, presidents and other high ranking officials barely have any access to these programs. That being said, all of the information that’s already out in the public domain is overwhelming. It makes you wonder how far down the rabbit hole this topic goes.

As most of the world today already knows, Wikileaks is an international, online, non-profit organization that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified material from anonymous sources. They’ve been a tremendous threat to the controlling elite for a number of years, and have gained the attention of major mainstream media outlets worldwide. For the most part, these mainstream media outlets have bashed Assange, pointing to the idea that the release of classified documents is a threat to national security. That’s not true, it’s more like a threat to the truth that the elite try to cover up on a daily basis that would threaten their ability to control the human race.

Since a large amount of official documentation has already been released, documents from the Wikileaks cables shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Assange has already mentioned that there are yet to be published cables that make reference to UFOs. This is no joke, below are quotations taken from official transcripts via the official Wikileak cables.

 

You can view it here: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10DUSHANBE82.html

On January 13 Ambassador called on Dushanbe Mayor and Chairman of the upper house of Parliament Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloev at his parliamentary office. The Mayor began the meeting with a lengthy discourse on Afghanistan, thanking the United States for its contributions and sacrifices there, and saying that U.S. activities there were very important “as we enter the third millennium and the 21st century.” Ubaidulloev thought the main task there was to build a sense of national identity among ethnically disparate groups, and said the United States was an example for this. He noted that “war is very dangerous”, and said “we know there is life on other planets, but we must make peace here first.
In a platitude-ridden meeting, Dushanbe Mayor Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloev said upcoming elections would be free and fair, that contributions to the Roghun Dam were voluntary, and that the losses suffered by the United States in Afghanistan were felt by Tajiks as their own. Ubaidulloev asked for help in getting Tajik students admitted to Harvard University, but effectively declined to help find a new location for an American Corner in Dushanbe. He asserted the existence of life on other planets, caveating this by noting that we should focus on solving our problems on Earth. End Summary.
Not only do these cables raise an eyebrow, but a statement given by Julian Assange himself raises the need for further inquiry. The audio on the video is delayed. What points to this interview being real? For one, if you can read lips it’s not hard to follow. Secondly, it sounds exactly like Julian. Thirdly, multiple mainstream media outlets (Telegraph, CBS news and more) published the original version of the video which was taken down immediately. One of the mainstream media outlets was Forbes, you can view that poorly written article here in which you will see access to the video has been cut off. Articles written by major media outlets are usually very poor, and do their best to ridicule the subject of UFOs. The original version had perfect audio, the same sound and was in the same setting.

I have said in passing there is information about UFOs in Cablegate. And that is true, but these are only small passing references. Most of the material concerns UFO cults, and their behaviour in recruiting people. For instance, there is quite a large cable, which we’ll try and release in the next few days, concerning the Raelians, a UFO cult which has a strong presence in Canada and was of concern to the U.S. ambassador in Canada – Julian Assange

It’s not surprising that that the U.S. ambassador in Canada was concerned with this group. High level agencies are also concerned with abductees and ET contactees. Their mail is stamped in a special way, they are constantly surveyed by army intelligence, phone tapping and are also confronted by ‘men in black’ (intelligence officers). Agencies that are active in the UFO phenomenon keep close tabs on UFO/extraterrestrial activity outside of their sphere of influence. That being said, again, it’s no surprise that the U.S. ambassador had an interest in this ‘UFO cult.’ Anything extraterrestrial would be a concern to the elite, as they are the ones active in the cover up.

We are living in an extremely unique time, our world has become much more transparent than ever before. One aspect of multiple realizations is the UFO/extraterrestrial phenomenon, but it seems to branch into every aspect of our reality depending on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. Our perception of life on other planets largely comes from external sources like television programming. As a result, many are filled with fear when giving thought to this subject. Hopefully as we move through the shift in consciousness the planet is currently experiencing, fear will dissipate as it will no longer serve the human race. This is undoubtedly one of the largest realizations in human history. The only thing that goes beyond it, in my opinion, is the realization of humanities infinite potential to create a new experience from a place of peace, love, co-operation and understanding.

“There is abundant evidence that we are being contacted, that civilizations have been visiting us for a very long time. That their appearance is bizarre from any type of traditional materialistic western point of view. That these visitors use the technologies of consciousness, they use toroids, they use co-rotating magnetic disks for their propulsion systems, that seems to be a common denominator of the UFO phenomenon.” – Dr Brian O’leary, Former NASA Astronaut and Princeton Physics Professor (source)

“Yes there have been crashed craft, and bodies recovered. We are not alone in the universe, they have been coming here for a long time” Apollo 14 Astronaut (source # 1) (source # 2)

“Decades ago, visitors from other planets warned us about the direction we were heading and offered to help. Instead, some of us interpreted their visits as a threat, and decided to shoot first and ask questions after. It is ironic that the US should be fighting monstrously expensive wars, allegedly to bring democracy to those countries, when it itself can no longer claim to be called a democracy when trillions, and I mean thousands of billions of dollars have been spent on black projects which both congress and the commander in chief have been kept deliberately in the dark.” –
Paul Hellyer, Former Canadian Defence Minister (source)

There is nothing to be afraid of.

Much Love

Sources:

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10DUSHANBE82.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2011/02/07/wikileaks-ufo-cables-more-about-raelian-cult-than-alien-life/

http://ufos.nationalarchives.gov.uk

How to Clean Your Liver with 5 Natural Liver-Cleansing Tips


Your liver is like the maid of your body, cleaning up all the toxins you put into it, and therefore keeping all internal systems running smoothly. The modern diet, environmental pollutants, and our increasing dependence on toxic personal care products have put our livers on serious overtime. For this reason, it’s important to know how to clean your liver thoroughly and effectively – oh, and naturally.

liver sq

Your liver works to cleanse the blood and remove toxic substances that we’ve eaten, inhaled, or rubbed on our bodies. When it is overworked—as it is in many modern adults—or when you are under a significant amount of physical or even mental stress, your liver can struggle to keep up.

“The thousands of enzyme systems that are responsible for virtually every body activity are constructed in the liver,” explains Dr. Karl Maret, M.D. “The proper functioning of the eyes, the heart, the brain, the gonads, the joints, and the kidneys are all dependent on good liver activity. If the liver is impaired from constructing even one of the thousands of enzyme systems the body requires, there is an impairment in overall body function and a resultant greater metabolic stress on the individual.”

How to Clean Your Liver – No Products Required

So, what can you do about it? Well, you could try a quality liver detox supplement, or you could use some items found at your local health food store, your grocery store, or even some that are already in your kitchen. Here is how to clean your liver with 5 common food items.

1. Warm Lemon Water – Warm lemon water is a great way to detox your liver every single morning. This isn’t lemonade, so don’t add sugar or anything else. Just purified water and a healthy dose of fresh lemon juice. Some experts, like author A.F. Beddoe who wrote the book Biological Ionization as Applied to Human Nutrition, also believe that the liver produces more enzymes in response to water with lemon than to any other food.
2. Garlic – Add some garlic to your cooking or thinly slice a clove into your next salad. Garlic contains sulfur compounds that can help activate enzymes in the liver. It contains allicin and selenium, which are both good for liver protection.
3. Avocados – As if you need another reason to add avocados to your diet, a Japanese study found that avocados contain compounds that can protect the liver from damage. When compared with 21 other fruits, avocados had the most promise in protecting the liver from galactosamine, a “powerful” toxin that has been shown to produce a liver damage much like human viral hepatitis.
4. Cilantro – This versatile herb can be added to just about any dish, including salads or smoothies. This herb can help remove heavy metals from the body, something your liver could be struggling with right now.
5. Turmeric – Another powerful spice with a long list of benefits, turmeric is said to not only protect the liver from damage, but also encourage regeneration of liver cells. In addition, it increases natural bile production and aids in keeping the body toxin-free.

Cleansing your liver is crucial, so don’t hesitate to incorporate these liver-cleansing solutions right now. For more on how to clean your liver, check out these 4 natural liver cleansing foods outlined by Anthony Gucciardi.

 

Laser aimed at clouds could be key to inducing rain .


A high-energy laser beam aimed into clouds could help to trigger rain and lightning.

dressedlaser

Rain and lighting are linked to large amounts of static charged particles. By charging those particles with the right kind of laser, scientist could potentially summon a shower to alleviate drought.

But while lasers can already travel great distances, a really strong laser beam can collapse in on itself.

So how do you sustainably get these beams into the cloud without collapsing or being blasted by lightning?

Scientists have now found that by surrounding a laser beam with a second beam to act as an energy reservoir, the first beam could reach greater distances than previously possible.

The secondary “dress” beam refuels and helps prevent the dissipation of the high-intensity primary beam, which on its own would break down quickly.

A report on the project, “Externally refueled optical filaments,” was recently published in Nature Photonics.

According to Phys.org: “It turns out that if you wrap a large, low intensity, doughnut-like ‘dress’ beam around the filament and slowly move it inward, you can provide this arbitrary extension,” said Matthew Mills, a graduate student in the Centre for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers.

3 Reasons You Should Have More Plants In Your Home.


Plants are a powerhouse of wellness for your home. They’ll provide you with a host of benefits, and they’ll make your house look great while doing it. I’ll admit, I’ve been kind of obsessed with this idea lately, and I think you’ll find the concept intriguing as well after learning about the myriad benefits they offer.

1. They purify your air.

You probably know that plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen; plants in your home are no exception. Oxygen affects every part of your body and mind, and making sure you get quality air is essential to your well-being.

Did you know NASA uses plants on the International Space Station to help with air quality? Certain species purify the air of toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and more. In order to do this efficiently, the researchers at NASA recommend at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.

2. They’re truly local produce.

A lot of people don’t live in a climate where it’s possible to plant something like a lemon tree or a lime tree outside, but did you know there are dwarf versions of these? They thrive while potted indoors virtually everywhere in the US. They even have dwarf banana trees, pineapple trees, avocado trees, fig trees, and more. All that fruit right in your sun room or living room window!

Imagine picking stevia leaves right off the stem, enjoying a fresh avocado for breakfast, or making a drink with limes and mint leaves that were grown right in your kitchen. A fully fruited lemon tree at a party would probably make for quite the conversation piece as well. There are some things you just won’t find in a Midwest or Northeastern farmer’s market, and fresh local citrus fruits or locally grown avocados are usually some of those things. Having these growing right in your own house is as local as it gets.

3. They make your house a home.

This is probably the best catchall for all those intangible qualities that having more plants will bring to your home. Plants are living things, and when you’re surrounded by living things you will feel better; you’re literally bringing more life into your house! There’s something about bringing live pieces of nature inside that just radiates a healthy energy throughout the room.

Fragrant plants like dwarf Kaffir lime trees will also fill the room with the most wonderful scents. It’s an all-natural alternative to those wall plug-ins filled with artificial fragrance chemicals. Other aromatics like mint, lemon grass, bay leaves, and basil (as well other others) have the added bonus of naturally repelling bugs as well!

All in all, when you have a lot of plants in your house, the benefits reach multiple aspects of your life. You’re improving the air you breathe, getting a healthy renewable ultra-local agricultural pipeline, naturally freshening your air, repelling insects, and bringing a unique energy into your home. With a little botanical maintenance, the rewards are endless.

What Is Cholesterol, and Why Do You Need It?


Back in 2011, I published a series of interviews with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior MIT research scientist who, more recently, rocked the world with her discovery of glyphosate’s mechanism of harm.

Three years ago, however, she was one of the first to point out the links between cholesterol and vitamin D, presenting a hypothesis that made me even more convinced that raising your vitamin D levels through sun exposure may be far more critical than previously thought.

Now, research published in the journal Menopause appears to offer support for Dr. Seneff’s theories on the cholesterol-vitamin D link. But first, a quick review of cholesterol, and why your body actually needs it.

What Is Cholesterol, and Why Do You Need It?

That’s right, you do need cholesterol. This soft, waxy substance is found not only in your bloodstream but also in every cell in your body, where it helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help you digest fat.

Cholesterol also helps in the formation of your memories and is vital for neurological function. Your liver makes about three-quarters or more of your body’s cholesterol, and according to conventional medicine, there are two types:

  1. High-density lipoprotein or HDL: This is the “good” cholesterol that helps keep cholesterol away from your arteries and remove any excess from arterial plaque, which may help to prevent heart disease.
  2. Low-density lipoprotein or LDL: This “bad” cholesterol circulates in your blood and, according to conventional thinking, may build up in your arteries, forming plaque that makes your arteries narrow and less flexible (a condition called atherosclerosis). If a clot forms in one of these narrowed arteries leading to your heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke may result.

Also making up your total cholesterol count are:

  • Triglycerides: Elevated levels of this dangerous fat have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. Triglyceride levels are known to rise from eating too many grains and sugars, being physically inactive, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol excessively, and being overweight or obese.
  • Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a): Lp(a) is a substance that is made up of an LDL “bad cholesterol” part plus a protein (apoprotein a). Elevated Lp(a) levels are a very strong risk factor for heart disease. This has been well established, yet very few physicians check for it in their patients. (Lp(a) also was not assessed in the featured study.)

Study Finds Vitamin D + Calcium Supplementation Improves Lipid Profiles

The featured study sought to evaluate whether increased serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25OHD3) concentrations are associated with improved lipid profiles in postmenopausal women.

The study had over one million people so it was a big deal. The test group received a daily dose of 1,000 mg of elemental calcium along with 400 IUs of vitamin D3. Please note that this dose of vitamin D is ridiculously low and will not provide help for most people. The control group received a placebo.

Blood levels of vitamin D, fasting plasma triglycerides, HDL, and LDL cholesterol levels were assessed at the beginning and end of the trial. After two years, women who received the vitamin D and calcium supplements had a 38 percent increased mean vitamin D level compared to the placebo group.

They also had a 4.46-mg/dL mean decrease in LDL. Furthermore, higher vitamin D concentrations were associated with higher HDL combined with lower LDL and triglyceride levels. According to the authors:

 ”These results support the hypothesis that higher concentrations of 25OHD3, in response to [calcium/vitamin D3] supplementation, are associated with improved LDL cholesterol.”

After discussing the link between vitamin D and cholesterol with Dr. Seneff, I became convinced that raising your vitamin D levels through sun exposure may have far greater benefits than taking a supplement. I’ve even warned that vitamin D supplementation might not achieve optimal health results, the reason for which I’ll discuss in just a moment.

Remember that this study used a virtually insignificant dose of vitamin D that will not increase levels to optimum in anyone. Yet despite this nearly homeopathic dose, it still led to small, yet noticeable, improvements in lipid profile (i.e. increased HDL, in combination with reduced LDL and triglycerides).

Imagine what they would have found had they given doses 10 to 20 times higher that we know will put people into optimum ranges? In my view, this strengthens the hypothesis that naturally-acquired vitamin D, created by your skin in response to UV exposure, would likely have an even greater effect, and here’s why.

Cardiovascular Disease—A Compensatory Mechanism for Cholesterol Sulfate Deficiency?

Through her research, Dr. Seneff has developed a theory in which the mechanism we call “cardiovascular disease” (of which arterial plaque is a hallmark) is actually your body’s way to compensate for not having enough cholesterol sulfate. To understand how this works, you have to understand the interrelated workings of cholesterol, sulfur, and vitamin D from sun exposure.

Cholesterol sulfate is produced in large amounts in your skin when it is exposed to sunshine. When you are deficient in cholesterol sulfate from lack of sun exposure, your body employs another mechanism to increase it, as it is essential for optimal heart and brain function. It does this by taking damaged LDL and turning it into plaque.

Cholesterol chemical structure What Is Cholesterol, and Why Do You Need It?

Within the plaque, your blood platelets separate out the beneficial HDL cholesterol, and through a process involving homocysteine as a source of sulfate, the platelets go on to produce the cholesterol sulfate your heart and brain needs. However, this plaque also causes the unfortunate side effect of increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. So how do you get out of this detrimental cycle?

Dr. Seneff believes that high serum cholesterol and low serum cholesterol sulfate go hand-in-hand, and that the ideal way to bring down your LDL (so-called “bad” cholesterol, which is associated with cardiovascular disease) is to get appropriate amounts of sunlight exposure on your skin. She explains:

“In this way, your skin will produce cholesterol sulfate, which will then flow freely through the blood—not packaged up inside LDL—and therefore your liver doesn’t have to make so much LDL. So the LDL goes down. In fact… there is a complete inverse relationship between sunlight and cardiovascular disease – the more sunlight, the less cardiovascular disease.”

What this also means is that when you artificially lower your cholesterol with a statin drug, which effectively reduces the bioavailability of cholesterol to that plaque but doesn’t address the root problem, your body is not able to create the cholesterol sulfate your heart needs anymore, and as a result you end up with acute heart failure.

Heart Disease Is the Number One Killer Worldwide

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), heart disease was the leading cause of death, globally, in 2011 and 2012. Even children are becoming increasingly at risk. Recent research suggests as many as one-third of children have or are at risk for high cholesterol, which conventional medicine views as a risk factor for heart disease.

Bear in mind that, contrary to the conventional ideology, your total cholesterol level—which includes HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and Lp(a)—is just about worthless in determining your risk for heart disease, unless it is above 300. Still, high total cholesterol can in some instances indicate a problem, provided it’s your LDL and triglycerides that are elevated and you have a low HDL. I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who actually were at low heart disease risk due to their high HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen even more who had cholesterol levels under 200 that were at a very high risk of heart disease based on the following additional tests:

  • HDL/Cholesterol ratio. This is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. That ratio should ideally be above 24 percent
  • Triglyceride/HDL ratio. Here, you divide your triglyceride level by your HDL. This ratio should ideally be below 2

That said, these are still simply guidelines, and there’s a lot more that goes into your risk of heart disease than any one of these numbers. In fact, it was only after word got out that total cholesterol is a poor predictor of heart disease that HDL and LDL cholesterol were brought into the picture. They give you a closer idea of what’s going on, but they still do not show you everything. Additional risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Your fasting insulin level: Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar. The insulin released from eating too many carbs promotes fat accumulation and makes it more difficult for your body to shed excess weight. Excess fat, particularly around your belly, is one of the major contributors to heart disease
  • Your fasting blood sugar level: Studies have shown that people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dl had a nearly 300 percent increase higher risk of having coronary heart disease than people with a level below 79 mg/dl
  • Your iron level: Iron can be a very potent cause of oxidative stress, so if you have excess iron levelsyou can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. Ideally, you should monitor your ferritin levels and make sure they are not much above 80 ng/ml. The simplest way to lower them if they are elevated is to donate your blood. If that is not possible, you can have a therapeutic phlebotomy and that will effectively eliminate the excess iron from your body

Beware of Treating Elevated Cholesterol in Childhood with Drugs

Getting back to the study in question, a research team at Texas Children’s Hospital examined the medical records of more than 12,000 children between the ages of nine and 11, and found that 30 percent of them were at risk of elevated cholesterol levels. Elevated LDL and triglyceride levels were found to be more common among boys. Not surprisingly, obesity and lifestyle were deemed to be significant factors.

Universal cholesterol screening guidelines were issued in 2011, which strongly recommend all children be screened between the ages of nine and 11, and again between 17 and 21. The authors of the featured study say they hope their findings will give added weight to these guidelines. However, there are serious concerns that universal screening will simply place children on cholesterol-lowering medications, which do absolutely nothing to address the underlying problem… As reported by Eurekalert:

“‘There is concern by some in the medical community that children will be started on medication unnecessarily,’ [lead investigator, Dr. Thomas] Seery said, emphasizing that adopting a healthy diet and engaging in routine physical activity are first-line therapies for children with abnormal cholesterol levels.

He adds that cholesterol-lowering medications are typically needed in one to two percent of children with dyslipidemia, primarily in those with very high cholesterol resulting from a genetic lipoprotein disorder. Genetic lipoprotein disorders, such as familial hypercholesterolemia, result in very high cholesterol levels that can be detected in childhood but are felt to be underdiagnosed, he said. ‘Kids need to have their cholesterol panel checked at some point during this timeframe [9 to 11 years old],’ Seery said. ‘In doing so, it presents the perfect opportunity for clinicians and parents to discuss the importance of healthy lifestyle choices on cardiovascular health.’”

Study finds mechanism that regulates lung function in disease Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome


Researchers at Penn Medicine have discovered that the tumor suppressor gene folliculin (FLCN) is essential to normal lung function in patients with the rare disease Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, skin and kidneys. Folliculin’s absence or mutated state has a cascading effect that leads to deteriorated lung integrity and an impairment of lung function, as reported in their findings in the current issue of Cell Reports.

“We discovered that without normal FLCN the alveolar epithelial cells (AEC) in these patients’ lungs began to die, leading to holes in the lungs that grow as increasing numbers of cells disappear. These holes can fill with air and burst, causing the lungs to collapse,” says Vera Krymskaya, PhD, MBA, associate professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and researcher in the Airway Biology Initiative of the department of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care. 

Between 80 and 100 percent of patients with BHD will develop multiple holes or cysts in the lung. 

Healthy human alveoli, the terminal ends of the respiratory tree, are lined with type I and type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECs), a renewable population of progenitors in these distal airspaces. AECs are known to maintain pulmonary alveolar homeostasis by regulating gas exchange and fluid transport in the lungs. 

Previous studies have shown that there might be some crosstalk between FLCN and the master energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK maintains epithelial cell to cell interactions and is essential for epithelial cell survival. It is regulated through LKB1, a  associated with 30 percent of lung cancers. E-cadherin, the “zipper” molecule that connects epithelial cells, directs LKB1 to cell junctions and its loss impairs LKB1-mediated AMPK activation. This implies that a loss of or mutation in FLCN can trigger a reaction that can impair AMPK activation, epithelial cell to cell interaction and structure, and as a result, promotes cell death. 

Penn researchers set out to examine this hypothesis to determine how and why this occurs. 

Krymskaya and her team tested both deleted FLCN in mouse lung type II alveolar epithelial cells and mutated FLCN that lacked normal function in both humans with BHD and mouse epithelial cell systems, and compared them with normal human and mouse control cells. 

The control cells showed normal epithelial structure, while the mutated FLCN cells showed irregular and disrupted lung cell structure. In addition, the BHD lungs showed very little FLCN in the type II alveolar epithelial cells. 

Next, to evaluate the role of FLCN in the lung, the team isolated the alveolar epithelial cells from the mice with FLCN and deleted the gene in vitro to show the decreased cell to cell interactions and increased cellular permeability. They also examined activity of AMPK in these cells and saw that cells were dying without FLCN, so there was not proper activation of AMPK. 

FLCN-deficient mice were also given a doxycycline supplement to conditionally delete FLCN specifically in alveolar epithelial type II cells both during embryonic development and as adults. Newborns experienced developmental changes induced by FLCN deletion in the lung epithelium. Over time, these morphed into changes that resembled emphysema, such as alveolar enlargement and a decline in lung elasticity and pulmonary function. 

Further, the Penn researchers are the first to demonstrate the mechanism by which FLCN begins the domino effect necessary for normal lung function. Examination of cells with FLCN mutations shows that FLCN downregulates E-cadherin and LKB1 which controls AMPK activity. FLCN also maintains alveolar surface tension preventing the lungs from collapse, as seen in BHD disease. Without this, the lung changes associated with BHD and other common and rare lung diseases begin to appear: the abnormal enlargement of airspaces among them. 

The team then showed that in fact, AMPK is necessary for epithelial cells survival. Importantly, using mouse BHD model, investigators show beneficial effect of pharmacological activator of AMPK AICAR, an AMPK stimulator, on  function. 

“AMPK is the metabolic regulator of the alveolar ,” says Krymskaya. “We may be able to reverse cell death if we can find a way to activate AMPK therapeutically in patients with less than optimal or mutated FLCN.”

Risky Business: Taking Risks Isn’t Only Good For Your Well-Being, It’s Also Good For Your Future.


Whether you’re jumping out of a plane 12,000 feet in the air — with a parachute, obviously — or quitting the job you hate to travel the world, taking risks is a fact of life. And while it’s pretty dumb to cross the middle of a street as traffic zooms by, getting to the other side has taught you how to calculate a number of factors. After all, you didn’t die, right? Risk-taking may not get the best rap sometimes, but when it’s done correctly, with every consequence (or most, at least) accounted for, there are some great things that come out of it.

skydiving

Like watching horror films, taking risks leaves us at the edge of our seats wondering what’s going to happen next. Even in a controlled environment like skydiving, we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone. Anxiety, dread, and fear build up within, but it’s all temporary. Just like the end of a rollercoaster ride, those feelings give way to a rush of exhilaration and arousal, as dopamine is released in the body. The neurotransmitter, which regulates reward and pleasure centers in the brain, brings with it feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and an all-around good feeling — it’s also released after a good meal, when your favorite sports team wins, and when taking cocaine.

Those who go to theme parks, go skydiving, or who take risks during a favorite activity are likely to go back over and over again. Like drug addicts, they can’t get enough of that rush. Yet, taking risks isn’t only for those who want to do such things. In fact, it could be just as much about rewards in the brain as it is about drive and motivation, according to a 2009 study.

“When you can’t breathe and you’re gasping for air, would you call that pleasurable?” said Nora D. Volkow, a dopamine researcher and director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in 2009, according to The New York Times. “Or, when you’re so hungry that you eat something disgusting, is that pleasurable?” In these situations, dopamine is on high, as the body goes through an “intense drive to get you out of a state of deprivation and keep you alive.”

In this way, taking risks is also about survival. So, when it comes to advancing in your career, relationships, or just about anywhere in life, your brain will focus on getting through. All you have to do is take that jump.

  

Once you’ve jumped, you’ll notice that things might get a bit harder. But trying times are not bad. Taking risks opens your mind up to learning new things. New challenges and opportunities will present themselves, and they will force you to find creative solutions. As this happens, there may be setbacks, but every one of them is a learning opportunity and only a stepping stone toward the end result. Although the process may necessitate a shift in your mindset, it’s still a positive one that gets you proactive. And isn’t it better to see what happens, rather than wondering “what if?”

In fact, risk-taking is natural, if you think back to those teenage years. Risk-taking is most rampant during teenage years, according to a 2011 study. Without taking risks, none of us were able to learn right from wrong — yes, some of us still don’t know — like stealing and unsafe sex, or how to deal with dangerous situations like running across a busy street. Yet, most of us came out all right. Essentially, taking risks only requires that we understand what we’re getting ourselves into as much as possible and that we follow through until we reach our goals. If that’s doable, then it’s probably worth taking.

Gasoline better for environment than corn biofuels, study says.


Contrary to popular ‘green’ beliefs, a study funded by the US federal government argues that corn-based biofuels are actually worse for the environment than gasoline, as they emit more greenhouse gasses and deplete soil carbon.

Reuters / Regis Duvignau

The $500,000 peer-reviewed analysis by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, published in an issue of the journal Nature Climate Change, claims that cellulosic biofuels like ethanol, produced from residue, the byproduct of harvested corn (left-over leaves, cobs etc.) lead to a 7-percent increase in emissions, as well as 62 grams above the 60-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions stipulated in the law on energy targets of 2007. 

This is a setback for those lobbying for cleaner fuels, who wish to combat climate change. The federal government has been trying to push through mandates for increasing ethanol production to promote the idea of clean alternatives to gasoline. They invested over $1 billion in federal funds to support cellulosic biofuel research. But ethanol-based fuel alternatives have so far been a more expensive, cumbersome venture. 

This should make farmers happy, as soil erosion has always been a problem, as well as the issue of retaining residue for nourishing and preserving soil quality. 

According to experts in the field, the research is long overdue and is the first attempt to quantify the effect of ethanol-based biofuel on carbon depletion in soil. It looked at production in 12 Corn Belt states. 

The key conclusion is that when left to be absorbed naturally by the soil, the leaves, stalks and cobs are more beneficial for the soil than when it is later burned as fuel and the residue gives off carbon into the atmosphere. As a result, the study concludes the process contributes to global warming. 

“If less residue is removed, there is less decrease in soil carbon, but it results in a smaller biofuel energy yield,”
 Adam Liska, the professor in charge of the study said, adding that the results of the study were in line with his expectations and that he’s “amazed [the findings have] not come out more solidly until now.” 

As a preventive measure against depriving the soil of carbon it gets from corn residue – and to reduce carbon emissions – the research suggests planting more crops to give the earth the carbon it needs; it also talks of using alternative feed stocks and sources of residue, as well as harnessing more electricity from carbon-fuel stations, as opposed to coal-operated ones. 

The study received a swift response from government officials and oil businesses, who say the research is flawed, as it uses scenarios that are firstly too simplistic, because they don’t account for variations in carbon depletion from soil in a given field; secondly, they are seen as too extreme in overestimating how much residue is removed. 

According to Jan Koninckx, who is the global business director for bio refineries at DuPont, a chemical company, “no responsible farmer or business would ever employ [the study’s suggestions], because it would ruin both the land and the long-term supply of feedstock. It makes no agronomic or business sense.” 

But Liska believes that this is, in fact, the first study that got the carbon depletion math as close to the truth as possible. 

And, as professor David Tilman of the University of Minnesota said in support of the study: “It will be very hard to make a biofuel that has a better greenhouse gas impact than gasoline using corn residue,” as cited by The Associated Press.

10 Discoveries Unexplained by Science.


http://bigthink.com/big-think-tv/10-discoveries-unexplained-by-science