Magnesium crucial to prevent congestive heart failure

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) sounds so darn final. Nobody wants to fail and nobody wants their heart to fail. Merely using that terminology will dis-heart-en a person and steal their hopes for health and healing.

CHF occurs when the left ventricle heart muscle fails to pump as much blood as the body needs and pools blood in the heart. Then blood and fluid can back up into the lungs causing shortness of breath and build up fluid in the lower legs.

Why does the heart pump fail? Because it lacks enough energy to do its job and/or because of muscle damage. What gives muscles the energy to do their work and also prevents muscle damage?


It’s absolutely no coincidence that the most magnesium in the body is concentrated in the left ventricle of the heart.

Why is this so important? Because CHF is considered fatal by allopathic medicine. They admit they can’t cure this condition so they’ve given up and just try to manage the symptoms with drugs. But because the cocktail of drugs they use ALL deplete magnesium, they end up just making the condition worse, which inevitably shortens people’s lives.

It’s frightening how allopathic medicine just manages this CHF train wreck and never even tries to find out what made the train go off the tracks in the first place. Simple physiology and biochemistry show us what’s really going on.

Below is an edited excerpt from my Magnesium Miracle book. It’s called The Slippery Road to Heart Attack but I’m expanding that to include Congestive Heart Failure. I’m capitalizing MAGNESIUM in this excerpt to show you how MAGNESIUM deficiency is involved with every step in this downward spiral.

The coronary arteries bringing oxygen-filled blood from inside the heart through the aorta to the heart muscle are very, very small, only about 3 mm across (a nickel is 2 mm thick). It doesn’t take much to plug them up with a tiny blood clot or to cause them to collapse when in spasm. MAGNESIUM prevents abnormal blood clot formation and prevents artery spasm.

Endothelial cells are single layers of specialized cells that form the inside membrane of an artery. The subendothelial layer (the next layer in) is a very thin connective tissue that contains elastin. This is the layer responsible for providing the elasticity in your arteries. Your body requires MAGNESIUM to maintain healthy elastin. Loss of elasticity in the coronary arteries results in inflammation of the endothelial and subendothelial layers at the points that are most mechanically challenged by stretching: the bifurcations – where blood vessels divide into two smaller branches. According to cardiologists, about 85 percent of sclerotic plaques initially form near bifurcations.

Smooth muscle cells are the next layer of the artery. Smooth muscle cells provide artery integrity and control the dilation of the arterial cavity. Calcium causes contraction and MAGNESIUM causes relaxation, which together control the blood pressure and flow in the artery. Too much calcium and not enough magnesium and the arteries go into spasm causing elevated blood pressure. A final messenger enhancing the dilation response is nitric oxide, which is dependent on MAGNESIUM.

Inflammation begins with injury to the artery wall, leading to white blood cells and cholesterol hovering around trying to heal the damage (in a good way). At this stage in the process, if there is too much calcium and not enough MAGNESIUM in the bloodstream, excess calcium precipitates around the area of inflammation in the artery wall (leading people to erroneously think that cholesterol is the bad guy). The affected area becomes rigid and interferes with blood flow. MAGNESIUM is an exceptional anti-inflammatory mineral. Calcium is a powerful pro-inflammatory mineral.

Over time, the above steps weaken and plug the coronary arteries and slowly destroy small areas of the heart muscle. The final result is severe chest pain, damage to a larger portion of heart muscle, heart attack and CHF.

Emory HealthCare at Emory University gives us the following statistics on CHF.

1. Nearly 5 million Americans are currently living with congestive heart failure (CHF).

2. Approximately 550,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

3. Almost 1.4 million persons with CHF are under 60 years of age.

4. More than 5 percent of persons age 60 to 69 have CHF.

5. Emory says CHF annual incidence approaches 10 per 1,000 population after 65 years of age. But I’ve read other journal reviews that say it’s approaching 100 per 1,000.

6. Heart failure is responsible for 11 million physician visits each year, and more hospitalizations than all forms of cancer combined.

7. CHF is the first-listed diagnosis in 875,000 hospitalizations, and the most common diagnosis in hospital patients age 65 years and older. In that age group, one-fifth of all hospitalizations have a primary or secondary diagnosis of heart failure.

8. More than half of those who develop CHF die within 5 years of diagnosis.

9. Heart failure contributes to approximately 287,000 deaths a year.

10. Deaths from heart failure have decreased on average by 12 percent per decade for women and men over the past fifty years.

To make up for not getting enough blood where it’s needed, your blood pressure and pulse rate will become elevated and your body will hold on to salt and water. And that’s what allopathic medicine treats people for – blood pressure and fluid retention. Patients are told they will be taking these drugs for the rest of their lives. The drug cocktail includes ACE Inhibitors, diuretics, beta-blockers and digoxin. These drugs do not cure heart failure. Instead, all of them deplete MORE MAGNESIUM.

On all the allopathic medical websites I looked at, not one mentioned magnesium as a treatment for CHF. Even though I found studies like the following.

A study published in 2005 in Clinical Calcium (Nov;15(11):123-33) said that “Congestive heart failure (CHF) is becoming more frequent worldwide. Both potassium (K) and magnesium (Mg) deficiencies are common and can be associated with risk factors and complications of heart failure (HF) … Particular attention should be paid to K and Mg restoration in CHF, because of the consequences of both deficiencies (increased arrhythmic risk, vasoconstriction), and the co-supplementation of both ions is necessary in order to achieve K repletion. Mg and K should be employed as first-line therapy in digitalis intoxication and drug-related arrhythmias, and should be considered an important adjuvant therapy in diuretic treated patients with CHF. Another possibility to restore normal K and Mg status is usage of a K, Mg sparing diuretics.”

It’s stated very plainly in this paper that magnesium and potassium should be used. But then the last sentence about using K, Mg sparing diuretics instead seems to be the message that the doctors wanted to hear. Instead of simply using K and Mg most doctors go to the diuretics. Even though those drugs also retain salt, which is an underlying trigger for the edema of CHF!

A search on one K, Mg sparing diuretic turned up 1400 other references. A search of ACE inhibitors used in CHF revealed 5288 references. I’m sure if it took the time to look up the dozens of drugs used to treat CHF I’d find about 100,000 scientific references for drug treatment for CHF. Compare that to the measly 663 references for magnesium used in CHF. You get the picture!

Yes, folks, it seems to be a losing battle. But perhaps, knowing this information about magnesium and heart disease you can take steps to saturate yourself with this important mineral and maintain the health of your heart. If you or a loved one has CHF, you can ask your doctor to look into magnesium and CHF and see the benefits.

Even alternative medicine doctors don’t understand the necessity for therapeutic amounts of magnesium as the main treatment for heart failure. Dr. Stephen Sinatra says “Congestive heart failure results from a tired, weak, energy-starved heart that is losing its ability to pump blood efficiently.” The energy molecule of every cell in the body is ATP and it is so intimately connected with magnesium it might as well be written ATP-Mg. The first step in treating a weak and tired heart is magnesium.

In an article on CHF Dr. Sinatra doesn’t even mention magnesium. His first recommendation is Coenzyme Q10. However, you need magnesium to drive CoQ10 activity. And if you eat a good diet including fish (wild salmon to avoid mercury), organ meats (like liver, heart, or kidney, from grass fed animals), and the germ portion of whole grains (organic) you have natural sources of CoQ10. I’m not saying you can’t take CoQ10, just don’t forget your magnesium. L-carnitine is another supplement touted for CHF but red meat is the best source of L-carnitine and it probably requires magnesium for its activation!

To learn about magnesium, read my best-selling book, The Magnesium Miracle in it’s Revised and Updated 2014 edition. There’s enough science in it to even impress your doctor! And go to my Resources page to see my magnesium recommendations.

Learn more:

Long Term Cholesterol Drug Use Doubles Risk of Breast Cancer.

A study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention indicates that women who are long-term users of statin drugs have between 83-143% increased risk of breast cancer.[1]

The population-based case-control study utilized data from women in the Seattle-Puget Sound region, which included 916 invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and 1,068 invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) cases of 55-74 years of age diagnosed between 2000 and 2008, and a control of 902 women.

Whereas recent publicity on statin drugs has focused on their potential use for cancer prevention or as anti-cancer agents, this study found exactly the opposite with current users of statins for 10 years or longer having a 1.83-fold increased risk of invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and a 1.97-fold increased risk of invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) compared to never users of statins.

Additionally, among women diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia, a condition marked by high levels of lipids and lipoproteins in the blood, current users of statins for 10 years or longer had more than double the risk of both IDC [an average of 104% increased risk] and ILC [an average of 143% increased risk] compared to never users.

Of course, the discovery of a correlation between higher statin drug use and higher breast cancer risk does not necessarily imply causation. For instance, women who are on statins are obviously compliant with conventional blood lipid screening recommendations and therefore are more likely to be complaint with breast screening guidelines as well. Given that recent estimates show that breast screenings have resulted in over 1.3 million US women being misdiagnosed and overtreated for breast cancer in the past 30 years, simply being complaint with breast screening guidelines will result in significantly increased risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer regardless of whether the diagnosis is accurate or not. [2]

On the other hand, this latest study could indicate a more serious problem, namely, that cholesterol-lowering drugs and statin drugs in particular are carcinogenic. Statin drugs, in fact, have long been suspected to increase the risk of certain cancers, including prostate,[3] colorectal,[4] and kidney;[5]conversely, low cholesterol has been found to increase the risk of cancer at all sites, further implicating these cholesterol-lowering agents as possible carcinogens.[i][6]

At the least, this study raises doubt as to whether the recent push to identify statin drugs as possible chemopreventive or chemotherapeutic agents can be validated by independent science, especially considering that this class of cholesterol-lowering medications have been linked to over 300 adverse health effects in the published literature.

This latest finding is all the more reason why natural dietary and nutritional interventions should be considered a first line defense against elevated blood lipids, and why the very question of whether cholesterol is a primary contributing factor in heart disease should be examined more carefully.

Learn more at our Health Guides: Statin Drugs and Heart Health.

Updated September 2014

Article Sources

[1] Jean A McDougall, Kathleen E Malone, Janet R Daling, Kara L Cushing-Haugen, Peggy L Porter, Christopher I Li. Long-term statin use and risk of ductal and lobular breast cancer among women 55-74 years of age. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Jul 5. Epub 2013 Jul 5.

[2], 30 Years of Breast Screening: 1.3 Million Wrongly Treated, Nov. 2012

[3] Chih-Ching Chang, Shu-Chen Ho, Hui-Fen Chiu, Chun-Yuh Yang. Statins increase the risk of prostate cancer: A population-based case-control study. Prostate. 2011 Dec ;71(16):1818-24. Epub 2011 Apr 7.

[4] Fatim Lakha, Evropi Theodoratou, Susan M Farrington, Albert Tenesa, Roseanne Cetnarskyj, Farhat Vn Din, Mary E Porteous, Malcolm G Dunlop, Harry Campbell. Statin use and association with colorectal cancer survival and risk: case control study with prescription data linkage. BMC Cancer. 2012 Oct 22 ;12(1):487. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

[5] Hui-Fen Chiu, Chien-Chun Kuo, Hsin-Wei Kuo, I-Ming Lee, Chien-Te Lee, Chun-Yuh Yang. Statin use and the risk of kidney cancer: a population-based case-control study. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2012 Jul ;11(4):543-9. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

[6], Low Cholesterol Cancer link (8 abstracts)

Microsoft unveils Windows 10 system

Microsoft has disclosed the first details of Windows 10 – its next operating system (OS).

The name is a surprise, bearing in mind it represents a jump from the last version – Windows 8.

The software will run on a wide range of devices, from phones and tablets to PCs and Xbox games consoles, with applications sold from a single store.

It also marks the return of the Start Menu, which had been removed from Windows 8.

Windows 10
Microsoft announced details of the new operating system at an event in San Francisco

In addition to offering a list of the user’s favourite applications, the menu also brings up resizable tiles – similar to those featured in Windows 8’s touch-centric interface on PCs and tablets.

These provide a quick view of notifications from relevant applications, such as details of new emails, Facebook messages and weather forecast updates.

The company said the facility was intended to make the software seem familiar to both users of Windows 8 and Windows 7.

Windows 10
The Start Menu now features both a list of apps and live tiles

The behaviour of the OS will depend on the type of device with which it is being used. Unlike its predecessor, users will not need to switch between Desktop Mode and the touch-focused alternative.

However, they can still spread a number of “live tiles” across the screens of two-in-one laptop-tablet hybrids to make them easier to use with both a mouse and finger presses.

‘Critical’ choice

Windows 8 had been criticised for being too different from the previous version, which deterred some organisations from introducing it.

Satya Nadella
Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, did not speak at the event, but had previously discussed a wish to “unify” Windows

It initially lacked a Start button altogether, and when one was introduced, it only switched to the touch-centric tiled interface or – if a long mouse press was used – provided access to the system’s control panel and other functions.

Businesses typically wait about a year after a new operating system’s release before offering it to workers, to give IT staff a chance to get to grips with the new technologies involved.

But it has been nearly two years since Windows 8 first went on sale and adoption is still low.

“It’s extremely important for Microsoft to get Windows 10 right,” said David Johnson, who watches Microsoft for the consultancy Forrester.

“Windows 8 is only being offered to employees by about one in five organisations right now. Windows 7 is still the de facto standard for enterprise in the desktop environment.

“For Microsoft to continue to be able to get the best and latest technology in the hands of the enterprise workforce all over the world, it has to have a vehicle to do that – and Windows 10 is its best shot.”

Windows 10
Microsoft said Windows 10 would work on devices with 4in (10.2cm) screens and 80in screens

Across desktop PCs as a whole, only 13.4% currently run Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, according to research firm NetMarketshare.

By contrast, it says 51.2% are powered by Windows 7 and 23.9% by Windows XP, a version that is no longer supported by Microsoft.

Mr Johnson said the reintroduction of the Start Menu should help Windows 10 fare better.

“It is critically important,” he said.

“The Start Menu is perhaps the most important thing that will make the desktop experience familiar to business users, and will help reduce resistance to its installation.”

Preview download

Other features include:

Windows 10
The task-view button offers one-click access to all running apps and files
  • Snap enhancements – a new “quadrant layout” will allow four apps to be easily arranged on the same screen
  • Task view – a new button on the task bar will let the user see all open apps and files, helping them switch from one to another
  • Multiple desktops – users can switch between distinct desktop screens, allowing them to group related work together rather than having to deal with a single screen overloaded with documents and apps. This is similar to a feature already available on Apple’s Mac OS

Microsoft will offer a “technical preview” of Windows 10 to early adopters later this week, which will run on laptops and desktops. A release that will work on computer servers will follow.


Analysis: Richard Taylor, North America technology correspondent

Microsoft logo

Microsoft has a delicate balancing act as it attempts to cater to a diverse audience using a cornucopia of devices, from traditional keyboard/mouse-based PCs to tablets.

It got that balance wrong with Windows 8 – which many users felt was skewed towards the touchscreen at the expense of the familiar PC desktop experience that they had come to know intimately.

I asked Terry Myerson, the chief of operating systems at Microsoft, why the leadership had chosen the moniker Windows 10, rather than the more logical Windows 9.

Windows 10
Microsoft is inviting members of the public to provide feedback about an early version of Windows 10

He told me somewhat obliquely that it resonated best for what the company would deliver across the breadth of devices. Unifying a brand across all devices is key to Microsoft’s vision.

But the Windows 10 name also symbolises that this will not be an incremental update, but something of a fresh start.

The user interface feels familiar yet modern. The “dual mode” – which aimed to satisfy tablet and PC users, but alienated both – has been replaced with a dynamically-adjusting interface and behaviour, determined by whether you are using a keyboard/mouse, or touch.

Ultimately Windows 10 success will depend on its execution. But at least under the new leadership, Microsoft is showing it is listening. It needs to if it is to stay relevant and stop the march of Android and Apple.


The company said it would provide details about the introduction of “universal apps” – individual programs that tailor their functionality to different types of devices – at its Build conference in April, and would aim to release the completed OS before the end of 2015.

There was no mention of offering the firm’s voice-controlled digital assistant Cortana to PCs, or when Windows 10 would supersede the Windows Phone OS.

The firm’s smartphone code is designed for ARM-based processors, unlike the main Windows 8 and Xbox operating systems that are built for x86 chips – including those made by Intel and AMD.

While Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10 would be released for both types of chip architecture, it did not disclose whether there would be a staggered release.

One analyst suggested that by using a single OS to power a wide range of devices, it might increase the amount of software available to all of them.

“The idea is, longer-term, to encourage developers to release more apps for Windows,” said Annette Jump from the tech research firm Gartner.

“That’s Microsoft’s biggest challenge at the moment when it comes to tablets and phones – there are not as many apps as there are for iOS and Android.”

Windows 10
Windows 10 introduces the ability to switch between two or more desktop screens

Even so, another expert highlighted that the announcement in San Francisco had been deliberately tailored to appeal to business users.

“The event was clearly geared toward Microsoft’s bread and butter enterprise customer, and we believe starting an early dialogue with these customers as well as learning from previous mistakes made in Redmond – eg Windows 8 – will be key to garnering major adoption of this all-important product cycle in the field,” said Daniel Ives from research firm BlueMatrix.

“Overall, we believe today’s event was another step in the right direction in the [Satya] Nadella era, and that Microsoft remains well positioned… while it undergoes a major restructuring effort to make it a ‘leaner and meaner’ technology giant over the coming years.”

Natural News Blogs 7 Warning Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency .


The importance of B12 in the human body is hard to overestimate.

And while you hear things like how it’s important for your nerves, DNA and red blood cells among many other things, what does a lack of it actually do in more “every day” language?

To answer that, let’s take a look at a case study of what can happen when your levels get too low.


A real life example of what happens from low B12


The New England Journal of Medicine reported on the case of 62 year old man who, during the course of several weeks, starting having varied symptoms.

He experienced numbness, difficulty walking and intense joint pain. He had “stinging” sensations in his hands almost like pins poking him. His skin took on a yellowish color and shortness of breath would often occur.

He was checked out at Massachusetts General Hospital and they pinpointed the cause as a severe lack of B12 in his blood.

I highly encourage you to get a blood test for B12 and to know what your own levels are.

If you can’t do that anytime soon, here are 7 common warning signs that are linked to low levels of this vitamin.


Signs that you may be B12 deficient


  • Memory loss, impaired thinking and general cognitive difficulties.


  • If you have difficulty walking, tend to stagger, or have balance problems.


  • Various and “odd” sensations throughout your body, numbness, or tingling that occurs in your hands, legs or feet


  • Yellowish or jaundiced skin.


  • Anemia


  • A swollen tongue or if it’s inflamed.


  • General weakness and fatigue


If B12 levels drop to into the severely deficient range, it can lead to much worse conditions.

Deep states of depression, hallucinations and paranoia are all associated with extremely low levels. Losing the ability to taste and smell has even been linked to low B12.

And since it’s such an important part of brain health, it can lead to greatly diminished brain functioning, beyond what is mentioned above.


So what leads to low B12?


Here are some things to look out for, that can lead to or cause lower B12 levels.

A vegetarian or vegan diet (since plants don’t make B12, and you would need to supplement with B12 to keep your levels up).

Certain medications like PPI’s

Gut issues such as “leaky gut” or an inflamed gut.

Pernicious anemia

Low stomach acid or taking drugs to suppress acid production in the stomach.

Other things can include Metformin, a drug used for diabetes, people aged 60 and over and women who have had infertility issues in the past.


What to do?

Eat a lot eggs, dairy, poultry and animal sources of protein, which are all good sources of this vitamin.

(Quick note: you may hear things like fermented soy or spirulina and other sources have B12, but many of these plant-based foods have B12 analogs. These are called cobamides and they can block your intake of “real” B12 that your body needs).

If eating any of the above isn’t an option for you for any reason, you’ll want to supplement with B12.

And a form of B12 called methylcobalamin is your best bet, since it is better absorbed within your body.


OK, so what are optimal B12 levels to shoot for?


In the United States, you’ll see lab reference ranges as low as 250 or 300 pg/mL (picograms per milliliter) listed as “normal” when they are anything but.

As an example, Japan uses a lower limit of around 500 pg/mL and recommends treatment for anything below that number since B12 deficiency symptoms can start showing up at levels lower than 500.

Personally, I’d like to see B12 levels in the 800 to 1200 pg/mL range for optimal health.

Please do get your levels tested though as soon as you can.

And if you happen to find yourself with any of the warning signs described above or with levels of 400 or lower, you may want to boost your B12 and see what this powerful vitamin can do for you.

Single-neuron ‘hub’ orchestrates activity of an entire brain circuit .

New research makes a major contribution to efforts to navigate the brain, offering a precise model of the organization of developing neuronal circuits. If researchers can further identify the cellular type of ‘hub neurons,’ it may be possible to reproduce them in vitro and transplant them into aged or damaged brain circuitries in order to recover functionality.
Neuron (stock illustration). According to this model, one stimulated hub neuron impacts an entire circuit dynamic; similarly, just one muted neuron suppresses all coordinated activity of the circuit.
The idea of mapping the brain is not new. Researchers have known for years that the key to treating, curing, and even preventing brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury, is to understand how the brain records, processes, stores, and retrieves information.

New Tel Aviv University research published in PLOS Computational Biology makes a major contribution to efforts to navigate the brain. The study, by Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob and Dr. Paolo Bonifazi of TAU’s School of Physics and Astronomy and Sagol School of Neuroscience, and Prof. Alessandro Torcini and Dr. Stefano Luccioli of the Instituto dei Sistemi Complessi, under the auspices of TAU’s Joint Italian-Israeli Laboratory on Integrative Network Neuroscience, offers a precise model of the organization of developing neuronal circuits.

In an earlier study of the hippocampi of newborn mice, Dr. Bonifazi discovered that a few “hub neurons” orchestrated the behavior of entire circuits. In the new study, the researchers harnessed cutting-edge technology to reproduce these findings in a computer-simulated model of neuronal circuits. “If we are able to identify the cellular type of hub neurons, we could try to reproduce them in vitro out of stem cells and transplant these into aged or damaged brain circuitries in order to recover functionality,” said Dr. Bonifazi.

Flight dynamics and brain neurons

“Imagine that only a few airports in the world are responsible for all flight dynamics on the planet,” said Dr. Bonifazi. “We found this to be true of hub neurons in their orchestration of circuits’ synchronizations during development. We have reproduced these findings in a new computer model.”

According to this model, one stimulated hub neuron impacts an entire circuit dynamic; similarly, just one muted neuron suppresses all coordinated activity of the circuit. “We are contributing to efforts to identify which neurons are more important to specific neuronal circuits,” said Dr. Bonifazi. “If we can identify which cells play a major role in controlling circuit dynamics, we know how to communicate with an entire circuit, as in the case of the communication between the brain and prosthetic devices.”

Conducting the orchestra of the brain

In the course of their research, the team found that the timely activation of cells is fundamental for the proper operation of hub neurons, which, in turn, orchestrate the entire network dynamic. In other words, a clique of hubs works in a kind of temporally-organized fashion, according to which “everyone has to be active at the right time,” according to Dr. Bonifazi.

Coordinated activation impacts the entire network. Just by alternating the timing of the activity of one neuron, researchers were able to affect the operation of a small clique of neurons, and finally that of the entire network.

“Our study fits within framework of the ‘complex network theory,’ an emerging discipline that explores similar trends and properties among all kinds of networks — i.e., social networks, biological networks, even power plants,” said Dr. Bonifazi. “This theoretical approach offers key insights into many systems, including the neuronal circuit network in our brains.”

Parallel to their theoretical study, the researchers are conducting experiments on in vitro cultured systems to better identify electrophysiological and chemical properties of hub neurons. The joint Italy-Israel laboratory is also involved in a European project aimed at linking biological and artificial neuronal circuitries to restore lost brain functions.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Stefano Luccioli, Eshel Ben-Jacob, Ari Barzilai, Paolo Bonifazi, Alessandro Torcini.Clique of Functional Hubs Orchestrates Population Bursts in Developmentally Regulated Neural Networks. PLoS Computational Biology, 2014; 10 (9): e1003823 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003823

Catheter Tract Metastasis Associated With Indwelling Pleural Catheters

BACKGROUND:  Indwelling pleural catheters (IPCs) are commonly used to manage malignant effusions. Tumor spread along the catheter tract remains a clinical concern for which limited data exist. We report the largest series of IPC-related catheter tract metastases (CTMs) to date, to our knowledge.

METHODS:  This is a single-center, retrospective review of IPCs inserted over a 44-month period. CTM was defined as a new, solid chest wall lesion over the IPC insertion site and/or the tunneled subcutaneous tract that was clinically compatible with a malignant tract metastasis.

RESULTS:  One hundred ten IPCs were placed in 107 patients (76.6% men; 60% with mesothelioma). CTM developed in 11 cases (10%): nine with malignant pleural mesothelioma and two with metastatic adenocarcinoma. CTM often developed late (median, 280 days; range, 56-693) post-IPC insertion. Seven cases had chest wall pain, and six received palliative radiotherapy to the CTM. Radiotherapy was well tolerated, with no major complications and causing no damage to the catheters. Longer interval after IPC insertion was the sole significant risk factor for development of CTM (OR, 2.495; 95% CI, 1.247-4.993; P = .0098) in the multivariate analyses.

CONCLUSIONS:  IPC-related CTM is uncommon but can complicate both mesothelioma and metastatic carcinomas. The duration of interval after IPC insertion is the key risk factor identified for development of CTM. Symptoms are generally mild and respond well to radiotherapy, which can be administered safely without removal of the catheter.

Sleep twitches light up the brain .

A new study finds twitches during rapid eye movement sleep comprise a different class of movement, which researchers say is further evidence that sleep twitches activate circuits throughout the developing brain and teach newborns about their limbs and what they can do with them.
New findings show twitches during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep comprise a different class of movement and provide further evidence that sleep twitches activate circuits throughout the developing brain.
Credit: © WavebreakmediaMicro / Fotolia

A University of Iowa study has found twitches made during sleep activate the brains of mammals differently than movements made while awake.

Researchers say the findings show twitches during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep comprise a different class of movement and provide further evidence that sleep twitches activate circuits throughout the developing brain. In this way, twitches teach newborns about their limbs and what they can do with them.

“Every time we move while awake, there is a mechanism in our brain that allows us to understand that it is we who made the movement,” says Alexandre Tiriac, a fifth-year graduate student in psychology at the UI and first author of the study, which appeared this month in the journal Current Biology. “But twitches seem to be different in that the brain is unaware that they are self-generated. And this difference between sleep and wake movements may be critical for how twitches, which are most frequent in early infancy, contribute to brain development.”

Mark Blumberg, a psychology professor at the UI and senior author of the study, says this latest discovery is further evidence that sleep twitches — whether in dogs, cats or humans — are connected to brain development, not dreams.

“Because twitches are so different from wake movements,” he says, “these data put another nail in the coffin of the ‘chasing rabbits’ interpretation of twitches.”

For this study, Blumberg, Tiriac and fellow graduate student Carlos Del Rio-Bermudez studied the brain activity of unanesthetized rats between 8 and 10 days of age. They measured the brain activity while the animals were awake and moving and again while the rats were in REM sleep and twitching.

What they discovered was puzzling, at first.

“We noticed there was a lot of brain activity during sleep movements but not when these animals were awake and moving,” Tiriac says.

The researchers theorized that sensations coming back from twitching limbs during REM sleep were being processed differently in the brain than awake movements because they lacked what is known as “corollary discharge.”

First introduced by researchers in 1950, corollary discharge is a split-second message sent to the brain that allows animals — including rats, crickets, humans and more — to recognize and filter out sensations generated from their own actions. This filtering of sensations is what allows animals to distinguish between sensations arising from their own movements and those from stimuli in the outside world.

So, when the UI researchers noticed an increase in brain activity while the newborn rats were twitching during REM sleep but not when the animals were awake and moving, they conducted several follow-up experiments to determine whether sleep twitching is a unique self-generated movement that is processed as if it lacks corollary discharge.

The experiments were consistent in supporting the idea that sensations arising from twitches are not filtered: And without the filtering provided by corollary discharge, the sensations generated by twitching limbs are free to activate the brain and teach the newborn brain about the structure and function of the limbs.

“If twitches were like wake movements, the signals arising from twitching limbs would be filtered out,” Blumberg says. “That they are not filtered out suggests again that twitches are special — perhaps special because they are needed to activate developing brain circuits.”

The UI researchers were initially surprised to find the filtering system functioning so early in development.

“But what surprised us even more,” Blumberg says, “was that corollary discharge appears to be suspended during sleep in association with twitching, a possibility that — to our knowledge — has never before been entertained.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Iowa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Alexandre Tiriac, Carlos Del Rio-Bermudez, Mark S. Blumberg. Self-Generated Movements with “Unexpected” Sensory Consequences. Current Biology, 2014; 24 (18): 2136 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.07.053

Scientists manipulate molecules inside living cells with temperature gradients

The ability to make measurements of the biomolecular interactions that occur inside living cells is essential for understanding complex biological processes. But probing the inside of living cells without damaging them is a challenge. The cell membrane shields electrical fields, prohibiting the use of electrophoresis, a technique that is commonly used to analyze biological samples in a variety of areas outside living cells.
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Now in a new paper, researchers have demonstrated for the first time that thermophoresis—the movement of molecules due to a rather than an electric field—can be used to measure the movement of DNA and other molecules inside living cells. The paper, by Maren R. Reichl and Dieter Braun at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, is published in a recent issue of The Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“Our work shows that the measurement of thermophoresis in living cells is possible—moreover, in parallel across the cell and not at one single point,” Braun told

In the new technique, a temperature gradient is applied across a cell by an infrared laser. Fluorescently marked molecules inside the cell move along this temperature gradient from hotter to colder regions. A camera can record this thermophoretic movement, with every camera pixel measuring thermophoresis simultaneously and independently. The technique can be performed in the natural environment of cells in vivo.

The researchers demonstrated the use of thermophoresis measurements of DNA in the cytoplasm of living cells. Interestingly, the results revealed that DNA movement in the cytoplasm is slowed down, probably due to molecular crowding. In addition to measuring the movement of DNA, the thermophoresis technique could also measure the movement of proteins, pharmaceutical components, and other molecules in cells as long as they can move through the cytoplasm. Ribosomes, for example, are so large and bound to the endoplasmic reticulum that they cannot easily diffuse through the cytoplasm, making them poor candidates for thermophoresis.

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Thermophoresis measurements of DNA and the dye molecule BCECF in the cytoplasm of living cells. Credit: Reichl and Braun. ©2014 American Chemical Society

One way that thermophoresis inside living cells can be used is to measure the binding affinities of molecules. As the scientists explain, the binding of a fluorescently marked molecule such as DNA or a protein leads to a change in the thermophoretic depletion strength. Binding affinities can reveal more detailed information about the interactions of these molecules.

“The dream would be to record binding affinities in living , i.e., translating the award-winning microscale thermophoresis (MST) technique of our startup company Nanotemper into ,” Braun said. “However, the measurement protocol is not yet robust against the shape of the cell, so some more tricks to make it work will be necessary. But we are optimistic—experimental tricks are our specialty.”

Couples Who Meet Offline Stay Together For Longer Than Those Who Meet Online

Online dating sites are so great for meeting a wide range of like-minded partners, for quicker intimacy, and for breaking up. Wait. What?

It’s true, according to new researchpublished in the journalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Turns out the break-up rate is higher among couples who meet online versus couples who meet offline. Separate research has studied the difference in these relationships before; yet in those studies, the participants were all married. In order to get a better understanding of relationship outcomes, researchers analyzed the data collected from both the married and unmarried participating in the 2009 “How Couples Meet and Stay Together” study, conducted by Stanford University.

Online dating

Per Stanford’s website, their study was a nationally representative study of American adults, in which 4,002 adults participated, 3,009 of whom reported having a spouse or romantic partner. So, in the present study, researchers paid close attention to the different relationships that formed when meeting both on- or offline (are couples just romantic, or are they getting married?), the different reasons given for breaking up, as well as any outside factors that may have contributed to the break up or marriage.

More than 60 percent of couples who met online were in non-marital, romantic relationships, researchers found, with a fraction meeting online and getting married. In fact, online couples had lower odds of getting married than offline couples. Why? Relationships that start online tend to lack exclusivity, commitment, and trust, which are some of the factors that determine longevity in marital relationships. Therefore, they don’t last. Put it another way: womp.

As for married participants, eight percent of couples who met online separated or divorced compared to the two percent of couples who met offline. In addition to meeting venue, relationship quality and duration of relationship were found to be significant predictors of couples staying together or breaking up, researchers explained. Duration was especially important among married couples. Couples would stay together if their relationship was fulfilling and gratifying regardless of how long they had been together.

These results are a bummer if you use online dating to find a spouse. But, if you’re looking to meet a romantic companion, then this is the scientific version of looking at the glass half full. What is interesting is that for as much as dating and relationships evolve — one in 10 americans meet online, with one in three marriages having resulted from online dates, according to eHarmony — traditional ideals are still what determine a couple’s success.

Source: Paul A. Is Online Better Than Offline for Meeting Partners? Depends: Are You Looking to Marry or to Date? Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 2014.

Perfectionists, Especially Doctors, Architects, And Lawyers, Are At Higher Risk Of Suicide

While you may pride yourself on being a perfect cook as well as aperfect teacher, a psychologist might see your need to be the very best at everything you do as a major handicap. In fact, perfectionists are often so unhappy and hopeless, they sometimes develop eating disorders, and, in the most drastic of cases, they may become suicidal.

Now, a new study from York University delves deeper into the connection between perfectionism and self-harm and finds this personality trait to be a bigger risk factor when it comes to self-destruction than previously thought. “Perfectionism contributes to lethal suicide behaviors,” the authors noted in their published research.


Are you a perfectionist?

Perfectionists set excessively high personal standards for themselves and then harshly evaluate their performance based on these benchmarks. Often, perfectionists believe it’s their parents, bosses, or spouses who expect them to be perfect. Sometimes, they impose their high standards on everyone else and so develop unrealistic expectations of other people. Others tend to see perfectionists as harsh and unforgiving — rigid and unkind people — though the truth on the inside is they are vulnerable people who lack resilience. In short, perfectionism is not a very attractive personality trait and should be seen as pitiable in that it is strongly related to self-harm. If you suspect you might fit into this category, thisonline test, will tell you if you’re in the ballpark.

For the current study, York University Psychology Professor Dr. Gordon Flett and his co-authors studied the most recent data concerning suicide and perfectionist tendencies and highlighted their concerns. They begin by noting how physicians, lawyers, and architects, whose occupations emphasize precision, are at a higher risk for perfectionism-related suicide. In fact, suicidal thoughts may often be linked to external pressures. In fact, they created a concept, socially prescribed perfectionism, to describe someone who is exposed, through work or through friends, to relentless demands to be perfect. The authors believe socially prescribed perfectionism is linked to hopelessness and suicide.

“We summarize data showing consistent links between perfectionism and hopelessness,” said Flett, adding, “[Perfectionists] also tend to experience hopelessness, psychological pain, life stress, overgeneralization, and a form of emotional perfectionism that restricts the willingness to disclose suicidal urges and intentions.”

This means a perfectionist’s need for a flawless self-presentation in the world combined with a need to conceal any pain or shortcomings may lead to a suicide that occurs without warning. And, as one might expect, perfectionists don’t just attempt suicide willy nilly, they often come up with thorough and precise plans to destroy themselves.

More than 800,000 people commit suicide every year while many more attempt their final end. According to the World Health Organization, it was the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 29 globally during 2012. In the United States during 2009, the most recent statistical year, suicide accounted for 36,891 deaths and so ranked as the tenth leading cause of death among people older than 10. If we are to believe Flett and his co-authors, many of these unhappy people may have felt driven to it by the demands of perfectionism.

Source: Flett FL, Hewitt PL, Heisel MJ. The destructiveness of perfectionism revisited: Implications for the assessment of suicide risk and the prevention of suicide. Review of General Psychology. 2014.