Spine Deformation Alert.

Billions of people are using cell phone devices. This is what texting does to your spine as the head is tilted forward: a severe spine deformation.


According to a study made by Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, published in the Surgical Technology International journal, looking down at a cell phone is the equivalent of placing a 60-pound weight on one’s neck.

“The purpose of this study is to assess the forces incrementally seen by the cervical spine as the head is tilted forward, into worsening posture.”

Hold your phone straight in front of you, instead of bending your head down!



5 Reasons to Skip Breakfast

Once considered the foundation of any healthy diet, the morning meal may now be negotiable.

The belief that we won’t have our get-up-and-go unless we down our Cheerios has turned the concept of eating upon rising into a die-hard dietary rule. Original research on whether breakfast made an impact on health did find that healthier people ate breakfast. But data, as we know, doesn’t always tell the whole story.

“Lots of people who skip breakfast or practice intermittentfasting are healthy too,” says Dr. John Berardi, co-founder ofPrecision Nutrition. “About 85% of the clients we work with eat breakfast and tend to follow a guideline of eating small frequent meals throughout the day, but that’s largely to help them learn to practice healthier eating habits. If you’re a person who regularly makes good nutritional choices, then eating breakfast is more negotiable.”

In fact, skipping that first meal may lead to some real benefits — from possibly losing a few pounds to increasing your level of anti-aging growth hormone. And don’t worry, your metabolism won’t suffer. Eating small meals throughout the day, starting with breakfast, isn’t necessary to stimulate metabolism, says Berardi, who co-authored an extensive study review on meal frequency for the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

His suggested revise to the dictate: Breakfast is optional. Hard-and-fast rules don’t allow for much mindfulness, anyway — and that’s an integral part of any nutritional approach. So if you love how breakfast gets you going, feel free to stick with that routine, but if you’re not a morning person, there’s no harm in forgoing food first thing.

Here, Berardi suggests 5 reasons to skip breakfast:

1. It’s not required to boost metabolism. The idea that metabolism slows radically in response to not eating certain meals in a single day just isn’t accurate. The amount of calories you’re taking in and the composition of those calories — proteins, carbs, and fats — are really what impact metabolism.

2. It may lead to eating less overall. If you skip breakfast, you can eat fewer, larger meals beginning later in the day, rather than 6 smaller meals throughout the day, which may be less satisfying. This can lower your total caloric intake for the day and may lead to weight loss.

3. There’s a payoff even if you’re an occasional skipper. Intermittent fasting reduces insulin levels, so you can actually increase your insulin sensitivity for better blood sugar management. At the same time, your body will release more growth hormone, which helps to preserve lean tissue and burn fat tissue.

4. It can help lower your total carb intake for the day. Most of us are over-carbed. We eat too many refined carbs, too little protein, and too much fat. So by skipping breakfast it can steer you away from the typical high-carb breakfast foods — toast, oatmeal, cereal, pancakes — that may trigger an insulin response that kicks you out of fat-burning mode.

5. It can help you tune in to your body. You just might feel better sipping water with lemon or a green juice rather than forcing food in the morning. Some people feel nauseous and not ready to eat right when they get up and in that case you’re better off listening to your body’s cues. Ideally, you want to figure out what works best for you.

Factor XI Antisense Oligonucleotide for Prevention of Venous Thrombosis .


Experimental data indicate that reducing factor XI levels attenuates thrombosis without causing bleeding, but the role of factor XI in the prevention of postoperative venous thrombosis in humans is unknown. FXI-ASO (ISIS 416858) is a second-generation antisense oligonucleotide that specifically reduces factor XI levels. We compared the efficacy and safety of FXI-ASO with those of enoxaparin in patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty.


In this open-label, parallel-group study, we randomly assigned 300 patients who were undergoing elective primary unilateral total knee arthroplasty to receive one of two doses of FXI-ASO (200 mg or 300 mg) or 40 mg of enoxaparin once daily. The primary efficacy outcome was the incidence of venous thromboembolism (assessed by mandatory bilateral venography or report of symptomatic events). The principal safety outcome was major or clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding.


Around the time of surgery, the mean (±SE) factor XI levels were 0.38±0.01 units per milliliter in the 200-mg FXI-ASO group, 0.20±0.01 units per milliliter in the 300-mg FXI-ASO group, and 0.93±0.02 units per milliliter in the enoxaparin group. The primary efficacy outcome occurred in 36 of 134 patients (27%) who received the 200-mg dose of FXI-ASO and in 3 of 71 patients (4%) who received the 300-mg dose of FXI-ASO, as compared with 21 of 69 patients (30%) who received enoxaparin. The 200-mg regimen was noninferior, and the 300-mg regimen was superior, to enoxaparin (P<0.001). Bleeding occurred in 3%, 3%, and 8% of the patients in the three study groups, respectively.


This study showed that factor XI contributes to postoperative venous thromboembolism; reducing factor XI levels in patients undergoing elective primary unilateral total knee arthroplasty was an effective method for its prevention and appeared to be safe with respect to the risk of bleeding

Moon Landing A Hoax? Here’s 10 Reasons Why

The Moon Landing A Hoax?

For decades, people have debated whether or not the moon landing was real or fake – and it is still to this day a hotly debated subject.  Moon landing a hoax?  Moon landing not a hoax?  If so, what would the reasons even be?

Scholars brush it off as mere conspiracy theory, but there are some interesting facts to back up the possibility that the moon landing was done on a soundstage.  A great article recently published on Listverse called “10 Reasons the Moon Landings Could Be a Hoax” [1] by Josh Fox lays out ten reasons the landing may have been a fake.

Fox says: The theory that the moon landings were hoaxed by the US government to assert their victory in the space race over Russia, is something which has grown in popularity over time.Recent polls indicate that approximately 20% of Americans believe that the U.S. has never landed on the moon.

After the Apollo missions ended in the seventies, why haven’t we ever been back? Only during the term of Richard Nixon did humanity ever land on the moon, and after Watergate most people wouldn’t put it past Tricky Dick to fake them to put America in good standing in the Cold War.In this list I have presented some of the proposed evidence to suggest that the moon landings were hoaxes. I tried to include NASA’s explanations to each entry to provide an objective perspective.

So, without further ado… “the list”….

The Waving Flag

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Conspiracy theorists have pointed out that when the first moon landing was shown on live television, viewers could clearly see the American flag waving and fluttering as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted it. Photos of the landing also seem to show rippling in a breeze, such as the image above which clearly shows a fold in the flag.

The obvious problem here is that there’s no air in the moon’s atmosphere, and therefore no wind to cause the flag to blow.Countless explanations have been put forward to disprove this phenomenon as anything unusual: NASA claimed that the flag was stored in a thin tube and the rippled effect was caused by it being unfurled before being planted. Other explanations involve the ripples caused by the reaction force of the astronauts touching the aluminum pole, which is shown to shake in the video footage.

Lack of Impact Crater

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The claim goes as follows: had NASA really landed us on the moon, there would be a blast crater underneath the lunar module to mark its landing. On any video footage or photograph of the landings, no crater is visible, almost as though the module was simply placed there. The surface of the moon is covered in fine lunar dust, and even this doesn’t seem to have been displaced in photographic evidence.Much like the waving flag theory, however, the lack of an impact crater has a slew of potential explanations. NASA maintains that the module required significantly less thrust in the low-gravity conditions than it would have done on Earth. The surface of the moon itself is solid rock, so a blast crater probably wouldn’t be feasible anyway – in the same way that an aeroplane doesn’t leave a crater when it touches down on a concrete airstrip.

Multiple Light Sources

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On the moon there is only one strong light source: the Sun. So it’s fair to suggest that all shadows should run parallel to one another. But this was not the case during the moon landing: videos and photographs clearly show that shadows fall in different directions. Conspiracy theorists suggest that this must mean multiple light sources are present -suggesting that the landing photos were taken on a film set.NASA has attempted to blame uneven landscape on the strange shadows, with subtle bumps and hills on the moon’s surface causing the discrepancies. This explanation has been tossed out the window by some theorists; how could hills cause such large angular differences? In the image above the lunar module’s shadow clearly contradicts that of the rocks in the foreground at almost a 45 degree angle.

The Van Allen Radiation Belt

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In order to reach the moon, astronauts had to pass through what is known as the Van Allen radiation belt. The belt is held in place by Earth’s magnetic field and stays perpetually in the same place. The Apollo missions to the moon marked the first ever attempts to transport living humans through the belt. Conspiracy theorists contend that the sheer levels of radiation would have cooked the astronauts en route to the moon, despite the layers of aluminum coating the interior and exterior of the spaceship.NASA have countered this argument by emphasizing the short amount of time it took the astronauts to traverse the belt – meaning they received only very small doses of radiation.

The Unexplained Object

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After photographs of the moon landings were released, theorists were quick to notice a mysterious object (shown above) in the reflection of an astronaut’s helmet from the Apollo 12 mission. The object appears to be hanging from a rope or wire and has no reason to be there at all, leading some to suggest it is an overhead spotlight typically found in film studios.The resemblance is questionable, given the poor quality of the photograph, but the mystery remains as to why something is being suspended in mid-air (or rather lack of air) on the moon. The lunar module in other photos appears to have no extension from it that matches the photo, so the object still remains totally unexplained.

Slow-Motion Walking and Hidden Cables

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In order to support claims that the moon landings were shot in a studio, conspiracy theorists had to account for the apparent low-gravity conditions, which must have been mimicked by NASA. It has been suggested that if you take the moon landing footage and increase the speed of the film x2.5, the astronauts appear to be moving in Earth’s gravity. As for the astronaut’s impressive jump height, which would be impossible to perform in Earth’s gravity, hidden cables and wires have been suggested as giving the astronauts some extra height. In some screenshots outlines of alleged hidden cables can be seen (the photograph above supposedly shows a wire, though it is extremely vague).

Lack of Stars

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One compelling argument for the moon landing hoax is the total lack of stars in any of the photographic/video evidence. There are no clouds on the moon, so stars are perpetually visible and significantly brighter than what we see through the filter of Earth’s atmosphere.The argument here is that NASA would have found it impossible to map out the exact locations of all stars for the hoax without being rumbled, and therefore left them out – intentionally falling back on an excuse that the quality of the photographs washes them out (an excuse they did actually give).Some photographs are high-quality, however, and yet still no stars are shown. Certainly eerie, considering you can take pictures of stars from Earth in much lower quality and still see them.

The “C” Rock

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One of the most famous photos from the moon landings shows a rock in the foreground, with what appears to be the letter “C” engraved into it. The letter appears to be almost perfectly symmetrical, meaning it is unlikely to be a natural occurrence. It has been suggested that the rock is simply a prop, with the “C” used as a marker by an alleged film crew. A set designer could have turned the rock the wrong way, accidentally exposing the marking to the camera.NASA has given conflicting excuses for the letter, on the one hand blaming a photographic developer for adding the letter as a practical joke, while on the other hand saying that it may simply have been a stray hair which got tangled up somewhere in the developing process.

The Layered Cross-hairs

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The cameras used by astronauts during the moon landings had a multitude of cross-hairs to aid with scaling and direction. These are imprinted over the top of all photographs. Some of the images, however, clearly show the cross-hairs behind objects in the scene, implying that photographs may have been edited or doctored after being taken. The photograph shown above is not an isolated occurrence. Many objects are shown to be in front of the cross-hairs, including the American flag in one picture and the lunar rover in another.Conspiracy theorists have suggested NASA printed the man-made objects over a legitimate photograph of the moon to hoax the landings – although if they really planned on doing this, then why they used cross-hairs in the first place is a mystery.

The Duplicate Backdrop

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The two photos from the Apollo 15 mission shown above clearly have identical backdrops, despite being officially listed by NASA as having been taken miles apart. One photo even shows the lunar module. When all photographs were taken the module had already landed, so how can it possibly be there for one photo and disappear in another? Well, if you’re a hardcore conspiracy theorist, it may seem viable that NASA simply used the same backdrop when filming different scenes of their moon landing videos.NASA has suggested that since the moon is much smaller than Earth, horizons can appear significantly closer to the human eye. Despite this, to say that the two hills visible in the photographs are miles apart is incontrovertibly false.

The Stanley Kubrick Theory

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This loose extension of the popular conspiracy theory states that acclaimed film director Stanley Kubrick was approached by the US government to hoax the first three moon landings. There are two main branches of this somewhat implausible theory: one group of believers maintain that Kubrick was approached after he released 2001: A Space Odyssey (released in 1968, one year before the first moon landing), after NASA came to appreciate the stunning realism of the film’s outer-space scenes at that time; another group contends that Kubrick was groomed by the government to film the moon landing long before this, and that 2001: A Space Odyssey was a staged practice run for him.So what evidence might support such claims? Well: apparently, if you watch The Shining (another Kubrick picture), you can pick up on some alleged messages hidden by Kubrick to subtly inform the world of his part in the conspiracy. The most obvious is the child’s Apollo 11 shirt worn in only one scene. Another supposed gem is the line written on Jack Nicholson’s character’s typewriter: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, in which the word “all” can be interpreted as A11, or Apollo 11.If you aren’t convinced yet, Kubrick made the mysterious hotel room in the film number 237. Guess how many miles it is from here to the moon: 238,000. So divide that by a thousand and minus one, and you’ve got one airtight theory right there.



[1] http://listverse.com/2012/12/28/10-reasons-the-moon-landings-could-be-a-hoax/?utm_source=cbpicks&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=direct

– See more at: http://yournewswire.com/moon-landing-a-hoax-heres-10-reasons-why/#sthash.l1x1PlWl.dpuf

Canada Passes New Controversial Drug Safety Law .

Finally Canada passed a Drug Safety Law, called Vanessa’s Law, following sustained criticism that prescription drug safety was lacking. The Canadian Drug Safety Law gives the Health Minister authority over the national regulatory agency and practices involving the pharmaceutical industry.

Under Vanessa’s Law, the Health Minister of Canada will have the power to recall any drugs that are considered unsafe. Drug makers will be compelled to upgrade their product labeling, clinical trial information will be posted in a public registry, and regulators must disclose decisions about their approvals.

The passage of Vanessa’s Law came after a period of complaints about Canada’s drug industry transparency and the fact that Health Canada failed to oversee properly drug clinical trials. Vanessa’s Law ensures that Canadians will be better informed about their prescribed medications and the Canadian government will be empowered to recall unsafe products. That means that Canadians will be will be better protected as a result of these changes.

However, not everyone is content with the new Canadian Drug Safety Law. The pharmaceutical industry is concerned regarding the law’s provisions requesting the release of confidential business information. On the other side, there are critics of the new law who consider that the Drug Safety Law does not go far enough and it still leaves a number of gaps in drug regulation. The critics also notice that there are portions of the law that make use of the word “may”. Such language indicates when the Canadian health minister might take action but not make it a requirement for the minister to take action. That means that the necessary steps are left to the discretion of the Canadian health minister.

It is also unclear who can request disclosure of confidential business information about a certain drug. As the law stipulates it is understood that the information can only be released to someone whose job is to protect public safety, someone whom the minister seeks advice, or to a government employee. However, it is not clear that this will also apply to researchers who are formulating clinical guidelines, and to those looking for information for court cases. The law may place restrictions on some groups who may have legitimate motives to request such information in order to formulate patient safety guidelines.

Another potential issue is that the new Canadian Drug Safety Law does not contain any provision to release additional clinical trial information to the drugs already existing on the market. That means that even in case that post-market studies are required, it is possible that Canadians will not have access to that information. And, because the drug makers are allowed to design and run post-market trials, this can lead to bias.

Health Canada tried to respond to this criticism, by saying that drug makers will be required to make public the information about their clinical trials and the drug regulation authority will be able to make regulations prescribing the availability of the clinical trial information.


The spokesman of the Health Canada has also explained that the use of the word “may” does not mean the Health Minister can exercise the power arbitrarily but it bound by a duty of care to protect Canadians from the risks related to medical devices and drugs. The Health Minister has to exercise these powers fairly and reasonably, based on evidence.

Related to the concerns about releasing confidential business information, the spokesman of Health Canada specify that this is not information in the public domain, but failed to explain why the disclosure would not undermine the competitive position or economic interest of the owner of this information.

The new Drug Safety Law in Canada is a welcomed improvement of the drug public safety in the country, but as we can see the law is not perfect. The best way to understand drug safety is by consulting a former FDA official. If you have any questions regarding drug safety, you can solicit a no obligation, free of charge consultation from a drug safety expert. Their services reunites a specialized and exclusive group of clinicians and scientists, all of who are former FDA officials, scientists or reviewers; the most qualified and experienced individuals from the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

Researchers convert sunlight to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency

UNSW Australia’s solar researchers have converted over 40% of the sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported.

The record efficiency was achieved in outdoor tests in Sydney, before being independently confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at their outdoor test facility in the United States.

The work was funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and supported by the Australia-US Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics (AUSIAPV).

“This is the highest efficiency ever reported for sunlight conversion into electricity,” UNSW Scientia Professor and Director of the Advanced Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) Professor Martin Green said.

“We used commercial solar cells, but in a new way, so these efficiency improvements are readily accessible to the solar industry,” added Dr Mark Keevers, the UNSW solar scientist who managed the project.

The 40% efficiency milestone is the latest in a long line of achievements by UNSW solar researchers spanning four decades. These include the first photovoltaic system to convert sunlight to electricity with over 20% efficiency in 1989, with the new result doubling this performance.

“The new results are based on the use of focused sunlight, and are particularly relevant to photovoltaic power towers being developed in Australia,” Professor Green said.

Power towers are being developed by Australian company, RayGen Resources, which provided design and technical support for the high efficiency prototype. Another partner in the research was Spectrolab, a US-based company that provided some of the cells used in the project.

A key part of the prototype’s design is the use of a custom optical bandpass filter to capture sunlight that is normally wasted by commercial solar cells on towers and convert it to electricity at a higher efficiency than the themselves ever could.

Such filters reflect particular wavelengths of light while transmitting others.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the achievement is another world first for Australian research and development and further demonstrates the value of investing in Australia’s ingenuity.

“We hope to see this home grown innovation take the next steps from prototyping to pilot scale demonstrations. Ultimately, more efficient commercial solar plants will make renewable energy cheaper, increasing its competitiveness.”

Epinephrine Hurts Cardiac Arrest Survival?

Epinephrine (adrenaline) given before hospital arrival for cardiac arrest was associated with poorer chances of survival without substantial mental disability, an observational study showed.

Among those who initially recovered spontaneous circulation, survival to hospital discharge with a Cerebral Performance Category 1 or 2 occurred in 17% of those given prehospital epinephrine compared with 60% not given the drug (P<0.001), Florence Dumas, MD, PhD, of the Parisian Cardiovascular Research Center, and colleagues found.

In a propensity score-matched subanalysis, survival with good neurologic outcome remained substantially less common in the epinephrine group (30% versus 61%,P<0.001), the researchers reported in the Dec. 9 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

That association in the large, single-center registry persisted regardless of length of resuscitation or in-hospital interventions performed.

The adjusted odds ratio also showed a dose-dependent risk compared with no epinephrine:

  • 0.48 for 1 mg of epinephrine (95% confidence interval 0.27-0.84)
  • 0.30 for 2 to 5 mg of epinephrine (95% CI 0.20-0.47)
  • 0.23 for more than 5 mg of epinephrine (95% CI 0.14-0.37)

These findings come amid growing evidence questioning the role of this guideline-recommended vasopressor for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, Gordon A. Ewy, MD, of the University of Arizona’s Sarver Heart Center in Tucson, noted in an accompanying editorial.

The reason might have to do with timing, or it could be that adrenaline isn’t the best vasopressor for the job, he suggested.

Animal research has shown that during the circulatory phase of ventricular fibrillation arrest (after the first 10 minutes), adding a beta-adrenergic blocker helped, although adding a pure alpha-adrenergic drug, such as phenylephrine or methoxamine, didn’t.

“Further research, first in animal models and later in humans, can continue to assess whether a pure alpha agent or combination of agents may be superior to epinephrine during the circulatory phase of resuscitation,” Ewy noted.

Timing of Epinephrine

Delayed administration of epinephrine was associated with worse outcome in Dumas’ study of patients admitted to a single large cardiac arrest-receiving hospital in Paris after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and who achieved successful return of spontaneous circulation from January 2000 through August 2012.

Among the 1,556 such patients in the study, 73% had received epinephrine.

Outcomes weren’t as bad versus no epinephrine when the drug was given sooner after arrest, as reflected in adjusted odds ratios of

  • 0.54 when given within the first 9 min after cardiac arrest (95% CI 0.32-0.91)
  • 0.23 when given between 10 and 15 min after onset of arrest (95% CI 0.20-0.56)
  • 0.23 when given between 16 and 22 min after onset of arrest (95% CI 0.12-0.43)
  • 0.17 when given more than 22 min after cardiac arrest (95% CI 0.09-0.34)

The reason could be double-edged effects, Dumas’ group suggested.

“The alpha-adrenergic effects of epinephrine can increase coronary and cerebral perfusion pressure during the resuscitation period and subsequently help achieve return of spontaneous circulation,” they wrote. “However, epinephrine may exert adverse effects during the post-resuscitation phase and contribute to myocardial dysfunction, increased oxygen requirements, and microcirculatory abnormalities.”

The only randomized trial of epinephrine versus placebo in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest showed better rates of spontaneous circulatory recovery but no difference in survival to hospital discharge with the vasopressor, which did not support the overwhelmingly negative effect of epinephrine reported by Dumas’ group, Ewy noted.

“Unfortunately, in this important study, time to administration of adrenaline was not reported,” he wrote. “Future human investigation of vasopressor agents for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, whether prospective or retrospective, must separate time courses for vasopressor administration.”


One limitation was the lack of information about why one-quarter of patients didn’t receive epinephrine, Ewy said.

Another was the less favorable prognostic characteristics of those who did get epinephrine, he noted, writing that “they were older, less likely to have a witnessed event, and less likely to present with a shockable rhythm, and they had a longer duration of resuscitation (P<0.001).”

Those differences could be at the core of the findings, commented Karl B. Kern, MD, also of the Sarver Heart Center, where he is co-director.”It may really be as simple as these were a sicker group of people,” he told MedPage Today. “Even though the whole paper is really based on a number of statistical efforts to equalize those groups, it still leaves you wondering, Is it just a population study?”

“Really, all these studies have been cohorts, before and after, and the drug has been given really quite late, usually 20 to 25 minutes after onset of cardiac arrest,” he cautioned. “We need a randomized trial to really get that bias out of the way and understand does this drug really make a difference in the long-term outcome?”

Altogether, the message may be “if you’re going to use epinephrine, use it early,” Kern suggested, though he predicted that the level of evidence to date likely wouldn’t be enough to change the resuscitation guidelines that are being revised for 2015.

Action Points

  • In cardiac arrest patients who achieved return of spontaneous circulation, pre-hospital use of epinephrine was associated with a lower chance of survival.
  • The association showed a dose effect and persisted despite post-resuscitation interventions.

Vast Majority of Life-Saving Cord Blood Sits Unused .

You’d think doctors and patients would be clamoring for cells so versatile they could help reboot a body suffering from everything from leukemia to diabetes. But a new report shows that an important source of these stem cells—discarded umbilical cords—is rarely used because of high costs and the risk of failure.

Stem cells drawn from newborns’ umbilical cord blood are sometimes used to treatmedical conditions, especially bone and blood cancers like multiple myeloma or lymphoma by replacing dysfunctional blood-producing cells in bone marrow. Generally the diseased cells are destroyed with chemotherapy and irradiation. Then new stem cells are transplanted into the patient to restore function. Cord blood stem cells are an alternative to bone marrow transplants and peripheral blood transplants, in which stem cells are gathered from the blood stream. Cord blood tends to integrate better with the body and it is easier to find a suitable donor than the alternatives.

Yet less than 3 percent of cord blood collected in the U.S. is ever used whereas the rest sits uselessly in blood banks, according to a recent report in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. Immunologist Enal Razvi is author of the report and managing director of Select Biosciences, a biotechnology consulting agency. Razvi found that public cord blood banks, which store donated frozen units for transplants as needed, have only a 1 to 3 percent turnover annually. Most of their inventory sits unused year after year. For example, at Community Blood Services in New Jersey, patients have only used 278 of its 13,000 cords since it opened in 1996, according to business development director Misty Marchioni. Usage is even lower at private cord blood banks, which charge clients thousands of dollars to store a cord in the event a family member one day needs it.

Unlike bone marrow, the main alternative stem cell source, cells transplanted from cord blood carry little risk of graft-versus-host disease, a deadly condition in which the body rejects a transplant. Scientists believe this is because a baby’s immune system is closer to a blank slate, so their stem cells can integrate with the patient’s body more easily. But cord blood transplants also take longer to start working, requiring longer hospital stays and upping the bill. Due to storage and testing costs, the cords themselves also get pricy. “The cost of the cord is prohibitively high,” Razvi explains. Each unit of cord blood costs between $35,000 and $40,000 and most adults require two units for a successful transplant. Insurance companies will generally pay a set amount for a stem cell transplant regardless of where the cells come from. The price tag on a cord blood transplant can run up to $300,000, which may not be fully covered.

Cord blood stem cell transplants also have a higher failure rate than other transplant methods. If the transplant fails, it leaves patients with a compromised immune system in addition to their original disease and medical bills. Because the preparation for transplant includes wiping out the patient’s original bone marrow, the entire body has to be repopulated with stem cells able to replace it. There are not many stem cells in each cord. Compared with bone marrow or peripheral blood there is a greater chance that there will not be enough stem cells that actually implant and begin producing blood and bone marrow. “It’s like spreading a small amount of seeds in a big garden,” says Mitchell Horwitz, who teaches cell therapy at Duke University Medical Center. “Sometimes it just doesn’t take.”

Martin Smithmyer, chief executive of the private bank Americord, claims that more clients will eventually use their cords, especially as more applications are found for cord blood stem cells. But some scientists disagree. Steven Joffe, a professor of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, says that many treatments cannot be done with a patient’s own stem cells because genetic diseases would already be present in the cord blood and that bone marrow might be a better option for relatives. “The likelihood they are ever going to use that product is vanishingly small,” he says.

studying ways to treat HIV, cerebral palsy and other diseases using umbilical cord blood

Despite the low usage, advocates say cord blood programs have been crucial in improving transplant options for racial minorities, because it can be hard to find a bone marrow match for some groups. Cord blood does not need to match the patient as perfectly as bone marrow. “This has transformed the treatment of minority patients,” says Andromachi Scaradavou, medical director of the National Cord Blood Program, a public bank based in New York City. “In the past we didn’t have good donors to offer them.” Community Blood Services’s Marchioni also maintains that cord blood is a good emergency option, because finding a compatible bone marrow or peripheral blood donor can take months or years. “If you need a transplant quickly,” she says, “it’s easy to get cord blood off of a shelf.”

Still, experts are working on more efficient ways of ensuring widespread availability of cord blood without having so much of it sit forever unused. Researchers are also continuing to look for ways to improve transplant success and to increase the number of stem cells obtained from each cord, potentially bringing down costs and making cord blood transplants feasible for more patients. “If the cost could be lowered,” Scaradavou says, “it would help a lot of patients get the treatment they need.”

How Facebook Affects Your Memory

You may want to think twice before posting that update to Facebook. New research has found that Facebook status updates are more memorable than lines from a book or the faces of strangers.

Overall, the researchers found that Facebook status updates were one-and-a-half times more memorable than sentences from books and two-and-a-half times more memorable than faces. Those numbers represent remarkable differences in memory performance, researchers say.

social media

“We were really surprised,” said Laura Mickes, visiting scholar at UC San Diego and a senior research fellow at the University of Warwick. “These kinds of gaps in [memory] performance are on a scale similar to the differences between amnesiacs and people with healthy memory.”
The findings undercut popular assumptions about social media posts, she said.

“Facebook is updated roughly 30 million times an hour, so it’s easy to dismiss it as full of mundane, trivial bits of information that we will instantly forget as soon as we read them,” Mickes said. “But our study turns that view on its head, and by doing so gives us a really useful glimpse into the kinds of information we’re hardwired to remember.”

In the research, which was published in the journal Memory and Cognition, participants studied more than 200 anonymous Facebook posts. Researchers picked posts that were close in length to sentences from books, and made sure to take out any irregularities in those postings that may have made them more memorable.

“Not only is the ‘Facebook effect’ on memory strong, but we replicated the effect each time we examined it,” said Christine Harris, a psychology professor at UC San Diego.

Researchers say that a number of factors make these posts more memorable; however, the top reason is that digital communications very closely resemble the way people talk. That is, researchers believe the similarity of online communication to everyday speech makes it more memorable than lines from books, which are more carefully composed.

“One could view the past 5,000 years of painstaking, careful writing as the anomaly,” said Nicholas Christenfeld, a psychology professor at UC San Diego. “Modern technologies allow written language to return more closely to the casual, personal style of pre-literate communication. This is the style that resonates, and is remembered.”

The research was co-authored by Daniel Bajic, Ryan Darby and Vivian Hwe of UC San Diego, and Jill Warker of the University of Scranton.

Fascinating Study Shows How Emotions Are Mapped On The Human Body

Emotions coordinate our behavior and physiological states during survival-salient events and pleasurable interactions. Even though we are often consciously aware of our current emotional state, such as anger or happiness, the mechanisms giving rise to these subjective sensations have remained largely unresolved. Brilliant research by Finnish scientists has mapped the areas of our body that are experiencing an increase or decrease in sensory activity when we experience a particular emotion.

Depending on whether we are happy, sad or angry, we have physiological sensations that are not located in different areas of the body. We overlook this reality from one day to the next (the famous “lump in the breast” generated by anxiety, the feeling of warmth that pervades our face and our cheeks particularly when we feel the shame…), and do not consciously realize how much the location of these body areas activated by our emotions and how they vary considerably depending on the nature of the emotion.

Researchers around the world are slowly integrating research on how our energetic and emotional states cause health and/or disease. How we connect emotionally to our overall wellness and wellbeing may indeed be more relevant than any supplement, food, exercise, medical intervention or healthtreatment.

emotional body map1 300x181 Fascinating Study Shows How Emotions Are Mapped On The Human Body

Finnish scientists have for the first time mapped areas of the body activated according to each emotion (happiness, sadness, anger, etc). This map was compiled following a study of 700 Finnish, Swedish and Taiwanese volunteers.

They used a topographical self-report tool to reveal that different emotional states are associated with topographically distinct and culturally universal bodily sensations; these sensations could underlie conscious emotional experiences. Monitoring the topography of emotion-triggered bodily sensations brings forth a unique tool for emotion research and could even provide a biomarker for emotional disorders.

Participants were first asked to watch video sequences associated with different emotions and identify parts of their body where they felt an increase or decrease of bodily sensations.

Emotions are often felt in the body, and somatosensory feedback has been proposed to trigger conscious emotional experiences. The resulting map shows that each type of emotion activates a network of specific areas of the body, distinct from those activated by other types of emotions.

Every type of emotion carries a specific unique energy and a different vibrational frequency. All organs, tissues, membranes, glands, cells, vibrate in precise frequencies in the human body and they are all influenced by our emotions.

Different emotions were consistently associated with statistically separable bodily sensation maps across experiments. These maps were concordant across West European and East Asian samples. Statistical classifiers distinguished emotion-specific activation maps accurately, confirming independence of topographies across emotions.

emotional body map aura kirilian photography Fascinating Study Shows How Emotions Are Mapped On The Human Body

The body map shows emotions such as anger are mainly active in the chest, the lower part of the face and arms, with particular intensity on the hands. On disgust, it activates the body areas which are mainly concentrated around the mouth and throat. As for love, three areas are concerned, the face, chest and lower abdomen. Finally, happiness is probably the most significant emotion that solicits our enitre body to respond, as the study shows that it generates bodily sensations in all areas, especially on the face and chest.

The body map identifies areas in which the people experienced increased sensory activity when emotion is felt, but also lists the areas that are home to a decrease in sensory activity. Thus, we learn that the emotions associated with depression have the effect of generating a feeling of decline in sensory activity in the arms and legs.

The results obtained by the research show a remarkable consistency in results, suggesting that the mechanisms underlying bodily sensations that we perceive when we experience a particular emotion are likely dictated by energetic patterns and biology rather than culture.

The researchers proposed that emotions represented in the somatosensory system are culturally universal categorical somatotopic maps. Perception of these emotion-triggered bodily changes may play a key role in generating consciously felt emotions.

This work was published December 31, 2013 in the journal Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences under the title “Bodily maps of emotions” .