Painkillers ‘cut skin cancer risk’


Painkillers

Regularly taking aspirin and ibuprofen may help protect against some forms of skin cancer, research suggests.

An Australian analysis of all studies to date found that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduced the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 18%.

The drugs have previously been linked to a reduced risk of other cancers, including colon cancer.

Experts said staying out of the sun and wearing sun cream were the most effective ways to avoid skin cancer.

The theory that NSAIDs such as aspirin may protect against skin cancer has been raised before, but the overall evidence had been unclear.

“Start Quote

A safer option for those who wish to reduce their likelihood of skin cancer may be to spend a few minutes a day less outside”

Prof Brian DiffeyNewcastle University

So researchers did an analysis of nine studies looking at use of the drugs and the risk of squamous cell carcinoma – the most common form of skin cancer.

Reporting in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, they found that taking any NSAID was associated with an 18% lower risk of developing the cancer.

And taking NSAIDs other than aspirin was linked with a 15% reduced risk.

Side effects

It is the most convincing evidence so far that the drugs help prevent the development of squamous cell carcinoma.

But experts still cannot be sure of the effects because some factors – such as how much sun someone is exposed to or even what doses of the drugs they take – have been difficult to pin down with any accuracy.

It is thought that NSAIDs, which also include diclofenac, may prevent skin cancer because they inhibit an enzyme called COX-2, which is involved in tumour development.

The researchers did find a greater degree of reduced risk associated with use of the drugs in people with pre-cancerous growths or a history of skin cancer.

It raises the possibility that the drugs could be used as a preventive treatment in some groups.

Some people are prescribed NSAIDs long term for conditions such as arthritis, but they are not recommended for regular use in healthy people because of side effects, which can include, in rare cases, bleeding in the stomach.

Prof Dorothy Bennett, an expert in cell biology, at St George’s, University of London, said the results were worth knowing about.

But the drugs’ side effects would likely prevent their routine use in everyone.

“Noting that most [squamous cell carcinomas] are curable by surgery if caught early, this reduction in risk is interesting, but it is hard to say whether it is worth taking action over it.”

Prof Brian Diffey, emeritus professor of photobiology, dermatological sciences at Newcastle University, said that reducing the risk of skin cancer by the same magnitude seen in the study could be done with a small reduction in sun exposure.

“Given that long-term therapy with NSAIDs is not without risk, a safer option for those who wish to reduce their likelihood of skin cancer may be to spend a few minutes a day less outside.”

EU approves first stem cell therapy


 

Eye

A stem cell therapy has been approved for widespread medical use in the EU for the first time.

Stem cells can become any type of tissue in the body and hold huge promise in medicine.

The treatment – Holoclar – is used to treat a rare eye condition that can lead to blindness. It works in around 80% of cases.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the move represented a “major step forward” for the field.

The act of blinking strips cells off the surface of the eye. These are normally replaced by limbal stem cells in order to keep the eye healthy.

Some people, after burns or acid attacks, do not have enough limbal stem cells and the surface of the eye begins to scar.

It can eventually lead to blindness.

Restore

Research clinics and specialised centres have been testing a technique to replace the lost stem cells.

A small sample of remaining stem cells are taken, grown into larger numbers in the laboratory and placed back on to the surface of the eye.

The decision by the EMA means the therapy can move beyond a limited research or case-by-case setting and be offered far more widely.

Enrica Alteri, the head of the Human Medicines Evaluation Division at the EMA said: “This recommendation represents a major step forward in delivering new and innovative medicines to patients.”

Prof Chris Mason, from University College London, told the BBC: “This is a therapy that has been done a lot and is very successful, we’ve treated around 20 people at Moorfields hospital.

“This move would enable far more people to access it, you could now prescribe this.”

Mother declared clinically dead in October gives birth to healthy baby


  • Woman was 23 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to hospital in Milan
  • She had suffered brain hemorrhage and doctors were unable to save her
  • Family asked for life support machine to be kept on to save unborn child
  • Doctors then performed cesarean in the 32nd week of the pregnancy   
Miraculous: A mother declared clinically dead in October after suffering a brain hemorrhage has given birth to a baby boy in Milan

Miraculous: A mother declared clinically dead in October after suffering a brain hemorrhage has given birth to a baby boy in Milan

A mother declared clinically dead in October after suffering a brain hemorrhage has given birth to a baby boy nine weeks after doctors agreed to keep her on a life support machine to save the child.

The 36-year-old woman, who has not been named, was 23 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to Milan’s San Raffaele hospital.

Tragically doctors were unable to save her life.

But they agreed to keep her alive with equipment to control her breathing and maintain her blood flow – while a tube to her intestines fed the growing fetus.

When the woman reached the 32nd week of pregnancy yesterday, doctors performed a cesarean section, La Stampa reported.

The baby boy was born weighing 1.8 kilos and in good health, The Local reports.

A medic at the hospital said: ‘Behind this joy, we can’t forget the pain the family is feeling over the loss of this young woman.’

Although it is rare, the astonishing procedure has succeeded in the past.

In 1993, a baby boy was born more than three months after his mother was shot dead in the US.

Trisha Marshall, of California, was just 17 weeks pregnant when she was killed in a botched robbery attempt after trying to threaten an armed amputee with a meat cleaver.

Doctors kept the fetus alive for more than 100 days in her womb before disconnecting her ventilator after succesfully delivering the baby, The Baltimore Sun reports.

In a similar case in Ireland this week, a pregnant woman, who has also been pronounced clinically dead, is being kept on life support, but against the wishes of her family, according to the Irish Independent.

 

Rare technique: The woman was kept alive with equipment to keep her breathing and maintain blood flow - while a tube to her intestines fed the growing fetus

Rare technique: The woman was kept alive with equipment to keep her breathing and maintain blood flow – while a tube to her intestines fed the growing fetus

Doctors have so far refused to back down due to a ruling that gives the rights of mothers and their unborn children the same status.

The woman had suffered a catastrophic internal injury resulting from a blood clot and was transferred to a specialist unit in Dublin – but doctors were unable to revive her.

She was then taken back to the hospital she was first admitted to, which is now understood to be seeking legal advice on whether it can grant the parent’s request and turn her life-support machine off.

Sources quoted by Irish media say the woman’s parents are also now considering mounting a legal challenge – against the decision not to switch off life-support.

If the case proceeds to court, the state would be required to provide representation for the foetus

From Marijuana Legalization To Delayed Forgetfulness, 5 Cannabis Victories In 2014


marijuana
This was a big year for marijuana and its advocates, and the gaining momentum suggests 2015 will be even bigger. 

In 2013, the U.S. polling group Gallup found that for the first time ever, the majority of Americans approved the full legalization of marijuana. Today, that rate of 58 percent has fallen to a slimmer majority of 51 percent, but the legalization boom has picked up even more steam.

New Year’s Day marked the first day marijuana was legal in Colorado. From there, the plant only continued to make headway in both political and scientific circles. Here’s a look at some ways marijuana was the defining drug of 2014.

1. All The Stops In Colorado

Colorado’s full recreational legalization didn’t just give stoners an excuse to indulge in their habit (which it probably did in spades). It also marked the first concrete sign of political change. For years, the public had been pushing, as it still currently does, for looser regulations on marijuana — whether it’s for recreational use or as medicine. But limited access to a potential upside, mixed with residual stigma and fear, made the move difficult.

After decades of being caught in the loop of morality fueling legislation, science has managed to sway public opinion with facts. With Colorado’s financial boost and decreased crime, both economists and politicians are finally breathing a sigh of relief.

2. 4 More Onboard

The dominos have already started to fall in the wake of Colorado’s legalization. Since Jan. 1, three more states, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, and Washington, D.C. have jumped onboard — a surefire sign that medical legalization isn’t the ceiling in the U.S. Some have even begun forecasting the next round of legalization in 2015, with fence-sitting states like Massachusetts, California, Missouri, Hawaii, and Maine poised to fall where the grass is green. With each state that shifts its position, the drug moves from outlawed substance (marijuana is still considered the most dangerous type of drug by the U.S. government) to potential therapeutic.

3. The War Is Over

Twenty-three states currently have laws on the books legalizing medical marijuana, but that number may skyrocket after Congress quietly broke ground with its Dec. 16 passage of a bill that prevents the Department of Justice from blocking new state laws.

“The war on medical marijuana is over,” Bill Piper, a lobbyist with the Drug Policy Alliance, told the Los Angeles Times. “Now the fight moves on to legalization of all marijuana. This is the strongest signal we have received from Congress [that] the politics have really shifted. … Congress has been slow to catch up with the states and American people, but it is catching up.”

4. Not An IQ Killer

Contrary to the deleterious effects of high school pot use, cannabis researchers have found in one October study no relationship between moderate use during mid-teenage years and decreased exam scores or IQ levels. Looking at the long-term marijuana use of over 2,000 kids as they aged from 8 to 15 years old, researchers from the University College London found casual marijuana use predicted equal scores on IQ tests and other intelligence exams. Heavy use — meaning it was consumed at least 50 times by the time kids reached age 15 — led to a three percent drop in test scores. In both cases, however, alcohol use predicted lower scores.

5. Slowing Alzheimer’s Roll

Politics wasn’t the only new frontier for marijuana. In August, researchers from the University of South Florida discovered that low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis — helped slow the harmful effects of brain aging that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The amyloid plaques that accumulate in the brain, which get turned into neuron-blocking tangles, were found to subside when THC was more present in subjects’ brains. THC also enhanced mitochondrial function, increasing energy production levels.

Sugar And Chocolate Cravings Due To Nutrition Deficiency?


Craving for sugary treats usually occurs due to an imbalance in the diet. The usual American diet of juice, sandwiches, pizzas, hamburgers are filled with sugar which causes dependence and addiction similar to what a drug would do. The biological clock inside the body gets adjusted to a certain level of consumption soon and instantly starts craving for it when you start to cut back.

2. Lack of minerals and vitamins

The cravings of chocolates and sugar can be due to the lack of some vitamins and minerals like copper, zinc, magnesium, chromium, B-vitamins, Vitamin C and vital fatty acids, as stated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

3. Low blood sugar levels

An extreme level of sugar-craving indicates low blood sugar. Blood requires a certain level of glucose for its regular functioning. When this quantity goes down, the body naturally reacts to up its intake of glucose level and triggers the craving to have sugar or sweets. Craving for sugar also indicates the lack of minerals like chromium and magnesium.

4. Deficiency in iron and blood

Craving for sweet dishes are seen among anemic patients and women especially during menses. This propensity is due to a fluctuation in estrogen hormones. During these circumstances, the body lacks the power to absorb nutrients.

5. Nutritional deficiency in the brain

Sugar-craving can increase if you are going through depression or stress. Generally, the sugar rush one feels while indulging in sugary comfort foods cause a sense of temporary happiness with is actually a sugar high. To avoid this, eat fruits which are naturally sweet and avoid  processed sugary treats.

How Heavy Metal Toxicity Can Ruin Your Health .


To a greater or lesser degree, most of us are contaminated with heavy metals today – some seriously, some without ever knowing it. It is a subject that just doesn’t cross our everyday minds and physicians are often not alert to the possibility of metal exposure such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. In fact, the chronic accumulation of toxic contaminants that may not achieve classic ‘acute toxicity’ thresholds levels receives little attention at all, although it may nevertheless contribute to important adverse healtheffects. (1)

On the other hand, acute toxicity – which is most often the consequence of occupational exposure – does tend to be recognized, properly diagnosed, and then treated. Acute toxicities arise from sudden exposures to substantial quantities of some metals, and typically these toxins affect multiple organ systems; commonly the GI tract, cardiovascular system, the brain and nervous system, the endocrine system, kidneys, hair, and nails.

How Heavy Metal Toxicity Can Ruin Your Health How Heavy Metal Toxicity Can Ruin Your Health

Unfortunately, chronic heavy metal toxicity that builds up over longer periods of time often presents with symptomology similar to many other chronic health conditions, therefore may not be immediately recognized or accurately diagnosed by health physicians.

Chronic toxicities are manifested as conditions that develop over extended periods from chronic exposure to relatively low concentrations, for example through conventional cosmetics. Increasedcancer risk is a common feature of chronic exposure to certain metals. The exact mechanism of their carcinogenicity is not completely understood, although many cause DNA damage, alter gene function, interfere with innate DNA repair systems, disrupt gene expression, and deregulate cellular functions.(2)

Within the body, heavy metals act as free radicals, causing cellular damage. This results in rapid aging and depletes the body’s natural capacities to heal itself, aggravating disease. Heavy metals slowly accumulate in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, bones, central nervous system and brain where they degrade health without being noticed or diagnosed.

Not all metals are toxic and in fact in trace amounts, some are essential to human biochemical processes. For example, zinc is an important co-factor for several enzymatic reactions in the human body, vitamin B-12 has a cobalt atom at its core, and hemoglobin contains iron. Likewise, copper, manganese, selenium, chromium, and molybdenum are all trace elements, which are important in the human diet. Although these metals are essential to body functions, accumulation past trace amounts may have detrimental effects, should the usual mechanisms of detoxification and elimination be impaired.

Heavy metal poisoning thus means the accumulation of metals in the body past trace amounts. Common examples of metals that are toxic in any amounts are mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic.

The potential for serious health consequences from heavy metal contamination has been documented.(3) Heavy metal intoxications may damage central nervous function, the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal (GI) systems, lungs, kidneys, liver, endocrine glands, and bones (Jang 2011; Adal 2013). Chronic heavy metal exposure has been implicated in several degenerative diseases of these same systems and may increase the risk of some cancers (Galanis 2009; Wu 2012).

Other symptoms of toxic heavy metal poisoning range from skin ailments, intellectual disabilities in children, dementia in adults, central nervous system (CNS) disorders, nerve damage, organ degeneration, kidney (renal) diseases, liver (hepatic) diseases, insomnia, personality changes, emotional instability, depression, panic attacks, memory loss, headaches, vision disturbances, peripheral neuropathy and carpal tunnel syndrome, blood acidity, lack of coordination (ataxia), hardening arteries, encephalopathy or cardiovascular diseases (CVD).(4)

With several toxic metals lacking robust pathways for elimination, or otherwise remaining in the body for a long time, body burdens of some toxic metals are a major detriment to health. (5) There are many ways to detox from heavy metals, chelation therapy being the most common treatment in terms of acute poisoning, but comes with a smorgasbord of detrimental health and side effects.

It is possible to reduce metal toxicity risk through lifestyle choices that diminish the probability of harmful heavy metal uptake, such as dietary measures that promote daily detoxification. Ensuring that the body’s natural metabolic processes are strong will further assist in naturally excreting heavy metals.

Detoxing from heavy metals has strong anti-aging and health enhancing benefits and daily detoxification is a safe way of supporting your body in naturally eliminating contaminants. Addingantioxidants and zeolite to your daily routine will attract and remove heavy metals from the body, assisting in the maintenance of healthy metabolism.

Stay tuned for the next instalment from Marie which will look in detail at common sources of heavy metal exposure, plus ways to support your body’s elimination processes and reduce the effects of heavy metals exposure. In the meantime, check out these previous article by Marie Be…

Resources:

[1] http://www.lef.org/Protocols/Health-Concerns/Heavy-Metal-Detoxification/Page-02

[2] Jang, D. H., and Hoffman, R. S. Heavy metal chelation in neurotoxic exposures. Neurol Cin. 2011;29(3):607–22

[3] Galanis, A., Karapetsas, A., and Sandaltzopoulos, R. Metal-induced carcinogenesis, oxidative stress and hypoxia signalling. Mutat Res. 2009;674(1-2):31–5

[4] ATSDR. Detailed Data Table for the Priority List of Hazardous Substances 2011: 1–20. Available online at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/spl/resources/ATSDR_2011_SPL_Detailed_Data_Table.pd

[5] http://www.biblelife.org/heavymetals.htm

Ten Shocking Facts about Mercury Amalgam


Mercury is toxic to humans and dental amalgam fillings, which uses a 50% mercury base combined with other metals, is one of the most common types of exposure.  Research proving the extensive damage mercury can cause to human tissue and brain function is why I advocate discontinuing their use and, if you have them, their removal. The following 10 facts expose the dangers of mercury amalgam and, after reading these, you will probably want to confirm what type of filling material your dentist uses – and possibly make a change!

Mecury Fillings 300x218 Ten Shocking Facts about Mercury Amalgam

1. Mercury Fillings Leak

Exposure to mercury from fillings results from erosion of the filling, or from evaporation from the surface of the filling.  In one study, using a variety of X-ray imaging technologies, scientists examined the movement of mercury through the tooth. They found mercury in the tooth several millimeters away from the site of the filling.  They also found higher concentrations of mercury in the area of the tooth, which connects with the gum, suggesting exposure to the blood stream.  It was also found in the tartar on the teeth. [1] Conclusion? This stuff does not stay put!

2. Removing Amalgam Fillings Requires Caution!

At least, that’s the word based on a recent review of the filling removal process.  The review noted the importance of proper patient preparation before and after the procedure to minimize exposure and ensure complete removal. [2] The goal is to prevent absorption of mercury during the process.  It really begs the question why some dentist’s still use mercury amalgam?

3. Mercury is Immediately Toxic!

Mercury can enter the body through ingestion, the blood stream, and through inhalation.  Once in the body, it is quickly absorbed and distributed to the major organs.  The brain and the kidney suffer the greatest amount of damage. [3] And the damage doesn’t take a long time to develop.

A study of children 8-18 observed kidney damage in children with mercury amalgam exposure.  They found chemical indicators of kidney damage in the urine of children with the dental amalgam. [4]

4. Mercury May Be Linked to Autism

The horrible effect that mercury has on the brain has been known for centuries and mercury exposure during key developmental stages has been linked to autism spectrum disorders.  One study found that women with six or more amalgam fillings were 3x more likely to have children with severe autism compared to those with five or less fillings. [5]

5. Mercury Affects Hormone Levels

The damaging effects of mercury aren’t limited to the kidneys and brain; it also affects the adrenal system. Once absorbed into the blood stream, five potential consequences have been observed: [6]

  • It accumulates in the organs that regulate hormone function.
  • It damages the tissue of these organs.
  • Hormone concentrations change.
  • Mercury interacts specifically interacts with sex hormones.
  • Enzyme production is affected.

Those are not the only problems; testosterone and mercury combine to create a toxic neurochemical.  Estrogen appears to reduce the effect of mercury and offers some degree of protective effect.  Researchers have suggested this difference may explain the difference in the way autism affects boys and girls. [7]

6. Men Are At Greater Risk

Although not related to autism, mercury’s effect on DNA function has also been shown to be gender specific.  A survey among dental professionals evaluated the impact of regular exposure to mercury amalgam on DNA health.  The study found the greatest negative impact on DNA function occurred in men. [8]

7. Mercury Harms the Thyroid

Seventy-five women-child pairs were evaluated for the impact of mercury exposure and thyroid function.  The study covered the pre-natal through post-natal period.  The results identified low-levels of mercury, such as those from amalgam fillings, to impact thyroid hormone levels. [9] A healthy thyroid is very important for development, especially neurological function, and this should be a red flag to any woman intending to have children!

8. Mercury Fillings Affect Oral Health

Amalgam fillings are toxic to mouth tissue.  A study released earlier this year analyzed oral cells from 63 men and women.  Independent of other factors such as alcohol and smoking, those with fillings containing mercury showed cellular and DNA damage. [10]

9. Mercury Amalgam is Dangerous to Children

Based on the research, mercury-based fillings for children can best be described as irresponsible.  An ongoing study reported in 2012 that children with mercury fillings have increased levels of mercury in their body, year after year. The control group of children without fillings did not show this same rise. [11]Another study has linked several aspects of oral health, specifically burning-mouth sensation, ulcers, and white patches to the presence of mercury fillings. [12]

10. Medical Officials are Aware of All of This!

Medical officials have been aware of the dangers of mercury amalgam fillings for well over a decade.  Records going back to 2001 report increasing levels of mercury in the liver, kidney, and brain in individuals with amalgam fillings.  Researchers have even identified it in the amniotic fluid and placenta of pregnant women – and the meconium (the initial blackish poop) of newborn babies.

Even with the knowledge about the danger of mercury and mercury vapors, amalgam fillings have been used in children as young as 26 months, just past their 2nd birthday! [13] Before you or the children you love get another dental filling, be sure to ask your dentist what they use. If it’s a mercury amalgam, also called dental amalgam, request alternatives… or find another dentist!

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Article References:

  1. Harris HH, Vogt S, Eastgate H, Legnini DG, Hornberger B, Cai Z, Lai B, Lay PA. Migration of mercury from dental amalgam through human teeth. J Synchrotron Radiat. 2008 Mar;15(Pt 2):123-8. doi: 10.1107/S0909049507061468. Epub 2008 Feb 19.
  2. Colson DG. A safe protocol for amalgam removal. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:517391. doi: 10.1155/2012/517391. Epub 2012 Jan 18.
  3. Park JD, Zheng W. Human exposure and health effects of inorganic and elemental mercury. J Prev Med Public Health. 2012 Nov;45(6):344-52. doi: 10.3961/jpmph.2012.45.6.344. Epub 2012 Nov 29.
  4. Geier DA, Carmody T, Kern JK, King PG, Geier MR. A significant dose-dependent relationship between mercury exposure from dental amalgams and kidney integrity biomarkers: a further assessment of the Casa Pia children’s dental amalgam trial. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2013 Apr;32(4):434-40. doi: 10.1177/0960327112455671. Epub 2012 Aug 14.
  5. Geier DA, Kern JK, Geier MR. A prospective study of prenatal mercury exposure from maternal dental amalgams and autism severity. Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2009;69(2):189-97.
  6. Tan SW, Meiller JC, Mahaffey KR. The endocrine effects of mercury in humans and wildlife. Crit Rev Toxicol. 2009;39(3):228-69. doi: 10.1080/10408440802233259.
  7. Geier DA, Kern JK, Geier MR. The biological basis of autism spectrum disorders: Understanding causation and treatment by clinical geneticists. Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2010;70(2):209-26.
  8. Goodrich JM, Basu N, Franzblau A, Dolinoy DC. Mercury biomarkers and DNA methylation among Michigan dental professionals. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2013 Apr;54(3):195-203. doi: 10.1002/em.21763. Epub 2013 Feb 26.
  9. Ursinyova M, Uhnakova I, Serbin R, Masanova V, Husekova Z, Wsolova L. The relation between human exposure to mercury and thyroid hormone status. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2012 Sep;148(3):281-91. doi: 10.1007/s12011-012-9382-0. Epub 2012 Mar 18.
  10. Visalli G, Baluce B, La Maestra S, Micale RT, Cingano L, De Flora S, Di Pietro A. Genotoxic damage in the oral mucosa cells of subjects carrying restorative dental fillings. Arch Toxicol. 2013 Jan;87(1):179-87. doi: 10.1007/s00204-012-0915-2. Epub 2012 Aug 8.
  11. Geier DA, Carmody T, Kern JK, King PG, Geier MR. A dose-dependent relationship between mercury exposure from dental amalgams and urinary mercury levels: a further assessment of the Casa Pia Children’s Dental Amalgam Trial. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2012 Jan;31(1):11-7. doi: 10.1177/0960327111417264. Epub 2011 Jul 29.
  12. Al-Saleh I, Al-Sedairi AA. Mercury (Hg) burden in children: the impact of dental amalgam. Sci Total Environ. 2011 Jul 15;409(16):3003-15. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.04.047. Epub 2011 May 20.
  13. Richardson GM, Wilson R, Allard D, Purtill C, Douma S, Gravière J. Mercury exposure and risks from dental amalgam in the US population, post-2000. Sci Total Environ. 2011 Sep 15;409(20):4257-68. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.06.035. Epub 2011 Jul 22.

Why Emotional Excess is Essential to Writing and Creativity.


“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”

The third volume of Anaïs Nin’s diaries has been on heavy rotation in recent weeks, yielding Nin’s thoughtful and timeless meditations on life,mass movements, Paris vs. New York, what makes a great city, and the joy of handcraft.

The subsequent installment, The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947 (public library) is an equally rich treasure trove of wisdom on everything from life to love to the art of writing. In fact, Nin’s gift shines most powerfully when she addresses all of these subjects and more in just a few ripe sentences. Such is the case with the following exquisite letter of advice she sent to a seventeen-year-old aspiring author by the name of Leonard W., whom she had taken under her wing as creative mentor.

I like to live always at the beginnings of life, not at their end. We all lose some of our faith under the oppression of mad leaders, insane history, pathologic cruelties of daily life. I am by nature always beginning and believing and so I find your company more fruitful than that of, say, Edmund Wilson, who asserts his opinions, beliefs, and knowledge as the ultimate verity. Older people fall into rigid patterns. Curiosity, risk, exploration are forgotten by them. You have not yet discovered that you have a lot to give, and that the more you give the more riches you will find in yourself. It amazed me that you felt that each time you write a story you gave away one of your dreams and you felt the poorer for it. But then you have not thought that this dream is planted in others, others begin to live it too, it is shared, it is the beginning of friendship and love.

[…]

You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. If it seems to you that I move in a world of certitudes, you, par contre, must benefit from the great privilege of youth, which is that you move in a world of mysteries. But both must be ruled by faith.

Prognostic Value of Plasma Heart-Type Fatty Acid-Binding Protein in Patients With Acute Pulmonary Embolism: A Meta-analysis


BACKGROUND:  Several studies have described heart-type fatty acid-binding protein (H-FABP) from early blood samples as a predictor of outcome in acute pulmonary embolism (PE). This systematic review is designed to determine the prognostic value of H-FABP aimed for use in patients with acute PE.

METHODS:  Studies published prior to January 2013 in PubMed, Ovid, and Embase were reviewed, and the relationship between H-FABP and the risk of acute PE-related death or serious complications was evaluated. A summary estimate was calculated using the bivariate random-effects approach, and covariate analysis was used to examine sources of heterogeneity among studies.

RESULTS:  A systematic search revealed six studies containing a total of 618 patients. Elevated H-FABP level was significantly associated with short-term death (within 30 days of embolism) (OR, 40.78; 95% CI, 11.87-140.09) and with complicated clinical events (OR, 32.71; 95% CI, 11.98-89.26). The prevalence of serious complications and death in acute PE was 51% (95% CI, 43%-59%) and 31% (95% CI, 24% -39%), respectively. The combined sensitivity and specificity for the prediction of death and serious complications was 98% and 86%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:  H-FABP is associated with an increased risk of mortality or complicated clinical events in patients with acute PE across different studies with a high degree of clinical and methodologic diversity. The result suggests that H-FABP has significant prognostic value for acute PE.

​Brain GPS: UK scientists identify ‘internal compass’ controlling directional sense .


The precise part of the human brain that controls people’s sense of direction has been identified by leading scientists in a groundbreaking piece of research.

Those who have more robust nerve signals in what the scientists describe as the brain’s “internal compass” are generally more accomplished navigators, the study suggests.

AFP Photo / Miguel Medina

The report, published in prestigious science journal Current Biology, indicates people tend to get lost when their internal navigational compass cannot maintain pace with these nerve signals.

While scientists have long held the view that such nerve signals exist in the human brain, the theory was based on mere speculation until now.

University College London (UCL) researchers who conducted the study hope the discovery will help shed light on the relationship between Alzheimer’s and a deteriorating sense of direction.

Scientists requested 16 volunteers take the time to mentally log a straightforward virtual courtyard. They were then asked to navigate around the space, relying on memory alone, while their brain patterns were scanned using a high-tech MRI machine.

The scans identified the relevant part of the brain responsible for such navigation, showing nerve cell activity in the region each time the participants attempted to virtually make their way around the digital courtyard.

The researchers concluded that the stronger the signal in that part of the brain – known as the entorhinal region – the better the volunteers were at navigating around the courtyard by memory.

Dr. John Isaac of independent scientific research charity the Wellcome Trust said the research adds to our understanding of diseases such as dementia.

“Why some people are better navigators than others is intrinsically interesting, but [the research] also helps us explain the processes that go wrong in degenerative diseases such as dementia – leaving people feeling lost and confused,” he told the BBC.

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