Europe against GMO crops! Please, sign the Avaaz petition!
I already did. It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!

A Christmas study

A very fun article that I prepared for Xmas but then, more important things came out.
So, according to this new study, Jesus was born in June (17.June) and he is Gemini. How do you feel about this new information? How would you celebrate Christmas in view of this new knowledge?
As for me, I don't have a problem with this result. I never believed he was born in December. If you think about it, what's the chance of him being born precisely in the end of the year in the Roman Catholic Calendar? And coinciding with the winter solstice (and with many holidays of non-Christian) . Not very big chance, actually. The holiday was planned to be then and I'm absolutely ok with that. In December, I'm celebrating the beginning of the new year, the new hope coming with the rising Sun and of course Christmas.
The point is that people should know that they are not celebrating Christ's birthday on this day, but a symbolic birth.
And as for the science-there are many speculation of what that star was-it could be a GRB or Super Nova or a conjunction. So, there is a place for even more speculations if you feel like it. Do you?

'Jesus was born in June', astronomers claim

Astronomers have calculated that Christmas should be in June, by charting the appearance of the 'Christmas star' which the Bible says led the three Wise Men to Jesus.

Surprising health news

A really short one since I have very little time left today. Here are few quite surprising news I found yesterday. They are important for our life and health (and they are all confirmed by my own experience), so I hope you appreciate them.

  1. Grape extract kills cancer cells
  2. Sunlight could stop short-sightedness
  3. Skimping on sleep linked to hardened arteries
  4. Getting less sleep associated with lower resistance to colds

Grape extract kills cancer cells

An extract from grape seeds can destroy cancer cells, US research suggests.

In lab experiments, scientists found that the extract stimulated leukaemia cells to commit suicide.

Within 24 hours, 76% of leukaemia cells exposed to the extract were killed off, while healthy cells were unharmed, Clinical Cancer Research reports.

The study raises the possibility of new cancer treatments, but scientists said it was too early to recommend that people eat grapes to ward off cancer.

Grape seeds contain a number of antioxidants, including resveratrol, which is known to have anti-cancer properties, as well as positive effect on the heart.

Previous research has shown grapeseed extract has an effect on skin, breast, bowel, lung, stomach and prostate cancer cells in the laboratory. However, the University of Kentucky study is the first to test its impact on a blood cancer.

The researchers exposed leukaemia cells to grape extract in a range of different doses.

One of the higher doses produced a marked effect, causing large numbers of the cells to commit suicide in a process known as apoptosis. This is a natural method of getting rid of damaged and potentially dangerous cells. When the mechanism behind apoptosis breaks down, cancerous cells can survive and multiply.

The researchers found grapeseed extract activates a protein called JNK which helps to regulate apoptosis. When they exposed the leukaemia cells to an agent that inhibits JNK, the grapeseed extract effect was cancelled out. Silencing the gene that makes JNK also blocked the extract's ability to kill cancer cells. source


Sunlight could stop short-sightedness

A spreading pandemic of myopia among the world’s urban children may be avoided if children spend at least two to three hours each day outdoors.

Australian scientists from The Vision Centre say there is persuasive evidence that increased exposure to daylight can prevent the permanent short-sightedness and eye damage which now afflicts up to 80-90 per cent of children in cities in East Asia such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

The finding demolishes long-held beliefs that short sight is due mainly to reading, and overuse of TVs and computers by youngsters, or is primarily linked to genetic factors. Myopia affects over 1.6 billion people worldwide, is spreading rapidly among city populations and, in its most severe form, can cause blindness by middle-age.

“The prevalence of myopia in the Australian population is dramatically lower than in other urban societies round the world - yet we do just as much reading and computer work,” says Professor Ian Morgan of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science (The Vision Centre) and Australian National University.

The team’s conclusions are borne out by new research in Singapore and the United States, which has reached similar conclusions.

"Humans are naturally slightly long-sighted. We see that in rural populations all round the world. But when you start intensive schooling, and spend little or no time outdoors, you get this dramatic rise in myopia. In some East Asian cities 80-90 per cent of children are affected - and governments and the World Health Organisation are very worried about it.”

“The idea that ‘reading makes you short-sighted’ has been popular for a couple of hundred years. But recent data shows that the time spent indoors is a more important factor. Children who read a lot, but still go outdoors, have far less myopia.”

Professor Morgan explained that myopia is essentially an eye that has grown too long, and once it is too long, you can’t shorten it again: “So you have to stop it happening in the first place.

“Our hypothesis is that the light intensity experienced outdoors - which can be hundreds of times brighter than indoor light - causes a release of dopamine, which is known to block the growth of the eyeball. This prevents it taking on the distorted shape found in myopic people. We are now testing this idea.” source

Skimping on sleep linked to hardened arteries

Just one extra hour of sleep a day appears to lower the risk of developing calcium deposits in the arteries, a precursor to heart disease, US researchers said on Tuesday. The finding adds to a growing list of health consequences - including weight gain, diabetes and high blood pressure - linked to getting too little sleep.

"We found that people who on average slept longer were at reduced risk of developing new coronary artery calcifications over five years," said Diane Lauderdale of the University of Chicago Medical Center, whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"It was surprisingly strong," Lauderdale said. Calcium deposits in the coronary arteries are considered a precursor of future heart disease. "It's a very early marker of future risk," she said.

Unlike other studies looking at the risks of getting too little sleep, which use people's own estimates of their sleep patterns, Lauderdale's team set out to measure actual sleep patterns.

They fitted 495 people aged 35 to 47 with sophisticated wrist bands that tracked subtle body movements. Information from these recorders was fed into a computer program that was able to detect actual sleep patterns.

The team used special computed tomography, or CT, scans to assess the buildup of calcium inside heart arteries, performing one scan at the start of the study and one five years later.

After accounting for other differences such as age, gender, race, education, smoking and risk for sleep apnea, the team found sleep duration appeared to play a significant role in the development of coronary artery calcification.

About 12% of the people in the study developed artery calcification during the five-year study period.

Among those who had slept less than five hours a night, 27% had developed artery calcification. That dropped to 11% among those who slept five to seven hours, and to 6% among those who slept more than seven hours a night. source

Getting less sleep associated with lower resistance to colds

Individuals who get less than seven hours of sleep per night appear about three times as likely to develop respiratory illness following exposure to a cold virus as those who sleep eight hours or more, according to a report in the January 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Studies have demonstrated that sleep deprivation impairs some immune function, according to background information in the article. Research indicates that those who sleep approximately seven to eight hours per night have the lowest rates of heart disease illness and death.

The less an individual slept, the more likely he or she was to develop a cold. Lower sleep efficiency was also associated with developing a cold—participants who spent less than 92 percent of their time in bed asleep were five and a half times more likely to become ill than those whose efficiency was 98 percent or more. Feeling rested was not associated with colds. source

Autism and genius

Ok, here's an article I found that shocked me. Because it's absolutely correct. People keep on writing and writing on autism, but in the end, one of the most talented people on Earth are autists. If we're able to decide whether an autist baby should live, how we're supposed to do it!

From one point of view, the baby may or may not be a genious. S/he may or may not have decent life. What's certain is that parenting that baby is going to be very hard. How the parents are supposed to make that decision?!

And what's even worst, people get diagnosed with autism very easily- the conditions are so abstract, you can put many weirder people in it. Does that mean they aren't suppose to live? Many of us have their peculiarities. Some of us learn to manage them and to live a good life, some don't. But that doesn't make our life worthless!

I have no opinion on the question. It's really hard to even think about it let alone consider it rationally. If it's about pure statistics, then it's best not to have such a child, both for you and for him/her. But even 0.5% of chance can become reality. Then a decision based on statistics is pure nonsense. It's a risk that one should decide to take or not. I don't knwo what I'd do and I don't want to know. Luckily, such tests are not available yet. But the question is really really serious.

A prenatal test for autism would deprive the world of future geniuses

As a new book speculates that 'Britain's Einstein' was autistic, an autism expert warns that a prenatal test for the condition would prevent brilliant scientists like Paul Dirac from ever being born

A new book on the greatest British physicist since Newton speculates that both his profound mathematical abilites and his extreme social awkwardness stemmed from undiagnosed autism.

The claims – from a biography of Paul Dirac by Graham Farmelo, The Strangest Man – tie in with an article on the BBC website from leading autism researcher Prof Simon Baron-Cohen. Baron-Cohen says we need a public debate about the prenatal diagnosis of autism. Although such a test is not yet available, it soon could be.

Baron-Cohen points out that the use of embryo selection during IVF to reject babies with autism genes might have the effect of preventing some individuals with brilliant mathematical abilities from being born.

Farmelo's book presents a highly detailed picture of a brilliant but profoundly odd man with an extremely troubled relationship with his parents. Given Dirac's contribution to science, Farmelo argues that he is shockingly under-appreciated and largely unknown in the UK, particularly in his home town of Bristol.

Dirac was one of the pioneers of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. He is the youngest theoretical physicist ever to win a Nobel Prize, and a year earlier in 1932 he was made Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge.

Dirac was prone to very long silences and was famous for his apparently emotionless responses to events. He also often took a very literal interpretation of statements by other people. All are characteristics of autism.

When Farmelo spoke to Baron-Cohen about the condition he said he was struck by two things. First, that autistic men often have foreign wives, "perhaps because the women were more tolerant of unusual behaviour in foreign men than in men from their own culture." Dirac was married to a Hungarian woman for 50 years.

Baron-Cohen also said that autistic people are often extremely loyal. source

A friend of mind sent me this very interesting link. It's about the attitude toward the fertility treatments of single ladies in Europe and in USA. I was very surprised to learn that doctors in France find it immoral to treat single ladies for infertility, because they are not really infertile, they just lack a partner.

I asked myself what I'm thinking on the problem. True, the idea of such programs is to make treat a medical condition. Also true that just shopping for a baby is a) disgusting b) resembling of the shopping for a pet- something that usually make people that are not ready for a new member of the family to simply leave it somewhere when they had enough of the poor creature. Should the relationship between a woman and her baby can hardly be compared to that of a pet-owner to the pet, but it still has some analogues. If all it takes to acquire a baby is money (and 9 months of delivery), then I can't help but to think that you might get it little too easy. And leave it if you find it too hard to deal with it. (sorry for calling the baby "it", but it's a gender in Bulgarian we use for babies and it's shorter than "him/her"). Let's not forget the amount of children left for adoption in the USA when this system thrives. And I am disgusted by the very idea of someone leaving her child in an institution for anything less than a sever medical condition or physical danger to the child.

Then, should I agree with the French position on the issue? Well, if we must be practical, since such treatments are paid by the government it makes sense that they should require the condition to be medical. But then the article claims that even if the single lady is paying for herself, the doctor still find it wrong to do it. Something that I cannot agree. Why? Because a "single lady" is a very abstract idea. It includes 20 years old girls that decided they are lonely, 20 years old girls who really want to be mothers (not that I understand them, but anyway) and also, 30 and 40 years old single ladies who fall in different categories. If you're 40 and you have no husband, that's your last chance to have a baby. Then why a doctor should oppose it? It's not a caprice, it's a real need. Then, how could you put limitations on the need of a woman to breed. It comes in various times, sometimes early in the life, sometimes late. But it's more or less constant.

For me the right decision is that every such candidate above certain age should be presented with 1 year for thought and if after that year she still wants the child, then she should have it. I think it's fair that the minimal age for free treatment should 30. It's not too old but neither too young. Combined with 1 year for thought, it makes a good age for motherhood. It sounds fair to me. What do you think?

hopping for Fertility Markets

When it comes to reproductive technology, Americans are more tolerant than the French.

“In a world without AIDS,” says Bernard Lejeune of the Edith Cavell Clinic in Brussels, “women would probably go to Club Med and get laid, and the problem would be solved.”

But not only does the world have AIDS, the French world in particular has restrictions and cultural mores that force single women like me to cross borders to seek out the few clinics that offer assisted reproductive technology (ART) to nontraditional clients. Two thirds of Lejeune’s patients come from France. In Spain there are fertility clinics where almost the entire staff speaks French.

I first became fascinated by the reproductive differences between countries when I was living in New York and researching the world of sperm banks for my own use. There are huge variations not only in what is legally possible but also in what is perceived as morally right or wrong.

The European geography of the authorized and the taboo is hard to interpret. There is no north-south line, no east-west Europe, no Catholic-Protestant frontier. ART is available for single women in Denmark but not in Germany or Switzerland. Egg donations are compensated and available for single women in Spain but not in Italy.

Americans might think of the French as more permissive on moral issues. But in France, gamete donation, sperm insemination, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are available only to married couples or common-law spouses. During every public sex scandal in the U.S., my French friends like to make fun of “l’Amérique puritaine,” but then I tell them that in America the only thing required from a single woman who wants to get pregnant is a credit card.

“Well, I doubt that would be possible in Texas,” replied one French researcher who studies donor-conceived children. Why Texas? It’s the old French shortcut: Texas = George W. Bush = the Christian right. Yes, I replied, even in Texas. Assisted reproductive technology for single women has never been much of a political hot potato in the U.S.

The cultural stereotypes go in both directions. I remember one dinner party where an American single woman confessed how uncomfortable she would feel if she had to live with her boyfriend under one roof without eventually getting married. “You French are more open about that,” she said. But while the French are not nearly as obsessed with marriage, they have a much more traditional vision of family. When I told her that in France reproductive technology is strictly reserved to infertile couples, she was shocked. “A Harvard graduate who had to take care of her career first and can afford it—she can’t decide to have a child on her own?!” she asked. I got the impression that what seems morally wrong in the U.S. is not deciding to have a child on your own but doing so when you can’t afford it.

Back in France, when I told friends about my eventually unsuccessful visits to American fertility clinics, they pushed for a more homemade solution. Why didn’t I trick an ex-boyfriend? Why couldn’t I find a good-looking guy in a bar?

I had trouble understanding why it seemed more acceptable to use someone’s sperm without his knowledge or consent rather than use some that was deliberately provided by an informed donor. For my French friends, anything “organic”—even if it implied lies or risks of diseases—seemed better than something produced in a clinic.

France’s restrictions spring from medical rationalization. Assisted reproduction was developed as a solution to fertility trouble, and being single is not a disease. A French reproductive endocrinologist told me that even if the French law changed she would still refuse to practice IVF on single women. She became a doctor to cure people, she explained.

The reluctance is even more pronounced because of France’s universal health care system. Sperm and egg banks are state-owned. Insemination and IVF costs are paid by the French health care system. Should French citizens, through their taxes, subsidize single women who want children?

These concerns do not really apply when reproductive medicine is market driven. In the U.S., when the infertility-based market for sperm banks declined (because male fertility problems became less important due to new IVF technologies such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection), banks started marketing their services to single women and same-sex couples. source

Here is what I found randomly in NY Times. I sincerely can't believe someone finds breastfeeding obscene.

Female milk is much more than just milk. It provides vitamins, antibodies and so on. It's critical for the little humans that they are fed by their mother and not by some idiot artificial mixture. And anybody who thinks this is repulsive clearly has a problem in his head.

That's why I wrote this comment on the blog.

"Breastfeeding is natural and healthy. Breast milk is the best food for a baby, providing more than any artificial milk could ever provide. Women should be encouraged to breastfeed, not to be restrained. Sure, many women wouldn’t post pictures of their breast on facebook, but some might want to share that moment with their friends. After all, feeding your baby should be a cute and endearing moment. It’s the best thing you would ever do for the little human.

Having said all this, I think Facebook shouldn’t prohibit or remove such pictures. Especially since male breast and nipples are fine. It’s hard enough to make a woman breastfeed, when we know what it does to the breast. Let’s not make it even harder.

And it has nothing to do with feminism. This is perfectly natural act. It’s essential for the baby’s life. Why it should be considered repulsive?!"

What do you think? (for more information of the importance of breastfeeding, please click this link: this study found that an ingredient of the breast milk has the only purpose to feed the intestinal bacteria of the baby that are essential for good digestion)

Facebook Won’t Budge on Breastfeeding Photos

Facebook is standing firm on a policy that has led to the removal of some photos posted by women that show breastfeeding.

The deletions have spurred Facebook members to stage protests both online and offline. Dozens of supporters gathered last Saturday at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., while online, and more than 11,000 members participated in a virtual “nurse-in,” or changed their profile photos to images depicting women breastfeeding.

The controversy began after several women began noticing that photographs of themselves nursing their children had been flagged for removal. They formed a group called “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding Is Not Obscene!” to protest a policy that prohibits members from uploading any content deemed to be “obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit,” which can include images showing exposed breasts.

Stephanie Knapp Muir, 40, one of the organizers of the Facebook group, said the company’s policy was unfair and discriminatory towards women. “If they were removing all photos of any exposed chest — male or female — in any context, at least that would be fair,” Ms. Muir said. “But they’re targeting women with these rules. They’ve deemed women’s breasts obscene and dangerous for children and it’s preposterous.”

Facebook has said that it has no problem with breastfeeding, but that photos showing nipples are deemed to be a violation and can be removed. It has said that the photos flagged for removal were brought to the company’s attention almost exclusively by user complaints.

As Facebook swells beyond 140 million members, regulating content on the site becomes more difficult. Barry Schnitt, a spokesman for the company, said banning nudity was a clear line to draw.

The pro-breastfeeding group has attracted more than 116,000 members. Mr. Schnitt noted that other protests around Facebook policies, such as when the company rolled out its News Feed feature, drew more support.

Ms. Muir estimated that hundreds of photos showing women breastfeeding their children had been removed from the site. “The vast majority of the removed images were in people’s private profiles — you’d have to look for them to find them,” she said. “You can opt not to do that –- just as I choose to not check out the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ group. It’s not anyone’s responsibility but my own to make that decision.” source

The gun as a medical device

A ridiculous article I met on NY Times, that was continued in New Scientist.
I couldn't find it in NY Times, so here's just the NS link.
It's not even ridiculous, it's pathetic. Now, notice the formulation of the company: "the patient will need it to assist his/her daily life". Can you believe what the requirements of life of a disabled person in USA are? If s/he needs a gun!
Jokes aside, I think that the love of firearms in the USA got too far. Obviously this whole story is a publicity stunt, but I cannot but wonder what kind of country this is if a disabled person need to shoot people with a special gun. Even if we accept that somebody might need this for protection, still, such a person would first need a personal assistant. And if s/he has one, then it's obvious that the assistant can buy a gun for him/herself. And think what such a person can do to the assistant with that gun. Because old or sick people are not always very...objective. My grandma after her stroke, even though it didn't affect the reasoning part of her brain, the very fact that she was sick and isolated from her previous life made her weird at times. Especially towards her assistants, because obviously, they made her mad often. I don't want to think what could have happened if she had a pistol.

The US Food and Drug Administration says a handgun designed for the disabled is not a medical device and is cancelling the registration of the product in its electronic database.

New Jersey-based Constitution Arms received widespread attention this week after medical technology blogs, Fox News and others reported that the FDA had approved the Palm Pistol as a medical device. The company was hoping that seniors could get the gun paid for by Medicare.

It seems that the company filed paperwork to register Palm Pistol and its manufacturing site in Maplewood, New Jersey, with the FDA. "However, registration and listing does not constitute an admission, agreement or determination that a product is a [medical] device," says FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey.

"The US Food and Drug Administration has determined that the Palm Pistol, manufactured by Constitution Arms, is not a medical device under the Federal Food, Drugs, and Cosmetic Act," DeLancey told New Scientist.

"The manufacturer registered and listed the product in the FDA's electronic database on Dec. 2, 2008. Because the FDA has determined the product is not a medical device under section 201(h) of the Act, FDA is cancelling the registration and will return its registration fee." source

The original news.

A US company claims to have received federal approval to market a 9-mm handgun as a medical device and hopes the US government will reimburse seniors who buy the $300 firearm. But the US Food and Drug Administration says there are currently no formal designations of the gun as a medical device.

Called the Palm Pistol, the weapon is designed for people who have trouble firing a normal handgun due to arthritis and other debilitating conditions.

"It's something that they need to assist them in daily living," says Matthew Carmel, president of Constitution Arms in Maplewood, New Jersey, which hopes to manufacture the Palm Pistol - now just a patent and specifications. source

I can tell you precisely how much Palestinians are worth. Nothing. Not a single thing. Not a single effort. Not a single plea.

Or ok. Many pleas. Some protests. Some delegations. With the net result of absolutely nothing!
So, when Russia blows out Georgia, everyone is suddenly troubled by the aggression. Governments threaten Russia, organisations scream, people are massively indignant. And how many people are killed by that war? Not really known, but they were very few. The casualties were military buildings.

What happens in densely populated Gaza? Hundreds are death, most of them women and children. The world is very interested. There are discussions does Israel have the right to attack in self defence. There were fake videos of dead Palestinian children, many speculations, happy Israeli ministers surrounded by children that explained happily how the war will continue until they decide so and so on.

I am completely disgusted by the hypocrisy of western society. Israel isn't a better friend of the West than Palestina. They don't have more right to kill than any one of us. If they were killing French or US children, the rest of the word wouldn't be picking up their noses and wondering what useless declarations to make. But then, when it's about Arab children, it's perfectly fine to stand and watch.

I'll say it directly. The war shouldn't happen in 21st century for absolutely no reason. It should be forbidden. It should lead to at least 10 years of full commercial embargo with both countries. It should lead to frozen accounts to people from both countries. It should be condemned.
And we should all be ashamed by our behaviour. We don't have the gut to stand up for what we believe in. We are a shame to our humanity.

And yeah, maybe I should say it for those of you that don't like to think for themselves. You don't kill terrorists with bombs. Not like this. You assassinate them, you put bombs in their cars, you arrest them around the world. You don't throw bombs over civilians claiming they are casualties. No, they are not casualties. They are your target. You killed them intentionally, knowing very well what you're doing. You kill them to hurt them, to opress them, to make them scared. And of course, to have a good reason to buy more weapons.

Right now for me, Israel is evil. There is no cause that justifies what they are doing. And if before, they were the victims of unbelievably crime, now they are commiting it in smaller scale. There are simply no excuses. And it's high time to make them understand they are not alone on this Earth.

Two kind on unrelated articles, but I strongly encourage you to read the whole first article from the link I provided. This article talks about a study that suggests that some types of cancer may disappear with time. This makes a lot of sense to me since cancer in certain age range should be constant throughout human history. However, far too many people are dying from cancer today. Of course, there are many other reasons for our sad statistics, but still I think it's important to consider the implications of such a theory. Cancer treatments are excessively expensive. I have posted here about the ridiculous price of cancer drugs. Imagine how happy will be pharmacy companies if even that ridiculous profit they make goes down.
I realise not everything is a conspiracy, but you also must realise that even without the conspiracy, it's normal everyone to takes care of their own interest. And this is our interest. To know what really goes on and to take advantage on it.

Study Suggests Some Cancers May Go Away

By GINA KOLATA , November 24, 2008

Cancer researchers have known for years that it was possible in rare cases for some cancers to go away on their own. There were occasional instances of melanomas and kidney cancers that just vanished. And neuroblastoma, a very rare childhood tumor, can go away without treatment.

But these were mostly seen as oddities — an unusual pediatric cancer that might not bear on common cancers of adults, a smattering of case reports of spontaneous cures. And since almost every cancer that is detected is treated, it seemed impossible even to ask what would happen if cancers were left alone.

Now, though, researchers say they have found a situation in Norway that has let them ask that question about breast cancer. And their new study, to be published Tuesday in The Archives of Internal Medicine, suggests that even invasive cancers may sometimes go away without treatment and in larger numbers than anyone ever believed.

At the moment, the finding has no practical applications because no one knows whether a detected cancer will disappear or continue to spread or kill.

And some experts remain unconvinced.

If the results are replicated, he said, it could eventually be possible for some women to opt for so-called watchful waiting, monitoring a tumor in their breast to see whether it grows. “People have never thought that way about breast cancer,” he added.

Dr. Kaplan and his colleague, Dr. Franz Porzsolt, an oncologist at the University of Ulm, said in an editorial that accompanied the study, “If the spontaneous remission hypothesis is credible, it should cause a major re-evaluation in the approach to breast cancer research and treatment.”

The study was conducted by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch. It compared two groups of women ages 50 to 64 in two consecutive six-year periods.

One group of 109,784 women was followed from 1992 to 1997. Mammography screening in Norway was initiated in 1996. In 1996 and 1997, all were offered mammograms, and nearly every woman accepted.

The second group of 119,472 women was followed from 1996 to 2001. All were offered regular mammograms, and nearly all accepted.

It might be expected that the two groups would have roughly the same number of breast cancers, either detected at the end or found along the way. Instead, the researchers report, the women who had regular routine screenings had 22 percent more cancers. For every 100,000 women who were screened regularly, 1,909 were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer over six years, compared with 1,564 women who did not have regular screening.

There are other explanations, but researchers say that they are less likely than the conclusion that the tumors disappeared.

The most likely explanation, Dr. Welch said, is that “there are some women who had cancer at one point and who later don’t have that cancer.”

The finding does not mean that mammograms caused breast cancer. Nor does it bear on whether women should continue to have mammograms, since so little is known about the progress of most cancers.

Mammograms save lives, Dr. Smith said. Even though they can have a downside — most notably the risk that a woman might have a biopsy to check on an abnormality that turns out not to be cancer — “the balance of benefits and harms is still considerably in favor of screening for breast cancer,” he said.

But Dr. Suzanne W. Fletcher, an emerita professor of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard Medical School, said that it was also important for women and doctors to understand the entire picture of cancer screening. The new finding, she said, was “part of the picture.”

Dr. Welch said the cancers in question had broken through the milk ducts, where most breast cancers begin, and invaded the breast. Such cancers are not microscopic, often are palpable, and are bigger and look more ominous than those confined to milk ducts, so-called ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, Dr. Welch said. Doctors surgically remove invasive cancers and, depending on the circumstances, may also treat women with radiation, chemotherapy or both.

The study’s design was not perfect, but researchers say the ideal study is not feasible. It would entail screening women, randomly assigning them to have their screen-detected cancers treated or not, and following them to see how many untreated cancers went away on their own.

But, they said, they were astonished by the results.

Although the researchers cannot completely rule out other explanations, Dr. Kramer said, “they do a good job of showing they are not highly likely.”

A leading alternative explanation for the results is that the women having regular scans used hormone therapy for menopause and the other women did not. But the researchers calculated that hormone use could account for no more than 3 percent of the effect.

Maybe mammography was more sensitive in the second six-year period, able to pick up more tumors. But, the authors report, mammography’s sensitivity did not appear to have changed.

Or perhaps the screened women had a higher cancer risk to begin with. But, the investigators say, the groups were remarkably similar in their risk factors.

Dr. Smith, however, said the study was flawed and the interpretation incorrect. Among other things, he said, one round of screening in the first group of women would never find all the cancers that regular screening had found in the second group. The reason, he said, is that mammography is not perfect, and cancers that are missed on one round of screening will be detected on another.

But Dr. Welch said that he and his colleagues considered that possibility, too. And, he said, their analysis found subsequent mammograms could not make up the difference.source

Bush Aides Rush to Enact a Rule Obama Opposes

Published: November 29, 2008

WASHINGTON — The Labor Department is racing to complete a new rule, strenuously opposed by President-elect Barack Obama, that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job.

The rule, which has strong support from business groups, says that in assessing the risk from a particular substance, federal agencies should gather and analyze “industry-by-industry evidence” of employees’ exposure to it during their working lives. The proposal would, in many cases, add a step to the lengthy process of developing standards to protect workers’ health.

Public health officials and labor unions said the rule would delay needed protections for workers, resulting in additional deaths and illnesses.

With the economy tumbling and American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush has promised to cooperate with Mr. Obama to make the transition “as smooth as possible.” But that has not stopped his administration from trying, in its final days, to cement in place a diverse array of new regulations.

The Labor Department proposal is one of about 20 highly contentious rules the Bush administration is planning to issue in its final weeks. The rules deal with issues as diverse as abortion, auto safety and the environment.

One rule would make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas. Another would reduce the role of federal wildlife scientists in deciding whether dams, highways and other projects pose a threat to endangered species.

Mr. Obama and his advisers have already signaled their wariness of last-minute efforts by the Bush administration to embed its policies into the Code of Federal Regulations, a collection of rules having the force of law. The advisers have also said that Mr. Obama plans to look at a number of executive orders issued by Mr. Bush.

A new president can unilaterally reverse executive orders issued by his predecessors, as Mr. Bush and President Bill Clinton did in selected cases. But it is much more difficult for a new president to revoke or alter final regulations put in place by a predecessor. A new administration must solicit public comment and supply “a reasoned analysis” for such changes, as if it were issuing a new rule, the Supreme Court has said.

As a senator and a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama sharply criticized the regulation of workplace hazards by the Bush administration.

The timing of the proposal appears to violate a memorandum issued in early May by Joshua B. Bolten, the White House chief of staff.

“Except in extraordinary circumstances,” Mr. Bolten wrote, “regulations to be finalized in this administration should be proposed no later than June 1, 2008, and final regulations should be issued no later than Nov. 1, 2008.”

The Labor Department has not cited any extraordinary circumstances for its proposal, which was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 29. Administration officials confirmed last week that the proposal was still on their regulatory agenda.

The Labor Department said the proposal affected “only internal agency procedures” for developing health standards. It cited one source of authority for the proposal: a general “housekeeping statute” that allows the head of a department to prescribe rules for the performance of its business.

The statute is derived from a law passed in 1789 to help George Washington get the government up and running.

The Labor Department rule is among many that federal agencies are poised to issue before Mr. Bush turns over the White House to Mr. Obama.

One rule would allow coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. Another, issued last week by the Health and Human Services Department, gives states sweeping authority to charge higher co-payments for doctor’s visits, hospital care and prescription drugs provided to low-income people under Medicaid. The department is working on another rule to protect health care workers who refuse to perform abortions or other procedures on religious or moral grounds. source

I don't have too much time to comment or edit, so I'm just pasting this for you information. Hopefully it would cheer the cold and deadly season we're in. I think both the mind reading suit and the drug that can make you fit are well worthy to think about since they can significantly change our life
Enjoy!

The Mind Reading Robot Suit

By Yuri Kageyama/ Source: Associated Press

A robotic suit that reads brain signals and helps people with mobility problems will be available to rent in Japan for US$2,200 a month starting Friday - an invention that may have far-reaching benefits for the disabled and elderly.

HAL - short for "hybrid assistive limb" - is a computerized suit with sensors that read brain signals directing limb movement through the skin.

The 22 pound (10 kilogram) battery-operated computer system is belted to the waist. It captures the brain signals and relays them to mechanical leg braces strapped to the thighs and knees, which then provide robotic assistance to people as they walk.

Cyberdyne, a new company in Tsukuba outside Tokyo, will mass-produce HAL. Two people demonstrated the suits at the company's headquarters on Tuesday.

A demonstration video also showed a partially paralyzed person getting up from a chair and walking slowly wearing the HAL suit.

Sankai, who has worked on robot suits since 1992 and is also Cyberdyne's chief executive, said a full device that covers the entire body is also being designed, though it is unclear when it will be available commercially.

HAL comes in three sizes - small, medium and large - and also has a one-leg version for a 150,000 yen (US$1,500) monthly rental fee.

Noel Sharkey is a robotics expert not affiliated with the technology. The professor at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. said HAL will have wide-ranging benefits for the elderly others with movement disabilities.

Cyberdyne said its policy is not to reveal how much it costs to manufacture the device. It is unclear when HAL will go on sale to the public or what the price tag will be.

Some European nations have already expressed interest and HAL may soon be on the market there, but U.S. sales are still undecided, Sankai said.

The University of California, Berkeley, and other researchers around the world are working on similar robotic suits that increase mobility.

Daiwa House Industry Co. will lease HAL suits to Japanese care facilities for the elderly and others for those with disabilities. It plans to rent 500 units over the next year. Japan is a rapidly aging society and taking care of the elderly population is widely viewed as a growing challenge her. source

Drug Tricks Body Into 'Thinking' You Exercised

While steroids can give the boost in muscle power that so often tempts athletes to abuse these drugs, researchers say there hasn’t been a targeted drug capable of building the endurance needed to run a marathon or ride a bike through the Alps.

Now there might be, suggests a new study with mice. And that’s creating both hope and worry.

A study with mice suggests the existence of drugs that trick the body into "believing" it has exercised.

The study found that a drug developed for the treatment of metabolic disease, when taken in combination with exercise, gives mice the ability to run farther than exercise alone can. And another chemical endowed mice with greater endurance, even without the workout.

“It’s tricking the muscle into ‘believing’ it’s been exercised daily,” said Ronald Evans of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif. Both compounds “are very logical targets for athletic abuse, and we need to be aware of that.” But for people with health problems that preclude much exercise, the findings could be a boon, he added.

The study by Evans and colleagues appears in the July 31 online issue of the research journal Cell.

Evans said his group has already spoken to the World Anti-Doping Agency and is developing a test aimed at detecting use of the PPARd-boosting drug. That test won’t be available in time for this summer’s Olympic games, he said. It also wouldn’t detect the use of AICAR, a chemical that is available but isn’t an FDA-approved drug.

Earlier studies had found that a red wine ingredient called resveratrol could build endurance, but only at enormous doses and by uncertain means. The chemicals tested in the new study are thought to work by specifically tapping into the molecular mechanisms that normally “reprogram” muscle genes in response to exercise.

Evans said it’s not certain that athletes could get a boost from the drugs: the effects in mice might not work as well in highly trained people who may be “pushing the limits” already.

Skeletal muscle, the type of muscle that moves the body, comes in two main types: bulky, fast-twitch muscles for power and speed and slender slow-twitch muscles for endurance. Fast-twitch muscles burn sugar that must be stored in the muscle itself while slow-twitch muscle burns fat.

Evans’ team had previously found they could genetically engineer, or “pre-program” mice to produce more of the fat-burning slow-twitch muscle fibers, turning them into “marathon mice” with nearly twice the running endurance of untrained adults. The key was boosting the activity of a gene in muscle called PPARd, known to control other genes important to skeletal muscle metabolism.

They gave the PPARd drug to mice that were undergoing exercise training. The same dose and duration of GW1516 treatment that previously failed to alter performance, when paired with four weeks of exercise training, increased the animals’ running time by 68 percent and their running distance by 70 percent over other trained mice, the new study reports.

The muscles of those mice also showed a unique “endurance gene signature,” including patterns of gene activity not seen with either the drug or exercise alone, according to the investigators. That pattern bore a striking resemblance to the one seen years earlier in the genetically engineered marathon mice, they noted.

Since PPARd on its own wasn’t enough, the researchers decided to try one more thing: a chemical known as AICAR that was known to act on a protein in the body called AMPK. Evans’ group suspected AMPK might be the link between exercise and PPARd.

To their surprise, even in sedentary mice, four weeks of AICAR treatment alone induced metabolic genes and enhanced running endurance by 44 percent.

“We revealed that synthetic PPARd activation and exercise or more importantly AMPK activation alone… re-programs the skeletal muscle genome and dramatically enhances endurance,” the researchers wrote. “We believe that the strategy of re-organizing the preset genetic imprint of muscle (as well as other tissues) using exercise mimetic drugs has therapeutic potential in treating certain muscle diseases such as wasting and frailty as well as obesity where exercise is known to be beneficial.” source



100 Ways to Live 100 Years


Source: LiveLongTo100Years.com

The tips and suggestions given below are deep research and collection of author for the last 30 years in this field. They are most authentic and tested in most of the cases. The suggestions given here can be adopted in your life without any doubt as they don't have any side effect and based on the laws of nature.

Foods

  • Take food less than your hunger - It has been established through experiments that the life expectancy of a person goes up two times, if his food intake is reduced by 40%.
  • The Golden gifts of the nature for you:-
    o Pomegranate (Anar)- Contains all the important minerals and vitamins required by our body
    o Honey - Collected from flowers, a superb gift from nature.
    o Coconut water - The water of green coconut lifted from the earth, and after processing at many stages stores the health nectar with great potentialities of health and vigour.
    o Amla - provides us with many essential vitamins, best for all types of heart diseases.
    o Bel - the superb gift from nature, highly useful for stomach ailments and digestive system.
  • Take vegetarian and fibrous foods (All raw vegetables and fruits fall in this category) - avoid fried and greasy food..
  • Take your meals preferably two times a day- Avoid meals after sunset
  • Food in less quantity but of high nutritious value can lead to a longer and healthier life.
  • Include in your daily diet - Curd, Amla, Sprouted black grams, Apple, Honey, Almonds, Soyabeans, Lemon, Raw Onion, Garlic (preferably roasted -avoid raw)
  • Daily intake of green leafy vegetables in large quantity eliminates the wrinkles on face. There are instances of people having improved their eyesight by eating these only.
  • Yellow ripe Pumpkin (Sitafal) contains beta- Carotene, as found in Carrots and gives energy to the heart.
  • Totally avoid Tea and coffee - They contain toxic substances, which damage the liver in the long run. Tea takes approximately 6 hours to digest and plays havoc with the metabolism of the body. Continuous consumption of tea or coffee is said to result in damage to modular oblongata, which links up all body nerves with the brain, and therefore, controls all body functions.
  • Avoid Sugar as far as possible, it brings Aging, Cataract and Acidity.
  • Keep fast at least for one day in a week taking only fruits.
  • Keep fast atleast for 24 hour in a fortnight taking only water.
  • Keep fast atleast for a day every month, without water.
  • Instead of bed-tea take hot water.
  • Daily drink water kept in a copper vessel overnight, with magnet kept underneath it.
  • Drink water with Rudraaksha beads soaked in it overnight.
  • At least three times a week take dry fruits/ nuts like Almonds, Peanuts, Raisin etc.
  • Keep changing your cooking oils to supply the body with all types of necessary nutrients.
  • Don't take salt in excess. Use as little salt as possible. Just observe that any food provided by nature is never salty in taste, it is always plain, sour or sweet. Excessive salt corrodes our body like sea water, which is never allowed to be drunk even if a person is thirsty.
  • Add following sprouts to your daily diet:
    o Black grams sprouts - for heart and diabetes.
    o Moong (Green lentil) sprouts - a general tonic
    o Methi (Fenugreek) seed sprouts - For activeness and diabetes.
    o Soyabeans - Contains 9 types of proteins
    o Wheat grains sprouts- for vitamin E and long life
  • Bottle Gourd (Ghia) - It is packed with nutrition, and recommended for high blood pressure and urinary disorders.
  • Food supplements & general tonics
  • Vitamin B complex is the most useful and effective diet supplement and should be added to your daily intake of meals. It is mostly found in the uncooked sprouts of different grains.
  • Bio-chemic combination no -28 , which contains all the 12 essential salts for the body should be taken regularly. It is a general tonic and should be taken after meals to prevent common diseases.
  • Daily intake of vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) increases life span of body.
  • Remember all dairy products produce heart diseases - try to avoid them or restrict their quantity.
  • Remember all types of spices produce cardiovascular diseases.

Exercise & Yoga

  • Human body is like an automobile it needs the following:-
    o Lubrication - Proper exercise is the lubrication of body, it increase circulation and flexibility..
  • Battery charging - Solar plexus is the battery of body and is charged through Pranayam, the yogic breathing.
    o Cooling Systems - Relaxation provides the cooling of body.
    o Fuel - Proper diet, food, air, water and sunlight provides the fuel for body
  • Balanced Driver - Mind is the driver of body. It can be balanced and controlled by meditation and concentration
  • Do light exercises regularly.
  • Don't do strenuous exercises like fast running, body building as they increase the metabolism rate of your body
  • Brisk walking is the best exercise to keep control on diabetes and heart problems
  • By living at a cold place (Hill stations), the metabolism rate of the body decreases and the age increases
  • Deep breathing up to the naval and retaining it for sometime helps in increasing the life span of a person
  • The normal ratio of our breathing i.e. inhaling, retaining and exhaling should be 1:4:2
  • Keep your posture erect
  • Try inhaling the breath from left nostril during day time and from right nostril during the night time
  • Our internal organs are more important as our outer organs in keeping us healthy. So to keep the liver, stomach and lungs etc in a healthy state. Daily walking in the morning and evening is very essential.
  • It is possible to even reverse the heart problems by not using oil or ghee at all, by taking only boiled vegetables, doing yogic exercises, and by living a tension free life.

Mind, Temperament and way of living

  • There is no yoga greater than the control of mind.
  • Keep your mind busy and active with lot of physical work.
  • Keep yourself happy and at peace - avoid anger and hot temperament
  • By meditation, high blood pressures, forgetfulness & aging process can be controlled
  • Keep enchanting the Maha-mritunjaya Mantra in case of health problems.
  • Take life as it comes, don't get disturbed by the ups and downs of life. Eat & drink in moderation, have religious faith, work hard and adopt the habit of early to bed and early to rise.
  • It was the finding of survey done in Japan, that a large portion of centenarians were engaged in the Agriculture or Forestry as their primary jobs.

Miscellaneous

  • Take hot water after every meals to control the fatness and improve digestion.
  • Early in the morning, without cleaning your teeth of mouth drink a glass of water so that all the accumulated sliva in your mouth goes back to your stomach. This method in principal is similar to homoeopathy and is used widely in Japan to prolong the life span and cure many diseases automatically.
  • Mr Morarji Desai, the former Prime-Minister of India resorted to auto-urine therapy when he had tried all types of therapies and failed to get any cure out of them.
  • After washing your face with water don't wipe it off. Let it dry itself on the face. It keeps the face skin young and healthy.
  • Sleep with your head towards south., it helps to improve the blood circulation of body, due to the body?s alignment with earth?s magnetic field.
  • Sleep with the leg side of your bed higher than your head side. It increases the blood circulation of your body more towards head side. It keeps you young and rejuvenates your body functions.
  • Take magnetic water -You can prepare it by keeping a glass of water with two magnets, one on top with north pole facing downward and second under it with south pole facing up, kept overnight and drink in the morning.
  • Daily intake of Aspirin, even one fourth of a 100mg tablet, avoids chances of heart attacks. Aspirin stops the Aging process by keeping the tissues flexible - it is also good for eyes. (Take only with the advice of doctor.)
  • Daily apply a drop of mustard oil mixed with some water into your nostrils. It is beneficial for your eyes and keeps the breathing passage clear and smooth.
  • Daily rub mustard oil on the toe of your feet, it helps in the improvement of eyesight.
  • Smoking, or intake of tobacco in any form narrows down the arteries and restricts the blood circulation.
  • The secret of Chinese who lived up to 250 Years - Even in modern times there is an instance of a Chinese whose name was ?Lichigian? who reached to a life span of 250 years using the great Indian herb called India Pennywort (Brahmi). He said he is regularly using this Indian herb and he has achieved such a long life by regularly using this herb. source

Not me, of course. But check this out:

  1. Fertile women more open to corny chat-up
  2. Fertility drugs increase cancer risk
  3. The reasons behind menopause
In short, it looks like women on the pill are twice less likely to accept a male offer while they are most fertile. Why this is important? Because for me, this is an intrusion to the female sexuality and I'm very against the pill. True, it gives the freedom to choose when to conceive, but still, it should be taken only when it is really needed. Condoms are good enough for protection and if the men is trained, he can put them only in the end. There is no need to mess with our hormones.
The other article is about cancer risk after fertility drugs. It's very interesting and for me, it shows how unappreciated are the risks in this, should I call it industry? Of course, I'm in no way opposing the IVF, it is a blessing for so many women. I'm opposing however the lack of genuine studies over the safety of any medicament. And I believe the case is such.
The third article, I urge you to read it, though it's quite long, I put only a resume here. It's about the biological reasons behind menopause and the fact that there are none of them. Why we stop breeding at some point is a complete mystery to science. Of course, I have my explanation, which is the Tantric one-reproduction requires much energy from both men and women, but although sex is very good for women, birth is not. Probably this was the only way to ensure that some old enough women will stay alive after the risky birth, old enough to pass wisdom and show the youngsters how to live. It makes sense to me. I only wonder how we can stop it, because now, menopause is really very unpleasant for women.

Fertile women more open to corny chat-up lines

For men whose chat-up lines aren't working, it could simply be a case of bad timing. Psychologists have determined that women are most likely to give their phone number to a male stranger when they are likeliest to get pregnant.

Researchers recruited handsome young men to experimentally hit on women on a street corner to determine whether fertility affects receptivity to male advances.

After analyzing responses from 455 women - only 51 declined the survey - Guéguen noticed a couple of trends.

Overall, 8.6% of the women who filled out a survey gave out their phone numbers. Rough odds, considering the men were judged as hunks.

Women off the pill accepted offers twice as often as women on the pill (5.8% as opposed to 12%), perhaps a reflection of the likelihood that women on the pill are more likely to have men in their lives than women not taking birth control.

A more interesting trend emerged when Guéguen analysed the data according to a women's fertility. Among women off the pill, those in their fertile phase accepted 21.7% of advances, while women in the midst of their periods gave out their numbers to just 7.8 % of men, a significant statistical difference that did not exist for women on the pill.source.

Fertility drugs increase cancer risk

DRUGS designed to induce ovulation seem to have increased the risk of uterine cancer in a group of women who were treated with them over 30 years ago.

The number of women who developed the disease after taking the drugs was small, but shows the need to monitor women treated with them.

Ovulation-inducing drugs are prescribed to women who have trouble conceiving, are undergoing IVF, or who want to donate or sell their eggs. Though they have been used for more than 30 years, their health effects are still unclear.

While some studies have linked ovulation-stimulating drugs to an increase in ovarian or breast cancers, others have failed to find any such link.

Now Ronit Calderon-Margalit at Hadassah-Hebrew University in Jerusalem and colleagues have tackled the problem by comparing cancer incidence in a group of 15,000 Israeli women 30 years after they gave birth. Of the 567 women who reported having been given ovulation-inducing fertility drugs, five developed uterine cancer - which is about three times the incidence in members of the group who had not been given these drugs. For the 362 women who took clomiphene, which tricks the body into making extra eggs by blocking oestrogen receptors, the risk was over four times that of women who did not take the drugs.

There were also smaller but significant increases in breast cancer, malignant melanoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma associated with taking the drugs, but not in ovarian cancer. source

The reasons behind menopause

I won't even copy it, since it's so long. The idea is that in animal groups, the females stay with the pack while the male join another pack, so the female that stay, are related to the pack and thus, they have enough "value" to freely breed their whole life. In humans, the females usually leaves the "pack", so in the family that they join, they are likely to be less valued compared to the old female and thus, they wouldn't be able to breed unless the old female stops breeding at some point. The contra-argument is that some chimps has the same social life and still, they don't experience menopause. On the contrary, the killer whales has a menopause but the females stays with the pack and cooperate in raising the children.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year all!


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I wish you all the happiness you can imagine and lots of love, joy and of course, good health.
And I hope that the new 2009 will be more peaceful, more prosperous and more free for all of us!

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