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Exclusive interview with Discovery’s First in Human sickle cell … – Monsters and Critics.com

NIH research Dr. John Tisdale has effectively created a cure for sickle cell disease

When people fall ill, sometimes there is no hope. In some cases, there is an avenue of last chance to explore, this is the world of First In Human on Discovery.

Narrated by Jim Parsons, this groundbreaking three part event unfolds at the famous National Institutes of Health Building 10.

Building 10 is the largest research hospital in the country where select patients often deemed incurable and near death, with no alternatives go to be first in clinical trials for cutting edge therapies and medicines.

This is the hardest thing to do in medical research, as some treatments may wind up killing the patient.

Discoverys cameras were given unprecedented access for the first time inside this institution.

These true and gripping accounts of medical miracles are told incrementally in the three episodes. The NIH took the risk with Discovery to let them film stories and meet the doctors who have changed lives.

Their decision was based on the exemplary work of John Hoffman, the Director and EVP of Documentaries and Specials at Discovery.

Hoffman was given access worked with NIH doctors Dr. John Tisdale and Dr. Terry Fry and their respective patients, Deidra Williams and Carla and Robert Cooper among others.

This televised event takes viewers inside the crucial beginning phase of scientific research following four patients as they participate in first in human trials, the initial time a new therapy is tested in humans, revealing the character and inner strength of both the doctors and their hopeful patients.

At the recent television critics association summer press tour, we spoke with all of them about their monumental achievements and setbacks as well.

Our exclusive interview below is with Dr. John Tisdale, whose revolutionary work to cure sickle cell disease is nothing short of astounding in results.

He was accompanied by his patient, Deidra Williams, who suffered her entire life and was resigned to an early death (the average life span is 42 years). Dr. Tisdales bone marrow treatment saved her life.

Deidra recounts the pain of living with sickle cell disease

We interviewed Dr. Tisdale and Deidra together:

Monsters and Critics: How did you find Dr. Tisdale to help you, Deidra?

Deidra: I applied for the clinical trial at the NIH, and when I was accepted in thats when I met Dr. Tisdale.

M&C: How many cases do you review, Dr. Tisdale, that you see these applications? And how do you pick the people that you want to work with?

Dr. John Tisdale: We have two or three new patients that come to our clinic with sickle cell disease a week. Some of them are just interested in finding out more about their disease and may be contributing research samples for studies that we do in the lab. And some are interested in getting treatment recommendations, the one drug that we have, Hydroxyurea. And some are interested in pursuing curative therapies and are coming to see if theyre eligible for one of the clinical trials that we have open.

The way the process works is that if its the latter, we start off by determining whether its an option for them, whether their disease is severe enough. Almost every adult, it is, unfortunately. The next step is what type of curative transplant might they be eligible for.

The kind that she got was from her sister. And so, the first screen is, do you have a brother or sister thats a match that doesnt have sickle cell disease? If thats the case, then they can go into this protocol. If they dont, then we have two other experimental transplant protocols, where were testing either a half match, which almost everyone has. A parent or a child is a half match.

Or whats called Gene Therapy, where instead we take the patients own bone marrow, try to correct it, and give it back. And so, each of those protocols have a little bit different eligibility criteria that relate to whats being done to get them ready.

In her [Deidra] case, its a pretty benign prep to get the transplant. So virtually anyone with sickle cell disease would be eligible to have it done.

The other two are a little more involved, so not everyone is eligible because they have to have good kidney function, good lung function, and that sort of thing. So thats sort of how the process works.

Dr. Tisdales therapy was so successful it is being rolled out to other hospitals

M&C: Deidra, how did you feel when you got accepted into this program to be helped?

Deidra: I was excited. I was scared. And I was just doing my best not to get my hopes up high because I was living with a disease at that time that there was no cure. Sickle cell was not curable, so for me to be taking this step I had to kind of hold it in. Because you just dont want to be disappointed. But I knew that it was I just felt pulled to do it.

M&C: For people who dont know, whats living with sickle cell like?

Deidra: It is very painful. All over your body. For me, it was all over. Mainly in my joints and its just very exhausting mentally because you are always in pain. And its hard. You feel like youre trapped in your body, because what your mind says you can do and your body says and does something totally different.

Its just a very debilitating disease, and a misunderstood disease, with a lot of different misconceptions. Usually, people with sickle cell disease are very strong people. And you have to be to deal with that kind of pain from birth.

M&C: Wow. How do you feel now?

Deidra: I feel good.

M&C: When did you feel a change when you started this therapy? When did you feel a change in your overall?

Deidra: It was not like a flick of a light switch. This was an ongoing, as each day progressed, youll feel a little better and a little better and a little better. I am a little under two years And I am still starting to still feel a little bit more I dont know to say normal, but you find its a progression, the things you couldnt do, you can now do again. Maybe its walking around the block that used to trigger a crisis. Youre waiting on something to happen but it doesnt happen. Or being outside and it gets really cold, and again, youre waiting on that pain to be triggered to happen, and it doesnt happen. And youre like, Oh yeah, Im okay.

Its been a progression of clarity. And what I mean by mental clarity, because people with sickle cell, more than likely, theyre dealing with a lot of narcotics to control the pain. Once that was taken care of When youre able to lift that, just little by little. It all starts-

Dr. John Tisdale: Making more clear what its really like because you say youre in pain, you have chronic pain, lots of people have chronic pain. What happens is, the red cells that normally squeeze through the circulation, in sickle cell disease, once they let go of oxygen, the hemoglobin inside gets hard and rigid, and the red cell then becomes very rigid and cant pass through the circulation. Everything clogs up. And if it happens here, theres no blood supply to your leg.

Or if it happens in the bone, theres no blood supply to your bone, for a long time. And that damages organs. If it happens in the brain, you have a stroke. And kids with sickle cell disease have strokes and bone damage

M&C: Is it like a necropsy?

Dr. John Tisdale: Yes, necrosis. Its an intense pain.

Deidra: Yes it is.

Dr. John Tisdale: That no one else can even imagine. And it requires high doses of narcotics, in the hospital sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks. It appears out of the blue. Youre going along with life, and then the next thing youre in the hospital for two weeks on heavy doses of narcotics. And this happens over and over and over. So you cant plan life, you cant plan family things, you cant study, you cant finish school, youre in pain all the time.

You wind up on narcotics at really high doses that control the pain, but most of the time not adequately. What weve noticed actually, is it takes some time after being on pain medications for the pain wires to kind of reset in the brain.

Part of the reason why it takes some time for you to feel completely better. Even when the sickle cell is completely gone.

Deidra: Thats so right. And everything that hes saying, its just so accurate. It would get in the way of everything. The countless times where I was in school and you know, pneumonia, something happens, something just takes you out. And it got to a point to where you dont know what crisis going to be that crisis. And it just takes you out. Is it going to be my heart? Is it going to be a stroke? What is it? You pray when you go into the ER that youre going to come back out. And I did that, I had small children, and every day that was a fear. That was a fear. And now, again, just being able to think clearly, being able to think clearly and to move and not having the fear that its Oh, am I getting sick? Its just so much.

M&C: When you found out that they were doing a television show, and that you were going to be part of it, how did that process unfold to you? Youre doing your job as a doctor and youre a researcher and youre helping people with this particular blood disease, and then all of a sudden cameras are in your orbit. Tell me about that.

Dr. John Tisdale: I have to say, at first I was a little reluctant. Im sort of camera shy and dont like to be the center of attention, and certainly didnt want a bunch of film crew following me around every day. So, there was that. But we met with the people from the Discovery Channel and I was really impressed that they were in this for the right reasons, and they were really wanting to promote the kind of work that we do. I felt like I had to do it because people just dont know about sickle cell disease.

Its actually the first disease that we discovered the molecular defect, we scientistsAnd despite that, we really have nothing. And theres very little awareness of the disease. Patients with the disease are often mistreated because the one thing that we can do for them is give them narcotics. So, you show up in the emergency room and you want narcotics.

People are like, Theyre drug seeking. Its a disease thats underappreciated, misunderstood, and I felt like I had to do it.

M&C: How many years have you been researching this disease?

Dr. John Tisdale: More than 20 years at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland the Intramural Clinical Research Program.

M&C: Deidra, talk about the frustrating thing about sickle cell, you dont look like theres anything wrong, and yet theres so much going on

Deidra: A lot of people say that [about looking good]. And thats another misconception.

Dr. John Tisdale: You look great and youre so sick.

Deidra: Its on the inside. Its not something that you can physically see.

M&C: Anyone else in your family with it?

Deidra: Yeah, I do. I have an uncle with sickle cell disease.

M&C: So he understood your suffering?

Deidra: He understood completely.

M&C: Did you have any pushback from your family that maybe thought you were putting it on, or playing up your pain?

Deidra: You have some members of the family like that. Like they think you can fix it by drinking water. Not my mother. My mothers a nurse for over 30 years. She definitely knew.

Deidra the moment she learned she was free of the disease

M&C: Im glad youre well.

Deidra: Thank you.

First in Human: The Trials of Building 10 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Discovery.

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Exclusive interview with Discovery’s First in Human sickle cell … – Monsters and Critics.com

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Blood cancer: High doses of vitamin C could encourage stem cells … – Express.co.uk

The study suggests it may encourage blood cancer stem cells to die.

Researchers say Vitamin C may “tell” faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers.

They explained that certain genetic changes are known to reduce the ability of an enzyme called TET2 to encourage stem cells to become mature blood cells, which eventually die, in many patients with certain kinds of leukaemia.

The new study, published online by the journal Cell. found that vitamin C activated TET2 function in mice engineered to be deficient in the enzyme.

Study corresponding author Professor Benjamin Neel, of the Perlmutter Cancer Centre in the United States, said: “We’re excited by the prospect that high-dose vitamin C might become a safe treatment for blood diseases caused by TET2-deficient leukemia stem cells, most likely in combination with other targeted therapies.”

He said changes in the genetic code that reduce TET2 function are found in 10 per cent of patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), 30 per cent of those with a form of pre-leukaemia called myelodysplastic syndrome, and in nearly 50 per cent of patients with chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia.

Such cancers cause anaemia, infection risk, and bleeding as abnormal stem cells multiply in the bone marrow until they interfere with blood cell production, with the number of cases increasing as the population ages.

Prof Neel said the study results revolve around the relationship between TET2 and cytosine, one of the four nucleic acid “letters” that comprise the DNA code in genes.

To determine the effect of mutations that reduce TET2 function in abnormal stem cells, the researchers genetically engineered mice such that the scientists could switch the TET2 gene on or off.

Similar to the naturally occurring effects of TET2 mutations in mice or humans, using molecular biology techniques to turn off TET2 in mice caused abnormal stem cell behaviour.

Prof Neel said, remarkably, the changes were reversed when TET2 expression was restored by a genetic trick.

Previous work had shown that vitamin C could stimulate the activity of TET2 and its relatives TET1 and TET3.

Because only one of the two copies of the TET2 gene in each stem cell is usually affected in TET2-mutant blood diseases, the researchers hypothesised that high doses of vitamin C, which can only be given intravenously, might reverse the effects of TET2 deficiency by turning up the action of the remaining functional gene.

They found that vitamin C did the same thing as restoring TET2 function genetically.

By promoting DNA demethylation, high-dose vitamin C treatment induced stem cells to mature, and also suppressed the growth of leukaemia cancer stem cells from human patients implanted in mice.

Study first author Doctor Luisa Cimmino, of New York University Langone Health, said: “Interestingly, we also found that vitamin C treatment had an effect on leukaemic stem cells that resembled damage to their DNA.

“For this reason, we decided to combine vitamin C with a PARP inhibitor, a drug type known to cause cancer cell death by blocking the repair of DNA damage, and already approved for treating certain patients with ovarian cancer.”

The researchers found that the combination had an enhanced effect on leukaemia stem cells, further shifting them from self-renewal back toward maturity and cell death.

Dr Cimmino said the results also suggest that vitamin C might drive leukaemic stem cells without TET2 mutations toward death, given that it turns up any TET2 activity normally in place.

Corresponding author Professor Iannis Aifantis, also of NYU Langone Health, added: “Our team is working to systematically identify genetic changes that contribute to risk for leukaemia in significant groups of patients.

“This study adds the targeting of abnormal TET2-driven DNA demethylation to our list of potential new treatment approaches.”

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Blood cancer: High doses of vitamin C could encourage stem cells … – Express.co.uk

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ExplorationWorks hosts bone marrow drive – KRTV Great Falls News

(HELENA) ExplorationWorks is hosting a Be The Match bone marrow donor drive this week at the Great Northern Town Center.

The drive is meantto support those in need of bone marrow or blood stem cell transplants around the world.

The bone marrow drive isbeing held in conjunction with the ExplorationWorks Kids Kicking Cancer Camp.

The camp is open to childrendirectly affected by cancer.

Campers had the opportunity to make a card for a Be the Match child who is currently undergoing or awaiting treatment.

According to ExplorationWorks Education Director Lauren Rivers, the camp wants kids to connect with the Be The Match kids on levels most children would not understand.

“Knowing someone else is fighting the same fight will hopefully be a healing activity for all of the kids involved, Rivers said.

John Philpott of Be the Match said that some of the Be The Match kids children are still waiting for a match.

There are still thousands of patients every year who have to hear their doctor say theres no match for you, Philpott said. One Montanan [donation] can mean the difference for one patient.

According to Be the Match, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer every three minutes and someonedies every ten minutesfrom not receiving a transplant.

The Marrow Donor Registry Drive will continue at ExplorationWorks from 10a.m. to 5p.m. on Friday, August 18 and from 12:30 p.m. to 3p.m. on Saturday, August 19.

Registration takes around 10 minutes to complete and only involves some paper work and a few cheek swabs.

You must be between the ages 18-44 in order to register.

For more information about bone marrow donation and how to register, click here.

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ExplorationWorks hosts bone marrow drive – KRTV Great Falls News

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Love at first sniff? Sexiest fruit fly females show specific insulin signaling – PLOS Research News

What do males really want? If youre a female fruit fly, pheromone-mediated insulin signaling may hold the key to your attraction. Thats according to a new PLOS Genetics study, whose authors found that female flies manipulated to have increased insulin signaling in their follicle cells, which support egg production, and decreased signaling in their fat body, the energy storage organ, appeared to be more attractive to males.

A female fruit fly must balance her energy usage between making eggs now and storing nutrients for later, and males would be expected to favor a female who appears to prioritize egg production, increasing her fecundity. Differences in tissue-specific insulin signaling likely affect the pheromones produced by the female flies, making them smell different to males with natural selection favoring males who find the more fertile females attractive.

The authors also verified that such insulin signaling is a reliable mate quality indicator for the males: those females engineered to have increased insulin signaling in their follicle cells did indeed produce more offspring. Even fruit flies may therefore be capable of accurately assessing mate fitness. Love may be blind to many things but not, it would seem, to pheromones.

Research Article: Fedina TY, Arbuthnott D, Rundle HD, Promislow DEL, Pletcher SD (2017) Tissue-specific insulin signaling mediates female sexual attractiveness. PLoS Genet 13(8): e1006935. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006935

Image Credit: C. Gendron

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Love at first sniff? Sexiest fruit fly females show specific insulin signaling – PLOS Research News

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When White Nationalists Get DNA Tests That Reveal African Ancestry – The Atlantic

The white-nationalist forum Stormfront hosts discussions on a wide range of topics, from politics to guns to The Lord of the Rings. And of particular and enduring interest: genetic ancestry tests. For white nationalists, DNA tests are a way to prove their racial purity. Of course, their results dont always come back that way. And how white nationalists try to explain away non-European ancestry is rather illuminating of their beliefs.

Will the Alt-Right Promote a New Kind of Racist Genetics?

Two years agobefore Donald Trump was elected president, before white nationalism had become central to the political conversationAaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan, sociologists then at the University of California, Los Angeles, set out to study Stormfront forum posts about genetic ancestry tests. They presented their study at the American Sociological Association meeting this Monday. (A preprint of the paper is now online.)After the events in Charlottesville this week, their research struck a particular chord with the audience.

For academics, there was some uneasiness around hearing that science is being used in this way and that some of the critiques that white nationalists are making of genetics are the same critiques social scientists make of genetics, says Donovan, who recently took up a position at the Data and Society Research Institute. On Stormfront, the researchers did encounter conspiracy theories and racist rants, but some white-nationalist interpretations of genetic ancestry tests were in fact quite sophisticatedand their views cannot all be easily dismissed as ignorance.

If we believe their politics comes from lack of sophistication because theyre unintelligent or uneducated, says Panofsky, I think were liable to make a lot of mistakes in how we cope with them.

Panofsky, Donovan, and their team of researchers analyzed 3,070 Stormfront posts spanning more than a decadeall from forum threads in which at least one user revealed the results of a DNA test. Some of the results were 100 percent European, as users expected. But oftensurprisingly often, says Panofskyusers disclosed tests results showing non-European ancestry. And despite revealing non-European ancestry on a forum full of white nationalists, they were not run off the site.

While some commenters reacted with anger, many reacted by offering up arguments to explain away the test results. These arguments largely fell into two camps.

First, they could simply reject all genetic ancestry testing. Genealogy or the so-called mirror test (When you look in the mirror, do you see a Jew? If not, youre good) were better tests of racial purity, some suggested. Others offered up conspiracies about DNA testing companies led by Jews: I think 23andMe might be a covert operation to get DNA the Jews could then use to create bio-weapons for use against us.

The second category of explanation was a lot more nuancedand echoed in many ways legitimate critiques of the tests. When companies like 23andMe or AncestryDNA return a result like 23 percent Iberian, for example, theyre noting similarities between the customers DNA and people currently living in that region. But people migrate; populations change. It doesnt pinpoint where ones ancestors actually lived. One Stormfront user wrote:

See, THIS is why I dont recommend these tests to people. Did they bother to tell you that there were whites in what is now Senegal all that time ago? No? So they led you to believe that youre mixed even though in all probability, you are simply related to some white fool who left some of his DNA with the locals in what is now Senegal.

Panofsky notes that legitimate scientific critiques are often distorted by a white-nationalist interpretation of history. For example, the mixing of DNA in a region would be explained by the heroic conquest of Vikings. Or a white female ancestor was raped by an African man.

The team also identified a third group of reactions: acceptance of the genetic ancestry test results. Some users did start to rethink white nationalism. Not the basic ideologyStormfronts forums are not exactly the place you would do thatbut the criteria for whiteness. For example, one user suggested a white-nationalist confederation, where different nations would have slightly different criteria for inclusion:

So in one nation having Ghengis Khan as your ancestor wont disqualify you, while in others it might. Hypothetically, I might take a DNA test and find that I dont qualify for every nation and every nations standards, though I’m sure that at least one of those nations (and probably many of them) will have standards that would include me

Another user dug deep into the technical details of genetic ancestry testing. The tests can rely on three different lines of evidence: the Y chromosome that comes from your fathers fathers father and so on, the mitochondrial DNA that comes from your mothers mothers mother and so on, and autosomal DNA that can come from either side. One user suggested that a purity in the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA were more important than in the autosomal DNA. But others disagreed.

Sociologists have long pointed out the categories of race are socially constructed. The criteria for who gets to be whiteItalians? Arabs? Mexicans?are determined by social rather than biological forces. And DNA is the newest way for white nationalists to look for differences between the races.

In these years of posts on Stormfront, you can see users attempting to make sense of DNA, figuring out in real time how genetics can be used to circumscribe and preserve whiteness. The test results are always open to interpretation.

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When White Nationalists Get DNA Tests That Reveal African Ancestry – The Atlantic

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Women prefer the smell of men who eat fruit and vegetables – study – Stuff.co.nz

SARAH BERRY

Last updated17:36, August 18 2017

123RF

Another reason to eat your fruit and veg: diet affects the odour-attraction factor.

What we eat doesn’t simply determine our internal health, it may determine our sexual attractiveness to the opposite sex.

Astudyby psychology researchers from Macquarie University found that men who eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables smell more attractive to women than men who eat a high-carb or high-fat diet.

While it may sound outlandish, it makes evolutionary sense, says co-author, Dr Ian Stephen.

WILLIAM MEPPEM

That’s right men, dig in.

“We’ve known eating fruit and vegetables makes you look more attractive,” explains Stephen, who studies evolution, genetics and psychology.

READ MORE:*Trait makes men more attractive to women*Why some people are just more attractive*Men want beauty, women want financial security

A healthy diet keeps our waistlines in check but fruit and vegetables also containyellow/redpigments, carotenoids, which are good for our immune system and reproductive system.

“They get deposited in the skin and give us a slightly golden colour that makes us look more attractive,” Stephen adds. “We also knew that odour is important for attractiveness too. Especially women smelling men, odour seems to be particularly important.”

The hypothesis is that men and women tend to value different characteristics in the opposite sex and as well as what we eat, our genes (“in particular a genome … which essentially codes for your immune system”) affect the way we smell.

“People who have genes that are good for your immune system tend to be perceived as smelling better … in the literature there has been a whole load of thinking around whether these immune genes are particularly valuable for women, so it’s possible that women are particularly sensitive to the way men smell because of this reflection of genes,” Stephen explains.

So Stephen and his colleagues decided to put the pieces of the attraction puzzle together.

“Seeing as we know that diet influences how we look and is important to health, we thought we would see if that’s something that would work in odour as well,” Stephen says.

If it worked, it would help to prove the “evolutionary theory” that beauty is not “arbitrary” and only in the eye of the beholder, Stephen said.

“For this evolutionary paradigm to work, it has to be the case that what we find attractive is related to some aspect of our underlying health and underlying fertility and so-on,” he explains.

To test the theory, 43 non-smoking Caucasian men aged between 18 and 30 filled out detailed dietary questionnaires and had the pigment in theirskinmeasured by a spectrophotometer.

“Essentially the yellow components of your skin colour is a really good predictor of what you’ve been eating in terms of fruit and vegetables,” Stephen says.

The men were then given plain, white T-shirts to wear for 24 hours (without deodorant or aftershave) and instructed to go for a run and work up a sweatbefore delivering them back to the researchers.

After cutting outthe smelly armpitsof the shirts, the researchers gave the cutouts to the 10 female participants to smell and rate.

“They made a couple of different judgments on the odours, rating how attractive/pleasant they smelled and used a smell description inventory often used by sommeliers where you essentially rate how chemically it smells, how floral and how burnt it smells,” Stephen says.

“Whatever you eat contributes to the chemicals that come out of your skin and the way you smell is essentially a product of the chemicals that come out of your skin through sweat and sebum.

“The bacteria that live on your skin then digest those chemicals it’s essentially a metabolic output of the bacteria is what you smell and that is affected by what they eat.”

Men who ate more fruitand vegetables smelled more floral and more attractive than men who had been eating more refined carb-heavy food (which smelled more musty and less pleasant or attractive).

Of the fruit and vegetable-intake men, thosewho ate a lot of fish smelled less attractive than those who ate more meat, eggs or tofu.

“I’m not too sure what I make of that it’s an interesting one,” Stephen says of the fish finding.

Certain inconsistencies aside (we also do not know if the odour/attraction factor applies tosame-sex couples) essentially, our smell reflects our diet, which affects our appeal.

Stephen believes that not all evolutionary health traits go together, which may explain the huge diversity of beauty among us.

“Skin colour could reflect your diet while voice reflects testosterone levels while body fat might reflect some other component,” he says. “It’s possible to be healthy in some ways and unhealthy in others.”

He adds that more research is still needed to solve the age-old question of attraction, but they are satisfied with their results.

“We answered the question that we set out to answer,” he says. “The answer was that there does seem to be a connection between odour and how attractive people smell and the underlying health of the diet they are eating which suggests that people are using odour as what we would call a valid cue to health we use it to judge people’s health and there is some relation to how healthy they really are.”

And the message for us all?

“Attractiveness is very closely related to health and if you want to improve how attractive you are there are things you can do about it and those are the same, boring things doctors always say which is eat some fruit and vegetables and do some exercise.”

-Sydney Morning Herald

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What Drives Female Athletes? Chromatography Investigates – Chromatography Today

The difference in sporting performance between elite men and women is clear to see in the times recorded in running events and the distances thrown in field events. Though both male and female records improve the differences between the times and distances stays reasonably constant, with a mean difference of around 10 percent across athletics events between the genders.

The differences are basically down to how man and women are built physiologically we are different. Genetics and hormones mean that generally, men can out run and jump women due to innate characteristics. But these differences are reduced when power is not the main factor and in some sports, the greater flexibility of the female body can be an advantage.

The hormone testosterone is thought to be responsible for many of the differences in athletic performance when power is needed. Testosterone is the male sex hormone and is secreted from the testicles of men and the ovaries of women. As well as promoting male sexual characteristics, it is responsible for the increased muscle and bone mass in men, and lower fat levels seen in men when compared to women. Generally, the levels of testosterone in males is around eight times higher than in females.

But while it is recognised that testosterone an androgen or male hormone is the main cause of increased athletic performance in male athletes, there has been little research to back the claim up. The lack of concrete data has caused problems for athletics when the issue of hyperandrogenism has been levelled as a cause for banning some female athletes from competing.

Doping with androgens in womens sport is also an issue. Of the almost 300 elite athletes who were serving bans at the end of 2016, 116 were women and 64 of those were for androgen abuse. But some women suffer from hyperandrogenism naturally, and previously athletes who suffer from hyperandrogenism have been banned from competing unless they reduce their hormone levels.

Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has addressed some of the issues of how testosterone affects sporting performance. The researchers compared over 2000 performances from the 2011 and 2013 World Athletic Championships with the androgen measurement in the athletes blood. Liquid chromatography was used to measure the androgen levels in serum, a technique discussed in the article, Accelerated Development of Quantitative Assays for Antibody Drug Conjugates.

They found that there was a correlation between testosterone levels and female performance. Hammer throwers, hurdlers and 400m runners had most benefit from high testosterone levels. The researchers suggest caution though, as the research doesnt provide causation. Higher testosterone levels give a leaner body mass, increased aggression and improved red blood cell production all factors that could be the driver behind better performance.

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What Drives Female Athletes? Chromatography Investigates – Chromatography Today

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Genetic infertility: New method can help men with too many sex chromosomes have babies – International Business Times UK

Scientists have developed a new approach to overcome a major cause of genetic infertility sex chromosome disorders. Tested in mice, it has led to the birth of healthy offspring from previously infertile animals.

Our sex is determined by our sex chromosomes. Girls typically have two X chromosomes (XX) while boys have one X and one Y (XY). However, some individuals are born with an extra sex chromosome which can be problematic if they decide to have children.

“Abnormalities of sex chromosomes are the most common genetic cause of infertility and include conditions such as Turners syndrome, where a female has only one X chromosome (XO) and Klinefelter syndrome where a male has an extra X chromosome (XXY),” Joyce Harper, Professor of Human Genetics and Embryology at University College London, who was not involved with the research, explained.

It is estimated that about 1 in 500 boys are born with an extra X or Y which can disrupt the production of mature sperm and render them infertile.

In a study now published in the journal Science, researchers have shown that it may be possible to remove the extra sex chromosome to produce fertile offspring. Indeed, reprogramming cells carrying a third sex chromosome led to the loss of the extra chromosome in mice as well as in human cells.

The team took fragments of ear tissue from XXY and XYY mice and cultured them. They were then able to collect fibroblasts – connective tissue cells. Reprogramming these cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), they observed that some lost the extra sex chromosome.

Next, the scientists used a chemical signal to allow these stem cells to specialise into sperm cells. Finally, their injected these stem cells into mice testes, and the animals were able to produce fertile live offspring.

Preliminary experiments were also conducted with the cells of men with Klinefelter syndrome, showing that reprogramming them into stem cells also led to the loss of the extra sex chromosome.

The hope is that this approach will one day be used to treat infertile men with Klinefelter syndrome (XXY) or Double Y syndrome (though infertility is less common in this case) to have children through assisted reproduction.

But these are still the very early days, and a lot more research will have to be conducted in the lab before it can be used as a fertility treatment.

“Our most pressing challenge, which is not possible at present, will be to succeed in converting human stem cells into sperm in a dish. Even if we succeeded in doing this, there would still be the question of whether they work in assisted reproduction. There will be questions about the clinical application but also legal and ethical questions,” senior author James Turner, Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute, told IBTimes UK.

Although the mice born with the technique were healthy, there are concerns for the human children that would be born as a result.

“The use of iPSC to produce sperm and children is not applicable safely in human clinical. At present, it appears to be dangerous. The transplantation of the reprogrammed cells would indeed expose the patients to develop tumours called teratomas, although we are working on the development of human in vitro spermatogenesis which would avoid transplanting reprogrammed sperm cells into the men,” Herv Lejeune from the department of reproductive medicine at Lyon’s University Hospital (France), who was not involved in the study, said.

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Genetic infertility: New method can help men with too many sex chromosomes have babies – International Business Times UK

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Researcher: Unexpected fountain of youth found in …

LONDON Cardiac stem cells derived from young hearts helped reverse the signs of aging when directly injected into the old hearts of elderly rats, a studypublished Monday in the European Heart Journal demonstrated.

The old rats appeared newly invigorated after receiving their injections.

As hoped, the cardiac stem cells improved heart function yet also provided additional benefits.

The rats fur fur, shaved for surgery, grew back more quickly than expected, and their chromosomal telomeres, which commonly shrink with age, lengthened.

The old rats receiving the cardiac stem cells also had increased stamina overall, exercising more than before the infusion.

Its extremely exciting, said Dr. Eduardo Marban, primary investigator on the research and director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

Witnessing the systemic rejuvenating effects, he said, its kind of like an unexpected fountain of youth.

Weve been studying new forms of cell therapy for the heart for some 12 years now, Marban said.

Some of this research has focused on cardiosphere-derived cells.

Theyre progenitor cells from the heart itself, Marban said.

Progenitor cells are generated from stem cells and share some, but not all, of the same properties.

For instance, they can differentiate into more than one kind of cell like stem cells, but unlike stem cells, progenitor cells cannot divide and reproduce indefinitely.

From hisown previous research, Marban discovered that cardiosphere-derived cells promote the healing of the heart after a condition known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, which affects more than 50 percent of all heart failure patients.

Since heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is similar to aging, Marban decided to experiment on old rats, ones that suffered from a type of heart problem thats very typical of what we find in older human beings: The hearts stiff, and it doesnt relax right, and it causes fluid to back up some.

He and his team injected cardiosphere-derived cells from newborn rats into the hearts of 22-month-old rats thats elderly for a rat.

Similar old rats received a placebo injection of saline solution. Then, Marban and his team compared both groups to young rats that were 4 months old. After a month, they compared the rats again.

Even though the cells were injected into the heart, their effects were noticeable throughout the body, Marban said

The animals could exercise further than they could before by about 20 percent, and one of the most striking things, especially for me (because Im kind of losing my hair) the animals regrew their fur a lot better after theyd gotten cells compared with the placebo rats, Marban said.

The rats that received cardiosphere-derived cells also experienced improved heart function and showed longer heart cell telomeres.

The working hypothesis is that the cells secrete exosomes, tiny vesicles that contain a lot of nucleic acids, things like RNA, that can change patterns of the way the tissue responds to injury and the way genes are expressed in the tissue, Marban said.

It is the exosomes that act on the heart and make it better as well as mediating long-distance effects on exercise capacity and hair regrowth, he said.

Looking to the future, Marban said hes begun to explore delivering the cardiac stem cells intravenously in a simple infusion instead of injecting them directly into the heart, which would be a complex procedure for a human patient and seeing whether the same beneficial effects occur.

Dr. Gary Gerstenblith, a professor of medicine in the cardiology division of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the study is very comprehensive.

Striking benefits are demonstrated not only from a cardiac perspective but across multiple organ systems, said Gerstenblith, who did not contribute to the new research.

The results suggest that stem cell therapies should be studied as an additional therapeutic option in the treatment of cardiac and other diseases common in the elderly.

Todd Herron, director of the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Centers Cardiovascular Regeneration Core Laboratory, said Marban, with his previous work with cardiac stem cells, has led the field in this area.

The novelty of this bit of work is, they started to look at more precise molecular mechanisms to explain the phenomenon theyve seen in the past, said Herron, who played no role in the new research.

One strength of the approach here is that the researchers have taken cells from the organ that they want to rejuvenate, so that makes it likely that the cells stay there in that tissue, Herron said.

He believes more extensive study, beginning with larger animals and including long-term followup, is needed before this technique could be used in humans.

We need to make sure theres no harm being done, Herron said, adding that extending the lifetime and improving quality of life amounts to a tradeoff between the potential risk and the potential good that can be done.

Capicor, the company that grows these special cells, is focused solely on therapies for muscular dystrophy and heart failure with ongoing clinical trials involving human patients, Marbn said.

Capicor hasnt announced any plans to do studies in aging, but the possibility exists.

After all, the cells have been proven completely safe in over 100 human patients, so it would be possible to fast-track them into the clinic, Marban explained: I cant tell you that there are any plans to do that, but it could easily be done from a safety viewpoint.

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The laws of attraction: Pheromones don’t lie, fruit fly research suggests – Phys.Org

Female fruit flies’ pheremones reveal how much her body has invested its energy in producing eggs, changing her attractiveness as a potential mate, new research shows. Credit: University of Michigan

Life as a fruit fly seems pretty simple: Hatch, grow, eat some fruit, find a mate, produce hundreds of tiny offspring and dieall in a month or so.

But that part about finding a mateor matescan get pretty complicated, it turns out. The process revolves around pheromones, chemicals the body releases that others can smell or sense.

Whether you’re a fruit fly or a human, pheromones affect how attractive someone finds you, and how likely you are to find a mate.

Now, for the first time, scientists have shown that a female fruit fly’s pheromone signals can actually tell males how much energy her body has invested in egg production versus in storing away energy for her own survival.

And it’s a signal that she can’t change in order to make herself more attractive.

The more energy she invests in eggs, the more attractive her body’s pheromones will be, and the more likely she is to mate, says Scott Pletcher, Ph.D., a professor of physiology at the University of Michigan.

What makes individuals attractive and why do we have the preferences that we do? These findings made in flies may tell us more about how other speciesincluding, perhaps, usproduce and use attractive traits as part of mate selection.

The key role of insulin signals

Pletcher and his postdoctoral fellow Tatiana Fedina, Ph.D., worked with researchers from Canada and the University of Washington on the new discovery, which is published in PLoS Genetics.

Although the pheromonal blend remains a mystery, the team did show that pheromones, attractiveness and mating prospects of females differed greatly depending on their body’s insulin signaling, which indicates how the body is using food for egg production or energy storage.

In other words, when a male fruit fly catches a whiff of especially alluring pheromones from a female, he’s actually sensing a signal that her ovaries are producing plenty of eggs for him to fertilize. And that makes her more attractive as a potential mate.

Of course, the males have to be able to detect these signals at all. They also have to know how to tell the more egg-focused females from those whose pheromones indicate less egg production.

The researchers had previously shown that males were capable of making this distinction, and that those males that were the most attuned to females’ pheromones signals were more likely to reproduce.

“This adds to the growing evidence that natural selection has led to perceptive systems that are highly tuned to evaluate aspects of individual fitness,” says Fedina.

From insects to us

Researchers study fruit flies because it’s easy to change their DNA or signaling pathways and see what happens to, for instance, their mating patterns.

And, researchers say, because insulin signaling is the same across most animal speciesincluding humans, new findings may have implications for our understanding of mating and reproduction in many organisms.

“We show that even simple animals have evolved the capability of sensing molecular activities that determine reproduction and aging across many species. These cues may have evolved to influence attractiveness because they accurately predict mate fitness,” Pletcher says.

Taking pheromones out of the equation

Pletcher and his colleagues, including Zachary Harvanek, a student in U-M’s combined M.D./Ph.D. program, published another fruit fly paper earlier this year. They examined what happened when male fruit flies were altered so they couldn’t detect female pheromones, or when females around them did not give off pheromones.

These males lived longer and stored fat for their own survival better than those who could sense pheromones or were raised with pheromone-releasing females.

It was the perception of pheromones alonenot mating itselfthat cost the “normal” males the most, researchers found. But if they successfully mated, that energy cost was largely made up for by repairs to the system that the pheromones harmed, and the males lived longer than those who didn’t mate.

A ‘misguided’ theory

“For a long time, evolutionary biologists and public health officials have wondered why individuals and species that reproduce a lot live shorter lives, and the relationship was thought to be necessarily based on energy, in terms of the amount of food that can go to yourself or to making babies,” says Pletcher. “But our research is suggesting that the supposed link between reproduction and aging is misguided, and that aging may have to do more with expecting a lot of mating but not getting it.”

He adds that no mechanism has ever been found in humans for the supposed life-shortening effect of having large numbers of children. The idea that giving energy to an offspring through pregnancy takes away energy needed for a long life needs revisiting, he suggests, because it’s likely simplistic and outdated.

“In the fruit flies, the neural circuits that drive aging are different from the ones that drive reproduction, and those circuits are present in our own brains too,” he says. “We should be looking at these circuits more closely to see what they’re influencing, including cues that may be influencing our social evaluations of one another but that we don’t understand yet. We need to see if there’s a single underlying cause for many forms of attractiveness cues.”

Explore further: Muscles can ‘ask’ for the energy they need

More information: Fedina TY, Arbuthnott D, Rundle HD, Promislow DEL, Pletcher SD (2017) Tissue-specific insulin signaling mediates female sexual attractiveness. PLoS Genet 13(8): e1006935. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006935

Journal reference: PLoS Genetics

Provided by: University of Michigan

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The laws of attraction: Pheromones don’t lie, fruit fly research suggests – Phys.Org

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Stem cell technique could reverse a major type of infertility – New Scientist

Fertile sperm are rare in men with an extra sex chromosome

Dennis Kunkle Microscopy/SPL

By Andy Coghlan

Turning skin cells into sperm may one day help some infertile men have babies. Research in mice has found a way to make fertile sperm from animals born with too many sex chromosomes.

Most men have two sex chromosomes one X and one Y but some have three, which makes it difficult to produce fertile sperm. Around 1 in 500 men are born with Klinefelter syndrome, caused by having an extra X chromosome, while roughly 1 in 1000 have Double Y syndrome.

James Turner of the Francis Crick Institute in London and his team have found a way to get around the infertility caused by these extra chromosomes. First, they bred mice that each had an extra X or Y chromosome. They then tried to reprogram skin cells from the animals, turning them into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), which are capable of forming other types of cell.

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To their surprise, this was enough to make around a third of the skin cells jettison their extra chromosome. When these cells were then coaxed into forming sperm cells and used to fertilise eggs, 50 to 60 per cent of the resulting pregnancies led to live births.

This suggests that a similar technique might enable men with Klinefelter or Double Y-related infertility to conceive. But there is a significant catch.

We dont yet know how to fully turn stem cells into sperm, so the team got around this by injecting the cells into mouse testes for the last stages of development. While this led to fertile sperm, it also caused tumours to form in between 29 and 50 per cent of mice.

What we really need to make this work is being able to go from iPS cells to sperm in a dish, says Turner.

It has to be done all in vitro, so only normal sperm cells would be used to fertilise eggs, says Zev Rosenwaks of the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. The danger with all iPS cell technology is cancer.

Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.aam9046

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Two-step process leads to cell immortalization and cancer – UC Berkeley

A mutation that helps make cells immortal is critical to the development of a tumor, but new research at UC Berkeley suggests that becoming immortal is a more complicated process than originally thought.

The key to immortalization is an enzyme called telomerase, which keeps chromosomes healthy in cells that divide frequently. The enzyme lengthens the caps, or telomeres, on the ends of chromosomes, which wear off during each cell division.

This skin section shows a benign mole or nevus that is transitioning into a melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. New experiments by UC Berkeley and UCSF researchers suggest that immortalization of skin cells, which is essential to turning them cancerous, is a two-step process: a mutation in nevus cells slightly raises levels of telomerase, which keep the cells alive long enough for a second change, still unknown, that up-regulates telomerase to make the cells immortal and malignant. (Image by Dirk Hockemeyer/UC Berkeley and Boris Bastian/UCSF)

When the telomeres get too short, the ends stick to one another, wreaking havoc when the cell divides and in most cases killing the cell. The discovery of telomerase and its role in replenishing the caps on the ends of the chromosomes, made by Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider at UC Berkeley and John Szostak at Harvard University in the 1980s, earned them a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009.

Because telomeres get shorter as cells age, scientists theorized that cancer cells which never age become immortalized by turning on production of telomerase in cells that normally dont produce it, allowing these cells to keep their long telomeres indefinitely. An estimated 90 percent of all malignant tumors use telomerase to achieve immortality, and various proposed cancer therapies focus on turning down the production of telomerase in tumors.

The new research, which studied the immortalization process using genome-engineered cells in culture and also tracked skin cells as they progressed from a mole into a malignant melanoma, suggests that telomerase plays a more complex role in cancer.

Our findings have implications for how to think about the earliest processes that drive cancer and telomerase as a therapeutic target. It also means that the role of telomere biology at a very early step of cancer development is vastly under-appreciated, said senior author Dirk Hockemeyer, a UC Berkeley assistant professor of molecular and cell biology. It is very likely that what we find in melanoma is true for other cancer types as well, which would warrant that people look more carefully at the role of early telomere shortening as a tumor-suppressing mechanism for cancer.

The results were reported online August 17 as a first release publication from the journal Science.

From nevus to cancerHockemeyer and his UC Berkeley colleagues, in collaboration with dermatopathologist Boris Bastian and his colleagues at UCSF, found that immortalization is a two-step process, driven initially by a mutation that turns telomerase on, but at a very low level. That mutation is in a promoter, a region upstream of the telomerase gene referred to as TERT that regulates how much telomerase is produced. Four years ago, researchers reported that some 70 percent of malignant melanomas have this identical mutation in the TERT promoter.

The TERT promoter mutation does not generate enough telomerase to immortalize the pre-cancerous cells, but does delay normal cellular aging, Hockemeyer said, allowing more time for additional changes that turn telomerase up. He suspects that the telomerase levels are sufficient to lengthen the shortest telomeres, but not to keep them all long and healthy.

If cells fail to turn up telomerase, they also fail to immortalize, and eventually die from short telomeres because chromosomes stick together and then shatter when the cell divides. Cells with the TERT promoter mutation are more likely to up-regulate telomerase, which allows them to continue to grow despite very short telomeres. The marginal levels of telomerase in the cell, Hockemeyer said, result is some unprotected chromosome ends in the surviving mutant cells, which could cause mutations and further fuel tumor formation.

Before our paper, people could have assumed that the acquisition of just this one mutation in the TERT promoter was sufficient to immortalize a cell; that any time when that happens, the telomere shortening is taken out of the equation, Hockemeyer said. We are showing that the TERT promoter mutation is not immediately sufficient to stop telomeres from shortening.

It is still unclear, however, what causes the eventual up-regulation of telomerase that immortalizes the cell. Hockemeyer says that its unlikely to be another mutation, but rather an epigenetic change that affects expression of the telomerase gene, or a change in the expression of a transcription factor or other regulatory proteins that bind to the promoter upstream of the telomerase gene.

Nevertheless, we have evidence that the second step has to happen, and that the second step is initiated by or is occurring at a time when telomeres are critically short and when telomeres can be dysfunctional and drive genomic instability, he said.

In retrospect, not a surpriseThough most cancers seem to require telomerase to become immortal, only some 10 to 20 percent of cancers are known to have a single-nucleotide change in the promoter upstream of the telomerase gene. However, these include about 70 percent of all melanomas and 50 percent of all liver and bladder cancers.

Hockemeyer said that the evidence supporting the theory that the TERT promoter mutation up-regulated telomerase has always been conflicting: Cancer cells tend to have chromosomes with short telomeres, yet have higher levels of telomerase, which should produce longer telomeres.

According to the new theory, the telomeres are short in precancerous cells because telomerase is turned on just enough to maintain but not lengthen the telomeres.

Our paper reconciles contradictory information about the cancers that carry these mutations, Hockemeyer said.

The finding also resolves another recent counterintuitive finding: that people with shorter telomeres are more resistant to melanoma. The reason, he said, is that if a TERT promoter mutation arises to push a precancerous lesion the mole or nevus toward a melanoma, the chances are greater in someone with short telomeres that the cell will die before it up-regulates telomerase and immortalizes the cells.

The study also involved engineering TERT promoter mutations in cells differentiated from human pluripotent stem cells and following their progression toward cellular immortality. The results were identical to the progression seen in human skin lesions obtained from patients in UCSFs Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and examined in the Clinical Cancer Genomics Laboratory, which Bastian directs.

Other co-authors of the Science paper are UC Berkeley graduate students Kunitoshi Chiba and Franziska Lorbeer, who contributed equally to the research, Hunter Shain of UCSF, David McSwiggen, Eva Schruf and Xavier Darzacq of UC Berkeley, and Areum Oh and Jekwan Ryu of the Santa Clara firm Optical Biosystems. The work was supported by the Siebel Stem Cell Institute, California Institute of Regenerative Medicine and National Institutes of Health.RELATED INFORMATION

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Acquisition could boost NWSV life extension case | Business News – Business News

Some of the North West Shelf Venture partners might either sell their stake in the operation or take an equity interest in potential projects such as Browse as one potential solution to find backfill liquids for Karratha gas plant in the next decade, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie.

The venture, which has been shipping liquefied natural gas for 28 years, will have an excess capacity of around 5 million tonnes per annum by 2025 as existing reserves are drained, Wood Mackenzie projected.

Wood analyst Saul Kavonic toldBusiness Newsthat there had never been a better time for the Woodside Petroleum-led venture to commence work on a solution, with a number of options competitive with other global projects.

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PGD | PGS | Genetic Testing

Genetic Testing

If you or your partner have experience with genetic disorders in your family or simply need the security that comes from utilizing the best resources available, it is important to consider the use of genetic testing during your treatment. Not only does this state-of-the-art technology make IVF safer, as we are reducing the risk of pregnancy loss, but it also reduces the chance (and cost) of multiple cycles since we may ensure transfer of only the healthiest embryos. Genetic tests are performed on embryos to ensure the health of the chromosomes. Normally, there are 24 chromosomes (22 autosomes and an X and a Y chromosome).

The availability of genetic testing also allows our center to highlight the benefits of our less is more philosophy, which focuses on single embryo transfers to reduce the chance of multiple pregnancies. Transferring multiple embryos and resulting multiple pregnancies/births are stressful on the uterine environment, significantly decreasing the chance of a healthy pregnancy and increasing the chance of premature births.

It is common for patients to ask about the difference between PGD and PGS. The difference is significant and yet subtle. The purpose of PGD is to diagnose abnormal embryos to ensure that they are not transferred back into your uterus and improve your chances of having a healthy baby. PGD can only be run if you know that you or your partner are carriers of a genetic disorder. A special probe will be created to test for the specific disorder(s) that a couple is known to have. PGS on the other hand will screen for and identify unknown chromosomal abnormalities. This is better for patients who have a history of miscarriages or failed IVF cycles due to unknown circumstances. Most of our patients undergo PGS or Preimplantation Genetic Screening, but be sure to ask which one is right for you.

Genetic testing is very safe for both you and your embryos. We are not making designer babies, so there are no ethical issues to worry about. Some couples are concerned that the procedure will affect their chances of pregnancy, or more importantly, the health of their embryo. Because the procedure is done so early in the developmental process, at a time when cells from the embryo can potentially be removed, our genetic testing does not cause any harm to the developing embryo. Genetic testing is a vital resource for many couples, especially those with known family histories of genetic defects.

PGD/PGS/NGS can offer genetic screeningfor numerous diseases and disorders classified as either chromosomal disorders, single gene defects, or sex-linked disorders. Specific chromosomes are tested for specific disorders, including (but not limited to):

*PLEASE ASK OUR STAFF WHICH TESTS ARE RECOMMENDED FOR YOU*

New Hope Fertility embryologists can also test for X-linked diseases, which only affect males, (e.g. Hemophilia A, Adrenoleukodystrophy, Hunters disease) by identifying the sex of embryos and transferring only female embryos. We also offer PGD for single gene defects such as Cystic Fibrosis (CF), the common deletion (^F508), Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), and Myotonic Dystrophy (DM).

NHFC also performs aneuploidy screening and chromosome translocations to detect abnormalities that may cause spontaneous abortions in early pregnancy. We can perform PGD for all single gene defects where the specific mutation is identified and as long as we can develop a special genetic probe for the disease.

New Hope Fertility Center of New York City is among the top NYC fertility clinics brings together a team of world-class, best fertility specialists that are committed to bring you the best of tomorrows IVF treatment, today. Our NYC fertility center named the Top Clinic of 2017 and is on top of the Forbes list of fertility centers in US. Dr. Zhang has been named among New Yorks Top Doctors

(Click the links below for more infertility information)

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Ancestry.com tells white nationalists DNA tests won’t back ‘twisted ideologies’ – New York Post

The majority of white nationalists who use genetic ancestry sites arent happy with the results, according to a new study.

Sociologists at UCLA and the Data and Society Research Institute examined 12 million posts on a white nationalist website, Stormfront, posted by more than 300,000 users. Within those, researchers found 70 discussion threads containing 153 users who posted their test results from sites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe, with 3,000 individual posts in all, STAT News reported.

One-third of those who posted the findings of their genetic ancestry testing were pleased, according to Aaron Panofsky, a sociologist of science at UCLAs Institute for Society and Genetics. Meanwhile, the majority who found that their ancestry wasnt 100 percent white European either rejected or disputed the findings. Some even claimed to know their own background better than any test could.

They will talk about the mirror test, Panofsky told STAT News. They will say things like, If you see a Jew in the mirror looking back at you, thats a problem; if you dont, youre fine.

Some other users who got results they hadnt expected claimed that they didnt matter since they were truly committed to being a white nationalist, while others claimed the genetic testing kits were part of a vast Jewish conspiracy thats trying to confuse true white Americans about their ancestry, Panofsky said.

Panofsky and Joan Donovan of the Data and Society Research Institute presented their findings during a sociology conference in Montreal on Monday, roughly 48 hours after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. The timing was incidental, but provides a useful, if frightening, window into how some extremists view their ancestry, according to STAT News.

Ancestry.com which announced its 5 millionth DNA test earlier this month said in a statement to The Post that the company was horrified by the tragic events in Charlottesville and had a message for those in search of ethnic purity.

We not only condemn the violence that occurred but we are deeply disturbed by the ideologies of the white supremacist groups who marched there, the statement read. To be clear, we are against any use of our product in an attempt to promote divisiveness or justify twisted ideologies. People looking to use our services to prove they are ethnically pure are going to be deeply disappointed. We encourage them to take their business elsewhere.

Representatives from 23andMe, meanwhile, said the company conducts ancestry testing that provides a percentage of a persons regional origin.

We do not report on race, senior director of research Joanna Mountain said in a statement to The Post. In part this is done by using an algorithm to compare large segments of their genome to 31 different reference populations both publicly available reference data as well as reference data that we have internal to 23andMe. From this, 23andMe is able to estimate percentages of a persons genome that come from these areas, for instance, sub-Saharan African, Iberian or European.

23andMe performs genotyping the process of identifying genetic variants within key parts an individuals genome rather than sequencing, which determines the exact order of the four bases in DNA.

When a 23andMe research participant tells us they have four grandparents all born in the same country and the country isnt a colonial nation like the US, Canada or Australia that person becomes a candidate for inclusion in the reference data, 23andMe product specialist Jhulianna Cintron told STAT News.

The company then excludes close relatives who could distort the findings and removes outliers whose genetic data doesnt correspond, she said.

An associate professor at the University of Michigan who has studied commercial genetic testing told STAT News that companies are typically reliable at identifying genetic variants. But interpreting the results as far as ancestry or possible looming health risks is less certain, he said.

The science is often murky in those areas and gives ambiguous information, J. Scott Roberts said. They try to give specific percentages from this region, or X percent disease risk, and my sense is that that is an artificially precise estimate.

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Ancestry.com tells white nationalists DNA tests won’t back ‘twisted ideologies’ – New York Post

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White Nationalists Are Flocking to Genetic Ancestry Tests–with … – Scientific American

It was a strange moment of triumph against racism: The gun-slinging white supremacist Craig Cobb, dressed up fordaytime TVin a dark suit and red tie, hearing that his DNA testing revealed his ancestry to be only 86 percent European, and 14 percent Sub-Saharan African. The studio audience whooped and laughed and cheered. And Cobbwho was, in 2013,chargedwith terrorizing people while trying to create an all-white enclave in North Dakotareacted like a sore loser in the schoolyard.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, hold on, just wait a minute, he said, trying to put on an all-knowing smile. This is called statistical noise.

Then, according to theSouthern Poverty Law Center, hetook to the white nationalist website Stormfront to dispute those results. Thats not uncommon: With the rise of spit-in-a-cup genetic testing, theres a trend of white nationalists using these services to prove their racial identity, and then using online forums to discuss the results.

But like Cobb, many are disappointed to find out that their ancestry is not as white as theyd hoped. In a new study, sociologists Aaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan examined years worth of posts on Stormfront to see how members dealt with the news.

Its striking, they say, that white nationalists would post these results online at all. After all, as Panofsky put it, they will basically say if you want to be a member of Stormfront you have to be 100 percent white European, not Jewish.

But instead of rejecting members who get contrary results, Donovan said, the conversations are overwhelmingly focused on helping the person to rethink the validity of the genetic test. And some of those critiqueswhile emerging from deep-seated racismare close to scientists own qualms about commercial genetic ancestry testing.

Panofsky and Donovan presented their findings at a sociology conference in Montreal on Monday. The timing of the talksome 48 hours after the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.was coincidental. But the analysis provides a useful, if frightening, window into how these extremist groups think about their genes.

Stormfront was launched in the mid-1990s byDon Black, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. His skills in computer programming were directly related to his criminal activities: He learned them while in prison for trying to invade the Caribbean island nation of Dominica in 1981, and then worked as a web developer after he got out. That means this website dates back to the early years of the internet, forming a kind of deep archive of online hate.

To find relevant comments in the 12 million posts written by over 300,000 members, the authors enlisted a team at the University of California, Los Angeles, to search for terms like DNA test, haplotype, 23andMe, and National Geographic. Then the researchers combed through the posts they found, not to mention many others as background. Donovan, who has moved from UCLA to theData & Society Research Institute, estimated that she spent some four hours a day reading Stormfront in 2016. The team winnowed their results down to 70 discussion threads in which 153 users posted their genetic ancestry test results, with over 3,000 individual posts.

About a third of the people posting their results were pleased with what they found. Pretty damn pure blood, said a user with the username Sloth. But the majority didnt find themselves in that situation. Instead, the community often helped them reject the test, or argue with its results.

Some rejected the tests entirely, saying that an individuals knowledge about his or her own genealogy is better than whatever a genetic test can reveal. They will talk about the mirror test, said Panofsky, who is a sociologist of science at UCLAs Institute for Society and Genetics. They will say things like, If you see a Jew in the mirror looking back at you, thats a problem; if you dont, youre fine.’ Others, he said, responded to unwanted genetic results by saying that those kinds of tests dont matter if you are truly committed to being a white nationalist. Yet otherstried to discredit the genetic tests as a Jewish conspiracy that is trying to confuse true white Americans about their ancestry, Panofsky said.

But some took a more scientific angle in their critiques, calling into doubt the method by which these companies determine ancestryspecifically how companies pick those people whose genetic material will be considered the reference for a particular geographical group.

And that criticism, though motivated by very different ideas, is one that some researchers have made as well, even as other scientists have used similar data to better understand how populations move and change.

There is a mainstream critical literature on genetic ancestry testsgeneticists and anthropologists and sociologists who have said precisely those things: that these tests give an illusion of certainty, but once you know how the sausage is made, you should be much more cautious about these results, said Panofsky.

Companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe are meticulous in how they analyze your genetic material. As points of comparison, they use both preexisting datasets as well as some reference populations that they have recruited themselves. The protocol includes genetic material from thousands of individuals, and looks at thousands of genetic variations.

When a 23andMe research participant tells us that they have four grandparents all born in the same countryand the country isnt a colonial nation like the U.S., Canada, or Australiathat person becomes a candidate for inclusion in the reference data, explained Jhulianna Cintron, a product specialist at 23andMe. Then, she went on, the company excludes close relatives, as that could distort the data, and removes outliers whose genetic data dont seem to match with what they wrote on their survey.

But specialists both inside and outside these companies recognize that the geopolitical boundaries we use now are pretty new, and so consumers may be using imprecise categorieswhen thinking about their own genetic ancestry within the sweeping history of human migration. And users ancestry results can change depending on the dataset to which their genetic material is being compareda fact which some Stormfront users said they took advantage of, uploading their data to various sites to get a more white result.

J. Scott Roberts, an associate professor at the University of Michigan, who has studied consumer use of genetic tests and was not involved with the study, said the companies tend to be reliable at identifying genetic variants. Interpreting them in terms of health risk or ancestry, though, is another story. The science is often murky in those areas and gives ambiguous information, he said. They try to give specific percentages from this region, or x percent disease risk, and my sense is that that is an artificially precise estimate.

For the study authors, what was most interesting was to watch this online community negotiating its own boundaries, rethinking who counts as white. That involved plenty of contradictions.They saw people excluded for their genetic test results, often in very nasty (and unquotable) ways, but that tended to happen for newer members of the anonymous online community, Panofsky said, and not so much for longtime, trusted members. Others were told that they could remain part of white nationalist groups, in spite of the ancestry they revealed, as long as they didnt mate, or only had children with certain ethnic groups. Still others used these test results to put forth a twisted notion of diversity, one that allows them to say, No, were really diverse and we dont need non-white people to have a diverse society,’ said Panofsky.

Thats a far cry from the message of reconciliation that genetic ancestry testing companies hope to promote.

Sweetheart, you have a little black in you, the talk show host Trisha Goddard told Craig Cobb on that day in 2013. But that didnt stop him from redoing the test with a different company, trying to alter or parse the data until it matched his racist worldview.

Republished with permission fromSTAT. This articleoriginally appearedon August 16, 2017

Read the rest here:
White Nationalists Are Flocking to Genetic Ancestry Tests–with … – Scientific American

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Ask Amy: DNA testing reveals family secret – The Denver Post

Dear Amy: About a year ago, I used one of those genetic testing services. The website shows other users who share genetics with you, and allows everyone to contact each other.

Recently, I got a message from another user (a woman in her 60s in another state), that showed we were a very close genetic match.

She emailed me, saying she was looking for information on her father, whom she had never met. She said her mother had a very brief relationship with aU.S.marine during the Korean War. It turned out he had probably used a fake name. They had no photos, and they were never able to track him down. Her mother later moved to theU.S.

The woman, Janet, asked if it was possible if my grandfather (who is now dead) was her father. She knew very little except for what her mother (also now dead) had told her, including specific identifying physical characteristics. My grandfather was a Korean War veteran and had the exact characteristics she described (including a distinctive tattoo).

My grandfather wouldve been married to my grandmother (who is still alive) when Janet was been conceived. An uncle of mine was born a year before Janet.

I always saw my grandfather as a good, caring family man. I have not told anyone about this. I do not want to tarnish his memory, upset my grandmother, or change how my family views him, when hes not around to defend himself.

Janet would like to meet my aunts and uncles, but I have told her I am not comfortable giving her their contact information. She has recently started pleading with me, and I truly feel awful for not giving it to her.

What do I do here?

Torn

Dear Torn: One (perhaps unforeseen) aspect of using genetic testing is the way the results can open up confounding human dilemmas concerning long-buried family secrets. Recently, I was at a gathering where several people had used a genetic matching site and all of them noted shocking, unanticipated results, including being matched with (half) siblings they hadnt known about. And yet all reported that this ultimately was a positive experience.

In your case, Janet has already received useful genetic information. She now (quite understandably) wants more. You should at least answer any questions youre able to answer.

If you arent willing to even ask your aunts and uncles if they would be open to contact with her, then she will have to find another conduit to them.

It would be best if your family was open to the idea that people are complicated, and dont always do the right thing but this is the fullness of the human experience, and ultimately this is something to explore and embrace, rather than deny.

Dear Amy: My husband and I recently became friends with another couple. As a group, we get along famously.

However, lately I do not feel that my friend likes me. She makes remarks about how I dont exercise my dog, how I dont treat my husband right, how I treat my son, how they cant take me anywhere, and the list goes on.

I try not to trigger these comments and shrug them off, as they account for only a few unpleasant moments during several good hours spent together.

I like many other things about this person, but I do not like how she makes me feel when we are together. How do I let her know, without hurting her feelings, and how do I phrase asking her to stop throwing darts my way? Or am I just being too sensitive?

Had Enough

Dear Had Enough: I dont think its a lot to ask for someone to refrain from trashing you so no, you are not being too sensitive.

Tell your friend, I usually enjoy our time together. But you seem to find a lot wrong with me. Honestly, I dont like to be criticized, but especially in front of our husbands. Whats up with that?

She may say, as many do, Hey, I call em like I see em. Then you can tell her, Well, thats a trait that I dont appreciate. Its hurtful, and so I wish you would stop.

Dear Amy: Priority Parent described policing children on the playground. Is this priority parenting or helicopter parenting? Im quite sick of this sort of over-involvement.

Normal Parent

Dear Parent: This particular parent had a special-needs child. He is doing his job to pay close attention to potential dangers on the playground.

Link:
Ask Amy: DNA testing reveals family secret – The Denver Post

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

IARPA looks to hand-held genetic testing – FCW.com (blog)

IARPA looks to hand-held genetic testing

WHAT: The intelligence community’s development arm announced an effort to accelerate the development of next-generation gene sequencing technology, with an eye to building mobile devices that can quickly identify diseases or human genetic signatures in the field or in the lab.

WHY: The new Rapid Detection Nucleic Acid Signatures (RaDNAS) request for information from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity asks industry for information about nanopore sequencing capabilities — a quick, relatively low-cost, highly mobile method for testing and processing of samples — that can potentially allow test results to be displayed in real time.

The nanopore process uses tiny membranes and tiny electrical charges to separate molecules and has been used to rapidly identify and monitor diseases like Ebola. The technique has also been used to identify environmental hazards and food safety issues as well as in human genome sequencing and other applications.

IARPA is particularly interested in the nanopore process because of its potential for use in hand-held devices in the field. Other next-generation sequencing technologies and techniques are not as portable, according to the contacting notice.

Responses to the RFI are due Sept. 22. Read the full solicitation here.

In July IARPA issued an RFI asking about genetic identification technology that could be used to detect human engineered changes to natural biological systems.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Aug 14, 2017 at 6:40 AM

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IARPA looks to hand-held genetic testing – FCW.com (blog)

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A first in China cryonics: Dead woman put in deep freeze – EJ Insight – EJ Insight

A 49-year-old Chinese woman who died from lung cancer has been put in deep freeze in the hope that she will be brought back to life and reunited with her husband once science has found a cure for her fatal illness.

Thecryonics procedure was performed at Shandong Yinfeng Life Science Research Institute in Jinan on May 8, several minutes after Zhan Wenlian died at Shandong Universitys Qilu Hospital, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Zhan and her husbandGui Junmin had agreed to put her through the procedure, which involves low-temperature preservation of a person whose life can no longer be sustained under current science and medical knowledge, with the hope that he or she can be resuscitated and restored to full health in the future.

While some people suspect that the procedure is just another hoax, Gui expressed in a letter of consent that he knew it was not possible to revive his wife in the near future but he still he would like to give it a try.

He said he and his family believe that future advances in science and medicine will enable experts to revive his wife.

The cryopreservation was the first for a whole human body in China, although a female writer in Chongqing had had her brain frozen and preserved in 2015.

The procedure was done by Aaron Drake, a specialist in cryogenics, in cooperation with doctors from Shandong Yinfeng Life Science Research Institute and specialists from the hospital.

After more than 60 hours of work, Zhans body temperature was lowered to below minus 190 degrees Celsius before she was kept in a liquid nitrogen tank that provides a stable temperature of minus 196 degrees.

The procedure is said to cost more than 7 million yuan (US$1.05 million) plus an annual charge of 50,000 yuan for the refilling of liquid nitrogen.

But Gui only needs to pay a small portion of the amount since his wife volunteered.

Jia Chunsheng, who is in charge of Shandong Yinfeng, said cryogenics projects remain asserious scientific studies and the institute has no intention to commercialize the procedure anytime soon, news website hk01.com reported.

Jia also praised Zhan for being willing to contribute her body to scientific research, adding that her consent fuels the hope that dead people can be revived and restored to full health in the future.

In the United States, there have been about 250 people placed in cryopreservation as of 2014.

Contact us at [emailprotected]

TL/JC/CG

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A first in China cryonics: Dead woman put in deep freeze – EJ Insight – EJ Insight

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Walt Disney Was NOT Frozen – MousePlanet

I recently did a presentation at the Museum of Military History in Kissimmee, Florida, about Disney and World War II. During the question-and-answer session, I was asked if I actually believed Walt was cremated and his ashes interred at Forest Lawn Glendale, because they had heard from a reliable source “that worked at Disney” that it was obvious he was frozen.

I was even asked about this during a question-and-answer session after a presentation I did at the Walt Disney Family Museum a few years ago about Disney and outer space.

It is a question I keep getting asked not out of idle curiosity, but because the person often wants to prove that they know this “secret fact” and if I am simply a Disney apologist who only promotes the official Disney line.

First, it is always challenging to try to prove a negative to the satisfaction of all people.

Second, just the mere mention of these falsehoods about Walt continues to give them additional life, with people claiming they saw this assertion in a book or heard it somewhere, like from a Disney cast member, so it must be true.

Finally, there will be people who despite common sense and all the evidence to the contrary will condescendingly assume that where there is smoke, there must be fire, or that someone is trying to cover-up the real story.

The one image that sticks in my mind when someone asks me if Walt were frozen is the memory of his oldest daughter Diane Disney Miller. I remember her telling me with a mixture of sadness and anger in her face and voice about how upsetting it was to the Disney family over the years for this question to even be asked in the first place.

She told me that one of the reasons she was so adamant about creating the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco was “Other little kids would say to my kids, ‘Your grandfather is frozen, isn’t he?’ And I just couldn’t let that stand. What if someone said that about their parent? How would they feel?”

When I lived in California, some California Institute of the Arts students as an art project raised some money by producing a limited amount of “Waltsickles” that featured a full-figured model of Walt Disney in a suit inside of a popsickle. That never happened again although gags about “Disney on Ice” with Walt frozen in a block of ice and skaters performing on top of him abound.

An editorial cartoon jokingly referred to Disney on Ice as being Walt frozen in ice.

Walt Disney was not cryogenically frozen, but was cremated on December 17, 1966. Rumors still persist that Walt was put into cryogenic suspension and buried somewhere underneath Disneyland, in particular under the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, since it was still under construction when he died.

However, I have had people tell me, he was put under the dedication plaque on Main Street or directly in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Interestingly, I haven’t yet had anyone tell me Walt’s supposed frozen body is somewhere in the Haunted Mansion. I guess that is because the Mansion is supposed to be for dead people and in theory, if he were frozen, Walt would still be alive.

Articles and books about the preservation of animal tissue through freezing appeared in medical and scientific journals and occasionally the general press starting in the late 1950s. Perhaps the most prominent book during Walt’s lifetime, The Prospect of Immortality by Robert C.W. Ettinger, was published in 1964.

However, this book still discussed cryonics as merely theoretical although eventually possible. Just as it was possible Walt “might” have heard about this topic, but there is no documentation that he ever did. Neither his family nor his closest associates ever heard him talk about the topicand Walt talked about everything he was interested in at the moment.

Certainly, there are several untrustworthy and unreliable sources that have proposed that he did but there is no evidence, including interviews with those who actually knew and worked with Walt.

Again, this is one of those Walt Disney Urban Legends that “everyone knows” but nobody seems to know where the information originated.

Waking Walt was a novel published in 2002 by former Disneyland and Walt Disney World Vice-President Larry Pontius about Walt Disney supposedly being defrosted by a very small group of former confidants to save the Disney Company from the machinations of Michael Eisner.

It is no surprise that Walt’s disgust about what has happened to his dream, especially Epcot, is clearly apparent in the novel. Pontinus never knew Walt, but worked as a Disney marketing executive from 1976-1982.

Diane Disney Miller asserted in 1972: “There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that my father, Walt Disney, wished to be frozen. I doubt that my father had ever heard of cryonics.”

Walt’s official death certificate clearly shows that his body was cremated at Forest Lawn Glendale on December 17, 1966. The name, license number and signature of the embalmer, Dean Fluss, are those of a real embalmer who worked at the mortuary at the time. Court papers show that the Disney family paid $40,000 to Forest Lawn for the interment location of his ashes.

Certainly, Walt did not like attending funerals and even avoided the ones for his own father and brother.

“He never goes to a funeral if he can help it,” wrote Diane in 1956. “If he had to go to one it plunges him into a reverie which lasts for hours after he’s home. At such times he says, ‘When I’m dead I don’t want a funeral. I want people to remember me alive’.”

Walt did not want people to see him in the hospital, and so only the immediate family was allowed into his room. Very few people, even those close to him, knew how really sick Walt actually was. The story told to the public was that he was undergoing surgery for an old neck injury from playing polo that most people knew had troubled him for decades and then re-entered the hospital days later for a routine post operative checkup.

Walt’s death was not immediately announced to the press until several hours after it occurred at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 15, 1966. Walt lay in his hospital bed for a few hours while his family arrived and said their farewells. If Walt was to be put into cryonic suspension, it would have had to be done immediately to preserve him or even just moments before his death. That did not happen.

He lay there as his daughter Diane tried to get her mother to hurry up to get to the hospital but Lillian kept delaying the inevitable. His older brother Roy sat at the edge of the bed rubbing one of Walt’s feet that was sticking out from the under the sheets. Walt had always complained his feet were cold in the hospital.

The cause of Disney’s death was initially announced as being “acute circulatory collapse” and, on the death certificate, “cardiac arrest,” which meant simply that his heart had stopped beating. It was a standard medical phrase giving no indication of what caused the heart to stop beating, which, in this case, was cancer. The cause was considered of secondary importance and to the general public the actual cause was unimportant. Walt Disney was gone.

Walt’s funeral was quietly held at the Little Church of the Flowers in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale at 5 p.m. on Friday, December 16, the day after his death. No funeral announcement was made until after it had taken place. Only immediate family members attended, no friends, people who worked at the studio or business associates.

The Disney characters and cast members mourn Walt Disney in this cartoon.

His widow Lillian; daughters Diane and Sharon, with their husbands (Ron Miller and Robert Brown); his brother Roy and his wife Edna; and their son, Walt’s nephew Roy E. Disney, with his wife Patty, were the only ones there. His sister Ruth was told not to fly down from Portland, Oregon, where she lived for fear the press would follow her to the service.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “Secret rites were conducted at the Little Church of the Flowers at Forest Lawn. The services were a closely-guarded secret. Family services were announced only after they had been concluded. Studio and cemetery officials refused to reveal details.”

Forest Lawn officials refused to disclose any details of the funeral or disposition of the body, stating only that “Mr. Disney’s wishes were very specific and had been spelled out in great detail.”

The situation that people were not fully aware how ill Walt was, never saw him in the hospital and how badly he had deteriorated, nor attended his funeral to see him lying in state sparked the speculation that like other popular celebrities who died somewhat suddenly, including Elvis Presley, Walt was not really dead.

While the Disney family were a private family and felt this was a private matter, others saw it as a mystery.

The origin of the rumor of Walt being frozen has often been credited to Disney Studios animators who “had a bizarre sense of humor” and perhaps the earliest known printed version appeared in the French magazine Ici Paris in 1969.

In 1985, I asked animator Ward Kimball if he was the source for the rumor since he was well known for his pranks. “When Disney fans ask me if it’s true that Walt’s body is kept frozen for future resurrection, I answer that question by pointing out that Walt was always intensely interested in things scientific and he, more than any person I knew, just might have been curious enough to agree to such an experiment.”

A decade earlier, Kimball had told another interviewer, “The smoking may have set the stage for his death. It probably weakened his physical condition. But I’m convinced it was the emotional stress he was under that killed him. It’s such a dull world. So when I am asked if Walt’s body was frozen and if he believed he could come back someday, just to stir things up I tell everybody he is frozen. Actually, he was cremated.”

in 1972, Bob Nelson, who was then the president of the Cryonics Society of California, gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times. He specifically stated that Walt was not cryogenically frozen and reaffirmed that he had been cremated. However, he continued that he felt that Walt wanted to be frozen and based it on the fact that he had been contacted by someone at the studios prior to Disney death that asked elaborate questions about the process, the facilities, the staff, and their history.

That someone may have been writer Charles Show, who had worked on the Tomorrowland episodes for the Disney television series and has admitted doing research on the topic before Walt’s death.

Nelson pointed out that the first cryonic suspension took place just a month after Disney’s death. Dr. James Bedford, a 73-year-old psychologist from Glendale, was suspended by Nelson and his team on January 12, 1967. Bedford has yet to be revived from his comfortable rest in Arizona.

“If Disney had been the first it would have made headlines around the world and been a real shot in the arm for cryonics,” said Nelson who had hoped to put Walt in a nitrogen filled capsule chilled to minus 371 degrees Fahrenheit. Interestingly, Nelson’s organization had its incorporation papers approved by the state of California on December 15, 1966, the same day Walt passed away.

Nelson was later asked if some other facility than his own might have been involved.

“There was no other facility at that time. The only other group was the Cryonics Society of New York and they had nothing no mortician, no doctor, no nothing,” Nelson said.

Author Ray Bradbury said later, “There was a rumor that (Walt) had been frozen in a cryogenic mortuary to be revived in later years. Nonsense! He’s alive now! People at the studio speak of him as if he were present! That’s immortality for you. Who needs cryonics?”

In the 1970s, the National Enquirer revealed the grave site of Walt Disney.

For nearly a year after the cremation, Walt Disney’s ashes remained un-interred. When Sharon’s husband, Bob Brown, died less than a year later, in September 1967, Sharon made the arrangements for her father and her husband to be interred together so that neither would be alone. She and her older sister, Diane, chose a remote plot outside the Freedom Mausoleum.

A modest bronze rectangular tablet on a wall lists the name of Walter Elias Disney; his wife, Lillian; his son-in-law, Robert Brown; and a mention that daughter Sharon’s ashes were “scattered in paradise.”

To locate the site, drive through the entrance to a road called Cathedral Drive. Stay on the road to the eastern edge of the park where Cathedral Drive intersects with Freedom Way. At that intersection, turn right onto Freedom Way. On your left will be trees, fountains, and statues. This area is called Freedom Court.

At the far end of Freedom Court is a large mausoleum. Pull over and park on the right-hand side of the street. There should be a “33” painted on the curb opposite your car, indicating 33 Freedom Way. Standing at the base of the steps leading to the main entrance of the Freedom Mausoleum, turn to your left and walk to the far edge of the steps.

There is a small, private, low-gated courtyard garden near the brick wall. Inside this area guarded by a hedge of orange olivias, red azaleas, and a holly tree there is a small statue of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid sitting on a rock.

In recent years, another huge falsehood has circulated in regards to Walt Disney’s death and I have no clue where this could have originated.

According to the myth, in Walt Disney’s Last Will and Testament dated March 1966, he stipulated that the first man to get pregnant or give birth would receive millions of dollars, all of Walt Disney World or even the entire Disney Company. The vagueness of the reward should be the first clue that this is bogus.

Walt Disney’s will is a public document and easily accessible so it is easy to see that no such statement exists or anything else like it relating to bizarre statement.

In addition, Walt was a highly conservative Midwest Christian and such a decree would certainly be out of character even for a man interested in innovation and the latest technology. In any case, this would not be something the traditional Walt would likely want to encourage at all nor did he ever discuss anything like it.

In any case, The Walt Disney Company was a publicly held corporation so Walt wouldn’t have been able to give away the company or Walt Disney World. He didn’t own them. In his will, Disney clearly left 45 percent of his estate to his wife and daughters and another 45 percent to be distributed primarily to California Institute of the Arts and the remaining 10 percent to be divided among his sister, nieces, and nephews.

So there were no extra millions of dollars to be distributed to any other bequest.

While there have been stories of eccentric wealthy people making unusual bequests in their wills, Walt never did.

However, even Walt knew that a good story is hard to extinguish and will often take on a life of its own. You might think that the information in this column is enough to put the story to rest but I can tell you that I shared this with an avid and somewhat knowledgeable Disney fan before publication and her immediate reaction was, “documents can be forged!”

I just sighed.

So the falsehoods will probably continue while the facts are forgotten. I just keep remembering how sad it made Diane Disney Miller and I wish there were more I could do.

Here is the original post:
Walt Disney Was NOT Frozen – MousePlanet

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7 IBS Symptoms Every Woman Should Know About – Women’s Health

To state the obvious, poop problems are the worst. Whilecramping, constipation, and diarrhea are a drag for everyone, those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have to live with those symptoms on a daily basis. IBS is a gastrointestinal syndrome characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of any organic cause, says Niket Sonpal, M.D. It is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal condition. The prevalence of IBS in the United States is estimated from population-based studies to be approximately 10 to 15 percent but, in my experience, I feel the prevalence is much higher.

Unfortunately, women are twice as likely as men to have IBS, according to theU.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Women can attribute their likelihood of getting IBS to the fact thathormonescontribute to flare-ups and estrogen and progesterone both rise and fall during the monthly menstrual cycle, says Sonpal. Because these hormone receptors are found in the G.I. tract, their fluctuations manifest symptoms. Furthermore, womens symptoms can differentiate from one another because, in addition to hormonal fluctuations, IBS flare-ups can be influenced by emotional health and the guts microbiome as well.

IBS is what Sonpal calls a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning a physician should rule out all other possible causes of symptoms first. Because of that and the way women uniquely experience IBS, it can be difficult to diagnose. After all, how do you tell if its IBS or intense period cramps or anxiety?

Here are some classic symptoms that can help you tell whats what:

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7 IBS Symptoms Every Woman Should Know About – Women’s Health

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Vitamin C may encourage blood cancer stem cells to die – Medical Xpress

Ball-and-stick model of the L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) molecule, C6H8O6, as found in the crystal structure. Credit: public domain

Vitamin C may “tell” faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health, and published online August 17 in the journal Cell.

Certain genetic changes are known to reduce the ability of an enzyme called TET2 to encourage stem cells to become mature blood cells, which eventually die, in many patients with certain kinds of leukemia, say the authors. The new study found that vitamin C activated TET2 function in mice engineered to be deficient in the enzyme.

“We’re excited by the prospect that high-dose vitamin C might become a safe treatment for blood diseases caused by TET2-deficient leukemia stem cells, most likely in combination with other targeted therapies,” says corresponding study author Benjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Medicine and director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center.

Changes in the genetic code (mutations) that reduce TET2 function are found in 10 percent of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), 30 percent of those with a form of pre-leukemia called myelodysplastic syndrome, and in nearly 50 percent of patients with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. Such cancers cause anemia, infection risk, and bleeding as abnormal stem cells multiply in the bone marrow until they interfere with blood cell production, with the number of cases increasing as the population ages.

Along with these diseases, new tests suggest that about 2.5 percent of all U.S. cancer patients – or about 42,500 new patients each year – may develop TET2 mutations, including some with lymphomas and solid tumors, say the authors.

Cell Death Switch

The study results revolve around the relationship between TET2 and cytosine, one of the four nucleic acid “letters” that comprise the DNA code in genes. Every cell type has the same genes, but each gets different instructions to turn on only those needed in a given cellular context.

These “epigenetic” regulatory mechanisms include DNA methylation, the attachment of a small molecule termed a methyl group to cytosine bases that shuts down the action of a gene containing them.

The video will load shortly.

The back- and-forth attachment and removal of methyl groups also fine-tunes gene expression in stem cells, which can mature, specialize and multiply to become muscle, bone, nerve, or other cell types. This happens as the body first forms, but the bone marrow also keeps pools of stem cells on hand into adulthood, ready to become replacement cells as needed. In leukemia, signals that normally tell a blood stem cell to mature malfunction, leaving it to endlessly multiply and “self-renew” instead of producing normal white blood cells needed to fight infection.

The enzyme studied in this report, Tet methylcytosine dioxygenase 2 (TET2), enables a change in the molecular structure (oxidation) of methyl groups that is needed for them to be removed from cytosines. This “demethylation” turns on genes that direct stem cells to mature, and to start a count-down toward self-destruction as part of normal turnover. This serves as an anti-cancer safety mechanism, one that is disrupted in blood cancer patients with TET2 mutations, says Neel.

To determine the effect of mutations that reduce TET2 function in abnormal stem cells, the research team genetically engineered mice such that the scientists could switch the TET2 gene on or off.

Similar to the naturally occurring effects of TET2 mutations in mice or humans, using molecular biology techniques to turn off TET2 in mice caused abnormal stem cell behavior. Remarkably, these changes were reversed when TET2 expression was restored by a genetic trick. Previous work had shown that vitamin C could stimulate the activity of TET2 and its relatives TET1 and TET3. Because only one of the two copies of the TET2 gene in each stem cell is usually affected in TET2-mutant blood diseases, the authors hypothesized that high doses of vitamin C, which can only be given intravenously, might reverse the effects of TET2 deficiency by turning up the action of the remaining functional gene.

Indeed, they found that vitamin C did the same thing as restoring TET2 function genetically. By promoting DNA demethylation, high-dose vitamin C treatment induced stem cells to mature, and also suppressed the growth of leukemia cancer stem cells from human patients implanted in mice.

“Interestingly, we also found that vitamin C treatment had an effect on leukemic stem cells that resembled damage to their DNA,” says first study author Luisa Cimmino, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at NYU Langone Health. “For this reason, we decided to combine vitamin C with a PARP inhibitor, a drug type known to cause cancer cell death by blocking the repair of DNA damage, and already approved for treating certain patients with ovarian cancer.”

Researchers found that the combination had an enhanced effect on leukemia stem cells, further shifting them from self-renewal back toward maturity and cell death. The results also suggest that vitamin C might drive leukemic stem cells without TET2 mutations toward death, says Cimmino, given that it turns up any TET2 activity normally in place.

“Our team is working to systematically identify genetic changes that contribute to risk for leukemia in significant groups of patients,” says corresponding author Iannis Aifantis, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pathology at NYU Langone Health. “This study adds the targeting of abnormal TET2-driven DNA demethylation to our list of potential new treatment approaches.”

Explore further: A tumor-suppressing gene can be harmful in some cancers

Journal reference: Cell

Provided by: NYU Langone Health / NYU School of Medicine

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Vitamin C may encourage blood cancer stem cells to die – Medical Xpress

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Bone marrow drive held at ExplorationWorks – KTVH

HELENA ExplorationWorks is hosting the Be The Match bone marrow donor drive this week at the Great Northern Town Center.

The drive is intended to support those in need of bone marrow or blood stem cell transplants around the world. Its being held in conjunction with ExplorationWorks Kids Kicking Cancer Camp.

The camp is open to children who are directly affected by cancer in their lives. Campers had the opportunity to make a card for Be the Match child who is currently undergoing or awaiting treatment.

Our hope is that the kids attending our camp will be able to connect with the Be The Match kids on a level most other children wouldnt understand. Knowing someone else is fighting the same fight will hopefully be a healing activity for all of the kids involved, said ExplorationWorks Education Director Lauren Rivers.

John Philpott of Be the Match said that sadly, some of the Be The Match kids children are still waiting to be matched with a donor.

There are still thousands of patients every year who have to hear their doctor say theres no match for you, said Phillpott, One Montanan [donation] can mean the difference for one patient.

According to Be the Match, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer every three minutes and every 10 minutes someone dies from not receiving a transplant.

The Marrow Donor Registry Drive will continue at ExplorationWorks from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Registration takes around 10 minutes to complete and only involves some paper work and a few cheek swabs. You must be between the ages of 18 and 44 in order to register.

For more information about bone marrow donation and how to register click here.

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Bone marrow drive held at ExplorationWorks – KTVH

Recommendation and review posted by simmons

Stem cell recipient, donor meet 13 years after transplant – AsiaOne

Until last week, leukemia survivor Fengfeng (not his real name) knew almost nothing about the person who saved his life 13 years ago. Holding a bouquet of flowers, Fengfeng spotted a woman in her 40s. He rushed to her and hugged her. He sensed this was the person he had been waiting for.

Thirteen years ago, Fengfeng was a 15-year-old middle school student in Chongqing. He was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer affecting the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow.

He has no siblings, and half-match transplant techniques using a patient’s parent as the donor had not matured yet. So the only hope was to find a close match outside the immediate family, the possibility of which was only one in 100,000.

Doctors found details of Han Lu, then a 32-year-old nurse at a Chongqing dental hospital, in the city’s databank for China’s marrow donor programme.

On a winter day in 2004, Han’s stem cells were transplanted into Fengfeng’s body, saving his life. It was the first unrelated donor stem cell transplant to treat chronic myeloid leukemia in Chongqing.

“I always had a wish after the transplant,” Fengfeng said. “I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to my donor face to face.”

However, like others in the same situation, they remained strangers, though they lived in the same city, as international practice and China’s stem cell donation rules prohibit donors and recipients from meeting until at least a year after a successful transplant.

Han had long wished to meet Fengfeng, but the boy’s health was not stable, making their meeting impossible until now.

They managed to exchange gifts with the help of the Chongqing Red Cross Society.

Fengfeng bought a necklace and a photography book for Han on a trip to Thailand, while Han turned a red cashmere sweater she owned into 25 knitted roses with red straws for stems as a gift for Fengfeng’s 25th birthday.

“Cashmere signifies warmth and the red straws look like blood vessels,” said Han, who felt gratified when she learned that Fengfeng survived and has had a happy life.

This year, Fengfeng asked the city’s Red Cross to help arrange a meeting with his hero. After obtaining Han’s consent, Fengfeng’s dream came true.

According to Huang Gangyi, deputy director of the Chongqing databank for China’s marrow donor programme, most stem cell recipients are unwilling to go public.

“They don’t want others to know that they had the disease,” Huang said. “But meetings can help people better understand stem cell transplants and raise awareness about the need for donors.

“Many people have misunderstandings about it, thinking transplants will be harmful to the donor’s health.”

Last year, China’s marrow donor programme had more than 2.3 million potential donors, the Red Cross Society of China said in May. The programme has facilitated more than 6,000 hematopoietic stem cell donations for patients at home and abroad.

Moved by the story of Fengfeng and Han, many people have called Huang in the past week and asked how they can become potential cell stem donors.

Fengfeng had type O blood before the transplant. Eventually, his blood type changed to B, the same as Han’s.

“She gave me a second chance at life, and now I have a lifelong friend and a new family member,” Fengfeng said.

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Stem cell recipient, donor meet 13 years after transplant – AsiaOne

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Vitamin C stops blood cancer in mice – SBS

A US study has shown high dose Vitamin C halts the progression of blood cancer in mice by encouraging “faulty” stem cells in the bone marrow to die.

The findings, published in journal Cell, has raised the possibility of new new combination therapies for leukaemia patients carrying a specific gene mutation known as TET2.

“We’re excited by the prospect that high-dose vitamin C might become a safe treatment for blood diseases caused by TET2-deficient leukemia stem cells, most likely in combination with other targeted therapies,” said Dr Benjamin Neel, director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center.

The TET2 gene carries a protein that produces and matures stem cells, a process beneficial to blood cancer patients.

It’s estimated TET2 mutations are found in 10 per cent of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), 30 per cent of those with a form of pre-leukemia called myelodysplastic syndrome, and in nearly 50 per cent of patients with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.

Previous research had suggested that TET2 could be activated by high-doses of Vitamin C.

“So we had the idea that high-dose Vitamin C be used as a therapy for some forms of Myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia, particularly those forms who have mutations in this gene called TET2,” said Dr Neel.

In the lab, scientists at the Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York added high doses of the Vitamin C to human leukemia cells carrying the TET2 mutations.

“We saw that that stops the growth,” said pathologist Dr Iannis Aifantis.

A similar result was produced when tested on genetically engineered mice, according to the study.

It was also found the Vitamin C treatment had an effect on leukemic stem cells that resembled damage to their DNA, says first study author Luisa Cimmino.

“For this reason, we decided to combine Vitamin C with a PARP inhibitor, a drug type known to cause cancer cell death by blocking the repair of DNA damage, and already approved for treating certain patients with ovarian cancer,” she said.

The combination had an enhanced effect on leukemia stem cells, further shifting them from self-renewal back toward maturity and cell death.

Scientists are now trying to apply the findings in clinic, with plans underway for a human clinical trial later this year.

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Vitamin C stops blood cancer in mice – SBS

Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith


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