Cashew seed extract proves to be anti-diabetic

Cashew seed extract shows promise as an effective anti-diabetic, according to a new study from the Université de Montréal (Canada) and the Université de Yaoundé (Cameroun). Published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the investigation analyzed the reputed health benefits of cashew tree products on diabetes, notably whether cashew extracts could improve the body’s response to its own insulin.

Diabetes is caused when a person has high blood sugar because their body does not respond well to insulin and/or does not produce enough of the hormone. The illness, which affects nearly 220 million people worldwide, can provoke heart or kidney disease. The goal of the study was to examine the impact of leaves, bark, seeds and apples from cashew trees, native to northeastern Brazil and other countries of the southern hemisphere, on cells that respond to insulin.

“Of all the extracts tested, only cashew seed extract significantly stimulated blood sugar absorption by muscle cells,” says senior author Pierre S. Haddad, a pharmacology professor at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Medicine. “Extracts of other plant parts had no such effect, indicating that cashew seed extract likely contains active compounds, which can have potential anti-diabetic properties.”

Cashew tree products have long been alleged to be effective anti-inflammatory agents, counter high blood sugar and prevent insulin resistance among diabetics. “Our study validates the traditional use of cashew tree products in diabetes and points to some of its natural components that can serve to create new oral therapies,” adds Dr. Haddad…

And now the next round of research, examining the compounds making up the extract to determine what invokes the anti-diabetic response.

Bank reform: The delay debate is over

The votes are in. By a tally of 60-38, the Senate voted to end debate on the final version of financial reform legislation, A final vote on the Dodd-Frank bill that emerged from the conference committee reconciling the House and Senate versions of the proposed law later today is a mere formality. The President will then sign it and the bill will become the law of the land.

It will be years before we can evaluate whether the bill is a success or not. Perhaps the most optimistic way to view it is as merely a first step towards real reform. But any further progress will be slow, especially if the GOP makes significant gains in the House and Senate this November. Liberals may not like the Dodd-Frank bill, but the vast majority of Senate Republicans simply despise it.

Understand that the Republican Party – whether controlled by traditional American conservatives, which it is not, or nutball racist chickenhawks – is 100% beholden to the most reactionary Wall Street ideologues.

The Democrats who think that the bill won’t prevent another crisis believe it is too weak. Any improvements that would have made the bill stronger would have been even more vociferously opposed by Republicans. McConnell’s complaint about 2300 pages of new regulations skips merrily over the reason why new rules are necessary — because the country just went through the worst financial crisis in three generations.

The current crop of Senate Republicans are sticking to the same old story line they’ve been pushing since the 1970s: Regulation is bad. Their awesome pigheadedness demonstrates a remarkable effort to be consistent in the face of all evidence provided by actual reality. The best thing about the passage of bank reform is that these troglodytes failed to stop it.

Continuing deregulation, oversight by country club dance partners, would have extended the corruption and cronyism that laid the foundation of the Great Recession we’re still so slowly working our way out of.

More of the same might have guaranteed more silver in the pockets of the Judas GOP. It would given the rest of us more – and more frequent – opportunities to populate our local soup kitchen.

MI6 geek claims “voices” convinced him to sell state secrets

Houghton is on the right…

MI6 face questions over their security procedures after a computer expert was allowed to smuggle top secret files out of their headquarters which he planned to sell to a foreign power for £2m.

Daniel Houghton, 25, was caught by MI5 in a sting operation in a central London hotel as he tried to leave with £900,000 cash in a suitcase.

Under cover officers had set him up after a tip off from a foreign intelligence agency which said he had offered to sell them information.

Houghton, a computer programmer by training, had helped develop a cutting edge technique for intercepting emails, sources told the Daily Telegraph. In order to drive up the price of the material he was selling, he also stole staff lists and home and mobile telephone numbers of MI5 and MI6 officers.

The information, which Houghton smuggled out of MI6’s Vauxhall Cross headquarters, was labeled “top secret” and “secret.” If leaked, it would have had a “severe impact on operational capabilities and particularly the ability to collect intelligence,” one security source said…

Piers Arnold, prosecuting, told a hearing in London, that Houghton claimed he was “directed by voices” to try and sell the secrets and the judge adjourned the case for further psychiatric reports.

MI6 knew nothing of what Houghton was doing until he contacted the Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD in August last year.

Undercover British and Dutch officers arranged to meet him on February 8 to view the material on his laptop while recording the meeting with hidden listening devices.

Houghton initially demanded £2m for the files but eventually agreed a price of £900,000 and they arranged to meet him again at a central London hotel on March 1 where he showed them the material on a laptop and then handed over two memory cards and a computer hard drive.

He was arrested by police as he made his way to the hotel lift.

Har! I wonder how far he’ll get with the “voices” defense?

Since he’s a young geek, I’m surprised he didn’t try for something more common – like pepperoni pizza addiction or dementia caused by wifi radiation.

Construction workers find 900 bombs under restaurant


I hope they all weren’t this big

More than 900 unexploded bombs from the Second World War have been found beneath a restaurant in Okinawa.

Construction workers on a road expansion project discovered the explosives with a metal detector and notified police, Kiyotaka Maedomari, a senior police official in Itoman city, said.

An army bomb disposal squad discovered the total of 902 unexploded munitions – including rocket bombs, grenades and motor projectiles – believed to have been made in the United States, he said…

“Because unexploded munitions from the Second World War are scattered across Okinawa, construction workers always use metal detectors before starting to dig the ground,” he said…

Okinawa was the bloodiest battle of the Pacific war, with US forces unleashing an 83-day air and amphibious assault dubbed by locals the “Typhoon of Steel”. Some 190,000 Japanese died, half of them Okinawan civilians…

An estimated 10,000 tonnes of unexploded munitions were left in Okinawa after the war. About 4,500 tonnes remained by the time the United States [sort of] returned Okinawa to Japan in 1972.

Since then, Japan’s armed forces have disposed of another 1,500 tonnes, but it is expected to take 80 years or more to remove the rest.

OK. First off, I can’t resist the semantic chuckle. “Unexploded bombs”, eh? Please tell me how to find a cache of “exploded bombs”. Other than little bits and pieces of metal scattered in a large crater.

Second, the topic of leftovers from WW2 is a topic near and dear to anyone who lives near or downstream from Los Alamos. The Atomic City is still dribbling radioactive waste courtesy of the Big War and the Cold War that followed. Our government doesn’t have a history of being especially tidy with radioactive crumbs.

I won’t offer the name; but, most coneheads [an endearing term around here] of my acquaintance skip eating at the local franchise of one of America’s best-known fast food chains. There is reputed to be at one highly radioactive truck and other metal artifacts buried beneath.

Senate passes gay marriage bill – No, not our Senate!


Viva Argentina!
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Argentina has become the first Latin American country to let gay couples marry and adopt children, defying Catholic opposition to join the ranks of a few mostly European nations with similar laws.

Argentina’s Senate passed a gay marriage law early on Thursday following more than 14 hours of charged debate, as hundreds of demonstrators rallied outside the Congress in near-freezing temperatures. Senators voted 33-27 for the proposal, with three abstentions.

“We’re now a fairer, more democratic society. This is something we should all celebrate,” Maria Rachid, a leading gay rights activist, said as supporters of the law hugged each other and jumped up and down after the vote.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez supports gay marriage on human rights grounds and is expected to sign the law after her return from a state visit to China. The proposal cleared Argentina’s lower house in May…

A nominally Roman Catholic country, Argentina is now at the vanguard of gay rights in the region

“Just like with divorce, women’s right to vote and civil marriage, with the passage of time we’ll be able to appreciate the benefits of this law,” Senator Eugenio Artaza told local television.

The nation where I live still bans my gay friends from sharing the simplest of civil rights – marriage. As does the state – New Mexico.

Politicians of every cowardly cast lump themselves together in fear of religious backlash [and, perhaps, campaign funds] – abdicating responsibility and leadership on an issue that should only exist between those who love each other and wish to codify that state.

One more instance of religion interfering with government in defiance of our constitution.

Do you do the dracula when you cough?


If you like the idea, you can even buy buttons, neckties, etc. to spread the word.
A cause for every fool?

Medical students secretly watched hundreds of people cough or sneeze at a train station, a shopping mall and a hospital in New Zealand…

The work was done in the capital city of Wellington over two weeks last August…

The good news is that about three of every four people tried to cover their cough or sneeze, in at least a token attempt to prevent germs from flying through the air.

The bad news is that most people — about two of three — used their hands to do it.

“When you cough into your hands, you cover your hand in virus,” said study author Nick Wilson, an associate professor of public health at the Otago University campus in Wellington.

“Then you touch doorknobs, furniture and other things. And other people touch those and get viruses that way,” he explained.

Health officials recommend that people sneeze into their elbow, in a move sometimes called ‘the Dracula’ for its resemblance to a vampire suddenly drawing up his cape. But only about 1 in 77 did that.

Using a tissue or handkerchief is another preferred option, but only about 1 in 30 did that…

The study was presented Monday at an infectious diseases conference in Atlanta.

When you begin to think that there is only one right way to cough, it’s time to go out and pet a puppy dog or something. At least in my world.

Over 1800 vets exposed to Hepatitis – whistleblower gets fired!

A top Veterans Administration administrator has promised to provide case managers to each of the 1,812 Missouri and Illinois veterans exposed to infection through improperly sterilized equipment at John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis.

Dr. Robert Petzel, VA undersecretary for health, made the promise during a special hearing before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs…acknowledging that some vets in the group of 1,812 do show signs of hepatitis, but it is unclear whether the infections were picked up at the dental clinic or elsewhere.

Petzel’s tone was apologetic as he faced a barrage of harsh criticism from committee members as well as tough questions from U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, and U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville.

Both metro-east congressmen said they were frustrated with the slow way the VA responds to problems and punishes whistleblowers who brings these problems to the attention of VA administrators.

Costello recalled how in 2008 no administrators were fired at the Marion VA Hospital, despite evidence that showed nine veterans there died because of substandard care.

No one is really held accountable,” Costello said. “Except, Mr. Costello, a whistleblower,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., the panel chairman.

Filner was alluding to the case of Earlene Johnson, a medical supply technician at the Cochran hospital. For months in 2009, Johnson tried to warn her supervisors of the problems with the sterilization of dental equipment at the hospital, but to no avail.

Johnson was fired in November.

I’ve worked with truly responsible and professional VA hospitals. My closest friend spent years in and out of VA hospitals in southern New England dealing with battlefield injuries from WW2 – and generally had top notch attention. The exception being short spells of beancounteritis during the first years of any Republicans landing in the White House.

One of my favorite kin was a VA physician for pretty much all his career and felt it was the best way to serve his country and his fellow veterans.

There needs to be sound inspection on a par with the JCAH accreditation surveys – when it comes to bureaucrats. And – as ever – protection within our government for whistleblowers instead of retaliation.