Are depressed people too clean?

“He’s very clean”

In an effort to pinpoint potential triggers leading to inflammatory responses that eventually contribute to depression, researchers are taking a close look at the immune systems of people living in today’s cleaner, modern society.

Rates of depression have steadily grown, and researchers think it may be because of the loss of healthy bacteria.

In a review article published in the December issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, Emory neuroscientist Charles Raison, MD, and colleagues identified data that suggests there is mounting evidence that disruptions in ancient relationships with microorganisms in soil, food and the gut may contribute to the increasing rates of depression.

According to the authors, the modern world has become so clean, we are deprived of the bacteria our immune systems came to rely on over long ages to keep inflammation at bay…

“Since ancient times benign microorganisms, sometimes referred to as ‘old friends,’ have taught the immune system how to tolerate other harmless microorganisms, and in the process, reduce inflammatory responses that have been linked to the development of most modern illnesses, from cancer to depression.”

Experiments are currently being conducted to test the efficacy of treatments that use properties of these “old friends” to improve emotional tolerance. “If the exposure to administration of the ‘old friends’ improves depression,” the authors conclude, “the important question of whether we should encourage measured re-exposure to benign environmental microorganisms will not be far behind.”

Eat really good traditional yogurt. Maintain evolutionary status as an omnivore. And watch this space.

Green Giftmas Presents

NRDC $35 or more

Even though we’ve won back their endangered species protection, wolves in Greater Yellowstone and across the Northern Rockies are once again facing government plans to kill them on a mass scale. Under one proposed plan, hundreds of wolves could be shot and wolf pups gassed in their dens.

Your gift will help us come to their defense and fight for a recovery plan that ensures wolves have a healthy future in the Northern Rockies.

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University Vice President busted in vice sting

A Southern Utah University vice president was among eight people arrested in a prostitution sting in Cedar City.

Wesley R. Curtis, 57, the SUU vice president for government relations and regional service, was booked Friday into the Iron County jail on suspicion of a misdemeanor count of sexual solicitation. An online jail log indicates he was released the same day after posting a $623 bond.

Curtis did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

SUU President Michael Benson on Saturday issued a prepared statement.

“Given the charges filed against Wes Curtis, the University is placing him on paid administrative leave, per university policy,” Benson’s statement said. “This leave is effective immediately and pending the outcome of an investigation into the alleged misconduct.

We are concerned for Wes and his family and extend our love and support as the investigation continues…”

Isn’t that thoughtful?

“This is not like a girl in scanty clothes walking down the street making a proposition,” task force commander Dave McIntyre said. “You have to take some pretty substantial steps to set this up.”

At the motel, an undercover woman officer negotiated with the men to trade money for sex before other officers arrived to arrest them, McIntyre said.

Just like they teach you in a proper business school.

Where do gangsters get their guns?

A decade ago, politicians and the press routinely reported on gun stores across the nation that had the most traces for firearms recovered by police. In 2003, under pressure from the gun lobby, Congress passed a law that hid from public view the government database that contained the gun tracing information.

The Washington Post has obtained the names of the gun dealers nationwide with the most traces over the past four years…

Topping the overall list with about 2,390 traces is Vance Outdoors in Columbus, Ohio. Owner Todd Vance said his that grandfather started the business on Cleveland Avenue in 1938 and that the store is a top source for shooters, hunters, anglers and boaters in central Ohio.

“We are one of the higher-volume gun dealers,” he said. “We sell thousands of guns.”

Vance said that he and his employees are “very vigilant” about straw purchases, in which someone buys for a person prohibited from owning a gun, and that they turn down 10 to 20 suspicious sales a week. He said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducts a month-long inspection annually…

Of the more than 60,000 guns recovered in Mexico and traced back to the United States, the ATF is able to link only about 25 percent to the dealers who first sold the weapons and the purchasers who bought them. In the United States, on average, 65 to 70 percent of the weapons recovered are successfully traced back to dealers and buyers…

Of the leading stores with Mexican traces, Lone Wolf, eighth on the nationwide list, is No. 1 on the Mexico list. Over the past two years, it had 185 of its guns recovered and traced south of the border. Geography is a prime factor in those traces…

Everyone has the same excuses. Given the laws and the gun lobby that maintains “reasonable” excuses for guns used in crimes – there are no surprises.

RTFA. Especially if you live in a border state. The examples mount – even though it’s against the law for you or me to access the database that the Post managed to get into.

Transparency doesn’t apply to the gun industry and their retailers as far as our politicians are concerned.

Russian firm buying Utah uranium mine, mill

A Canadian mining company is close to finalizing a deal that will give a Russian company controlling interest in its uranium operations, which include a Utah town, a uranium mill and thousands of acres of claims.

In October, four members of Congress urged the U.S. Treasury Department to block plans by Uranium One to sell majority ownership to the mining company, Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ), whose parent company is Rosatom, the Russian nuclear agency, to protect national security. Since then, the Treasury Department has approved Uranium One’s plans, as has the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Utah Division of Radiation Control.

Uranium One has now received all necessary approvals to proceed with the closing of the ARMZ transaction,” said Rob Buchanan, head of investor relations for the Canadian company, “and we are on track to close the transaction before the end of the year…”

Hacks with their heads stuck into Cold War dementia should step aside from commerce and energy production designed for economies years ahead of American engineering, investment and politics.

“Day-to-day decisions with regard to the operations at the Shootaring Mill will be made by the management of Uranium One Exploration U.S.A. Inc. in coordination and consultation with Scott Schierman as the Corporate Radiation Safety Officer for the Shootaring Canyon Mill,” the company’s attorney said in an e-mail to Utah Assistant Attorney General Denise Chancellor. “Strategic decisions with regard to investment and development of the Shootaring Mill will be made by Uranium One Inc.”

I worked within the nuclear power generation industry when core operations – as far as I was concerned – were as dedicated to being a welfare check to participating corporations as they were to producing electricity. I left before greed and mediocre engineering required safety concerns to take precedence over advancements in design. Most US firms capable of competing have folded or been sold off.

Other countries have continued to move forward. Most with admirable safety records. Most with designs that limit radioactive waste to a tiny fraction of what our remaining plants still produce.

Most environmental fears are now decades out of date. I know that doesn’t matter to the fearful. But, it is the reality.