Researchers reverse the aging process at the experimental level

By now, most people are probably aware of the therapeutic value of stem cells, as they can become any other type of cell in the human body. One of their main duties, in fact, is to replace those other cells as they degrade.

Once people reach an advanced age, however, even the stem cells themselves start to get old and nonfunctional – when the cells that are supposed to replace the other cells can’t do their job anymore, age-related tissue problems start occurring. A team of researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology, however, may be on the way to solving that problem. They have succeeded in reversing the aging process in human adult stem cells.

When regular cells become aged, the caps on the end of their chromosomes (known as telomeres) get shorter. It is therefore hypothesized that many age-related problems are due to the shortening of these telomeres. Given that adult stem cells retain their full telomeres, however, the scientists had to find some other discernible way in which they age.

To do so, they compared the DNA of freshly-isolated adult stem cells from young donors, with that of stem cells from the same donors, but that had undergone an accelerated aging process in the lab. It turned out that most of the DNA damage in the older cells was due to the activity of parts of the cell genome known as retrotransposons. While young cells are able to limit this activity and deal with the damage it causes, older cells are not.

By suppressing the “accumulation of toxic transcripts” from the retrotransposons, however, the researchers were able to reverse the aging process in the older stem cells. They were, in fact, even able to regress them to an earlier stage of development.

The Buck Institute/Georgia Tech team is now looking at how suitable the rejuvenated stem cells may be for treating degenerative disorders such as arthritis, osteoporosis and metabolic syndromes.

I volunteer.

Mexican gangsters leave severed heads next to primary school

Souvenir of Acapulco

Five severed human heads were found near an elementary school in Acapulco, Mexico, an area where some schools had already canceled classes because of lack of security.

The heads were found Tuesday inside a sack that had been placed inside a small wooden crate, the Guerrero state public security secretariat said…

Teachers this month held protests over threats they received, presumably from drug cartels. The calls threatened harm if teachers did not pay a portion of their salaries to the drug gangs…

Late last month, right at the beginning of the school year, teachers fled from about 75 schools after receiving threats. Administrators and other personnel also refused to go to work and many schools were left empty and padlocked from outside for two weeks.

I know that Mexico is a democracy and all sorts of constitutional forms rule jurisprudence, etc.. But, this level of barbarism justifies something like martial law.

Completely aside from all the understanding analyses of how that nation got to the point of criminal anarchy – questions of public safety and sanity have to prevail sooner or later. If that requires locking down the streets and going door-to-door, whatever, to drag these scumbags to trial and prison – it’s overdue!

Inventor of Doritos to be buried with ceremonial snack chips

The man credited with creating Doritos will be buried along with some of his beloved snack chips…

Arch West died September 20 of natural causes at a Dallas hospital. He was 97. His remains were cremated, and the family plans to bury the urn inside a burial box at a local cemetery on Saturday.

The family requested that friends and relatives who attend the graveside service be allowed to toss Doritos around the box as a tribute.

“He would think it is hilarious,” said his daughter Jana Hacker, a resident of the Dallas area. “The cemetery does not mind because they are biodegradable…”

West, a marketing executive for the Frito-Lay, as eager to produce a salty snack chip after sampling a crunchy, “tortilla-type chip” at the roadside stand while on vacation in Southern California in the early 1960s, Hacker said.

“The company didn’t really like the idea, but Dad managed to direct some (research and development) money into the project,” Hacker said.

The rest is crunchy, tangy history

Global sales of Doritos were about $5 billion in 2010, Gonzalez said…

Rock on, Arch!

And he maintains the tongue-in-cheek tradition of folks like Fredric Baur the inventor of Pringles. When he died in 2008 at 89, his family honored his wishes by placing his ashes in a Pringles can before burying them…

Proof of innocence means nothing to the FBI’s terrorist watch list

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is permitted to include people on the government’s terrorist watch list even if they have been acquitted of terrorism-related offenses or the charges are dropped, according to newly released documents.

The files, released by the F.B.I. under the Freedom of Information Act, disclose how the police are instructed to react if they encounter a person on the list. They lay out, for the first time in public view, the legal standard that national security officials must meet in order to add a name to the list. And they shed new light on how names are vetted for possible removal from the list.

Inclusion on the watch list can keep terrorism suspects off planes, block noncitizens from entering the country and subject people to delays and greater scrutiny at airports, border crossings and traffic stops.

The database now has about 420,000 names, including about 8,000 Americans, according to the statistics released in connection with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. About 16,000 people, including about 500 Americans, are barred from flying.

Timothy J. Healy, the director of the F.B.I.’s Terrorist Screening Center, which vets requests to add or remove names from the list, said the documents showed that the government was balancing civil liberties with a careful, multilayered process for vetting who goes on it — and for making sure that names that no longer need to be on it came off…

Mr. Healey, true to the standards of the F.B.I., is a liar.

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Missouri man sues Catholic priest for fathering child with his wife

A Missouri man filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that a priest in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese — who for years has sat on the diocese’s Marriage Tribunal — fathered a child with the man’s wife.

The civil suit…alleges that the Rev. Joseph Matt had an affair with the man’s wife between 2004 and 2005…and that the woman became pregnant and had a boy.

It also alleges that the diocese and Matt committed fraud by keeping silent about the sexual misconduct.

“It’s been a nightmare,” the man said in an interview with The Kansas City Star. “It’s not a good thing to find out that your son is not yours and the father is actually a priest that you thought you could trust. I still can’t believe it.”

The man, who is filing the lawsuit anonymously to protect the identity of the child, learned last September that the boy was not his biological son…

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal actions involving the diocese, from civil suits to criminal charges against a priest, to a grand jury investigation into how diocesan leaders have handled some allegations.

But unlike this case, the others revolve around accusations of priests sexually abusing minors.

Matt still sits on the diocese’s Marriage Tribunal. He judges the quality and holiness of marriages of members of the Catholic Church. Apparently, the princes of the church think he’s qualified for that judgement. Incredible.

RTFA. A corrupt soap opera that surprises no one except loyal members of the church, I guess.

Wasted natural gas is burned off in North Dakota

North Dakota oil operator flaring natural gas

Across western North Dakota, hundreds of fires rise above fields of wheat and sunflowers and bales of hay. At night, they illuminate the prairie skies like giant fireflies.

They are not wildfires caused by lightning strikes or other acts of nature, but the deliberate burning of natural gas by oil companies rushing to extract oil from the Bakken shale field and take advantage of the high price of crude. The gas bubbles up alongside the far more valuable oil, and with less economic incentive to capture it, the drillers treat the gas as waste and simply burn it.

Every day, more than 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is flared this way — enough energy to heat half a million homes for a day.

The flared gas also spews at least two million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, as much as 384,000 cars or a medium-size coal-fired power plant would emit, alarming some environmentalists.

All told, 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is burned as waste. No other major domestic oil field currently flares close to that much, though the practice is still common in countries like Russia, Nigeria and Iran…

“North Dakota is not as bad as Kazakhstan, but this is not what you would expect a civilized, efficient society to do: to flare off a perfectly good product just because it’s expensive to bring to market,” said Michael E. Webber, associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin…

Flaring – halted years ago – is a step backward for our domestic energy industry. Most oil and gas fields in the United States have well-developed facilities to gather and process gas as a result of conservation movements, environmental activism – and the days when Congress was pressed into caring about the health of our nation.

Those cares were sent packing by Bush the Little, refused re-entry permits by today’s Republicans and the Kool Aid Party.