Capsule of brown fat cells reduces abdominal fat in mice trials

We’ve seen a number of encouraging developments in recent times related to research into turning calorie-storing white fat cells into heat-generating brown fat cells as a potential weapon in the fight against obesity and related diseases, such as diabetes. The latest news comes out of Ohio State University where researchers have reduced the amount of belly fat in mice by 20 percent by injecting a tiny capsule containing brown fat cells into their abdomens.

The capsules used in the study contained brown fat thermogenic cells, which burn fat to generate heat, that were combined with genetically modified cells that were missing an enzyme that leads to the growth of abdominal, or visceral, fat. Abdominal fat surrounds the internal organs and is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. These cells were placed inside a capsule that allowed for the release of its contents without triggering an immune response.

When the capsules were injected into the abdomens of the mice subjects, the researchers found that the injected cells acted like “missionaries” that converted existing abdominal white fat cells into heat-generating brown fat cells. This resulted in an initial dramatic 10 percent weight loss…

Importantly, the amount of subcutaneous fat, which is found just beneath the skin and aids in regulating the body’s temperature by forming an insulating layer, remained unchanged…

Although studies in larger animals will be needed before human trials could begin, Ziouzenkova said any future therapy based on the research would be best suited to patients who develop abdominal fat with aging and aren’t able to exercise and shouldn’t dramatically reduce their calorie intake as it could result in a reduction of beneficial subcutaneous fat.

This is worth tracking as they get up into human studies and trials. I have beaucoup peers among the grayheads of the world who could use an aid like this. It seems to be a low risk procedure.

We’ll probably get to watch lots of Hollywood beauty queens do their own trials before it’s approved by the FDA.

Charity refuses donations from former Navy SEAL’s book profits

The former Navy SEAL who wrote No Easy Day under the pen name Mark Owen has promised to donate a majority of his profits to charities, but one of the non-profit groups he touted – the Navy SEAL Foundation – has ruled out accepting his donations.

“The Navy SEAL Foundation is committed to providing immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families.

“With this principled mission in mind, the Foundation will not be accepting any donations that are generated from the book or any related activities,” the group said in a statement on its website…

The book has shot to the top of bestseller lists amid an avalanche of publicity, but Owen’s decision to publish his first-hand account has angered many fellow SEALs, including the commander of the elite units, who say he has betrayed the ethos of the special operators to be “quiet professionals”.

The Pentagon has accused the author of revealing classified information and violating non-disclosure agreements he signed while in uniform, which it says require him to submit any manuscript to the defence officials before publication.

NDA’s are something often regarded lightly by my fellow geeks. And perhaps in the world of tech that is so.

I say with equal consideration that is not the case in the life of those military women and men charged with defending their nation.

Any regular visitor here knows well of my feelings about the misuse of military power by our country and others, over time, over history — and today. I joke a bit about being a citizen of Earth more than I am of any political entity. But, I have always respected the charge of non-disclosure sacred to the lives of those brave or foolhardy enough – or sufficiently dedicated – to commit to a military life. I extend that to those I have known and lived alongside in military service – even in wars I have opposed.

Bank manager forced to rob her own bank


Click on photo to play video – yes, you may get a commercial…

Two suspected robbers at an East Los Angeles Bank of America, who kidnapped the bank manager and strapped her with apparent explosives, avoided being seen on bank security cameras…

The men stole a significant amount of cash from the bank Wednesday morning. FBI and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said the woman was told to get money from the bank vault, then toss it in a bag out the back door of the bank.

The men were beyond the range of the cameras, officials said…

The suspected robbers also were wearing masks, and there has been little description provided. They remain on the loose…

The heist was considered very unusual because of the nature of the robbery. Bank managers are rarely kidnapped, experts said. Even rarer is the use of an explosive device.

In this case, the men strapped what appeared to be a pipe bomb to the woman’s chest and ordered her to rob her own bank…The device later was removed from her body by a sheriff’s bomb squad technician inside the bank. It was detonated outside on the street and later determined to be inert…

I imagine she was feeling damned near inert herself – by then.

Bank employees are always under orders to cooperate to the fullest during a robbery. It’s more important to keep folks alive than to play hero for insured money.

As for bank managers being in danger – this actually wasn’t uncommon 15-20 years ago. I had a couple of clients who were bank officials, even one board member. They had panic buttons installed in their homes for just such a circumstance. But, again – staying alive was the highest priority.

An honorable Turkish woman beheads her rapist

A woman in Turkey is awaiting trial after beheading a man who she says raped her repeatedly for months and is the father of her unborn child. Her lawyer says the woman killed the man to protect her honor.

Nevin Yildirim, a 26-year-old mother of two, lives in a small village in southwestern Turkey. She said the man, Nurettin Gider, began the attacks a few days after her husband left in January for a seasonal job in another town…

At one point, Yildirim said, Gider sneaked into her house while she was asleep and took pictures of her, the source said. One of the pictures shows her pregnant body. Gider threatened to publish the pictures if she didn’t obey him…

In small villages like hers, honor is held above all else, and women carry the burden of honor for their families. Pictures like those would have been devastating for Yildirim and her family and could have posed a danger…

On August 28, at least five months pregnant by a man who she said continued to rape her, Yildirim said she decided she had had enough. Gider was climbing up the back wall of her house. “I knew he was going to rape me again,” she said at her preliminary hearing August 30.

She said she grabbed her father-in-law’s rifle that was hanging on the wall and she shot him. He tried to draw his gun and she fired again.

“I chased him,” she said. “He fell on the ground. He started cussing. I shot his sexual organ this time. He became quiet. I knew he was dead. I then cut his head off….”

Witnesses described Yildirim walking into the village square, carrying the man’s head by his hair, blood dripping on the ground.

“Don’t talk behind my back, don’t play with my honor,” Yildirim said to the men sitting in the coffee house on the square. “Here is the head of the man who played with my honor…”

The source said Yildirim went to a health clinic a while ago seeking an abortion, but health workers told her she was 14 weeks pregnant and abortion was not an option.

In Turkey, abortion is allowed during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, after which it is permitted only to save the life or health of the mother or in cases of fetal impairment…

Yildirim is in the local jail while she awaits trial.

At a minimum, there is the Antalya Women Support Organization to rally some support for Nevin Yildirim in Turkey. The crime should lay on the heads of a government that bows to religious foolishness, refusing to support a woman’s right to make her own choices about pregnancy, a government that does next to nothing about rape, about campaigning against backwards traditions in an ignorant society.

Nevin Yildrum is an honorable victim of those traditions, condemned to act out the only solution available to her in a society that restricts choice to barbarisms.

I can only hope she is allowed an opportunity to abort the fetus she never wanted, the result of her rape. I can only hope she is acquitted of murder on the grounds of self-defense.

I don’t doubt that our Republican politicians and the bible-brigade that defines today’s conservative ideology will be rooting for the opposite.

New York strip club seeks ‘dramatic arts’ tax exemption

A New York state strip club says it should not have to pay tax, claiming an exemption for the performing arts…But the New York state tax department and an appeals court say $124,000 owed by Nite Moves does not fall under an exemption for “live dramatic or musical arts performances”.

Tax officials say the club paid taxes on non-alcoholic drinks but must also pay for admission and “couch sales”.

The exemption claimed by Nite Moves is usually applied to theatre performances or ballets.

The club is expected to ask a cultural anthropologist who has studied exotic dance – and visited the club – to testify on its behalf at the New York Court of Appeals.

An administrative law judge had previously ruled that “the fact that the dancers remove all or part of their costume… simply does not render such dance routines as something less than choreographed performances…”

The tribunal said there was not enough proof that the dances were choreographed. An appeal court which upheld the tribunal’s ruling added that club dancers did not need to have formal training.

It is expected that the high court will take about a month before issuing a decision.

No doubt they will review video evidence daily – to, um, aid in their eventual ruling.

Cripes, this takes me back almost to when I moved my personal blog over here to WordPress. Back in 2008. The critical issue in Iowa was whether or not stripping was an art form – which therefore allowed public performances.

Scientists build anew on remains of junk DNA theory

The genetic “control panel” of the human body that regulates the activity of our 23,000 genes has been revealed for the first time in a scientific tour de force that could revolutionise the understanding and treatment of hundreds of diseases.

Scientists have once and for all swept away any notion of “junk DNA” by showing that that the vast majority of the human genome does after all have a vital function by regulating the genes that build and maintain the body.

Junk DNA was a term coined 40 years ago to describe the part of the genome that does not contain any genes, the individual instructions for making the body’s vital proteins. Now, this vast genetic landscape could hold hidden clues to eradicating human disease, scientists said.

Hundreds of researchers from 32 institutes around the world collaborated on the immense effort to decipher the hidden messages within the 98 per cent of the human genome without any genes and was thought, therefore, to have no function.

They have concluded in a series of 30 research papers published simultaneously today, in Nature, Science and other journals, that this so-called junk DNA is in fact an elaborate patchwork of regulatory sequences that act as a huge operating system for controlling the genome

“We see that 80 per cent of the genome is actively doing something. We found that a much bigger part of the genome – a surprising amount in fact – is involved in controlling when and where proteins are produced,” Dr. Ewen Birney said.

Defects in this part of the genome could be responsible for a range of illnesses, from diabetes and Crohn’s disease to disorders of the immune system, such as lupus. Knowing about them could lead to a fundamental reappraisal of what goes wrong in scores of difficult conditons, said John Stamatoyannopoulous of Washington University in Seattle, another leader of the consortium.

Bravo! As happens so often, study and experimentation pries away prominence of a small body of knowledge only to open the door to new studies magnitudes larger and broader. Gonna need more molecular biologists, gang.