Fat study may lead to weight loss through increased metabolism, decreased muscle fatigue

A diet high in a certain type of fat may actually increase metabolism, according to recent research by Texas Tech University nutrition scientists.

After studying genetically modified mice, the discovery could lead to supplements and a diet regimen that will increase metabolism and decrease muscle fatigue in humans…

Chad Paton, an assistant professor of nutritional biochemistry at Texas Tech…said he and colleagues were curious why skeletal muscles of obese people contained a certain type of enzyme that breaks down saturated fats.

To test what that enzyme did, Paton’s lab and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin – Madison genetically modified mice so that their muscles would constantly produce the enzyme.

“We used a transgenic mouse model, and we took the gene that makes the enzyme that’s not normally expressed and took away it’s regulation to make it active all the time,” Paton said. “What we found in those animals is they had a hypermetabolic rate compared to the wild mice, increased energy consumption and greatly increased these animals’ exercise capacity.”

The enzyme, called SCD1, converts saturated fat into monounsaturated fat, which is easier to metabolize. The liver will produce this enzyme depending on the fat content of the food consumed, he said. Fatty adipose tissue produces it all the time as a way of regulating itself.

Only in heavily exercised muscle tissue or in the case of obesity does skeletal muscle produce the enzyme, he said.

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NSA has already tested tracking the GPS in your cellphone


You thought they were listening to a ballgame in there, eh?

The director of the U.S. National Security Agency has admitted the agency tracked the location of Americans’ cellphone calls as part of a pilot program.

NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander said the tracking took place in 2010 and 2011 and was authorized under a portion of the Patriot Act and with the knowledge and approval of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Those who were tracked were not suspected of any wrongdoing or had any known connection to terrorist elements abroad, The Hill reported Wednesday.

Alexander said the program was halted because the NSA doesn’t need to collect the information itself. Instead, Alexander said, the NSA passes phone data to the Federal Bureau of Investigations where agents can determine whether there’s probable cause to seek a warrant for cellphone data tracking, including GPS information.

“This may be something that would be a future requirement for the country, but it is not right now because when we identify a number, we can give that to the FBI,” Alexander said. “When they get their probable cause, they can get the location data they need.”

Alexander knows damned well he needn’t worry about any interference with the NSA’s star chamber permit. Neither the White House nor Congress will offer significant protest.

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Former Canadian officials consult on tax-dodging offshore

A CBC investigation found a former Canada Revenue Agency lawyer and a former Royal Bank of Canada executive giving advice on how to hide money offshore.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported…it turned up the tax-avoidance advisers during its undercover camera investigation into offshore banking practices.

The CBC and its French-language investigative program, Enquete, hired a private investigator to test 15 offshore service providers in Canada and abroad. The CBC said its experts assessed the advice given by the firms and found more than half provided advice that wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny concerning tax evasion.

The CBC said among those who doled out advice on how to avoid paying Canadian taxes in ways that wouldn’t pass regulators’ muster was Gilles Gosselin, who practiced law in Canada and used to work for the Canadian Revenue Agency before moving to Barbados, and Lynn Garner, a vice president with DGM, a private Barbados bank, who was once the trust manager for the Royal Bank of Canada in Barbados…

Gosselin told the CBC he told the network’s undercover investigator what he was contemplating was against the law in Canada…”But if he wants to go ahead and open a BVI company and manage his assets with the BVI company, until he’s actually gone there and done that, he hasn’t done anything wrong,” he said…

Garner initially told the undercover investigator her bank would never take a client seeking to avoid taxes, then proceeded to tell him how to go about doing just that, the CBC said.

Heartwarming to see former members of our northern neighbor’s government acting just like our own “late officials”.

Has Mitt Romney set up a consultancy in Ottawa, yet?

If you distrust vaccines, you probably believe NASA faked the moon landings

Do you believe that a covert group called the New World Order is planning to take over the planet and impose a single world government?

Do you think the moon landings were staged in a Hollywood studio?

What about 9/11—do you suspect the US government deliberately allowed the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks to happen in order to concoct an excuse for war?

If you believe these sorts of things, you’re a conspiracy theorist. That much goes without saying. But according to new research, if you believe these sorts of things, you are also more likely to be skeptical of what scientists have to say on three separate issues: vaccinations, genetically modified foods, and climate change.

The new study, by University of Bristol psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky and his colleagues in the journal PLOS ONE, finds links between conspiratorial thinking and all three of these science-skeptic stances. Notably, the relationship was by far the strongest on the vaccine issue. For geeks: the correlation was .52, an impressive relationship for social science. Another way of translating the finding? “People who tend toward conspiratorial thinking are three times more likely to reject vaccinations,” says Lewandowsky…

As if the new study won’t provoke enough ire by linking anti-vaccine views to conspiracy theories, Lewandowsky also finds links—albeit much weaker ones—between conspiracy theories and both anti-GMO beliefs and climate change denial. On GMOs, the board of directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science has stated that “crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe.” Accordingly, Lewandowsky’s survey respondents were asked to react to items like “I believe that because there are so many unknowns, that it is dangerous to manipulate the natural genetic material of plants” and “Genetic modification of food is a safe and reliable technology.”

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