Latest HPV vaccine can prevent most cervical cancers

For women, cervical cancer is the fourth most widespread cancer, and in developing countries it is the most common cause of cancer death. A new study from researchers at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital and the Victorian Cytology Service has found that a new HPV vaccine could prevent up to 93 percent of all cervical cancers.

❝ For some time now we have known that infection with the Human papillomavirus (HPV) is necessary for a woman to develop cervical cancer. There are up to 200 types of HPV, but the majority of cases (75 percent) of cervical cancers are thought to be caused by one of two types – HPV 16 and 18. The current quadrivalent HPV vaccine in use, Gardasil, protects against those two key types of HPV.

In their recent study researchers looked at 847 cervical cancer samples from Australian women. The goal was to study what types of HPV were most prevalent in causing cervical cancer. Not unexpectedly, 77 percent of the samples showed HPV 16 or 18, while another 16 percent of cancers showed five other common HPV types (31, 33, 45, 52 and 58).

❝ These other common HPV types are included in this latest vaccine to be developed, called Gardasil 9. The vaccine was approved for use in the US in late 2014, and in Australia it is hoped to become part of the National HPV Vaccination Program as soon as next year.

Most significant comment is from the study’s study’s senior author Professor Suzanne Garland. “I do believe that if we continue with this high coverage of vaccination, we could almost wipe out cervical cancer in women.”

Bravo.

Mafioso love the free market


Photo/AFP

❝ Democracy and free markets are intimately connected to organised crime, notes Federico Varese in this new book, Mafia Life, his wide-ranging exploration of global mafias. Authoritarian regimes don’t scruple to stamp out their power, he explains, while democracies often come up short.

Powerful mafias emerged in Sicily, Japan and Russia as their societies underwent a sudden transition to the market economy, abetted by weak legal structures. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Varese suggests, the West was focused on the rush to privatisation, when it should have been helping to strengthen legal institutions. It was a costly error.

❝ Varese has been studying organised crime for more than two decades and has worked as an adviser on the Russian mafia to John le Carré on his 2010 novel Our Kind of Traitor. In Mafia Life, he digs deep into the culture and practices of Japanese Yakuza, Hong Kong Triads, the Sicilian Mafia and their Italian-American counterparts, as well as post-Soviet criminal gangs.

❝ The last have their roots in the vory-v-zakone – men who follow the code – a Russian criminal class that the French-Russian spy Maximilien de Santerre encountered in the gulags in the late Forties, noting their elaborate religious tattoos and private language.

RTFA for more on the sub-culture that so many politicians are willing to join in bed and elections.

Does sugar make you sad?


AP Photo/Kathy Willens

❝ Lately, the science has really been stacking up evidence against consuming sugars in excess.

In addition to being linked to conditions like obesity, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, eating high levels of sugar has been associated with mental illnesses like depression. In a study published July 27 in Scientific Reports that followed over 8,000 adults over 22 years, researchers from University College London found that men who reported consuming foods that contained 67 grams of sugar per day or more were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression after five years from when the study began.

❝ For their work, researchers followed the a cohort called the Whitehall Study II, which tracked health and stress data for civil servants aged 35 to 55 in London beginning in 1985. Every few years, participants filled out surveys about their diets and other markers of health—including whether or not they had been clinically diagnosed with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Participants didn’t have any mental illnesses diagnosed to start, and researchers used their food questionnaires to estimate how much sugar each person was eating per day.

❝ After the first five-year follow up, men who ate the most sugar, which the authors categorize as 67 grams or more per day—almost twice the amount of sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association, and roughly three and a half regular sized Snickers bars—had higher rates of mental health diagnoses than those who ate less sugar, regardless of whether or not they were overweight. Even during years when participants reported eating less sugar, levels of mental illness stayed the same, which suggests that previous sugar habits had led to depression or anxiety and not the other way around. In this study, the relationship between sugar and mental illness wasn’t well-defined among women.

And the news didn’t get better.

RTFA for more details. No one’s saying eating sugar melts your brain. Yet. Laying the groundwork for illness is what any part of the whole of mediocre/lousy nutrition establishes.

Coyotes In The City


Coyote riding on a light rail train, Portland, OR, 2002Dennis Maxwell/AP

Meet the new urbanites: They have long, furry muzzles, piercing, yellow eyes and are very, very wily.

They’re coyotes.

Until recently, scientists who study wildlife thought coyotes couldn’t live in heavily populated areas. Wild carnivorous animals and humans don’t typically mix.

But, as we’ve previously reported, those scientists were proven wrong. There have been coyote sightings in dozens of U.S. cities — Chicago, Portland, Seattle, even New York City. Like the fox, the skunk and the raccoon before it, the coyote is the latest predatory animal to make the city its home…

Stan Gehrt, a professor of wildlife ecology at Ohio State University, said this trend is setting up an inevitable conflict — wild animals are becoming more and more comfortable in populated areas at the same time that people are becoming less and less accepting of the killing of those wild animals.

RTFA. Not too deep; but, a good start. I generally end up on the side of carnivores and predators. Not just in urban districts – in the wild, as well. We’re closer related to them then, say, pigeons and politicians.

Stompin’ visitor

We’re still the kind of extended family that – when your brother-in-law in Missouri gets a shiny new pickup truck, he and his son hop in and take it for a little break-in ride to New Mexico.

The new Cummins turbo-V8 diesel is smooth as silk and still a stump-puller.

Donald Trump refuses to call out white supremacist violence

❝ Donald Trump refuses to name the problem of white supremacist violence

His remarks on violence in Charlottesville were ignorance to the point of callousness.

❝ White nationalists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend against the removal of Confederate statues in public spaces. White nationalists attacked counter-protesters on Friday night, punching and kicking them and (reportedly) pepper-spraying them. One counter-protester was killed and several were injured when a car rammed into them after accelerating for over a block.

President Trump blamed both sides

❝ This is not just a failure to condemn the white nationalists who were responsible for the bulk of the violence and disorder in Charlottesville with the same vehemence that Trump condemns “radical Islamic terrorism” during any attack of any size in the US or abroad. It is an actively misleading account of what happened.

It implies that both rally-goers and counterprotesters were equally to blame for violence, leaving the door wide open for Trump supporters to assume that “the left” started it. It implies that the “hate and division” are equally distributed, and that the counterprotesters seeking to stand up to the rallygoers are every bit as hateful as the rallygoers sporting swastika pins. And by calling for the “swift restoration of law and order,” it implies that the problem is disrespect for police — encouraging the misinterpretation that this is somehow the fault of anyone else but the white nationalists themselves.

Racism and violence go together like ham and cheesy excuses from chickenshit politicians. They are as American as apple pie – and they’ve been around in this land since the first day white folks landed and shoved nonwhites to the side of the road. Centuries have passed and lip service from politicians hasn’t changed anything. People of courage and conscience have. Threatening the gravy train in city hall, the statehouse, Congress and the White House has provoked every bit of change in modernizing the halfway decent start we had to a Constitution.

It took pressure and demonstrations to bring voting rights to all – and change in the legislation provided by politicians running scared from that pressure. Now, with one of the two candyass parties we’re allowed campaigning on the basis of shutting down voting rights a fightback is imperative.

Nazis and racists are emboldened by a thug in the White House they feel is one of their own. Certainly, his failure to stand responsibly aids their reactionary cause. It’s time all people of conscience acted to slide the mostly creeps in Congress out of office, work to elect independent, progressive women and men to office whether they’re called Democrats or Republicans or whatever they choose!

Republican Congress raises price for senior National Park passes 800%

❝ As Cathy Morin neared her 62nd birthday last month, she knew she was just about to qualify for one of the country’s best bargains. For just $10, senior citizens can buy passes that give them lifetime entry to national parks and other public lands as well as discounts on campgrounds and other amenities.

Around her birthday, she learned that she’d have to move quickly to take advantage of that deal. The pass has cost $10 since 1994, but in December, Congress voted to increase the price to $80. On July 10, in the middle of their busiest season, the National Park Service announced the new price would start on August 28. So at the end of July, Morin hustled over to a U.S. Forest Service office about 10 miles away from her home, Conejos Peak Ranger District, which is part of the Rio Grande National Forest in southwestern Colorado. “You might as well save $70,” says Morin, a retired former hospital worker. “Once you’re retired and on a limited income, that looks like a really good deal.”…

And that’s what it’s all about, folks. Unless you’re in a tax bracket protected by Congressional pimps, the first thing you better learn about retirement is how to search for a deal. You live in a society that considers retirement, healthcare, a privilege – not a right. Tough enough we still have to fight for education and opportunity for the generations to follow, we must be on guard in the months following an election cycle when the reality of campaign-lies is dissolved in puddles of green controlled by lobbyists for corporate America.

❝ The passes can be used at more than 2,000 sites, including wildlife refuges, national forests and places run by the Bureau of Land Management. They’re good for any people traveling in the same passenger vehicle as a passholder or for three additional adults.

The U.S. Geological Survey, which processes the requests for passes, is overwhelmed. Currently, it takes 12 weeks for people who apply to receive the passes. In the meantime, the receipts are good for entry and discounts.

RTFA for details and motivation to get while the getting is good. Sure, the mid-term elections may bring a reversal of the fools who believed the Trumpkin lies along with the usual Republican hustle. Maybe Democrats will develop some backbone if for nothing more than fear of being displaced by Bernie-style progressives. Either road, you should have learned by now that Establishment politics at all levels of government are good for what they promise if you stay ready to do some arm-twisting.