Bring a friend over the border! Both of you can sell your blood.

❝ Every week, thousands of Mexicans cross the border into the U.S. on temporary visas to sell their blood plasma to profit-making pharmaceutical companies that lure them with Facebook ads and colorful flyers promising hefty cash rewards.

❝ The donors, including some who say the payments are their only income, may take home up to $400 a month if they donate twice a week and earn various incentives, including “buddy bonuses” for recruiting friends or family. Unlike other nations that limit or forbid paid plasma donations at a high frequency out of concern for donor health and quality control, the U.S. allows companies to pay donors and has comparatively loose standards for monitoring their health.

❝ The U.S. is the largest supplier of blood plasma in a $21 billion global market…The border clinics are the most productive, according to internal…documents obtained by ARD [German TV]. While most U.S. centers receive around 1,000 paid donations a week, centers at the border count more than 2,300. The documents show that border centers also rank highest in donor frequency; they top of list of centers with customers who donate 75 times or more per year.

But, then, you would expect a leech like Trump to be aiding bloodsuckers profiting from poor migrants.

Large Hadron Collider generates a mini Big Bang

The Large Hadron Collider has successfully created a “mini-Big Bang” by smashing together lead ions instead of protons.

The scientists working at the enormous machine on Franco-Swiss border achieved the unique conditions on 7 November. The experiment created temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun…

Up until now, the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator – which is run by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern) – has been colliding protons, in a bid to uncover mysteries of the Universe’s formation.

Proton collisions could help spot the elusive Higgs boson particle and signs of new physical laws, such as a framework called supersymmetry. But for the next four weeks, scientists at the LHC will concentrate on analysing the data obtained from the lead ion collisions. This way, they hope to learn more about the plasma the Universe was made of a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago…

“This process took place in a safe, controlled environment, generating incredibly hot and dense sub-atomic fireballs with temperatures of over ten trillion degrees, a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.

“At these temperatures even protons and neutrons, which make up the nuclei of atoms, melt resulting in a hot dense soup of quarks and gluons known as a quark-gluon plasma…”

He explained that by studying the plasma, physicists hoped to learn more about the so-called strong force – the force that binds the nuclei of atoms together and that is responsible for 98% of their mass.

It’s hot enough to turn angel wings into instant crisps. Just in case you wondered.

Researcher find 600 flavors of fat in human blood

Human blood is famously fraught with fats; now researchers have a specific idea of just how numerous and diverse these lipids actually are. A national research team, led by scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has created the first “lipidome” of human plasma, identifying and quantifying almost 600 distinct fat species circulating in human blood.

“Everybody knows about blood lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides,” said Edward A. Dennis, PhD, distinguished professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego and principal investigator of LIPID MAPS, a national consortium studying the structure and function of lipids. “For the first time, we’ve identified and measured hundreds more and ultimately we might discover thousands.

These numbers and their remarkable diversity illustrate that lipids have key, specific functions, most of which we do not yet recognize or understand. This lipidome is a first step towards being able to investigate correlations between specific fat molecules and disease and developing new treatments…”

In recent years, scientists have begun to appreciate the greater, more complex roles of lipids in human biology (among them the emergence of vitamin D). The utility of lipids in building cell membranes is well known, as is their function as repositories of stored energy. Less well-understood, however, is their role as signaling molecules…

Added Dennis: “Any condition in which inflammation is a component involves lipids. In fact, it’s hard to think of a disease, including cancer, that doesn’t involve lipids in some way.”

I look at this lipidome as something like the human genome project,” added Oswald Quehenberger. “First you have to do the sequencing. You have to know what genes – or in this case, fats – are there. Then you can begin to look at individual species, do association studies and discover how these molecules fit into systems, processes and diseases.”

I feel chunky already.

Is money tainting the plasma products industry?

When the tips her husband earned as a waiter began dwindling a year ago, Esmeralda Delgado decided to help support her family.

Twice a week, Ms. Delgado, the mother of three young girls, walks across the bridge from Piedras Negras, Mexico, where she lives, to Eagle Pass, Texas, and enters a building just two blocks from the border.

Inside, for about an hour, Ms. Delgado lies hooked to a machine that extracts plasma, the liquid part of the blood, from a vein in her arm. The $60 a week she is paid almost equals her husband’s earnings…

Hundreds, probably thousands, of Mexicans like Ms. Delgado come to the United States to trade their plasma for dollars. Eagle Pass, a town of 27,000 that bills itself as the place “where yee-hah meets olé,” has two such plasma collection centers. There are about 15 others in border cities from Brownsville, Tex., to Yuma, Ariz…

Based on typical industry yields and prevailing prices, it appears that a single plasma donation, for which a donor might be paid $30, results in pharmaceutical products worth at least $300.

Away from the border as well, many plasma collection centers have historically been located in areas of extreme poverty, some with high drug abuse. That troubles some people, who say it might contaminate the plasma supply or the health of people who sell their plasma.

Why in the United States do we have to depend on people who are down and out to donate?” says Dr. Roger Kobayashi, an immunologist in Omaha who uses plasma products to treat many patients. “You are taking advantage of economically disadvantaged individuals, and I don’t think you are that worried about their health.”

Dr. Kobayashi, who also teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles, says the collections on the Mexican border skirt the policy aimed at keeping plasma products safe from pathogens by prohibiting imports of plasma. “If you can’t import the plasma,” he says, “why not import the donor?”

RTFA. Long, detailed account of corporate ghouls profiting from the poor.

The story isn’t really new. Just the dynamic size of the business and a business that’s figured out how to import people lower down the economic scale than the poorest Americans.