Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week

first_imgThis week’s entry has a little jargon in it, but if you remember what we’ve said about the tRNA synthetase family of proteins (see 05/26/2004, 07/21/2003 and 06/09/2003 headlines), you’ll get it.  Paul Schimmel and Karla Ewalt comment in Cell1 on new discoveries by Sampath et al.2 that two of these synthetases fuse together to regulate the inflammation reaction:Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases are ancient proteins that appeared before the split of the tree of life into its three great kingdoms—archae [sic], eukarya, and bacteria.  The 20 enzymes—one for each amino acid—catalyze aminoacylation of tRNAs and thereby establish the rules of the genetic code by associating each amino acid with a nucleotide triplet (the anticodon of the tRNA).  The transition from the RNA world to the theater of proteins was thus made possible by the development of specific aminoacylation reactions.  While the central connection between synthetases and the code has long been recognized, the modern enzymes have surprised us with novel functions beyond aminoacylation.  They are key regulators and active components in a wide range of cellular functions from RNA splicing and transcription to apoptosis and angiogenesis….    …. we now see that tRNA synthetases in mammalian cells have more diverse and comprehensive connections to the inflammatory system than was previously appreciated.  The diverse functions of these essential enzymes never cease to amaze!1Paul Schimmel and Karla Ewalt, “Translation Silenced by Fused Pair of tRNA Synthetases,” Cell, Volume 119, Issue 2, 15 October 2004, Pages 147-148, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2004.10.001.2Sampath et al., “Noncanonical Function of Glutamyl-Prolyl-tRNA Synthetase Gene-Specific Silencing of Translation,” Cell, Volume 119, Issue 2, 15 October 2004, Pages 195-208, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2004.09.030.To be an evolutionist, you have to take the Crick brainwashing class.  This involves repeating the following quote by Francis Crick over and over until it is engraved on the heart with an iron stylus: “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but evolved.”(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Geocaching by the Light of the Super Duper Moon

first_img SharePrint RelatedBy the light of the silvery moon (GC1BT32) — Geocache of the WeekAugust 13, 2015In “Geocache of the Week”Watch out for Wampas* — Big Four Ice Caves (GC1575A) — Geocache of the WeekNovember 27, 2013In “Community”Behind the Scenes of the PodCacher PodcastApril 3, 2013In “ Videos” By Annie StuderMoonrise by KrückstockLast night, Geocachers around the world ventured out via the light of the  “Super Duper Moon” when the full moon was at its closest orbital point (perigee) to the Earth. It will be 20 years before we’ll see another full moon this close to Earth, so whether you’re a new to geocaching or have over 10,000 finds, this was an excellent opportunity to find a geocache at night. View from GC15D5C by JamarajaSome may be familiar with NightCaching, OwlCaching, or SuperMoonCaching, but this was SuperDuperMoonCaching. Since the moon was at the nearest proximity to Earth, it appeared larger and brighter (due to an optical illusion), especially while rising on the horizon. Thus, moonrise often is the ideal time to photograph a lunar event. The extra bright moon (basically the brightest nightlight ever) can also illuminate night-time only geocaches.Geocaching at night can mean finding geocaches after dark and traditional NightCaching often means finding the way to a geocache by shining a light source (like a headlamp) on reflective trail markers (FireTacks).Can you spot the FireTack at GC41CCZ? by kari9999Whatever your style is for geocaching at night, here are three tips to help you become a SuperDuperNightCacher: 1. Read the geocache description before you head out in the night. It’s helpful to know the details about if you need tools, container size, and other hints.2. Bring the right gear. With all geocaching you’ll want your writing utensil and  GPS or smartphone, in addition to these handy tools, for NightCaching you’ll want a LED headlamp, flashlight, a UV light is also helpful and extra batteries.3. Check in before you check out on your geocaching night excursion. As a precaution (which is a good habit for all geocaching adventures), tell a friend or family member where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone.If MoonCaching isn’t your style, perhaps geocaching under a meteor shower is more to your liking. Keep your eyes out for the Perseid meteor shower each night before the moon rises and after it sets through August 13th.And don’t worry if you missed this SuperDuperMoon, there’s a SuperMoon in September to look forward to for more NightCaching by moonlight. And if you’ do like to geocache tonight, the moon only still pretty super. It’s about 93% as bright as last night.While out NightCaching, did you nab any amazing SuperDuperMoon shots or a pic at your favorite NightCache spot? Share it with us in comments below!Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Stopping diabetes in its tracks

first_imgThe solution to diabetes lies in your plate and your running shoes.Diabetes is big money all right. You know this when you are invited to a conference at a five-star hotel to witness a high level committee deliberating over policies and guidelines for diabetes management in the workplace.The 2nd National Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) Summit was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company and IMS Health. The idea was to help shape public health strategies for comprehensive diabetes management, particularly amongst Public Sector Enterprises, with the objective of making India “better prepared” to combat the rising burden of diabetes. Since diabetes steals people’s health, companies who are better prepared for the impending crisis of diabetes will ultimately safeguard the health of employees, and ensure higher productivity. This certainly counts when you consider the fact there are nearly 254 central Public Sector Units (PSUs) across India, that employ over 14.44 lakh people.At a subliminal level, the idea being pushed at us is that we should prepare ourselves for diabetes – it’s the price we are paying for “economic development.” The two factors that represent our prosperity and are held responsible for disease are processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle.Indeed, the picture is grim: There are already 60 million diabetes patients in India and the number is expected to rise to 100 million in the next 15 years. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age and a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.advertisementHypertension and heart disease also strike many. Glucose monitors and blood pressure cuffs have found their way into people’s homes and are predicted to stay. Everyone seems to be getting comfortable with the idea that diabetes is a progressive and lifelong disease that needs to be managed with pills and insulin.We will need to get our vision tested regularly, track our sugar level and pop pills to control this, have weekly foot examinations and ensure we don’t acquire yeast infections in our orifices.This is an expensive proposition. “The annual cost for India due to diabetes was about $38 billion in 2011,” says Dr Chitra Gupta, CEO, Arjate WHealth. According to the WHO, if one adult in a low-income family has diabetes, “as much as 25 per cent of family income may be devoted to diabetes care.” Also, it’s scary to be confronted with a vision of the future that involves taking pills every day just to live normal “healthy” lives: Statins to keep our cholesterol down, metformin to keep our blood sugar levels in check, and beta blockers to tackle high blood pressure.The only way out is to challenge the notion that diabetes is an inexorable, progressive disease that has to be better “managed” by our health care system. Our perspective must shift from management to prevention, since there’s enough research that proves that intensive lifestyle and dietary changes can halt this disease in its tracks and even reverse it. Research shows that losing 5 per cent to 10 per cent of your body weight and getting in 150 minutes of exercise a week may help you slowdown the progress of type 2 diabetes.A groundbreaking study published in the journal Diabetologia a few years ago proved that type 2 diabetes can be reversed through diet changes. Many can control or reverse their diabetes using focused, scientifically based nutritional interventions: Eating a high fibre, plant-based diet of vegetables, nuts, limited whole grains, fruit and lean animal protein; Taking supplements like multivitamins, fish oil, Vitamin D and other nutrients such as chromium and alpha lipoic acid, which help balance insulin; Exercising vigorously for 30 minutes five times a week and strength training for 20 minutes on alternate days.Of course, we must increase diabetes screening and adopt measures that will help people stay healthy in the workplace. But diabetes campaigns need to stress more on the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. Workplaces need to build time for exercise into employees’ lives and schools need to give children the opportunity to play more sports. Eating to stay healthy needs to become everyone’s motto. The solution to diabetes ultimately lies on your plate and in your running shoes!IVF RevolutionisedIt’s slowly becoming a woman’s world after all. Today, a woman over the age of forty can actually get pregnant without fear. The chances of having a perfect baby have skyrocketed for those who can pay for it, with brand new technologies. The IVF egg retrieval procedure differs from regular IVF, by ensuring a healthy pregnancy with minimal risks.advertisementA flash freezing method called ‘vitrification’ is used to freeze a woman’s eggs, which can be used a decade later to create a baby. Screening is done after fertilisation with sperm to check for the perfect embryo, which is free from genetic abnormalities. Then, a single embryo is implanted in a woman’s uterus, which has 90 per cent chances of maturing into a healthy foetus.No amount of alcohol is healthyIf you have justified that daily glass of wine or shot of whisky with the fact that drinking moderately is good for your heart, here’s some news that you won’t greet happily. A new study in the British Medical Journal shows that cutting back on alcohol consumption even for moderate drinkers, will improve their heart health and lower their blood pressure. Disappointingly, there really is no research that shows the benefits of alcohol to the health!Euthanasia discussion rages onShould a person in a vegetative state be allowed to die, and even assisted in ending his or her life? The question of “mercy killing” has fuelled debates across the world and each society has come up with its own conclusion. This is illegal in some countries such as Switzerland, which have legalised “assisted suicide” instead, and the issue of “assisted dying” is still active in the UK parliament. Earlier this week, the euthanasia debate was revived in India and the Union health minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that a national consensus was called for on the matter of ‘passive’ euthanasia, in which terminally ill people with no chances of revival, should be allowed to die. Three years ago, the Supreme Court of India pronounced a verdict that made the withdrawal of life support to a person in a vegetative state legal, in the Aruna Shanbaug case.While active euthanasia (which refers to the use of lethal compounds to end a person’s life), is still illegal in India and other countries, passive euthanasia passes muster. “Active euthanasia is a very complex matter, so many countries have not been able to formulate a clear policy on it. It’s hard to take an absolute position on this matter. We need to consider all viewpoints when deciding about ending life,” says Dr Samir Parikh, Director, National Mental Health ProgramThe writer specialises in health issuelast_img read more