China and India sign $22 billion business deal

China and India sign business deals worth more than $22bn

China and India sign business deals worth more than $22bn

China and India signed deals worth more than $22bn in areas including renewable energy, ports, financing and industrial parks, an Indian embassy official said on Saturday.

Namgya C Khampa, of the Indian embassy in Beijing, made the remarks at the end of a three-day visit by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, during which he sought to boost economic ties and quell anxiety over a border dispute between the neighbours.

Khampa said: “The agreements have a bilateral commercial engagement in sectors like renewable energy, industrial parks, power, steel, logistics finance and media and entertainment.”

China is interested in more opportunities in India’s $2tn economy.

During a visit to India in 2014 by China’s president, Xi Jinping, China announced $20bn in investments over five years, including the establishment of two industrial parks.

Since then, progress has been slow, in part because of the difficulties Modi has had in getting political approval for easier land acquisition laws.

 

Source:  theguardian.com

Gut feeling about your CEO is spot on

Gut feeling about CEO is spot on

Gut feeling about CEO is spot on.

That gut feeling many workers, laborers and other underlings have about their CEOs is spot on, according to three recent studies in the Journal of Management, the Journal of Management Studies and the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies that say CEO greed is bad for business.

But how do you define greed? Are compassionate CEOs better for business? How do you know if the leader is doing more harm than good? And can anybody rein in the I-Me-Mine type leader anyway?

University of Delaware researcher Katalin Takacs Haynes and three collaborators — Michael A. Hitt and Matthew Josefy of Texas A&M University and Joanna Tochman Campbell of the University of Cincinnati — have chased such questions for several years, digging into annual reports, comparing credentials with claims and developing useful definitions that could shed more light on the impact of a company’s top leader on employees, business partners and investors.

They test the assumption that self-interest is a universal trait of CEOs (spoiler alert: it’s alive and well), show that too much altruism can harm company performance, reveal the dark, self-destructive tendencies of some entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses and provide a way to measure and correlate greed, arrogance and company performance.

“We tried to look at what we think greed is more objectively,” said Haynes, who was recently promoted to associate professor of management in UD’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. “What we’re trying to do is clean up some of the definitions and make sure we’re all talking about the same concepts.”

In their studies, researchers offer plenty of evidence that some leaders are insatiable when it comes to compensation. How much is too much? They don’t put a number on that. But they do add plenty of nuance to the question and point to a mix of motivations that goes beyond raw greed.

“It’s not for us to judge what too much is for anybody else,” said Haynes, “but we can see when the outcome of somebody’s work is the greater good, and when it is not just greed that is operating in them.”

Greed seems all too apparent to many workers. The recent recession left millions without jobs and many companies sinking into a sea of red. At the same time, though, stunning bonuses and other perks were landing in the laps of people at the helm.

Haynes, who joined the UD faculty in 2011, has found the range of pay within companies an intriguing question, too.

“Why is it that in some companies there is a huge difference between the pay of the top executive and the average worker or the lowest-paid employee and in other companies the pay is a lot closer?” she said.

Many a minimum-wage worker, making $15,080 per year, has wondered that, and so have those in the middle class, who may work a year to make what some CEOs make in a day.

But if you make more than anyone else does that mean you’re greedy?

The question is more complicated than water-cooler conversations might suggest. And Haynes and her collaborators go to the data for answers, leaving emotion, indignation and cries for justice to others. They leave others to correlate the data with names, too.

Instead, they offer definitions and analytical tools that add clarity, allow for apples-to-apples comparisons and shed new light on how a leader’s objectives shape company performance.

“It’s possible that high pay is perfectly deserved because of high contributions, high skill sets,” Haynes said, “and just because somebody doesn’t have high pay doesn’t mean they aren’t greedy.”

The marks of greed are found elsewhere — in a reporting category that tracks “other” compensation and perquisites, in the pay rates of other top executives, in compensation demands during times of company stress, for example.

Haynes’ studies included interviews (with anonymity assured), publicly reported data, written surveys, essays and a review of published information and interviews with CEOs.

The studies also examined managerial hubris and how it differs from self-confidence.

“Hubris is an extreme manifestation of confidence, characterized by preoccupation with fantasies of success and power, excessive feelings of self-importance, as well as arrogance,” researchers wrote.

“Say I’m a stunt driver and I have jumped across five burning cars before with my car,” Haynes said. “I’m pretty confident I can do that — and maybe even six. Say I’m not a stunt driver. To say I could jump through six burning cars would be arrogance. And if I drag you to go with me, it could be criminal.”

Risk aversion can harm a company. But risk for short-term gain without thought of the company’s future is a sign of greed.

“Some CEOs take risks and it will pay off,” she said. “They will have reliable performance and we can forecast that. We know their track record. Others take foolish risks not based on their previous performance.”

Such risks may be especially prevalent among young entrepreneurs, who underestimate the resources needed to help a startup succeed and fail to recognize that more than money is at stake.

“While financial capital is an important concern with these behaviors, the effects on human and social capital are often overlooked, despite the fact that they are highly critical for the success and ultimate survival of entrepreneurial ventures,” the researchers wrote.

Generally, researchers found that greed is worse among short-term leaders with weak boards.

The good news, Haynes said, is that strong corporate governance can rein in CEO greed and keep both self-interest and altruism in proper balance. And that is where the greatest success is found.

“Overall, we conclude that measured self-interest keeps managers focused on the firm’s goals and measured altruism helps the firm to build and maintain strong human and social capital,” researchers wrote.

 

Source:  sciencedaily.com

Holographic micro battery is 10 micrometers thick

holographic microbattery

holographic microbattery

Researchers and companies alike have been scrambling to come up with a next-generation battery, but one of the more unlikely places we’d expect to hear about it is from the study of holography. Recently, a team of engineers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign demonstrated that porous, three-dimensional electrodes can boost a lithium-ion micro battery’s power output by three orders of magnitude, as first reported in Chemical & Engineering News. But now the team has gone a step further, and has optimized the electrode structure with holograms, the three-dimensional interference patterns of multiple laser beams, in order to generate porous blocks that could used as a sort of scaffolding for building electrodes.

The result: a holographic micro battery that’s only 2mm wide and 10 micrometers thick, with an area of 4mm squared, and 12% capacity fade. The researchers said it’s compatible with existing fabrication techniques, and ideal for large-scale on-chip integration with all kinds of microelectronic devices, including medical implants, sensors, and radio transmitters. To get an idea of scale, the photo above shows the battery’s electrodes in a 2mm by 2mm square on a glass substrate. Batteries like this could power implants small enough to track certain aspects of someone’s health in real time, and without the comparatively vast bulk of existing blood glucose and cardiac monitors, just to cite one example.

“This 3D micro battery has exceptional performance and scalability, and we think it will be of importance for many applications,” said Paul Braun, a professor of materials science and engineering at Illinois, in a statement. “Micro-scale devices typically utilize power supplied off-chip because of difficulties in miniaturizing energy storage technologies.”

Braun said that a supercapacitor-like, on-chip battery of this diminutive size would be ideal for autonomous microscale actuators, distributed wireless sensors and transmitters, monitors, and portable and implantable medical devices. To fabricate the batteries, controlling the interfering optical beams for building 3D holographic lithography isn’t trivial. But “recent advances have significantly simplified the required optics, enabling creation of structures via a single incident beam and standard photoresist processing,” said professor John Rogers, who assisted Braun and his team to develop the technology.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen such tiny micro batteries developed. Back in 2013, researchers 3D-printed a battery that’s just 1mm wide, and in 2014, we saw a graphene-based microbattery that could also power implants. But it’s arguably the most sophisticated and realistic design yet. On the slightly larger front, last month a team of Stanford researchers developed an aluminum graphite battery that could charge up a smartphone in just 60 seconds. But in the end, it may be no surprise that holograms help us engineer better batteries — after all, we could be living inside a hologram all this time.

 

Source:  extremetech.com

 

Carbon Billionaire Al Gore

Al Gore Becomes First ‘Carbon Billionaire’

Al Gore First ‘Carbon Billionaire’

Former US Vice President and Global Warming advocate, Al Gore, has become the world’s first ‘carbon billionaire’ after landing a major carbon deal with Chinese coal mining company Haerwusu, one of the top ten coal mining companies in the world.

Al Gore and his partner David Blood, both principals at Generation Investment Management (GIM) have landed the most lucrative carbon deal to date, reaching an estimated $12 billion dollars in carbon shares, estimate experts, although official numbers have not yet been disclosed.

Haerwusu that has often been criticized by Amnesty International and other human rights groups for the poor working conditions of their employees is believed to have sealed the carbon deal to “improve its international image” in an attempt to facilitate commerce with Europe and America, believe specialists.

The former vice-president announced the news to share holders earlier this week during a press conference at GIM headquarters, in London, England.

“I am proud to say that this is just the beginning” he told share holders, visibly enchanted by the recent deal.

“I told the world 20 years ago that the ice caps would be melted by now. Although we are lucky this has not happened yet, we have been at the forefront of the Global Warming movement all along and today we are reaping what we have sown” he admitted with great pride.

“When a system of carbon taxes and carbon trade is setup all over the world in the near future, GIM will be at the epicenter of this green revolution, and believe me, this is just the beginning” he acknowledged prophetically.

The $12 billion dollar deal signed for a period of 10 years with the Haerwusu company could encourage other companies to join in the global carbon trade, a great thing for GIM share holders who’s profits are estimated by experts to sky rocket in the next years.

 

Source:  worldnewsdailyreport.com

Forty two thousand gun death in Brazil

Gun Deaths

Gun Deaths

A report on violence in Brazil says around 42,000 people were shot dead in 2012 – the highest figures for gun crime in 35 years. The study, by the UN and the government on the most recent available data, said almost all the deaths were murders.

More than half of those killed were young men under the age of 30 – two-thirds were described as black.

The Brazilian Congress is debating a controversial bill that would limit access to firearms.

Gun crime murders have been dropping in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo but rising in the north and northeast of the country.

The northern state of Alagoas is the most violent, with fifty-five gun deaths per hundred thousand inhabitants.

The report says a slow justice system and flawed police investigations as well as the widespread availability of firearms are to blame.

It says Brazil has become a society which tolerates guns to resolve “all sorts of disputes, in most cases for very banal and circumstantial reasons.”

A law to ban the carrying of guns in public and control illegal ownership came into effect in 2004.

It tightened rules on gun permits and create a national firearms register, with strict penalties for owning an unregistered gun.

 

Source:  BBC.com

Test catches cancer 13 years before it hits

Test can predict cancer up to 13 years

Test can predict cancer up to 13 years

Scientists have developed a new test that can predict with 100 per cent accuracy whether someone will develop cancer up to 13 years in the future.

The discovery of tiny but significant changes taking place in the body more than a decade before cancer was diagnosed helped researchers at  Harvard and Northwestern University make the breakthrough.

Their research,  published in the online journal Ebiomedicine, found protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, which prevent DNA damage were more worn down those who went on to develop cancer.

Known as telomeres, these were much shorter than they should have been and continued to get shorter until around four years before the cancer developed, when they suddenly stopped shrinking.

“Because we saw a strong relationship in the pattern across a wide variety of cancers, with the right testing these procedures could be used eventually to diagnose a wide variety of cancers,” said Dr Lifang Hou, the lead study author, told The Telegraph.

“Understanding this pattern of telomere growth may mean it can be a predictive biomarker for cancer….We found cancer has hijacked the telomere shortening in order to flourish in the body.”

Source:

independent.co.uk

Scientists discover key driver of reversing aging process

A study tying the aging process to the deterioration of tightly packaged bundles of cellular DNA could lead to methods of preventing and treating age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, experts say.

A study tying the aging process to the deterioration of tightly packaged bundles of cellular DNA could lead to methods of preventing and treating age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, experts say.

A study tying the aging process to the deterioration of tightly packaged bundles of cellular DNA could lead to methods of preventing and treating age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, experts say. In the study, scientists at the Salk Institute and the Chinese Academy of Science found that the genetic mutations underlying Werner syndrome, a disorder that leads to premature aging and death, resulted in the deterioration of bundles of DNA known as heterochromatin.

The discovery, made possible through a combination of cutting-edge stem cell and gene-editing technologies, could lead to ways of countering age-related physiological declines by preventing or reversing damage to heterochromatin.

“Our findings show that the gene mutation that causes Werner syndrome results in the disorganization of heterochromatin, and that this disruption of normal DNA packaging is a key driver of aging,” says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a senior author on the paper. “This has implications beyond Werner syndrome, as it identifies a central mechanism of aging–heterochromatin disorganization–which has been shown to be reversible.”

Werner syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes people to age more rapidly than normal. It affects around one in every 200,000 people in the United States. People with the disorder suffer age-related diseases early in life, including cataracts, type 2 diabetes, hardening of the arteries, osteoporosis and cancer, and most die in their late 40s or early 50s.

The disease is caused by a mutation to the Werner syndrome RecQ helicase-like gene, known as the WRN gene for short, which generates the WRN protein. Previous studies showed that the normal form of the protein is an enzyme that maintains the structure and integrity of a person’s DNA. When the protein is mutated in Werner syndrome it disrupts the replication and repair of DNA and the expression of genes, which was thought to cause premature aging. However, it was unclear exactly how the mutated WRN protein disrupted these critical cellular processes.

In their study, the Salk scientists sought to determine precisely how the mutated WRN protein causes so much cellular mayhem. To do this, they created a cellular model of Werner syndrome by using a cutting-edge gene-editing technology to delete WRN gene in human stem cells. This stem cell model of the disease gave the scientists the unprecedented ability to study rapidly aging cells in the laboratory. The resulting cells mimicked the genetic mutation seen in actual Werner syndrome patients, so the cells began to age more rapidly than normal. On closer examination, the scientists found that the deletion of the WRN gene also led to disruptions to the structure of heterochromatin, the tightly packed DNA found in a cell’s nucleus.

This bundling of DNA acts as a switchboard for controlling genes’ activity and directs a cell’s complex molecular machinery. On the outside of the heterochromatin bundles are chemical markers, known as epigenetic tags, which control the structure of the heterochromatin. For instance, alterations to these chemical switches can change the architecture of the heterochromatin, causing genes to be expressed or silenced.

The Salk researchers discovered that deletion of the WRN gene leads to heterochromatin disorganization, pointing to an important role for the WRN protein in maintaining heterochromatin. And, indeed, in further experiments, they showed that the protein interacts directly with molecular structures known to stabilize heterochromatin–revealing a kind of smoking gun that, for the first time, directly links mutated WRN protein to heterochromatin destabilization.

“Our study connects the dots between Werner syndrome and heterochromatin disorganization, outlining a molecular mechanism by which a genetic mutation leads to a general disruption of cellular processes by disrupting epigenetic regulation,” says Izpisua Belmonte. “More broadly, it suggests that accumulated alterations in the structure of heterochromatin may be a major underlying cause of cellular aging. This begs the question of whether we can reverse these alterations–like remodeling an old house or car–to prevent, or even reverse, age-related declines and diseases.”

Izpisua Belmonte added that more extensive studies will be needed to fully understand the role of heterochromatin disorganization in aging, including how it interacts with other cellular processes implicated in aging, such as shortening of the end of chromosomes, known as telomeres. In addition, the Izpisua Belmonte team is developing epigenetic editing technologies to reverse epigenetic alterations with a role in human aging and disease.

 

Source:  sciencedaily.com

The Next GooglePlex

googleplex

googleplex

“The next Googleplex goes way beyond free snacks and massages; it’s a future-proof microclimate,” writes Brad Stone for Bloomberg:

The most ambitious project unveiled by Google this year isn’t a smartphone, website, or autonomous, suborbital balloon from the Google X lab. You can’t hold it, or download it, or share it instantly with friends. In fact, the first part of it probably won’t exist for at least three years. But you can read all about it in hundreds of pages of soaring descriptions and conceptual drawings, which the company submitted in February to the local planning office of Mountain View, Calif.

The vision outlined in these documents, an application for a major expansion of the Googleplex, its campus, is mind-boggling. The proposed design, developed by the European architectural firms of Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, does away with doors. It abandons thousands of years of conventional thinking about walls. And stairs. And roofs. Google and its imaginative co-founder and chief executive, Larry Page, essentially want to take 60 acres of land adjacent to the headquarters near the San Francisco Bay, in an area called North Bayshore, and turn it into a titanic human terrarium.

The proposal’s most distinctive feature is an artificial sky: four enormous glass canopies, each stretched over a series of steel pillars of different heights. The glass skin is uneven, angling up and down like a jagged, see-through mountain. The canopies will allow the company to regulate its air and climate. Underneath, giant floor plates slope gently upward, providing generous space for open-air offices and doubling as ramps so the 10,000 employees who will work there can get from one floor to the next without the use of stairs. For additional office and meeting space, modular rooms can be added, stacked, and removed as needed. To accomplish this, Google says it will invent a kind of portable crane-robot, which it calls crabots, that will reconfigure these boxes and roam the premises like the droids in Star Wars

Source:  Disinfo.com

Wal-Mart’s water scam: Making $600 on $1 it spends in California

Walmart Scam

Walmart Scam

According to a report from Sacramento CBS affiliate, Walmart has been bottling its water from a Sacramento water district during California’s historically devastating drought– and it’s making a grotesquely large profit off of it.

CBS 13′s Adrienne Moore reports:

Sacramento sells water to a bottler, DS Services of America, at 99 cents for every 748 gallons—the same rate as other commercial and residential customers. That water is then bottled and sold at Walmart for 88 cents per gallon, meaning that $1 of water from Sacramento turns into $658.24 for Walmart and DS Services.

For comparison, the city of Sacramento says the average family uses 417 gallons of water a day.

The news comes shortly after California Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order mandating a one-quarter reduction in urban water use state-wide.

Starbucks recently was criticized for bottling its Ethos water in drought-stricken California — so it stopped. Walmart would be wise to adopt the same policy.

 “It’s certainly leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth when you can’t fill up a swimming pool, if you’re building a new home in West Sacramento; you can’t water your lawn if you’re living in this region,” said public relations expert Doug Elmets. “And to find out they’re making a huge profit off of this, it’s just not right.”

A spokesperson from Walmart said the company is “tracking [the drought] closely.”

“Our commitment to sustainability includes efforts to minimize water use in our facilities. We have and continue to work with our suppliers to act responsibly while meeting the needs of customers who count on us across California.”

Source:  salon.com

Brazil’s $900 million World Cup stadium is now useless

Brazil's $900 million World Cup stadium

Brazil’s $900 million World Cup stadium

Brazil spent about $3 billion building 12 new or heavily refurbished stadiums for last year’s World Cup. Officials promised these taxpayer-funded venues would continue to generate revenue for years, hosting concerts, pro soccer games, and other events.

But as Lourdes Garcia-Navarro at NPR reports, most stadiums are failing to generate much revenue at all. The most expensive one, in Brasilia, is most regularly used as a site for a municipal bus parking lot.

One big problem is that several of the stadiums — including Brasilia’s 72,000-seat, $900 million venue — were built in cities where there are only minor league pro teams that don’t draw large crowds. This was done so World Cup games could be spread across the entire country, instead of just the southeast, where most of the top pro teams play. It’s as if we built gleaming new stadiums in Montana and Alaska for hosting a World Cup in the US.

In Brazil, this plan has left some pretty useless, expensive facilities scattered across the country, because these minor local teams don’t sell enough tickets to make playing in the fancy (and expensive-to-maintain) stadiums worthwhile. The rainforest city of Manaus, for instance, is home to a $600 million stadium that was used for exactly four World Cup games. The pro team there currently plays in much smaller training centers, because it’d lose money if it tried to rent out the big stadium.

Many cities have been selling the stadiums to private companies that try to squeeze a bit of revenue out of them, but it’s not easy. In Natal, the NPR story reports, a company bought the stadium, but has made little money renting it out for children’s birthday parties and weddings, and the facility is now for sale once again.

What makes all this even more infuriating is that in many of these cities, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced from neighborhoods that were torn down to make way for these stadiums. And even though the World Cup was partly billed as a way to upgrade Brazil’s overall infrastructure, several of the big projects — such as light-rail systems in São Paulo, Cuiaba, and Fortaleza — still aren’t close to being finished.

Of course, the most insane part about all this is that for Brazil, the World Cup was just a prelude to an even bigger waste of public money on sports: the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Though a stadium renovated for the World Cup will be reused for the games, the country will still spend a projected $13.2 billion on other facilities and infrastructure, a number that’s likely to continue climbing as the games approach.

There are economists who study the potential economic impact of these events on the cities that host them, and their findings are unequivocal: they don’t pay. As Victor Matheson, an economist at College of the Holy Cross, told my colleague Brad Plumer, “My basic takeaway for any city considering a bid for the Olympics is to run away like crazy.”

 

Source:   Vox.com

Christian Religion is Dying

Religion Superstition

Religion Superstition

The number of Americans who identify as Christian has fallen nearly eight percentage points in only seven years, according to a new survey.

Pew Research Center found that 71% of Americans identified as Christian in 2014 – down from 78% in 2007.

In the same period, Americans identifying as having no religion grew from 16% to 23%.

Fifty-six million Americans do not observe any religion, the second largest community after Evangelicals.

The United States still remains home to more Christians than any other nation, with roughly seven-in-ten continuing to identify with some branch of Christianity.

In 2007 and then again in 2014, Pew conducted the “Religious Landscape Study”, interviewing 35,000 people each time.

Pew researchers say the losses they discovered were driven mainly by a decrease among liberal Protestants and Catholics and occurred in all regions of the US and among all ages and demographics.

About 5 million fewer Americans now identify as Christian compared to when the study was conducted in 2007.

In the South, those not-affiliated with religion – or as the researchers call them, “nones” – rose to 19% of the population, while in the Northeast they climbed to 25%.

In the West “nones” are a larger group than any religion, making up 28% of the public.

Greg Smith, Pew’s associate research director, said the findings “point to substantive changes” among the religiously unaffiliated, not just a shift in how people describe themselves.

Non-religious Americans have become increasingly organised since 2007, forming political groups designed to keep religion out of public life.

Kelly Damerow with the Secular Coalition for America tells BBC News that the Pew findings “lend credence to the growth we’ve witnessed within our community and that we have the potential to hold a lot of political clout”.

 

Source:   BBC.com

Coffee Antioxidant 500 times greater than vitamin C

coffee that mimics effects of morphine

coffee that mimics effects of morphine

The coffee industry plays a major role in the global economy. It also has a significant impact on the environment, producing more than 2 billion tonnes of coffee by-products annually. Coffee silverskin (the epidermis of the coffee bean) is usually removed during processing, after the beans have been dried, while the coffee grounds are normally directly discarded.

It has traditionally been assumed that these by-products ─ coffee grounds and coffee silverskin, have few practical uses and applications. Spent coffee grounds are sometimes employed as homemade skin exfoliants or as abrasive cleaning products. They are also known to make great composting agents for fertilizing certain plants. But apart from these limited applications, coffee by-products are by and large deemed to be virtually useless. As such, practically all of this highly contaminating ‘coffee waste’ ends up in landfills across the globe and has a considerable knock-on effect on the environment.

However, a UGR research team led by José Ángel Rufíán Henares set out to determine the extent to which these by-products could be recycled for nutritional purposes, thereby reducing the amount of waste being generated, as well as benefitting coffee producers, recycling companies, the health sector, and consumers.

In an article published in the academic journal Food Science and Technology, the researchers demonstrate the powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the coffee grounds and silverskin, which are highly rich in fibre and phenols. Indeed, their findings indicate that the antioxidant effects of these coffee grounds are 500 times greater than those found in vitamin C and could be employed to create functional foods with significant health benefits.

Moreover, Professor Rufián Henares points out: “They also contain high levels of melanoidins, which are produced during the roasting process and give coffee its brown colour. The biological properties of these melanoidins could be harnessed for a range of practical applications, such as preventing harmful pathogens from growing in food products.” However, he also adds: “If we are to harness the beneficial prebiotic effects of the coffee by-products, first of all we need to remove the melanoidins, since they interfere with such beneficial prebiotic properties.”

The researchers conclude that processed coffee by-products could potentially be recycled as sources of new food ingredients. This would also greatly diminish the environmental impact of discarded coffee by-products.

The Ministry of Economics and Finance has recently allocated a new research project to the team under the ‘State R&D programme’, in order to enable them to conduct further studies in the area and re-assess the potential value of coffee by-products.

 

Source:  sciencedaily.com

Doctor who discovered Cancer blames lack of Oxygen

The Man Who Discovered Cancer

The Man Who Discovered Cancer

Dr. Otto H. Warburg won a Nobel Prize for discovering the cause of cancer. There is one aspect of our bodies that is the key to preventing cancer: pH levels.

What Dr. Warburg figured out is that when there is a lack of oxygen, cancer cells develop. As Dr. Warburg said, “All normal cells have an absolute requirement for oxygen, but cancerous cells can live without oxygen – a rule without exception. Deprive a cell of 35% of it’s oxygen for 48 hours and it may become cancerous.” Cancer cells therefore cannot live in a highly oxygenated state, like the one that develops when your body’s pH levels are alkaline, and not acidic.

Most people’s diets promote the creation of too much acid, which throws our body’s natural pH levels from a slightly alkaline nature to an acidic nature. Maintaining an alkaline pH level can prevent health conditions like cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and acid reflux. Eating processed foods like refined sugars, refined grains, GMOs, and other unnatural foods can lead to a pH level that supports the development of these conditions, and leads to overall bad health. In fact, most health conditions that are common today stem from a pH level that is too acidic, including parasites, bacteria, and viruses are all attributed to an acidic pH level.

There is a natural remedy that you can use at home that is simple, and readily available. All you need is 1/3 tablespoon of baking soda, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Mix the ingredients into 8ounces of cold water, and stir well. The baking soda will react with the lemon juice or ACV and begin to fizz. Drink the mixture all at once. The combination will naturally reduce your pH levels in your body and prevent the conditions associated with an acidic pH level. Maintaining a healthy pH level will do wonders for your health, and you will notice the difference after only a few days of the treatment.

 

Source:  buynongmoseeds.com

Swiss Chemical Company Rejects Monsanto’s

v

Monsanto, in Bid for Syngenta, Reaches for a Business It Left Behind

Over the last two decades Monsanto has cast off its century-long history as a chemical company and refashioned itself as an agricultural life sciences company, led by its genetically engineered seeds.

But with its $45 billion bid to acquire the agricultural chemical giant Syngenta — a bid Syngenta rejected on Friday as inadequate — Monsanto appears to be trying to get back into a business it largely abandoned. That is a possible acknowledgment, some analysts say, that the biotech seeds might not be the engine to carry the company forward much longer.

“If you go back 10 years, they put all their marbles on biotechnology and they’ve done fantastically well there,” said William R. Young, managing director of ChemSpeak, a consulting firm following the chemical industry. “But going forward, maybe the growth is limited,” he said. Buying Syngenta “allows for some diversification in product line.”

Syngenta both announced and rejected Monsanto’s unsolicited bid on Friday, saying the offer undervalued Syngenta’s prospects and underestimated “the significant execution risks, including regulatory and public scrutiny at multiple levels in many countries.”

Monsanto offered to pay 449 Swiss francs, or about $490, for each share of Syngenta; 45 percent of the payment would be in cash. The offer represented a 35 percent premium to Syngenta’s closing price on Thursday.Monsanto, in its own statement, said it believed combining the two companies would create “an integrated global leader in agriculture with comprehensive and complementary product portfolios.” It said it was confident in its ability to obtain all necessary regulatory approvals.

The deal would create an agricultural behemoth, combining Monsanto, the world leader in seeds and genetically engineered traits (like herbicide resistance), with Syngenta, the largest producer of agricultural chemicals.

The two companies are in some sense mirror images of each other. They are similar in size, each with over $15 billion in annual revenue. But Monsanto gets most of its revenue from seeds and biotech traits; the rest comes mainly from the herbicide Roundup. Syngenta gets most of its revenue from chemicals, like weed control products, and less from seeds.

So far, investors have seen more potential in the seed business. Monsanto has had a market valuation more than 60 percent greater than Syngenta’s.

Source:  nytimes

Success Regenerating Spinal Cords

Regenerated nerves after spinal cord injury

Regenerated nerves after spinal cord injuryHead Transplant

Working with paralysed rats, scientists in the US have shown how they might be able to regenerate spines after injury and help paralysed people to one day walk again.

The team, from Tufts University School of Medicine, crushed the spines of lab rats at the dorsal root, which is the main bundle of nerve fibres that branches off the spine, and carries signals of sensation from the body to the brain. They then treated the spines with a protein called artemin, known to help neurons grow and function. After the two-week treatment, the nerve fibres regenerated and successfully passed signals over a distance of 4 centimetres.

“This is a significantly longer length of Central Nervous System regeneration than has been reported earlier,” one of the team, physiologist Eric Frank, “But still a long way to go!”

Reporting in a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team says the artemin treatment was successful in regenerating both large and small sensory neurons.

And while that 4-centimetre distance is important, Frank says that’s not all that counts: “The regenerating nerve fibres are growing back to the right places in the spinal cord and brainstem.” He adds that this is pretty impressive, given that their subjects were several months old, which isn’t young in rat years.

The results suggest that the chemical guidance cues that allow the nerve fibres to get to their correct target areas persist in the adult spinal cord, says Frank. This means that while artemin may not help regenerate all nerve fibres -some aren’t receptive to it – it’s likely to help with other neurones to. “If it becomes possible to get these other types of nerve fibres to regenerate for long distances as well, there is a reasonable chance that they can also grow back to their original target areas,” says Frank.

The challenge is getting regenerated nerve fibres to reconnect, so they can do what there are supposed to do, which just might be possible, considering these results. If scientists could achieve that, it would be a big leap forward in improving the lives of paralysed people.

Source:  sciencealert.com

Captain Kidd’s treasure found

captin kidd

captin kidd

Underwater explorers in Madagascar say they have discovered treasure belonging to the notorious 17th-Century Scottish pirate William Kidd.

A 50kg (7st 9lb) silver bar was brought to shore on Thursday on the island of Sainte Marie, from what is thought to be the wreck of the Adventure Galley.

The bar was presented to Madagascar’s president at a special ceremony.

US explorer Barry Clifford says he believes there are many more such bars still in the wreck.

Capt Kidd was first appointed by the British authorities to tackle piracy but later became a ruthless criminal and was executed in 1701.

‘Scepticism’

“Captain’s Kidd’s treasure is the stuff of legends. People have been looking for it for 300 years. To literally have it hit me on the head – I thought what the heck just happened to me. I really didn’t expect this,” Mr Clifford said.

“There’s more down there. I know the whole bottom of the cavity where I found the silver bar is filled with metal. It’s too murky down there to see what metal, but my metal detector tells me there is metal on all sides.”

The BBC’s Martin Vogl tweets that there is much excitement in Madagascar about the discovery and Mr Clifford’s team has no doubt that the discovery is genuine.

The team believes the bar, marked with what appears to be a letter S and a letter T, has its origins in 17th-Century Bolivia.

It believes the ship it has found was built in England, however there is bound to be scepticism and calls for more proof that the bar was linked to Capt Kidd, our reporter says.

One option would be to take samples of wood from the ship to analyse, he says.

The location of the ship, thought to have sunk in 1698, has been known about for many years but the silver bar was only discovered earlier this week.

Mr Clifford said that while diving in the wreck, his metal detector picked up signals but it was too muddy for him to see anything.

UK ambassador to Madagascar Timothy Smart, who attended the ceremony, said he hoped that Mr Clifford’s latest discovery would raise Madagascar’s profile as a tourist destination.

The plan is to exhibit the bars in a museum.

 

Source:  BBC.com

 

Most likely culprit for schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is eight different diseases

Schizophrenia is eight different diseases

Researchers have found a gene that links the three previously unrelated biological changes most commonly blamed for causing schizophrenia, making it one of the most promising culprits for the disease so far, and a good target for future treatments.

Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental disorder that usually appears in late adolescence, and changes the way people think, act and perceive reality. For decades, scientists have struggled to work out what causes the hallucinations and strange behaviour associated with the disorder, and keep coming back to three neuronal changes that seem to be to blame. The only problem is that the changes seemed to be unrelated, and, in some cases, even contradictory.

But now, researchers from Duke University in the US have managed to find a link between these three hypotheses, and have shown that all three changes can be brought about by a malfunction in the same gene.

Publishing in Nature Neuroscience, the researchers explain that their results could lead to new treatment strategies that target the underlying cause of the disease, rather than the visible changes or phenotypes, associated with schizophrenia.

“The most exciting part was when all the pieces of the puzzle fell together,” lead researcher, Scott Soderling, a professor of cell biology and neurobiology from Duke University, said in a press release. “When [co-researcher Il Hwan Kim] and I finally realised that these three outwardly unrelated phenotypes … were actually functionally interrelated with each other, that was really surprising and also very exciting for us.”

So what are these three phenotypes? The first is spine pruning, which means that the neurons of people with schizophrenia have fewer spines – the long part of a brain cell that passes signals back and forth. Some people with schizophrenia also have hyperactive neurons, and excess dopamine production.

But these changes just didn’t seem to make sense together. After all, how could neurons be overactive if they didn’t have enough dendritic spines to pass messages back and forth, and why would either of these symptoms trigger excess dopamine production? Now, researchers believe that a mutation in the gene Arp2/3 may be to blame.

Soderling and his team originally spotted the gene during previous studies, which identified thousands of genes linked to schizophrenia. But Arp2/3 was of particular interest, as it controls the formation of synapses, or links, between neurons.

To test its effect, the researchers engineered mice that didn’t have the Arp2/3 gene and, surprisingly, found that they behaved very similarly to humans with schizophrenia. The mice also got worse with age and improved slightly with antipsychotic medications, both traits of human schizophrenia.

But most fascinating was the fact that the mice also had all three of the unrelated brain changes – fewer dendritic spines, overactive neurons and excess dopamine production.

They also took things one step further and showed, for the first time, that this lack of dendritic spines can actually trigger hyperactive neurons. This is because the mice’s brain cells rewire themselves to bypass these spines, effectively skipping the ‘filter’ that usually keeps their activity in check.

They also showed that these overactive neurons at the front of the brain were then stimulating other neurons to dump out dopamine.

“Overall, the combined results reveal how three separate pathologies, at the tiniest molecular level, can converge and fuel a psychiatric disorder,” Susan Scutti explains over at Medical Daily.

The group will now study the role Arp2/3 plays in different parts of the brain, and how its linked to other schizophrenia symptoms. The research is still in its very early stages, and obviously has only been demonstrated in mice and not humans. But it’s a promising first step towards understanding this mysterious disease.

“We’re very excited about using this type of approach, where we can genetically rescue Arp2/3 function in different brain regions and normalise behaviours,” Soderling said. “We’d like to use that as a basis for mapping out the neural circuitry and defects that also drive these other behaviours.”

Source:  sciencealert.com

Humans Played Role in Neanderthal Extinction

neanderthal-human-skulls

neanderthal-human-skulls

Ancient teeth from Italy suggest that the arrival of modern humans in Western Europe coincided with the demise of Neanderthals there, researchers said.

This finding suggests that modern humans may have caused Neanderthals to go extinct, either directly or indirectly, scientists added.

Neanderthals are the closest extinct relatives of modern humans. Recent findings suggest that Neanderthals, who once lived in Europe and Asia, were closely enough related to humans to interbreed with the ancestors of modern humans — about 1.5 to 2.1 percent of the DNA of anyone outside Africa is Neanderthal in origin. Recent findings suggest that Neanderthals disappeared from Europe between about 41,000 and 39,000 years ago.

Scientists have hotly debated whether Neanderthals were driven into extinction because of modern humans. To solve this mystery, researchers have tried pinpointing when modern humans entered Western Europe. [Image Gallery: Our Closest Human Ancestor]

Modern human or Neanderthal?

The Protoaurignacians, who first appeared in southern Europe about 42,000 years ago, could shed light on the entrance of modern humans into the region. This culture was known for its miniature blades and for simple ornaments made of shells and bones.

Scientists had long viewed the Protoaurignacians as the precursors of the Aurignacians — modern humans named after the site of Aurignac in southern France who spread across Europe between about 35,000 and 45,000 years ago. Researchers had thought the Protoaurignacians reflected the westward spread of modern humans from the Near East — the part of Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and India that includes the Middle East.

However, the classification of the Protoaurignacians as modern human or Neanderthal has long been uncertain. Fossils recovered from Protoaurignacian sites were not conclusively identified as either.

Now scientists analyzing two 41,000-year-old teeth from two Protoaurignacian sites in Italy find that the fossils belonged to modern humans.

“We finally have proof for the argument that says that modern humans were there when the Neanderthals went extinct in Europe,” study lead author Stefano Benazzi, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Bologna in Ravenna, Italy.

A fossil tooth found at an Italian site called Grotta di Fumane (shown here) came from a modern human, scientists say.

The researchers investigated a lower incisor tooth from Riparo Bombrini, an excavation site in Italy, and found it had relatively thick enamel. Prior research suggested modern human teeth had thicker enamel than those of Neanderthals, perhaps because modern humans were healthier or developed more slowly. They also compared DNA from an upper incisor tooth found in another site in Italy — Grotta di Fumane — with that of 52 present-day modern humans, 10 ancient modern humans, a chimpanzee, 10 Neanderthals, two members of a recently discovered human lineage known as the Denisovans, and one member of an unknown kind of human lineage from Spain, and found that the Protoaurignacian DNA was modern human.

“This research really could not have been done without the collaboration of researchers in many different scientific research fields — paleoanthropologists, molecular anthropologists, physical anthropologists, paleontologists and physicists working on dating the fossils,” Benazzi said.

Killing off Neanderthals

Since the Protoaurignacians first appeared in Europe about 42,000 years ago and the Neanderthals disappeared from Europe between about 41,000 and 39,000 years ago, these new findings suggest that Protoaurignacians “caused, directly or indirectly, the demise of Neanderthals,” Benazzi said.

These 3D models show an incisor tooth from two Italian sites, Riparo Bombrini (left) and Grotta di Fumane (right).
Credit: Daniele Panetta, CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Italy

View full size image

It remains unclear just how modern humans might have driven Neanderthals into extinction, Benazzi cautioned. Modern humans might have competed with Neanderthals, or they might simply have assimilated Neanderthals into their populations.

Moreover, prior research suggests that Neanderthals in Europe might have been headed toward extinction before modern humans even arrived on the continent. Neanderthals apparently experienced a decline in genetic diversity about the time when modern humans began turning up in Europe.

“The only way we might have proof of how modern humans caused the decline of Neanderthals is if we ever find a modern human burying a knife into the head of a Neanderthal,” Benazzi joked.

The researchers now hope to find more Protoaurignacian human remains. “Hopefully, we can find DNA that may say something about whether these modern humans and Neanderthals interbred,” Benazzi said.

 

Source:   livescience.com

Finland submarine avoids US internet spying

Finland

Finland

Finland is aiming to capitalise on Germany’s privacy worries by setting itself up as a haven where online data will be safe from the prying eyes of foreign governments.

Cinia Group, a new state-owned telecoms company, is building a new submarine cable to link the Scandinavian country to German business and digital consumers.

It comes amid growing concern that the EU’s ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement, which allows personal and financial data to be exported to the US, does not protect privacy.

The route of the 685-mile cable has also been carefully planned to avoid waters where it would be more likely to be secretly wire tapped, in an effort to help build German confidence to use Finnish data centres.

The country is bidding to become the “Switzerland of the North”, where sensitive personal and financial data can be safely stored. Cinia has signed up its first customer for the new cable, the data centre provider Hetzner Online, which will pay €10m to use the link from early next year.

German privacy laws are particularly stringent due to its history of secret policing, and public concern about the internet was especially heightened there following the exposure of US spying by the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Chris Watson, head of TMT at the City law firm CMS, which advised on the deal, said: “Russia and China keep control of data in government hands – and we saw in the US how personal data was not secure from the spooks. This cable is the fundamental aorta of an entirely secure commercial alternative for keeping data safe.”

Amazon’s data centre business has sought to address German privacy concerns by building a data centre near Frankfurt, guaranteeing that sensitive information will not leave the country. However other internet companies including Facebook have sought to save money by locating data centres in Scandinavia, where cooling for the thousands of server computers they contain is readily available from icy water.

Source:  telegraph.co.uk

Tinder users are married

tinder

tinder

When casually swiping through Tinder, do you ever look for a wedding ring? Maybe you should, as new data has found around one third of those looking for love on the app are married.

Men outnumber women on the dating app 6:4, and the majority of users (45 per cent) are aged between 25-34. Around 38 per cent are aged 16-24, while 1 per cent are between 55 and 64 years of age, research by GlobalWebIndex has found.

While over half (54 per cent) describe themselves as single, 30 per cent are married, and 12 per cent are in a relationship. The remaining 4 per cent define themselves as divorced / widowed or as ‘other’.

Unsurprisingly, almost four in five (76 per cent) described their living conditions as rural, while 17 per cent were suburban and 7 per cent rural.

Interestingly, a quarter of Tinder users said they’d paid for an online dating service in the last month, compared to 6 per cent of average internet users and 14 per cent of dating site users.

Tinder users are presented with an image of a person of the gender of their choice, and given the chance to swipe right for yes, and left for no. Only once a pair have liked each other are they given the chance to message each other.

It’s been downloaded over 50 million times since its launch in 2012, matching around 26 million prospective couples every 24 hours. More than 1.6 billion swipes have been made since launch.

Around 90 million people used a location-based dating app in January, while around 25 million dating app users are based in China alone.

Source:  telegraph.co.uk

Smartphone detects blood for parasites

Blood parasite smartphone1

Blood parasite smartphone

The CellScope system films a drop of blood and an app then automatically analyses any movement in the sample to detect the parasites.

The results, published in Science Translational Medicine, showed the device was successful in small trials in Cameroon.

Experts said it marked a fundamental advance in tropical diseases.

Previous efforts to eradicate two parasitic diseases – river blindness and elephantiasis – have been suspended because the treatment can become fatal in some people.

One treatment, the drug ivermectin, is risky in people with high levels of Loa loa worm – the one that can crawl across the surface of the eye – so people need to be screened first.

Automatic

The team in the most recent research, at the University of California, Berkeley, and the US National Institutes of Health, used a modified smartphone to automate the process.

A pindrop of blood was collected and loaded into a handheld box. The phone on top then kicked in.

“With one touch of the screen, the device moves the sample, captures video and automatically analyses the images,” said one of the researchers, Prof Daniel Fletcher.

Rather than attempt to identify the shape of the worm, the software in the phone looks for the movement.

Treat or not?

The software predicts the number of Loa loa parasites in the blood and tells the healthcare workers whether they are suitable for drug treatment.

It means very little training is required, while current screening procedures require someone to be skilled in analysing blood samples by eye.

Early trials in Cameroon of the new approach have been successful and there are now plans to test it on 40,000 people.

Prof Fletcher told the BBC News website: “I’m excited, it offers a new higher-tech approach to dealing with very low-tech problems.”

“There are drugs to treat many neglected tropical diseases, these are problems that should be solved, but there is not the technology to identify people who who need the right drugs.”

It is hoped the same idea could be adapted to test for other infections such as TB, malaria and soil-transmitted parasitic worms or helminths, which include roundworm.

‘Fundamental advance’

Prof Simon Brooker from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, commented: “I think it’s one of the most fundamental advances in neglected tropical diseases in a long time.”

“In the 21st Century we are using 20th Century technology to diagnose these infections, this brings us into the modern world.

IRA Leader shot Dead

IRA Leader JOCK

IRA Leader JOCK

A former senior IRA figure has been shot dead near Belfast city centre.

Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison, 47, was shot a number of times at Welsh Street in the Markets area at about 09:00 BST.

Police do not believe dissident republicans were behind the attack and they do not believe it was sectarian.

It is understood Mr Davison was involved in the fight in a Belfast bar in January 2005 that led to the death of Robert McCartney, one of Northern Ireland’s most high profile killings.

Mr Davison’s uncle Terence was later acquitted of Mr McCartney’s murder.

Det Ch Insp Justyn Galloway said: “This was a cold-blooded murder carried out in broad daylight in a residential area and it has no place in the new Northern Ireland.”

Appealing for information, he said: “We have detectives in the Markets area making house to house enquiries and seeking to identify witnesses.

“I would appeal to local people to co-operate with them and give them any information they have.”

The detective said Mr Davison was a grandfather and “a high-profile community worker who devoted much of his time to those living in the Markets”.

“In fact, Mr Davison was walking to a local community centre where he worked when he was shot,” he said.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said: “This brutal act will be condemned by all sensible people – there can be no place today for such actions.

“I would urge anyone with any information to bring that forward to the PSNI.”

The murder of Mr Davison has also been condemned by politicians in the area.

Sinn Féin assembly member Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said there was shock that the man had been shot dead “in such a callous fashion in broad daylight while on his way to work”.

“The victim is from the area and well-known for his work in the community sector,” he said.

“Local people are shocked and angered by what has happened, and I would appeal to people to remain calm.”

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said: “This is a horrendous crime and those responsible have shown no regard for anyone that could have been caught in the middle of it during the school rush hour.

“People here want to move on from the violence of the past. This community will reject those who bring murder and mayhem to our streets.

“I would appeal to anyone with any information to bring it forward as soon as possible.”

Alliance councillor Paula Bradshaw said: “Guns have no place on our streets – those responsible for this vicious crime are a danger to our society and must be urgently apprehended by the police.

“Whoever carried out this murder must be taken off our streets and brought before the courts to face justice for their horrific crimes.”

DUP MLA Jonathan Bell said: “No right-thinking person wants to go back to the days when this sort of event was all too common, not only in Belfast but throughout our province, and those responsible have to be brought to justice and have to face a court of law.”

UUP representative Rodney McCune said: “The timing of the murder at nine o’clock in the morning – people are going to work, taking their children to school – will be a matter of some shock, naturally.

“Especially because it will send a message across the city that these type of serious incidents are still happening and we do have a strong criminal element in society.”

 

Source:  BBC.com

Drone war is killing non-al-Qaeda leaders

Drones

Drones

Hypothetically, American drone bombings in Pakistan are supposed to be killing off al-Qaeda’s leadership. But in actuality, the strikes kill more people who aren’t in the terrorist group’s command structure.

Council on Foreign Relations fellow Micah Zenko dug up a 2011 assessment, from Pentagon official Michael Vickers, that there were “perhaps four important Qaeda leaders left in Pakistan, and 10 to 20 leaders over all in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” Zenko then compared that number to an average of several estimates of people killed in drone strikes:

Since Vickers’ estimate that there were two dozen al-Qaeda leaders left in 2011, more than two-hundred U.S. drone strikes have killed upwards of 1,200 people — apparently non-al-Qaeda leaders.

Zenko’s comparison makes a very clear point: unless Vickers’s estimate in 2011 was a dramatic lowball, it’s just wrong to say that the drone campaign is narrowly tailored to killing top al-Qaeda officials. It’s killing many more people than that, including hundreds of civilians and, recently, an American and Italian hostage. And even if American drones campaign took out top al-Qaeda officials in the process, it’s genuinely unclear how much that would damage the group.

Source: Vox.com

Coconut oil reduce calories in rice 60 per cent

coconut-oil

coconut-oil

It sounds too good to be true but a simple change to the way rice is cooked could reduce its calorie content by 60 per cent.

Cooking rice with a teaspoon of coconut oil then refrigerating it for 12 hours more than halves the number of calories absorbed by the body, scientists have shown.

Scientists in Sri Lanka have discovered that cooking rice with a teaspoon of coconut oil then refrigerating it for 12 hours more than halves the number of calories absorbed by the body. The change remains even if it is reheated.

The researchers from the College of Chemical Sciences in Colombo, Sri Lanka, say simply changing the way rice is cooked could help tackle the obesity epidemic.

“Because obesity is a growing health problem, especially in many developing countries, we wanted to find food-based solutions,” says Dr Sudhair James, who is at the College of Chemical Sciences, Colombo, Western, Sri Lanka.

“We discovered that increasing rice resistant starch (RS) concentrations was a novel way to approach the problem.”

By using a specific heating and cooking regimen, he says, the scientists concluded that “if the best rice variety is processed, it might reduce the calories by about 50-60 percent.”

One in four adults in England is obese and these figures are set to climb to 60 per cent of men, 50 per cent of women, by 2050.

Obesity and diabetes already costs the UK over £5billion every year which is likely to rise to £50 billion in the next 36 years.

Rice contains around 240 calories per cup. The trick to bringing down the calorie content is by changing how the body digests it.

Usually the starchy carbohydrates in rice are broken down in the small intestine where they become glucose and are eventually stored as fat. However, cooking rice with a teaspoon of coconut oil, and then chilling for 12 hours appears to make half of the carbohydrate indigestible so it passes through the body without becoming fat.

“After your body converts carbohydrates into glucose, any leftover fuel gets converted into a polysaccharide carbohydrate called glycogen,” added Dr James.

“Your liver and muscles store glycogen for energy and quickly turn it back into glucose as needed. The issue is that the excess glucose that doesn’t get converted to glycogen ends up turning into fat, which can lead to excessive weight or obesity.”

Source:  telegraph.co.uk

Magic mushrooms permanently changes personality

psilocybin mushroom

psilocybin mushroom

Psilocybe cubensis, commonly referred to as magic mushrooms have the potential to make a lasting change to one’s personality. This is a preliminary conclusion from a study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

A single dose of ‘shrooms’ was enough to make a lasting impression on the personality in 30 of the 51 participants, or nearly 60%. Those who had a hallucinatory or mystical experience after consuming the mushrooms showed increased in the personality trait ‘openness’, which is closely related to creativity and curiosity. This increase was measured 2 months and even 14 months after the last session, which suggests long-term effects.

Study leader Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry, finds this lasting impact on a personality trait remarkable: “Normally, if anything, openness tends to decrease as people get older.” Openness is one of five traits that were tested and the only one that changed during the study. Along with the other factors extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness, openness is one of the major personality traits that are known to be constant throughout one’s lifetime.

According to the researchers, this study is the first finding of a short-term means with which long-term personality changes can made. “There may be applications for this we can’t even imagine at this point,” says Griffiths. “It certainly deserves to be systematically studied.”

There is currently another study under way to determine whether or not psilocybin can help cancer patients deal with feelings of anxiety and depression.

 

Source:  azarius.pt

WOOLLY MAMMOTH brought back to life

 

The Telegraph has reported that the long extinct woolly mammoth could be brought back to life in as little as four years thanks to a breakthrough in cloning technology.

Previous efforts in the 1990s to recover nuclei in cells from the skin and muscle tissue from frozen woolly mammoths found in the Siberian permafrost failed because they had been too badly damaged by the extreme cold in which they had been encased for thousands of years.

But, in 2008, a technique pioneered by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama — of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology — was successful in cloning a mouse from the cells of another mouse that had been frozen for 16 years.

Now that hurdle has been overcome a professor at Kyoto University, Professor Akira Iritani, is reactivating his campaign to resurrect the species that died out 5,000 years ago:

“Now the technical problems have been overcome, all we need is a good sample of soft tissue from a frozen mammoth.”

He intends to use Wakayama’s technique to identify the nuclei of viable mammoth cells before extracting the healthy ones.The nuclei will then be inserted into the egg cells of an African elephant, which will act as the surrogate mother for the mammoth, possibly making the creature FORMERLY EXTINCT.

Iritani has announced plans to travel to Siberia in the summer to search for mammoths in the permafrost and to recover a sample of skin or tissue. If he is unsuccessful, he will ask Russian scientists to provide a sample from one of their finds:

“The success rate in the cloning of cattle was poor until recently but now stands at about 30 percent. I think we have a reasonable chance of success and a healthy mammoth could be born in four or five years.”

Source:  americanmonsters.com

MRI Shows Meditation Rebuilds Brain’s Gray Matter

MRI Shows Meditation Rebuilds Brain’s Gray Matter

MRI Shows Meditation Rebuilds Brain’s Gray Matter

Test subjects taking part in an 8-week program of mindfulness meditation showed results that astonished even the most experienced neuroscientists at Harvard University.  The study was led by a Harvard-affiliated team of researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the team’s MRI scans documented for the very first time in medical history how meditation produced massive changes inside the brain’s gray matter.  “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

Sue McGreevey of MGH writes: “Previous studies from Lazar’s group and others found structural differences between the brains of experienced meditation practitioners and individuals with no history of meditation, observing thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration. But those investigations could not document that those differences were actually produced by meditation.”  Until now, that is.  The participants spent an average of 27 minutes per day practicing mindfulness exercises, and this is all it took to stimulate a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.  McGreevey adds: “Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time.”

“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” says Britta Hölzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany

 

Source:  feelguide.com

Humans Bred with Unknown Species

Humans Bred with Unknown Species

Humans Bred with Unknown Species

A new study presented to the Royal Society meeting on ancient DNA in London last week has revealed a dramatic finding – the genome of one of our ancient ancestors, the Denisovans, contains a segment of DNA that seems to have come from another species that is currently unknown to science. The discovery suggests that there was rampant interbreeding between ancient human species in Europe and Asia more than 30,000 years ago. But, far more significant was the finding that they also mated with a mystery species from Asia – one that is neither human nor Neanderthal. 

Scientists launched into a flurry of discussion and debate upon hearing the study results and immediately began speculating about what this unknown species could be.  Some have suggested that a group may have branched off to Asia from the Homo heidelbernensis, who resided in Africa about half a million years ago. They are believed to be the ancestors of Europe’s Neanderthals. 

However others, such as Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the London Natural History Museum, admitted that they “don’t have the faintest idea” what the mystery species could be.

Traces of the unknown new genome were detected in two teeth and a finger bone of a Denisovan, which was discovered in a Siberian cave. There is not much data available about the appearance of Denisovans due to lack of their fossils’ availability, but the geneticists and researchers succeeded in arranging their entire genome very precisely.

“What it begins to suggest is that we’re looking at a ‘Lord of the Rings’-type world – that there were many hominid populations,” Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London.

The question is now: who were these mystery people that the Denisovans were breeding with?

 

Source:  ancient-origins.net

Protein Treatment Staves Off Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms

Protein Treats Alzheimer’s Disease

Protein Treats Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with over 1,200 individuals developing the disease every day. A new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience from lead author Dena Dubal of the University of California, San Francisco describes how manipulating levels of a protein associated with memory can stave off Alzheimer’s symptoms, even in the presence of the disease-causing toxins.

Klotho is a transmembrane protein associated with longevity. The body makes less of this protein over time, and low levels of klotho is connected to a number of diseases including osteoporosis, heart disease, increased risk of stroke, and decreased cognitive function. These factors lead to diminished quality of life and even early death.

Previous research has shown that increasing klotho levels in healthy mice leads to increased cognitive function. This current paper from Dubal’s team builds on that research by increasing klotho in mice who are also expressing large amounts of amyloid-beta and tau, proteins that are associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Remarkably, even with high levels of these toxic, disease-causing proteins, the mice with elevated klotho levels were able to retain their cognitive function.

“It’s remarkable that we can improve cognition in a diseased brain despite the fact that it’s riddled with toxins,” Dubal said in a press release. “In addition to making healthy mice smarter, we can make the brain resistant to Alzheimer-related toxicity. Without having to target the complex disease itself, we can provide greater resilience and boost brain functions.”

The mechanism behind this cognitive preservation appears to be klotho interacting with a glutamate receptor called NMDA, which is critically important to synaptic transmission, thus influencing learning, memory, and executive function. Alzheimer’s disease typically damages these receptors, but the mice with elevated klotho were able to retain both NMDA function and cognition. Part of the success also appears to be due to the preservation of the NMDA subunit GluN2B, which existed in significantly larger numbers than the control mice. The mechanism and the results of this study will need to be investigated further before developing it into a possible treatment for humans in the future.

“The next step will be to identify and test drugs that can elevate klotho or mimic its effects on the brain,” added senior author Lennart Mucke from Gladstone Institutes. “We are encouraged in this regard by the strong similarities we found between klotho’s effects in humans and mice in our earlier study. We think this provides good support for pursuing klotho as a potential drug target to treat cognitive disorders in humans, including Alzheimer’s disease.”

 

Source:  iflscience.com

Antioxidant diet could extend life

Antioxidant

Antioxidant

University of Florida Health researchers have found that putting people on a feast-or-famine diet may mimic some of the benefits of fasting, and that adding antioxidant supplements may counteract those benefits.

Fasting has been shown in mice to extend lifespan and to improve age-related diseases. But fasting every day, which could entail skipping meals or simply reducing overall caloric intake, can be hard to maintain.

“People don’t want to just under-eat for their whole lives,” said Martin Wegman, an M.D.-Ph.D. student at the UF College of Medicine and co-author of the paper recently published in the journal Rejuvenation Research. “We started thinking about the concept of intermittent fasting.”

Michael Guo, a UF M.D.-Ph.D. student who is pursuing the Ph.D. portion of the program in genetics at Harvard Medical School, said the group measured the participants’ changes in weight, blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, cholesterol, markers of inflammation and genes involved in protective cell responses over 10 weeks.

“We found that intermittent fasting caused a slight increase to SIRT 3, a well-known gene that promotes longevity and is involved in protective cell responses,” Guo said.

The SIRT3 gene encodes a protein also called SIRT3. The protein SIRT3 belongs to a class of proteins called sirtuins. Sirtuins, if increased in mice, can extend their lifespans, Guo said. Researchers think proteins such as SIRT3 are activated by oxidative stress, which is triggered when there are more free radicals produced in the body than the body can neutralize with antioxidants. However, small levels of free radicals can be beneficial: When the body undergoes stress — which happens during fasting — small levels of oxidative stress can trigger protective pathways, Guo said.

“The hypothesis is that if the body is intermittently exposed to low levels of oxidative stress, it can build a better response to it,” Wegman said.

The researchers found that the intermittent fasting decreased insulin levels in the participants, which means the diet could have an anti-diabetic effect as well.

The group recruited 24 study participants in the double-blinded, randomized clinical trial. During a three-week period, the participants alternated one day of eating 25 percent of their daily caloric intake with one day of eating 175 percent of their daily caloric intake. For the average man’s diet, a male participant would have eaten 650 calories on the fasting days and 4,550 calories on the feasting days. To test antioxidant supplements, the participants repeated the diet but also included vitamin C and vitamin E.

At the end of the three weeks, the researchers tested the same health parameters. They found that the beneficial sirtuin proteins such as SIRT 3 and another, SIRT1, tended to increase as a result of the diet. However, when antioxidants were supplemented on top of the diet, some of these increases disappeared. This is in line with some research that indicates flooding the system with supplemental antioxidants may counteract the effects of fasting or exercise, said Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Ph.D., co-author of the paper and chief of the division of biology of aging in the department of aging and geriatric research.

“You need some pain, some inflammation, some oxidative stress for some regeneration or repair,” Leeuwenburgh said. “These young investigators were intrigued by the question of whether some antioxidants could blunt the healthy effects of normal fasting.”

On the study participants’ fasting days, they ate foods such as roast beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, Oreo cookies and orange sherbet — but they ate only one meal. On the feasting days, the participants ate bagels with cream cheese, oatmeal sweetened with honey and raisins, turkey sandwiches, apple sauce, spaghetti with chicken, yogurt and soda — and lemon pound cake, Snickers bars and vanilla ice cream.

“Most of the participants found that fasting was easier than the feasting day, which was a little bit surprising to me,” Guo said. “On the feasting days, we had some trouble giving them enough calories.”

Leeuwenburgh said future studies should examine a larger cohort of participants and should include studying a larger number of genes in the participants as well as examining muscle and fat tissue.

Source:  eurekalert.org

Virus That Preys on Other Viruses

Virus That Preys on Other Viruses

Virus That Preys on Other Viruses

Viruses infect a wide range of plants and animals, and shows that they can even infect one another. If that seems surprising, no wonder: until a team of French researchers watched one virus invade another, hijacking its genetic machinery and making copies of its victim’s DNA, scientists didn’t even know this was possible.

The French team dubbed the virus’s virus Sputnik and called it a “virophage” to parallel “bacteriophage,” which is the name for a virus that infects bacteria. Sputnik is tiny, with only 18,000 genetic bases in its chromosome. Its victim, by contrast, is a large mamavirus that the scientists found in a Paris cooling tower, and contains about 1.2 million genetic bases. An infection by Sputnik sickens the mamavirus by interfering with its replication.

The discovery that even viruses can fall ill has reignited an old controversy—whether viruses are are actually alive or simply rogue bits of DNA that depend upon other organisms to reproduce. “There’s no doubt this is a living organism,” says Jean-Michel Claverie, a virologist at the the CNRS UPR laboratories in Marseilles, part of France’s basic-research agency. “The fact that it can get sick makes it more alive”.

And now that they know viruses can infect other viruses, the researchers say it could be possible to use virophages against the most harmful viruses, although they’re cautious about the idea. “It’s too early to say we could use Sputnik as a weapon against big viruses or to modify them,” says co-author Bernard La Scola, also at the University of the Mediterranean. “But phages are used to modify bacteria, so why not?”.

Source:  discovermagazine.com

Brain’s neural firing patterns explained

neural noise

neural noise

Researchers at the University of Rochester may have answered one of neuroscience’s most vexing questions—how can it be that our neurons, which are responsible for our crystal-clear thoughts, seem to fire in utterly random ways?

 In the November issue of Nature Neuroscience, the Rochester study shows that the brain’s cortex uses seemingly chaotic, or “noisy,” signals to represent the ambiguities of the real world—and that this noise dramatically enhances the brain’s processing, enabling us to make decisions in an uncertain world.

“You’d think this is crazy because engineers are always fighting to reduce the noise in their circuits, and yet here’s the best computing machine in the universe—and it looks utterly random,” says Alex Pouget, associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester.

Pouget’s work for the first time connects two of the brain’s biggest mysteries; why it’s so noisy, and how it can perform such complex calculations. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the noise seems integral to making those calculations possible.

In the last decade, Pouget and his colleagues in the University of Rochester’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences have blazed a new path to understanding our gray matter. The traditional approach has assumed the brain uses the same method computation in general had used up until the mid-80s: You see an image and you relate that image to one stored in your head. But the reality of the cranial world seems to be a confusing array of possibilities and probabilities, all of which are somehow, mysteriously, properly calculated.

The science of drawing answers from such a variety of probabilities is called Bayesian computing, after minister Thomas Bayes who founded the unusual branch of math 150 years ago. Pouget says that when we seem to be struck by an idea from out of the blue, our brain has actually just resolved many probabilities its been fervently calculating.

“We’ve known for several years that at the behavioral level, we’re ‘Bayes optimal,’ meaning we are excellent at taking various bits of probability information, weighing their relative worth, and coming to a good conclusion quickly,” says Pouget. “But we’ve always been at a loss to explain how our brains are able to conduct such complex Bayesian computations so easily.”

Two years ago, while talking with a physics friend, some probabilities in Pouget’s own head suddenly resolved.

 “One day I had a drink with some machine-learning researchers, and we suddenly said, ‘Oh, it’s not noise,’ because noise implies something’s wrong,” says Pouget. “We started to realize then that what looked like noise may actually be the brain’s way of running at optimal performance.”

Bayesian computing can be done most efficiently when data is formatted in what’s called “Poisson distribution.”

And the neural noise, Pouget noticed, looked suspiciously like this optimal distribution.

This idea set Pouget and his team into investigating whether our neurons’ noise really fits this Poisson distribution, and in his current Nature Neuroscience paper he found that it fit extremely well.

“The cortex appears wired at its foundation to run Bayesian computations as efficiently as can be possible,” says Pouget. His paper says the uncertainty of the real world is represented by this noise, and the noise itself is in a format that reduces the resources needed to compute it. Anyone familiar with log tables and slide rules knows that while multiplying large numbers is difficult, adding them with log tables is relatively undemanding.

The brain is apparently designed in a similar manner—”coding” the possibilities it encounters into a format that makes it tremendously easier to compute an answer.

Pouget now prefers to call the noise “variability.” Our neurons are responding to the light, sounds, and other sensory information from the world around us. But if we want to do something, such as jump over a stream, we need to extract data that is not inherently part of that information. We need to process all the variables we see, including how wide the stream appears, what the consequences of falling in might be, and how far we know we can jump. Each neuron responds to a particular variable and the brain will decide on a conclusion about the whole set of variables using Bayesian inference.

As you reach your decision, you’d have a lot of trouble articulating most of the variables your brain just processed for you. Similarly, intuition may be less a burst of insight than a rough consensus among your neurons.

Pouget and his team are now expanding their findings across the entire cortex, because every part of our highly developed cortex displays a similar underlying Bayes-optimal structure.

“If the structure is the same, that means there must be something fundamentally similar among vision, movement, reasoning, loving—anything that takes place in the human cortex,” says Pouget. “The way you learn language must be essentially the same as the way a doctor reasons out a diagnosis, and right now our lab is pushing hard to find out exactly how that noise makes all these different aspects of being human possible.”

Pouget’s work still has its skeptics, but this, his fourth paper in Nature Neuroscience on the topic, is starting to win converts.

“If you ask me, this is the coming revolution,” says Pouget. “It hit machine learning and cognitive science, and I think it’s just hitting neuroscience. In 10 or 20 years, I think the way everybody thinks about the brain is going to be in these terms.”

Not all of Pouget’s neurons are in agreement, however.

“…but I’ve been wrong before,” he shrugs.

 

Source:  phys.org

Coffee protein mimics effects of morphine

coffee that mimics effects of morphine

coffee that mimics effects of morphine

Brazilian scientists have discovered a protein in coffee that has effects similar to pain reliever morphine, researchers at the state University of Brasilia (UnB) and state-owned Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation Embrapa said Saturday.

Embrapa said its genetics and biotech division, teaming up with UnB scientists, had discovered “previously unknown protein fragments” with morphine-like effects in that they possess “analgesic and mildly tranquilizing” qualities.

The company added tests on laboratory mice showed that the opioid peptides, which are naturally occurring biological molecules, appeared to have a longer-lasting effect on the mice than morphine itself.

Embrapa said the discovery has “biotechnological potential” for the health foods industry and could also help to alleviate stress in animals bound for the slaughterhouse.

In 2004, Embrapa managed to sequence coffee’s functional genome, a major step towards efforts by the firm and UnB to combine coffee genes with a view to improving grain quality.

Imaging test for autism spectrum disorder

autism spectrum disorder

autism spectrum disorder

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have developed a brain-imaging technique that may be able to identify children with autism spectrum disorder in just two minutes.

This test, while far from being used as the clinical standard of care, offers promising diagnostic potential once it undergoes more research and evaluation.

“Our brains have a perspective-tracking response that monitors, for example, whether it’s your turn or my turn,” said Read Montague, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute professor who led the study.

“This response is removed from our emotional input, so it makes a great quantitative marker,” he said. “We can use it to measure differences between people with and without autism spectrum disorder.”

The finding, expected to be published online next week in Clinical Psychological Science, demonstrates that the perspective-tracking response can be used to determine whether someone has autism spectrum disorder.

Usually, diagnosis – an unquantifiable process based on clinical judgment – is time consuming and trying on children and their families. That may change with this new diagnostic test.

The path to this discovery has been a long, iterative one. In a 2006 study by Montague and others, pairs of subjects had their brains scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, as they played a game requiring them to take turns.

From those images, researchers found that the middle cingulate cortex became more active when it was the subject’s turn.

“A response in that part of the brain is not an emotional response, and we found that intriguing,” said Montague, who also directs the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and is a professor of physics at Virginia Tech. “We realized the middle cingulate cortex is responsible for distinguishing between self and others, and that’s how it was able to keep track of whose turn it was.”

That realization led the scientists to investigate how the middle cingulate cortex response differs in individuals at different developmental levels. In a 2008 study, Montague and his colleagues asked athletes to watch a brief clip of a physical action, such as kicking a ball or dancing, while undergoing functional MRI.

The athletes were then asked either to replay the clips in their mind, like watching a movie, or to imagine themselves as participants in the clips.

“The athletes had the same responses as the game participants from our earlier study,” Montague said. “The middle cingulate cortex was active when they imagined themselves dancing – in other words, when they needed to recognize themselves in the action.”

In the 2008 study, the researchers also found that in subjects with autism spectrum disorder, the more subdued the response, the more severe the symptoms.

Montague and his team hypothesized that a clear biomarker for self-perspective exists and that they could track it using functional MRI. They also speculated that the biomarker could be used as a tool in the clinical diagnosis of people with autism spectrum disorder.

In 2012, the scientists designed another study to see whether they could elicit a brain response to help them compute the unquantifiable. And they could: By presenting self-images while scanning the brains of adults, they elicited the self-perspective response they had previously observed in social interaction games.

In the current study, with children, subjects were shown 15 images of themselves and 15 images of a child matched for age and gender for four seconds per image in a random order.

Like the control adults, the control children had a high response in the middle cingulate cortex when viewing their own pictures. In contrast, children with autism spectrum disorder had a significantly diminished response.

Importantly, Montague’s team could detect this difference in individuals using only a single image.

Montague and his group realized they had developed a single-stimulus functional MRI diagnostic technique. The single-stimulus part is important, Montague points out, as it enables speed. Children with autism spectrum disorder cannot stay in the scanner for long, so the test must be quick.

“We went from a slow, average depiction of brain activity in a cognitive challenge to a quick test that is significantly easier for children to do than spend hours under observation,” Montague said. “The single-stimulus functional MRI could also open the door to developing MRI-based applications for screening of other cognitive disorders.”

By mapping psychological differences through brain scans, scientists are adding a critical component to the typical process of neuropsychiatric diagnosis – math.

Montague has been a pioneering figure in this field, which he coined computational psychiatry. The idea is that scientists can link the function of mental disorders to the disrupted mechanisms of neural tissue through mathematical approaches. Doctors then can use measurable data for earlier diagnosis and treatment.

An earlier diagnosis can also have a tremendous impact on the children and their families, Montague said.

“The younger children are at the time of diagnosis,” Montague said, “the more they can benefit from a range of therapies that can transform their lives.”

Fungus Super food “The Mushroom Of Immortality”

“The Mushroom Of Immortality”

“The Mushroom Of Immortality”

Chaga is a non-toxic fungal parasite that grows on birch trees (as well as a few other types) in Northern climates. It is far from your typical soft and squishy mushroom, it actually looks and feels like burnt wood or charcoal. Chaga is known by the Siberians as the “Gift From God” and the “Mushroom of Immortality.” The Japanese call it “The Diamond of the Forest,” and the Chinese refer to it as the “King of Plants.” The Chinese also regard it as an amazing factor inachieving longevity. Chaga does grow in North America, but most Americans have no clue of its existence, let alone amazing healing properties, which will be listed below.

This mushroom of immortality is said to have the highest level of anti-oxidants of any food in the world and also, the highest level of superoxide dismutase (one of the body’s primary internal anti-oxidant defenses) that can be detected in any food or herb. The active constituents of Chaga are a combination of: amino acids, beta glucans, betulinic acid, calcium, chloride, copper, dietary fiber, enzymes, flavonoids, germanium, iron, lanosterol, manganese, magnesium, melanin, pantothenic acid, phenols, phosphorus, polysaccharides, potassium, saponins, selenium, sodium, sterols, trametenolic acid, tripeptides, triterpenes, triterpenoids, vannillic acid, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, Vitamin D2, Vitamin K and zinc. Phew.

Chaga is extremely powerful because it contains within it, the actual life force of trees -the most powerful living beings on this Earth. Trees can live for as long as 10,000 years with some even surpassing that. Chaga concentrates this power, and we can harvest it as well. One of the most important properties of Chaga is betulinic acid, however, in order for chaga to be beneficial, it has to be harvested from birch trees only. Birch trees are the only trees that contain this amazing compound. Betulinic acid has a wide range of biological effects including potent antitumor activity.
Some Other Medicinal Properties Of The Chaga Mushroom Include:

  • Anti-HIV – a study published in The Pharmological Potential Of Mushrooms demonstrated chaga’s potential to lessen symptoms of HIV.
  • Antibacterial – Chaga kills or inhibits growth or replication by suppressing or destroying the reproduction of bacteria.
  • Anti-Inflammatory – Chaga is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, which makes it excellent for conditions such as arthritis.
  • Anti-Candida – Because chaga promotes and protects the liver, candida toxins are processed efficiently.
  • Adaptogen – Chaga is an Adaptogen. Its compounds can increase the body’s capability of adapting to stress, fatigue and anxiety. (Something most Americans can definitely benefit from.)
  • Many other potential benefits include the treatment of asthma, hair loss, allergies, boosting the immune system, diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, psoriasis, anti-aging and literally hundreds of others.

How To Prepare Wild Chaga Mushroom Tea

Chaga mushrooms grow wild in forests in Northern climates on birch trees. If you are lucky enough to find one, you’ll want to harvest it, as chaga can be quite expensive to purchase. DO NOT cut into the tree to retrieve the chaga, doing so could kill the tree. If retrieved correctly the chaga will continue to grow and will be ready to harvest every four years or so, and the tree will continue to thrive.

***It is important to properly identify the chaga mushroom before consumption. To ensure you are getting the correct fungus, make sure that you are harvesting from birch trees only. Chaga has a similar texture to wood and looks a lot like burnt wood or charcoal, inside it should be a golden orangy color. Be sure to look it up before consuming if you are unsure just to be safe!***

To make the tea, cut a few small pieces off the chaga and place it in a pot. Pour in about 2 liters of filtered water and cover with a lid. Bring the pot to a boil for a minute or so, then reduce the heat to a simmer and keep the lid off. Let this simmer for about an hour and then add in another liter of water and continue to simmer with the lid on for another hour. This will make approximately 1 liter of chaga mushroom tea. It is a time consuming process, but I think that the amazing benefits justify the process, plus it tastes great! It tastes like a nice vanilla flavored black tea. You can add honey or sweetener if you wish, but I think it tastes surprisingly delicious on its own.