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Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DOCTOR: Going To Gym DAILY Won't Erase Potentially Deadly Effects Of Sitting All Day... - Sitting the New Smoking? -

DOCTOR: Going To Gym DAILY Won't Erase Potentially Deadly Effects Of Sitting All Day... - Sitting the New Smoking? - 



The average worker spends over five hours and 40 minutes sitting at their job every day and a new study says it’s bad for your health, with some claiming the long-term effects of sitting can be as bad as smoking.
Dr. Michael Jensen, from the Mayo Clinic, joined KDKA Radio’s Larry Richert and John Shumway to talk about a study he and his colleagues conducted.
To find out whether the test subjects in the study were sitting or not, Dr. Jensen says one of his colleagues, Dr. James Levine, invented underwear that can “tell whether you’re sitting, standing, or lying down essentially every half second of the day.”
With the data they gathered and studied, they came to the conclusion that people need to move around more. Dr. Jensen says they found, “that people who are overweight tend to spend a lot more time sitting then people who have not gained weight.”
Dr. Jensen says that a trip to the gym for 30 minutes or an hour may not be enough to combat all the time spent sitting.
“It’s not going to prevent risk for disease and weight gain if that’s all you do is go to the gym for 30 minutes or an hour and spend all of the rest of your day sitting.”
According to Dr. Jensen, “sitting is independently associated with greater risk of dying of heart disease [and] diabetes, even when you try to account for exercise.”
What is the solution to this? Dr. Jensen and his colleagues say that standing at work at least part of the time has positive health benefits.
The doctor admits, “that there certainly are people that have trouble with their legs, and it’s not going to be practical for them to be standing up a lot.” But he adds, “thankfully, most people can spend more time standing and not suffer from it.”
There are studies that claim prolonged sitting is responsible for 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer in the United States. Those are startling numbers, but Dr. Jensen says you should take some of those studies, “with a grain of salt.”
He says, “unlike the [study we] did where we objectively measured sitting, standing and walking, many of [the other studies] are self-report.”
A self-report relies a lot of the test subjects own reports.
He adds that the information gathered in a self-report, “tends to be bias and [the subject] may overlook a number of things that go into [the cause]. For example, people who sit a lot may have a number of other unhealthy lifestyles that [makes] it impossible to take account for.”
The bottom line is that less time spent sitting at work may help you reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Read more -
http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/04/22/is-sitting-for-long-hours-at-work-the-new-smoking/

What Google Autocomplete Tells Us About America

What Google Autocomplete Tells Us About America - 



“Why does Obama suck?”

If you’re not sure, ask Google. It seems that millions of Americans already have asked this question, along with:

“Why does the government want to kill us?”, and

“Can the government take your gold?”

These are among the jewels of Google autocomplete– instantly displaying results from the most popular searches.

Try it yourself. The results vary slightly based on geography, but if you type, for example, “Obama is “, I get the following:

obama is Check out what Google autocomplete tells us about America

Not exactly the hope and change he was looking for I suppose.

(Canadians and Brits, don’t feel left out. Google tells us that Stephen Harper is “the anti-christ” and David Cameron is “a lizard”.)

While I’m sure we can all appreciate the humor, the reason these searches show up instantly in Google is because so many people are looking.

For example, when I type “Is America”, Google completes it with the most popular hit– “Is America doomed”…

is america Check out what Google autocomplete tells us about America

Typing in “Why does the government” conjures all sorts of interesting queries, ranging from:

- need to collect taxes?
- want to kill us?
- lie?
- restrict seditious speech?

Or, typing “Why does the Federal Reserve. . . “, Google asks, “still exist?” Good question.

On the topic of the dollar, Google tells us “the dollar is” collapsing, dead, crashing, dying, devalued, not backed by gold, losing value, etc.

The dollar is Check out what Google autocomplete tells us about America

Apparently more and more people are starting to question the value and worth of their currency.

They’re starting to have second thoughts about a system in which we award a tiny banking elite with totalitarian control of the money supply.

And they’re starting to realize that that their government is corrupt, far too powerful, and overrun with liars and thieves.

In fact, for proof, I typed “does homeland s”, and Google completes with:

“Does Homeland Security pay well?” – and -
“Does Homeland Security hire felons?”

does homeland s Check out what Google autocomplete tells us about America

So it seems that convicted felons are looking for highly paid government employment. Perfect.

This is rather fitting given that typing “Will Ob” (not even the full word) returns “Will Obama declare martial law?”

Will Ob Check out what Google autocomplete tells us about America

People are certainly wondering.

Getting to this point of mistrust has taken years of endless warfare. The embarrassing failures of Obamacare. NSA and IRS scandals. Constant stories of police brutality. Higher taxes. Higher consumer prices.

It didn’t happen overnight. But over time, people have lost confidence not only in individual politicians, but in the system itself.

The institution of government is now viewed as the problem, not the solution. And this represents a complete breakdown in the social contract.

From the Romans to the Ottoman Empire to the Venetians, history is full of examples which show that once societies lose confidence in the system, substantial change and turmoil often follows.

I suspect that if Google had been around in the mid-1780s, autocomplete would probably tell us things like “Why does the King Louis” suck? And, “Will France” collapse?

It did. And when the French stormed the Bastille in 1789, they entered a 26-year period of revolution, civil war, hyperinflation, and genocide.

I’m not suggesting that we’re in for exactly the same fate. But we would be foolish to presume that this lost confidence and mistrust is a consequence-free environment.

Read more - 
http://www.sovereignman.com/trends/check-out-what-google-autocomplete-tells-us-about-america-14243/

Spy device live-Tweets private conversations... - Conversnitch -

Spy device live-Tweets private conversations... - Conversnitch - 



A tiny new spy device aims to automatically transcribe and Tweet overheard conversations. It's called Conversnitch.

Brian House and Kyle McDonald are behind the eavesdropping device.

They say it bridges the gap between (presumed) private physical space and public space online.

One of the creators, Kyle McDonald, released a video of the device being connected to a table lamp at a bank, in a hanging lamp at a McDonald's, in a library light, and even a street lamp in a New York City park.

The device needs to have continuous access to an Internet-connected wireless network to work. It continually records 10 second samples, analyzes for interesting audio and uploads a transcribed version of it.

Their Twitter feed shows conversations they say have been captured by their device.

They say, "Information moves between spaces that might be physical or virtual, free or proprietary, illegal or playful, spoken or transcribed" is all game for their device.
McDonald told Wired that Conversnitch is just a taste of the real privacy threats facing Americans in an age of the sweeping NSA surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden.

The creators have released the documentation on how to build the device on the software development site GitHub and say the plans are completely free to use for any purpose.

Read more: - 
http://www.myfoxny.com/story/25320323/s-device-live-tweets-private-conversations

Airport installs restroom for dogs... - complete with real grass and miniature fire hydrants -

Airport installs restroom for dogs... - complete with real grass and miniature fire hydrants - 



Detroit Airport introduced a new service dog relief area complete with real grass and miniature fire hydrants.
The facility, being called "Central Bark" by airport employees, features two boxes of grass--one artificial and one with real grass--and tiny fire hydrants for a doggie target, of sorts.
After the doggies are done doing their business, owners can push a button that releases a shower of water to clean the patches. Owners are responsible for picking up solid wastes, though.
Before the new facilities were installed, owners of service dogs had to take their helpers outside the terminal, an inconvenience at best and a security bother at worst.
"When you can't get outside, when you don't have enough time to go through TSA coming back through, it's a wonderful convenience for our dogs," said Deb Davis of Paws with a Cause, who attended the "ribbon biting" ceremony.
"Now it's so much more of a convenience and so much healthier for our pets to travel comfortably," she continued
The dual grass patches were a project of Delta Airlines in conjunction with airport officials.

Read more - 
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/04/22/Detroit-Airport-Gives-Services-Dogs-Own-Bathroom

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DIRTY MONEY - Scientists find 3,000 types of bacteria living on cash -

DIRTY MONEY - Scientists find 3,000 types of bacteria living on cash - 



Talk about dirty money: Scientists are discovering a surprising number of microbes living on cash.

In the first comprehensive study of the DNA on dollar bills, researchers at New York University's Dirty Money Project found that currency is a medium of exchange for hundreds of different kinds of bacteria as bank notes pass from hand to hand.

By analyzing genetic material on $1 bills, the NYU researchers identified 3,000 types of bacteria in all—many times more than in previous studies that examined samples under a microscope. Even so, they could identify only about 20 percent of the non-human DNA they found because so many microorganisms haven't yet been cataloged in genetic data banks.

Easily the most abundant species they found is one that causes acne. Others were linked to gastric ulcers, pneumonia, food poisoning and staph infections, the scientists said. Some carried genes responsible for antibiotic resistance.

"It was quite amazing to us," said Jane Carlton, director of genome sequencing at NYU's Center for Genomics and Systems Biology where the university-funded work was performed. "We actually found that microbes grow on money."

Their unpublished research offers a glimpse into the international problem of dirty money. From rupees to euros, paper money is one of the most frequently passed items in the world. Hygienists have long worried that it could become a source of contagion.

"A body-temperature wallet is a petri dish," said Philippe Etienne, managing director of Innovia Security Pty Ltd., which makes special bank-note paper for 23 countries.

Central banks and state treasurys usually worry more about counterfeiting and durability than microbiology, several currency experts said. With nearly 150 billion new bank notes circulated every year around the world, governments spend nearly $10 billion annually to provide people with notes that are fit to hold.

A U.S. one-dollar bill, printed on a cotton-linen blend, lasts little more than 21 months. In all, the U.S. Federal Reserve System is spending $826.7 million on new money this year to make 7.8 billion bank notes with a total face value of $297.1 billion.

Read more -
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/04/21/researchers-find-thousands-bacteria-living-on-dollar-bills/

Monday, April 21, 2014

Composing Only 5% of the World Population, Americans Take 50% of All Pharmaceutical Drugs -

Composing Only 5% of the World Population, Americans Take 50% of All Pharmaceutical Drugs - 



While Americans comprise only 5 percent of the world population, we consume an incredible 50 percent of Big Pharma’s drugs, as explained in Jeff Hays’ documentary film, Doctored. Make no mistake. These drugs are meant to keep us imprisoned in poor health, not heal us. It’s time to kick the drug habit America. Tell the drug pushers – Merck, Pfizer, Novartis, Roche, GlaxoSmith Kline, Abbott, Astra-Zeneca, Amgen, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Sanofi (along with the FDA and CDC) that you are going cold turkey, and learn what true health really means.
Sadly, Americans are more familiar with names like Abilify, Nexium, Humira, Plavix, Crestor, Advair Diskus, Enbrel, and Cymbalta, the top selling drugs of Big Pharma, than  names like Aloe barbadensis, Curcuma longa, Allium sativum, Moringa oleifera, Vitis vinifera L, all indigenous plants that have healed millions around the world.
You’ve likely heard the phrase before – just a dozen huge corporations are keeping Americans popping pills while they rake in billions, but have you really thought of what these numbers translate into, in terms of real health?
Annual sales for just one drug, Humira, was $9.3 billion. That puts Abott squarely at the top of the list as one of the most successful drug companies of all time.
One drug. One year. $9.3 billion.
This particular drug is meant to inhibit cancerous tumor growth, but there are dozens of natural remedies for the same purpose. Consider: turmeric, papaya leaf, grape seed extract, ginger, cannabis, and a host of other inexpensive plants can treat cancer. Here are 4 cancer fighting foods. Cost – around $3 per day per item.
Or the ‘what if’ scenarios:
Getting out in nature heals tremendously. What if that $9.3 billion were used to create more green spaces, to keep more natural forests, and to install community good health gardens in every city?
What if that $9.3 billion were used to clean up the environmental messes from fracking, oil drilling, oil spills, mining, nuclear meltdowns, chemtrails, pesticide and herbicide spraying, chemical dumping, and more, that cause cancer to begin with?
What if we hired comedians to visit patients with cancer, using the proven technique of laughter therapy to treat many diseases, cancer among them?
Our money and our health is wasted on these companies, but we have to unplug from the drugs. We are overworked, under-nourished, over-fed, and lied to. You don’t need another pill. What really needs to pop is the illusory bubble that Big Pharma is the answer.

Read more - 
http://naturalsociety.com/composing-5-percent-world-population-americans-take-50-percent-pharmaceutical-drugs/

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Social Media Causing A ‘Distancing Phenomena’ To Take Place -

Social Media Causing A ‘Distancing Phenomena’ To Take Place - 



With over 73 percent of online adults now using a social networking site, social media has dramatically impacted the world in both positive and negative ways. It has left many people to wonder how and if social media can mentally affect people.
Lemoyne College professor of psychology Krystine Batcho believes that social media has made changes for the better and also not so great for society.
“Overall we’ve benefited greatly from social media as a society,” Batcho said. “But I think there are a lot of fears of what’s happening that we’ve made interactions with other people too impersonal and a distancing phenomena is taking place.”
Batcho explained that what a person does in cyberspace is quite different than what someone can do face-to-face in an actual conversation.

“Cyber-bullying is a great example of how social media communication differs from face-to-face,” Batcho, who has been a licensed psychologist in New York state for over 30 years, stated. “Studies suggest that it takes place in a more extreme way over social media because the authors feel no responsibility.”
In recent years, there have been several instances where teens and adults have committed suicide because of being bullied over social media by their peers, Batcho added.
“They probably wouldn’t engage in bullying activity if they were face- to-face because of the consequences if they were caught in person by authority figures,” she said. “There’s a lot of ambiguity with social media, especially with the next generation developing social media skills.”
In addition to cyber-bullying via social media, Batcho noted that social media usage by teens and younger kids sparks a greater fear for some in society.
“The greater fear of what’s perhaps taking place is that kids are not learning how to behave in a face-to-face conversation,” Batcho explained. “What could be happening in cyberspace may not translate to real life. What you do you in cyberspace is quite different than what you do face-to-face and kids may be losing those important social skills.”
Michael S. Broder, Ph.D., who is a renowned psychologist and bestselling author, agrees with Batcho.
“I think that with kids, it’s a lot easier to communicate certain things online than it is to in person,” Broder said. “Easier, I mean kids who have a problem relating socially have found a way to avoid learning those skills and I don’t think that’s a good thing at all.”
Broder, who is the author of Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential, added that using social media can have numerous negative outcomes that can affect a person’s mental health.
“The bullying, the things that happen that have unintended consequences, sexting in conversations over social media, and sending nude pictures around, are all things that are permanent once online,” Broder explained. “It’s sent all over the place and these are things that can haunt you 20 to 30 years later. That’s the downside of it and I don’t think there has to be regulations, but parental supervision. Kids don’t seem to think long term when they do those kinds of things.”
Broder, an expert in cognitive behavioral therapy, shared that he has seen several situations where social media has mentally affected people, including some of his adult patients.
“I’ve certainly seen situations where people have had adverse effects when things that they posted and thought that they were going to be seen by just their community of friends, somehow winds up getting more main stream than that it,” Broder said. “It can happen easily and I’ve seen people have real regrets about it.
“I had somebody tell me once in a session, that they really thought Facebook was a good thing, but she thinks they should outlaw it because it cost her her reputation at work,” he added.
According to a Pew Research study, 63 percent of Facebook users visit the site at least once a day with 40 percent doing so multiple times throughout the day. The study also found that roughly 71 percent of online adults are Facebook users as of December 2013.
Batcho feels that there’s no doubt social media, including sites like Facebook, can mentally affect some people.
“There’s no doubt that when social media is used in place of real connections, that it can mentally cause a number of things to happen to them,” she stated. “Many people are talking about an addiction to social media and that people have become dependent on it. It has brought on anxiety and has made some people feel nervous or worried when they can’t access it.”
She added that when people start to view social media relationships in place of or better than real life experiences it could be used as an escape from reality.
“The greater the social media use over time, the life satisfaction decreases,” Batcho asserted. “I think why we have conflicting evidence at the moment is because we have to analyze the dynamics taking place. So for one person, social media could be very beneficial, but for another it could have a very negative impact on them. You have to think about what is motivating the internet experiences people are having in the first place to predict whether they will benefit or not on the relationship.”
Batcho explained that psychologically, real-life interactions and social media interactions do not meet the same needs when compared.
“Real life interactions add a whole extra layer to how people benefit with relationships for other people than cyber ones,” Batcho said.
Both Batcho and Broder agree that social media has more positive benefits for society than negatives citing how news is communicated globally through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and also that people can connect with others across the globe.
“Social media has allowed us to reach far beyond the ordinary fear,” Batcho said. “You can suddenly make social connections with people all over the world, people who share different world views, religions, values, and politics. I think the benefits trump the dangers or risks.”

Read more - 
http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/04/16/psychologist-social-media-causing-a-distancing-phenomena-to-take-place/

When ‘Liking’ a Brand Online Voids the Right to Sue -

When ‘Liking’ a Brand Online Voids the Right to Sue - 



Might downloading a 50-cent coupon for Cheerios cost you legal rights?

General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, “join” it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways.

Instead, anyone who has received anything that could be construed as a benefit and who then has a dispute with the company over its products will have to use informal negotiation via email or go through arbitration to seek relief, according to the new terms posted on its site.

In language added on Tuesday after The New York Times contacted it about the changes, General Mills seemed to go even further, suggesting that buying its products would bind consumers to those terms.

“We’ve updated our privacy policy,” the company wrote in a thin, gray bar across the top of its home page. “Please note we also have new legal terms which require all disputes related to the purchase or use of any General Mills product or service to be resolved through binding arbitration.”

The change in legal terms, which occurred shortly after a judge refused to dismiss a case brought against the company by consumers in California, made General Mills one of the first, if not the first, major food companies to seek to impose what legal experts call “forced arbitration” on consumers.

“Although this is the first case I’ve seen of a food company moving in this direction, others will follow — why wouldn’t you?” said Julia Duncan, director of federal programs and an arbitration expert at the American Association for Justice, a trade group representing plaintiff trial lawyers. “It’s essentially trying to protect the company from all accountability, even when it lies, or say, an employee deliberately adds broken glass to a product.”

General Mills declined to make anyone available for an interview about the changes. “While it rarely happens, arbitration is an efficient way to resolve disputes — and many companies take a similar approach,” the company said in a statement. “We even cover the cost of arbitration in most cases. So this is just a policy update, and we’ve tried to communicate it in a clear and visible way.”

A growing number of companies have adopted similar policies over the years, especially after a 2011 Supreme Court decision, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, that paved the way for businesses to bar consumers claiming fraud from joining together in a single arbitration. The decision allowed companies to forbid class-action lawsuits with the use of a standard-form contract requiring that disputes be resolved through the informal mechanism of one-on-one arbitration.

Credit card and mobile phone companies have included such limitations on consumers in their contracts, and in 2008, the magazine Mother Jones published an article about a Whataburger fast-food restaurant that hung a sign on its door warning customers that simply by entering the premises, they agreed to settle disputes through arbitration.

Companies have continued to push for expanded protection against litigation, but legal experts said that a food company trying to limit its customers’ ability to litigate against it raised the stakes in a new way.

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What if a child allergic to peanuts ate a product that contained trace amounts of nuts but mistakenly did not include that information on its packaging? Food recalls for mislabeling, including failures to identify nuts in products, are not uncommon.

“When you’re talking about food, you’re also talking about things that can kill people,” said Scott L. Nelson, a lawyer at Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group. “There is a huge difference in the stakes, between the benefit you’re getting from this supposed contract you’re entering into by, say, using the company’s website to download a coupon, and the rights they’re saying you’re giving up. That makes this agreement a lot broader than others out there.”

Big food companies are concerned about the growing number of consumers filing class-action lawsuits against them over labeling, ingredients and claims of health threats. Almost every major gathering of industry executives has at least one session on fighting litigation.

Last year, General Mills paid $8.5 million to settle lawsuits over positive health claims made on the packaging of its Yoplait Yoplus yogurt, saying it did not agree with the plaintiff’s accusations but wanted to end the litigation. In December 2012, it agreed to settle another suit by taking the word “strawberry” off the packaging label for Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups, which did not contain strawberries.

General Mills amended its legal terms after a judge in California on March 26 ruled against its motion to dismiss a case brought by two mothers who contended that the company deceptively marketed its Nature Valley products as “natural” when they contained processed and genetically engineered ingredients.

“The front of the Nature Valley products’ packaging prominently displays the term ‘100% Natural’ that could lead a reasonable consumer to believe the products contain only natural ingredients,” wrote the district judge, William H. Orrick.

He wrote that the packaging claim “appears to be false” because the products contain processed ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin.

Arbitration experts said courts would probably require General Mills to prove that a customer was aware of its new policy before issuing decisions denying legal action against the company.

The policy is so broadly written, lawyers say, that it is likely to raise interesting legal questions.

For instance, on Tuesday an order was placed through the company’s online store for a Cheerios bowl, before General Mills posted the notice about the change to its legal terms on its home page.

At no point did the order system suggest changes had been made to the legal terms governing the buyer. It offered a link to the company’s privacy policy, and two opt-out boxes for receiving promotional materials through email.

Whether a court would rule that, under the new policy, the buyer of the bowl could not sue General Mills was unclear, since the General Mills home page now included a message about the changes it had made to its legal terms.

“A transaction has taken place that, according to General Mills, includes an agreement to submit to informal negotiation or arbitration in the event of a dispute,” Mr. Nelson said.

He said he did not think a court would agree to enforce the policy if a consumer merely visited a General Mills website, “but we really don’t know.”

“You can bet,” he said, “there will be some subpoenas for computer hard drives in the future.”

Read more - 
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/17/business/when-liking-a-brand-online-voids-the-right-to-sue.html?hp&_r=1

Friday, April 11, 2014

REPORT: More women turn to small dogs instead of childbirth... -

REPORT: More women turn to small dogs instead of childbirth... - 



America’s next generation of youngsters should be called “Generation Rex.”
If you’re wondering why playgrounds around the city are so quiet and dog runs are packed, a new report has an answer: More and more US women are forgoing motherhood and getting their maternal kicks by owning handbag-size canines.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that a big drop in the number of babies born to women ages 15 to 29 corresponds with a huge increase in the number of tiny pooches owned by young US women, reports the business-news site Quartz.
Dog-crazy New York ladies told The Post that they aren’t surprised by the findings — and that they happily gave up diaper changes, temper tantrums and college funds for the easy affection of their doggy “child.”

“I’d rather have a dog over a kid,” declared Sara Foster, 30, a Chelsea equities trader who says her French bulldog, Maddie, brings her more joy than a child.
“It’s just less work and, honestly, I have more time to go out. You . . . don’t have to get a baby sitter.”
The federal data behind the report show that over the past seven years, the number of live births per 1,000 women between ages 15 and 29 in America has plunged 9 percent.
At the same time, research by the American Pet Products Association shows the number of small dogs — under 25 pounds — in the United States has skyrocketed, from 34. 1 million in 2008 to 40.8 million in 2012.

“Women are not only having fewer children but are also getting married later. There are more single and unmarried women in their late 20s and early 30s, which also happens to be the demographic that buys the most small dogs,” market researcher Damian Shore told Quartz.
Asked if he thought the drop in baby births and the rise in puppy ownership was a coincidence or if women these days were really making dogs their little bundles of joy, Shore said, “There’s definitely some replacement happening there.”
Dog lovers interviewed by The Post said the trend has long been going on in the city, where single women with pocket pooches have been a standard for years.
Mary Smith, 25, of Murray Hill, said her 6-month-old French bulldog, Toliver, brings her as much joy as a baby would.
“Dogs are better! Look at Toliver! He’s great, except he snores a lot. He even has his own Instagram,” Smith said during a walk with the pooch. “A dog is easier to transport than a child. It’s less final than having a child.”

Read more - 
http://nypost.com/2014/04/10/more-young-women-choosing-dogs-over-motherhood/

Thursday, April 10, 2014

In Medical First, Scientists Implant Lab-Grown Vaginas in Humans -

In Medical First, Scientists Implant Lab-Grown Vaginas in Humans - 



For the first time in history, scientists have successfully implanted lab-grown vaginal organs in human patients.

The organs, grown with the patients’ own tissue, were implanted between June 2005 and October 2008 in four teenage girls who each lacked or had an underdeveloped vagina and uterus, the result of a rare genetic condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome.

Years after the two-hour procedures, annual follow-up visits showed that the surgeries had been a success: The new organs functioned normally, including during sex, and their tissue was indistinguishable from the native tissue that had already been there.

The findings offer hope not only for those with MRKH syndrome, but also for those suffering from vaginal cancers or injuries.

“This pilot study is the first to demonstrate that vaginal organs can be constructed in the lab and used successfully in humans,” said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which took part in the procedures. “This may represent a new option for patients who require vaginal reconstructive surgeries. In addition, this study is one more example of how regenerative medicine strategies can be applied to a variety of tissues and organs.”

If ultimately approved by the FDA – a prospect that still remains years away – the operation may even become an option for men seeking a sex change.

The process was carried out by specialists from medical centers in both the U.S. and Mexico. First, doctors took a biopsy of each patient’s external genitals, extracting muscle and epithelial cells, or cells that line the body’s cavities.

They then sent the samples to a manufacturing facility, where the cells were expanded and placed on biodegradable material that was hand-sewn “into a vagina-like shape,” each “tailor-made” to fit each patient, a release on the findings said.

Previous research in Atala’s lab had shown that once these so-called "scaffolds" are implanted in the body, blood vessels and nerves form and cells expand to create tissue. The cells also build a “permanent support structure – gradually replacing the engineered scaffold with a new organ,” the release said.

Surgeons carried out this part of the procedure five or six weeks after the biopsies. At the HIMFG Tissue Engineering Laboratory in Mexico City, which has a partnership with the Wake Forest medical center, they carved a canal in the patients’ pelvises, then sutured the scaffolds to their reproductive structures.

It’s similar to the methods Atala and his team used to build replacement bladders for nine children starting in 1998, and implant lab-built urethras in young boys. And it worked. ​​​​​​​​​​

"They now have their own organ, made out of their own tissue, so the body did recognize it as being their own. In fact, the organ grew as the patients grew," Atala tells U.S. News. "We followed this very closely: did yearly X-rays, visualized them yearly with endoscopy, did biopsies, did sexual function questionnaires yearly, and they were still in the normal range eight years later."​

The procedure is still a long way from becoming common practice, and Atala's team declined to estimate its cost.

"Even if we were able to add up the cost of materials and researchers’ time, the costs to treat these first four patients wouldn’t correspond to what the treatment would cost if it is one day commercially available," they say in an emailed statement to U.S. News.

For the four women, though, and the doctors who performed the procedure, "It was very rewarding," Atala says. "With these conditions that they had, it's not just the anatomical defect, it's also the overall emotional well-being for them – for any patient – who has this type of challenge."

The new procedure he and his team used could offer some advantages over current treatments for MRHK, which call for dilating existing tissue or using reconstructive surgery to create completely new vaginal tissue, at times by using skin grafts of tissue that lines the abdominal cavity.

This method can be rife with problems: The so-called vaginal “substitutes” frequently lack a muscle layer, which can lead to a contracting or narrowing of the vagina. As many as 75 percent of pediatric patients suffer complications from the procedure, most often due to narrowing or contracting.

The new procedure has been in the works since the early 1990s, when Atala and his team first explored lab-built vaginas in rabbits and mice.

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http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/04/10/in-medical-first-scientists-implant-lab-grown-vaginas-in-human-patients