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Thu, 05 Aug 2021
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Blood-brain barrier leak could possibly cause poor memory

Blood Brain Barrier
© Getty Images
Research shows that leakage in the blood-brain barrier is associated with forgetfulness in aging.
Have you forgotten where you laid your keys? Ever wondered where you had parked your car? Or having trouble remembering the name of the new neighbor? Unfortunately, these things seem to get worse as one gets older. A big question for researchers is where does benign forgetfulness end and true disease begin?

One of the keys to having a healthy brain at any age is having a healthy blood-brain barrier, a complex interface of blood vessels that run through the brain. Researchers reviewed more than 150 articles to look at what happens to the blood-brain barrier as we age. Their findings were published March 15 in Nature Aging.

Whether the changes to the blood-brain barrier alters brain function is still up for debate. But research shows the blood-brain barrier leaks as we age, and we lose cells called pericytes.

"It turns out very little is known how the blood-brain barrier ages," said lead author William Banks, a gerontology researcher at the University of Washington School of Medicine and at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System. "It's often hard to tell normal aging from early disease."

The blood-brain barrier, discovered in the late 1800s, prevents the unregulated leakage of substances from blood into the brain. The brain is an especially sensitive organ and cannot tolerate direct exposure to many of the substances in the blood. Increasingly, scientists have realized that the blood-brain barrier also allows many substances into the brain in a regulated way to serve the nutritional needs of the brain. It also transports informational molecules from the blood to the brain and pumps toxins out of the brain. A malfunctioning blood-brain barrier can contribute to diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and Alzheimer's.

Before scientists can understand how such malfunctioning can contribute to the diseases of aging, they need to understand how a healthy blood-brain barrier normally ages.

Microscope 1

COVID prevention - an effective alternative to vaccines

Joel S. Hirschhorn
© WMU Cooley Law School/YouTube
Joel S. Hirschhorn
The massive global effort to promote COVID vaccines plays on fears of getting the disease, despite the fact that they are experimental. Meaning that they have not gone through the rigorous, time-consuming and expensive randomized clinical trials that so many experts say is the gold standard for evaluating drugs.

This absence was used by the government to condemn and block the use of drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

Vaccine testing and regulatory approval have been rushed. Missing from nearly all information reaching the public are some key facts.



How sperm 'remember' and pass on non-DNA-coded traits to embryos

© (Steve Gschmeissner/Science Photo Library/Getty Images)
Scanning electron micrograph of a sperm cell.
Studies in mammals have shown that the 'memories' of various environmental effects - such as diet, weight, and stress - are being passed on from dads to offspring, despite these states not being coded for in the DNA sequences carried by sperm. Now, we have a new explanation for how it's possible.

The story has much to do with epigenetics. Molecules that attach themselves to DNA can act like on-off switches that control which sections of DNA get used - but until now we haven't known which of these molecules can carry the settings marked by a father's life experiences, to be incorporated into an embryo via sperm.

"The big breakthrough with this study is that it has identified a non-DNA-based means by which sperm remember a father's environment (diet) and transmit that information to the embryo," said McGill University epigeneticist Sarah Kimmins.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's: MindMatters: Interview with Ken Pedersen: Quarks, DNA, Consciousness - It's All Information, Always Has Been


Why are we vaccinating children against covid-19?

child on swing
The acute focus in this writing is on the vaccination of children under 12 years of age with the Covid-19 vaccines as this raises very serious and urgent issues that must be confronted by societies in terms of possible unnecessary harms to our children. SARS-CoV-2 virus that leads to Covid-19 disease may be used interchangeably in this report. Why this focus? Because there is now a major effort to test the new mRNA-based vaccines against SARS CoV-2 virus in young children.

What is the rationale for this and what is the basis? Why would there be a push to vaccinate six-month-old babies? Vaccinate two-year-old infants? Vaccinate six-year-old children? Ten-year-old children? Via an experimental vaccine that delivers genetic code into your cells instructing it to produce a mock portion of the virus?

Before examining this issue directly, we wish to situate the illogicality and real concerns of vaccinating children within the devastating Covid-19 societal restrictions. We point out that lockdowns, school closures, and mask mandate policies have made no sense whatsoever (particularly the prolonged restrictions) and as a consequence of their implementation, societal devastation has occurred and is still occurring and the impact on children's health and well-being has yet to be examined in toto. The crushing harms are amplified and thus even more dramatic on women and the poorer members of society.

Comment: See also:


Microbiome-immunotherapy connection revealed in new study

© Weizmann Institute of Science
Digitally colored electron microscopy images of melanoma cells harboring bacteria.
Cancer immunotherapy may get a boost from an unexpected direction: bacteria residing within tumor cells. In a new study published in Nature, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science and their collaborators have discovered that the immune system "sees" these bacteria and shown they can be harnessed to provoke an immune reaction against the tumor. The study may also help clarify the connection between immunotherapy and the gut microbiome, explaining the findings of previous research that the microbiome affects the success of immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy treatments of the past decade or so have dramatically improved recovery rates from certain cancers, particularly malignant melanoma; but in melanoma, they still work in only about 40% of the cases. Prof. Yardena Samuels of Weizmann's Molecular Cell Biology Department studies molecular "signposts" — protein fragments, or peptides, on the cell surface — that mark cancer cells as foreign and may therefore serve as potential added targets for immunotherapy. In the new study, she and colleagues extended their search for new cancer signposts to those bacteria known to colonize tumors.

Comment: See also:


Collected evidence that lockdowns do more harm than good

covid lockdown
© Health Advisory & Recovery Team (HART)
The Health Advisory and Recovery Team (HART) is a group of highly qualified UK doctors, scientists, economists, psychologists and other academic experts, including sceptical stars whose pieces have been featured or flagged up in Lockdown Sceptics such as Dr John Lee, Dr Clare Craig, Dr Malcolm Kendrick, Joel Smalley, Prof David Livermore, Prof David Seedhouse, Prof David Paton and Dr Gary Sidley.

The team has now produced its most devastating piece of work to date. The new report, entitled "COVID-19: an overview of the evidence", was sent to MPs today to encourage them to vote against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act in the coming week. With over 50 pages of meticulously referenced evidence from specialists in their fields, it shows beyond doubt why the Government's response to the coronavirus outbreak has been ineffective and disastrous and a new approach is required.

Comment: The report's recommendations:
  1. Reinstate the existing pandemic planning policies from 2019, pending a detailed review of the policies adopted in 2020. Look to countries and states which did things differently. There should be a clear commitment from the Government that we will never again lockdown.
  2. Stop mass testing healthy people. Return to the principles of respiratory disease diagnosis (the requirement of symptoms) that were well researched and accepted before 2020. Manufacturers' guidelines state that these tests are designed to assist the diagnosis of symptomatic patients, not to 'find' disease in otherwise healthy people.
  3. Stop all mask mandates. They are psychologically and potentially physically harmful whilst being clinically unproven to stop disease spread in the community and may themselves be a transmission risk.
  4. Vaccination. Abandon the notion that vaccine certification is desirable and that children should be vaccinated. There is no logical or ethical argument for either.
  5. Devise a public education programme to help redress the severe distortions in beliefs around disease transmission, likelihood of dying and possible treatment options. A messaging style based on a calm presentation of facts is urgently needed.
  6. A full public enquiry into the extent to which severe/fatal COVID-19 is spread in hospitals and care homes. There is stark recent evidence on this from Public Health Scotland 3 and if true for the rest of the UK, there needs to be better segregation of COVID-19 patients and staff within these settings.
  7. More funding and investigation of treatments for COVID-19, instead of only focusing on vaccination as a strategy. Given the high rates of hospital transmission, encourage a drive for more early treatment-at-home using some of the protocols discussed herein.
  8. Divert funds. The not inconsiderable money saved from ceasing testing programmes can be diverted to much needed areas, such as mental health, treatment research and an increase in hospital capacity and staffing. The vast debts accrued during 2020 will also need to be paid off, a fact that seems to be worryingly absent from economic recovery plans.


Spain investigating woman's death two weeks after dose of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

spain jab vaccine
© Reuters / Sergio Perez
Spain has given 1.9 million doses of Oxdford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Spanish health authorities say they are investigating the death of a 43-year-old woman who died on Tuesday after receiving her first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as two other cases of blood-clotting among recipients.

The woman, who lived in Marbella, was reportedly in good health before receiving the vaccine, but fell ill hours after her first dose on March 2. She twice visited emergency clinics over the following 10 days, before a CT scan showed a brain hemorrhage, according to local reports. She underwent surgery but died on Tuesday, and an autopsy will be carried out to determine the specific cause of her illness and death.

The government suspended Spain's rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine on Monday for two weeks while its regulators and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) investigate a fatality in each of Denmark and Austria, as well as reports of blood-clotting in a small number of people who had received the jab.

Comment: And yet people are so brainwashed that even those who are having severe reactions are still singing the praises of the vaccines: From RT:
BBC health correspondent 'spiralled rapidly downhill' after Covid jab & could 'barely' get out of bed, but says he'd do it again
17 Mar, 2021 12:42

The BBC's health and science correspondent, James Gallagher, revealed that he experienced severe symptoms for several days after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

In an article on Wednesday, Gallagher wrote that the vaccine "floored" him, inducing a migraine, vomiting, aches, chills, and exhaustion.

"I had my first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at 0930 in the morning. That evening I spiralled rapidly downhill and could barely scrape myself out of bed for the next three days," he claimed, adding however that "even with hindsight" he would "do it all again."

"I'd rather have side effects than Covid, or another year of restrictions, or a higher chance of accidentally passing the virus onto a loved one," Gallagher declared.

Common side effects for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine include pain, bruising, fatigue, chills, headaches, nausea, swelling, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, sore throat, and "generally feeling unwell."

Less common side effects include dizziness, loss of appetite, itchiness, excessive sweating, and abdominal pain.
If any sane individual is looking for an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the EU internal market chief has said he has no reason to doubt the effectiveness of Sputnik V. Also from RT:
European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton has said that he has "no reason" to doubt the efficacy of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. He added that Brussels needs a large portfolio of vaccines to fight Covid-19.

Breton was asked at Wednesday's press briefing in Brussels whether the EU should add Sputnik V to its vaccine list in order to make sure that the bloc meets its vaccine rollout target.

The official replied that the bloc's current portfolio of four authorized vaccines will "hopefully soon" get increased to five.
Sputnik is, of course, probably a good vaccine because I think the Russians are pretty good scientists. And, of course, I wouldn't have any reason to doubt [it].
Breton explained that it is important for Europe to have different types of vaccine available in order to complete the continent's immunization campaign by the end of the summer.

Brussels was dismayed when British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca cut its planned vaccine delivery from 90 million doses in the first quarter of 2021 to 40 million, and later to 30 million. The change has "painfully reduced the speed" of vaccination, European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen told reporters on Wednesday.

Several EU states, including France, Germany, Spain and Italy, suspended the usage of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine earlier this week after reports that people have been developing blood clots after having the vaccine administered to them.


Covid much less deadly says new study

© Sebastian Rushworth.com/
An article was recently published in the British Medical Journal that reported on a matched cohort study which compared the risk of dying for those infected with the new British variant (a.k.a. B.1.1.7) and those infected with the older covid variants.

A matched cohort study is a type of observational study where you take a group of people with some condition and then try to find a similar group without the condition to match against. Then you follow the two cohorts over time and see if they differ in some meaningful outcome (like death). Since it is an observational study, it can only show correlation. It can't prove the existence of a cause and effect relationship, but that doesn't stop many people acting like it does.

The article has resulted in fear-mongering headlines in news media around the world. Just to take the first example I could find, Al-Jazeera published an article with the headline: "UK variant up to 100% deadlier more deadly, study finds".

Those darn studies, they're always finding things. It's like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. You knock one down here, and another one pops up over there. Anyway, let's look in to the study some detail, and see if the claim is true.

There were two criteria that had to be fulfilled for a person to be included in the study. They had to have a PCR-test positive for covid at some point between the beginning of October 2020 and the end of January 2021. And they had to be over 30 years old. The authors don't provide any reason for the second criterion. The only reason I can see for removing people under the age of 30 is that they pretty much never die when they get covid, and including them would therefore have resulted in less impressive mortality numbers, which would have made it a little bit harder to use the results as part of public fear mongering campaigns.


Lab-created heart valves can grow with the recipient

Heart Valve
© Syedain, et al., Tranquillo Lab, University of Minnesota
In a groundbreaking study, University of Minnesota researchers used a hybrid of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to create heart valves that can grow with the recipient. When implanted in lambs, researchers showed that the tri-tube valves worked better than current animal-derived valves with almost none of the calcification or blood clotting that the other valves showed.
A groundbreaking new study led by University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers from both the College of Science and Engineering and the Medical School shows for the first time that lab-created heart valves implanted in young lambs for a year were capable of growth within the recipient. The valves also showed reduced calcification and improved blood flow function compared to animal-derived valves currently used when tested in the same growing lamb model.

If confirmed in humans, these new heart valves could prevent the need for repeated valve replacement surgeries in thousands of children born each year with congenital heart defects. The valves can also be stored for at least six months, which means they could provide surgeons with an "off the shelf" option for treatment.

The study was published today in Science Translational Medicine, an interdisciplinary medical journal by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The valve-making procedure has also been patented and licensed to the University of Minnesota startup company Vascudyne, Inc. (Stillwater, Minn.).

"This is a huge step forward in pediatric heart research," said Robert Tranquillo, the senior researcher on the study and a University of Minnesota professor in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. "This is the first demonstration that a valve implanted into a large animal model, in our case a lamb, can grow with the animal into adulthood. We have a way to go yet, but this puts us much farther down the path to future clinical trials in children. We are excited and optimistic about the possibility of this actually becoming a reality in years to come."


No more anal probes? Non-invasive skin swabs are enough to quickly detect Covid-19, new study finds

patient swabbed
© Sebastien Bozon/AFP
Testing for COVID
In a breakthrough that will be welcomed across the globe, University of Surrey researchers claim to have developed a highly accurate Covid-19 test using non-invasive skin swab samples.

Much of the world population who have undergone Covid-19 tests have likely experienced the rather unpleasant polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which, as many recipients attest, feels like the equivalent to having your brains scrambled like an egg or 'stabbed' given how far back in the throat and down the nose the swab must go. No penetration of the brain occurs in reality, however.

Authorities in China took things a few steps further and anally swabbed over one million Beijing residents for the more infectious UK variant of the coronavirus, insisting that the highly invasive method was more accurate than PCR tests.

In a new paper published by The Lancet's E Clinical Medicine, the researchers took sebum samples from 67 hospitalized patients, 30 of whom had tested positive for Covid-19 and 37 who had tested negative. Sebum is the fatty, oily, waxy substance produced by the body's sebaceous glands in areas such as the face, neck or back. Too little can cause dry, cracked skin while too much can cause various forms of acne.

The sebum samples were subjected to analysis via liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The results were then combined with a statistical modeling technique called Partial Least Squares to differentiate Covid-positive and -negative patient samples.