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  1. Instead of a comparison of excess deaths for the US across time, MedicalXpress summarizes a comparison across five large European countries. The calculations make covid-19 look like a distraction from a much larger (and totally) ignored problem. COVID-19 not the sole cause of excess U.S. deaths in 2020 By the year 2017, the United States was already suffering more excess deaths and more life years lost each year than those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 "It is not commonly recognized how far we have fallen behind our European counterparts in mortality and survival," To make age-specific comparisons of U.S. and European [Germany, England and Wales together, France, Italy, and Spain] mortality from 2000 to 2017, Preston and Vierboom used data from the Human Mortality Database to create three indexes. [1) ratio of age-specific death rates, 2) calculate number of excess deaths, 3) calculate Years of Life Lost] Even more striking was the mortality comparison between the U.S. and those five European countries when using the measure known as "years of life lost." This accounts for the age at which death occurs, giving more weight to death at a younger age. Source article: Excess mortality in the United States in the 21st century Age-specific death rates which show a sharp deterioration in the US position since 2000. Applying European age-specific death rates in 2017 to the US population, we then show that adverse mortality conditions in the United States resulted in 400,700 excess deaths that year. these excess deaths entailed a loss of 13.0 My of life. [For comparison] the mean loss of life years for a person dying from COVID-19 in the United States is 11.7 y. Multiplying 377,000 decedents by 11.7 y lost per decedent gives a total of 4.41 My of life lost to COVID-19 in 2020, only a third of the 13.02 million life years lost to excess mortality in the United States in 2017 … the comparison is so much sharper for YLL than for excess deaths [because] COVID-19 deaths in 2020 occurred at much older ages, on average, than the excess deaths of 2017. Fig. 1A shows the ratio of US death rates to the mean of death rates in the five European countries (the “European standard”), by age, in 2000, 2010, and 2017. Fig. 1B shows the age pattern of excess deaths, deaths that would not have occurred if the United States had the age- and sex-specific death rates of the European standard. Fig. 1C presents estimates of years of life lost (YLL) as a result of higher US mortality.
  2. Less sugar, please! New studies show low glucose levels might assist muscle repair skeletal muscle satellite cells, key players in muscle repair, proliferate better in low glucose [skeletal muscle satellite cells are named based on their anatomic location between the myofiber plasma and basement membranes. They have been described as “myogenic stem cells given their ability to self-renew in addition to producing differentiated progeny” Skeletal muscle satellite cells, a special type of stem cell that resides between the two layers of sheathing, the sarcolemma and basal lamina and envelops myofiber cells in individual muscle fibers, have been found to be particularly important. When myofiber cells are damaged, the satellite cells go into overdrive, multiplying and finally fusing with myofiber cells. This not only helps repair damage, but also maintains muscle mass. they noticed that higher levels of glucose had an adverse effect on the rate at which [skeletal muscle satellite cells] grew [The team notes] may have significant implications for how we might keep our muscles healthier for longer.
  3. MedicalXpress has an article about how the name a patient is given affects the choices made by the patient. How your doctor describes your medical condition can encourage you to say 'yes' to surgery when there are other options 1,308 people from five countries, some with and without shoulder pain, who were randomly allocated to read one of six hypothetical scenarios. The only difference between the scenarios was the medical term used by the health professional Health professionals use a variety of terms for [pain at the front of one of their shoulders which is made worse by lifting the arm and lying on it], including "subacromial impingement syndrome," "rotator cuff tear," "bursitis," and "rotator cuff related shoulder pain." The terms doctors use vary so widely because it's currently impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of most shoulder pain, even with the help of sophisticated technology such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We found people told they had a "rotator cuff tear" wanted shoulder surgery the most. Those told they had "bursitis" (inflammation of a fluid-filled sac in the shoulder) wanted surgery the least. People told they had a rotator cuff tear had 24% higher perceived need for surgery than those told they had bursitis. Based on this, the authors estimate More than 20,000 potentially unnecessary shoulder surgeries are performed in Australia each year, which we estimate to cost over A$200 million per year. There's a type of abnormal breast cells that can build up in the milk ducts called "ductal carcinoma in situ." For many people, these cells are low-risk and won't grow, or grow so slowly they'll never cause harm. Using the terms "cancer" or "carcinoma" to describe this condition elicits strong negative reactions from patients, and increases their desire for more aggressive treatments, including surgery. For patients with these low-risk cells, surgery, radiotherapy and/or hormonal treatments may not improve overall survival. They found similar results for conditions like acid reflux, pink-eye, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Perhaps one of the benefits of a second opinion is a different set of words. A personal favorite in wording was McDonald's Quarter Pounder. I've often wondered how many 4 Ouncers would have sold.
  4. I agree with Ron: Mutate faster does not make sense unless something is making the genome less stable and the environment is tolerant of experiments. As Saul noted, selection is faster in a new environment in the sense that the original form will be more quickly displaced by some new variant that has even the slightest advantage over the original.
  5. Education is becoming one of the leading determinants of longevity.
  6. Claims that meritied debunking. Politifact 15 wackiest covid-19 claims
  7. The news reports seemed to be focused on three or four variants. This chart of variant lineages shows there are far more than four.
  8. Possible way to mitigate until vaccination Vitamin B6 may help keep COVID-19's cytokine storms at bay In their paper, she and her fellow researchers pointed out growing evidence showing that vitamin B6 exerts a protective effect against chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes by suppressing inflammation, inflammasomes, oxidative stress and carbonyl stress. Kumrungsee explained that thrombosis (blood clotting) and cytokine storm (hyper inflammation) might be closely linked to the severity of COVID-19. Vitamin B6 is a known anti-thrombosis and anti-inflammation nutrient. Vitamin B6 … levels always drop in people under chronic inflammation such as obesity, diabetes and heart diseases.
  9. From MedicalXpress, Not all 'good' cholesterol is healthy HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), or "good cholesterol," is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease as it transports cholesterol deposited in the arteries to the liver to be eliminated. Although drugs that lower LDL cholesterol reduce cardiovascular risk, those that raise good cholesterol have not proven effective in reducing the risk of heart disease. The conclusion is that genetic characteristics linked to the generation of large good cholesterol particles are directly associated with a higher risk of heart attack, while features linked to small good cholesterol particles are related to a lower risk of heart attack. There is a positive causal relationship between the size of HDL cholesterol particles and the risk of heart attack, so although we have to increase the levels of good cholesterol in the blood, they must always be small particles If we need to do something in relation to HDL, it is to increase the number of small particles, which are those that adequately perform the function of eliminating cholesterol, those that really move it to the liver for removal, and do not allow it to accumulate in the arteries and cause cardiovascular disease
  10. This article reports benefits to mild CR. They compared healthy vs obese skin. Initially mice were tested but then 54 humans were treated in a double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Research identifies obesity and infection link, as well as treatment found on healthy human skin [The researchers] found that when mice are fed a high fat diet and become obese, skin adipocytes (or fat cells) become enlarged and lose the ability to fight against bacterial invasion during an skin infection. The findings revealed that an increased number of mature adipocytes (fat cells) increases TGFβ signaling, which in turn decreases the number dermal adipocyte progenitors that produce an antimicrobial peptide called cathelicidin. This absence leaves the epidermis vulnerable to infection from common culprits like Staphylococcus aureus. In lean subjects (both mice and human in this study), the skin microbiome was successful in preventing Staph infections, as the number of mature fat cells was insufficient to disrupt the normal dermal fat functions that keep such infections at bay. Normally, skin fat cells can rapidly respond to invading bacteria, and produce a molecule called antimicrobial peptide, which is the antibiotics produced by our own cells, to kill bacteria. However, upon obesity, the enlarged skin fat cells lose the ability to produce antimicrobial peptides, and this is mediated by a cell signaling protein transforming growth factor beta or TGFβ, which is produced by the enlarged fat cells and negatively impacts antimicrobial peptides during obesity
  11. Researchers identify mechanism by which exercise strengthens bones and immunity [There is a] specialized environment, known as a niche, in the bone marrow where new bone and immune cells are produced. movement-induced stimulation is required for the maintenance of this niche, as well as the bone and immune-forming cells that it contains. forces created from walking or running are transmitted from bone surfaces along arteriolar blood vessels into the marrow inside bones. Bone-forming cells that line the outside of the arterioles sense these forces and are induced to proliferate. This not only allows the formation of new bone cells, which helps to thicken bones, but the bone-forming cells also secrete a growth factor that increases the frequency of cells that form lymphocytes around the arterioles. When the ability of the bone-forming cells to sense pressure caused by movement, also known as mechanical forces, was inactivated, it reduced the formation of new bone cells and lymphocytes, causing bones to become thinner and reducing the ability of mice to clear a bacterial infection. The Morrison lab also found that a subset of LepR+ cells synthesize a previously undiscovered bone-forming growth factor called Osteolectin. Osteolectin promotes the maintenance of the adult skeleton by causing LepR+ to form new bone cells. discovered that these cells [the subset of LepR+ cells that make Osteolectin] reside exclusively around arteriolar blood vessels in the bone marrow and that they maintain nearby lymphoid progenitors by synthesizing stem cell factor (SCF)—a growth factor on which those cells depend. Deleting SCF from Osteolectin-positive cells depleted lymphoid progenitors and undermined the ability of mice to mount an immune response to bacterial infection. Shen found that the number of Osteolectin-positive cells and lymphoid progenitors decreased with age. Curious if he could reverse this trend, Shen put running wheels in the cages so that the mice could exercise. He found the bones of these mice became stronger with exercise, while the number of Osteolectin-positive cells and lymphoid progenitors around the arterioles increased. This was the first indication that mechanical stimulation regulates a niche in the bone marrow.
  12. corybroo

    The Ultimate Purpose of Life

    If there is an interventioniist, doesn't that lead to the question of who or what intervenes *and* how did that interventionist come to be? Asking that seems to lead to an infinite sequence of interventionists. The only escape I've heard is to declare a specific (usually the first) interventionist special and outside the question of where did (s)he/it come from.
  13. I appreciate the availability of different points of view, especially when each side presents its reasons. Johns Hopkins expert says COVID-19 pandemic could end by April And Americans may still be wearing face masks in 2022, Fauci says
  14. corybroo

    whole genome sequencing

    Thanks Ron. I used LivingDNA nearly two years ago and recieved some speculations on the paths my ancestors took from Africa to Northern Europe. My daughter used 23&me and found it to be as helpful as an astology column. Definitely we're in the early stages of understanding the impact of specific genes (and how other genes affect each other).
  15. > the fact is that if it wasn't for "Operation Warp Speed" we would not have a vaccine ready today I thought Pfizer’s vaccine was not developed in Operation Warp Speed. Try googling “was the pfizer vaccine developed by warp speed” and see if there’s any confirmation. Among the results Leading Covid-19 vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna decline invitations to White House ‘Vaccine Summit’ The Trump administration has openly feuded with Pfizer in recent weeks over its involvement in Operation Warp Speed and the timing of a data release showing its vaccine to be highly effective In an interview with the New York Times, she [Kathrin Jansen, a Pfizer executive] claimed Pfizer was “never part” of Operation Warp Speed, and that the company had “never taken any money from the U.S. government.” While the company never accepted Operation Warp Speed funding to help develop the vaccine, it did agree to a $1.95 billion purchase order with the federal government, providing the company a massive guaranteed market if the vaccine proved to be safe and effective. Bourla [Pfizer CEO] later defended the decision to decline federal research and development funding, citing a desire to “liberate our scientists from any bureaucracy” and “keep Pfizer out of politics.” It seems Pfizer accepted a challenge similar to the government incentives for the cross country railroad – paying for results like connected miles of rail. Not a new idea but a very effective one for get quick results. You’ve spoken before of censorship of conservatives. However I see news like RFK Jr. sues Facebook for censoring anti-vaccine information and think that it is misinformation from any source that is being limited. The unvaccinated provide a breeding ground for new variants; their personal decision affects other, either sickening or killing others. There is a large public benefit to labeling misinformation as such. Given the different views on how best to practice CR and its likely efficacy, I don’t think any of us has a problem with “the scientists” not being a uniform block. Indeed, if you polled a large group of physicians about the wisdom of even trying CR, what do you think they’d recommend?