Brain Washing Becoming a Scary Reality: Scientists Erase Specific Memories in Mice Now Testing Humans
All of a sudden the old book the Manchurian Candidate doesn’t seem so far fetched. Phillip K. Dick’s the famous Sci-Fi author of many mind control stories would be in his glory. This is because the stuff of science fiction is slowely becoming Science fact.
Scientists now report it might one day be possible to erase undesirable memories from the brain, selectively and safely.
Using a complex genetic approach, U.S. and Chinese researchers believe they have done just that in mice, but the feat is far from being tested on humans.
Study co-author Joe Z. Tsien, co-director of the Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, says the “work reveals a molecular mechanism of how [memory deletion] can be done quickly and without doing damage to brain cells.”
The finding is published in the Oct. 23 issue of Neuron.
Humans plagued by painful memories have long wished for a way to eject them from the brain. The concept was the premise of the popular 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which two former lovers pay a “memory-erasure” service to expunge the unhappy affair from their minds.
The subject of selective memory deletion was also covered in the film version of Philip K Dicks’ famous SciFi thriller PayCheck which starred Ben Affleck, who played the principal character Michael Jennings a reverse engineer who routinely has his recent memories erased after working on sensitive high-tech projects.
To explore the possibility of safely carving away bits of memory, the study authors first focused on the activity of a common protein found only in the brain, called CaMKII.
In both mice and people, this enzyme is often referred to as the “memory molecule” because of its key role in facilitating brain cell communication — especially people’s ability to learn and retain information.
To hone in on the specific workings of CaMKII, Tsien and his team first developed a “chemical-genetic method” that enabled them to instantly turn the protein “on” or “off” among mice intentionally bred to overproduce the molecule.
After exposing the mice to emotionally powerful stimulations, such as a mild shock to their paws, the scientists then observed how well or poorly the animals subsequently recalled the particular trauma as their brain’s expression of CaMKII was manipulated up and down.
When the brain was made to overproduce CaMKII at the exact moment the mouse was prodded to retrieve the traumatic memory, the memory wasn’t just blocked, it appeared to be fully erased.
This occurred without impacting the animal’s ability to recall any other memories, the scientists say.
A similar observation was made in experiments involving the mice’s recognition of specific objects. In those cases, overexpression of CaMKII appeared to eliminate all memory of toys with which the mice had previously been exposed.
According to Tsien, the animal study illustrates how the targeted erasure of specific memories might be genetically triggered in a controlled and harmless manner.
The authors stressed that their work is in its infancy, but they believe it opens up the theoretical possibility of therapeutic applications for humans down the road. Memory erasure might help relieve trauma among people plagued by fearful memories, such as those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example.
“While memories are great teachers and obviously crucial for survival and adaptation, selectively removing incapacitating memories, such as traumatic war memories or an unwanted fear, could help many people live better lives,” Tsien said.
However, Dr. Joe Verghese, an associate professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, cautioned that the animal work described in the study remains preliminary.
“I think the idea of selectively targeting memory processes is very interesting,” he said, “because it not only opens up a whole area of possible intervention but also reveals something about the neurobiology that goes into creating memory in the brain.”
“But memory in a human is much more complex than a memory in a mouse,” Verghese added. “So, this experimental model, while it brings to mind all sorts of possible applications, is many steps removed from any human application.
In the last six years, the Patients Association claims hundreds of thousands have suffered from poor standards of nursing, often with ‘neglectful, demeaning, painful and sometimes downright cruel’ treatment.
An American man being treated in Berlin who suffered from AIDS appears to have been cured of the immune disease 20 months after receiving a targeted bone marrow transplant normally used to fight leukemia, according to his doctors.
The physicians and researchers involved are cautioning that this astonishing case may be no more than a fluke. Advocates of gene therapy say this is a prime example of why gene research is so important. AIDS claims approximately 2 million lives each year and the virus has infected 33 million people worldwide.
The patients’ physician Dr. Gero Huetter has reported that his 42-year-old patient on Wednesday, the patient who remains anonymous, claims to have been infected with the AIDS virus for more than a decade. However after 20 months after undergoing a transplant of genetically selected bone marrow, the patient no longer shows signs of carrying the virus.
“We waited every day for a bad reading,” say Dr. Huetter.
It has not come. Researchers at Berlin’s Charite hospital and medical school say tests on the patient’s bone marrow, blood and other organ tissues have all shown no sign of the AIDS virus.
Dr. Andrew Badley, director of the HIV and immunology research lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is being quoted that the tests made by the German physicians have probably not been extensive enough.
“A lot more scrutiny from a lot of different biological samples would be required to say it’s not present,” Dr. Badley
This isn’t the first time marrow transplants have been attempted for treating AIDS or HIV infection. In 1999, an article in the journal Medical Hypotheses reviewed the results of 32 attempts reported between 1982 and 1996. In two cases, HIV was apparently eradicated, the review reported.
Dr. Huetter’s patient was under treatment at Charite for both AIDS and leukemia, which developed unrelated to HIV.
Dr. Huetter – who is a hematologist, not an HIV specialist – prepared to treat the patient’s leukemia with a bone marrow transplant, says that some people carry a genetic mutation that seems to make them resistant to HIV infection.
If the mutation, “Delta 32”, is inherited from both parents, it prevents HIV from attaching itself to cells by blocking CCR5, a receptor that acts as a kind of gateway.
“I read it in 1996, coincidentally,” Dr. Huetter told reporters while I was still a medical student. “I remembered it and thought it might work.”
According to the latest statistics one in 1,000 Europeans and Americans have inherited the mutation from both parents, and Huetter set out to find one such person among donors that matched the patient’s marrow type. Out of 80 suitable donors, the 61st person tested positively for the “Delta 32” mutation.
The bone marrow transplant was preceded by a therapy of powerful drugs and radiation designed to kill off his own infected bone marrow cells and disable his immune system – a treatment fatal to between 20 and 30 percent of recipients.
The patient was also taken off the potent drugs used to treat his AIDS. Dr. Huetter’s and his medical team feared that the drug therapy might interfere with the new marrow cells’ survival. They risked lowering his defenses in the hopes that the new, mutated cells would reject the virus on their own.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases in the U.S., in an interview with AP the procedure was too costly and too dangerous to employ as a firstline cure. But he said it could inspire researchers to pursue gene therapy as a means to block or suppress HIV.
“It helps prove the concept that if somehow you can block the expression of CCR5, maybe by gene therapy, you might be able to inhibit the ability of the virus to replicate,” according to Dr. Fauci.
David Roth, a professor of epidemiology and international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said gene therapy as cheap and effective as current drug treatments is in very early stages of development.
“That’s a long way down the line because there may be other negative things that go with that mutation that we don’t know about.”
Even for the patient in Berlin, the lack of a clear understanding of exactly why his AIDS has disappeared means his future is far from certain.
“The virus is wily,” Dr. Huetter said. “There could always be a resurgence.”
According to tests prompted by Associated Press the number of people drinking water that’s been contaminated with trace amounts of drugs increased by 41 million people from AP’s last story on the situation this past March. The news service has been reporting there’s a potentially dangerous presence of pharmaceuticals in the nation’s reservoirs.
The AP stories on the tainted drinking water prompted both federal and local legislative hearings, which yielded by partisan calls for mandatory testing and disclosure. The substantial interest the AP stories generated also led officials in at least 27 additional metropolitan areas to analyze their drinking water. More than half, 17 cases of water proving positive for contamination from pharmaceuticals well known points of origin like Reno, Nev., Savannah, Ga., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Huntsville, Ala. Results are for still pending for three of the metropolitan location.
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The increase in the number of known to be exposed to drug-contaminated drinking water supplies has grown dramatically simply because testing is increasing and the number widely by experts to be much higher.
Concern has grown so great communities and water utilities have bowed to pressure on this issue and are revealing and contributing data from previously unreleased test results.
There remain the vast majority of U.S. cities that have not tested their drinking water. Of the larger cities there were eight — including Boston, Phoenix and Seattle that get to brag their water remains untainted.
Andy Ryan, spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities was quoted by AP as saying…”We didn’t think we’d find anything because our water comes from a pristine source, but after the AP stories we wanted to make sure and reassure our customers.”
The substances detected in the latest tests reported showed the same kind of water contamination of those reported in the earlier AP report.
The pharmaceuticals found in Chicago drinking water included a cholesterol medication and a nicotine derivative. Anti-convulsant carbamazepine was found in the drinking water of several cities. One of those communities, Colorado Springs, officials reported the detection of five pharmaceuticals in all, including a tranquilizer and a hormone.
Steve Berry a spokesman of Colorado Springs was interviewed by AP and was quoted as saying “This is obviously an emerging issue and after the AP stories came out we felt it was the responsible thing for us to do, as a utility, to find out where we stand. We believe that at these levels, based on current science, that the water is completely safe for our customers,” He went on to say… “We don’t want to create unnecessary alarm, but at the same time we have a responsibility as a municipal utility to communicate with our customers and let them know.”
AP received a confirmation by Bruce Grubb Fargo’s water was discovered to have concentrations of three drugs detected there were so incredibly small — parts per trillion — but he still decided to send the test results to the local health officer in attempt to figure out how to interpret the report for the community.
Grubb told AP “We plan to put this into some kind of context other than just scientific nomenclature, so folks can get some level of understanding about what it means,”.
Tainted water is most often caused by human excretion being flushed into sewers and waterways. There have been numerous reports of pharmaceuticals slipping through sewage and drinking water treatment plants.
The danger is still unclear, researchers are however finding evidence water diluted to extremely small concentrations of pharmaceutical residues do harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species in the wild and impair human cells in the laboratory.
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New Study shows Vitamin E, and drugs that reduce generalized inflammation, may actually slow the decline of mental and physical abilities in persons suffering with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
There’s been a great deal of conflicting information and research for Vitamin E the past several years. Now there’s a report of “real-world” clinical data indicates that shows that vitamin E, and drugs that reduce generalized inflammation, may actually slow the decline of mental and physical abilities in persons suffering with Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
According to Dr. Alireza Atri “Our results are consistent for a potential benefit of vitamin E on slowing functional decline and a smaller possible benefit of anti-inflammatory medications on slowing cognitive decline in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”
Dr. Atri, who has privileges and works with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the VA Bedford Medical Center, and Boston’s Harvard Medical School, which led the National Institutes of Health-sponsored research. These findings, were reported at the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society in Chicago, stem from data on 540 patients treated at the MGH Memory Disorders Unit.
All of the patients were receiving standard-of-care treatment with a drug intended to help patients with Alzheimer’s. As part of their clinical care, 208 patients also took vitamin E but no anti-inflammatory, 49 took an anti-inflammatory but no vitamin E, 177 took both vitamin E and an anti-inflammatory, and 106 took neither.
While the daily recommended dose of vitamin E ranged from 200 to 2000 units, the majority of patients were given high doses that ranged from 800 units daily to 1000 units twice daily.
Each patient’s performance on cognitive tests and their ability to carry out daily functions such as dressing and personal care were assessed every 6 months. After an average of 3 years, “there was a modest slowing of decline in function in those patients taking vitamin E,” study investigator Michael R. Flaherty noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health.
Flaherty, a second-year student at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine, presented the findings at the meeting. He added that the treatment benefit from vitamin E was “small to medium” but increased with time.
Taking an anti-inflammatory medication has long been associated with “very consistent but generally only slight effects on slowing long-term decline in cognitive functioning,” according to Dr. William Gruss, MD of Boca Raton Florida.
However, those patients included in this study who took both vitamin E and anti-inflammatory medications, there appeared to be an noticeable additive effect in terms of slowing overall decline.
“Clearly, between the results of past studies and the equivocal results of this latest National Institutes of Health-sponsored test, further studies are needed to assess the long-term balance of risks versus benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease from taking vitamin E and anti-inflammatory drugs” insists Dr. Gruss. The upside potential is too promising to ignore.
The World Health Organization says at least 625 people have been reported dead from swine flu in the last week.
The swine flu virus has caused at least 2,837 deaths since it emerged in Mexico and the United States earlier this year and developed into a full-blown global epidemic. Most of the deaths are in the Western Hemisphere.
WHO said Friday that laboratory-confirmed cases of the disease have now reached 254,206.
Spokesman Gregory Hartl says the figure far understates the actual number of cases because countries are no longer required to report each infection as the caseload is so high.
He says the number of deaths is growing proportionately to the increase in number of infected people.
Meanwhile, scientific advisers to the White House warned the Swine flu may hospitalize as many as 1.8 million patients in the U.S. this year, filling intensive care units to capacity and causing “severe disruptions” during a fall resurgence,
Swine flu, also known as H1N1, may infect as much as half of the population and kill 30,000 to 90,000 people, double the deaths caused by the typical seasonal flu, according to the planning scenario issued yesterday by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. Intensive care units in hospitals, some of which use 80 percent of their space in normal operation, may need every bed for flu cases, the report said.
The virus has sickened more than 1 million people in the U.S., and infections may increase this month as pupils return to school, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. If swine flu patients fill too many beds, hospitals may be forced to put off elective surgeries such as heart bypass or hernia operations, said James Bentley with the American Hospital Association.
“If you have 1.8 million hospital admissions across six months, that’s a whole lot different than if you have it across six weeks,” said Bentley, a senior vice-president of the Washington-based association, which represents 5,000 hospitals.
The scenario projections were “developed from models put together for planning purposes only,” said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC, at a briefing in Atlanta today. “At the end of the day, we simply don’t know what this upcoming flu season is going to look like. It could be severe, it could be mild, we just don’t know.”
Everyone would love to be able to rip off their shirts and feel confident because they have a great set of abdominal muscles. The problem is that many people who try to build up their “6 packs” aren’t able to achieve their goals. And some of these folks have done quite a bit of exercise…maybe you’ve tried to build up your abs but didn’t have the results you’d been hoping for?
Well, I’ve got some good news for you. The reason that most people who try to develop their abdominal muscles and aren’t successful is that they quite simply aren’t doing the right kinds of exercises. I’ll explain in a moment why that’s the case, but let me start out by giving you a little bit of information about my background.
I’ve been training for the last 24 years and have owned my own fitness training facility for the last ten years. I started out as amateur boxer, then I moved to martial arts. I recognized the need for fighters to be well conditioned, so I earned a certification in fitness training.
I’m proud to say I’ve helped hundreds and hundreds of men and women from all walks of life get into shape. Let me make one thing clear. It’s a myth that it’s hard to get six pack abs!
It doesn’t require massive stomach work outs with hundreds of repetitions and tons of time. The reason so many people have trouble getting a great stomach is quite simply that they are doing exercises that aren’t the right ones. Sure sit ups can help you, but here’s what you’ve got to understand. Your stomach muscles essentially are comprised of three parts:
- rectus abdominus – the large ab muscle that covers the body’s midsection
- external obliques – located on both sides of the rectus abdominus and on top of the internal obliques
- internal obliques – located directly beneath the external obliques
The problem with most people’s work outs is that they aren’t doing a combination of exercises that pinpoints the different muscle groups in the right quantity. In fact, some people are doing too many reps and are actually causing muscle degradation. If you use an exercise system that does this, you actually don’t need to exercise more than 5 minutes a day, three to four times a week.
The only exercise programs that will maximize your stomach muscles so you have a flat stomach with the six pack are the ones that do what I said above. So, if you want to have a stomach you can feel proud of just click onto the link below to get my free report on how you can get 6 pack abs in only 5 minutes a day. For more information on this subject click the link below…