Scientific Body Backs Creation Of Human-Animal Chimeras

Backing for hybrid embryo research

By Nic Fleming, Science Correspondent

Scientists should be allowed to create human-animal hybrid embryos in the search for treatments for nervous system disorders, a Government advisory body said yesterday.

The Human Genetics Commission will give its unanimous backing to the research in a public consultation to be carried out later this year by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

British scientists have applied for licences to create hybrid embryos that would be around 99.9 per cent human and 0.1 per cent animal to produce embryonic stem cells – the body’s building blocks that can grow into all other types of cells.

They want to use stem cells to understand and develop therapies for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis, motor neurone disease and Huntington’s. The hybrid embryos would be destroyed within 14 days when no bigger than a pinhead.

Sir John Sulston, the HGC deputy chairman, said: “It seems to me extremely clear that we already have a very satisfactory agreement with the rule which allows experiments up to 14 days. The research which is now being proposed is no different.”

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2007.

Kodak Files Patent For Edible RFID Tags – Forwarded by Tom Buyea has uncovered a recently filed patent application from camera and imaging technology giant Kodak that outlines a compelling new application of RFID: ingestible tags that act as monitors for health characteristics within the human body.

The idea is that the RFID tag antenna — the critical component which allows data to broadcast — be composed of organic material that would dissolve as a result of certain chemical reactions within the human body.

Once dissolved, the tag antenna, and therefore the tag itself, would stop transmitting a signal, indicating that the targeted chemical reaction had occurred. Kodak calls them “fragile tags”:

This invention is a system that uses intentionally fragile tags to provide useful information by identifying when such tags are destroyed.

The system then responds to this basic change of state by providing a useful service. Such intentionally fragile tags can be composed of materials that can be not only be ingested but also digested with the understanding that breakdown is a desirable quality and one that enables the tag materials to be eliminated in the standard manner. Such a fragile tag that is also digestible lends itself to applications such as being included in objects meant to be ingested, such as pills, lozenges, and glycol strips.

For example, imagine an RFID reader-equipped drug dispenser installed in the home bathroom of a patient.

The patient is prescribed to take a pill every day, which is issued by the dispenser.

Once the pill is issued, the dispenser’s RFID reader activates and begins polling for the signal of a Kodak tag, which is physically attached to the dispensed pill. In this uningested state, the tag functions properly, responding to the RFID reader’s interrogation, which in turn informs the dispenser that the day’s dosage has not yet been taken.

Once the patient ingests the pill/tag, the organic tag antenna is subjected to chemicals within the patient’s stomach. The tag antenna was designed to rapidly dissolve in the presence of normal stomach chemicals, so after only a few minutes it does so, and the tag ceases to respond to the RFID reader signal, which the dispenser interprets as the patient having taken her daily medication.

The concept could be applied to changes in mechanical states as well. “In another application,” reads the patent, “the fragile tag is engineered to breakdown under mechanical stresses rather than by chemical reaction. Such a tag may be affixed to an artificial, or natural body part. It is then implanted and can be remotely queried. When wear on the body part, for example, an artificial hip, has proceeded to a predetermined level, the tag is rendered useless thus alerting the remote query that the body part has achieved an unsatisfactory level of wear.”

The patent notes that in addition to passive, active RFID technology could be used instead, depending on the application. It also notes the possibility of using multiple tags in parallel to gather more nuanced data about an environment based on an assessment of which tags are destroyed and which survive: “Another embodiment uses multiple tags whose packaging yields useful information from some combination of the tags being destroyed or surviving conditions, such as when compounds in the stomach destroy some tags but leave others.”

What makes the Kodak invention notable is not just the novel applications; it is the ability to turn pure RFID into a sort of sensor. It has been long predicted that RFID and sensors would be combined, whereby a sensor gathers environmental information that is stored on an accompanying RFID tag. Indeed, this technology architecture is already seeing adoption in numerous areas, like the cold chain.

The Kodak concept is different in that it incorporates environmental sensing as an intrinsic part of the RFID tag itself, so that the tag becomes a sort of threshold-meter, causing an alert when the tracked environmental characteristic passes a certain point. It is a clever, elegant concept that might open the door to many applications where a tag-sensor hybrid device is undesirable because of size, cost, or complexity.

Read the patent application from Kodak

The Truth About Skin Cancer

It Is NOT Caused By The Sun You NEED Sun For Vitamin D

Dr. William Sears –

Decades In The Dark

After over 20 Years of Deceit, New Evidence that Dermatologists and Sunscreen Makers Are Making Us All Disease Magnets

Bad but widely accepted advice just might be killing you slowly if you buy into what they say about the dangers of our native sun.
They want you to avoid sunshine… slather on chemical sunscreen if you go outside… stay indoors during peak sun hours… wear long-sleeved shirts and sunglasses even when it’s not sunny… and strive to cut your sun exposure to none.
Abide by these instructions and it could spell disaster for your health. By following their “no safe level of sun exposure” rule, you’ll put yourself at higher risk for deadly cancers, heart disease and more.
It’s time to set the record straight. Real science supports more, not less, sun exposure. If you know how to safely take advantage of the sun, you’ll live a happier, longer life for it. You’ll see how to enjoy the warm, golden, mood-lifting rays of the sun once again.
The True Crisis is a Deficiency of Vitamin D
When the sun’s rays strike your skin, an amazing hormonal reaction begins. Your skin absorbs the light and uses it to make vitamin D3. Think of it as the human version of photosynthesis.
Next your liver and kidneys metabolize the vitamin D3 into an active hormone called 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. It’s quite a mouthful, but this substance plays an important role in almost every system of your body. For example:
a.. Vitamin D helps build healthy bones. Vitamin D deficiencies contribute to osteoporosis, other bone-weakening conditions, and unhealthy teeth.

b.. Vitamin D helps keep the immune system tuned. Vitamin D deficiencies promote a number of painful autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

c.. Vitamin D helps keep your circulatory system healthy. People with heart disease commonly have a vitamin D deficiency.

d.. Vitamin D helps keep cells healthy. There is a link between higher rates of several deadly cancers and vitamin D deficiency. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D available. Because of the dire warning about the sun, many doctors recommend you avoid sunlight. This well-meant advice about sun-avoidance is creating an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.
Twenty percent of children and adults up to age 50 don’t get enough vitamin D every day. After fifty, deficiencies affect as much as 95% of he population.1
Let the Evidence Shine… You Need More Vitamin D
Many studies show that vitamin D provides a myriad of specific health benefits like:

a.. Research reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition correlated widespread vitamin D deficiency with osteoporosis, increased cancer risks, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. Increased, but safe, sun exposure is a way to counteract vitamin D deficiency.2

b.. Studies show that vitamin D reduces the risks of colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer. Your risk of mortality from each of these deadly cancers falls as your vitamin D levels rise.3

c.. More research shows that adequate vitamin D levels help to control blood pressure levels in patients with high blood pressure. It also helps control blood glucose levels in patients with adult-onset diabetes.4
The most natural and effective way to get adequate vitamin D levels is from sunshine. You want to be sure you get enough sunlight, that you get safe sun exposure, and that you know how to give your vitamin D levels a boost when sun exposure isn’t enough.

Sunshine: Get What You Need to Prevent Deadly Disease
The big concern most people have about sun exposure is skin cancer. The vast majority of skin cancers are basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Both of these cancers need attention and you want to avoid them, but they are not deadly cancers.
The third type of skin cancer-melanoma-is very serious and can be deadly. However, safe sun exposure can help protect you against this skin cancer. Research shows that people who get regular sun exposure as part of their jobs are less likely to get melanoma skin cancer than people who work inside all the time.5
So, let me give the rules of safe sun exposure to you in three basic steps.

1. Expose as much of your skin as possible. A swimsuit is perfect. And go without sunglasses.

2. Depending on your pigmentation, go out in the sun for at least 10 to 20 minutes, two or three times a week. If you are fair-skinned, your body can make enough vitamin D in just minutes. If you have darker skin or a deep tan, it will take longer for you to get the vitamin D you need.

3. Do not allow your skin to burn. This is very important. A sunburn will damage your skin, can contribute to all three types of skin cancer and cause aging changes in your skin. You want to get your vitamin D safely… that means getting out of the sun or putting on protective clothing before you burn.
If you live in the southern states, then this is all you need to know to keep your vitamin D levels high year round. However, if you live anywhere north of Georgia, then you need to give your body a vitamin D boost in the winter months. The low angle of the sun during those months prevents the vitamin D synthesis that your body needs.

How to Get Your Vitamin D in the Winter
Between late fall and early spring, if you live in a northern state, there just isn’t enough UV light reaching you to make adequate vitamin D. The government recommended amount of vitamin D every day is 400 IU. Yet research shows that your body will use 3000 IU in a day, as long as it is the natural form of vitamin D, cholecalciferol.6 When you choose a supplement, avoid the manmade form of vitamin D, ergocalciferol.
Short of sunshine, the best natural source of vitamin D is cod liver oil. A single tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 1360 IU of natural vitamin D. In the table below, you can see other sources of natural vitamin D and how they match up to cod liver oil.
Food Source Amount Vitamin D
Cod Liver Oil 1 tablespoon 1360 IU
Make cod liver oil a part of your daily supplement routine each and every winter and make safe sun exposure a habit all year round. Make sure you get a brand that is free of mercury and PCB’s. You can get Dr. Sears’ Label by clicking here.
1 Raloff, Janet. “Understanding Vitamin D Deficiency,” Science News 2005;
2 Holick MF. “Sunlight and Vitamin D for Bone Health and Prevention of
Autoimmune Diseases, Cancers, and Cardiovascular Disease,” AJCN 2004;
80(6): 1678S-88S
3 Garland CF, et al. “The Role of Vitamin D in Cancer Prevention,” AJPH
2005; 12/27/2005
4 Zittermann A. “Vitamin D and Disease Prevention with Special Reference
to Cardiovascular Disease,” Prog Biophys Mol Biol 2006; 92(1): 39-48
5 Nelemans PJ, et al. “Effect of Intermittent Exposure to Sunlight on
Melanoma Risk Among Indoor Workers and Sun Sensitive Individuals,”
Environmental Health Prospectives 1993; 101(3): 252-55
6 Heany RP, et al. “Human Serum 25-hydroxycholecalciferol response to
extended oral dosing with cholecalciferol,” Am J Clin Nutr 2003; 77(1):