Friday, September 30, 2016

Lexophilia and Lexophiles, 5

1.   If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
2.   With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
3.   Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner.
4.   When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
5.   The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
6.   A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France and resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.
7.   You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.
8.   Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.
He broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ancestry

My cousin Tim is seeing what he can find about my father’s generational line, because it appears they came to Canada from either Ireland since 100% of the male population in Western Ireland is said to belong to Haplogroup R1b or from England as 70% of the male population in southern Britain belongs to Haplogroup R1b. My ancestry summary looks like this:

  • Western/Central Europe      56-58%
  • British Isles:                          35%
  • Scandinavia:                            7%
  • Possible Native American:          1%
  • Possible Iberian (Spain):            1%


Bottom line? If we could go back far enough, we just might discover that most of us (if not all of us) are related to most of us (if not all of us) in some way or another. Interesting concept. And since our brains and hearts are all the same color, all the nonsense about ‘better than’ or ‘less than’ is just that: nonsense—in my brain’s opinion.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Paternal Line, 2

On my father’s side, the DNA markers show alignment with Haplogroup R1b, a Western European lineage that is now the most prevalent Haplogroup worldwide. Estimates are that more than half of males in Western Europe carry this marker (e.g., perhaps 100% in western Ireland, 90% in some parts of Spain, 70% in southern Britain, up to 50% in Danish populations, 30% in Norway, and 33% in Portugal). Because Europeans settled much of the world, no surprise that R1b can be found in high frequencies in North and South American and in Australian populations. These are my paternal markers. Again, I’m not certain what these really mean yet, but they might look familiar to some of you who are more knowledgeable in this area.


Region
Marker
DYS 391
11
DYS 3891
12
DYS 439
11
DYS 38911
28
DYS 438
16
DYS 437
15
DYS 19
14
DYS 392
13
DYS 393
13
DYS 390
23
DYS 385
12,14

Paternal Line, 2

On my father’s side, the DNA markers show alignment with Haplogroup R1b, a Western European lineage that is now the most prevalent Haplogroup worldwide. Estimates are that more than half of males in Western Europe carry this marker (e.g., perhaps 100% in western Ireland, 90% in some parts of Spain, 70% in southern Britain, up to 50% in Danish populations, 30% in Norway, and 33% in Portugal). Because Europeans settled much of the world, no surprise that R1b can be found in high frequencies in North and South American and in Australian populations. These are my paternal markers. Again, I’m not certain what these really mean yet, but they might look familiar to some of you who are more knowledgeable in this area.


Region
Marker
DYS 391
11
DYS 3891
12
DYS 439
11
DYS 38911
28
DYS 438
16
DYS 437
15
DYS 19
14
DYS 392
13
DYS 393
13
DYS 390
23
DYS 385
12,14

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Paternal Line

As with everyone else, I also have a paternal line. My patrilineal ancestry reportedly goes back to an African male known as ‘’’Y-Chromosomal Adam.’ Two initial descendants from this male were the Haplogroup A and the Haplogroup BR. Reportedly both of these groups are found today in Sub-Saharan Africa in select populations. There were, of course, migrations out of Africa and a variety of other mutations occurred that split into Haplogroup F, Haplogroup P, and eventually Haplogroup R (distinguishable by its M207 mutation). Haplogroup F descendants appear to have taken the admonition to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ quite literally. Tibet, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Japan, Polynesia, and Indigenous Australians are said to have the only populations out of Africa that are not descendants of this prolific Haplogroup F. A M9 mutation from Haplogroup F resulted in Haplogroup K, which had a M4-5 mutation into Haplogroup P that in turn had a M207 mutation that started the Haplogroup R line. My paternal line appears to be aligned with a section of this group known as Haplogroup R1b, reportedly related to a man in Iberia (modern day Spain) now known as ‘the Patriarch,’ who carried the genetic marker that designates the Haplogroup R1b. More tomorrow.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Maternal Line, 2

Haplogroup N had additional mutations and branchings. A woman classified as ‘Helena’ (meaning light in Greek) reportedly marked the beginning of my mitochondrial branch or type: Haplogroup H. One of the most famous of my Haplogroup H ancestors (that can be traced back to Bertha Von Putelendorf who died 1190) is reported to be the French queen Marie Antoinette—who, unfortunately, ‘lost her head.’ Because that family was quite prolific, some others in Haplogroup H include Marie-Louise of Austria (Napoleon’s wife), the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna (wife of the last Russian tsar Nicolas II), and Britain’s Queen Victoria. These are my maternal markers. I’m not sure what these really mean yet—but some of you might.


Marker
16519C
152C
263G
315.1C

Friday, September 23, 2016

Maternal Line

Back to where I started a few days ago, I decided to bite the bullet and send in some of my white blood cells to see what I might learn about my biological history—and to be analyzed for mitochondrial DNA. Unlike chromosomal DNA that is inherited from both parents, you get all your mitochondrial DNA from your mother. Mutations accumulate in mitochondrial DNA more quickly than in chromosomal DNA, so it's possible to trace your maternal ancestry way back beyond any relatives you may know by name—simply by tracking the inheritance of mutations in mitochondrial DNA. In due time the results came back. The markers that DNA Solutions identified show I belong to Haplogroup H, the most common Haplogroup in Europe, occurring in 40-60% of the population. My common female ancestor supposedly is a woman known as Mitochondrial Eve. Four initial groups of descendants known as Haplogroups Lo-L3 are related to Mitochondrial Eve. Group Lo apparently is now extinct, but Group L-3 divided into two subtypes: M and N. A DNA marker at position 10875T of my mitochondrial DNA, shows that I am a descendent of Haplogroup N. More in my next blog.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

DNA Ancestry, 3

A mutation is a change in the spelling of a DNA sequence (think of your body having a spell-check for DNA sequences and that for some reason or other it fails). Your DNA contains mutations that typically are quite harmless. Some, however, are harmful and may be responsible for triggering abnormal conditions and specific diseases. For example, sickle cell anemia can be caused by a change in one single gene! Although 99% of your DNA is located in your chromosomes, the remaining 1% of your DNA is located in the mitochondria. The mitochondria in human cells are the energy factories that produce the energy-rich molecule known as ATP or adenosine triphosphate. Scientists are linking mitochondrial DNA defects with a wide range of age-related diseases including neurodegenerative disorders, some forms of heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

DNA Ancestry, 2

According to Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos, University of Washington, associate professor of genome sciences and of medicine, for over forty years it has been assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impacted how proteins were made—now it appears that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture. New findings highlight that DNA is an incredibly powerful information storage device, which nature has fully exploited in unexpected ways. For example, DNA consists of a 64-letter (codon) alphabet that spells out the genetic code. The letters (codons) are organized into words and sentences called genes. About 15% of the 64-letter (codon) alphabet are dual-use letters known as duons. They simultaneously specify both amino acids and something called transcription factor (TF) sequences. This means that many DNA changes that appear to alter protein sequences may actually cause disease by disrupting gene control programs or even both mechanisms simultaneously. Enter misspellings—otherwise referred to as mutations. Part 3 tomorrow.   

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DNA Ancestry

Have you done DNA testing? I decided to bite the bullet and send in some of my white blood cells to see what I might learn about my biological history. Before I go into that, a bit of review. As you probably already know from high school biology, your complete set of genetic information is encoded within 23 pairs of chromosomes in the nucleus of your cells—the 23rd pair typically being a XX or a XY pattern. (Not all cells have a nucleus, by the way. Red-blood cells, for instance, do not.) A chromosome is a single piece of coiled DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid, a biomolecule that holds the blueprint for how living organisms are built. 99% of all DNA in your body is found in your chromosomes. Segments of DNA called genes are passed down from parents to child and confer traits to the offspring. Humans have 25,000-30,000 genes, usually in pairs (one from each parent). 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Geneology, Genology, Genealogy, or Geneaology

Shows such as ‘Finding Your Roots’ and ‘PBS Genealogy Roadshow’ seem to heightening some interest in the topic of one’s lineage or biological ancestry. And there appears to be some misunderstanding of which word actually represents the correct spelling. Data from WordTracker reported that over a two-month period:
·         10,722 searches were done for ‘genealogy’
·         5,988 searches were done for ‘geneology’
·         711 searches were done for ‘geneaology’
·         302 searches for “genology"

With my brain bent in the right frontal lobe (where there are little if any written language functions) it’s easy for me to exhibit very creative spelling. Therefore, I checked several dictionaries and every one of them listed genealogy as the correct spelling. (I’m not sure I ever used that spelling!) Anyway, it definitely got me thinking about the topic.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Lexophilia and Lexophiles, 4

1.   The dead batteries were given out free of charge.
2.   If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.
3.   A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.
4.   A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.
5.   A will is a dead giveaway.
6.   Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
7.   A backward poet writes inverse.
8.   In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, it’s your Count that votes.

9.   A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Nicotine is Nicotine

Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of sickness and mortality, responsible for over 400,000 deaths in the United States each year. The worst health consequences associated with smoking (e.g., cancer and heart disease) are linked to inhalation of tar and other chemicals produced by tobacco combustion; the pleasurable, reinforcing, and addictive properties of smoking are produced mostly by the nicotine contained in tobacco. [Using PET Scans, researchers at the University of Michigan (in the first human study) showed that (like heroin and morphine) smoking cigarettes stimulates the brain's production of dopamine and chemicals known as opioids. Smoking cigarettes triggers the release of addictive feel-good brain chemicals, notably dopamine and opiods. It appears that smokers have an altered opioid flow all the time, when compared with non-smokers.] According to WebMD, e-cigarettes are already a booming, billion-dollar industry, on track to outsell tobacco products within a decade. The number of teens and tweens using these products doubled between 2011 and 2012. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

E-Cigarettes and Smoking, 3

Questions also abound about whether E-Cigs are in any way linked with starting smoking regular cigarettes. National Institutes of Health funded a study to evaluate whether exposure to E-cigarettes increased one’s risk for initiation to smoking regular tobacco cigarettes. Recently, Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA Director, released the results of the study. Researchers found that teenagers who use E-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking tobacco. Reportedly, teenagers who smoke E-cigarettes are reportedly at three times higher risk for smoking regular cigarettes within about a year—when compared with teenagers who do not use E-Cigs. Another study revealed that that students who have used e-cigarettes by the time they start 9th grade are more likely than others to start smoking traditional cigarettes and other smokable tobacco products within the next year.


Rigotti, NA. ‘e-Cigarette use and subsequent tobacco use by adolescents: new evidence about a potential risk of e-cigarettes.’ JAMA.2015;314(7):673-674.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

E-Cigarettes and the Brain, 2



What are some of the possible negative side-effects to electronic inhalation of the vapor? Although they do not produce tobacco smoke, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and recent research suggests nicotine exposure may also prime the brain to become addicted to other substances. Also, testing of some e-cigarette products found the vapor to contain known carcinogens and toxic chemicals (such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde), as well as potentially toxic metal nanoparticles from the vaporizing mechanism. The health consequences of repeated exposure to these chemicals are not yet clear. Another worry is the refillable cartridges used by some e-cigarettes. Users may expose themselves to potentially toxic levels of nicotine when refilling them. Cartridges could also be filled with substances other than nicotine, thus possibly serving as a new and potentially dangerous way to deliver other drugs.


https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes

Monday, September 12, 2016

E-Cigarettes and the Brain

Recently a parent asked about the benefits of E-cigs versus regular cigarettes. I referred the individual to a fact sheet produced by NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Known as e-cigarettes or ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) they typically consist of a power source, which is usually a battery; some type of vaporizer or heating device; and a liquid that contains nicotine along with flavorings such as candy, fruit, mint, and coffee, and other chemicals. In many e-cigarettes, puffing activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge. The resulting aerosol or vapor is then inhaled (called ‘vaping’).Because they deliver nicotine without burning tobacco leaves, many tout them as a safer and less toxic alternative to traditional cigarettes. Very little is actually known about the long-term health risks of using these e-cigarette devices. Even in States that have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, teens have been obtaining them by simply ordering the devices online.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Nomophobia or OCD

Personally, I am quite attached to my iPhone (at least when I am in the USA) and use it frequently to communicate about my nonprofit corporation, Realizations Inc. It does not take the place of interpersonal real-time social interactions and other life activities, however, and I am careful to balance the two. For example, I turn off my iPhone when I am having lunch with a friendcallers can leave a message. I do my daily morning walk unaccompanied by my iPhone so that I can devote my whole attention to nature around me and to creative brainstorming. I let the phone go to voicemail when I am creating a new article or a new seminar presentation. Developing nomophobia is not one of my goals. 
You may enjoy the article by Russell B. Clayton et al entitled “The Extended iSelf: The Impact of iPhone Separation on Cognition, Emotion, and Physiology.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Vol. 20, No. 2, pages 119-135; March 2015.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Brain and Nomophobia

Nomophobia, the fear of being out of cell-phone contact, may be becoming the new ‘normal’ (meaning commonly occurring and not necessarily healthy or desirable). For some individuals, nomophobia may escalate into an obsession. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is believed to involve a dysregulation of the neurotransmitter serotonin.) Differentiating between nomophobia and OCD can be tricky. An article by Carol W. Berman MD ‘One Patient’s story’ published in Scientific American MIND Dr. Carol W. Berman wrote: “For clinicians like me, the true test of whether mental illness is present is the degree to which the individual’s daily life is impaired.” Reported symptoms include: anxiety, respiratory alterations, trembling, perspiration, agitation, disorientation, tachycardia, depression, panic, fear, dependence, rejections, low self-esteem, and loneliness. 


http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2015/0108-iphone-separation-linked-to-physiological-anxiety-poor-cognitive-performance-mu-study-finds/

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Nomophobia

Nomophobia, an abbreviation for ‘no-mobile-phone phobia,’ reportedly was coined during a 2010 study by the UK Post Office. The study compared stress levels induced by the average case of nomophobia to be on-par with those of ‘wedding day jitters’ and trips to the dentist and found that more than one in two nomophobes never switch off their mobile phone.  An article by Carol W. Berman MD in her article ‘One Patient’s story’ published in Scientific American MIND, indicated that surveys in both the U.S. and the U.K. have shown that about 70 percent of young adults feel so attached to their phone that they admit to feeling anxiety or even panic when they are separated from it.” Researchers at the University of Missouri found that study participants solving word puzzles experienced increased heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety when they were separated from their iPhone and were less successful solving the puzzles. More tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Heavy Mobile Phone/Computer Use

Technology provides many benefits to individuals and society but it is not without its down side. Sara Thomée, doctoral student, and colleagues at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy conducted four studies to evaluate the effects of heavy computer and cell phone by young adults on sleep quality, stress levels, and general mental health. The studies found that young adults who make particularly heavy use of mobile phones and computers run a greater risk of sleep disturbances, stress, and symptoms of mental health.

·         Frequent computer use without breaks was found to increase the risk of stress, sleeping problems, and depressive symptoms in women

·         Males who use mobile phones / computers extensively without breaks were more likely to develop sleeping problems.

·         Regularly using a computer late at night was associated not only with sleep disorders but also with stress and depressive symptoms in both men and women


Adequate sleep is related to cognitive performance and is independently linked with longevity. The artificial light from TV and computer screens and smart phones affects melatonin production and throws off circadian rhythms, preventing deep, restorative sleep. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Technology, Sleep, and the Brain

Studies have shown that sleep is independently linked with longevity and that modern technology affects sleep. For example, the artificial light from TV and computer screens affects melatonin production and throws off circadian rhythms, preventing deep, restorative sleep. New research at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy has shed additional light on this topic. Sara Thomée, doctoral student, and colleagues conducted four studies to evaluate the effects of heavy computer and cell phone by young adults on sleep quality, stress levels, and general mental health. The studies found that young adults who make particularly heavy use of mobile phones and computers run a greater risk of sleep disturbances, stress, and symptoms of mental health. Heavy use of mobile phones was linked to an increase in sleeping problems in males and an increase in depressive symptoms in both males and females.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Lexophilia and Lexophiles, 3

This is third in the Lexophilia and Lexophiles series

1.   The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2.   When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.
3.   The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
4.   A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
5.   A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.
6.   Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.
7.   When the smog lifts in Los Angeles , U. C. L. A.
8.   The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.
9.   The professor discovered that his theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

HPA and Alcohol

Excess levels of the stress hormone cortisol, a product of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in response to stressors, have been shown to be detrimental to health and have been are linked with hypertension, impairment of immune function, and alteration in metabolism. Cortisol, a marker of HPA axis activity, can be measured in urine, blood, or saliva. Previous studies have demonstrated that cortisol secretion is associated with smoking behavior. Recently Ellena Badrick, M.Sc., Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College, London, and colleagues studied how alcohol impacts the HPA. Reportedly this is the first study of alcohol consumption and diurnal cortisol secretion in a naturalistic community population. Male participants Men reported a higher frequency of drinking, consumed more alcohol per week, and had higher BP and mean cortisol production over the day than females. Greater proportions of females were in the lowest social position groups, suffered from depression and had sleep problems.The study concluded that


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2266962/