Thursday, January 31, 2019

Functions of the Interstitium

One of the discussions focuses on the potential role of the Interstitium and interstitial fluid in the spread of diseases throughout the body. This includes the metastasis of cancer cells from one site to others in the brain and body. Dr. Neil D. Theise, one of the study’s lead authors has been reported as saying that because the Interstitium is located in regions throughout the body, understanding it could have implications for an impossible-to-predict range of systems from head to toe. "You push the first domino down and when you look up to see where the dominoes have fallen, you realize they've spread out everywhere." Based on this research, using new method of examination (in vivo microscopy), some are predicting that the microanatomy of the entire body will need to be re-examined.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Interstitium Locations

Researchers have identified several locations in the body where the Interstitium and interstitial fluid have been identified. These reportedly include:

  1. ·       Skin
  1. ·       Esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas
  1. ·       Small and large intestines
  1. ·       Lungs
  1. ·       Fascia
  1. ·       Urinary bladder
  1. ·       Tissue around arteries and veins

Reportedly, the interstitial fluid is used to create lymph fluid, which is part of the body's immune system, transporting (for example) white blood cells throughout the body to wherever they are needed to help fight infections.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Interstitium, 2

The network of tissues known as the Interstitium (pronounced "inter-stish-um"), appears to not only contain micronutrients and other substances that are needed by every body organ but also functions as a “distribution center” for then. It gets signals from body organs requesting specific substances that are thought to impact organ repair as well as the aging process. In addition, the Interstitium’s interstitial fluid may facilitate the transmission of these substances across the Blood Brain Barrier, providing them to the brain. Some are suggesting that the Interstitium may actually be a “new” body organ itself, although more research likely is needed to determine when this tissue can actually be classed as a separate body organ—a group of tissues having a unique structure and that perform specialized tasks (like the kidneys or heart, or liver, for example). Either way and regardless of “organ” designation, according to one of the study’s lead authors, Neil D. Theise, a pathology professor at New York University School of Medicine, understanding more about the Interstitium and interstitial fluid means that this discovery will likely trigger "a significant reassessment of anatomy affecting every organ of the body.”

Monday, January 28, 2019

Interstitium – the What?

Some of you may recall when I blogged about the revolutionary finding by Dr. Kipnis’ laboratory that there is an immune system in the brain; that the three coverings of the brain (the meninges) are filled with immune system vessels. Well, according to the news, a report published in the published in the journal Scientific Reports, there’s another interesting research finding popping up on the horizon. It has been known for some time that there is a network of spongy connective tissue called the interstitium that functions as a sort of shock absorber for many of the internal body organs. It may contain as much as 20 percent of all the fluid in the body. Using a new type of microscope, researchers now believe that the interstitium may be way more than just protective padding. More tomorrow

Friday, January 25, 2019

Sleep and Your Heart, 2

According to Jose Ordovas, an investigator at the National Center for Cardiovascular Research in Madrid, Spain, their research team used coronary ultrasound and CT scans to study 4,000 Spanish adults (average age of 46) and the condition of their heart’s arteries. The study found that individuals who slept less than six hours each night were 27 percent more likely to have body-wide atherosclerosis than those who slept seven to eight hours a night—thus amount of sleep appears to be linked with heart health. Ordovas reportedly said that this study emphasizes that sleep is one of the weapons that can be used to fight heart disease—and that sleep is a factor that many people compromise on a daily basis. Other studies have shown that both the brain and the heart work best when everything is in balance. Meaning that too much sleep also appears to be detrimental to both the brain and the heart.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Sleep and Your Heart

You may have heard that sleep is independently linked with longevity. Failure to give your brain enough sleep to complete its “nightly housekeeping chores” has been correlated with cognitive dysfunction during the day and a potentially shortened lifespan. Studies suggest that for the brain it takes 7-8 hours on average to keep it healthy, and that most people are sleep deprived based on the estimate that 80% of the world’s population needs an alarm clock to wake up each morning. Now it looks like it’s not just the brain that needs enough sleep—but the heart, as well. A study that was just published (January 14, 2019 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology) has concluded that the minimum amount of sleep per night that is required to lower one’s risk for developing atherosclerosis (accumulation of fatty plaque deposits in arteries) is six hours.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Read, Read, Read

B You can “read” using your eyes, fingers, or ears. Dr. Amir Soas of Case Western Reserve University Medical School in Cleveland has studied the types of activities that stimulate and challenge the brain. For example, he has concluded that when you watch TV, your “brain goes into neutral.” That’s unhelpful for healthy aging. Thus he recommends that everyone “cut back on TV.” Instead, “read, read, read.” He also says do crossword puzzles, play chess or games such as scrabble, study a foreign language, and get a new hobby that stimulates and challenges your brain. So knowing this information, you might want to take a look at your habits and at the types of stimulating and challenging mental activities you have included in your daily activities. How much do you read?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Reading and Cognition

 There are concerns being expressed about the reading levels and the amounts of reading done by the current generation—and the impact this may have related to brain-damaging disease. How much do you read now? How much did you read as a child and adolescent? Chicago’s Rush University studies by Dr. David Bennett has uncovered information that indicates your reading habits between the ages of six and eighteen appear to be crucial predictors of cognitive function decades later. This supports current recommendations that parents read, read, and read to their children and teach them to read. Apparently, challenging the brain early with reading (and perhaps other challenging brain stimulation, may help to build up something called “cognitive reserve,” which can help to counter brain-damaging disease later in life. Word is that Case Western is now studying whether people who develop dementias such as Alzheimer's watched more television throughout life than did seniors who did not evidence dementias such as Alzheimer’s.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Reading and the Brain

There have been opposing theories about the best way to help an individual (child or adult) learn to read efficiently. With the abbreviations used in many electronic devices, I’ve had questions about how to teach a child to read well – a skill that is critical to success in almost any domain. First, studies have shown that talking clearly and frequently to children from at least birth (if not before) and onward and reading to them often, helps the brain store “phenomes.” What is a phenome? It can be defined as the smallest sound in a given language. The English language has more phenomes than there are letters (26) in the English alphabet because some letters have been combined to make a unique sound including ph, sh, ch, qu, th, ugh, and so on. You may find this website interesting, especially if you are learning English as a second language or attempting to help your child learn to be an efficient reader, as it has a chart of 45 phenomes in the English language. ( 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Confabulation and the Brain, 8

There are those who believe that all human beings confabulate because no brain’s memory is 100 percent accurate. Everything the mind thinks is filtered through the experience that brain and mind went through. If people are perfectly honest, they will likely be able to dredge up some scenario whereby they embellished a story just a little bit, perhaps to make themselves look smarter or wiser or more “hip” or to add a little “spice to life” as one person put it. Much of comedy in real life is based on exaggeration. Even talk shows bank on using some confabulation to help people believe what is happening on today’s planet. In his book "We Are All Confident Idiots," Author Dunning gives an account of a show in which which people are interviewed on the street about fictional events or persons.
in which people are interviewed on the street about fictional events or Apparently enough people answer enough ridiculous questions (as if they really know the answer) to fill up a chunk of time on the talk show. Naturally this gives many viewers a good laugh. Although it may be funny, monitor your mindset and self-talk carefully for a few days. You may be surprised what you learn about yourself.

Friday, January 18, 2019


The definition of a supercentenarian is a person who is significantly older than 100 years of age; typically an individual who has lived to or surpassed their 110th birthday. This age is achieved by about one in 1,000 centenarians. Anderson et al. concluded that supercentenarians live a life typically free of major age-related diseases until shortly before maximum human lifespan is reached. According to official forecasts, the number of supercentenarians is expected to rise rapidly over the next 25 years. Naturally, there have been quite a few reports of human beings who were supercentenarians. However, the available documentation did not meet the standards required by Guinness World Records. So, if the research reveals that Jeanne Louise Calment did not live to be 122 years 164 days and if the record passes to American Sarah Knauss, who lived to the documented age of 119, does that impact my own person goal? Not a bit. I still am aiming to live to be a supercentenarian. Why not? Aim higher, get farther!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Planet Centenarians

Relatively speaking, centenarians as a percentage of the overall population base are increasing. Naturally, estimates of the centenarian population can be hard to come by due to a variety of issues include misreporting, difficulty in verifying the ages reported, as centenarians might not have birth records to confirm their age, and data- processing issues. However, available data suggest that the USA leads the world in terms of the sheer number of centenarians, followed by Japan, China, India, and Italy. According to United Nations estimates in 2015, the world was home to nearly half a million centenarians (people ages 100 and older). This was more than four times the estimated number in 1990. Projections suggest there will be 3.7 million centenarians across the globe by 2050.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

French Jeanne Louise Calment, 3

So how did Russian Gerontologist Valery Novoselov begin to question the reportedly documented lifespan of Jeanne Louise Calment of 122 years, 164 days? Well, Novoselov who initially called for the investigation into Jeanne's age, said he first became suspicious because Jeanne didn't fit typical data trends. "Jeanne is a dot away from the main trend," the researcher told the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to extending the human lifespan. Whenever a new record is set, the person dies several days or several weeks later, very rarely several months later. However, we are never speaking about years apart, definitely not several years. If the Russian researcher’s theory proves to be true, the record will pass to American Sarah Knauss, who died in 1999 at the documented age of 119. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

French Jeanne Louise Calment, 2

Reportedly, Russian Gerontologist Valery Novoselov, in an interview with the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to extending the human lifespan, expressed concern about the veracity of this data. Officially, it’s said that Jeanne Louise Calment's daughter died in 1934, but both Novoselov and Nikolai Zak, the mathematician who helped analyze the data on supercentenarians for the 2018 study, believe data actually are reversed. They surmise that in reality it was Jeanne Louise who had died, aged almost 59, and that her daughter (Yvonne) assumed her mother’s name and personality. Naturally the question becomes, “Why would a daughter do that?” Well, money may have played a role. (It often seems to be the bottom line in quite a few mysteries.) Yvonne may have assumed her mother's identity after her death in 1934 in order to not have to pay the inheritance tax. So when Jeanne (perhaps alias Yvonne) died in 1997, it may be that this individual was 99 years old and not 122 years 164 days as had been supposedly documented. More tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2019

French Jeanne Louise Calment

Since 1997 Jeanne Louise Calment of Arles, France, has been touted as having lived a documented age of 122 years 164 days. Well guess what? A Russian researcher recently raised questions about the authenticity of that documentation. Russian Gerontologist Valery Novoselov, who initially called for the investigation into the documentation of Jeanne's age, said he first became suspicious because Jeanne didn't fit typical data trends. A 2018 study suggests that the woman known as Jeanne Louise Calment may actually have been Jeanne's daughter, Yvonne, who may have assumed her mother's identity after her death in 1934 in order to not have to pay the inheritance taxes. The only way to solve this potential mystery is to exhume Jeanne and her daughter Yvonne and see which is which and who is who. Imagine the uproar if the Russian researcher’s theory is correct, as the city of Arles, France has received a great deal of attention because of Jeanne Louis Calment. More tomorrow.

Friday, January 11, 2019

DNA Replication and Cancer

According to Medical Press, a research team at Florida State University, led by Department of Biological Sciences Professor David Gilbert and post-doctoral researcher Ben Pope, has taken an in-depth look at how DNA and the associated genetic material replicate and organize within a cell's nucleus. Their work could be especially crucial for doctors and medical researchers who have found that the DNA replication process is typically disrupted in cancer patients. "Why does this process exist? Why is it awry in diseases? That's why this research is important for us as a society," Gilbert said. The paper, appearing in the Nov. 19 edition of the journal Nature, reported that the researchers were able to identify the units by which the genetic material replicated. This could become crucial information as scientists tackle complicated diseases where the replication timing is disrupted. Scientists believe continued research in this area could lead to novel treatment options for cancer patients 


Thursday, January 10, 2019

DNA Replication

DNA and its associated material replicate at regular intervals, a process essential to all living organisms. This process contributes to everything from how the body responds to disease to hair color. DNA replication was identified in the late 1950s, but understanding exactly how this process of replication occurs and how it is regulated has been elusive. A team of researchers at Florida State University appear to have unlocked a decades-old mystery about how a critical cellular process is regulated and what that could mean for the future study of genetics. David Gilbert and doctoral student Jiao Sima published a paper in the journal Cell in December that reported on experiments showing there are specific points along the DNA molecule that control replication. Examining a single segment of DNA in the highest possible 3-D resolution, they identified three sequences along the DNA molecule touching each other frequently. They found that these three elements together were the key to DNA replication.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Mitochondrial Diseases, 2

Mitochondrial diseases are very rare, estimated to affect about 200,000 individuals per year in the US. They are very interesting because they are genetic diseases—or caused by mutations—and yet differ from other types of genetic diseases. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked with acquired conditions such as diabetes, Huntington's disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, cardiovascular disease, and sarcopenia. Mitochondrial diseases may be more severe when the defective mitochondria are present in the cerebrum or nerve cells or in muscle cells since these cells consume more energy than most other cells in the body. Brain cells are said to use twice as much energy as most body cells and three times as much energy as muscle cells. Currently, mitochondrial DNA is an extremely active area of research.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Mitochondrial Diseases

Mitochondrial diseases are a group of disorders caused by dysfunctional mitochondria, the organelles that generate energy for the cell. Mitochondria are found in every cell of the human body except red blood cells, and convert the energy of food molecules into the ATP that powers most cell functions. Reportedly, the first pathogenic mutation in mitochondrial DNA was identified in 1988. Between then and 2016, over 275 other disease-causing mutations were identified. Symptoms of mitochondrial diseases may include poor growth, loss of muscle coordination, muscle weakness, visual problems, hearing problems, learning disabilities, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory disorders, neurological problems, autonomic dysfunction, autism-like symptoms, and dementia.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Mitochondrial DNA

As you know, all human beings are is “energy,” and the mitochondria are the “energy factories” of the body, several thousand of which are in nearly every body cell. Their job is to process oxygen and convert substances from the food you eat into energy. Mitochondria produce 90 percent of the energy needed for the brain and body to function, stored as ATP. According to the Cleveland Clinic, mitochondrial diseases are usually inherited genetic disorders that occur when the mitochondria fail to produce enough energy for the body to function properly. Estimates are that one in 5,000 individuals has a genetic mitochondrial disease. Sometimes the mitochondria mutate and disease occurs that is not inherited. (Mitochondria DNA seems to mutate more frequently than chromosomal DNA.) Any cell in the brain and body can be impacted and depending upon the location of the affected cells, symptoms can differ—and some individuals have no symptoms whatsoever..

Friday, January 4, 2019

Paternal Mitochondria

Recent studies have shown that in some cases, fathers also pass on mitochondrial DNA. It began with studies of a 4-year-old boy who presented with fatigue, muscle pain and muscle weakness. Suspecting there might be some defects in the child’s maternal mitochondria, researchers looked for abnormalities, which they did not find. They did find that the child had mitochondria from both parents. Subsequently, they also found biparental mitochondria in four other family members in several generations. They found that at least four people across multiple generations in the boy’s family have significant levels of biparental mitochondrial DNA. They also found multiple members in two other families who also had biparental mitochondrial DNA. According to the authors of the study published recently in PNAS, this discovery may help the development of new treatments for devastating mitochondrial disorders, which currently can be treated but not “cured” per se. More tomorrow.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Mitochondrial DNA

The average human being has 46 chromosomes containing 25,000-30,000 genes that are in each cell’s nucleus that contain. However, reportedly there are 37 special genes located in mitochondria, energy factories also located in the cell nucleus. For years it was believed that the DNA contained in these 37 genes was transmitted to a fetus exclusively from the mother. It apparently is not completely clear the reason that the father’s maternal DNA does not seem to transfer to the fetus, although research has indicated that sperm cells have a gene that triggers the destruction of paternal mitochondria when fertilization occurs. In 2002, one case of biparental mitochondrial DNA was found in one man in his skeletal muscle cells but was thought perhaps to be a fluke or the result of a contaminated specimen because the mitochondrial DNA in his other tissues was exclusively maternal. It was not believed that it was even possible for maternal and paternal mitochondrial DNA to even co-exist in humans. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year Traditions

A common New Year tradition is that of making resolutions, which often mean giving up some deleterious habits in favor of developing more helpful ones. The most common New Year resolutions are said to include ‘stop smoking’, ‘lose weight’, ‘stay healthy and fit’, ‘save more money’ and ‘become more organized’. Fireworks are common in many countries but there are some other rather interesting traditions, including:

·       Spanish tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight while making wishes.  
·       Japan tradition is to ring the bells in Buddhist Temples 108 times.
·       Greek tradition involves hanging onions on their doors and wishing their children’s goodwill.
·       Dutch tradition is to burn Christmas tree bonfires to signify purging of the old and launching fireworks to signifying welcoming the new.

And, of course, there are many more!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

New Year celebrations are not new. The concept actually dates back to 2000 BC. The Mesopotamians used to celebrate New Year as far back as 2000 BC—but not on January 1st. The Romans celebrated on March 1st with other cultures selecting the winter solstice or summer equinox. In 46 BC Julius Caesar accepted January 1st on the Georgian Calendar as New Year per the Georgian Calendar, and this was adopted by England and American colonies in 1752. In the United States the Rose Bowl tradition started in 1890 with the Rose Parade in California’s Pasadena—with floats covered with eighteen million flowers or more. The most popular tradition involves dropping of the New Year Ball exactly at 11:59 PM in Times Square began in 1907. The ball, originally made of iron and wood has been replaced with a Waterford Crystal ball that takes exactly one minute to “fall” to the ground at the stroke of midnight. However you celebrated, may 2019 be your best year ever. . . as you take very good care of your brain and body!