Thursday, October 23, 2014

In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a genetic variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today's northern populations

"Our work describes a case where the same variant has likely been selectively advantageous in the past [but] disadvantageous under current environmental conditions," says senior author Dr. Toomas Kivisild, of the University of Cambridge, in Britain. Dr. Kivisild and his colleagues analyzed the genomes of 25 individuals from Northern Siberia and compared their sequences with those from 25 people from Europe and 11 from East Asia. The team identified a variant that was unique to Northern Siberians and was located within CPT1A, a gene that encodes an enzyme involved in the digestion of long fatty acids, which are prevalent in meat-based diets. With agriculture being unsustainable in Arctic regions as a result of the extremely cold environment, coastal populations there have historically fed mostly on marine mammals. When the investigators looked at the global distribution of the CPT1A variant, they found that it was present in 68% of individuals in the Northern Siberian population yet absent in other publicly available genomes. The variant has previously been linked to high infant mortality and hypoglycemia in Canadian Inuits, and its high frequency in these populations has been described as a paradox. "The study's results illustrate the medical importance of having an evolutionary understanding of our past and suggest that evolutionary impacts on health might be more prevalent than currently appreciated," says lead author Dr. Florian Clemente, also of the University of Cambridge.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Statistics showing that one in four black men in Britain will be diagnosed with prostate cancer – double the one in eight risk faced by all men

A study by YouGov on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK revealed that 90% of black men are unaware of their higher than average risk of developing the disease. On average, black men are diagnosed with prostate cancer five years younger than white men.

A study of the genetic history of bones dug up in central Europe shows that humans generally remained lactose intolerant until 3,000 years ago

Researchers suggest that ancient Europeans weren't relying on dairy enough to develop the trait. "These ancient Europeans would have had domesticated animals like cows, goats, and sheep, but they would not yet have genetically developed a tolerance for drinking large quantities of milk from mammals," says researcher Ron Pinhasi. Instead, they might have been making cheese and yogurt, the processes of which break down lactose. The study focused on the remains of 13 individuals found in the Great Hungarian Plain who lived between 5700 BC and 800 BC. Researchers unraveled their genetic secrets by examining the petrous bone, which happens to be the hardest bone in the body and is found inside the skull where it protects the inner ear. As Pinhasi explains, "The high-percentage DNA yield from the petrous bones exceeded those from other bones by up to 183-fold. This gave us anywhere between 12% and almost 90% human DNA in our samples." Teeth, fingers, and rib bones yield no more than 20%.

The male Y chromosome may have a role in prolonging men's lives and fighting cancer, scientists have said

Research into 1,153 elderly men at the University of Sweden found those who had lost part of their Y chromosome died on average 5.5 years earlier than those who had not. Women live on average 7.5 years longer than men in Europe and the reasons behind this are not fully known. Scientists assessed how many blood cells had age-related loss of the Y chromosome (LOY) through blood tests in the men, aged between 70 and 84. Men with a "significant amount" of loss died earlier, said researchers. LOY was associated with general risk of death in 637 out of the group of men and risk of death due to non-blood related cancer in 132 of the cases. The co author of the study, Jan Dumanski from Uppsala University in Sweden, said: "Many people think the Y chromosome only contains genes involved in sex determination and sperm production. In fact, these genes have other important functions, such as possibly playing a role in preventing tumors." The study said that Y chromosome genes were not expressed when LOY occurred, meaning its potential role in tumor prevention could be reduced. It said that LOY in blood cells was associated with many different cancers, including those outside the blood system. Researchers said that this could be because Y chromosome genes enabled blood cells to help with immuno-surveillance, where the immune system detected and killed tumor cells to prevent cancer. The finding means blood tests looking at the state of the Y chromosome could help predict a man's risk of cancer, say the authors.

According to the Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO), more Hispanics are turning towards Islam and interestingly, more than half of Miami’s 3,000 Hispanic Muslims are female

Of course, in the name of diversity, we must all pretend that this is a good thing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Research has revealed that people often make sweeping judgments of others based on the size and shape of their facial features

For instance, individuals with feminine-looking or naturally happy faces are consistently thought of as more trustworthy. While competence, dominance and friendliness are also associated with specific facial traits, including larger foreheads, prominent noses and strong chins. And now researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have warned that face-ism can lead people to make rash decisions, from voting for a particular politician to convicting someone of a crime. Other research suggests that urban life can influence the types of faces that we find attractive.

The Dallas Cowboys have released defensive end Michael Sam from the practice squad, another setback as the NFL's first ever openly gay player tries to make an active roster during the regular season for the first time

Sam spent seven weeks with the Cowboys after signing to their practice squad on September 3, 2014 four days after he was among the final cuts by the St. Louis Rams at the end of the preseason. The Rams drafted the former SEC defensive player of the year from Missouri late in the seventh round in May 2014. He was pick No. 249 out of 256. Sam had three sacks in the preseason with St. Louis playing mostly against second- and third-stringers. The Cowboys are among the league's worst in sacks but have been getting solid production with a rotation in the front four of a defense exceeding expectations.

Monday, October 20, 2014

According to a Justice Department study, 47% of murder victims between 1980 and 2008 were black, and 93% of black victims were killed by other blacks

And yet many blacks foolishly believe that white police officers are their biggest problem.

Black males who were bitter at losing a game of beer pong at a house party opened fire on partygoers, striking one, police have said

Decoris 'Red' Rucker Jr., 24, and Chris 'Crazy Chris' Hackett played the drinking game with three other men in the backyard of a home in Ames, Texas when an argument erupted. The men pulled out guns and started running through the home firing wildly at party-goers, witnesses told Liberty County Sheriff Deputy Stephanie Walden. "Several witnesses told Deputy Walden that five men from the Cleveland area... became upset about losing at a game," Captain Ken DeFoore of Liberty County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Vegetarians and vegans may be harming their chance of having children after a study found that men who do not eat meat have significantly reduced sperm counts

Although a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables can protect against many illnesses and can prolong life, it appears that it may also harm fertility. Researchers at Loma Linda University Medical School, in southern California, embarked on a four-year project to find out how diets affect sperm. The region has a high population of Seventh-Day Adventist Christians who believe that meat is impure and so are strict vegetarians. Seventh-day Adventists live an average of 10 years longer than the American life expectancy of about 79 years and the researchers wanted to find out if their astonishing longevity might be linked to sperm quality. However they found the opposite. Vegetarians and vegans had significantly lower sperm counts compared with meat eaters, 50 million sperm per ml compared with 70 million per ml. They also had lower average sperm motility – the number of sperm which are active. Only one third of sperm were active for vegetarians and vegans compared with nearly 60% for meat eaters. The team believes that vitamin deficiencies may be to blame but also believe that replacing meat with soy could be responsible. “We found that diet does significantly affect sperm quality. Vegetarian and vegan diets were associated with much lower sperm counts than omnivorous diets,” said Dr Eliza Orzylowska an obstetrician at Loma Linda University Medical Centre in California. “Although these people are not infertile, in is likely to play a factor in conception, particularly for couples who are trying to conceive naturally. The old fashioned way.” One factor could be diets rich in soy, the researchers hypothesis. Soy contains phyto-estrogens which have similar properties to the female hormone estrogen. “The theory that we have come up with is that vegetarians are replacing meat with soy, which contains phytoestrogens and could be affecting fertility,” added Dr Orzylowska. “For children who have grown up with those kind of diets, it may have impacted on sperm quality from puberty. It’s hard to tell people not to be vegetarians if they are trying to conceive, but I would caution against using soy, at least for 74 days beforehand, which is the time it takes for sperm to be replaced.” The researchers also think that vegetarians and vegans may be deficient in vitamin b12. The study compared 443 meat eaters with 26 vegetarians and five vegans. Separate research from Harvard University also found that a diet high in fruit and vegetables may impact fertility because men are consuming high quantities of pesticides.

Sitting in a Virginia jail, the black male suspect in Hannah Graham's disappearance is about to face three new counts — linked to another case dating back nine years

African-American Jesse Matthew, who has been charged with abduction with intent to defile in the Graham case, has been indicted by a grand jury on three counts in a 2005 rape: sexual penetration with an object, abduction, and capital murder. Authorities had already said that forensic evidence indicated Matthew's involvement in a third case, of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who was last seen hitchhiking outside Charlottesville after a Metallica concert in 2009. Harrington turned up dead on a farm in January 2010. Meanwhile, remains discovered in central Virginia haven't yet been identified as Graham's. The chief medical examiner's office in Richmond will likely take its time to make sure they get it right, a forensic psychologist says. A sheriff's search team found scattered bones, a skull, and a pair of black pants that looked like Graham's, on an abandoned property about 8 miles from where she was last spotted. "I do believe God wanted us to find what we found," a sheriff's sergeant says. He adds that the body was "not buried, and its location was not far from the road. There was not any crushing of any bones. As far as skull, everything looked to be in tact to me."

Black serial killer: Police investigating the slayings of seven women whose bodies were found in northwest Indiana said that they believe it is the work of a serial killer, and that the suspect has indicated there could be more victims going back 20 years

The Lake County prosecutor's office have charged 43-year-old black male Darren Vann of Gary, Indiana, in the strangulation death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy. Her body was found at a Motel 6 in nearby Hammond. Gary officials were expected to charge Vann in the deaths of six more women, whose bodies were found recently. Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said at a news conference that Vann confessed to Hardy's slaying and gave police information that led to the other bodies in Gary, including three on the same block. Vann is a convicted sex offender in Texas, where he pleaded guilty in 2009 to raping a woman and was released from prison in July 2013.

Will Islam ever become peaceful and tolerant like Christianity? Probably not

Islam will likely always remain a violent religion because it was founded by a violent man.

An international research collaboration led by UC San Francisco researchers has identified a genetic variant common in Latinas that protects against breast cancer

The variant, a difference in just one of the three billion "letters" in the human genome known as a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), originates from indigenous Americans and confers significant protection from breast cancer, particularly the more aggressive estrogen receptor–negative forms of the disease, which generally have a worse prognosis. "The effect is quite significant," said Elad Ziv, MD, professor of medicine and senior author of the study. "If you have one copy of this variant, which is the case for approximately 20% (the range being 10% to 25%) of U.S. Latinas, you are about 40% less likely to have breast cancer. If you have two copies, which occurs in approximately 1% of the US Latina population, the reduction in risk is on the order of 80%." Epidemiological data have long demonstrated that Latinas are less susceptible to breast cancer than women of other ethnic backgrounds. According to National Cancer Institute data from 2007 to 2009, whites have about a 13% lifetime risk of breast cancer, blacks about 11%, and Hispanics less than 10%. The lifetime risk among Hispanics with indigenous American ancestry is even lower. For several years the researchers studied Latina populations in search of genetic and biological explanations for these differences. "After our earliest studies we thought there might be a genetic variant that led to increased risk in European populations," said Ziv. "But what this latest work shows is that instead there is a protective variant in Native American and Latina populations." The newly discovered SNP is on Chromosome 6, near a gene coding for an estrogen receptor known as ESR1. The scientists say that the biological basis of the association between the variant and reduced breast cancer risk is still not known, but their preliminary experiments indicate that the variant interferes with the action of transcription factors, proteins that regulate the expression of the ESR1 estrogen receptor.