Tag Archives: health

Salt linked to autoimmune diseases

Found on nature.com:

Nanowires show sodium chloride may cause harmful T-cell growth.

Salt may play a role in the overproduction of immune-system cells that attack an organism’s own tissues.

The incidence of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, has spiked in developed countries in recent decades. In three studies published today in Nature, researchers describe the molecular pathways that can lead to autoimmune disease1 and identify one possible culprit that has been right under our noses — and on our tables — the entire time: salt23.

To stay healthy, the human body relies on a careful balance: too little immune function and we succumb to infection, too much activity and the immune system begins to attack healthy tissue, a condition known as autoimmunity. Some forms of autoimmunity have been linked to overproduction of TH17 cells, a type of helper T cell that produces an inflammatory protein called interleukin-17.

But finding the molecular switches that cause the body to overproduce TH17 cells has been difficult, in part because conventional methods of activating native immune cells in the laboratory often harm the cells or alters the course of their development.

So when researchers heard a talk by Hongkun Park, a physicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about the use of silicone nanowires to disarm single genes in cells, they approached him immediately, recalls Aviv Regev, a biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (also in Cambridge) and a co-author on two of the studies12.

Park showed last year that these nanowires can be used to manipulate genes in immune cells without affecting the cells’ functions4. For the first of the Nature studies1, Regev and her colleagues used Park’s technology to piece together a functional model of how TH17 cells are controlled, she says. “Otherwise,” she says, they would have been only “guessing in the dark.”

In the second study2, an affiliated team of researchers observed immune cell production over 72 hours. One protein kept cropping up as a TH17-signal: serum glucocorticoid kinase 1 (SGK1), which is known to regulate salt levels in other types of cells. The researchers found that mouse cells cultured in high-salt conditions had higher SGK1 expression and produced more TH17 cells than those grown in normal conditions.

“If you incrementally increase salt, you get generation after generation of these TH17 cells,” says study co-author Vijay Kuchroo, an immunologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the third study3, researchers confirmed Kuchroo’s findings, in mouse and human cells. It was “an easy experiment — you just add salt”, says David Hafler, a neurologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, who led the research.

But could salt change the course of autoimmune disease? Both Kuchroo and Hafler found that in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, a high-salt diet accelerated the disease’s progression.

** The source on nature.com is longer, please go there if you want to read more about this. I’d suggest you do – and adjust your diet if you use a lot of salt.

Chip in a pill

Proteus Biomedical has developed chip-in-a-pill technology that transmits patient data directly to a smartphone.

Some people will say that this is awesome, amazing, magnificent. Of course, as a technological breakthrough this is something very clever. This invention gives doctors the closest and most direct way to go inside you and find out what’s the matter. A nice detail here is that “It’s biodegradable, made from things in your diet, that is activated by acids in your stomach to send out a very super-low-power, digital signal that’s picked up by a patch that’s worn on your arm, that might look like a nicotine patch. … And from that device, it sends a signal to an app for your iPhone. From there, you’ve got the Internet. You can send the information to your doctor, to caregivers at home.” (Reference: NPR.org.)

But there is a backdraw. Not perhaps in this application as it is now, but think what could happen: you get this nice little pill with a chip, to find out what is ailing you. The doctor measures and extracts your signal. And then, instead of dissolving, the chip stays inside you, happily sending out signals. Such a nice way for the world to know where you are when you don’t have your mobile phone with you (or switched it off). And you would not know it.

And let’s take the paranoia a bit further. The worst scenario that can come from this would be control. Suppose there is this little chip inside you, or perhaps a few of them after subsequent pills, that can be used to control you. Subdue you when you are making trouble (whatever is seen as trouble), or turn you into someone you are not (going wild here, but nothing is outside the realm of possibilities with this). Someone flicks a switch and you turn into a killer? Not a nice thought.

This all may sound far-fetched but… remember the panic and the state of mind after the horror of 9 / 11 in New York happened? I have seen footage where people claim they would gladly get a chip in their body so they could be identified/located in a case of emergency. With pills like this, that future might not be far away.

Monsanto. Genetically modified murder?

A french study on GMO has revealed a number of very sad and revolting things.

Monsanto launched a PR offensive to try to spread doubt about a study published two days ago by French scientist Gilles-Éric Séralini: the study showed that the biotech giant’s flagship herbicide, Roundup, and one the GM maizes produced by the firm, NK603, are having disastrous effects on rats’ health when those are studied during their lifetime and not over the industry-favoured 90 days.

(Quoted from Corporate Europe)

Rats fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn or exposed to its top-selling weedkiller Roundup suffered tumours and multiple organ damage, according to a French study published on Wednesday.

(Quoted from Huffington Post)

Examples of the effect of Monsanto modified “food”.

Many European countries as well as Russia have banned Monsanto material from their shelves. It is about time that the USA and Canada start doing that too.