Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The one and only Al Pacino is playing Jack Kevorkian, Dr. Death himself, in an HBO original film called You Don’t Know Jack. Whooo-ha! Let’s hope ol’ Al has one more great performance left in him. Here’s the trailer…
A 42-year-old HIV patient with leukemia appears to have no detectable HIV in his blood and no symptoms after a stem cell transplant from a donor carrying a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to the virus that causes AIDS, according to a report published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The patient underwent a stem cell transplant and since, has not tested positive for HIV in his blood.
"The patient is fine," said Dr. Gero Hutter of Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin in Germany. "Today, two years after his transplantation, he is still without any signs of HIV disease and without antiretroviral medication."
The case was first reported in November, and the new report is the first official publication of the case in a medical journal. Hutter and a team of medical professionals performed the stem cell transplant on the patient, an American living in Germany, to treat the man's leukemia, not the HIV itself.
However, the team deliberately chose a compatible donor who has a naturally occurring gene mutation that confers resistance to HIV. The mutation cripples a receptor known as CCR5, which is normally found on the surface of T cells, the type of immune system cells attacked by HIV.
The mutation is known as CCR5 delta32 and is found in 1 percent to 3 percent of white populations of European descent.
HIV uses the CCR5 as a co-receptor (in addition to CD4 receptors) to latch on to and ultimately destroy immune system cells. Since the virus can't gain a foothold on cells that lack CCR5, people who have the mutation have natural protection. (There are other, less common HIV strains that use different co-receptors.)
People who inherit one copy of CCR5 delta32 take longer to get sick or develop AIDS if infected with HIV. People with two copies (one from each parent) may not become infected at all. The stem cell donor had two copies.
While promising, the treatment is unlikely to help the vast majority of people infected with HIV, said Dr. Jay Levy, a professor at the University of California San Francisco, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. A stem cell transplant is too extreme and too dangerous to be used as a routine treatment, he said.
"About a third of the people die [during such transplants], so it's just too much of a risk," Levy said. To perform a stem cell transplant, doctors intentionally destroy a patient's immune system, leaving the patient vulnerable to infection, and then reintroduce a donor's stem cells (which are from either bone marrow or blood) in an effort to establish a new, healthy immune system.
Levy also said it's unlikely that the transplant truly cured the patient in this study. HIV can infect many other types of cells and may be hiding out in the patient's body to resurface at a later time, he said.
"This type of virus can infect macrophages (another type of white blood cell that expresses CCR5) and other cells, like the brain cells, and it could live a lifetime. But if it can't spread, you never see it-- but it's there and it could do some damage," he said. "It's not the kind of approach that you could say, 'I've cured you.' I've eliminated the virus from your body." Health.com: 10 questions to ask a new partner before having sex
Before undergoing the transplant, the patient was also found to be infected with low levels of a type of HIV known as X4, which does not use the CCR5 receptor to infect cells. So it would seem that this virus would still be able to grow and damage immune cells in his body. However, following the transplant, signs of leukemia and HIV were absent.
"There is no really conclusive explanation why we didn't observe any rebound of HIV," Hutter said. "This finding is very surprising."
Hutter noted that one year ago, the patient had a relapse of leukemia and a second transplant from the same donor. The patient experienced complications from the procedure, including temporary liver problems and kidney failure, but they were not unusual and may occur in HIV-negative patients, he said.
Researchers including Hutter agree that the technique should not be used to treat HIV alone. "Some people may say, 'I want to do it,'" said Levy. A more logical -- and potentially safer -- approach would be to develop some type of CCR5-disabling gene therapy or treatment that could be directly injected into the body, said Levy.
Less invasive options to alter CCR5 could be on the horizon within the next five years, said Levy. "It's definitely the wave of the future," he said. "As we continue to follow this one patient, we will learn a lot."
One drug that's currently on the market that blocks CCR5 is called maraviroc (Selzentry). It was first approved in 2007 and is used in combination with other antiretroviral drugs. Health.com: Who's most at risk for STDs?
In 2007, an estimated 2 million people died from AIDS, and 2.7 million people contracted HIV. More than 15 million women are infected worldwide. HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, sharing needles, pregnancy, breast-feeding, and/or blood transfusions with an infected person. Health.com:What should I do if the condom breaks?
"For HIV patients, this report is an important flicker of hope that antiretroviral therapy like HAART [highly active antiretroviral therapy] is not the endpoint of medical research," Hutter said.
Copyright Health Magazine 2009
You just know that all the hot chicks in high school were in the chess club. Cheerleaders, no thanks. We want girls with brains,(and beauty, if possible). Here are some specimens who not only made it in the ranks of professional chess, but also make for a nice swimsuit calendar, if Sports Illustrated will finally ever get to the chess/swimsuit issue we’ve all been hoping for. In no particular order:
1. Alexandra Kosteniuk
Alexandra Kosteniuk is a Russian chess grandmaster (that’s right, Grandmaster, bitches!) who won the 2008 World Women’s Championship title in Nalchik, Russia. Alexandra has been in the finals of 2001 Championships also at the age of just 17, but she lost on that occasion. She was the European champion in 2004 and the Chess960 (Fischer Random) world champion in 2006 which she defended this year also. Kosteniuk also won the 2005 Russian Women’s Championship which were held in Samara.
Besides chess, Alexandra also hosts a popular podcast Chess is Cool, which keeps its listeners up to date with all the chess events. In her personal life, she is married to Diego Garces of Switzerland and has a daughter. Which is unfortunate, if you’ve ever seen her whoop some ass on the chess board all while wearing a sexy loud dress.
2. Sanja Dedijer
Dedijer hails from Bosnia-Herzegovina and is only 24 years old. Therefore, she has very little biographical information (I don’t believe she has won any titles) other than the fact that she is damn hot. Look at the concentration.
3. Regina Pokorna
Vladislav Tkachiev, talking about beauty in chess, called the 27-year-old Slovakian beauty Pokorno “a child-woman, an eternal girl”. It’s probably those incredible blue eyes, though you can never ignore her beautiful games and 2400+ rating. (Apparently that’s pretty darn good in pro chess… I wouldn’t know).
4. Valquira Rocha
I can’t find much info on Valquiria, except that she hails from Angola, she plays professional chess, and she is daaaaaamn hawt! A traditional Angolese expression for “hot.”
5. Anna Sharevich
Anna a Belarusian chessmaster, having achieved the required norms for the title Woman Grandmaster in 2006. She won the Ladies’ Belarusian Chess Championship in 2002, 2005 and 2007 and played for Belarus in the Woman’s Chess Olympiad of 2002 to 2008 (four times). She’s smart, blonde, sultry, and can kick your sub-mental ass!
6. Arianne Caoili
Arianne Caoili began playing chess at the age of six. At one point during 2002, she achieved a FIDE rating in excess of 2300, but this has been in decline since she scaled down her chess activities to concentrate on her studies, as she is still only 23! Nevertheless, she remains one of Australia’s leading women players and played top board for the national team at the Dresden Olympiad in 2008.
She’s has her share of scandals (for a chess player), though! In June 2006 it was reported that the British Granmaster Danny Gormally had thrown a punch at Armenian Grandmaster Levon Aronian (who was at the time the number three on the FIDE world ranking) in a Turin nightclub during the chess Olympiad. Gormally apparently became jealous when he saw Aronian dancing with Caoili. In 09, Aronian and Caoili were reported to be in a relationship…. Sorry Danny.
Caoili has also been on Dancing With The Stars, so she’s got that goin’ for her, too… which is nice.
7. Eva Repkova
Eva is a Slovakian-born chessmaster who once had a relationship with fellow chess champion Vladimir Kramnik. Eva, as you can see is incredibly hot. And she’s recently divorced from a Lebanese businessman, so all you chess fanboys still have a shot!… No, not really. It’s nice to dream, though.
So remember… if you want to impress these ladies, stop hitting the gym and start hitting the boards! The chess boards, that is.
Regrowing amputated limbs, broken backs and even damaged brains could one day be a reality after scientists discovered a gene that is key to the almost magical ability.
Researchers have found that the gene p21 appears to block the healing power still enjoyed by some creatures including amphibians but lost through evolution to all other animals.
By turning off p21, the process can be miraculously switched back on.
Academics from The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia found that mice lacking the p21 gene gain the ability to regenerate lost or damaged tissue.
Unlike typical mammals, which heal wounds by forming a scar, these mice begin by forming a blastema, a structure associated with rapid cell growth.
According to the Wistar researchers, the loss of p21 causes the cells of these mice to behave more like regenerating embryonic stem cells rather than adult mammalian cells. This means they act as if they creating rather thane mending the body.
Their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide solid evidence to link tissue regeneration to the control of cell division.
They turned off the gene in mice which had damaged ears and they regrew them. While they say it is early days, there is nothing theoretically different about applying the same process to humans.
Professor Ellen Heber-Katz, the lead scientist, said: "Much like a newt that has lost a limb, these mice will replace missing or damaged tissue with healthy tissue that lacks any sign of scarring.
"While we are just beginning to understand the repercussions of these findings, perhaps, one day we'll be able to accelerate healing in humans by temporarily inactivating the p21 gene.
"In normal cells, p21 acts like a brake to block cell cycle progression in the event of DNA damage, preventing the cells from dividing and potentially becoming cancerous.
"We propose that any future therapy would involve turning off p21 transiently during the healing process and only locally at the wound site. This might be done through locally applied drugs. This should minimise any side effects."
The author of this post can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the more interesting things you can do with the iPhone is use it as a remote control for other devices. Since the iPhone App Store launched almost two years ago, developers have created hundreds of remote control applications.
Some of them are for entertainment — designed to control A/V equipment in your living room. Others control household appliances, functions on your computer, or even expensive corporate security systems.
For now, most remote control apps operate over the Internet, or via a wi-fi or Bluetooth link between your iPhone and another device. But one company is developing an infrared iPhone accessory, which will open the doors for even more remote control applications.
It's conceivable that, with these apps and accessories, an iPod touch could replace the fanciest of universal remotes, and have the bonus of shipping with a Web browser and all the other apps on the App Store.
More TV providers are releasing iPhone apps to use as DVR remotes. Recently, Comcast published an app that allows some of its digital cable subscribers program their DVRs remotely. And free apps from DirecTV, DISH Network, and AT&T let you program your digital video recorder from anywhere.
Zipcar rental car
The free Zipcar app lets you find and book rental cars. But the impressive part is that you can also use your iPhone to unlock the car or make its horn beep.
Click here to see the rest of the article and apps: 25 Things You Can Remote Control With Your iPhone
This week Peter Kafka with MediaMemo revealed that both NPR and the Journal will convert at least some portions of their Web site to load properly on the iPad. The custom-built sites will feature the same content and run concurrently with the traditional and iPhone/mobile-friendly versions of each Web site.
"Visitors to the newspaper's front page will see an iPad-specific, Flash-free page," Kafka said of the Journal's iPad Web site. "But those who click deeper into the site will eventually find pages that haven’t been converted."
The news comes weeks after Virgin America revealed it dropped Flash content from its new Web site in order to allow users with iPhones to check in for flights.
But the Journal and NPR are both also creating App Store software specifically for the iPad, suggesting that content providers are taking a multi-pronged approach to Apple's forthcoming multimedia device. Kinsey Wilson, head of digital media for NPR, declined to give Kafka an advance look at the organization's forthcoming iPad application or Web site, but did provide a hint as to what the experience could be like.
"Wilson says that while iPhone apps are a 'very intentional experience' --you load the thing up and seek out specific content -- he thinks the iPad will be a 'lean back device,'" Kafka wrote. "That's traditionally the distinction multimedia types use to differentiate between a computer and a TV. Intriguing."
The exclusion of Adobe Flash from the iPad and subsequent comments attributed to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, in which he allegedly called the Web standard a "CPU hog," have led to a considerable amount of debate over its merits and shortcomings.
Contributing to the conversation in January was Google, which added support for rival format HTML5 to the most popular video destination on the Internet, YouTube. The beta opt-in program is available only for browsers that support both HTML5 and H.264 video encoding. Apple, too, has placed its support behind HTML5.
For more on why Apple isn't likely to add support for Flash in the iPhone OS, read AppleInsider's three-part Flash Wars series.
Debuting in 2011 and beginning filming soon, a new Animal Planet show starring Mike Tyson will "take audiences inside the intensely competitive and bizarrely fascinating world of pigeon racing," according to a network press release.I first heard about Tyson and his pigeons in 2003, when ESPN's Bill Simmons wrote about the boxer and his birds.
"I'm honored to be a part of this monumental show on Animal Planet," said Tyson. "I feel a great pride acting as an official representative for all the pigeon fanciers out there. I want people to see why we love these birds. It feels good returning to the rooftops of the city where it all started for me -- New York."
The pigeons. People come and go, wives come and go, fights come and go ... but the pigeons endure. He's been flying them ever since he was a little boy in Brooklyn. After Lewis savagely destroyed him last summer, the most humiliating of defeats, Tyson returned to Harlem and flew his birds for months on end. His wife filed for divorce. The boxing world left him for dead. He kept flying those damned pigeons. Earlier in the morning, I was talking with one of the locals who cares for Tyson's birds when he's away -- a guy named Ron -- who explained, "He likes the way they fly. I think he just likes coming up here. It's his place. He relaxes up here."I'm intrigued. Not sure if Animal Planet has decided on a name for the show but I'm pushing for the Pigeon Whisperer. It's too obvious not to happen.
Michael Jackson, like Elvis Presley before him, may make more money in death than in life. Sony (SNE) has signed a deal with the departed singer's estate worth as much as $250 million. The Wall Street Journal reports that "With 10 albums over seven years, the deal will involve a mix of previously unreleased songs and new packages of familiar ones."
The contract may be the largest record deal in history. The paper reports that 31 million Jackson albums have been sold since his death on June 25. The Journal says, "The advances being paid by Sony are to be offset by sales of albums as well as revenue generated by licensing Mr. Jackson's music for uses like videogames, movies and theatrical performances."
Sony can distribute Jackson's material through 2017, so it's betting on the artist's long-term appeal. The deal is also retroactive to cover the income from Jackson's concert film This Is It, although other parts of the Jackson estate are not included in the agreement. The income from the transaction will be used, at least in part, to pay down tens of millions of dollars in debts that Jackson owed.
The Forbes annual list of dead celebrities, called "Dead Celebs," shows that the bet on Jackson is probably a safe one. He ranks third on the list with $90 million in earnings in 2009. Yves Saint Laurent is first with $350 million followed by Rogers & Hammerstein at $235 million. Elvis is fourth at $55 million.
Jackson has regained his popularity but at an awful cost.
See full article from DailyFinance: http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/sony-inks-250-million-michael-jackson-deal/19400865/?icid=sphere_copyright
The US Census
If you haven't already, you should soon be seeing a envelope direct from the US government sitting in your mail box. Don't worry, you haven't done anything wrong it's just the government's once-a-decade population count.
120 million US Census forms are scheduled to arrive in US households today as the government do a head count in order to help divvy up congressional seats and more than $400 billion in federal aid. But government officials, along with private-sector leaders, are keen to point out that the data will be used not only on a federal level, but locally as well. Shorter than previous Censuses, this decade's questionnaire will only include ten questions in an effort to boost lower-than-average mail participation ten years ago.
Fair political representation
The Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution, with the first performed after the America revolution in 1790. Nowadays the Census determines how $400 billion in federal funding is spent each year. Hospitals, schools and roads are examples of infrastructure funding that the Census determines. It helps to know how many new roads need to built, and where they are going to be.
One other primary goal is to divide the 435 seats in the House of Representatives among the states. Because population changes so much as time passes, a census helps to keep things in order and determine if the nation is fairly represented politically. Your state's population in the 2010 Census will determine if it gains, loses or keeps House seats.
Even though it helps to know if you have a larger, stronger House delegation, there is more to it than the simple possibility of losing or gaining a member of Congress.
Growing US apathy toward surveys
The Census is very important to the business world and can have long-lasting implications for how successful a business is. Knowing the demographics of an area helps to determine advertising and marketing strategies, whilst non-profit organisations use the age and income data to examine the specific needs of each community.
The biggest potential obstacle to the Census being successful is the American people. Low mail participation means inaccurate data, which means policies will be affected on both a local and federal level. However, those who forget or just refuse to take part surrender the right complain about policy decisions based on the data.
A fine of $5000 is applicable for those who fail to respond, but that law is very rarely enforced
The AP shrewdly reports that even as it aims high, the Census Bureau predicts that maybe two-thirds of US households will mail in the form. That's because it faces special challenges of growing US apathy toward surveys, residents displaced by a high number of foreclosures, as well as immigrants who have become more distrustful of government workers amid a crackdown on illegal immigration.
On top of all this the logistics of carrying out a survey on this scale are sizeable to say the least, and a hell of a lot of work (and money) goes into making it happen. So, if for nothing else, reply as a means of making all this hard work worth while...