SCIENCE / RELIGION

All posts in the SCIENCE / RELIGION category

An Italian research on Cancer opens new perspectives

Published March 26, 2013 by Tony

Molecule miR-335: a valuable aid against tumor development

Continuing discoveries of 2010, Dr. Roberta Benetti with colleagues at the University of Udine, found that some molecules block the proliferation of the tumor. These cells only attack diseased cells and have therefore targeted as a possible cure. In addition, since these molecules are produced directly by the body, are completely natural and do not have side effects. This discovery could be a key in the treatment of cancer, becoming a viable alternative to chemotherapy or radiation therapy, that have many serious side effects.

The study was published in the renowned journal Cancer Research of the American Association for Cancer Research. A statement of the University of Udine says:
‘In particular, this research has for the first time demonstrated that one of microRNA molecules, precisely the miR-335, is directly responsible for the control, the generation and functions dell’onco-suppressor Rb, gene involved in the protection of the development of tumors. In addition, the study shows that the expression of miR-335 affects directly in balancing the delicate balance of protection against tumor development, because it also strikes on the tumor suppressor p53 through an indirect influence, the effects of two basic proteins known to be deregulated in tumorigenesis.”

The research was conducted with the support of the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC), and with the collaboration of Michael Scarola (PhD student), Stefan Schoeftner (an expert researcher Austrian) and Claudio Schneider, Professor of Biology at the University of Udine and director of the National Laboratory of the Interuniversity Consortium for Biotechnology (CIB).
In a message, Dr. Benetti states: “In terms of therapeutic applicability, the study on miR-335 is still far from clinical trials and none of us has ever dared to say that could replace chemotherapy. The steps to evaluate its effects are very long and we are now experimenting on mice. Of course, we followed up the discoveries of 2010, also deepening its role in stem cells and publishing a recent paper in which we find associated with this new miRNA a new pathway which seems especially active in tumors of germinal origin. We really hope to continue in the right direction but we absolutely are not to the point to be able to do promises.”

That said, we are glad that it’s an Italian research and hoped that these clinical trials really give the results that we are all waiting for years, against this disease to which we are powerless and that for centuries continues to claim millions of victims.

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New frontiers of cosmetic surgery

Published March 26, 2013 by Tony

Youth & Wellbeing have no limit

New fashions and the desire to have a body always youth and perfect has led people to resort more and more to cosmetic or plastic surgery. Obviously, between mammoplasty, facelifts and liposuction, women are the ones who undergo more to surgical procedures and, oddly enough, in recent years have increased also the demands for corrective actions towards the “private parts”.
Compared to 2011, in 2012 there was a 24% increase of the operations to the sexual organs, despite the high costs and risks deriving from such surgeries.
The most common (female) surgical procedures are:

Labioplasty – the reduction of small or big labia that is done for purely aesthetic reasons, in the name of the much-vaunted eternal youth.

Vaginoplasty – An intervention intended to tighten the vagina. It is used especially after childbirth, as a definitive act to treat the symptoms related to the relaxation of the perineal and vaginal canal, to improve its function and sexual activity, but also to give to the partner the feeling of having to deal with a teen-aged vagina.

Vulvar Rejuvenation – The objective of this surgery is to improve the external genitalia appearance. By injection of hyaluronic acid or fat in order to give a certain tone to the vulva. The “rejuvenation” can also interest mound and labia.

Hymenoplasty – Although the reconstruction of the hymen is required by women whose culture imposes the virginity for social or religious reasons, some women make recourse to this kind of surgery for pure ambition.

labiaplasty  vaginoplasty  labioplasty

For men,
instead, operations are primarily aimed at the enlargement or augmentation surgery (phalloplasty) of penis, which increase the length or width of the penis.

penis enlargement  girth enlargement  length and width enlargement

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The likeable Francis I

Published March 15, 2013 by Tony

What is it that makes a new Pope well-accepted?

Pope francis

Why the new Pope Francis immediately hit and has been well accepted?
Much has been said about him, that his opening speech out the Vatican’s balcony liked, because is a Jesuit, or because seems determined and humble. But in my opinion, when for the first time we see an elected Pope, what is most striking is his face and bearing.
This usually is not mentioned, but it happens on every occasion when for the first time we meet someone. Unfortunately, the saying that “we can’t judge a book by its cover“, in these cases is never true, because about the factors of first impression, comes into play various elements that give to this first impression of ours a positive or negative indication.
What most impressed us all looking at this new Pope’s face, was his sympathy, having a face that inspires confidence, as well as happened with Pope John XXIII or with John Paul II.
Whatever one may say, also the “eyes want to be satisfied“, and if we look at the previous Popes, see that all those who had, on the surface, a hard face that limited sympathy or which even gave a sense of discomfort, they did not receive an immediate great benevolence, at least a first glance.
Psychology teaches us this, and unfortunately it’s so.

Look at the (previous Popes) faces below and say, in all honesty, what they inspire you at first glance.

previous Popes

previous Popes

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SEX IS HEALTHY

Published March 15, 2013 by Tony

HEALTH BENEFICTS OF SEX

sex benefits

Some recent studies on sex show that it improves intellectual abilities and relieves headache’s symptoms.
Italian researchers at the University of Pavia, published a study that associates sex with the capabilities of the brain. By the tests conducted on various groups of couples, those who had a more intense sexual activity showed a greater nerve cells growth, which, as we know, is essential for body and mind’s well-being. This shows that frequent sex reduces stress and facilitate the functioning of the brain and thus of the intellect. These results, published in the German newspaper Berlin Zeitung, is related to the increase in prolactin that occurs during sexual activity and that improves cellular oxygenation in the brain.
These data are consistent with other researches linking sexual activity to physical and mental health. Among them, two Australian studies published in the International British Journal of Urology, whereof one showing that regular and numerous ejaculations reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men, and the other that a sexual satisfaction increases vitality and psychological well-being in women.
A healthy sexual activity is also able to relieve, in a partial or total way, the symptoms of headache, also when it comes to migraine or the worst ‘cluster headache’, as a recent study by the Department of Neurology at the University of Munster has demonstrated, after having analyzed the effects of the sexual activity on various forms of headache in 1,000 patients.

But, sex’s benefits do not end there, because other researches has shown that:
it helps to sleep;
activates the immune system and helps to be in shape;
in women decrease the risk of incontinence and defend the vaginal mucous membranes;
oxytocin and beta endorphins produced during sex, limit the action of stress hormones and this helps to keep our skin young and healthy, also protecting from the harmful effects of smoking and sun. A strong sex activity stimulates the production of oils in our body, helping the skin to stay elastic and hydrated;
in men hearty sex protects the heart and arteries due to higher testosterone production;

Is not that enough for you?
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HUMAN VESTIGIALITY

Published March 14, 2013 by Tony

HUMAN BODY EVOLUTION
11 USELESS ORGANS

From the time of prehistoric man on, the human body has evolved continuously and adapted significantly, and today only a few biological traces of our prehistoric ancestors remains in us which, despite almost without any use, are still part of our body. In the context of human evolution, human vestigiality involves characters, such as organs or behaviors, occurring in the human species that are considered vestigial, in other words having lost all or most of their original function through evolution.
Here’s the main ones.

plica semilunaris11. Plica semilunaris
In the inner part of the eye, the two eyelids form a small indentation called “inner canthus”, occupied by a small red protuberance, the “caruncula lachrymalis”, just external to the small and vertical fold of conjunctiva (that we can see), called “plica semilunaris.” This small fold of tissue near the tear duct, is a vestigial remnant of the nictitating membrane (persisting through evolution) which is drawn across the eye for protection, but performing no function in man. Despite reduced in humans, it represents a third eyelid present and fully functional in many  animals such as birds, reptiles, and fish.

prehistoric man10. Body Hair
Without a doubt, once human being was much more hairy. Up to about 3 million years ago, our body was almost completely covered by hair. Since “Homo erectus” onwards, the different capacity of perspiration (through a better body thermo- regulation) slowly led body to lose hair, now useless.

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paranasal_sinuses09. Paranasal sinuses
These are a group of four paired air-filled spaces that surround the nasal cavity above the eyes and present in a variety of animals. The human biological role of the sinuses is debated, but a number of possible functions have been proposed among which increasing resonance of the voice or providing a buffer against blows to the face.

Adenoids08. Adenoids
They are a mass of lymphatic tissue situated posterior to the nasal cavity whose function is to be a trap for bacteria, and for this prone to hypertrophy and infection. Normally, in children the adenoids are bigger, often removed to avoid constant infections and  lack of airflow, though their size reduce with age. Useful to protect prehistoric man, over time this gland has lost importance for the improved hygienic conditions of life.

tonsil07. Tonsils
The term most commonly refers specifically to the mass of lymphatic material situated at either side at the back of the human throat. They represents the immune system’s first line of defense against ingested or inhaled foreign pathogens, and because of this tonsillitis are very frequent during youth, obliging their surgical removal. However, the fundamental immunological roles of tonsils have yet to be understood. Tonsils tend to reach their largest size near puberty, and they gradually undergo atrophy thereafter. As for the adenoid, their presence is not indispensable.

coccyx06. Coccyx
The tailbone or coccyx is the remnant of a lost tail. All mammals have a tail at one point in their development; in humans it only is present for a period of 4 weeks, during embryogenesis. The coccyx, located at the end of the spine, has lost its original function in assisting balance and mobility when it was a real tail.

muscles of the auricula05. Erector muscle of hairs / muscles of the auricula.
Diverse muscles in the human body are thought to be vestigial, either by virtue of being greatly reduced in size compared to homologous muscles in other species, by having become principally tendonous, or by being highly variable in their frequency within or between populations. Humans and other primates however have ear muscles that are minimally developed and non-functional, yet still large enough to be identifiable. Among them the arrectores pilorum, and the muscles of the auricula. The Erector muscle of hairs are small muscles attached to hair follicles in mammals whose contraction causes the hairs to stand on end – known colloquially as goose bumps. Useful in many animals, they have lost their utility for humans. Humans and other primates have ear muscles that are minimally developed and non-functional which in other animals give, for instance, the chance to move the ears in various directions.

wisdom Teeth04. Wisdom teeth
These teeth are vestigial (third) molars that human ancestors used to help in grinding down plant tissue. The skulls of human ancestors had larger jaws with more teeth, used to help chew down foliage and compensate the lack of ability to digest the cellulose. As human diets changed, smaller jaws were naturally selected, but the third molars, or “wisdom teeth,” still commonly develop in our mouths. Currently, wisdom teeth have become useless and even harmful to the extent where surgical procedures are often done to remove them.

appendix03. Appendix
The vermiform appendix is a vestige of a small organ that in ancestral species had digestive functions. Darwin argued that it was helpful to digestion during the years in which primitive man ate more plants and vegetables, rich in starch. Therefore, its usefulness is diminished with the evolution, when we started eating more digestible foods.

hymen02. Hymen
It is to say the membrane that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening. Some scientists view the function of hymen in young girls as a protective membrane that protects the reproductive system from infection in the embryonic period and protect the fertility of young girls before mating. Anyhow, this is another organ of which human being wouldn’t feel the lack.

nipples01. Male Nipples
In the anatomy of mammals, a nipple, is a mammary papilla whose physiological purpose is to deliver milk to the infant, produced in the female mammary glands during lactation. The presence of nipples in male mammals is a genetic architectural by-product of nipples in females, best explained as a genetic correlation that over time persists through lack of a better or different evolution of the male.

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THE PAPAL CONCLAVE

Published March 9, 2013 by Tony


ELECTIONS OF THE NEW POPE

conclave

After the political elections of a week ago, and after the resignation given by Ratzinger on 28 February, now it’s time for the nomination of the new Pope
Thus, after the Pope traveled by helicopter to reach Castel Sant’Angelo, the first encounters between the various cardinals began.
Before the Pope went away, the famous “Fisherman’s Ring“, the papal ring of Pope Benedict XVI that he wore, has been canceled. It is no longer expected its destruction, as tradition demanded until the death of John Paul II, the Apostolic Constitution drafted by John Paul II specifies that the ring can only be Papal Fisherman's Ringstreaked. The person in charge of destroying the “Anulus Piscatoris” is the cardinal Camerlengo, who runs one of the most symbolic ceremonies of the Church with a silver hammer and a chisel, putting now a simply mark and the ring is then preserved in the Vatican archives.
The dismissed Pope can only bring away his personal effects, all the things closely related to his office must remain in the Vatican, including clothes as the camauro (cap of red velvet and ermine), the mozzetta (the skirt), the baleen (the liturgical vestment), any kind of miter and even the slippers.
In the meantime, however, the Vatican is not without government. In fact, according to the canon law’s norms, some figures can manage the ordinary administration of the Church of Rome. In the absence of the Pope only the secretary of state and heaads of department lose their tasks, while all the others remain in office. They have the task of guiding the transition and to monitor the election of his successor.
The Camerlengo is the most important figure after the Pope, because has the task of chairing the seat vacant until the new appointment. Currently he is the cardinal of bishops’ order who plays this role. His functions are varied, from verifies that the pope is actually died,  to the removal of the Fisherman’s Ring, as well as the management of  the Church’s daily affairs.
The Dean of the College of Cardinals is the president of the College of Cardinals who is responsible for convening the Conclave.
The Protodeacon is the title given to the cardinal deacon appointed for the longestblack smoke time. He is responsible for announcing the new Pope
The Cardinal Archpriest of St. Peter is, finally, one of the four cardinals who remains in office after the death or resignation of the Pope.
The Conclave has already taken the first steps through the general congregations of the college, where cardinals dialogue and exchange viewpoints, and this eighth congregation decided that the Conclave for the election of the new Pope will begin Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
Everything is held in the strictest confidence. While assembled in conclave, a Latin word for “locked by key”, nobody knows what they say. We only know the rules. In order to vote, a cardinal must have less than 80 years.
As always, the Conclave will be held in the Sistine Chapel closed for the occasion, and in the afternoon of Tuesday, 12  the cardinals will go in, and probably the first vote and the resulting smoke by the chimney visible from St. Peter’s Square.
white smokeThe first day of the conclave, the cardinals vote only once. In the case of black smoke (produced burning voting cards, notes and documents of the vote by adding a special substance that makes it black), in the following days they vote twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon. 77 votes are needed to ascend to the throne of Peter, because they now are 115 cardinals to vote. A cardinal is elected Pope when he gets two-thirds of the votes. After the 34th polling, the ballot takes place between the two cardinals who got more preferences so far.
When a cardinal gets a qualified majority, the Cardinal Dean – presently the Archbishop Angelo Sodano – asks the newly elected whether he accepts and what is the name he intends take. After that, the vote cards are burnt in the stove that will produce white smoke (once wet straw was used, now a particular chemical). A cardinal may also be excommunicated unless he complies with the rules of the conclave.
To avoid any external influence, the cardinals are hosted in the close hospice of Santa Marta where they can not have any contact with the outside. There is no radio, TV or phone line.

nuntiovobis

The eyes of Catholics will be focused on the fireplace. When the smoke is white, the cardinal proto-deacon will look down from the balcony of St. Peter and officially will announce to the world:

“Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum! Habemus Papam!

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