Friday, April 20, 2007

Bank your Body

Freezing your physical assets - from skin to eggs - is a controversial new trend in anti-ageing. So will you invest? CLAIRE COLEMAN investigates more:

Remember a few years ago when your skin was clearer, your body was thinner and you could run up five flights of stairs without breaking into a sweat?

And now imagine how seductive it would be if someone offered you the chance to freeze time, halt the ageing process and always look and feel as great as you did at the age of 21.

Until recently, the possibility of doing anything remotely resembling this would have been considered science fiction.

Now advances in medical technology mean that increasing numbers of us can, to a certain extent, if not stop time, at least freeze our assets at the point at which they are most valuable so that we can return to them when we need, literally, an injection of youth and vigour in the future.

Banking your body is the latest trend in anti-ageing and with the huge advances being made in cell collection, storage and replication, it looks set to grow and grow over the next decade. And the implications, for everything from our skin and our hair, to our fertility, are staggering.

As we age, the quantity and quality of collagen in our skin degenerates, resulting in skin that is less toned and prone to wrinkles. Injecting new collagen can counteract these problems and, while collagen can be obtained from various sources - including cows, pigs and even dead bodies - many people prefer the thought of autologous collagen (reinjection of one's own collagen).

in the USA some will separate it from other tissues after one type of operation (liposuction/breast reduction) and store it for use in the patient's face in the future. Dr Thierry Vidal of London's Skin Health Spa thinks that such procedures will be commonplace in the future.

there's no doubt that in the future it could be quite common for young people to store samples of collagen and other tissues that degrade with age, with a view to using them in an anti-ageing process in later life.'


Maintaining baby soft skin forever might be a real possibility in the future. A product currently available called ReCell or CellSpray uses a sample of the patient's own skin to create a sprayable skin solution that contains all the skin cells necessary for healthy skin growth and can then be applied to a wound or damaged area of skin.

The company is also able to replicate the skin cells in a lab, should more cells be required. At the moment the technology is predominantly used on burns patients but, according to Matthieu Leclerc-Chalvet of Clinical Cell Culture, the company behind ReCell:

'The cosmetic applications for this treatment can be combined with something like laser resurfacing or dermabrasion to reduce the risks of scarring and improve healing.'


Although fat has its drawbacks as a filler for wrinkles (it tends to be reabsorbed by the body and so needs regular top ups), fat transfer, where fat is removed from one area of the body and then re-injected into another part, is a relatively commonplace procedure.

One significant advantage is that the body's own fat cells are less likely to cause an allergic reaction or be rejected by the body than a synthetic or foreign substance. In most instances, surgeons will remove and re-inject the fat at the same time.

However it is possible to freeze fat so that a patient can have top-ups of their own cells over a longer period of time, a popular practice in the US.

Danya Hoenig, a medical assistant who works with her husband, Los Angeles plastic surgeon Jonathan Hoenig explains, 'We have a clinical-grade freezer here which stores fat at minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

We will keep fat samples for around a year, defrosting small amounts at a time so it can be used for cheek augmentation and similar facial procedures.'


The idea of taking out parts of your body that you don't want and then recycling them in ways that you do has a certain satisfying symmetry about it. And fat is not the only substance to be used in this way.

It has been reported that some cosmetic surgeons in the US are storing varicose vein tissue, that has been removed from a patient's legs, and subsequently using the collagen it contains to inject it into their face as a filler.


Help may be at hand for those concerned about hairloss, or hair that thins with age. While hair transplants are relatively common procedures at the moment, where hair follicles are removed from one part of the scalp and reimplanted in another area, new technologies which allow scientists to replicate hair follicles in the lab could mean that, in theory, young healthy hair follicles could be removed from a small, inconspicuous area at the nape of the neck, multiplied in the laboratory and then stored to be reimplanted at strategic locations, either to thicken existing hair or where baldness has set in.

'While it's not happening at the moment, storing hair follicles in case you suffer from hair loss in later life could certainly be a possibility in the future," says Consultant Plastic Surgeon Jim Frame, of the Capio Springfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex.

He also believes this sort of hair grafting could also come in handy when performing facelifts. 'In a lot of cases, when a facelift is performed, the hairline moves and this can look unnatural,' explains Mr Frame. 'Reimplanting hair follicles to recreate a more natural hairline could be a solution to this.'


In a society where we're increasingly having children later in life, be it due to careers or simply not finding the right man, the prospect of putting healthy, young eggs on ice is very attractive.

But while sperm banking is nothing new, egg freezing is much more complicated, less effective and, therefore, less common. However, new technologies are currently being worked on that could change all that within 12 months.

Dr Fishel estimates that while the majority of egg freezing cases Care Fertility sees are women who wish to freeze eggs for medical reasons (such as before having cancer treatment), around one in three cases are for lifestyle reasons.

And he believes that as the new techniques are introduced this trend will become more commonplace.

'If I had a daughter in her mid-20s who was on a career path and not considering conception until her mid to late 30s, I would certainly suggest that she went through a couple of cycles of egg stimulation with a view to freezing around 30 healthy eggs.'

Dr Fishel says he would not be surprised if egg freezing became routine.

'When you think about the cost of endless cycles of IVF for older women, plus the elevated risks of Down's Syndrome when using older eggs, in a society where women are increasingly having children later, freezing eggs is, frankly, a sensible thing to do.'


One of the other alternatives to egg freezing is a technique called ovarian cryopreservation where, pre-treatment cancer patients have slivers of their ovaries removed and frozen, and then subsequently reimplanted after treatment and, once transplanted, begin to release eggs and work in the same way as undamaged ovaries.

This is a procedure that Kylie Minogue underwent prior to her cancer treatment. But a company called Alcor in the US lets you go one step further and freeze your entire body. Believers in cryogenics are convinced that, one day in the future, the technology will be available to bring them back to life once more.

To be accurate, the process Alcor uses is not freezing, but vitrification, where more than 60 per cent of the water in the body's cells is replaced with protective chemicals which means that rather than actually freezing and forming ice crystals which can destroy body tissues, it is just deep cooled and then suspended in a tank of liquid nitrogen.


Stem cell banking hit the news recently as Richard Branson announced the latest Virgin venture, Virgin Health Bank, a company that offers new parents the opportunity to preserve cells from the blood of their newborn child's umbilical cord. Stem cells are the cells from which all other cells form - everything from the teeth and skin to bone and the heart.

Although the research is still in its infancy, many in the industry believe that stem cells are the future of medicine. 'Stem cells literally have the ability to turn back time,' says medical scientist, Dr Cuross Bakhtiar of London's Harley Street Cosmetic.

'They have the potential to regenerate blood cells damaged by heart attacks and even improve sight damaged by retinal degradation.'

Dr Donald Gibb, an obstetrician in private practise in London's Harley Street, has seen the number of parents looking to bank stem cells increase over the past few years.

'For several years now I've made my patients aware of the possibility of banking stem cells when their child is born and I would say roughly 20 per cent of them do so.' He believes this number could well increase further.

abridged read it all here >>

Mothers In Jail

Mothers in jail; Former detainee speaks, by Rebecca Sullivan

Diana Delgado spent almost six years in and out of state prison and county jail, but her real punishment began when she was release in January and her eight year old daughter refused to live with her after she was released.

Women like Delgado are filling jails and prisons throughout the country, state and county at an alarming rate. Nationally, the number of women in prisons has grown 6.3 percent annually since 1990. In Cook County Jail, the number of women detained increased by 89 percent between 1993 and 1999. Latino women accounted for the sharpest increase at Cook County Jail, their numbers doubling between 1993 and 1999.

Drug offenses are the main reason why women 'mothers' are locked up....l
The jail population in the United States is expected to reach 2 million US makes up 5% of the total global population, it now accounts for 25% of the world's prisoners.

Studies estimate that 50% of elderly American are victims of financial explotation while only 4% to 15% case are ever reported and rarely prosecuted . Financial swindles are one of the fastest growing forms of abuse of the elderly according to NCEA , the other 85% to 96% cases of elder financial abuse victims that are never reported go totally without protection.

March 28,2007 AP attacks on a 101-year-old Queens woman as she walked to church and on an 85-year-old woman beaten by the same mugger a half hour later. The brutal attacker could face only a misdemeanor, punishable up to a year in jail.

"The way that society doesn't value these people is reflected in how we have been investigating and prosecuting these cases," said Deputy Prosecutor PageUlrey.

"It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped." -Hubert H. Humphrey (1911 - 1978)

When Laws Aren’t Enforced, Innocent People Die.

Va. Tech gunman sent material to NBC, was declared a danger to himself and others in 2005.University Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said his officers confronted Cho in late 2005 after two women complained separately that he had harassed them in person, through phone calls and with instant messages.

After the second incident in December 2005, Cho’s roommate warned police he might be suicidal, prompting them to issue a “temporary detention order” and send him to a nearby mental health facility for evaluation, Flinchum said.Between his first and second bursts of gunfire, the Virginia Tech gunman mailed a package to NBC News containing what authorities said were images of him brandishing weapons and a video of him delivering a diatribe about getting even with rich people.

The package included digital images of him holding weapons and a manifesto that “rants against rich people and warns that he wants to get even,” according to a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case.MSNBC said that the package included a CD-ROM on which Cho read his manifesto.One of his former teachers, poet Nikki Giovanni, said she had insisted Cho be removed from her class in 2005 because he intimidated other students by photographing them and writing obscene, violent poetry. “There was something mean about this boy,” she told CNN. “There was a real mean streak.”

Once again, this time in a campus filled with young men and women military age, a lone bully seemed to have been able to go on a rampage without anyone trying to actively stop him. What did the students and faculty do? They either cowered behind furniture or locked their door. He, of course, went on to shoot the students next door.

Once again, as Bill Bennet noted, heavily armed men were seen swarming OUTSIDE assessing the situation!As this behavior took place on Holocaust memorial day, it is not surprising that the one man who said “Never again” was a 76 year old professor, a holocaust survivor. He did the best he could, blocked the door with his body and told his students to flee. .... it would have been better if had he told them to attack.

Of course, standing up to bullies is no longer the expected even of trained fighters. How can one expect young people at a university to behave more courageously than British marines confronting Iranian bullies? We better. For as Gandhi expected, in the current atmosphere bullies are multiplying and the price of continuing to go as sheep to slaughter is getting higher and higher by the day.

You may find more information about Professor Librescu at his new Wikipedia entry. I was quite happy to find that, because the killer also has one of his own, of course. There is still a little balance left in the world when one of the good people is not forgotten while we have to weather the all-too-typical media frenzy surrounding the evil-doer.

We can not let evil be the center of our world, nor allow great deeds to be forgotten. R.I.P, Professor Librescu.

article abridged - courtesy of Foehammer's Anvil

"Shaikh, Abu Mus’Ab Al-Virgini”Cho Seung Hui wrote "Ishmael Ax" on his arm, signed his package to NBC "A. Ishmael," and criticized Christianity in his video message. Do these things make him a jihadist? No. There is plenty of evidence that he was a deeply disturbed young man, full of rage and murderous fantasies, but none at this point to indicate that he had any actual connection to or interest in Islam or jihad.However, that did not stop some jihadists on Islamic forums from celebrating his deed as if he were one of their own, and even dubbing him "Abu Mus’Ab Al-Virgini," after the late Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi. The blogger Basharee Murtadd caught posts on two Arabic-language Islamic forums; one has been taken down, but the other is still there.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Apologize, Appease then Apologize Again

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An official Iranian news agency said on Friday one man among the 15 British sailors and marines seized in the Gulf last week had admitted to entering Iranian waters illegally and apologized to the Iranian people.

The symbolic power of pictures is representative of the West moral decay.

We see a picture of a female British Marine shouldering a powerful high tech weapon, but not allowed to use it due to strict rules of engament and then we see a apologizing female with her brothers in arms wearing a Muslim headgear sitting on the floor eating bread crumbs apologizing for what she/they have done.

Gone are the days symbolized by the soldier that under intense pressure spits in the interrogator eye and says" You will never break me."

We might as well face it the sailors are representative of our society, they appease and lie and willingly wear the enemies garb in order to survive because that's what we must also do.

Allow the Imans to hold prayer meetings before boarding and terrorize other boarding passengers , lest we violate their civil right and they sue us. “CAIR will be filing a complaint with relevant authorities in the morning over the treatment of the imams...

But we must remove the Ten Commandments from the Courthouse steps, and remove prayer from school , lest we offend anyone and expose ourselves to a lawsuit.

As a society we must appease, lie, and accommodate in order to survive.

In February, the 5th Fleet's then-commander, Vice Adm. Patrick Walsh, said he had assured Arab allies that Washington was trying to avoid "a mistake that boils over into war" with Iran.

Admiral Patrick Walsh message when he said that should War break out in Iran it would be a 'mistake' that we must avoid was not lost to our enemies. Meaning the exercises are just that a Huge 'SHOW.'

ABOARD THE USS JOHN C. STENNIS - American warplanes screamed off two aircraft carriers Tuesday as the U.S. Navy staged its largest show of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

F/A-18 fighter jets roared off the Stennis' flight deck all day, mounting a dozen rapid-fire training sorties against imaginary enemy ships and aircraft.

While we play war games and burn up thousands of millions of gallons of oil driving up 'real' prices and while our leaders are fighting imaginary enemies , the enemy is building real bombs and fighting real wars and taking real prisioners and making real plans.

Our imaginary enemies might be more real than our politicians are leading us to believe.