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Bearing Sons Leaves Male DNA Traces in Mom’s Brain

Giving a whole new meaning to “pregnancy brain,” a new study shows that male DNA — likely left over from pregnancy with a male fetus — can persist in a woman’s brain throughout her life. Although the biological impact of this foreign DNA is unclear, the study also found that women with more male DNA in their brains were less likely to have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease — hinting that the male DNA could help protect the mothers from the disease, the researchers say.

During mammalian pregnancy, the mother and fetus exchange DNA and cells. Previous work has shown that fetal cells can linger in the mother’s blood and bone for decades, a condition researchers call fetal microchimerism. The lingering of the fetal DNA, research suggests, may be a mixed blessing for a mom: The cells may benefit the mother’s health — by promoting tissue repair and improving the immune system — but may also cause adverse effects, such as autoimmune reactions.

One question is how leftover fetal cells affect the brain. Researchers have shown that fetal microchimerism occurs in mouse brains, but they had not shown this in humans. So a team led by autoimmunity researcher and rheumatologist J. Lee Nelson of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, took samples from autopsied brains of 59 women who died between the ages of 32 and 101. By testing for a gene specific to the Y chromosome, they found evidence of male DNA in the brains of 63 percent of the women. (The researchers did not have the history of the women’s pregnancies.) The male DNA was scattered across multiple brain regions, the team reports online today in PLoS ONE.

Because some studies have suggested that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (A.D.) increases with an increasing number of pregnancies, the team also examined the brains for signs of the disease, allowing them to determine whether A.D. correlated with the observed microchimerism. Of the 59 women, 33 had A.D. — but contrary to the team’s expectation, the women with A.D. had significantly less male DNA in their brains than did the 26 women who did not have A.D.


Paul Krugman- Not The Election They Were Expecting

A brief, mostly subjective note: This really isn’t looking like the election anyone expected. Obviously it’s not the election Romney and the Republicans expected and wanted; but it’s also looking very different from what Democrats expected.

What Romney & Co. expected was a simple rejection of Obama because of the weak economy. As Greg Sargent often reminds us, this isn’t how it has played at all. On one side, voters tend to react to recent trends, not the absolute level — and the economy has gotten better in some ways over the past year, though obviously not by a lot. On the other, people do remember the crisis of 2008, which they still blame on Bush, and remain willing to cut Obama substantial slack.

But as the polls move strongly in Obama’s direction (yes, I know, it’s all a liberal conspiracy that somehow even includes Fox News), it’s clear at least to me that there’s more going on.

The conventional wisdom — which I too bought into — was that Democrats were going to support Obama, but grudgingly and without much enthusiasm. There had been too many disappointments; the golden aura of 2008 was long gone. Meanwhile, Republicans would show their usual unity and discipline, and at best it would be Obama by a nose.

Instead, the Republicans appear to be in a shambles — while the Democrats seem incredibly united, and increasingly, dare I say it, enthusiastic. (Mark Blumenthal sees this in the polls, but it’s also just the impression you get.)



Britain's Hague Meets Ecuador's Top Diplomat in U.S. on Assange

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - British Foreign Minister William Hague sought on Thursday to allay his Ecuadorean counterpart's concerns about the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying Britain's extradition law has "extensive human rights safeguards."

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June to avoid extradition to Sweden to face rape and sexual assault allegations.

His lawyers and Ecuador's government fear that could lead to extradition to the United States, where he could face charges stemming from WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare Washington's powerbroker maneuvers across the globe.

Hague met with Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly to discuss the case.



Herbert Lom, Frustrated Boss of Inspector Clouseau, Dies at 95

Source: NYT

Herbert Lom, left, with Peter Sellers in 1976 on the set of "The Pink Panther Strikes Again."


Published: September 27, 2012
Herbert Lom, the handsome and versatile Czech-born actor who could play Napoleon Bonaparte or a witch hunter with equal aplomb but who was perhaps best known as Peter Sellers’s frustrated boss in the “Pink Panther” franchise, died on Thursday. He was 95 and lived in London.

His son Alec confirmed his death, The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Lom gained more attention as a reliable character actor than as a suave leading man, although he was both. His deep-set, mesmerizing eyes made him the perfect villain in a series of minor films in the early 1940s, and he went on to excel after World War II and in the 1950s and ’60s in small roles in a variety of genres. In a career of more than five decades he appeared in more than 100 movies and television shows.

He was born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru in 1917to upper-class parents in Prague. (Various sources give his date of birth as Jan. 9 and Sept. 11), He became a theater actor and made one movie in his native Czechoslovakia before emigrating to London in 1939, just before the Nazis invaded (and shedding more than 40 letters from his name along the way). His parents survived and later joined him in London, but his girlfriend died in a concentration camp.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/arts/herbert-lom-frustrated-boss-of-inspector-clouseau-dies-at-95.html

RIP, You gave the world a lot of fun.

State prosecutor arrested for 'biting man's leg in drunken brawl at adult store'

A state prosecutor has been charged after biting a man's leg during a drunken fracas at an adult store, authorities said.
Sarah Naughton, an assistant state's attorney for four years, was facing charges of misdemeanor battery and criminal trespass after the attack on Saturday night.

Naughton and a male companion both appeared to be intoxicated, according to police, and were asked to leave shortly after they entered Taboo Tabou in Chicago.

However, 31-year-old Naughton became belligerent and bit a manager. According to authorities, her friend, Bradley Gould, shoved the worker and made 'menacing gestures'.

The store owner took the manager to a nearby hospital for treatment and he was later released.

Police arrived and placed the lawyer in handcuffs. She began wailing loudly that she couldn't feel her hands because they were 'too tight'.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2208920/Prosecutor-Sarah-Naughton-arrested-biting-man-adult-store-tells-police-handcuffs-tight.html

Phoenix Man tests police terrorism response

A Phoenix man dressed his nephew in a sheet and sent him into a busy street with a fake grenade launcher, filming the masked teenager pointing the weapon at passing cars to see how long it took police to respond, authorities said.

Michael Turley was arrested Monday, nearly two months after the bizarre film was posted to YouTube. He posted US$5000 bond and was released.

In the film, the narrator, who police identified as Turley, said he wanted to see how long it took authorities to respond to a terrorist incident. The introduction to the video mentions the July 20 theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that killed 12.

‘‘Given this event, I wanted to run a little test here in Phoenix, Arizona,’’ Turley said.

‘‘I want to find out how safe I really am, and I want to know the response time of the Phoenix police department.’’


Vampire squid are sea's garbage disposals

Despite their name, vampire squid are not deep-sea bloodsuckers. In fact, new research finds these mysterious creatures are garbage disposals of the ocean.

Using long, skinny tendrils called filaments, vampire squid capture marine detritus hovering in the water -- from crustacean eyes and legs to larvae poop -- then coat it in mucus before chowing down, according to the new findings.

The discovery is a first for cephalopods, which include squid, octopus and cuttlefish, said study researcher Henk-Jan Hoving.

"It's the first record of a cephalopod that doesn't hunt for living prey," Hoving, a postdoctoral scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California, told LiveScience.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/09/26/vampire-squid-are-sea-garbage-disposals/?intcmp=features

High-frequency trading insanity

In today's stock market, there are two types of trader.

One, the traditional investor, places a buy order based on a belief that a company will prosper and that its price will rise, or a sell order based on the opposite belief.

The other, the high-frequency trader, deploys massive computer capacity and complex algorithms to buy and sell individual stocks multiple times in a fraction of a second, all in search of micro-profits with each trade. This trader cares not a whit about a stock's fundamentals.

In a sane world, high-frequency trading would be a minor specialty at best. But in the bizarro world that Wall Street has become, such activity now makes up the majority of all trades. It is manufacturing risk while siphoning money and talent that growth-producing sectors of the economy need.

It has also sparked a technological arms race aimed at shaving milliseconds off each trade. New, more direct fiber optic cable routes have been laid between major trading cities, and now there are even serious proposals to position drone aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean to speed transmission times between New York and London.



Thursday TOON Roundup 4- the rest







Middle East


Thursday TOON Roundup 3- Refs

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