Mother’s diet modifies her child’s DNA

Courtesy of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:

A mother’s diet before conception can permanently affect how her child’s genes function, according to a study published in Nature Communications.

The first such evidence of the effect in humans opens up the possibility that a mother’s diet before pregnancy could permanently affect many aspects of her children’s lifelong health.

Researchers from the MRC International Nutrition Group, based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and MRC Unit, The Gambia, utilised a unique ‘experiment of nature’ in rural Gambia, where the population’s dependence on own grown foods and a markedly seasonal climate impose a large difference in people’s dietary patterns between rainy and dry seasons.

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Through a selection process involving over 2,000 women, the researchers enrolled pregnant women who conceived at the peak of the rainy season (84 women) and the peak of the dry season (83 women). By measuring the concentrations of nutrients in their blood, and later analysing blood and hair follicle samples from their 2-8 month old infants, they found that a mother’s diet before conception had a significant effect on the properties of her child’s DNA.

While a child’s genes are inherited directly from their parents, how these genes are expressed is controlled through ‘epigenetic’ modifications to the DNA. One such modification involves tagging gene regions with chemical compounds called methyl groups and results in silencing the genes. The addition of these compounds requires key nutrients including folate, vitamins B2, B6 and B12, choline and methionine. Continue reading

BrainHealth Research Shows Strategic Thinking Strengthens Intellectual Capacity

Courtesy of Brain Health:

Strategy-based cognitive training has the potential to enhance cognitive performance and spill over to real-life benefit according to a data-driven perspective article by the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. The research-based perspective highlights cognitive, neural and real-life changes measured in randomized clinical trials that compared a gist-reasoning strategy-training program to memory training in populations ranging from teenagers to healthy older adults, individuals with brain injury to those at-risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

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“Our brains are wired to be inspired,” said Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHeath and Dee Wyly Distinguished University Chair at The University of Texas at Dallas. “One of the key differences in our studies from other interventional research aimed at improving cognitive abilities is that we did not focus on specific cognitive functions such as speed of processing, memory, or learning isolated new skills. Instead, the gist reasoning training program encouraged use of a common set of multi-dimensional thinking strategies to synthesize information and elimination of toxic habits that impair efficient brain performance.”

The training across the studies was short, ranging from 8 to 12 sessions delivered over one to two months in 45 to 60 minute time periods. The protocol focused on three cognitive strategies — strategic attention, integrated reasoning and innovation. These strategies are hierarchical in nature and can be broadly applied to most complex daily life mental activities. Continue reading

Quantitative Easing – The Final End Game

Courtesy of Sandeep Jaitly @ Fekete Research.com:

What we are currently witnessing with the various ‘quantitative easing’ procedures across the world is the culmination of a process that began many decades ago in the 1920s shortly after the establishment of the Federal Reserve System.

The Federal Reserve System was set up in 1914 to run in a similar fashion to the London gold bill market. The charter informs us that the purpose of the System is to:

“…furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper, to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes…”

At its founding, the assets of the system were limited to commercial paper, i.e. self- liquidating gold bills and gold, to the strict exclusion of government securities – i.e. government bonds redeemable in gold (via the fiat ‘dollar’ name intermediary.) This was thrown to the wind during World War I. The ‘Liberty Bond’ series was initiated in April 1917 with a $5bn issue, followed by a $3bn issue in October. In 1918, April and September saw $3bn and $6bn issues respectively. The first four ‘Liberty Bond’ issue amounted to $17bn (approximately 25,000 tonnes gold.) When the repayment of these bonds within the given schedules looked more unlikely, they started appearing on the System’s balance sheet and were thus ‘accommodated.’

Bills being discounted from the Member banks started to dry up in the early 1920s reducing the Reserve banks’ revenue, as the ‘Liberty Bonds’ were rolling off. So in the first half of 1922, they purchased government securities from the open market. This didn’t have the intended effect – as soon as government securities were purchased, any commercial bank paid off their loans to the Reserve banks further – increasing the Reserve banks’ income. But, the commercial banks were in a theoretically more advantageous situation for lending on.

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Continue reading

What Libertarianism Is Not

Courtesy of Logan Albright @ Mises.org:

As libertarianism begins to gain in popularity and seep into the youth culture, there is increasing pressure from certain strains of the movement to attempt to modify the theory and transform it into something that it is not.

To begin with, let us examine what is meant by the term “libertarian,” what its limits are, and what it attempts to explain. Libertarianism is exclusively a political philosophy describing the legitimate use of force in society. It claims that humans have the right of self-ownership, and that theft, assault and other forms of aggression violate this right, except in the case of legitimate self-defense against an aggressor. This is where the philosophy begins and ends, and although some libertarians dispute the circumstances under which force is acceptable (the Night Watchman state versus no state at all), it still has the legitimate use of force as its core.

It is not an economic philosophy, although its conclusion tends to support free market capitalism due to the lack of coercion inherent in such a system. Still, there is no dictum against collective ownership so long as it is voluntary. This is what anarcho-communism is all about.

Similarly, libertarianism has little to say about politics except for what follows directly from its central precept. Taxes are immoral because they involve coercion. Democracy is no better than dictatorship if it imposes the will of the many onto the few by force. And so on.

But because libertarianism has become fashionable among a certain segment of the population, and because we wish to expand the movement and convert others to it, there has been a push to expand this simple definition into a more holistic ethical code encompassing every aspect of life, almost akin to a religion. We are told that non-discrimination based on superficial characteristics like race and sex is an inherently libertarian position. It is not. So long as discrimination does not violate anyone’s rights of self-ownership, the theory simply has nothing to say about it (although we can observe that a capitalistic system is unlikely to encourage such behavior due to the way it tends to impact profits.) Continue reading

Barclays to create bad bank

Courtesy of The FT:

Barclays will next week announce the creation of a bad bank in a bid to transform its struggling investment banking operations, which were dealt a further blow on Tuesday with the departure of the highly regarded head of its US business.

The move to exit parts of its shrinking fixed income business and its lossmaking European branch network will be announced as part of next week’s strategic update to investors, according to people familiar with the plan. The internal bad bank will be run by Eric Bommensath, the co-head of its investment bank.

The news comes as fears intensify that the departure of Skip McGee as head of Barclays Americas will trigger an exodus of bankers acquired when the UK bank took over Lehman Brothers’ US operations during the financial crisis.

Analysts and rival bankers said his departure was a blow for Antony Jenkins, chief executive, who defended last year’s higher bonus pool in spite of falling profits as necessary to avoid a “death spiral” of bankers quitting to seek a bigger pay cheque.

The bank said Mr McGee’s departure was a result of the vast regulatory burden it faces in the US. The Texas-born dealmaker was part of the Lehman team that negotiated the sale of its US operations to Barclays in 2008 and he has been seen as pivotal in holding together the business.

Mr McGee, 54, is being replaced as head of Barclays Americas on Thursday by Joe Gold, its global head of client capital management, who the UK bank hired out of the ashes of the failed Enron energy trading empire 12 years ago.

Barclays has been under pressure from investors to cut costs and rein in pay levels while coming up with a more coherent strategy for its investment bank, which is failing to generate returns above its cost of capital. Continue reading

Study: Legalizing Medical Marijuana Doesn’t Increase Use Among Adolescents

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Hemp is a wonder material, from paper to cloth, to health to oil to re-inforcing the ground as part of crop rotation to curing cancer. The demon weed will be vilified on all sides but the facts exist, it is a super plant with many advantages over current products and profit generating attributes. Why is it illegal? Corporate interests and control, can’t have a population that is able to provide, cure and live in harmony with oneself now, could we? Courtesy of Steve Elliot @ Hemp.org:

One common refrain from those opposed to medical marijuana is that its legalization would increase use among adolescents, but a new study indicates that’s just not true.

According to the study from Rhode Island Hospital, which compared 20 years of data from states with and without medical marijuana laws, legalizing cannabis for medicinal use did not lead to any increased use among adolescents, reports ScienceDaily. The study is published online and will be in the upcoming print issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

“Any time a state considers legalizing medical marijuana, there are concerns from the public about an increase in drug use among teens,” said Esther Choo, M.D., attending physician in the department of emergency medicine at Rhode Island Hospital. “In this study, we examined 20 years’ worth of data, comparing trends in self-reported adolescent marijuana use between states with medical marijuana laws and neighboring states without the laws, and found no increase in marijuana use that could be attributed to the law.”

“This adds to a growing body of literature published over the past three years that is remarkably consistent in demonstrating that state medical marijuana policies do not have a downstream effect on adolescent drug use, and we feared they might,” Choo said. Continue reading

E.U. Officially Adopts the Bank Depositors Bail-In

Almost a year ago to the day I wrote a piece called Derivatives and the Real World Implications, citing that bail-ins would be coming to the UK. This issue has been picked up by Andy Sutton @ Market Oracle.com, well here’s the proof but not all hope is lost. You can still exchange your worthless pieces of paper and digital 1’s and 0’s for gold and silver. People have foolishly put their faith in government and their ability to manage ‘money’, they have failed us but it is all by design and agenda. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail:

It has now been more than a year since that fateful weekend in the Mediterranean when everything changed. However, like most of the big changes we’ve seen lately, there is a subtlety afoot that somehow results in few noticing. This should surprise no one really. How the world can change in such dramatic ways without any type of mass awakening is a topic more for the psychologists who help pull the strings and the evil they represent than for anyone involved in the analysis of economics and events, but I say the above so that you know you’re not kidding anyone.

Even a year later, the subtlety continues and ignorance abounds. Most still don’t know the ramifications of the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill back in 2010. They take it at its word that it is a consumer protection act, but is nothing of the sort. They’ll reap what they sow. The evidence has been plentiful, the analysis outstanding. There have been countless opportunities for people to learn of the truth. Ours is not to concern ourselves with those who refuse to have their eyes opened, but for those who are seeking knowledge. After all, nobody can fault someone who doesn’t know, but wants to. There are plenty who do, especially in light of the EU’s passage of a new set of bail-in ‘rules’ this week. Much of this was already known and previously agreed to, but there are some more interesting spin-offs and it is definitely worth revisiting. The mere fact that they’re spending so much time prepping for another bank blowup essentially guarantees that one is coming at some point. These things tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies in and of themselves, and when there is so much potential looting and pillaging to be done, all the more so!

We want to state up front that this is an extensive subject and that it is impossible to provide a comprehensive look at all the facets of the emerging truth regarding the bail-in mechanism and the entire associated minutia in a single essay. Our commitment is to dedicate our remaining articles to this topic alone in the hopes of providing a singular source of information on the topic. Continue reading