Stem Cells: Where Are We Going?

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We run too hard, we fall down, we’re sick — all of this puts stress on the cells in our bodies. But in what’s being called a breakthrough in regenerative medicine, researchers have found a way to make stem cells by purposely putting mature cells under stress.

Two new studies published Wednesday in the journal Nature describe a method of taking mature cells from mice and turning them into embryonic-like stem cells, which can be coaxed into becoming any other kind of cell possible. One method effectively boils down to this: Put the cells in an acidic environment.

“I think the process we’ve described mimics Mother Nature,” said Dr. Charles Vacanti, director of the laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and senior author on one of the studies. “It’s a natural process that cells normally respond to.”

Both studies represent a new step in the thriving science of stem cell research, which seeks to develop therapies to repair bodily damage and cure disease by being able to insert cells that can grow into whatever tissues or organs are needed. If you take an organ that’s functioning at 10% of normal and bring it up to 25% functionality, that could greatly reduce the likelihood of fatality in that particular disease, Vacanti said.

This method by Vacanti and his colleagues “is truly the simplest, cheapest, fastest method ever achieved for reprogramming [cells],” said Jeff Karp, associate professor of medicine at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. He was not involved in the study.

Scientists grow minibrains from stem cells

Before the technique described in Nature, the leading candidates for creating stem cells artificially were those derived from embryos and stem cells from adult cells that require the insertion of DNA to become reprogrammable.

Stem cells are created the natural way every time an egg that is fertilized begins to divide. During the first four to five days of cell division, so-called pluripotent stem cells develop. They have the ability to turn into any cell in the body. Removing stem cells from the embryo destroys it, which is why this type of research is controversial.

Researchers have also developed a method of producing embryonic-like stem cells by taking a skin cell from a patient, for example, and adding a few bits of foreign DNA to reprogram the skin cell to become like an embryo and produce pluripotent cells, too. However, these cells are usually used for research because researchers do not want to give patients cells with extra DNA.

The new method does not involve the destruction of embryos or inserting new genetic material into cells, Vacanti said. It also avoids the problem of rejection: The body may reject stem cells that came from other people, but this method uses an individual’s own mature cells.

“It was really surprising to see that such a remarkable transformation could be triggered simply by stimuli from outside of the cell,” said Haruko Obokata of the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Japan in a news conference this week.

The process is called STAP, which stands for “stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency.” Karp estimates that the method is five to 10 times faster than other means of reprogramming cells.

Have a taste of the world’s first stem cell burger

Researchers used mice to study the STAP cell phenomenon. They genetically altered the mice donating stem cells to “label” those cells with the color green. For instance, they modified mice such that their cells would light up green in response to a particular wavelength of light.

The scientists exposed blood cells from these genetically altered mice to an acidic environment. A few days later, they saw that these cells turned into the embryonic-like state and grew in spherical clusters.

Scientists put the cell clusters into a mouse embryo that had not been genetically modified. It turned out, the implanted clusters could form tissues in all of the organs that the researchers tested. The scientists knew that the cells came from the original mouse because they turned green when exposed to a particular light.

Besides modifying acidity, researchers also stressed the cells in other ways, such as lowering the oxygen environment and disrupting the cell membrane. Increasing acidity was one of the most effective methods of turning mouse blood cells into STAP cells.

There are, of course, some caveats.

For now, the STAP cell procedure has only been demonstrated in cells from young mice. The effectiveness in humans, and the risks, are unknown.

Researchers have not yet shown how STAP embryonic-like stem cells compare with bona fide embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells, Karp said.

Also, although the study was “rigorous” and “well-controlled,” it did not demonstrate exactly why the stress on the cells caused them to become STAP cells, Karp said.

As with everything in science, more research is required to confirm the findings and learn more about the implications.

Vacanti hopes the process could get tested clinically in humans within three years. He noted that induced pluripotent stem cells are already being explored in Japan in humans and the same “platforms” could be utilized for STAP cells.

STAP cells also have an additional property that embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells do not: They can become placental cells. Scientists can manipulate them to contribute to tissues of either the embryo or the placenta.

What therapeutic purpose growing more placenta could serve, Vacanti isn’t sure — unless, that is, you wanted to create an embryo and bring it to term.

Cloning stem cells: What does it mean?

But that’s not the goal of this research. Vacanti and colleagues want to explore possible ties to cancer from the STAP cell process; it could potentially help to model the process by which cells become cancerous and explore if there is a way to reverse the process.

Stem cell research as a field has been growing at “lightning speed,” Karp said.

New reprogramming approaches to stem cells are emerging all the time, he said, and this one in particular “looks incredibly promising.”

Source: CNN

The 10 Most Filling Foods For Weight Loss

If you were to describe The Perfect Food, it might go something like this: healthful, delicious, bigger than a morsel and filling enough to fight hunger for hours. “Foods that promote satiety”—a feeling of lasting fullness—”do exist,” insists Dr. David Katz, founder of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. What makes some grub extra satisfying? “Fiber and protein can help,” says Barbara Rolls, author of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet. Getting more bang for your bite matters, too: Low-energy-density foods, which yield big portions for few calories, “allow you to eat more without gaining weight,” Rolls says. Want some of that? Make room for these secret-weapon picks.

Baked potato

The potato has been unfairly demonized—it’s actually a potent hunger tamer. In a study that measured the satiating index of 38 foods, including brown rice and whole-wheat bread, people ranked boiled potatoes highest, reporting that they felt fuller and ate less two hours after consuming them. Though potatoes are often shunned because they’re considered high in carbohydrates, they shouldn’t be. Whether baked or boiled, they’re loaded with vitamins, fiber and other nutrients. Result? You get steady energy and lasting fullness after noshing on them.

Feel even fuller: Eat baked and boiled tubers skin-on to get more fiber for just 160 calories a pop.

Eggs

A study from Saint Louis University found that folks who ate eggs for breakfast consumed 330 fewer calories throughout the day than those who had a bagel. “Eggs are one of the few foods that are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids that your body can’t make itself,” says Joy Dubost, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Once digested, those amino acids trigger the release of hormones in your gut that suppress appetite.”

Feel even fuller: Don’t discard the yolks—about half an egg’s protein lives in those yellow parts. Adding vegetables to a scramble boosts its volume and fiber content for few extra calories (an egg has 78, and a cup of spinach just 7).

Bean soup

“Soups have a high water content, which means they fill your stomach for very few calories,” says Rolls. Broth-based bean soups, in particular, contain a hefty dose of fiber and resistant starch—a good carb that slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream—to make that full feeling really stick. “Once in the stomach, fiber and water activate stretch receptors that signal that you aren’t hungry anymore,” Rolls says. All this for a measly 150 calories per cup.

Feel even fuller: Resist the cracker pack on the side in favor of a bigger soup helping. Beans are starchy, satisfying and caloric enough on their own, Rolls says. Hate soup? Throw lentils, black-eyed peas or kidney or navy beans into a vinegar-based salad.

Greek yogurt

Harvard researchers examined the eating habits of 120,000 people for 20 years and found that yogurt was the single best food for shedding pounds: Over time, people who downed more of the protein-packed stuff lost pounds without trying. Meanwhile, a Nestlé Nutrition Institute study review found that consuming dairy proteins increases satiety, reduces food intake and keeps blood sugar steady. “Greek yogurt, which is strained to remove liquid whey, contains double the protein and less sugar than regular yogurt,” Dubost says.

Feel even fuller: Top yogurt with fibrous foods like raspberries (4 grams of fiber per half cup) or a cereal such as Kashi Go Lean Crisp Cinnamon Crumble (9 grams per three quarters of a cup).

Apples

Apples are one of the few fruits that contain pectin, which naturally slows digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness, according to a study in Gastroenterology. In fact, people who ate an apple as part of a meal felt more satiated and ate less than those who consumed a calorically equivalent amount of juice and applesauce. “Whole apples take a long time to eat for very few calories,” says Susan Roberts, professor of nutrition at Tufts University. Your body has more time to tell your brain that you’re no longer hungry. That means you can eat lots of this low-energy-density, high-satiety fruit and avoid feeling deprived while losing weight, adds Roberts.

Feel even fuller: Add apple chunks to oatmeal or salad, or slices to a turkey-on-whole-wheat sandwich.

Popcorn

This movie-night fave is a low-energy-density food—for 90 calories, you could eat 3 cups of air-popped corn but just a quarter cup of potato chips. “Popcorn takes up more room in your stomach, and seeing a big bowl of it in front of you tricks you into thinking that you’re eating more calories and that you’ll feel full when you’re finished,” Rolls says.

Feel even fuller: Sprinkle on some red pepper. In a recent Purdue University study, people who added a half teaspoon of the spice to a meal felt less hungry.

Figs

A great natural cure for a sweet tooth, fresh figs have a dense consistency and sweet flesh that’s high in fiber (each 37-calorie fig packs about a gram), which slows the release of sugar into the blood, preventing the erratic high caused by cookies or cake.

Feel even fuller: Halve and add protein, like a teaspoon of goat cheese and a walnut.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal’s filling force comes from its high fiber content and its uncanny ability to soak up liquid like a sponge. When cooked with water or skim milk, the oats thicken and take more time to pass through your digestive system, meaning you’ll go longer between hunger pangs.

Feel even fuller: Sprinkle almonds on top of your bowl. “The nuts pack protein and fiber and contain unsaturated fats that can help stabilize insulin levels,” regulating blood sugar, Katz says.

Wheat berries

Move over, quinoa. Wheat berries, which are whole-wheat kernels, contain one of the highest amounts of protein and fiberß per serving of any grain—6 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. “Protein triggers the hormone ghrelin to tell our brain that we are satisfied,” Roberts explains, “and fiber activates appetite-suppressing gut hormones.”

Feel even fuller: Do what celeb chef Ellie Krieger, does: Toss wheat berries with apples, nuts and other diet-friendly foods to make a super tasty salad (that’s her recipe at right).

Smoothies

While most beverages don’t satisfy hunger very well, drinks blended full of air are an exception: They cause people to feel satiated and eat less at their next meal, according to a Penn State University study. Just be sure you’re not whipping your smoothie full of sugary, caloric ingredients like fruit juices or flavored syrups, which will negate the health benefits.

Feel even fuller: Put ice and fat-free milk or yogurt in a blender, add in fruit and give it a whirl. Try strawberries, which are extremely low in energy density—they’re 92 percent water!—and bananas, which are loaded with resistant starch.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

Within Temptation Reveal Release Details + Guest Musicians for New Album ‘Hydra’

Within Temptation have announced that they will release their sixth studio album, ‘Hydra,’ on Jan. 31. In addition, the Dutch band has revealed some unexpected surprises in the form of guest appearances on the disc.

Known for creating their own brand of symphonic metal, Within Temptation have a few surprises in store on ‘Hydra.’ The guest list includes collaborations with Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, former Killswitch Engage frontman Howard Jones and perhaps the most surprising of them all – hip-hop artist Xzibit. The set also includes the recently released track ‘Paradise (What About Us?)’ featuring former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen.

Xzibit joins forces with Within Temptation on a track called ‘And We Run,’ a song described by frontwoman Sharon Den Adel as an anthem about how to live your life. “He’s rapping at full force on this song, it’s really heavy,” says Adel. “Xzibit brings a new element to our music that we’ve never had before! It’s a new cross-over and we love it!”

Jones’ contribution comes on ‘Dangerous,’ one of the heavier tracks on the disc. “I always loved Howard’s voice,” shares Adel. “He makes the song even heavier than it already is. That song is one of my favorite songs on the record and one of the fastest we’ve ever written. It has the most bass drums we’ve ever used, too, and a very fast riff which we doubled with synths. It’s not a typical synthesizer, though — it’s distorted like a guitar, and it’s very aggressive.”

‘Hydra’ is currently available for pre-order in two different luxury formats – a digital premium version and a deluxe box set. The digital premium version also contains a handful of cover tunes including Within Temptation’s versions of Imagine Dragons’ ‘Radioactive’ and Lana del Ray’s ‘Summertime Sadness.’ Get full details on the album, as well as the pre-order info, at Within Temptation’s official website.

‘Hydra’ Digital Premium Album Track Listing:

1. ‘Let Us Burn’
2. ‘Dangerous’ (feat. Howard Jones)
3. ‘And We Run’ (feat. Xzibit)
4. ‘Paradise (What About Us?)’ (feat. Tarja)
5. ‘Edge Of The World’
6. ‘Silver Moonlight’
7. ‘Covered By Roses’
8. ‘Dog Days’
9. ‘Tell Me Why’
10.’’Whole World Is Watching’ (feat. Dave Pirner)
11. ‘Radioactive’ (originally performed by Imagine Dragons)
12. ‘Summertime Sadness’ (originally performed by Lana del Ray)
13. ‘Let Her Go’ (originally performed by Passenger)
14. ‘Dirty Dancer’ (originally performed by Enrique Iglesias)
15. ‘And We Run’ (evolution track)
16. ‘Silver Moonlight’ (evolution track)
17. ‘Covered By Roses’ (evolution track)
18. ‘Tell Me Why’ (evolution track)
19. ‘Paradise (What About Us?) ‘(feat. Tarja) music video (exclusive to iTunes premium version)

‘Hydra’ Deluxe Box Set:

-’Hydra’ 18-track album including bonus tracks in the form of a media book with a hot foil print cover, featuring a 100-page booklet consisting of unique photos
-Double gatefold black vinyl version of the album including bonus tracks
-Instrumental version of the entire album
-Songbook with sheet music of the songs of the album
-’Hydra; guitar pick
-Packaged in an especially designed LP-sized box

Watch a Preview Clip of Within Temptation’s ‘Hydra’:

So who is excited?

The World’s Top 10 Thinnest Houses

Originally posted on The top 10 of Anything and Everything!!!:

The World’s Top 10 Thinnest Houses

The World’s Top 10 Thinnest Houses

I am not a rich person, but I am a happy one. I have a great family and a roof over my head, for me that is more than I could have asked for. But one day I hope to buy my own house! One that I can call my own, one that is my very own piece of land! Given that I am rather tall maybe I should have own one of these houses….

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40-Year-Old Man Has 21 Miley Cyrus Tattoos

Some real fans go crazy sometimes to show their love to their favorite artists,  bands, and idols. Everyday, you meet a lot of people with tattoos for Pink Floyd, The Beatles, etc. And such things are getting more “okay” with time.

However, as as more “adults” show off their tattoos for the old artists, teenagers are more declined to ink their bodies with the now-famous artists and singers. For example, it would be completely fine to see a teenage boy with a tattoo for Lady Gaga, or a girl who has inked her body with a picture for Justin Beiber or One Direction. But the 40-year-old Carl McCoid decided to over do it.

Not only McCoid has inked his body with tattoos for Miley Cyrus, he has 21 tattoos!

Some of the tattoos that McCoid has are a huge “BANGERZ” written across his back, a big “M” inked at the bottom of his back, and the star’s name written in gothic typeface on his chest.

And his latest tattoo is a black and white portrait of Miley.

What do you think? Feel free to comment.

Blessed Be )O(

 

Apple Coffee Cake Recipe

Hello!!
Guess who’s back!After a period of around one month with no posts, Zeus DreamCaster is back to work, fun, and blogging!
Today, and to celebrate the come back, I am going to give away the recipe for a very delicious dessert. The Apple Coffee Cake <3
It is easy to prepare and very delicious. Mouthwatering ;)
Here is the recipe :)

Ingredients

Streusel Topping

2/3 cup Original Bisquick® mix

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup cold butter or margarine

Coffee Cake

2 cups Original Bisquick® mix

2/3 cup milk or water

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 egg

2 medium cooking apples, peeled and thinly sliced (2 cups)

2 tablespoons chopped nuts

Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 to 3 teaspoons milk

And here are the directions:

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch square pan with cooking spray. In smal bowl, mix 2/3 cup Bisquick mix, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until crumbly; set aside.
  2. In medium bowl, stir together 2 cups Bisquick mix, 2/3 cup milk, the granulated sugar and egg; beat vigorously 30 seconds with spoon. Spread half of batter in pan. Arrange apple slices on batter; sprinkle with half of streusel topping. Spread with remaining batter; sprinkle with remaining topping. Sprinkle with nuts.
  3. Bake about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on cooling rack 20 minutes. In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth enough to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over warm coffee cake.

Try it and tel me how it tastes like ;)

Bon appetite :)

Blessed Be )O(

Source: Apple Coffee Cake – Betty Crocker

Underwater Sculptures That Will Amaze You

I was surfing the net when I came across these beautiful images for underwater sculptures that will awe you!

Truly beautiful and majestic :)

A starfish attracted to the beauty of this statue representing a nun

A starfish attracted to the beauty of this statue representing a nun

Look at all those faces!

Look at all those faces!

So what do we have here? I can't really tell

So what do we have here? I can’t really tell

Faith, even at the bottom of the sea!

Faith, even at the bottom of the sea!

Eating hamburgers and watching TV is also being done under seas!

Eating hamburgers and watching TV is also being done under seas!

 

I will call this one the Seashells Guy \m/

I will call this one the Seashells Guy \m/

Inspiration for writing is also present down there!

Inspiration for writing is also present down there!

And this is the sculpture putting the final touches on his masterpiece.

And this is the sculpture putting the final touches on his masterpiece.

Stay tuned for more awesome pics from all over the globe!

Blessed Be )O(