Is Genetics the Lead Role for Adolescent Crime Victims! Is this part of Human Nature, or Human Nature doesn’t exist?

(ScienceDaily (May 20, 2009)Genes trump environment as the primary reason that some adolescents are more likely than others to be victimized by crime, according to groundbreaking research led by distinguished criminologist Kevin M. Beaver of The Florida State University.The study is believed to be the first to probe the genetic basis of victimization.

“Victimization can appear to be a purely environmental phenomenon, in which people are randomly victimized for reasons that have nothing to do with their genes,” said Beaver, an assistant professor in FSU’s nationally top-10-ranked College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “However, because we know that genetically influenced traits such as low self control affect delinquent behavior, and delinquents, particularly violent ones, tend to associate with antisocial peers, I had reasons to suspect that genetic factors could influence the odds of someone becoming a victim of crime, and these formed the basis of our study.”

Beaver analyzed a sample of identical and same-sex fraternal twins drawn from a large, nationally representative sample of male and female adolescents interviewed in 1994 and 1995 for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. “Add Health” interviewers had gathered data on participants that included details on family life, social life, romantic relationships, extracurricular activities, drug and alcohol use, and personal victimization.

The data convinced Beaver that genetic factors explained a surprisingly significant 40 to 45 percent of the variance in adolescent victimization among the twins, while non-shared environments (those environments that are not the same between siblings) explained the remaining variance. But among adolescents who were victimized repeatedly, the effect of genetic factors accounted for a whopping 64 percent of the variance.

“It stands to reason that, if genetics are part of the reason why some young people are victimized in the first place, and genetics don’t change, there’s a good chance these individuals will experience repeat victimization,” Beaver said.

“It is possible that we detected this genetic effect on victimization because it is operating indirectly through behaviors,” Beaver said. “The same genetic factors that promote antisocial behavior may also promote victimization, because adolescents who engage in acts of delinquency tend to have delinquent peers who are more likely to victimize them. In turn, these victims are more likely to be repeatedly victimized, and to victimize others.”

Thus, write Beaver and his colleagues, victims of crime are not always innocent bystanders targeted at random, but instead, sometimes actively participate in the construction of their victimization experiences.

“However, we’re not suggesting that victimization occurs because a gene is saying ‘Okay, go get victimized,’ or solely because of genetic factors,” Beaver said. “All traits and behaviors result from a combination of genes and both shared and non-shared environmental factors.”

And environmental factors can make a difference, he noted. The social and family environment in an adolescent’s life may either exacerbate or blunt genetic effects — a phenomenon known in the field of behavioral genetics as a “gene X environment interaction.”

Co-authors are criminology graduate students Brian Boutwell and J.C. Barnes of Florida State and Jonathon A. Cooper of Arizona State University.

Journal reference:

  1. Beaver et al. The Biosocial Underpinnings to Adolescent Victimization: Results From a Longitudinal Sample of Twins. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2009; DOI: 10.1177/1541204009333830
Adapted from materials provided by Florida State University.
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Is influenza A (H1N1) as fatal as the 1957 pandemic?

ScienceDaily (May 12, 2009) Early findings about the emerging pandemic of a new strain of influenza A (H1N1) in Mexico are published in the journal Science.

Researchers from the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, working in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and public health agencies in Mexico, have assessed the epidemic using data to the end of April. Their key findings are as follows:

  • The data so far is very consistent with what researchers would expect to find in the early stages of a pandemic.
  • The researchers’ best estimate is that in Mexico, influenza A (H1N1) is fatal in around 4 in 1,000 cases, which would make this strain of influenza as lethal as the one found in the 1957 pandemic. The researchers stress that healthcare has greatly improved in most countries since 1957 and the world is now better prepared.
  • The epidemic of influenza A (H1N1) is thought to have started in Mexico on 15 February 2009. The data suggests that by the end of April, around 23,000 people were infected with the virus in Mexico and 91 of these died as a result of infection. However, the figures are uncertain – for example, some mild cases may have gone unreported. The numbers infected could be as low as 6,000 people or as high as 32,000 people.
  • The uncertainty around the numbers of people who have been infected with influenza A (H1N1) in Mexico means that the case fatality ratio (CFR) of 0.4% (4 deaths per 1000) cannot be definitely established. The CFR is in the range of 0.3% to 1.5%, but at this stage the researchers believe that 0.4% is the most likely.
  • For every person infected, it is likely that there will be between 1.2 and 1.6 secondary cases. This is high compared to normal seasonal influenza, where around 10-15 percent of the population are likely to become infected. However, it is lower than would be expected for pandemic influenza, where 20-30 percent of the population are likely to become infected.
  • In an outbreak in an isolated village called La Gloria, Mexico, children were twice as likely to become infected as adults, with 61% of those aged under 15 becoming infected, compared with 29% of those over 15. This may suggest that adults have some degree of immunity against infection, because of having been previously infected with a related strain of influenza, or it may mean that children are more susceptible to infection because they interact much more closely together, for example in school, than adults.

Professor Neil Ferguson, the corresponding author of the new research from the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, said: “Our study shows that this virus is spreading just as we would expect for the early stages of a flu pandemic. So far, it has been following a very similar pattern to the flu pandemic in 1957, in terms of the proportion of people who are becoming infected and the percentage of potentially fatal cases that we are seeing.

“What we’re seeing is not the same as seasonal flu and there is still cause for concern – we would expect this pandemic to at least double the burden on our healthcare systems. However, this initial modelling suggests that the H1N1 virus is not as easily transmitted or as lethal as that found in the flu pandemic in 1918,” added Professor Ferguson.

Journal reference:

  1. Christophe Fraser, Christl A. Donnelly, Simon Cauchemez, William P. Hanage, Maria D. Van Kerkhove, T. Déirdre Hollingsworth, Jamie Griffin, Rebecca F. Baggaley, Helen E. Jenkins, Emily J. Lyons, Thibaut Jombart, Wes R. Hinsley, Nicholas C. Grassly, Francois Balloux, Azra C. Ghani, Neil M. Ferguson, Andrew Rambaut, Oliver G. Pybus, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, Celia M Apluche-Aranda, Ietza Bojorquez Chapela, Ethel Palacios Zavala, Dulce Ma. Espejo Guevara, Francesco Checchi, Erika Garcia, Stephane Hugonnet, Cathy Roth The WHO Rapid Pandemic Assessment Collaboration. Pandemic Potential of a Strain of Influenza A (H1N1): Early Findings. Science, 11 May 2009 DOI: 10.1126/science.1176062
Adapted from materials provided by Imperial College London, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Female brain responds more actively to food! Why?

Female brain responds more actively to food. North American study explains greater obesity among women.

The women’s brain responds more actively when exposed to food than men, why women are more obese than men, showed a U.S. study published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, led by researchers Gene-Jack Wang, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Addiction and co-author of the discovery published by the National Academy of Sciences, says that women have the least capacity men to suppress hunger, which may explain the fact that there is more obesity among the female gender.

The researchers performed brain monitoring of the 13 women and ten men in fasting, when they found a different signal in the brain of women when exposed to their preferred food. Even using the technique of cognitive inhibition, used to suppress the thought of food and hunger, the brain responds to food of women remained active, while the man fell.

“The difference of gender is somewhat surprising and the nutritional needs may be responsible for this,” said Nora Volkow. He added: “The fact that the traditional role of women is to provide food for their children may be a stimulus in the brain of women to consume foods when available.”

Eric Stice, expert on eating disorders, described the discovery as provocative, saying that the difference may be related to the difference in estrogen and hormones between men and women. In 2006, 35.5 percent of North American women were obese, compared with 33.3 percent of men, according to data centers of control and prevention of diseases in the United States.

Data from the study

Title: Evidence of gender differences in the ability to Inhibit brain activation elicited by food stimulation

Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online on 21 January 2009

Authors: Gene-Jack Wang, Nora D. Volkow, Frank Telang, Millard Jayne, Yeming Ma, Kith Pradhan, Wei Zhu, Christopher T. Volkow, Frank Telang, Millard Jayne, Yeming Ma, kithara Pradhan, Wei Zhu, Christopher T. Wong, Panayotis K. Wong, Panayotis K. Thanos, Allan Geliebter, Anat Biegon, Joanna S. Thanos, Allan Geliebter, Anat Biegon, Joanna S. Fowler. Fowler.

Once Upon a Time in a Pale Blue Dot

Serious Investigation Results Show What Really Happened in 9/11

As in the article “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe”

Authors: Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge,  Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley and Bradley R. Larsen

Excerpt Paragraphs from Introduction:

The destruction of three skyscrapers (WTC 1, 2 and 7) on September 11, 2001 was an immensely tragic catastrophe that not only impacted thousands of people and families directly, due to injury and loss of life, but also provided the motivation for numerous expensive and radical changes in domestic and foreign policy. For these and other reasons, knowing what really happened that fateful day is of grave importance.

The collapses of the three tallest WTC buildings were remarkable for their completeness, their near free-fall speed their striking radial symmetry and the surprisingly large volume of fine toxic dust that was generated.

sem-titulo1The Figure above illustrates one of the numerous tests performed on the samples collected from “ground zero”
Fig. (22) Applying a small torch to a minute red chip (left), followed a few seconds later by ejection of material, producing a horizontal orange streak running toward the operator’s hand (right). (Frames from video of this flame/ignition test).

Last Paragraph of Conclusion:

Based on these observations, we conclude that the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material.

Get the full article for free here

One of the Authors Steven Jones

(use condron.us to find other interesting blogs)

Could Nanotechnology Make An Average Candy Into Health Food?

European food companies already use nanotechnology in consumer products, but few volunteer the information to consumers, said Dutch food scientist Frans Kampers.


He is among the panelists gathered in Chicago for the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting symposium “From Donuts to Drugs: Nano-Biotechnology Evolution or Revolution.”

Kampers from Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands will take a look at food science issues in his presentation, “What Nanotechnology Can Do for Your Average Donut.”

“All of us as scientists are being impacted by nano-bioscience and there are many issues. The interdisciplinary aspect is just one of them,” said Rod Hill, a University of Idaho professor and symposium organizer.

The panel includes two graduate students, Jessica Koehne of the University of California, Davis, and Kristina Kriegel of the University of Massachusetts, are working on projects combining, nanotechnology with biology and chemistry.

“On the food side there is greater public resistance to nanomaterials and nanotechnology in food whereas on the biomedical side there is greater public acceptance or less recalcitrance,” Hill added.

His focus on applications, products and processes, and on sensors useful for in food safety and food quality monitoring and in packaging, reflects the wide range of nanotechnology’s use in the food industry, Kampers said.

“The problem I always face is that people do not understand what we are doing with nanotechnology and food,” Kampers said. “Everyone has this vision of nanotechnology being nanoparticles and nanoparticles being risky, so they are very afraid that nanoparticles in food will have an adverse effect on health.”

The promise of nanotechnology, the Dutch scientist said, is that it could allow re-engineering ingredients to bring healthy nutrients more efficiently to the body while allowing less-desirable components to pass on through.

European food scientists use nanotechnology to create structures in foods that can deliver nutrients to specific locations in the body for the most beneficial effects, Kampers said.

“We are basically creating nanostructures in food that are designed to fall apart in your body because of digestion so in the end there will not be nanoparticles,” Kampers said.

He said there are some researchers studying applications of persistent nanoparticles in food and packaging that he believes could present risks. Use of metal, usually silver, nanoparticles in packaging to slow spoilage could move from the packaging material into the food itself.

“The persistent metal or metal oxide nanoparticles could move into the bloodstream, and research has shown they can migrate into cells or in some cases even into the nucleus of cells,” Kampers said.

“These are the more controversial applications of nanotechnology,” Kampers added. “More research is necessary to understand the kinetics and dynamics of these particles before large-scale applications in food are developed. At the moment, these types of nanoparticles are rarely used in food products.”

Chemists Create Bipedal, Autonomous DNA Walker

ScienceDaily (Apr. 6, 2009) — Chemists at New York University and Harvard University have created a bipedal, autonomous DNA “walker” that can mimic a cell’s transportation system. The device, which marks a step toward more complex synthetic molecular motor systems, is described in the most recent issue of the journal Science.

dna

Two fundamental components of life’s building blocks are DNA, which encodes instructions for making proteins, and motor proteins, such as kinesin, which are part of a cell’s transportation system. In nature, single strands of DNA—each containing four molecules, or bases, attached to backbone—self-assemble to form a double helix when their bases match up. Kinesin is a molecular motor that carries various cargoes from one place in the cell to another. Scientists have sought to re-create this capability by building DNA walkers. Earlier versions of walkers, which move along a track of DNA, did not function autonomously, thereby requiring intervention at each step. A challenge these previous devices faced was coordinating the movement of the walker’s legs so they could move in a synchronized fashion without falling off the track. To create a walker that could move on its own, the NYU and Harvard researchers employed two DNA “fuel strands.” These fuel strands push the walker (blue) along a track of DNA, thereby allowing the walker and the fuel strands to function as a catalytic unit. The forward progress of the system is driven by the fact that more base pairs are formed every step—a process that creates the energy necessary for movement. As the walker moves along the DNA track, it forms base pairs. Simultaneously, the fuel strands move the walker along by binding to the track and then releasing the walker’s legs, thereby allowing the walker to take “steps”. The track’s length is 49 nanometers—if the track was one meter long, an actual meter, enlarged proportionally, would be the approximate diameter of the earth. For a video demonstration of the walker, go to http://www.nyu.edu/public.affairs/videos/qtime/biped_movie.mov. The walker was created in the laboratory of NYU Chemistry Professor Nadrian Seeman, one of the article’s co-authors. The paper’s other authors were Tosan Omabegho, a doctoral candidate at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Ruojie Sha, a senior research associate in the NYU Chemistry Department.