tiny dancers, protein makes hearts young again, travel by millay

Tiny dancers 1919

Tiny dancers 1919

Stem Cell Institute find protein that reverses some effects of heart aging in mice

Two Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers — a stem cell biologist and a practicing cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital — have identified a protein in the blood of mice and humans that may prove to be the first effective treatment for the form of age-related heart failure that affects millions of Americans.

When the protein, called GDF-11, was injected into old mice, which develop thickened heart walls in a manner similar to aging humans, the hearts were reduced in size and thickness, resembling the healthy hearts of younger mice.

Even more important than the implications for the treatment of diastolic heart failure, the finding by Richard T. Lee, a Harvard Medical School professor at the hospital, and Amy Wagers, a professor in Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, ultimately may rewrite our understanding of aging.

It seems like I remember reading last year that men and women had reached parity in average life expectancy in the U.S. of 75 years. That is an average, one of the fastest growing age cohorts in the U.S. is people over 75. We have a lot of people die young for various reasons – bad health choices in general, poor eating habits, smoking and high levels of alcohol consumption. What would you do with your newly invigorated heart, should this research make its way to human treatment. If the average moved up to say 125, how would you live your life differently, how would you plan for your future with another fifty years.

George Sterling, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Bliss Carman. 1914

George Sterling, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Bliss Carman. 1914.

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.

Travel by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Corporate Cowards Divert Shareholder Funds into “Dark Money”

If corporations are people, as the Supreme Court pretends, they certainly are loudmouths, constantly telling us how great they are and spreading their names everywhere.

Amazingly, though, these corporate creatures have suddenly turned demure, insisting that they don’t want to draw any attention to themselves. That’s because, in this case, corporations are not selling, they’re buying — specifically, trying to buy public office for their pet political candidates by funneling millions of corporate dollars through such front groups as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In turn, the fronts use the money to air nasty attack ads that smear the opponents of the pro-corporate candidates.

Why do corporations need a middleman? Because the ads are so partisan and vicious that they would appall and anger millions of customers, employees and shareholders of the corporation. So, rather than besmirch their own names, the corporate powers have meekly retreated behind the skirt of Republican political outfits like the Chamber.

But don’t front groups have to report (at least to election authorities) who’s really behind their ads, so voters can make informed decisions? No. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s infamous Citizen United edict in 2010, such groups can now pour unlimited sums of corporate cash into elections without ever disclosing the names of their funders. This “dark money” channel has essentially established secret political campaigning in America.

Conservatives and libertarians – good shepherds of the Constitution, so they keep yelling, have no problem with the concept of money equaling free speech. Use most of your money to survive, to take care of the kids and nothing left over to buy some speech, to make your voice heard over the shrill noise of the conservative-libertarian media. Tough luck.