Thursday, May 23, 2013
From 2006 to 2010, the number of white prisoners doing time for violent crimes fell 1.0%, the number of blacks rose 5.3% and the number of Hispanics jumped 22.3%
Hispanics accounted for about 95% of the increase in prisoners sentenced for violent crimes over this period. Only 16.3% of the U.S. population was Hispanic in 2010. The number of prisoners doing time for murder declined 1.1% from 2006 to 2010. White prisoners fell by 7.8%, Blacks rose 0.3% and the number of Hispanic prisoners rose a whopping 19.7%.
Being a left wing lunatic, Biden actually thinks that this is a good thing.
The first symptoms of major depression may be behavioral, but the common mental illness is based in biology - and not limited to the brain
In recent years some studies have linked major, long-term depression with life-threatening chronic disease and with earlier death, even after lifestyle risk factors have been taken into account. Now a research team led by Owen Wolkowitz, MD, professor of psychiatry at UC San Francisco, has found that within cells of the immune system, activity of an enzyme called telomerase is greater, on average, in untreated individuals with major depression. Telomerase is an enzyme that lengthens protective end caps on the chromosomes' DNA, called telomeres. Shortened telomeres have been associated with earlier death and with chronic diseases in population studies. The heightened telomerase activity in untreated major depression might represent the body's attempt to fight back against the progression of disease, in order to prevent biological damage in long-depressed individuals, Wolkowitz said. The researchers made another discovery that may suggest a protective role for telomerase. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), they found that, in untreated, depressed study participants, the size of the hippocampus, a brain structure that is critical for learning and memory, was associated with the amount of telomerase activity measured in the white blood cells. Such an association at a single point in time cannot be used to conclude that there is a cause-and-effect relationship with telomerase helping to protect the hippocampus, but it is plausible, Wolkowitz said. Remarkably, the researchers also found that the enzyme's activity went up when some patients began taking an antidepressant. In fact, depressed participants with lower telomerase activity at baseline - as well as those in whom enzyme activity increased the most with treatment - were the most likely to become less depressed with treatment. "Our results are consistent with the beneficial effect of telomerase when it is boosted in animal studies, where it has been associated with the growth of new nerve cells in the hippocampus and with antidepressant-like effects, evidenced by increased exploratory behavior," Wolkowitz said. The researchers also measured telomere length in the same immune cells. Only very chronically depressed individuals showed telomere shortening, Wolkowitz said. "The longer people had been depressed, the shorter their telomeres were," he said. "Shortened telomere length has been previously demonstrated in major depression in most, but not all, studies that have examined it. The duration of depression may be a critical factor." The 20 depressed participants enrolled in the study had been untreated for at least six weeks and had an average lifetime duration of depression of about 13 years. After baseline evaluation and laboratory measures, 16 of the depressed participants were treated with sertraline, a member of the most popular class of anti-depressants, the serotonin-selective-reuptake-inhibitors (SSRIs), and then evaluated again after eight weeks. There were 20 healthy participants who served as controls. Wolkowitz's team also studies chronic inflammation and the biochemical phenomenon of oxidative stress, which he said have often been reported in major depression. Wolkowitz is exploring the hypothesis that inflammation and oxidative stress play a role in telomere shortening and accelerated aging in depression. "New insights into the mechanisms of these processes may well lead to new treatments - both pharmacological and behavioral - that will be distinctly different from the current generation of drugs prescribed to treat depression," he said. "Additional studies might lead to simple blood tests that can measure accelerated immune-cell aging."
This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose brains are better at automatically suppressing background motion perform better on standard measures of intelligence. The test is the first purely sensory assessment to be strongly correlated with IQ and may provide a non-verbal and culturally unbiased tool for scientists seeking to understand neural processes associated with general intelligence. "Because intelligence is such a broad construct, you can't really track it back to one part of the brain," says Duje Tadin, a senior author on the study and an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. "But since this task is so simple and so closely linked to IQ, it may give us clues about what makes a brain more efficient, and, consequently, more intelligent." The unexpected link between IQ and motion filtering was reported by a research team lead by Tadin and Michael Melnick, a doctoral candidate in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. In the study, individuals watched brief video clips of black and white bars moving across a computer screen. Their sole task was to identify which direction the bars drifted: to the right or to the left. The bars were presented in three sizes, with the smallest version restricted to the central circle where human motion perception is known to be optimal, an area roughly the width of the thumb when the hand is extended. Participants also took a standardized intelligence test. As expected, people with higher IQ scores were faster at catching the movement of the bars when observing the smallest image. The results support prior research showing that individuals with higher IQs make simple perceptual judgments swifter and have faster reflexes. "Being 'quick witted' and 'quick on the draw' generally go hand in hand," says Melnick. But the tables turned when presented with the larger images. The higher a person's IQ, the slower they were at detecting movement. "From previous research, we expected that all participants would be worse at detecting the movement of large images, but high IQ individuals were much, much worse," says Melnick. That counter-intuitive inability to perceive large moving images is a perceptual marker for the brain's ability to suppress background motion, the authors explain. In most scenarios, background movement is less important than small moving objects in the foreground. Think about driving in a car, walking down a hall, or even just moving your eyes across the room. The background is constantly in motion. The key discovery in this study is how closely this natural filtering ability is linked to IQ. The first experiment found a 64% correlation between motion suppression and IQ scores, a much stronger relationship than other sensory measures to date. For example, research on the relationship between intelligence and color discrimination, sensitivity to pitch, and reaction times have found only a 20% to 40% correlation. "In our first experiment, the effect for motion was so strong," recalls Tadin, "that I really thought this was a fluke." So the group tried to disprove the findings from the initial 12-participant study conducted while Tadin was at Vanderbilt University working with co-author Sohee Park, a professor of psychology. They reran the experiment at the University of Rochester on a new cohort of 53 subjects, administering the full IQ test instead of an abbreviated version and the results were even stronger; correlation rose to 71%. The authors also tested for other possible explanations for their findings. For example, did the surprising link to IQ simply reflect a person's willful decision to focus on small moving images? To rule out the effect of attention, the second round of experiments randomly ordered the different image sizes and tested other types of large images that have been shown not to elicit suppression. High IQ individuals continued to be quicker on all tasks, except the ones that isolated motion suppression. The authors concluded that high IQ is associated with automatic filtering of background motion. "We know from prior research which parts of the brain are involved in visual suppression of background motion. This new link to intelligence provides a good target for looking at what is different about the neural processing, what's different about the neurochemistry, what's different about the neurotransmitters of people with different IQs," says Tadin. The relationship between IQ and motion suppression points to the fundamental cognitive processes that underlie intelligence, the authors write. The brain is bombarded by an overwhelming amount of sensory information, and its efficiency is built not only on how quickly our neural networks process these signals, but also on how good they are at suppressing less meaningful information. "Rapid processing is of little utility unless it is restricted to the most relevant information," the authors conclude. The researchers point out that this vision test could remove some of the limitations associated with standard IQ tests, which have been criticized for cultural bias. "Because the test is simple and non-verbal, it will also help researchers better understand neural processing in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities," says co-author Loisa Bennetto, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.
White tigers are only seen in zoos, but they belong in nature, say researchers reporting new evidence about what makes those tigers white
Their spectacular white coats are produced by a single change in a known pigment gene, according to the study. "The white tiger represents part of the natural genetic diversity of the tiger that is worth conserving, but is now seen only in captivity," says Shu-Jin Luo of China's Peking University. Luo, Xiao Xu, Ruiqiang Li, and their colleagues advocate a proper captive management program to maintain a healthy Bengal tiger population including both white and orange tigers. They say that it might even be worth considering the reintroduction of white tigers into their wild habitat. The researchers mapped the genomes of a family of 16 tigers living in Chimelong Safari Park, including both white and orange individuals. They then sequenced the whole genomes of each of the three parents in the family. Those genetic analyses led them to a pigment gene, called SLC45A2, which had already been associated with light coloration in modern Europeans and in a range of animals, including horses, chickens, and fish. The variant found in the white tiger primarily inhibits the synthesis of red and yellow pigments but has little to no effect on black, which explains why white tigers still show characteristic dark stripes. Historical records of white tigers on the Indian subcontinent date back to the 1500s, Luo notes, but the last known free-ranging white tiger was shot in 1958. That many white tigers were hunted as mature adults suggests that they were fit to live in the wild. It's worth considering that tigers' chief prey species, such as deer, are likely colorblind. Captive white tigers sometimes do show abnormalities, such as crossed eyes, but Luo says that any frailties are likely the responsibility of humans, who have inbred the rare tigers in captivity. With the causal gene identified, the researchers ultimately hope to explore the evolutionary forces that have maintained tigers in both orange and white varieties.
African-American Scott Simon unintentionally dialed 911 while still frothing with rage over a late-night dispute at a Waffle House in Florida. In the recording, Simon is heard saying that he intends to follow the man he was arguing with to his house and shoot him. That man, Nicholas Walker, was indeed shot and killed mere minutes later, while he was pulling his car onto I-95. Simon has been arrested over the May 5, 2013 incident, and while police don't think that he actually killed Walker, he's been charged with first-degree murder because they believe that he orchestrated the hit. "This is a first for me," a police spokesman said. "Criminals say crazy things all the time, but I've never seen anyone call a recorded line."
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
African-American adults living closer to a fast food restaurant had a higher body mass index (BMI) than those who lived further away from fast food, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and this association was particularly strong among those with a lower income
A new study indicates that higher BMI associates with residential proximity to a fast food restaurant, and among lower-income African-Americans, the density, or number, of fast food restaurants within two miles of the home. "According to prior research, African-Americans, particularly women, have higher rates of obesity than other ethnic groups, and the gap is growing," said study leader Lorraine Reitzel, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson. "The results of this study add to the literature indicating that a person's neighborhood environment and the foods that they're exposed to can contribute to a higher BMI." Reitzel said that this is an important population group for researchers to examine because of the health consequences that are associated with obesity among African-Americans including diabetes, cancer and heart disease. "We need to find the relationships and triggers that relate to this population's BMI, as they're at the greatest risk for becoming obese and developing associated health problems," said Reitzel.
Britain: A man thought to be a British soldier has been killed by Islamic terrorists in a horrific attack in broad daylight in London
The Muslim attackers filmed themselves carrying out the killing, and invited stunned bystanders to take photos and video of them posing beside their victim. There is video of one of the Islamic attackers brandishing a blood-stained machete and shouting at bystanders, as onlookers tried to help the slain man. He’s heard saying “I apologize that women had to witness this today, but in our lands women have to see the same.” Judging by the accent of the man speaking in the video, he’s either British born or has spent some years in the country, making it likely that the terrorists were “home-grown,” rather than from outside the country. One of the men said, “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you.” When armed police arrived on the scene (British police officers are not routinely armed), the attackers confronted them with knives and a handgun, and both were shot and wounded. They’re now under guard at London hospitals, and it’s not known at this stage whether they acted alone or are part of a larger plot; however, it’s clear that they had no fear of being killed or captured, and may well have intended to be “martyred.” The attack took place in Woolwich in south-east London. The victim is believed to be a soldier based at the nearby Woolwich barracks, home to elements of the Royal Artillery; he was wearing a T-shirt from the charity Help for Heroes, which raises money for injured British soldiers. One witness said: “These two guys were crazed. They were just animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there.” Both of the Muslim attackers were black.
Widely available in pharmacies and health stores, phosphatidylserine is a natural food supplement produced from beef, oysters, and soy. Proven to improve cognition and slow memory loss, it's a popular treatment for older people experiencing memory impairment. Now a team headed by Prof. Gil Ast and Dr. Ron Bochner of Tel Aviv University's Department of Human Molecular Genetics has discovered that the same supplement improves the functioning of genes involved in degenerative brain disorders, including Parkinson's disease and Familial Dysautonomia (FD). In FD, a rare genetic disorder that impacts the nervous system and appears almost exclusively in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, a genetic mutation prevents the brain from manufacturing healthy IKAP proteins - which likely have a hand in cell migration and aiding connections between nerves - leading to the early degeneration of neurons. When the supplement was applied to cells taken from FD patients, the gene function improved and an elevation in the level of IKAP protein was observed, reports Prof. Ast. These results were replicated in a second experiment which involved administering the supplement orally to mouse populations with FD. The findings are very encouraging, says Prof. Ast. "That we see such an effect on the brain - the most important organ in relation to this disease - shows that the supplement can pass through the blood-brain barrier even when administered orally, and accumulate in sufficient amounts in the brain." Already approved for use as a supplement by the FDA, phosphatidylserine contains a molecule essential for transmitting signals between nerve cells in the brain. Prof. Ast and his fellow researchers decided to test whether the same chemical, which is naturally synthesized in the body and known to boost memory capability, could impact the genetic mutation which leads to FD. Researchers applied a supplement derived from oysters, provided by the Israeli company Enzymotec, to cells collected from FD patients. Noticing a robust effect on the gene, including a jump in the production of healthy IKAP proteins, they then tested the same supplement on mouse models of FD, engineered with the same genetic mutation that causes the disease in humans. The mice received the supplement orally, every two days for a period of three months. Researchers then conducted extensive genetic testing to assess the results of the treatment. "We found a significant increase of the protein in all the tissues of the body," reports Prof. Ast, including an eight-fold increase in the liver and 1.5-fold increase in the brain. "While the food supplement does not manufacture new nerve cells, it probably delays the death of existing ones," he adds. That the supplement is able to improve conditions in the brain, even when given orally, is a significant finding, notes Prof. Ast. Most medications enter the body through the blood stream, but are incapable of breaking through the barrier between the blood and the brain. In addition, the researchers say that the supplement's positive effects extend beyond the production of IKAP. Not only did phosphatidylserine impact the gene associated with FD, but it also altered the level of a total of 2400 other genes - hundreds of which have been connected to Parkinson's disease in previous studies. The researchers believe that the supplement may have a beneficial impact on a number of degenerative diseases of the brain, concludes Prof. Ast, including a major potential for the development of new medications which would help tens of millions of people worldwide suffering from these devastating diseases.
"The students who inherited genetic risk factors from both parents were already 15½ pounds heavier and 2 inches bigger around the waist than those who hadn't. They also had slightly higher fasting glucose levels," said Margarita Teran-Garcia, a University of Illinois professor of food science and human nutrition. In the study, 251 18- to 25-year-olds were tested for risk alleles on the FTO gene as part of the Up Amigos project, a collaboration of scientists at the U of I and the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosί. The researchers are following the 10,000 yearly applicants to the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosί to learn how changes in students' weight, body mass index (BMI), and eating and exercise habits affect their health over time. According to Teran-Garcia, the FTO gene is associated with a predisposition to obesity, increased BMI, and increased waist circumference. These traits can in turn contribute to many health-related problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Of the young adults tested in the study, 15% had inherited the genetic risk from both parents - in other words, they carried two copies of the risk allele. Another 20% had inherited risk from one parent, meaning that they had one copy of the risk allele. Sixty-five percent of the students in the study did not carry the risk allele. "If young people realize early that they have this predisposition, they can fight against it. If they are at risk for obesity, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise is even more important for them," Teran-Garcia said. She noted that 85% of Hispanics in the United States are of Mexican origin.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
A Hispanic couple are headed to prison after pleading guilty to keeping a young niece in the United States illegally as a sex slave
Inez Martinez Garcia, 44, has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term. Her husband, Marcial Garcia Hernandez, 45, was given a 23-years-to-life sentence. Both pleaded guilty to multiple counts of abuse. The Latino couple coerced a relative in Mexico to send their niece to the United States illegally to live with them at their home. The couple promised that they would look after the girl, then 12, and make sure that she went to school. Instead, they forced the girl to have sex with Hernandez and other men for money. When she wasn't being sexually assaulted, they forced her to cook, clean and care for their own three children. She was held captive for 18 months. When the girl refused she was beaten and forced to eat hot peppers. The girl returned to Mexico after police freed her but returned to San Diego County to assist in the prosecution.
A black woman has been charged with trying to poison five family members after one of them refused to share some cheese with her
A statement from the Nash County Sheriff's Office said that 24-year-old Tiara Drake wanted some of a relative's cheese, but the woman refused to share and, told her to get a different kind of cheese out of the refrigerator. The sheriff's office said that Drake awakened before the rest of the family the next morning and used detergent, window cleaner, and a household cleanser to poison the cheese. The rest of the family made breakfast with the cheese and began eating it before one of them determined that it was tainted. Drake has been charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder and jailed under $50,000 bond.
It pays to be an Islamic terrorist: Fort Hood Major shooter Nidal Hasan has collected $278,000 in salary from the military in the years since the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting that took 13 lives
The Defense Department has confirmed the payments and explains that it's powerless to stop them: The Military Code of Justice requires that the Muslim murderer Hasan receive his salary; only a guilty verdict can stop that. This is in stark contrast to the case of now-retired Army Spc. Logan Burnett, who was hit three times in the shooting and has since been fighting the Army for money. The Army labeled the shooting an incident of "workplace violence," and that has big implications: Because it's not using the label "terrorist attack" or describing wounds as "combat related," Burnett and others wounded that day don't receive the same pay and Purple Heart retirement or medical benefits as those injured in combat or in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
Monday, May 20, 2013
White Americans are more likely to see anger in the facial expressions of Barack Obama than non-white Americans are, according to a study from the University of Arkansas
The study showed more than 100 participants – who identified as white, black, native American and Asian – a silent video of Obama's 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner speech and asked them to describe how they thought Obama was feeling based on his facial expressions. White participants were slightly more likely to assign anger to Obama, rating both his smiles and neutral displays as seven points higher on average than non-white participants out of a potential 100 points. University of Arkansas assistant professor Patrick Stewart, who co-authored the study, says that the findings weren't surprising to him. "One of the things that literature out there suggests is we are much better at decoding people within our own ethnicity and their facial displays," he says. "I wouldn't use a term like racism because all groups are 'ingroup focused,'" meaning that they favor the social group with which they identify.
Anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic sentiments are growing in many countries around the world, according to a new US State Department report
Venezuela, Egypt and Iran in particular are singled out for anti-Semitism — the report says that the Egyptian media engages in Holocaust denial and glorification, while the Iranian government regularly denounces Judaism. "Even well into the 21st Century, traditional forms of anti-Semitism, such as conspiracy theories, use of the discredited myth of 'blood libel' and cartoons demonizing Jews continued to flourish," the report says. And across Europe and Asia, discrimination against Muslims is also up, including restrictions on headscarves in schools in India and Belgium, as well as the discrimination of smaller Muslim groups by larger Islamic majorities, such as violence against Shia and Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan.
In New Orleans, 73% of victims had a criminal history. In addition, 46% of the victims had “no gainful employment,” while 30% were of unknown employment, according to a DOJ report. Half of homicide victims were under the age of 27. Of known homicide offenders, 97% are black, and 56% were not employed, with 27% of unknown employment. Also, 83% of known suspects had criminal histories. Whites are 31% and blacks are 66% of New Orleans' population. Some sections of New Orleans have the same life expectancy as that found in sub-Saharan African nations such as Cameroon and Angola.