Dr. Collins Testified Before The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee


Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH (National Institutes of Health), in his testimony, outlined what he intends to do with the very generous funds for the NIH that have been included in President Obama’s budget.

One of the major concerns he spoke about was the strides made in the treatment of cancer.  The quote below brought to my mind, “Why couldn’t this same research be applied to ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)?  According to Dr. Collins, researchers have discovered a way to prevent the cancer cells from getting through the body’s natural immune system.

Our immune system has T-cells to stop and reject foreign cells; however, these same cells need to be told when not to go into overdrive when the cancer cells get through the body’s defenses.

Immune dysfunction is one of the major symptoms from which ME patients suffer.  Dr. Collins’ testimony regarding research which allows the normal immune response to be re-activated seems to hit the nail on the head, not only for cancer, but for ME as well.  The immune system in ME patients seems to give up:  it can’t seem to fight off the invading viruses’ strong hold in their bodies.

Please read the quote, and you will see what I’m zeroing in on:

“Researchers have long been puzzled by the uncanny ability of cancer cells to evade the immune response. What stops the body from waging its own “war on cancer?” As it turns out, our bodies have important built-in checkpoints to prevent our immune systems from running amok and killing healthy cells. Certain white blood cells called T-cells—the armed soldiers of the immune system—are designed to go after foreign invaders, but they also need a stop signal to prevent going into overdrive. One way to do this is through a receptor on the T-cell called CTLA-4 that inhibits its function. Tumor cells have figured out how to take advantage of this pathway by up-regulating CTLA-4; the result is to put the brakes on the immune system, giving the green light for the cancer to grow.

NIH-funded researchers have discovered a way to release the brakes by introducing a monoclonal antibody against CTLA-4, allowing the normal immune response to be re-activated. Dr. James Allison, who led the basic science efforts that led to these insights, was just honored with the receipt of the Lasker Award, the “American Nobel Prize.” Promising results in patients with metastatic melanoma and lung cancer are making this and other immunotherapies the breakthrough treatment of the future. After President Carter was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma, he received immunotherapy as part of his treatment.”

Of course, I’m just a lay person.  I haven’t had medical training; however, my mind usually works in an organized way, and of course, I may be completely wrong about my idea above.  I welcome any opinions.  Anyone out there in the blogosphere?

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Some News From Jarred Younger’s Lab Regarding ME And Fibro


Dr. Younger is one of the stars in the continuing research regarding ME.  He has received grants from the NIH for his very important work, assisted by a very able staff at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB).

We have found specific chemicals in the blood that may cause chronic pain and fatigue in many women. These chemicals are part of an immune system that may not be working correctly. We have received funding from the National Institutes of Health to continue testing the role of these chemicals in disease. If we are successful, we may not only produce an objective test of fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, but we may also be able to develop more effective treatments for those disorders. Women participating in this study have blood draws over multiple days and record their symptoms on a handheld computer.

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Rusty Loves His PetZone Toy


He is so playful.

Originally posted on Pussy Cats 3:

Rusty is the only one of the three who really gets into this toy.  It’s almost like a “busy-box” for cats.

I kind of got carried away when video-taping this, because after viewing it, I realized it’s 3 minutes long!  I won’t feel sad if you don’t want to watch it for all that time, but I’m glad it happened.  I can’t seem to get enough of this special little guy!!

Here it is:

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New Clues into the Cause of Autism


Recently published results of researchers at Yale University, studying the brain and autism, have highlighted the value of turning stem cells from autistic and “normal” patients into “organoids.”

Flora Vaccarino, MD, a professor of child psychiatry and neurobiology is the head of a team of researchers at Yale University, which took stem cells from patients and “grew” them into “organoids.”  These stem cells were actually grown into brain cells so that the researchers could compare those with “normal” brain cells.


Brain organoids made of stem cells from an autistic patient (right) contained more proteins (red and green) associated with a particular type of neuron than did organoids made from the patient’s father’s cells (left).

This research could help determine what causes autism in one out of 68 births.

Organoids grown from stem cells have been used to study the heart, the intestines, etc.  It is a very interesting new science, and which has been and will be used more frequently, to find that perhaps the diseases of today may not be the diseases of tomorrow.

[The organoid images for this post are from BioMedicine News.]

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Foods We Won’t Have If We Keep Letting Bees Die


Bees are the “lifeblood” of so many of our favorite foods. Continued use of pesticides that kill the bees that pollinate our flowering fruits, vegetables and legumes, will make those foods lost forever. Please read this informative blog:

Originally posted on Family Survival Protocol - Microcosm News:

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About one-third of the world’s crops depend on the honeybees for pollination. The past decades honeybees have been dying at an alarming rate. Fewer bees will eventually lead to less availability of our favorite whole foods and it will also drive up the prices of many of the fruits and veggies we eat on a daily basis.

While some actions have been taken in the past, our bees are still dying and something needs to be done to make sure our most favorite foods don’t go into extinction.

What’s Causing Massive Bee Deaths?

About fifty years ago our world looked a whole lot different. Bees had an abundance of flowers to feast on and there were fewer pests and diseases threatening their food chain. These days however, nature has to make place for industrialization and our bees are…

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Trafficked tropical animals: the ghost exports of Venezuela


These criminals are helping to ruin our planet. All animals need protection from these traffickers.

Originally posted on GarryRogers Nature Conservation and Science Fiction (#EcoSciFi):

“Venezuela is losing at least 900,000 animals every year to the $320 million illegal wildlife trade.

“Among the birds sold to the pet trade are 50 species of New World parrot, parakeet and macaw endemic to Venezuela, along with American flamingoes and extremely rare red siskins.

“Patrolling the country’s porous 2,800-kilometer coastline and nearly 5,000 kilometer border with Colombia, Brazil and Guyana is a daunting task for law enforcers trying to stop clever wildlife traffickers.

“The hunters ransack the vulnerable nests of tropical birds in richly biodiverse but poorly patrolled Venezuelan rainforests. Wildlife merchants brazenly display young fledglings, monkeys and other animals, right next to main roads throughout the forest. Many captives will travel a difficult path — an exhausting, often fatal journey covering thousands of miles, cleverly hidden inside bags and luggage, passing through airports and seaports, bound for Europe and elsewhere. It is a lucrative, shadowy trade, involving…

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Google Map App VS Mapquest


A neighbor, Terri, who belongs to our SOLOS Club in our community, of which I am also a member, asked me to join her on a search.  She had volunteered to go to a possible venue for a club event, and wanted my input as to the feasibility of making arrangements.  I agreed.  She picked me up in her car yesterday at 10:30am, and off we went.

She had printed out the travel directions from the mapquest site, and I was appointed to the navigator position with printout in hand.


The directions on the printout were easy to read; however, things didn’t go according to “Hoyle.”  We kept missing some streets, and when we finally got to NE 2nd Street, the building address numbers didn’t coincide with the address number on the printout.  Actually, the printout read, “2100-2300.”

I’ve printed out directions from mapquest in the past, and I never experienced those kinds of numbers.  Terri couldn’t understand why the numbers on the printout didn’t match the numbers on the buildings.  She remembered that the owner of the business mentioned a certain gas station at the corner, and we did see that.

We retraced our path more than once, and we wound up at the same destination.  She was getting upset, and I felt very frustrated.  Her driving became erratic, and I was fearful of having an accident.

I suggested that we call the person who was expecting us at 11:00am (it was now past 11:30am), and I asked Terri if she had her phone.  No.  She left it at home.  So, I pulled out mine and dialed the number.  Voicemail answered.  I left a message, and hoped “Michael” would call back soon, so we could ask him how to get there.  When Terri called him before, he gave her instructions, and she didn’t take notes, and so we were really befuddled.  I would have done things differently, but, we had to work with what we had:  nothing.

Then, suddenly, she pointed to something she wrote on the printout.  It was the actual address!  Evidently, she input the wrong building number on mapquest, and it printed out those crazy numbers.  I hadn’t noticed that before – I was concentrating only on the printed information, assuming it was correct.  Wrong!

Terri stopped someone who was walking his dog, and asked if he knew where “1107 SE 2nd Street” was.  He pulled out his phone, and looked it up on his app.  He gave us directions:  go to this street, make a right on that road, make a left turn at this other street, and you’ll be there.

Well, we tried to remember exactly what he said, but you know, we didn’t get it right.  I asked Terri to pull into a parking lot so I could look at my phone for the app we needed.


I found the google-map app, inserted the correct address, and hit “navigate,” and voila!  We got to where we needed to go.  Of course, not before Terri made a couple of turns before we were supposed to turn, and we had to backtrack to get back on track and continue the way we were told by that lovely voice on my phone.

So, we finally got there.  There was a note on his door:  “OUT TO LUNCH FROM 11:45 TO 2:00.”

Now, I have an admission to make:  I never used my phone app before.  This was the first time.  In the past, I used mapquest myself, and never had any problem with it.  However, it was so pleasurable to hear someone tell me when and where to turn, you can be sure I will always use my phone in future.  :-)


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Romeo’s Toy


I dare you to take away Romeo’s toy.

Originally posted on Pussy Cats 3:

Lately, Romeo has been showing favoritism with one particular toy.  It’s the first time I’ve seen him doing this in all his almost ten years!!

His timing has not been very good, however.  He does this “possession” thing, just when I want to sweep the floor from litter tracks that occurred all night.  So, I wind up either doing it later or sweeping all around him.  He doesn’t move; doesn’t get out of the way.

Sometimes I feel like he’s staring me down – daring me to take away his favorite toy!

Romeos toy 2

Romeo Taking ownership

Romeos toy 3

Romeos toy 4

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In The Midst Of Hillary Johnson’s Great ME/CFS Mission: “Osler’s Web”


I am in the middle of reading “Osler’s Web,” by Hillary Johnson, and to date, finished only 360 pages out of 700.  So many times, while reading very disturbing passages (most are disturbing), I gasp out loud at the lies, lies and more lies and the disgusting actions (or non-actions) or disinterest of CDC employees. The refusal by just about all government employees to accept the well documented research (funded by private patients and families because no money came from government) by excellent and talented researchers and clinicians is mind boggling and discouraging.

I could go on and on, but the frustration I feel and also the anger about the disgusting and CRIMINAL treatment of all patients and their advocates, is overwhelming.  In order to read this book, one must have a strong survivor’s state of mind, because it is not an easy read by any standard; however, Ms. Johnson’s reporting is very well done.  She is constantly citing well documented events, dates, comments and quotes from an enormous list of involved patients and researchers.

I push on because I feel a strong desire and yes, obligation, to find out why the illness that my daughter and many millions like her in the U.S. and many more millions worldwide suffer from, is so wrongly treated and so woefully perfunctorily by the world’s medical community and also governments.

oslers web

Sir William Osler (perhaps his greatest contribution to medicine was to insist that students learned from seeing, and talking to, patients and the establishment of the medical residency) is Ms. Johnson’s inspiration for the name of her mission.  I call it a mission because that is exactly what she undertook – a very great mission – to expose the REAL story of the “why” of the disdain that ME sufferers experience around the world, and not being believed that they are REALLY SICK.

OSLER’S WEB by Hillary Johnson is a true documentary of the history – it really is a web – of the malevolent treatment by the US government against EXTREMELY ILL people. It is not an easy book to read, for sure. Not only for the content, but also the fact that it is a large, high paperback with small type and 700 pages. I persevere, and will finish it without doubt. It is RECOMMENDED very highly to anyone who wants the TRUE STORY of why this disease is not taken seriously by our government and most of the medical community.

Dr. Stephen Straus is the worst culprit, in my opinion.  He was the one NIH (National Institutes of Health) scientist (?) who prevented all true and correct information about CFS from getting out to Congress or to the public or to the medical community through publication of excellent research in recognized medical journals.  He would not approve proposals for publication of documented scientific research which he perceived as being against his belief which was that the disease was psychosomatic.  In other words, “It’s all in their heads.”

Straus bet his career on pushing his opinion which was that chronic fatigue syndrome – CFS – (I hate that name – fatigue is definitely NOT the total description of the disease) was not a real disease.  His career was a very successful one because he convinced those all around him that he was right.  He did this by suppressing all the documentation which proved that he was wrong.  He was in full control.

Quote from CFS Centraldotcom:  “For those who don’t know much about the late researcher [Dr. Stephen Straus] who headed up [and held up] “CFS” research for years at the NIH, he holds the distinction as the only physician who seriously injured the health of several patients, during his [antiviral] trial in the 1980s.  (According to what I’ve read in Johnson’s book so far, and after reading articles on the Internet regarding this “physician,” I have arrived at the opinion that this man, single-highhandedly, caused the negativity within which sufferers of ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) are held in most medical circles.  He is also the reason why no funding, and just a token recently granted, was forthcoming for research since the middle 1980s.

Dr. Nancy Klimas, a Miami Florida immunologist who practiced during the 1980s and still practices, ran a CFS clinic at the University of Miami and an AIDS clinic at the Miami veterans hospital, has stated, “If given a choice of whether to be ill with AIDS or CFS, I would choose AIDS.”  She, more than any member of the medical community, can say this with great authority.  She is an expert in both AIDS research and in CFS research.

Dr. Klimas, during an interview with a CBS reporter, was asked, “Do you think doctors discount females more than they do males?”  Klimas’ answer was swift and sure, “Yes. Oh please, yes. I’m going to say that only because I spent the last 30 years taking care of women that had to go through dozens of doctors to get someone to take them seriously.”  Dr. Klimas made this statement due to the fact that chronic fatigue syndrome (ME – myalgic encephalomyelitis) female patients far, far outnumber male patients.

The big heroes are Dr. Dan Peterson and Dr. Paul Cheney.  They held fast to their knowledge, experience, patient care and test results that their patients and the patients in many clusters around the country were REALLY SICK.

The biggest heroes are the patients who suffer unbelievable trauma every night and day; who have gone through dozens of doctors; who have gone through hundreds of tests; who still suffer intolerable physical and emotional stress every minute of every day; and who have lost their former lives, their friends, families and spouses.

And no end is in sight.  Thirty-plus years have gone by, and we are no closer to one biomarker diagnosis; no closer to effective treatment; and no closer to a cure – if there will ever be one for this multi-symptom disease.

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Are You Ready For Flowering Cactus?


This is a wonderful video showing slow motion blooming cactus.  Gorgeous.


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