Mercury in canned tuna still a concern

New tests reinforce a need for some people to limit consumption.

Canned Tuna MercuryCanned tuna, Americans’ favorite fish, is the most common source of mercury in our diet. New tests of 42 samples from cans and pouches of tuna bought primarily in the New York metropolitan area and online confirm that white (albacore) tuna usually contains far more mercury than light tuna.

Children and women of childbearing age can easily consume more mercury than the Environmental Protection Agency considers advisable simply by eating one serving of canned white tuna or two servings of light tuna per week. A serving is about 2.5 ounces. Expect a 5-ounce can to contain about 4 ounces of tuna plus liquid.

The heavy metal accumulates in tuna and other fish in an especially toxic form, methylmercury, which comes from mercury released by coal-fired power plants and other industrial or natural sources, such as volcanoes.

Fortunately, it’s easy to choose lowermercury fish that are also rich in healthful omega-3 fatty acids. That’s especially important for women who are pregnant or might become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children, because fetuses and youngsters seem to face the most risk from methylmercury’s neurotoxic effects.

Results from our tuna tests, conducted at an outside lab, underscore the longheld concern for those people. We found:

  • Every sample contained measurable levels of mercury, ranging from 0.018 to 0.774 parts per million. The Food and Drug Administration can take legal action to pull products containing 1 ppm or more from the market. (It never has, according to an FDA spokesman.) The EPA compiles fish advisories when state and local governments have found high contaminant levels in certain locally caught fish.
  • Samples of white tuna had 0.217 to 0.774 ppm of mercury and averaged 0.427 ppm. By eating 2.5 ounces of any of the tested samples, a woman of childbearing age would exceed the daily mercury intake that the EPA considers safe.
  • Samples of light tuna had 0.018 to 0.176 ppm and averaged 0.071 ppm. At that average, a woman of childbearing age eating 2.5 ounces would get less than the EPA’s limit, but for about half the tested samples, eating 5 ounces would exceed the limit.

In 2006 we scrutinized the results of the FDA’s tests in 2002 to 2004 of mercury levels in hundreds of samples of canned tuna. The agency’s white-tuna samples averaged 0.353 ppm; light tuna, 0.118 ppm. But we found that as much as 6 percent of the FDA’s light-tuna samples had at least as much mercury as the average in white tuna—in some cases more than twice as much.

Given the uncertainties about the impact of occasional fetal exposure to such high levels, we urged the FDA to warn consumers about occasional spikes in mercury levels in canned light tuna. More than four years later, the FDA still hasn’t issued such a warning. When we asked why, an FDA spokesman indicated that the agency had already taken the spikes into account when formulating its mercury advice.

Bottom line

Canned tuna, especially white, tends to be high in mercury, and younger women and children should limit how much they eat. As a precaution, pregnant women should avoid tuna entirely. Our answers to the questions in Fish Q & A can help you get the nutritional benefits of fish and minimize exposure to mercury.

source: Consumer Reports

16 Health Benefits of Lemons: the Alkaline Powerfood

Fresh LemonsLemons are acidic to the taste, but are alkaline forming in the body. In fact they are one of the most alkaline forming foods; this makes them great for balancing a highly acidic condition in the body.

Lemons are a favorite all over the world and an essential food in kitchens around the world.
Learn how to use them properly in our Spring Cleanse.

We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” Alfred E. Newman

16 Health Benefits of Lemons:

1. Lemons are alkalizing for the body: Lemons are acidic to begin with but they are alkaline forming on body fluids helping to restore balance to the body’s pH.

2. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids that work against infections like colds and flues.

3. Your liver loves lemons: The lemon is a wonderful stimulant to the liver and is a dissolvent of uric acid and other poisons, liquefies the bile” says Back to Eden Mr. Kloss. Fresh lemon juice added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier.

4. Cleans your bowels: Lemons increase peristalsis in the bowels helping to create a bowel movement thus eliminating waste and bonus to help with being regularity. Add the juice of one lemon to warm water and drink after you Drink your two to three cups of Water First Thing in the Morning .

5. Scurvy is treated by giving one to two ounces of lemon juice diluted with water every two to four hours. In 1747, a naval James Lind cured scurvy with fresh lemons. To this day, the British Navy requires ships to carry enough lemons so that every sailor can have one ounce of juice a day. This is where the English got their nickname Limeys. Pirates used to eat Lemons to save them from the dreaded scurvy!

6. The citric acid in lemon juice helps to dissolve gallstones, calcium deposits, and kidney stones.

7. Vitamin C in lemons helps to neutralize free radicals linked to aging and most types of disease.

8. The lemon peel contains the potent phytonutrient tangeretin, which has been proven to be effective for brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

9. In India Ayurveda medicine values the lemon as a fruit and for its properties. It is sour, warm, promoter of gastric fire, light, good for vision, pungent and astringent.

10. It destroys intestinal worms.

11. When there is insufficient oxygen and difficulty in breathing such as when mountain climbing lemons are very helpful. The first man, Edmund Hillary to reach the top of Mt. Everest, said that his success on Mt. Everest was greatly due to lemons.

12. Lemons have powerful antibacterial properties; experiments have found the juice of lemons destroy the bacteria of malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases.

13. Blood vessels are strengthened by the Vitamin P in lemon thus prevents internal haemorrhage. Also, making it useful in treating high blood pressure.

14. The symptoms of eye disorders, including diabetic retinopathy have been shown in research to improve due to the Rutin, found in lemons.

15. Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds, including naturally occurring limonene; oil which slows or halts the growth of cancer tumors in animals and flavonol glycosides which stop cell division in cancer cells.

16. According to The Reams Biological Ionization Theory (RBTI), the lemon is the ONLY food in the world that is Anionic (it’s electron has a negative charge). All other foods are cationic (it’s outer electron has positive charge.) This makes it extremely useful to health as it is the interaction between anions and cations that ultimately provides all cell energy.

History, Trivia and Interesting Lemon Facts:

  • Fashionable ladies used lemon juice as a way to redden their lips during the European Renaissance.
  • The lemon is a small evergreen tree native to Asia.
  • The lemon originated in the Indus Valley; a lemon-shaped earring from 2500 BC by archaeologists.
  • Lemons have been in cultivation around the Mediterranean from as early as the first century A.D
  • Lemon trees produce fruit all year round. The trees can produce between 500 and 600 pounds of lemons in a year.
  • Once upon a time lemons were presented as gifts to kings because they were so rare.
  • California and Arizona produce 95% of the entire U.S. lemon crop.

Lemon Nutrition:

  • Lemons contain vitamin C, citric acid, flavonoids, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber.
  • Lemons contain more potassium than apple or grapes, which is beneficial to the heart.

source: Real Food for Life

A Conversation with Vandana Shiva

Environmental leader, eco-feminist, philosopher, and quantum physicist, Vandana Shiva’s expertise seems to have no limits. She has become a globally respected activist for grassroots and alternative globalization movements, biodiversity, bioethics, intellectual property rights, and sustainable living. Some of her books include Staying Alive (1988), The Violence of the Green Revolution (1992), Monocultures of the Mind (1993), Biopiracy (1997), Water Wars (2002), Earth Democracy (2005), and Soil Not Oil (2008). Shiva’s scholarship and activism has been recognized internationally and she has won numerous awards, including the Right Livelihood Award, considered the Alternative Nobel Prize.

Ian Mauro is a Canada Research Chair in “human dimensions of environmental change” at Mount Allison University, in Sackville, New Brunswick. He is both a researcher and filmmaker, with a PhD in environmental science, and his work focuses on hunter, farmer and fisher knowledge regarding environmental change, specifically issues related to food security and climate change. He first interviewed Dr. Shiva in 2002, as part of his doctoral research on farmer knowledge and biotechnology in the Canadian prairies, which in part resulted in the documentary film Seeds of Change ( He subsequently went on to make various films, including Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change (…), with acclaimed Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, as well as the Climate Change in Atlantic Canada project (

The conversation between Drs. Mauro and Shiva took place on February 26th, 2012 at Mount Allison University, with a full audience of 300+ people. This was Shiva’s only New Brunswick event, on a larger Maritime tour, and she went beyond the surface issues facing our world today and explored, through conversation, the solutions and deep changes required for humans to find a more balanced relationship with the earth and each other.

For more information about Dr. Vandana Shiva, visit the Navdanya website:

New Course in Health and Healing


Natural Solutions Tine van der Maas logoWe frequently meet people who tell us that they have tried every conceivable form of “treatment” and method of healing, and they still are not getting better. In some cases, especially people who have cancer, they choose to die. We do not presume to have all the answers. On the contrary! We see ourselves as students, who learn by sharing with others what we already know.

It is very important to remember that although external agents are important, your greatest resource for healing is the activation of your body’s own healing system. This is an internal job that requires commitment, courage, persistence, patience, and willingness to acknowledge that together with your body, you also have a powerful mind and spirit.

If you or anybody that you know is currently afflicted with a dis-ease, and you or that person have been trying hard but still are not getting better, consider the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual obstacles that could be keeping you from regaining your health.

Some of the physical obstacles are:

  1. An unhealthy, unwholesome physical environment, including poor air, poor water, noise pollution, overcrowded surroundings, pollution such as chemical pollution, heavy metal pollution, microwave ovens, electro-magnetic pollution and toxic waste
  2. A poor diet
  3. The wrong supplementation
  4. Not enough water in your diet
  5. Poor hygiene
  6. Not enough exercise and movement, including stretching
  7. A lack of space and privacy
  8. Inadequate relaxation and sleep
  9. Poor breathing
  10. Not enough contact with nature
  11. An absence of a loving touch like hugs
  12. Living in a House, not a Home

There are many mental obstacles to healing as well like:

  1. Chronic mental tension, anxiety, fear or worry
  2. Not “enough” money or real poverty
  3. Lack of focus
  4. No time spent in reflection, contemplation or meditation
  5. Lack of gratitude for one’s life and good fortune, be they big or small
  6. Poor mental attitude including harbouring grudges, being cynical, having a pessimistic outlook
  7. Unresolved anger, hostility or resentment
  8. No sense of humour
  9. Excess attachment to people or things
  10. Too much focus on goals and not enough focus on the process of getting there
  11. Worrying about the future, lamenting the past, or not being in the present

The potential emotional and spiritual obstacles to healing are numerous and include”

  1. Self-punishment, self-blame, guilt shame
  2. Identification with the illness or problem – thinking of it as yours
  3. Self-destructive thought
  4. No love or joy in your life
  5. No sense of freedom in your life
  6. No support system, including family, friends, community
  7. No sense of purpose
  8. Lack of spirituality, universal wisdom and prayer
  9. Lack of meaning and fulfilment in life
  10. Hopelessness – Helplessness or living in The Victimhood
  11. A broken spirit

This course is called THE SHIFT for a specific reason. It is all about Shifting old believes, old habits, old patterns, old lifestyles, old programming, old perceptions, old emotions etc. and transform them to a place where healing can take place and your life will become an interesting and exciting journey.

As we will address the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of healing, the Course will:

  1. Include subjects like diet, supplements, herbs, relaxation and de-stressing techniques, basic anatomy and physiology, reflexology, energy healing, meditation, “dis-ease” solutions, imagery and visualization techniques, heartmath solution, introduction to other “alternative” healing modalities, massage etc.
  2. Will be offered every second week for 5 hours, (10 hours a month) on a day most agreeable to the participants for example on a Wednesday afternoon from 13h00 – 18h00 or a Saturday morning from 09h00 – 14h00
  3. Will include all the necessary learning material
  4. Will include homework like reading, watching DVDs etc.
  5. Will include projects that have to be done as this is a practical course
  6. Will include a medical Scan before we start and one at the end of the Course, so you can be your own project and your own experiment. The Medical Scan, not to be confused with an Energy scan, will give feedback on the chemical balance in your organs, inflammation levels, even including your stress levels and sleep quality etc.

This Course is for anybody. You could be a person who feels stuck and wants to make a Shift, or a Health Practitioner who wants to offer a better service to their clients, or a person who wants to take charge of their own health or that of their family. The only thing we ask for is a passion to learn.

For that reason we want to have a meeting with you before you enrol, so you will know if this Course is right for you. If you do decide to enrol, Course fees will be discussed, and an appointment scheduled for the 1s medical Scan. You can contact me at 081 573 5594 or at

May the Spirit that is Love be with you and protect you

Australian scientists may have found ‘potential cure for Aids’

Australian scientists say they have made a breakthrough that could lead to a potential cure for AIDS, modifying a protein in HIV so it prevents against replication and instead protects against the infection.

by Paul Bleakley

A FORM of gene therapy developed by researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research may provide hope to sufferers of HIV, preventing the virus from crippling the immune system by manipulating its genetic structure and turning HIV into a weapon against itself.

Dr David Harrich has utilised a technique that alters the proteins that enable the HI virus to replicate throughout the body. By modifying the proteins that make up HIV into a mutated form, referred to as Nullbasic, Harrich’s research team have determined that it is possible to block the process of reverse transcription that allows HIV to damage the immune system. This would ultimately render the virus inert, preventing the condition of those infected with HIV from deteriorating further.

Harrich began studying the HIV virus in 1989 while completing his doctorate in experimental pathology at the University of California – Los Angeles. This project explored the issue of genetic expression and the replication of the HIV virus, a research concept he would continue to pursue after moving to Australia in 1997. The initial breakthrough in Harrich’s research occurred in 2007, with the discovery that Nullbasic had the ability to inhibit the spread of HIV.

Harrich told, “With money running out, I had my PhD student try one more experiment in late 2007. The experiment was to test if Nullbasic could render HIV non-infectious. The student came back and said it worked, so I told him to do it again and again and again. It works every time.”

“So the project was back on and we received funding from the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Research and that study showed very clearly that it could protect human cells from HIV infection. Subsequently we have protected primary human CD lymphocytes from blood from HIV infection using a gene therapy approach with outstanding results.”

As a researcher with the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Harrich works with a variety of infectious diseases including human respiratory virus and the Hendra strain of equine influenza. The results of his research regarding HIV may have significant impacts on the study of virology and provide critical insights into preventing the rampant spread of communicable diseases.

Harrich’s gene therapy process involves adding a specifically designed HIV therapy agent to a culture of stem cells that causes these cells to become HIV resistant. These mutated stem cells would then be returned to the body with the ability to thwart the HIV virus’s attempts to alter the patient’s RNA structure through reverse transcription.

Harrich believes that preventing the exponential replication of the HIV virus would ultimately prevent an infected individual from experiencing any of the symptoms associated with the disease. He said, “(That) requires some hand waving at this point; but my belief is that protecting immune cells from succumbing to the deleterious effects of infection will result in a much better, functional immune system to combat opportunistic infections. That is the goal and what we need to test.”

Harrich claims that stem cell research has made a considerable impact on the study of virology and that if this type of research was unavailable it would severely limit the ability of scientists to effectively combat disease like HIV.

He said, “The stem cells revolution has had a huge impact on this project. I’m not sure we would have continued if it was not possible to restore an entire immune system with stem cells. I am very excited about this possibility.”

Harrich’s team will begin testing the effects of Nullbasic on HIV-positive mice in 2013 in order to determine the impact of the mutated protein on subjects at varying stages of infection. If the results of this research are positive it is possible that a clinical trial may be conducted within the next ten years.


A New Marker for Chronic Disease?

RNA in the Blood – A New Marker for Chronic Disease?

Chronic Illness Research Foundation — 05/01/1999

Table of Contents


Defining the Insult

Mutation or Adaptation? Why Chromosomes Shuffle Their DNA

A Novel Mechanism Underlying Chronic Disease?

How can you test for RNA in the Blood?


Glossary of Terms


The treatment of chronic illness is one of the greatest challenges facing modern medicine. In this century, we have witnessed great successes in the treatment of acute illnesses. Antibiotics produce amazingly swift recoveries from formerly fatal infections. Chronic diseases, however, progress more slowly and insidiously, and our successes with them have been far less dramatic. For most of the chronic illnesses, physicians offer only management rather than curative therapies. While we can find a specific cause for most acute illnesses, when we study chronic illnesses, we find ourselves faced with an interacting complex of genetic and environmental factors that start an individual along the lengthy and progressive course of a chronic disease. Cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome, AIDS, neuropsychiatric disorders, multiple sclerosis, pemphigus vulgaris, Lou Gehrig’s disease, lupus and other autoimmune conditions, and multiple chemical sensitivities are conditions characterized by the interplay of a large assortment of different factors. Some of these factors work together to begin the development of chronic disease; others, again working in concert, cause disease progression.

Epidemiologists attempt to sort out disease causality and patterns and, occasionally, they find a common thread running between seemingly unrelated diseases. For example, an unusual and aggressive form of lymphoma in African children was described by Burkitt. Simultaneously, in another part of the world, a cancer that started in the nasal passages and throat was discovered to be common in Chinese men, but only rarely seen outside of Asia. It wasn’t until a member of the herpes virus family — the Epstein-Barr virus — was discovered that an association between activity of this virus and the development of these two malignancies was noted. The finding was all the more remarkable because almost all adults display evidence of Epstein-Barr virus infection, i.e. they have detectable antibodies to the virus.

In studying these two greatly different diseases, scientists were forced to examine many different factors to understand how an ubiquitous and normally innocuous viral infection could lead to a chronic malignancy, such as nasopharyngeal cancer, and a fatal one, like Burkitt’s lymphoma. Even more interesting to these scientists was the puzzle of how two greatly different diseases — one seen in adult men in China and the other among children in Africa — were related. We know that Burkitt’s lymphoma is associated with the profound immune dysfunction which can occur in conjunction with chronic malaria. We know less about the specific causes of the nasopharyngeal cancer found in Chinese men. We do know that Epstein-Barr virus infection alone cannot cause either condition, because most everyone is exposed, usually early in life, to the Epstein-Barr virus.

Equally confusing is the situation in which a disease is due to a virus, yet the disease can occur without the virus being present. Take, for example, the association of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and AIDS. The popular wisdom claims that HIV-1 is the sole cause of AIDS. This concept has been challenged by the growing literature describing “mysterious AIDS cases,” i.e. AIDS without any evidence of HIV-1 infection.

The fact that many chronic illnesses have such similar early symptoms has led some to postulate that their development depends on common factors, and further that a combination of inheritance, prior disease experiences, and life experience (i.e., cultural and environmental factors) determine an individual’s ultimate response to an initial challenge. An individual from a family with diabetes may never develop clinical evidence of the disease; on the other hand, if exposed to specific stressors, the same individual might develop full-blown symptoms. To date, no theory has satisfactorily explained either the potential variability of outcome in individuals or the observed commonalities among chronic diseases.

We propose here a common mechanism that is involved in the progression of many chronic illnesses. While chronic illnesses differ from acute illnesses by the many factors involved in their initial appearance, we believe there may be common events important in the progression of some of them. What do we know about the development of chronic illness?

1. Among susceptible people, an asymptomatic individual may begin to show symptoms of a chronic illness when sufficient aggravating factors are present. The development of many cancers, as well as numerous other chronic illnesses, has been associated with exposure to hazardous agents — not just to chemicals or radiation, but also to infectious agents.

2. Most chronic illnesses require decades to develop before the earliest symptoms appear. The pre-diabetic individual may lose a large fraction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas over a span of many years before any symptoms related to insulin deficiency are noted. Since the specific, essential insult may have occurred many years before symptoms are observed, it may be difficult to relate that insult to the ultimate development of symptoms.

3. The naturally-occurring immune system mechanisms that protect the body against hazardous challenges are encoded in genetic material in a number of very specific sites on the chromosomes. While each of these sites functions somewhat differently, they all share a common feature that immunologists believe to be unique to them: They are capable of rearranging or “shuffling” the genetic material within the site, generating new combinations of DNA which act like new genes. These “new genes” permit the body to produce diverse, novel proteins not previously coded for on the chromosomes. The areas that shuffle the genetic material, which have been called “hot-spots,” become active when challenged by toxic exposures (including infectious agents).

4. We know that these chromosome sites contain repeated regions of DNA that are quite similar to each other in structure. We have learned that the structure of these DNA regions allow them to become active in response to signals received by the cell’s nucleus (where the chromosomes reside). Immune challenges are thought to be the main cause for activation of these DNA regions. However, the diversity of challenges which may activate these areas may be broader than immune challenges as we generally understand them. Challenges such as “irritation” by hazardous exposures (chemicals and/or radiation are among these) are suspected as activators of the DNA “hot-spots.” It is well known that immune-related challenges can activate them. In response to this activation, new proteins, such as antibodies (which are tailored to the challenging substance), are produced.

5. How many of these chromosome hot-spots exist is not known. Over the years, numerous investigators have identified some of those involved in producing antibodies. Our findings suggest that other hot-spots exist. We do not know how they function, or if they even act protectively.

6. Data we have collected now suggest that there may be other such hot-spots, and that these appear to be active in individuals with certain chronic diseases.

7. While genetic reshuffling in these hot-spots serves an important function in producing specific responses to specific insults, chronic activation of these hot-spots may be deleterious. We do not know what damage can occur with prolonged genetic activity. We suspect, however, that prolonged activity in these hot-spots may lead to genetic damage.

8. Cells damaged by such prolonged genetic activity may affect other cells in unpredictable ways, ultimately having impact on the entire body.

Defining the Insult

We are still learning about ways in which chromosomes can be damaged, and the results produced by different types of genetic damage. For example, chromosomes can sustain direct damage, such as when exposed to radiation, which interacts with the chemical bonds of DNA, causing fragmentation and mutation. Many chemicals are also capable of direct interaction with DNA and produce similar effects (i.e., mutation). However, much of the damage DNA sustains is indirect, and some of it occurs naturally (for instance, aging is believed by some investigators to be the effect of a natural breakdown of our DNA). We have evolved enzyme systems that are devoted to maintaining and repairing these low levels of damage that occur naturally. When chemical or other insults affect the efficiency of our enzymatic maintenance processes — one type of indirect injury that DNA can sustain — the damaged DNA then goes unrepaired. When such indirect damage is coupled with direct effects, the total burden of damage is significantly increased.

Some substances that cause direct damage when present at high levels can also cause indirect damage with low-level exposure. In fact, such low-level exposures are thought to contribute to already-existing DNA damage in an indirect, cumulative fashion. While it was previously thought that chronic, low-level exposures cause damage to the enzymatic maintenance machinery, it is now suspected the damage they inflict involves a different mechanism. We believe that mechanism to be prolonged activity of a DNA remodeling machinery which, in normal states, is used to cope with acute challenges. When this machinery is chronically activated, however, it may result in the accumulation of genetic alterations that have deleterious effects on the chromosome.

Mutation or Adaptation? Why Chromosomes Shuffle Their DNA

A paradigm long held in biology maintains that the DNA contained in the cell’s chromosomes is never altered or changed except through damage that results in mutations. Within this paradigm, the DNA, under normal conditions, is immutable and acts as the blueprint for making all our proteins. To make proteins, DNA copies a message into a similar molecule known as RNA. The RNA is transported out of the nucleus, and the information contained in its sequence is translated into a specific protein. (It’s not entirely clear where the translation occurs, inside or outside the nucleus, but recent data suggest the translation from RNA to protein takes place outside of the nucleus.)

Recent studies of immune cells have shown us that this paradigm is incomplete. Immune cells make proteins which are tailored to bind toxic agents, including infectious ones, in a very specific manner. Because the potential diversity of these toxic agents is so enormous, the immune system is unable to store the information to code for every one of the proteins that interacts with every possible agent.

Fortunately, the immune system has developed a remarkable and surprising mechanism to solve this problem. Immune cells possess machinery that reshuffles the DNA components coding for proteins and, in the process, generates codes for an enormous array of new proteins. Additionally, the immune system possesses machinery that functions on an inter-cell level (i.e., between cells). This machinery selects the cells that produce the most successful DNA rearrangements. The selected cells are permitted to proliferate, becoming factories for their specific proteins (or antibodies). In addition to the factory cells, a small number of the selected cells are preserved within the immune system as a library or archive of that particular DNA rearrangement. This machinery works very well. Its constituent parts are finely tuned to shuffle highly evolved regions of DNA in a very precise manner.

We know that only small portions of the DNA in the chromosomes code for proteins (i.e. antibodies). What does the rest of the DNA do, and why does the cell maintain so much seemingly useless DNA? We’ve learned that chromosomal DNA comprises a far more complex structure than previously imagined. The stretches of seemingly-purposeless DNA have been called “junk DNA.” We now appreciate, however, that such DNA is very important to the proper functioning of the small amounts of coding DNA. Further, we are beginning to recognize regions within these long stretches of non-coding DNA that possess structures suggesting they are able to rearrange or reshuffle themselves.

We are uncertain how active or important these sites of rearrangement are in normal cells. Certainly their activity varies broadly. If these sites are active in the germ cells, which make up sperm and ova, the rearrangements will become part of the genetic inheritance of the newly-created individual. It seems obvious that rearrangement activity in germ cells needs to occur at a slow rate to enhance the chances of having healthy offspring.

Like the rearrangements that occur in germ cells, those that occur in other (non-germ) cells of the body are passed on to the descendants of the cell that underwent the transformation. In some cases, rearrangements may be so extensive that cells become non-functional. Severely compromised cells undergo a process known as “programmed cell death”; that is, they commit suicide. Another name used for this process is “apoptosis.” Apoptosis is a natural and healthy function. Cells which are very dysfunctional and of little utility to the body could utilize precious resources and prevent new cells from taking their place, were they not eliminated by apoptosis. There is also the possibility that these dysfunctional cells might not have lost their ability to reproduce themselves, and so their rearranged, damaged DNA would be passed on to their offspring. Further rearrangements and changes, including those leading to malignancy, can take place in these stressed cells unless they are eliminated by apoptosis.

When the immune system works properly, however, challenges from toxic agents, particularly infectious agents, drive the immune system to select those cells that have rearranged their DNA to produce specific antibodies. We suspect that toxic challenges also provoke changes in those areas of the DNA possessing the ability to reshuffle themselves (as described above). Such rearrangement of DNA fragments, we are beginning to understand, is a much broader and more pervasive activity than we previously appreciated. We’ve also made a finding that may be of even greater significance: DNA rearrangements that occur in areas outside of the antibody-producing regions may also be involved in protective responses (although it’s likely that these responses are more primitive and less developed).

Just as the rearranged DNA acts as a template for the production of proteins through the intermediary of RNA, we know that at least some of the rearranging DNA possesses RNA intermediaries as well. That is, areas of DNA rearrange themselves, code the rearranged area in RNA, and then translate the RNA back into DNA. This part of the story has been well documented. However, a new chapter is now emerging. Some of the RNA involved in this process has been found outside of cells. RNA has also been found circulating in non-cellular portion of the blood (the plasma). Biologists have spent little time or effort looking for RNA in the plasma because it has always been thought that unprotected RNA is unable to survive there, due to the presence of a variety of extremely efficient enzymes that destroy unprotected RNA. There are good reasons for rapidly disposing of RNA in the plasma. RNA is a rich source of potentially damaging information. The genetic core of a virus might be part of that information, for instance. The enzymes that destroy unprotected RNA in the blood plasma serve as a non-specific defense against viral infection. How, then, can RNA survive in the blood plasma?

It appears that our own RNA can survive in the blood plasma using the same mechanism that viruses have evolved to transport their genetic information from one cell to another. Viruses have evolved a variety of complex strategies to package their genetic information in a protective envelope that permits it to survive in hostile environments before entering a new host cell. The discovery of a protected form of endogenous RNA — that is, RNA not arising from an infectious agent — within the blood plasma strongly suggests that this RNA is similarly protected. The strong parallel between viral RNAs and the endogenous RNA now being found suggests that there may be a close relationship between the two, and that the RNA leaving a cell is purposefully protected for its ultimate use within another cell.

A Novel Mechanism Underlying Chronic Disease?

Have we identified a novel mechanism for transmitting important information from cell to cell, whereby a usefully rearranged bit of DNA is transmitted through the RNA intermediate to other cells of the body? It is too early to answer this very important question. However, we have observed the presence of detectable levels of RNA in the blood of individuals who have active, chronic forms of disease. The persistence of toxic stimuli may be associated with chronic rearranging activity in the DNA of these individuals’ chromosomes. We suspect that the persistence of this activity might lead to cellular dysfunction and thus to chronic illness.

The recent discovery of a protected form of RNA in the blood plasma suggests the existence of a shuttle mechanism, as has been described here, to transport genetic information in the form of RNA. Whether the mechanism is ultimately found to have a useful function, we are concerned that its chronic activation may have adverse effects. If this mechanism works as we have postulated during acute stress, it’s possible to also envision a system in which small, adaptive genetic changes are shared between cells. The small amounts of genetic material transported by this mechanism may be accommodated without causing any cellular dysfunction. However, the chronic activation of this mechanism may overload the adaptive capacity of the system.

We have also learned that the long, redundant areas of DNA in the chromosomes that do not code for proteins but which are able to rearrange themselves, thought to be “junk DNA,” possess similarities to certain viruses. These viruses, known as “retroviruses,” include such well known family members as HIV. The common feature of these RNA viruses — indeed, why they are called “retroviruses” — is that they copy themselves back into DNA, then inserting themselves into the chromosomes of a newly infected cell. There, integrated into the genetic material of the cell, they become a permanent part of the cell’s genetic legacy.

Retroviruses carry information within their genes that directs the construction of a protective envelope that permits their export into the hostile environment outside the cell and even outside of the host. This protective envelope provides the means by which the retrovirus infects a new cell or a new individual, beginning the cycle once again.

The retrovirus-like repetitive regions in our chromosomes’ DNA are far less complex than fully developed retroviruses. However, they are able to direct that their information be copied into RNA and subsequently back into DNA, which is then reinserted into a new chromosome area. Most of these “infections,” to borrow a term, occur within the cell from which the RNA was copied (rather than in a new cell, as is the case with retroviruses). The result of the process is that genetic material is permitted to jump from one region to another, all within the same cell. The progeny cells carry the newly copied information and will, in turn, pass the newly arranged genetic material to their progeny.

How can you test for RNA in the Blood?

Immunodiagnostic Laboratory (IDL), San Leandro, California, is making available a “Research Use Only” (RUO) plasma RNA test. RUO tests are used by clinical laboratories to provide important research use tests for health-care providers. One limitation is that these tests must be considered as having no benefit to the patient, since they have not undergone the true rigors of the scientific process. No diagnosis can be made from these tests. They are only to be used by health-care providers attempting to understand clinical presentation of mysterious ailments, but have no treatment implications. In addition, these tests are non-reimbursable and therefore their cost must be paid by the individual (in other words, insurance companies will not reimburse patients for the cost of this test). The laboratory has specimen kits available for individuals who are interested in determining if detectable levels of RNA are present in their blood. The kits contain all of the materials needed for collection and transport of the blood specimen back to the laboratory.


Chronic illnesses have been on the rise since the early 1950s. The mechanism of chronic disease development outlined here makes it perfectly clear why that is so: In America, people have been exposed to an extraordinary amount of toxic compounds in last 40-50 years. In 1945, the annual production of chemicals in the United States was eight million tons. By 1985, it had risen to 110 million tons — 950 pounds of chemicals for every US citizen. In addition to chemicals, we’re now being exposed to unprecedented numbers of foreign pathogens for various reasons, including the ease of international travel. On top of the exposures that are occurring as a result of societal change, the medical literature has documented that approximately 100 million Americans were injected with more than two dozen monkey viruses that contaminated the early polio vaccines.

The mechanism for the development of chronic diseases outlined here is supported by a significant amount of medical literature. In time, new research efforts should provide both hope and help to individuals who suffer from chronic illnesses. Identifying a disease-specific biological marker is a first step toward discovering and implementing effective treatments, and we believe that the identification of RNA in the plasma/serum of people with chronic diseases constitutes one of these first steps.

SA has lost 4.4m people to Aids – survey

As it is, South Africans are struggling with poverty and unemployment. In many rural areas clean drinking water is a important factor in their related health problems. Anyway this is an example of how the brainwashing continues…

Johannesburg – There would be more than 4.4 million more people in South Africa if it were not for the Aids pandemic, according to a survey released on Monday.

“Currently, there are 50.6m people in the country. In the absence of Aids, this would have been 55m,” said the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR).

“The data shows that 31% of all deaths in 2011 were Aids-related. By 2015, this proportion will have risen to 33%. In 2025, there will be 121% more Aids deaths than there were in 2000,” it said.

SAIRR said and estimated six million people would be living with HIV/Aids in 2015, double the number recorded in 2000.

Researcher Thuthukani Ndebele said HIV/Aids had resulted in a significantly slower population growth rate.

“Not only does HIV/Aids reduce life expectancy and increase mortality, but it is largely responsible for wider social ills such as orphanhood and child-headed households,” he said.

The survey is based on data sourced from the Actuarial Society of South Africa and the Institute for Futures Research.

According to the data the HIV prevalence rate is higher among young African adults, resulting in fewer people in this group reaching old age.

source: News24 / SAPA