King Peggy of Ghana opens up about life as a female king and how family members first rejected her role. Why she is called a “king” and not the other way round.
Confusing but true!
The human genome is made up of about 23,000 genes. That’s a fairly impressive figure. Until you consider this: the number of non-human genes each of us carries around — from the bacteria, viruses and other pathogens living in and on us — totals 8 million.
Most of the cells in the human body aren’t even human. Indeed, bacterial cells outnumber human cells 10 to 1. Which is why the exploration of the human microbiome — the collective population of all the non-human cells and genes that inhabit us — is currently one of the fastest rising fields of medical research.
What scientists are discovering is that these microbes are not just freeloaders or invaders. Rather, they’re crucial facilitators of many of our basic bodily functions: from digesting food and producing vitamins to fending off harmful infection and recovering from illness. They not only keep people healthy, but they may…
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Researchers in Mexico say avocado oil could be used to counteract the effects of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Avocado is already well known for its cholesterol-fighting properties but now, the scientists say it contains antioxidents that protect cells from damage caused by environmental factors like radiation of air pollution.
Mexico is the world’s largest producer of avocados. In 2010, Mexico produced 1.8 million tons of avocados, which were exported primarily to the United States, Japan, Canada and Europe, according to Mexico’s Secretariat of the Economy. Michoacan alone produces about 80 percent of the world’s avocados, and produces about 95 percent of Mexico’s avocados.
Christian Cortes Rojo a researcher with the University of Michoacan in San Nicolas Hidalgo, says there’s more to the avocado than its flavour, texture and known health benefits.
He and his team have discovered that avocado oil contains powerful antioxidants that could help counteract the effects of diseases in which mitochondrial cell functions are disrupted.
Mitochondria are the organelles within cells which generate energy for cell growth, and convert the energy from food molecules into adesonine triphoshate, which powers most cell functions including cell division. But mitochondria contain oxygen molecules that can be transformed into unstable molecules called “free radicals” after exposure to a number of environmental factors, including cigarette smoke, radiation and pollution. The free radicals can in turn, transform the neighbouring molecules that form cells into free radicals too, thereby damaging cell function.
The phenomenon is known to be associated with the aging process and with diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
Cortes Rojo and his team experimented with yeast cells, like those used in wine and beer production, to examine avocado oil’s properties. He says yeast cells are simpler to study than other biological models but yield results than can be applied to other cells.
The team exposed the yeast cells treated with avocado oil to high concentrations of iron, which produces large numbers of free radicals. Their results showed that the avocado oil allowed the yeast cells to resist and survive the free radicals.
“The most important discovery so far is that avocado oil augments mitochondrial function of yeast cells during the reduction-oxidative period. This is important because avocado oil might be able to – in complex animals such as humans – have the same effect. In that case of illnesses in which the mitochondria is damaged, avocado oil could help organs withstand or be more resistant to oxidative stresses,” he said.
Those oxidative stresses are associated with a range of diseases. Cortes Rojo says further experiments on animal models – rats in this case – could lead to new methods of prevention using the properties of avocado oil.
“We have planned to conduct these studies, and are already conducting them, to look into diabetes and hypertension. Those are diseases in which oxidative stresses clearly exist at a mitochondrial level, and that results in damage to cell functions,” Rojo added.
Other mitochondrial diseases include Leigh’s disease, a neurometabolic disorder and Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, which can cause vision loss.
Avocado oil, which contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as vitamin E, is known to contain powerful antioxidant properties which can serve to fortify blood vessels by removing cholesterol desposits, reducing the risk of blood vessel damage. The antioxidant binding also serves to strengthen vessel walls, making them better suited to sudden changes in blood pressure.
An estimated 2,000 tons of avocado oil are produced annually, of which Michoacan-based Avo Plus avocado company produces about 1,500 tons. Smaller quantities of avocado oil are also produced in Israel and South Africa.
Ana Lissete Miranda, the head researcher for Avo Plus, says that avocado consumers will benefit from knowing about the health benefits of the product.
“What’s missing is the diffusion of this information about the properties of the oil. With scientific backing, this could be beneficial to the consumer in that they will know that they are really consuming a product that benefits their health. It’s not just for salads. It can be used for cooking like any other oil,” she said.
Avocados are known as “green gold” in some parts of Michoacan because of the fortune they represent to the local economy. The price of a liter of avocado oil is approximately 100 pesos ($7.15), which is comparable to the price of olive oil.
Cortés-Rojo agrees that the findings could further enhance Mexico’s status as the world’s leading exporter of avocados. Noting the association between olive oil consumption in Mediterranean countries and the low incidences of chronic degenerative diseases there, he say he hopes that the avocado will one day become known as the “olive oil of the Americas.”
Despite a report by an anonymous Dana Air official that the airline forced them to fly a faulty plane, the airline is defending the safety of its aircraft after one of its planes crashed on approach to Lagos, the country’s largest city, killing all 153 people on board, including the airline’s chief engineer.
Francis Ogboro, an executive of Dana Airlines, told reporters Wednesday that the engineer would not have allowed the MD-83 to take off from Abuja Sunday if there had been a problem. He said the planes are properly maintained and that “no airline crew would go on a suicide mission.”
Most of the passengers were Nigerian, but the United States says nine Americans were on the plane. In addition, citizens of Britain, Canada, China, France, India and Lebanon were reported to have been on board. A spokesman for Lloyds of London, the insurer of Dana Airlines, said Wednesday there will be compensation for families of the victims.
Authorities also say at least six others on the ground were killed when the plane plowed into a Lagos residential neighborhood nine kilometers from the airport. Several houses were damaged.
Search crews have recovered the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders which may shed light on the cause of the crash. Aviation officials say the pilot reported dual engine trouble as he prepared to land. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is assisting in the investigation.
Local news and bloggers reported Tuesday that the airline’s senior managers of Indian nationality have fled the country as Nigerian aviation officials investigate the cause of the crash. Leadership news alleged that the management knew the equipment on the plane was faulty. It also said residents at the crash site have complained about an odor emanating from the wreckage and cited health concerns of those who inhaled it.
The deadly crash is renewing concerns about aviation safety in Nigeria and the rest of West Africa. Authorities say the airline’s license to fly has been suspended indefinitely.
Dana Airlines is a domestic air carrier that operates a fleet of Boeing MD-83 aircraft for the hour-long flight from Abuja to Lagos.
The official told Channels TV that they were forced to fly the aircraft in order to maximize profit.
Below is the video of the phone call between Deji Bademosi and the anonymous airline official.
- Search ends for victims of Nigeria plane crash (ctv.ca)
- Nigeria Plane Crash Hit All Social Classes – ABC News (abcnews.go.com)
- History of Dana Air’s MC Donnell Douglas MD 83 (catheyspost.wordpress.com)
Nigerian recounts ordeal in hands of Charles Taylor’s army- And to think that this same country housed him!!! Sad!
Just watched this video on Channels Television and feel so pained. Before his sentencing to 50 years in prison custody, Chrles Taylor spent a few years in Nigeria, Calabar precisely.
After watching this video I feel so pained that he was housed and given a sense of freedom in a country whose innocent citizens he killed during the war in Sieria Leone in 1999.
See for yourself!