Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Solar Halo

An impressive solar halo, created by ice crystals in cirrus clouds that refract the incoming sunlight, seen over a palm tree near the offices of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, on June 27, 2006.
--My thanks to Peter Marenfeld and NSO/AURA/NSF, for such a fantastic photo.

The 22-degree (radius) halo, caused by refraction of sunlight through the edges of six-sided ice crystals in high clouds, surrounds the Sun. It is always colored red on the inside, blue on the outside, as blue light refracts more than red.

The sky is darker inside the halo. The sky inside a rainbow is lighter. I would see a solar halo when I look towards the Sun. I would only see a rainbow with the Sun behind me. It is said that a true rainbow is really a circle. A rainbow is violet in the inside and red on the outside. It's like the halo and the rainbow are polar opposites or something.

Photo of Rainbows and heavy rain over Sointula on Malcolm Island, Northern Vancouver island.
--My thanks to Rolf Hicker for this fabulous, vibrant shot.

Dew point

At any place water vapour in the air varies greatly. In the lower air it tends to be some 2% of the volume, but varies from very little to about 5%. The amount tends to decrease upward, so that the mean vapour content at 1200 m is only one tenth that at sea-level, though the actual amount is ever varying.

At any given temperature there is a limit to the amount of water that can be held as vapour. When the air is saturated any fall in temperature should cause condensation. Relative humidity (RH) is the proportion of the actual mass of water vapour in a given volume of air to the maximum amount that could be contained at that temperature. Thus "dry" air over a hot desert may contain as much water vapour as saturated air over Artic waters, or indeed more. If the humidity exceeds 100 per cent, moisture will begin to condense from the air. If the air contains only half the water it can hold at that temperature, the RH is 50 per cent

All air contains water vapour of varying quantities. Warm air can hold more moisture than cool air. The dew point indicates the amount of moisture in the air. The dew point temperature is the temperature at which the air can now longer hold all of its water vapour, and some of the water vapour must condense into liquid water. The condensed water is called dew. The higher the dew point, the higher the moisture content of the air at a given temperature. Conversely, the dew point of humid air will be higher than the dew point of dry air.

When the dew point approaches 75 degrees F, most people can "feel" the thickness of the air as they breathe, since the water vapour content is so high (about 20 grams of water vapour per kilogram of dry air, or 2% of the air's mass).

Humidity is measured by condensing the moisture in the air. Absolute humidity is the quantity of water in a particular volume of air. If all the water in one cubic meter of air were condensed into a container, the container could be weighed to determine absolute humidity. The amount of vapor in that cube of air is the absolute humidity of that cubic meter of air. The absolute humidity changes as air pressure changes.

Air will normally contain a certain amount of water vapour. As I understand it, a liquid water molecule has been heated and expands into a water vapour molecule. The water that condenses on someone's glasses as they walk into a humid room, would previously have occupied a space in the air that was perhaps hundreds of times greater. The condensation comes from bursting bubbles of water vapour in the room which collect on the cooler glasses. The water vapour starts to look like some kind of invisible foam that fills a room.

I think that when we talk about water vapour making up only 2% of the air it is something of a misnomer, because when we speak of water vapour I think that it IS the air. We think there is barely any hydrogen in air. This theory says we are surrounded by it. Somehow, oxygen fixes the hydrogen so it does not float off into space. Oxygen acts like a bag of ballast to the hydrogen gas "bubble".

A container pressurized with steam can be condensed into a pool of water which now occupies a space 99.93% less. This space that has been left contains quite literally nothing. It is a vacuum. The container would look like it had been sucked-in. The water vapour creates air pressure inside the container. Can I suggest then that it is also water vapour which creates air pressure in the atmosphere?


Weather and climate By David Money

Eclipse forms a perfect diamond ring

Hindu devotees gather along the banks of the River Ganges to watch the total solar eclipse in the northern Indian city of Varanasi July 22, 2009. (REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw) #

What a great picture. What energy! The little picture above doesn't do it any justice. Move the cursor over it and get the big picture. See what I mean? I could sit here all day and stare at it. For more wonderful images in "big pictures", you can pop here if you like :

Also, here's a bit of footage from the recent eclipse, as seen from Varanassi. I get a real good vibe when I think about India. There's something about the energy there. I bet Varanassi was a pretty special place to witness the eclipse (though not so good if you don't like crowds!).

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Can You See My Bum?

The same volume of oxygen gas weighs 16 times more than hydrogen gas. When the hydrogen is burnt to produce water vapour, it does so at a weight ratio of 1:8. 2 volumes of hydrogen are reacted with 1 volume of oxygen to produce 2 volumes of water vapour. That's 2 volumes of hydrogen with the atomic weight of 2 being added to one volume of oxygen with an atomic weight of 16. That should give us a total atomic weight of 18. But how is this possible if the weight ratio is now 1:8 - which means the total is actually 9?

I suspect that the hydrogen gas atom shrinks to half its size when it becomes joined to oxygen in water vapour. Therefore the 2 volumes of water vapour are made up with 1 volume of hydrogen and 1 volume of oxygen. The volumes are of equal measure in water vapour.

Normally, as two seperate gases, oxygen gas weighs 16 times more than hydrogen gas. In water vapour it is one volume of hydrogen joined to one volume of oxygen. In water vapour one volume of oxygen now weighs only eight times more than the hydrogen. Or, to put it another way, one volume of hydrogen as part of a water molecule, now weighs twice as much as one volume of simple hydrogen gas.

This is the thing with density though. It's almost illusory. I could say that the oxygen atom now weighs only eight times more than hydrogen, therefore making hydrogen more dense. Or I could say that one hydrogen atom now weighs only half that of an oxygen atom, therefore giving hydrogen half its previous density. It reminds me of that drawing where you see either an old woman, or a glamorous lady, but never both at the same time. It just depends on how you look at it.

If we add the weight ratio of 1:8 together it gives us a total of 9. I think this might make the atomic weight of water vapour 9. I know I'm going over old ground. I'm repeating myself. But writing this over and over helps me get to grips with it. I'm probably brainwashing myself. Is it the case of the Emperor's new clothes? Am I the boy in the crowd? Or the guy in the buff?

Does the hydrogen atom in a water molecule get heavier, or lighter? An atom of hydrogen gas has a much greater volume than a water molecule. Water vapour occupies a space some 1700 times greater than liquid water. If we were to break down the steam into its component gases of oxygen and hydrogen, the hydrogen gas would still occupy a volume 1700 times greater than liquid water. The oxygen gas which we have seperated will occupy a volume that is half that. The oxygen would have a volume 850 times more than liquid water.

A hydrogen gas balloon is known to rise upwards. Simple hydrogen gas is more buoyant than air. The water out at sea seems to pretty much remain where it is, unless it's ice which floats on the surface, or water vapour which rises completely up into the air. Steam from my kettle goes up. Where does it go after that?

My thanks for the picture:

Monday, 27 July 2009

Is The Atomic Weight Of Water 9?

The ratio of hydrogen to oxygen in water is 1:8. One unit of hydrogen is added to one unit of oxygen that weighs 8 times as much. In the previous post I said that the ratio of 1:8 in water vapour was not relevant. I think I might have been mistaken. Maybe the atomic number of water is rightly 9, and not 17. As a gas, oxygen weighs 16 times more than hydrogen. If you were to add one volume of hydrogen to one volume of oxygen it would give you a combined atomic weight of 17.

If the hydrogen atom does shrink when it reacts with oxygen to make water vapour, then it's likely that the atom shall become more dense. The same amount of energy which occupied 2 volumes now occupies only one volume. This one volume of hydrogen, which has a density twice that of a hydrogen atom in gas, is now part of a water molecule with one volume of oxygen which now weighs 8 times more.

It remains that one volume of reduced hydrogen gas is in a reaction with one volume of oxygen gas to produce two volumes of water vapour. In this reaction the ratio is 1:8. The atomic weight of water vapour should therefore come to a grand total of 9. If the steam was cooled and condensed into water, it would occupy a volume some 1700 times smaller than the steam.

I would have to summise though that in the reaction to make water we have one volume of hydrogen gas and one volume of oxygen gas. The hydrogen starts out as two volumes, but as it burns, it is reduced, or compressed, into one volume. Therefore, in terms of volume, water is 50% hydrogen, and 50% oxygen. That's my yin to your yang, man.

I just don't think atomic weights work. This ratio of 1:8 would mean that there is 8 times more oxygen than hydrogen in water vapour. I don't think this is true at all. I think water is made up equally with one half hydrogen and one half oxygen. I'm starting to get a feel for relationships in other compounds which are based in atomic weight ratios. I get the sense that none of them stand up in terms of volume. I could be wrong. I can see this theory is going to need a lot more work. I probably need more sleep. Mmmmm....sleeep.

Volcanic Gases and Their Effects

Magma contains dissolved gases that are released into the atmosphere during eruptions. Gases are also released from magma that either remains below ground (for example, as an intrusion) or is rising toward the surface. In such cases, gases may escape continuously into the atmosphere from the soil, volcanic vents, fumaroles, and hydrothermal systems.

Volcanic gases undergo a tremendous increase in volume when magma rises to the Earth's surface and erupts. For example, consider what happens if one cubic meter of 900°C rhyolite magma containing five percent by weight of dissolved water were suddenly brought from depth to the surface. The one cubic meter of magma now would occupy a volume of 670 m3 as a mixture of water vapor and magma at atmospheric pressure (Sparks et. al., 1997)! The one meter cube at depth would increase to 8.75 m on each side at the surface. Such enormous expansion of volcanic gases, primarily water, is the main driving force of explosive eruptions.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Hell No H2O

Yay! I've been desperate to use "hell no H2O" as the title for a post for some time now. It has a nice ring to it. A big thankyou to those lah-dees down at Coyote Ugly! It's funny that the timing of this title could never have been any more apt. I'm trying to resolve a problem I have in understanding the structure of water. My head aches a little from thinking about this. Can I be this wrong about something so simple?

If water is split using electrolysis, and the gases are collected, we find that there is twice the volume of hydrogen compared to oxygen. In my mind then, I see hydrogen as occupying two thirds of water with oxygen making up the other third. Water therefore, should read something like 66.66% hydrogen, right? Wrong. Apparently. I've chanced upon the Catholic Encyclopedia, and I wonder what they think about all this:

Water is an example of a compound substance, or chemical compound. Its molecule contains three atoms, two atoms of hydrogen, and one atom of oxygen. If a quantity of these two elements were mixed, the result would be a mechanical mixture of the molecules of the two. But if heat, or some other adequate cause were made to act, chemical action would follow and the molecules, splitting up, would combine atom with atom. Part of a molecule of oxygen--one atom--would combine with part of two atoms of hydrogen--two atoms. The result would be the production of a quantity of molecules of water. Each water molecule contains one atom of oxygen and two atoms of hydrogen.

Okay, I'm with it so far. Two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen. That's still two thirds hydrogen, right? Uhm... wrong.

The invariability of composition by weight of chemical compounds is a fundamental law of chemistry. Thus water under all circumstances consists of 88.88% of oxygen and 11.11% of hydrogen. This establishes a relation between the weights of the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen in the water molecule, which is 1:8.

What? 11.11% hydrogen? 1:8? What? Where did I go so horribly wrong? Let's take it from the top again and try to see where I took a nose-dive.

Oxygen and hydrogen are gaseous under ordinary conditions. If water is decomposed, and the vases collected and measured, there will always be two volumes of hydrogen to one of oxygen. This illustrates another fundamental law--the invariability of composition by gaseous volume of chemical compounds. From the composition by volume of water its molecule is taken as composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, on the assumption that in a given volume of any gas there is the same number of molecules. As there are two atoms in the molecules of both of these elements, the above may be put in a more popular way thus: the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen occupy the same space. The ratio spoken of above of 1:8, is therefore the ratio of two atoms of hydrogen to one of oxygen.

And there's more ...

It follows that the ratio of one atom of hydrogen to one atom of oxygen is 1:16. The numbers 1 and 16 thus determined, are the atomic weights of hydrogen and oxygen respectively. Strictly speaking they are not weights at all only numbers expressing the relation of weight. Atomic weights are determined for all the elements, based on several considerations, such as those outlined for the atoms of oxygen and hydrogen. Thus the term atom indicates not only the constituents of molecules but has a quantitative meaning, the proportional part of the element which enters into compounds.

The sum of the weights of the atoms in a molecule is the molecular weight of the substance. Thus the molecular weight of water is the sum of the weights of two hydrogen atoms, which is two, and of one oxygen atom, which is sixteen, a total of eighteen. If we divide the molecular weight of a compound into atomic weight of the atoms of any element in its molecule, it will give the proportion of the element in the compound. Taking water again, if we divide the molecular weight, 18, into the weight of the atoms of hydrogen in its molecule, 2, we obtain the fraction 2/18, which express the proportion of hydrogen in water. The same process gives the proportion of oxygen in water as 16/18.

Being something of an obstinate soul, this still doesn't make sense to me. 16/18 of oxygen in water? In the vases which collected the gases from the decomposition of water, we find twice the volume of hydrogen to oxygen, and not 1/9. I'm banging my head on my desk and it's still not making any sense (which is a shame cos' it normally works).

What is telling is where it states the "assumption that in a given volume of any gas there is the same number of molecules." I'm always suspicious of assumptions. I like to question assumptions. I like to turn assumptions upside-down and shake them. I like to put assumptions in a sack and then throw them over bridges. Oh no - there's no tea and crumpets for any assumptions in my house. I could go on but I'll save you the agony.

Early experimenters knew that in equal volumes, oxygen weighs sixteen times more than hydrogen. Referring to current theory, I don't think this necessarily means there is sixteen more times more oxygen than hydrogen in water. I think that there is one volume of oxygen, and two volumes of hydrogen.

In 1808 Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, a master of experimental chemistry, was experimenting with the proportions of oxygen and hydrogen needed to make water. He found that combining volumes of hydrogen and oxygen to make water are almost exactly 2:1 (within 0.1%). For example, 2 litres of hydrogen would react with exactly 1 litre of oxygen, with no hydrogen or oxygen left over. Just to confuse things a little, if we were to perform this reaction we would find that it would give us only 2 litres of water, and not 3 litres as one might expect.

John Dalton (c.1810) began to assign atomic weights to the elements. By experimentation he found that to form water one gram of hydrogen always reacts with approximately eight grams of oxygen. Oxygen, Dalton deduced, has eight times the mass of hydrogen in water. At this stage, Dalton assumed that the number of atoms was the same for the two different quantities of gas. Basically one hydrogen atom was matched to one oxygen atom to make one water molecule (H-O). He therefore assumed one hydrogen atom to be twice as big as one oxygen atom.

The Italian physicist Avogadro didn't like Dalton's assumption - so he came up with his own one! In 1811, Avogadro proposed a theory where the same volume for any gas contained the same number of atoms. That is, one unit of hydrogen contains the same number of atoms as one unit of oxygen - or any other gas for that matter. 1 cm cubed of any gas at room temperature will contain about 25, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 particles.

Avogadro's number has washed over the essential differences between the size of atoms. Previously, Newton had thought that the atoms of gas were large, elastic objects, essentially filling space, and of different sizes for different atoms. Just to clarify, I tend to find myself using Newton's model of the universe. I distrust the kinetic theory of atoms. I don't think atoms are bouncing and whizzing all over the place. I think atoms are spinning, but they remain stationary - a bit like the wheels of a gym-bike! I think that atoms being different sizes might go some way in explaining how we get different EMR wavelengths.

Avogadro reasoned that if the number of atoms are the same, then an atom of oxygen must weigh sixteen times more than one atom of hydrogen. Avogadro then had to explain why two volumes of hydrogen added to one volume of oxygen gives us only two volumes of water, and not three. Where has the missing volume from the total disappeared to?

Avogadro "solves" this problem by slashing everything in half. In a water molecule we no longer have Dalton's hydrogen atom that is twice the size of the oxygen atom, we now have two hydrogen atoms to one oxygen atom - therefore making the formula of water H2O. Avogrado determines that there are the same number of atoms in a half unit of hydrogen as in eight units of oxygen. The implications of this are phenomenal - Avogadro has inadvertently split the atom!

I might be making too bold a statement here, but there appears to be no real basis for having diatomic oxygen or diatomic hydrogen, other than it being something which Avogadro took a fancy to. Avogadro's Law has no doubt aided chemists in quantifying their experiments, and their calculations, but the implications go so much further than the bounds of science. I don't think I exaggerate when I say that Avogadro's assumption has not only affected everything we see in science books, but has also gone on to shape and fashion our everyday perception of the world around us.

It pays to remember that oxygen weighs 16 times more than hydrogen. The Periodic Table shows hydrogen with an atomic number of 1, and oxygen at number 8. These are half unit values, and I think that this only incites further confusion. There is no ratio of 1:8, not really, except when applied to water vapour. According to weight, hydrogen has a value of 1, and oxygen has a value of 16, so I would prefer to maintain the ratio of 1:16.

On the Periodic Table, hydrogen is shown as atomic number one but is best described as being only half an atom. According to the Periodic Table, a hydrogen atom needs to be paired with another hydrogen atom to become a diatomic molecule. Only then does hydrogen become a complete atom. This pushes the atomic weight of hydrogen gas upto 2, when essentially, before Avogadro, the atomic weight of hydrogen gas was 1. This would therefore make the atomic weight of water 17, and not 18!

There now surfaces a certain irony that the word atom comes from the Greek "atomos", meaning "indivisible". But atoms, being something supposedly indivisible, were divided so that an anomaly in our understanding of the structure of water, and ultimately the Universe, could be pushed to one side. Can you indulge me a little, and try to accept that from here on in, that when I say hydrogen atom I am referring to a complete hydrogen gas particle? A hydrogen atom, poised at atomic number 1, is now complete with two electrons acting as dipolar vortices, and the hydrogen atom manages to remain a toroidal structure.

Hydrogen is a basic building block of galaxies, stars and nebulae. It is consumed in the furnaces at the cores of stars and converted into helium, and subsequently heavier elements such as carbon, oxygen and nitrogen - the basic building blocks of life. I'm over-simplifying nucleosynthesis here but basically one hydrogen atom plus another hydrogen atom, under the right conditions, makes one helium atom. In theory then, it takes 16 hydrogen molecules to make one oxygen molecule.

If I were to take an ordinary pint glass and fill one third of it with builders sand, and then fill-in the rest with rolled-up bits of tissue paper, and I was asked to describe what I was seeing, then I would say that there was one third sand and two thirds tissue paper in the glass. If I was to base my description strictly on weight, then I might find myself saying that there was mostly sand, and barely any tissue paper in the glass - which isn't exactly true is it?

There has been a previous post I made on this blog called "Rocks and Sand". In it I describe how 50 ml of water added to 50 ml of ethanol, does not give you 100 ml of solution, but rather something around 98 ml. 2 ml have disappeared! The analogy was that if we have a box full of basket balls representing the ethanol, and then we pour marbles which represent water into the box, we find that the marbles are filling the spaces between the basket balls, and this is how some of the volume goes missing - it's a gap filler. Can this analogy in any way be applied to what we are seeing happen to hydrogen and oxygen as they form water vapour?

The oxygen atom is basically 16 times more dense than the hydrogen atom. Water is formed by the weight ratio of 8 to 1. 8 grams of oxygen will form water with 1 gram of hydrogen. Dalton suggested that hydrogen atoms were twice the size of the oxygen atom. Is it possible that under the reaction to make water vapour that the oxygen atoms fill the spaces between the hydrogen atoms?

Another possible scenario is that in making water vapour the atoms shrink in volume. The hydrogen atom, atomic number 1, occupies 2 units, and that the oxygen atom, atomic number 16, occupies 1 unit. If the hydrogen is combusted, then the resulting steam occupies 2 units, and has an atomic number of 17. Let's imagine then that our humble hydrogen atom has shrunk to half its size. The hydrogen atom no longer occupies 2 units, but only one unit. If we add this to the one unit that the oxygen atom occupies, then we have a total volume of 2 units. This might help explain why we find steam occupies only 2 units.

So instead of dividing the hydrogen atom in half as Avogadro did, we have merely reduced it's volume. Thus, in water we now have one unit of hydrogen and one unit of oxygen. Does that mean therefore that water is made up 50/50 of hydrogen/oxygen atoms?

I'm thinking how an atom might reduce its size. Remember, it is the hydrogen which is burnt to make water. The reaction could make the hydrogen atom spin faster. In the same way that an ice-skater spins faster if they pull their leg in, then the effect could be applied to a spinning atom. Under the constant applied pressure of the aether, an atom with a smaller circumference would spin faster.

Which leads us to something pretty interesting. We are told that hydrogen gas doesn't exist as a gas here on Earth. We have to seperate hydrogen atoms from water, biomass, or natural gas molecules (the two most common methods for producing hydrogen are steam reforming and electrolysis).

If we were to heat up a small amount of water in a metal container, the water would turn into steam. Pouring cold water over the container would condense the steam back into water. The can also implodes, and looks like its been sucked-in from the inside. Condensation pulls a vacuum. It's intriguing that the steam occupies a volume which is some 1700 times greater than the water.

The new atomic weight of water is 17, that is one hydrogen atom which has the value of 1 in weight, being joined by an oxygen atom which has the value of 16, to give us a total of 17.

I'm very excited. This opens up whole avenues to explore. There's a whole Universe to look at in a different way now. There is one thing bugging me though. Hydrogen is now restored as a complete atom, with the atomic number of 1. The oxygen atom, in its complete state, now occupies the atomic number 16. That is pushing sulphur out of the number 16 slot. It appears that perhaps sulphur does not belong at number 16. And also, what happens to the number 8 slot now that oxygen has vocated it?

And you know what? My head's finally stopped hurting... only until I start thinking about it again.

Many thanks:

A dictionary of chemistry ... By Andrew Ure

Monday, 20 July 2009

Modification of Sodium Transport and Alveolar Fluid Clearance by Hypoxia

Karin M. Hardiman and Sadis Matalon

Departments of Physiology and Biophysics and Anesthesiology, Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama

In order for gas exchange to occur optimally, the alveoli must remain open and free from fluid. In utero, the fetal lung is filled with fluid which is removed shortly after birth, mainlybecause active reabsorption of sodium ions (Na+) across the alveolar epithelium creates an osmotic force favoring reabsorption of alveolar fluid (1, 2)

There have been numerous studies attempting to identify whether decreased alveolar fluid clearance (AFC) contributes to alveolaredema formation in a variety of pathophysiologic conditions. The results of several studies suggest that severe alveolar hypoxia results in decreased AFC and Na+ transport (see Table 1). This is of major interest because alveolar hypoxemia may be encountered in a variety of pathologic conditions including hypoventilation, obstructive lung disease, and ascent to high altitude (15).

Human Photosynthesis - back to our origins?

An interview with Hira Ratan Manek by Miriam Knight

Hira Ratan Manek was born in 1937 and grew up in Kerala, India, getting his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Kerala. After graduation, he joined the family business, which was shipping and spice trading, and continued working there until he retired in 1992. After he retired, he began to study sun gazing, particularly the teachings of Lord Mahavir of the Jains, who practiced this method two thousand six hundred years ago. Since June 1995 HRM has lived on sun energy, water and the occasional cup of tea or buttermilk "for social purposes."

MK: Hira, you stopped eating solid food in 1995 and have baffled the doctors and scientists who have studied you during water fasts of 211 and 411 days. How do you manage it?

HRM: This is an ancient practice based on logic and modern biological science that relys on water and sunlight for energy. This is really photosynthesis taking place in the human body.

MK: Is it an all or nothing thing or are there increasing benefits from increasing exposure to the sun?

HRM: Yes, there are three divisions. First comes the mental health that you get with three months of gazing at the sun. You must start slowly with 10 seconds and work up to, say, 15 minutes a day, but only within the first hour after sunrise or before sunset. For children you limit it to 5 minutes. You don’t have to give up food, just reduce the quantities. And the best health drink is solarized water – leave it in the sun in glass jars. It is even better if you put gemstones in it.

If you do this for six months you get physical health. If you go for nine months, then you get spiritual health also. It is your choice.

What we are scared about nowadays is the ultraviolet effect of sunlight. Modern science has misguided us by referring to UV light at midday. But sunlight doesn’t always have the bad ultraviolet. It has been proved that during the first hour after sunrise or before sunset in any part of the world and at any time of the year, there is zero UV.

MK: Why does the light bring that kind of effect?

HRM: Because from birth we have infinite powers. Our brain is a supercomputer. We are moving into an age where computers will be a thing of the past. We will be using our "brainuter!" The power we enjoy from birth is the software of this computer. Then our thinking process is the combination of the keyboard and the mouse. Now what this computer lacks is the power supply, and the power supply is the sun energy. After all we know that this generates electricity. This light can enter the brain only through the human eye. The eye is connected directly to the brain – that is a medical fact....

....Even medical men agree that the body requires only energy, not food. When we eat plants, we convert food into energy, but it is a secondary source of sun energy. That is why the raw food people say not to cook, because the sun energy will be lost. The energy in non-vegetarian food is even more degraded....

....Your body has the mechanism to absorb sunlight directly to the brain and stimulate five important glands. The pineal gland, what we call the third eye, used to be considered useless by medical science. But it has been scientifically demonstrated, with before and after MRIs, that as the pineal gets activated, more and more neurons regenerate in the brain.

MK: Tell me about the development of the spiritual side after a year of this practice.

HRM: Yes, that is the best thing. Why are we backward in spiritualism? Because we lack mental health and spiritual balance. We have so many desires, desires... They are killing our physical system and disturbing our peace and world peace.

When you are in perfect balance, positive and fearless, you will not harm other people. What is sin, after all but harming others? When there is no sin, you are in the spiritual kingdom; the best things will come to you automatically. It is simple – don’t harm others.

MK: What is the vision that drives you to lecture all around the world?

HRM: Global healing and peace everywhere. There will be no energy crisis because sun energy will never end; no pollution because sun energy never produces pollutants; no obesity and no hunger; no aids and no cancer. All will be mentally, physically and spiritually fit. Yes, we are moving towards the golden age of satyayuga from the present kaliyuga – from bad to eternal good.

Anybody with questions, doubts or difficulties in understanding is welcome to write to HRM at, or go to his website:

Thankyou to Hira Ratan Manek and Miriam Knight. The full version of this interview is available at :

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Is There Really A Liquid Lining Of The Lung?

A remarkable phenomenon has occurred in recent years in pulmonary physiology that may tell us something about the survival of orthodoxy despite ever more aggressive peer review. We refer to the widespread persistence of the notion that the pulmonary alveoli are normally lined with liquid. This notion persists in the scientific community in the face of a simple law of physics that shows it to be impossible. The law, appreciable by schoolchildren who blow soap bubbles, is that the only stable liquid–gas interface has the shape of a sphere, unless gravity upsets things badly. As a pulmonary alveolus is not a spherical structure, its epithelium cannot support a continuous thin lining with liquid that follows the non-spherical contour of its surface. It requires some explanation, therefore, why both the specialist medical literature, and school and university biology and physiology texts, are dominated by the view that the ‘alveolar surface is lined with liquid, which forms an air–liquid interface with alveolar gas’.1 To physicists this is inconceivable.2

The discovery by Brown and colleagues in 1959, that extracts from lung display a surface tension–area hysteresis on a Langmuir trough that looks a bit like the pressure– volume hysteresis seen in excised lungs,5 set the scene for an assumption that the alveoli themselves constitute a trough of liquid, albeit one with a complicated geometry. This assumption has pervaded the literature on lung mechanics for over 40 yr, and established itself firmly. Respiratory physiology texts speak with one voice about the liquid lining of the lung, assuming, or explicitly stating, that the whole alveolar surface is covered with a liquid.

The most vociferous opponent of alveolar wetness has made two fundamental errors in his otherwise challenging critique of established dogma.23 The first is the claim that a hydrophobic surface is required to prevent water from spreading within a polygonal structure. In fact, according to our earlier reasoning, even a hydrophilic surface can only sustain a continuous liquid lining if a sufficient volume of liquid is present on that surface to immerse irregularities beneath a spherical liquid–gas interface. This phenomenon is demonstrated in the micrographs of protein-rich pulmonary oedema published by Bachofen and colleagues.21 Hills’ second error, uncorrected even in a publication well after extensive new findings in the field,24 is the claim that passive forces alone account for the absorption of liquid from the corners of alveoli. His model of the ‘corner pump’, in which a liquid globule presents a convex surface to alveolar gas, and is emptied into lung interstitium by surface tension raising the pressure within the globule above that of alveolar gas and interstitial liquid, contrasts strikingly with the model that arises from the work of Basset and colleagues.25 26 In this model of adult lung, type II epithelial pneumocytes (the ones that secrete surfactant on to the alveolar surface) utilize fuel (ATP) actively to pump sodium, and with it glucose and water, from any collections of water that bathe the apical surface of the cells, into the interstitium.27 Matthay and colleagues have extensively characterized this process of liquid absorption in animals and humans,28 and there is some evidence that without active sodium transport fatal alveolar flooding would occur. Interestingly, however, the presence of aquaporins (water transport channels) in alveolar epithelium makes no measurable contribution to recovery from a wide variety of forms of lung injury associated with alveolar oedema.30

If the detectives on the case appear to be reluctant to make use of this fascinating new evidence of vigorous transport activity down in the alveoli, they appear even more reluctant to incorporate the most remarkable claims emanating from the laboratory of Scarpelli,31 who offers a whole ‘new anatomy’ of the alveolar surface. On the basis of studies that are claimed to preserve surface structures destroyed by the customary methods of histological preparation, Scarpelli has proposed that the alveolar ducts are normally filled with foam surfactant, within which each alveolus can be identified as a separate and complete bubble. Thus, astonishingly, the gas within each alveolus is not free to flow by convection, at least not continuously throughout the whole of the respiratory cycle as has been normally supposed. In this model, the entrances to alveoli are spanned by extremely thin bilayers of surfactant that are presumed usually to contain no ‘hypophase’ liquid, and consequently take the form of ‘Newtonian black films’.

Gas Bubbles in Seals, Dolphins, and Porpoises Entangled and Drowned at Depth in Gillnets

Gas bubbles were found in 15 of 23 gillnet-drowned bycaught harp (Pagophilus groenlandicus), harbor (Phoca vitulina) and gray (Halichoerus grypus) seals, common (Delphinus delphis) and white-sided (Lagenorhyncus acutus) dolphins, and harbor porpoises (Phocaena phocaena) but in only 1 of 41 stranded marine mammals.

Studies have suggested that under some circumstances, diving mammals are routinely supersaturated and that these mammals presumably manage gas exchange and decompression anatomically and behaviorally. This study provides a unique illustration of such supersaturated tissues. We suggest that greater attention be paid to the radiology and pathology of bycatch mortality as a possible model to better understand gas bubble disease in marine mammals.

How Does A Fish Listen?

Sounds are distortions in the flow of a fluid (whether the fluid be air or water) and are produced when an organism, or any pat of it, moves relative to the flow. These sounds are of varying frequency; swimming and feeding noises range upto 50 Hz, vocalization 50 - 400 Hz, and echolocation by marine animals upto 150 kHz.

Sound waves travel about 4.3 times faster in seawater than in air. The wavelength of a given sound frequency is thus 4.3 times longer in seawater, which has consequences for both echolocation and hearing, as we shall see below. At the same time the motion (vibration) of the sound source produces a to-and-fro movement of the fluid particles around it.

Theoritical analysis of the transmission of sounds produced by aquatic animals usually treats them in terms of two components, the far-field and the near-field, and a source such as the beating tail of a fish is usually modelled as a small vibrating sphere.

The far-field component comprises the acoustic pressure waves that propagate from the sound source at a velocity of about 1500 m/s, with little loss of energy. The energy in an acoustic wave is divided equally between the potential energy stored in the compressions and decompressions in the medium, and the kinetic energy in the increased velocities of particles in the medium.

If the wavelength is very long relative to the length of fish (a 300 Hz sound has a wavelength of 5 m) the pressure gradients between points on the fish's body will be very small. How then can an animal detect a distant sound or vibration?

Most tissues are close to acoustic transparency when compared with seawater (ie, have a similar acoustic impedance). Tissues of very high, or very low density (eg, bone of gas) have markedly different acoustic impedances, and consequently different accelerations to those of the rest of the animal.

An animal containing a gas bubble or gas bladder can also indirectly sense the far-field acoustic wave because it will induce the bubble to vibrate. When the sound frequency is close to the resonant frequency of the bubble the induced vibration is enhanced 3-10 times. as it vibrates, the bubble re-radiates the acoustic energy and generates its own near-field and far-field effects.

The bubble's resonant frequency increases with both an increase in ambient pressure, and a decrease in size. Even if the bubble (or swimbladder) size is actively maintained, its resonant frequency will be greatly affected by changes in the animal's depth. For example, if a bubble of diameter 0.2mm has a resonant frequency of 40kHz at 50m depth this will increase to 90kHz if the animal descends to 200m (typical of some diel vertical migrations).
--Taken from the book The biology of the deep ocean by Peter J.Herring

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Land of Hunza

How would you like to live in a land where cancer has not yet been invented? A land where an optometrist discovers to his amazement that everyone has perfect 20-20 vision? A land where cardiologists cannot find a single trace of coronary heart disease? How would you like to live in a land where no one ever gets ulcers, appendicitis or gout? A land where men of 80 and 90 father children, and there's nothing unusual about men and women enjoying vigorous life at the age of 100 or 120?

We see a lot of hands going up. Fine. But first, you have to answer a few more questions before setting out for a place called Hunza, a tiny country hidden in the mountain passes of northwest Pakistan.

Are you willing to live 20,000 feet up in the mountains, almost completely out of touch with the rest of the world? Are you ready to go outside in every kind of weather to tend your small mountainside garden, while keeping you ears open for an impending avalanche? Are you prepared to give up not only every luxury of civilization, but even reading and writing?

An optometrist, Dr. Allen E. Banik, also made the journey to Hunza to see for himself if the people were as healthy as they were reputed to be, and published his report in Hunza Land (Whitehorn Publishing Co., 1960). "It wasn't long before I discovered that everything that I had read about perpetual life and health in this tiny country is true, "Dr. Banik declared. "I examined the eyes of some of Hunza's oldest citizens and found them to be perfect."

Beyond more freedom from disease, many observers have been startled by the positive side of Hunza health. Dr. Banik, for example, relates that "many Hunza people are so strong that in the winter they exercise by breaking holes in the ice-covered streams and take a swim down under the ice." Other intrepid visitors who have been there report their amazement at seeing men 80,90,and 100 years old repairing the always-crumbling rocky roads, and lifting large stones and boulders to repair the retaining walls around their terrace gardens. The oldsters think nothing of playing a competitive game of volleyball in the hot sun against men 50 years their junior, and even take part in wild games of polo that are so violent they would make an ice hockey fan shudder.

Of all their organically-grown food, perhaps their favorite, and one of their dietary mainstays, is the apricot. Apricot orchards are seen everywhere in Hunza, and a family's economic stability is measured by the number of trees they have under cultivation.

The Hunzas cut the pits from the fruits, crack them, and remove the almond-like nuts. The women hand grind these kernels with stone mortars, then squeeze the meal between a hand stone and a flat rock to express the oil. The oil is used in cooking, for fuel,as a salad dressing on fresh garden greens, and even as a facial lotion ( Renee Taylor says Hunza women have beautiful complexions).
-- Extracts from Death Rides a Slow Bus in Hunza by Jane Kinderlehrer

There are, of course, many theories about why the people of Hunzaland live so long. Patrick Flanagan, the founder of Micro Cluster technology believes that the water is the secret along with hundreds of other people who have been using his products. The King of Hunza Land was asked why their people live so long and he said "It's the Water."

GLACIAL WATER In about 1983, I finally realized that the secret of Hunza water was a certain kind of mineral in the water. In Hunza land and the other four places on earth, they all have one thing in common - they are surrounded by natural glaciers called 'ice blue glaciers' on some of the tallest mountains in the world. The people live in high mountain valleys about 2,000 meters above sea level. Glaciers on these mountains are millions of years old, and put thousands of tons of pressure on the side of the mountain. The glacier is liquid at the mountain interface and it grinds the rock of the mountain into a mineral jelly; those minerals rush out, go through the valleys, and the water comes down from the glaciers and the people drink the glacial water containing all those minerals. Cultures who live near the ice blue glaciers are the Hunzas in the Hindu Kush which is north of Pakistan, the county of Georgia in Russia, and certain places in Equador, Mongolia and Peru. Those are the five cultures that Dr. Cuanda studied. Their diets were all different but their water all had these specific anomalous properties.

SILICA After studying all the minerals in glacial water, I found that that there was a certain kind of mineral that cannot be seen by the eye. It is a tiny spherical form of silica. Silica is a natural mineral that is essential for the human body; sand is silica, quartz crystals are silica. Silica makes our bones and arteries strong. It is found in the places of our body where we need the most strength like the aorta. The silica that I found in Hunza water were little tiny spheres about 50 Angstroms in diameter, and they are only found in certain kinds of glacial water in only those five places in the world that I know of, and water in the world has been pretty well investigated.

Gyorgyi said, "Discovery is seeing what everyone else sees and has seen, but thinking what no one else has thought." He said, "Hydrogen is the fuel of life." All the food we eat does one thing for us. It releases hydrogen which is burned by oxygen in the final chemical reaction releasing the energy that makes ATP, the fuel that actually runs our bodies.

The drinking habits of the people of Hunza were, Dr Hoffman claims, undoubtedly another health-inducing factor in their lives.

They did not drink any strong alcoholic beverages such as spirits. They did make a little wine, but this was used mainly for medicinal purposes.

They consumed large amounts of water, just as it comes from the glaciers - a grey mother-of-pearl-coloured water, due to the colloidal minerals suspended in it. The author well recalls this appearance of the water, in the high Himalayas during his first trek in Nepal, when he expected sparkling crystal clear water! The Hunza people had this glacial water available wherever they were, because every field, every terrace had an irrigation stream. They drank lots of water because they believed their water was very rich in minerals (as it was), and that the more they drunk, the more minerals they would put in their system, and the healthier they would be. Their water was pure in the sense that there were no pesticide/herbicide residues or other pollutants such as chlorine/fluoride.

Distilled water is high energy water. Natural sources of distilled water are rainwater and glacier water - too polluted to use today.

To understand the harmful effect of mineral water is to understand cytology, or the cells structure and function. The elements of the mineral kingdom cannot be assimilated directly by the animal cell. They must go through a process of linking with amino acids first. Found in the plant kingdom is the link for getting mineral into human life the most efficiently. The plants can take in mineral directly. Once in the plant, the minerals become a part of the cell structure after going through a recombining process in the energy cycles of the plant (photosynthesis). These energy cycles convert the mineral into a chelated form. The mineral ends up linked with amino acid complexes in the plants structural tissue. When man eats the plant, the mineral complexes in the plant amino acids can then be easily converted by human enzyme activity into molecular structures on the human frequency.

Drinking water, containing a large amount of inorganic mineral (i.e. spring water, purified water) whether hard or soft, can be compared to doing your dishes in dirty water. If the water comes in already loaded up, it will not be able to take the debris and waste out of the system without first leaving behind what it brought in. These inorganic minerals are deposited in the body and add to the overloading of electrolytes that the body has to remove and also increase mineral & heavy metal deposits that develop weakened tissue and/or areas of poor circulation and chronic inflammation. On the other end of the spectrum we find deionized water - water that is stripped of its minerals and electrical potential. Do not purchase deionized water for drinking – it is sold labeled “purified water.”

The use of distilled water is preferred, not because of the lack of mineral so much as, because of the higher energy. Distilled water moves through the system and especially the liver better than low energy water. Since your body is 60-80 % water, water is the chief catalyst and medium for all the energy reactions that take place. Using the higher energy wet, distilled water will help assure that all the body’s metabolic environment is at its best hydration.

Dr. Banik: "I observed the following. They ate most of their fruits and vegetables raw and raised them on organic soil. Fruits and vegetables are about 90% natural water of exceptionally high purity. Along with that, they drank glacier water, which is very low in inorganic minerals. Wine was their main beverage, which again is comprised of natural water of very high purity. So their percentage of distilled water quality was 90% greater than ours. I consider this an important secret which I nearly missed."

It's said that blood is thicker than water (sometimes more so than it oughta!)

Blood is a wonderful and complex substance containing many chemical compounds to perform many functions. It constantly changes and adapts to meet the body's requirements. Healthy blood varies in viscosity as it flows normally and becomes much "thinner" by the time it reaches the capillaries. It can even change viscosity locally at a given point in order to pass through a constriction.

As described in Chapter 8, the viscosity of blood is quickly increased by stress, and continuous stress will maintain the condition. Severely affecting blood viscosity too is a diet containing fat, cholesterol, refined carbohydrates, coffee, alcohol and excessive amounts of animal protein. Removal of these foods from the diet enables the blood to clear in several days, but because most people consume these foods constantly, their blood is always polluted and viscous.

On the subject of blood as a disease indicator, here is a quotation from the book Hunza Land by Dr Allen E. Bank from Nebraska, USA (1960):

"The examinations I made in Hunza of the eyes of people in all age groups indicated that the Hunzakuts have healthy circulatory systems. Their artery-to-vein circumference ratios were, in most cases, perfect or near perfect, and the color ratios could generally be classified at 1:1.

"In all respects the Hunzakuts' eyes were notable. I found them unusually clear; there were few signs of astigmatism; even the oldest men had excellent far and near vision--an indication that their crystalline lenses had retained elasticity. Most of our crystalline lenses lose their elasticity in our early forties, and we require bifocal lenses for the remainder of our lives.

"Here, I believe, is confirmation of the fact that bodily health can be 'read' by a study of the eyes, and that general health promotes eye health. For our own benefit and that of our children, we should resolve that, starting now, we will make the necessary adjustments in our diet to promote the radiant health to which we are all entitled."

Improvement of circulation by the injection of snake venom serum has been demonstrated in Europe and the USA in the treatment of various complaints such as angina, claudication, arthritis and MS. The research shows that the marked relief of symptoms of these complaints is achieved by way of lowered blood viscosity. A recent television documentary on this topic showed graphically how a sample of treated blood flowed faster than untreated blood when both samples were released simultaneously in an inclined dish.

In Chapter 20 it is described how the incidence of both primary and secondary cancer is dramatically reduced among patients with circulatory problems who for long periods have been on anti-coagulant drugs to prevent blood clotting.

Thus it is abundantly clear that the state of health of an individual is directly related, not only to the nutrients contained in the bloodstream, but inversely to the harmful substances present and the degree of blood viscosity.

When we breathe in air at sea level, the atmospheric pressure of about 14.7 pounds per square inch (1.04 kg. per cm.2) causes oxygen to easily pass through selectively permeable lung membranes into the blood. At high altitudes, the lower air pressure makes it more difficult for oxygen to enter our vascular systems. The result is hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation. Hypoxia usually begins with the inability to do normal physical activities, such as climbing a short flight of stairs without fatigue. Other early symptomsof "high altitude sickness" include a lack of appetite, distorted vision, and difficulty with memorizing and thinking clearly.

Prehistoric and contemporary human populations living at altitudes of at least 8,000 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level may provide unique insights into human evolution, reports an interdisciplinary group of scientists.

Indigenous highlanders living in the Andean Altiplano in South America, in the Tibetan Plateau in Asia, and at the highest elevations of the Ethiopian Highlands in east Africa have evolved three distinctly different biological adaptations for surviving in the oxygen-thin air found at high altitude.

The Andeans adapted to the thin air by developing an ability to carry more oxygen in each red blood cell. That is: They breathe at the same rate as people who live at sea level, but the Andeans have the ability to deliver oxygen throughout their bodies more effectively than people at sea level do.

Tibetans compensate for low oxygen content much differently. They increase their oxygen intake by taking more breaths per minute than people who live at sea level.

A pilot study Beall conducted of Ethiopian highlanders living at 3,530 meters (11,580 feet) suggests that—unlike the Tibetans— they don't breathe more rapidly than people at sea level and aren't able to more effectively synthesize nitric oxide. Nor do the Ethiopians have higher hemoglobin counts than sea-level people, as the Andeans do.

Yet despite living at elevations with low oxygen content, "the Ethiopian highlanders were hardly hypoxic at all," Beall said. "I was genuinely surprised."

So what adaptation have the Ethiopian highlanders' bodies evolved to survive at high altitude? "Right now we have no clue how they do it," Beall said.

Many thanks:

Abstract: Recent data proposing an extremely small, self-replicating agent termed "nanobacteria" has raised a great deal of controversy within the scientific community. Since these agents have been isolated within the genitourinary tract, much research has focused attention on the potential role these particles may play in the development of urologic pathology, including polycystic kidney disease, renal calculi, and chronic prostatitis. Recent clinical research targeting these agents has proven effective in treating some patients with refractory category III prostatitis (chronic pelvic pain syndrome). This article reviews the current state of nanobacteria research and explore where these particles may impact urologic disease

At the present time the genus nanobacterium and the type species Nanobacterium sanguineum have no formal inclusion in the List of Bacterial Names with Standing in Nomenclature.

From the present study it is concluded by the author that the putative organism Nanobacterium sanguineum does not represent a free-living biological entity but is, instead, a microcrystalline form of hydroxyapatite complexed with exogeneous biological macromolecules, including DNA and protein.

The first problem which I identified was the very small size of the organism. Its size is only about 1/100th to 1/1000th the size of conventional bacteria at 20nm. It is worth noting that this happens also to be the standard size of commercially produced hydroxyapatite nanocrystals.

It has been stated that Nanobacterium are unique in that they can develop a calcium apatite cell wall, forming an enclosure around the organism. Considering the size of the hydroxyapatite ‘wall’ it is even more difficult to see how a living organism can be within such a small structure.

Whilst it may be possible to hypothesise a minimal cell size of a 50nm sphere for a living, replicating single biopolymer system (i.e. one in which the nucleic acid is both catalytic and genetic), a two biopolymer system (i.e. one with nucleic acid together with proteins/enzymes) would have to be 5-10 times the volume. Clearly, on this basis, Nanobacterium sanguineum could not reasonably represent a living, replicating organism, a view also shared by Ferris and others.

Interestingly, an earlier study by Ruzicka in 1983 identified what he believed to be a very small bacteria isolated from peripheral blood which he called Basoplasma sanguineum. These very small organisms had a mean diameter of 0.25µm, some of which he purported to have a cell wall whilst others were cell wall deficient. He now believes that his organism and the putative Nanobacterium are one and the same.

Late in the review process two key published documents were identified which also cast very serious doubts on the interpretation that these microcrystalline bodies are indeed living organisms. Thus, Cisar et al published a critical paper in October 2000 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which they dispute the earlier findings of Kajander and Ciftcioglu. One of the key scientific findings from this study was that the 16S rDNA sequences previously ascribed to Nanobacterium sanguineum were found to be indistinguishable from those of an environmental microorganism, Phyllobacterium mysinascearum. More recently, Cranton published an Internet article in which he demonstrated that the alleged Nanobacteria do not cause calcification of arterial plaque.

This leads to the obvious conclusion that the particles identified as the living organism Nanobacterium sanguineum are in fact non-living but self-generating inorganic particles of hydroxyapatite which have been complexed with nucleic acids, proteins and other ionic biomolecules. It has been demonstrated that organic materials have key roles as nucleating surfaces, so triggering crystal growth in the biomineralisation of apatite, in addition to modulating and finally inhibiting the process. In this context it is worth noting that crystal growth is enhanced in low gravitational environments and this may help to explain why astronauts returning to earth are prone to calcific atherosclerosis.

Physical, chemical, and mineralogical characterization of carbonate-hydroxyapatite concretions of the human pineal gland:

Physical, chemical, and mineralogical investigations of mineral concretions found in the human pineal gland were performed by means of optical microscopy and modern techniques of analytical electron microscopy and x-ray powder diffraction (OM, SEM + EDS, TEM + EDS, XRD).

The mineral concretions were found to be nano-crystalline carbonate-hydroxyapatite with a mean Ca/P molar ratio equal to 1.65, very close to the theoretical value of 1.67.

Dental plaque is a general term for the diverse microbial community (predominantly bacteria) found on the tooth surface, embedded in a matrix of polymers of bacterial and salivary origin. Plaque develops naturally on teeth, and forms part of the defence systems of the host by helping to prevent colonisation of enamel by exogenous (and often pathogenic) microorganisms (colonisation resistance).

Plaque is an example of a biofilm; current research is showing that the properties of bacteria associated with a surface in a biofilm can be markedly different than those of the same cells growing in liquid broth (planktonic cells). Plaque is found preferentially at protected and stagnant surfaces, and these are at the greatest risk of disease.

Calcium supplement from young bovine bones typically containing 24% calcium together with many other minerals and trace minerals naturally complexed in collagen.

With a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1 Cocal Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite is considered an ideal supplement for healthy bones and teeth and is utilised worldwide in tablets, capsules and formulated nutritional products.

Hydroxylapatite is the major component of tooth enamel. A relatively rare form of apatite in which most of the OH groups are absent and containing many carbonate and acid phosphate substitutions is a large component of bone material.

The primary use of apatite is in the manufacture of fertilizer - it is a source of phosphorus. It is occasionally used as a gemstone.

In a region of the world known as Hunzaland, dental disease doesn't exist. Not a single dentist lives there. The people there use no toothpaste, no toothbrushes, and receive no Fluoride treatments. The old folks keep their teeth all their life. Dentures are a curiosity. The children have perfect teeth and healthy gums. The babies suffer no pain or irritation when teething. Sweets, candy, ice cream, and soft drinks are not ingested. Their diet is chiefly fresh raw fruits and vegetables.

Tooth decay does not occur if the calcium and phosphorus minerals are in proper balance in the body, along with other needed nutrients. The teeth are made primarily of calcium, and phosphorus is needed in specific amounts to help use this calcium. If too much phosphorus is present in the diet, or if the foods eaten are high in acidic residues, then a calcium loss can occur in the body and weaken the teeth.

Some of the worst high phosphorus foods are meat and grains. People on a grain-based diet or a high-meat diet often exhibit a large amount of dental decay. Carnivores who eat both the organ meat and bone marrow of their prey get a correct balance of phosphorus and calcium since the bones are high in calcium. Humans, however, eat only the minerally-poor muscle meats which disrupt the calcium-phosphorus ratio.

The lens is composed mainly of tightly packed "ribbon-like" cells, lens fibers, which contain unusually large amounts of proteins. As they mature, lens fiber cells loose their nuclei and mitochondria, thereby reducing light scatter in this transparent tissue.

Cells are never lost from the lens, and so an elderly person carries fiber cells in the lens that date back to the time before birth. To retain cells throughout life is a remarkable feat that has fascinated many investigators, some of whom have speculated that the preservation mechanism may be linked to the high ascorbic acid content in the interior of the human eye.

The lens is bathed on the anterior surface with aqueous humor, and on the posterior surface with vitreous humor. Except in nocturnal animals, both these fluids have a high ascorbic acid concentration (McGathan 1985) In many species the lens has an even higher concentration of ascorbic acid (Varma and Richards, 1988) although the concentration may diminish with age.
--Taken from the book Ascorbic acid By James R. Harris

Ascorbic acid is a sugar acid with antioxidant properties. Its appearance is white to light-yellow crystals or powder, and it is water-soluble. One form of ascorbic acid is commonly known as vitamin C.

Ascorbic acid is easily oxidized and so is used as a reductant in photographic developer solutions (among others) and as a preservative.

Exposure to oxygen, metals, light, and heat destroys ascorbic acid, so it must be stored in a dark, cold, and non-metallic container.

Three aging parameters in the lens have been described by Lerman (1983): generation of a series of fluorescent chromophores absorbing at increasingly longer wavelengths than tryptophan, a deeping of yellow coloration in the nucleus, and a progressive cross-linking and insolubilization of lens crystallins by fluorescent pigments.

The level of fluorogens (UV-absorbing chromophores) is relatively low in normal lennses below 10 years of age, but there is a steady increase in these substances, especially in the nucleus, as the lens ages.
--Taken from the book Biochemistry of the eye By Elaine R. Berman

Nuclear and cortical cataracts involve the opacification of mature fibre cells. However, mature fibre cells cannot be maintained outside of the lens for more than a few minutes before they disintergrate from an influx of calcium ions (Srivastava et al, 1997).

It is often stated that the human lens is exposed to numerous enviromental stresses throughout life, especially oxidative stress. In our opinion, the opposite is closer to the truth. The human lens exists in an enviroment that protects it from many kinds of damage, especially oxidative stress.

Fluids that surround the lens have levels of oxygen that would be severly hypoxic for most cells. As a result, oxygen levels within the human lens are extremely low, minimizing the possibility that molecular oxygen will participate in oxidative damage (McNulty et al, 2004).

The ascorbic acid in aqueous humor readily reacts with molecular oxygen to produce hydrogen peroxide when the levels of oxygen are substantially above most found in vivo (Spector et al, 1998).
--Taken from the book Ocular Therapeutics By Thomas Yorio, Abbott Clark, Martin B. Wax

Monday, 13 July 2009

Camera Obscura

A refracting lens is a key component of our image-forming camera eye; however, its evolutionary origin is unknown because precursor structures appear absent in non-vertebrates.

Most living vertebrates possess anterior paired eyes, each with a lens. Although anterior photoreceptors are known to have evolved before the radiation of the major lineages of bilaterally symmetrical animals, the vertebrate lens is a more recent innovation that evolved in the vertebrate lineage. Indeed, the accurate vision facilitated by the lens is one of the key adaptations proposed to underlie the evolution of active predation by ancestral vertebrates and the subsequent evolutionary success of vertebrates themselves. The unique structural properties of the lens are due to its very high content of long-lived proteins, the crystallins. These derive predominantly from two gene families, the α-crystallin family and the βγ-crystallin family. The structure of βγ-crystallins has been elucidated and found to have derived from an ancestral protein domain that comprised two symmetrically organized Greek key motifs.

Vertebrates, together with invertebrate urochordates such as the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis, compose phylum Chordata. C. intestinalis larvae share a basic chordate body plan with vertebrates, including the possession of a notochord and dorsal neural tube in which an anterior photoreceptor resides in a small brain. Urochordates are, however, thought to have split from the vertebrate lineage prior to the evolution of the lens and the associated co-option of crystallin genes into the visual system.

In the larval head is a small brain that includes a neuroectodermal sensory vesicle with two sensory organs, the ocellus and the otolith, together thought responsible for controlling larval locomotion in the search for a suitable site for metamorphosis. Once located, the larva adheres to the substratum with secretion from three anterior epidermal palps and subsequently undergoes a radical metamorphosis during which the majority of the brain and tail are reabsorbed. The remaining tissues are extensively remodeled to produce a sedentary adult. The ocellus is a ciliary-based photoreceptor system that includes a single pigmented cell and is considered homologous to the vertebrate retina. In some urochordate larvae, including those of C.intestinalis, three cells lie above the pigment cell, and because light must pass through them to reach the photoreceptors, these are sometimes referred to as lens cells. However, there is no evidence that these cells are homologous to vertebrate lens cells. Similarly, the otolith is not considered homologous to the vertebrate ear.

The two pigmented cells of the ascidian sensory vesicle share a common developmental origin in that they arise from a bilaterally symmetrical pair of cells in the anterior nervous system. These cells have been shown to be initially equivalent, with the potential to form both types of pigment cell. Which forms ocellus and which forms otolith appears to be regulated by Bmp and chordin signaling. Additionally both ocellus and otolith lineages express opsins. Because anterior photosensory structures are primitive for the bilateria, the parsimonious explanation is that both ocellus and otolith evolved from such photosensory structures.

We therefore conclude that the evolution of the lens did not derive from a new association between a visual system regulatory circuit and co-opted lens structural genes but from the reuse of a pre-existing regulatory interaction linking these components in the central nervous system of a primitive chordate.

The brain of the ascidian larva comprises two pigment cells, termed the ocellus melanocyte and the otolith melanocyte. Cell lineage analysis has shown that the two bilateral pigment lineage cells (a-line blastomeres) in the animal hemisphere give rise to these melanocytes in a complementary manner.

...The two bilaterally positioned cells destined to become the pigment cells in the first step are still equipotent at this stage in that they can give rise to either the ocellus or otolith. Thus, they constitute what is termed an "equivalence group." In the second step, the individual fates of the two cells that compose the equivalence group are determined. Namely, one cell develops into an ocellus and the other cell develops into an otolith.

Ocellus noun, plural ocelli, adjective ocellate - from Latin, ocellus, a little eye.

1. Simple eyes, small extra eyes, usually situated on the top of the head. The cuticle covering the eye is thickened like a lens. Below the lens there is a layer of transparent cells, continuous with the adjacent epidermal cells. Most insects with complete metamorphosis (holometabolous) have three ocelli on top of the head, arranged in a triangle.

Dorsal ocelli are light-sensitive organs found on the dorsal (top-most) surface or frontal surface of the head. They tend to be larger and more strongly expressed in flying insects (particularly bees, wasps, dragonflies and locusts), where they are typically found as a triplet.

A dorsal ocellus consists of a lens element (cornea) and a layer of photoreceptors (rod cells). As noted above, ocelli vary widely among insect orders. The ocellar lens may be strongly curved (e.g. bees, locusts, dragonflies) or flat (e.g. cockroaches). The photoreceptor layer may (e.g. locusts) or may not (e.g. blowflies, dragonflies) be separated from the lens by a clear zone (vitreous humour). The number of photoreceptors also varies widely, but may number in the hundreds or thousands for well developed ocelli.

The “otolithic organs,” as they are known, are a pair of sensors—the utricle and the saccule—nestled in the labyrinthine architecture of the inner ear.

Grossly speaking, each consists of a bunch of tiny pebbles (of the white rock known as calcium carbonate) embedded in a gooey wad that sits atop a carpet of delicate hairs. The saccule is roughly vertical in our heads, and the utricle more or less horizontal. Together they orient us in the world, since they work as tiny inertial references: raise your head suddenly (or get in a jerky elevator), and the pebbles of the saccule get momentarily left behind as your skull starts upward; this bends down the hairs against which those pebbles lay, and the sensitive hairs function like switches, sending signals to your brain that you register as a feeling of ascent. The utricle does the same work for motion from side to side, and between them these tiny organs generate the neurological data that give us our normal sense of being in the world. What would it feel like not to have those pebbles? Delete them from a mouse and it spends a lot of time falling over.

Both the utricle and the saccule contain what I have called “pebbles,” but they are little more than mineral crystals really, microscopic sand bound together into a mass by a matrix of protein. Not so the homologous structures in fish, our evolutionary ancestors. They retain, inside their skulls, quite clearly defined, and nearly always large enough to see (and sometimes as large as marbles), healthy little rocks known as otoliths, or “ear stones.” The minute pebbles of our otolithic organs would appear to be the powdered remains of these ancestral lithic pips.

Fish otoliths are among the strangest and most wonderful bits of vertebrate anatomy. They are strikingly sculptural, and their clean surfaces tend to display an alluring opalescent sheen. No one is absolutely sure about all their functions (which would seem to vary from species to species), but it is safe to say that they generally serve in a sensory system very much like the saccule/utricle: they sit atop a mat of sensitive hairs and their sloshing around gives the fish information about its movement in space. Fish that have to deal with complicated spatial environments (reefs, kelp beds) usually have bigger otoliths; those open water predators that stick to swimming fast in straight lines (tuna, billfish) tend to have relatively small ones.

Otoliths also seem to play a role in underwater hearing in many species: because they are stone (and therefore of a different specific gravity than the rest of the fish), their vibrations in response to sound waves are out of phase with those of the animal’s body; these differences can be translated into acoustic information. (Interestingly, although hearing in mammals is now handled by a very different system, it has recently been shown that human beings can “hear” very high frequency sounds by means of their otolithic organs, which appear to retain some acoustic sensitivity, despite having been converted almost entirely into sensors for movement and orientation).

...About thirty years ago a curious geologist, tinkering with an otolith (it was a rock, after all), made the truly shocking discovery that those annual layers can be further resolved, microscopically, down to daily layers, layers that contain, in their chemical composition and size, information about the temperature and the salinity of the water through which the fish moved, the food that it ate, and various environmental contaminants it encountered. The result is a stratigraphy unprecedented in the organic world: the diligent student can peruse the otolith of a long-lived deep sea fish, and reconstruct not merely its age, but (and I am barely exaggerating) what it had for breakfast on 6 March 1964...

Apart from the obvious detection of sounds, the inner ear also helps the fish to orient itself in three dimensional space, giving it a feeling of bottom (gravity) and direction.

As sound waves reach a fish, the whole fish moves with the waves, as water is non-compressible. The otoliths, being more dense than the rest of the fish (3X) lag behind the rest of the fish. The otoliths are suspended in liquid and are surrounded by ciliary bundles located on the ends of sensory hair cells. The differential movement of the otoliths bends some of these cilia, which deforms the hair cells, which stimulates neural transmission to the auditory centers of the brain.

With higher frequency sounds, the amplitude of fish displacement is much less and more energy is needed for otolith stimulation. Some fishes have adaptations to increase the sensitivity of their hearing. The gas bubble of the swimbladder of some bony fishes can serve as a sort of amplifier. As gas is more compressible than water, the bladder will pulsate more than the rest of the fish when encountering sound waves. This vibrates the tissues around the bladder, providing the necessary additional movement for auditory nerve stimulation.

As with most vertebrates, the eye is the primary site of photoreception. However, the pineal organ also is photosensitive and is especially important in maintaining circadian (day-night, seasonal) rhythms.

The choroid coat lies under the retina and serves to supply the retinal cells with nutrients and oxygen. Fishes that are heavily vision-dependant have the best developed choroid retina and the highest oxygen concentrations in the vitreous humor of the eye.

Teleosts living below 500m have been found to have a different pigment (chryopsin), this pigment absorbs mainly in the blue region of the spectrum, which is the spectral range of light found in deeper waters.

In the frog, light-sensitive pigment cells in the skin and iris, as well as hypothalamic neurones involved in the control of circadian rhythms, express a chromophore—melanopsin. The impact of a photon on melanopsin induces conformational changes in a seven-membrane G-coupled receptor that is subsequently regenerated in neighbouring cells. Invertebrate photoreceptor cells behave similarly, except that the properties of a different G protein allow the chromophore to be regenerated and available within the same cell. This feature reflects the dispersed nature of photoreceptors in invertebrates—the specialized cell-packed structures that allow functional specialization in eyes do not exist.

Invertebrate-type opsins may have survived in vertebrate skin to provide light sensitivity in tissues remote from the eye, but light-dependent intracellular pigment redistribution may also have evolved for thermoregulation and photoprotection. Arnheiter thinks that pigment cells may have been the evolutionary precursors of photoreceptor cells, since the role of pigment cells in eyes is to act as a screen blocking access of light to one side of a receptor cell to endow it with directional sensitivity. Although photoreception has developed along a number of evolutionary pathways, it seems probable that the starting point was always a rhodopsin-expressing pigment cell in the skin.

For equilibrium control in man, the inner ear contains some tiny 'stones' called otoliths (from the Greek: otos=ear andlithos=stone). In fact these stones are crystals of minerals like calcium carbonate. The stones are inside three semi-circular canals, each one working in one of the three dimensions. As these stones are mineral, they are heavier than surrounding biological tissues: when they move they push on ciliated cells which produce a nervous stimulation, which is used by the brain to compute our body position. Another ear part called the vestibule, is used to detect rotation and acceleration movements by using a similar principle.

It's surprising to find such a sophisticated process in other creatures, but particularly in marine zooplankton, including the larval stages of primitive animals. Some examples are described below.

Equilibrium organs are called statocysts. They contain statoliths (stones) made with dense material such as calcium or magnesium salts crystals which are in contact with specialized cells. Many research studies are in progress on this topic and a hypothesis would be that actin fibers connect the statoliths to the cells.

Many experiments of seed growing in micro-gravity have been made during space flights of the American Shuttle and in this case roots are observed to grow in any direction. (Sorry, I have been unable to rent the Shuttle to try this experiment myself!)

I guess by now you are getting a good idea of how my brain works. I tend to try and find a relationship between various bits of information, and then keep on leap-frogging from source to source from there on in.

Some things will catch my eye. Sometimes things will really stand-out for me. I'm not sure why, but some things will just feel right. I had previously published a small extract from a paper on statoliths in Phycomyces, which right now, feels like it belongs here too:

Statoliths in Phycomyces: Characterization of octahedral protein crystals.

The crystals, which are present throughout the central vacuoles of the sporangiophore, function as statoliths.

Absorption spectra of isolated crystals and in situabsorption spectra of growing zones indicate the presence of chromophores, probably oxidized and reduced flavins. The flavin nature of the chromophores is also indicated by their fluorescence properties. It appears likely that the chromophores represent an essential part of the statoliths and thus the gravitropic transduction chain.

The common origin (monophyly) of all animal eyes is now widely accepted as fact based on shared anatomical and genetic features of all eyes; that is, all modern eyes, varied as they are, have their origins in a proto-eye believed to have evolved some 540 million years ago.

As the eye ages certain changes occur that can be attributed solely to the aging process. Most of these anatomic and physiologic processes follow a gradual decline.

With aging a prominent white ring develops in the periphery of the cornea- called arcus senilis. Aging causes laxity and downward shift of eyelid tissues and atrophy of the orbital fat. These changes contribute to the etiology of several eyelid disorders such as ectropion, entropion, dermatochalasis , and ptosis. The vitreous gel undergoes liquefaction (posterios vitreous detachment or PVD) and its opacities — visible as floaters — gradually increase in number.

Vertebrates have evolved two types of eyes; the lateral eyes (paired eyes) and the median eyes (pineal or parietal eyes). The urochordate ascidian larva has an eye-spot (ocellus) in its brain. Putative photoreceptor organs have also been reported in adult ascidians. Understanding evolutionary relationships between the ascidian photoreceptors and the vertebrate eyes is a key to uncover the origin and evolution of the vertebrate eyes. In C. intestinalis, we have characterized and examined expression patterns of homologues of genes involved in function or development of the vertebrate eyes.

The results suggest that ascidians have photoreceptor systems more similar to those of vertebrates than to those of other invertebrates. The larval ocellus expresses a vertebrate-type opsin gene and the surrounding brain cells express visual cycle genes similar to those found in the retinal pigment epithelium of vertebrates. A number of genes related to eye function and development are also expressed in part of the primordial pharynx and atrial primordia, suggesting that adult photoreceptors develop in these regions, possibly oral and atrial siphons.

Based on comparisons of the developmental origins, gene expression patterns, and functions of eyes between vertebrates and ascidians, we propose a hypothesis that the larval ocellus and the adult anterior photoreceptors (of the oral siphon) are homologous to the vertebrate median eye and lateral eyes, respectively. The last common ancestor of urochordates and vertebrates may have possessed distinct precursors of the lateral eyes and the median eye of vertebrates.

Another interesting modification in the larval nervous system in ascidians is found in the diversity of the brain sensory organs. The larval brain of Ciona and Halocynthia contains two sensory organs, the otolith (gravity-sense organ) and the ocellus (photoreceptor organ). In some ascidian species, such as those in the genus Molgula, however, the brain contains only the otolith. On the other hand, other species, including Botryllus schlosseri, have a single sensory organ, the photolith, responding to both gravity and light. We intend to compare development of the brain sensory organ in these species with that of Ciona. This study will contribute to our understanding how developmental pathways can be modified during evolution.

The tuatara is a reptile endemic to New Zealand which, though it resembles most lizards, is actually part of a distinct lineage, order Sphenodontia. The two species of tuatara are the only surviving members of its order, which flourished around 200 million years ago. Their most recent common ancestor with any other extant group is with the squamates (lizards and snakes). For this reason, tuatara are of great interest in the study of the evolution of lizards and snakes, and for the reconstruction of the appearance and habits of the earliest diapsids (the group that also includes birds and crocodiles).

The tuatara has a third eye on the top of its head called the parietal eye. It has its own lens, cornea, retina with rod-like structures, and degenerated nerve connection to the brain, suggesting it evolved from a real eye. The parietal eye is only visible in hatchlings, which have a translucent patch at the top centre of the skull. After four to six months it becomes covered with opaque scales and pigment. Its purpose is unknown, but it may be useful in absorbing ultraviolet rays to manufacture vitamin D, as well as to determine light/dark cycles, and help with thermoregulation. Of all extant tetrapods, the parietal eye is most pronounced in the tuatara. The parietal eye is part of the pineal complex, another part of which is the pineal gland, which in tuatara secretes melatonin at night. It has been shown that some salamanders use their pineal body to perceive polarised light, and thus determine the position of the sun, even under cloud cover, aiding navigation.

Together with turtles, the tuatara has the most primitive hearing organs among the amniotes. There is no eardrum and no earhole, and the middle ear cavity is filled with loose tissue, mostly adipose tissue. The stapes comes into contact with the quadrate (which is immovable) as well as the hyoid and squamosal. The hair cells are unspecialized, innervated by both afferent and efferent nerve fibres, and respond only to low frequencies. Even though the hearing organs are poorly developed and primitive with no visible external ears, they can still show a frequency response from 100-800 Hz, with peak sensitivity of 40 dB at 200 Hz.

Tuatara probably have the slowest growth rates of any reptile, continuing to grow larger for the first 35 years of their lives. The average lifespan is about 60 years, but they can live to be well over 100 years old. Some experts believe that captive tuatara could live as long as 200 years

The pineal gland or epiphysis synthesizes and secretes melatonin, a structurally simple hormone that communicates information about environmental lighting to various parts of the body. Ultimately, melatonin has the ability to entrain biological rhythms and has important effects on reproductive function of many animals. The light-transducing ability of the pineal gland has led some to call the pineal the "third eye".

The pineal gland is a small organ shaped like a pine cone (hence its name). It is located on the midline, attached to the posterior end of the roof of the third ventricle in the brain. The pineal varies in size among species; in humans it is roughly 1 cm in length, whereas in dogs it is only about 1 mm long. To observe the pineal, reflect the cerebral hemispheres laterally and look for a small grayish bump in front of the cerebellum. The images below shows the pineal gland of a horse in relation to the brain.

Histologically, the pineal is composed of "pinealocytes" and glial cells. In older animals, the pineal often is contains calcium deposits ("brain sand").

The gland will sometimes shrink and then fill up with specific types of mineral salts that are referred to as "brain sand." The condition has been traced directly to poor nutrition. When this condition exists in the pineal gland, thinking and sexual processes are affected. The pineal gland will respond quickly to proper nutrition even after being "starved" and degeneration has begun. The pineal contains more lecithin than any other body part.

The pineal isn't an actual gland; it's a neuroendocrine transducer: meaning it converts incoming nerve impulses into outgoing hormones. Most glands are triggered by changes in the body or hormones secreted by other glands. The pineal gland releases hormones in response to bioelectrical messages from the outside environment received through the eyes. The optic nerve sends information to the visual portion of the brain through nerve fibers. The impulses from the brain are carried to the superior cervical ganglia (a cluster of nerve cells) in the upper part of the neck by smaller nerve fibers. From there the autonomic nervous system relays the information to the pineal.

In some lower vertebrates, the Epiphysis Cerebri - Pineal Gland, has a well developed eye - like structure; in others, though not organized as an eye, it functions as a light receptor. In lower vertebrates, the pineal gland has an eye like structure and it functions as a light receptor and also is considered by some, to be the evolutionary forerunner of the modern eye.

The human pineal gland, in the centre of the brain, has been found to contain large numbers of calcite micro-crystals that “bear a striking resemblance” to calcite crystals found in the inner ear. The ones found in the inner ear have been shown to exhibit the quality of piezoelectricity. If those found in the pineal gland also have this quality then this would provide a means whereby an external electromagnetic field might directly influence the brain.

It’s interesting to note, though, that paragraph 18 does refer to a suggestion by Frohlich that a biological system might behave in some way like a radio receiver, amplifying a very small signal through a process of resonance; this idea is dismissed due to the unlikelihood of biological material resonating in this way – but of course one of the earliest types of radio was the ‘crystal set’, in which a mineral crystal was made to resonate (by tuning with a ‘cats whisker’) with an incoming radio wave, which is simply an electromagnetic wave of rather lower frequency than microwaves. The conclusion of this section was that “…there is little evidence to support resonant behaviour…”. The existence in the pineal gland of crystals which may prove to exhibit piezoelectric properties puts the whole issue in a totally different light – particularly in a scenario where the absolute requirement is to ‘play it safe’ (Stewart’s ‘Precautionary Principle’).

The organ where calcification is so widely accepted that it is almost considered a natural consequence of aging, is the pineal gland. In Japan, a study of 2877 people of all ages, after pathological cases were excluded, showed a 81% pineal calcification rate in people between 70 and 79 year old. The youngest person they found to have calcification of the pineal gland was 8 years old. They found that calcification increased with age. Another Japanese study of 450 subjects, found a 70% pineal calcification rate in people over 30 years, and also found the rate of calcification was proportional to increase in age. A German study focused on pineal calcification in 1044 children found calcification in 3% of children under 1 year, rising gradually to 7% at 10 years of age, and 33% by 18 years of age.

The composition of the calcification in the pineal gland has been shown to have calcium and phosphorus as the major elements and accumulations of calcium associated with phosphorus have been localized in vesicles,vacuales, lipid droplets, lipopigments, and mitochondria of dark pinealocytes.

There is also one bacteria that deserves special attention, due to its role in calcification. In 1998, Drs. O Kajander and N Ciftcioglu came across a very slow growing bacteria, which they called nanobacteria sanguineum, while they were researching something else. This bacteria, so small that it needs highly specialized instruments for it to be detected, protects itself by building a calcium shell around itself. It has been implicated in the plaque that forms on artery walls, and has been found in kidney stones and implicated in polycystic kidney disease.

“We can’t publish this. It’s too small to be alive. It must be a contaminant”

The turbidity in Kajander and Ciftcioglu’s culture flask turned out to be biofilm, elaborated by a previously undescribed bacterial species, which they named Nanobacterium sanguineum.

Nanobacteria readily bind to mammalian cells, trick the cells into internalizing them, and then trigger target cell apoptosis - including killing those cells responsible for our natural defenses like T-Lymphocytes (fig1-Nanobacteria killing a T6 Lymphocyte). N. sanguineum demonstrates unique radioresistance, related to its unique nucleic acid makeup and low division rate.

At the moment I'm a sucker for the word "turbid". We have not only turbid waters and turbid skies, but also turbid amber, and turbid urine. Cloudy, murky, or turbid (muddy) urine is characteristic of a urinary tract infection, which may also have an offensive smell. Turbidity is also sometimes applied to describe cataracts in the eye.

The word cataract comes from the Greek meaning "waterfall". Until the mid 1700s, it was thought that a cataract was formed by opaque material flowing, like a waterfall, into the eye.

Cataracts are a common occurrence, often in the elderly, where the lens of the eye loses its transparency and becomes turbid. Cataracts usually occur in one eye first, followed by the other later. Cataracts are protein crystals which grow in the lens of the eye. They begin very small and grow until they obstruct vision; if untreated they can cause blindness.

Think of your eyeball as a balloon full of water, but instead of being rubber, it is a protein membrane. Optical tissue normally allows fluids to flow through the membrane wall which acts like a filter, cleaning out harmful particles, keeping your eyes clear and your vision good as it allows nutrients to permeate. But should the membranes become tough like leather, the fluids are trapped and particles begin to accumulate. If this buildup continues, your vision will seem as if you're looking through frosted glass, a condition known as cataracts.

It all started when NASA senior scientist Rafat Ansari developed a low-powered laser light device to help astronauts with experiments growing crystals in space.

Ansari, with NASA's John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, knew physics, not medicine. Then his father developed cataracts, where the eye's normally clear lens becomes permanently clouded. Surgery to replace the lens is the only fix.

Surprised at the lack of options, Ansari read up on cataracts and learned the lens is largely made up of proteins and water. One type of protein, called alpha-crystallin, is key to keeping it transparent. When other proteins get damaged — by the sun's UV radiation or cigarette smoke or aging — alpha-crystallins literally scoop them up before they can stick together and clog the lens. But we're born with a certain amount of alpha-crystallin. Once the supply's gone, cataracts can form.

Nanobacterium Sanguineum is a Nanobacteria that is approximately 10,000 times smaller than regular bacteria. It replicates from 1000 to 10,000 times slower than regular bacteria as well. It grows in the human system in blood, and has been found by various medical researchers and scientists to cause many human problems.

Some of the various diseases that it has either been implicated to be involved with or to cause are: calcification in atherosclerotic plaque, kidney stones, calcification in the lenses of eyes that ultimately causes "cataracts", soft tissue calcification in scleroderma, calcification in tumors, calcification in arthritis or osteoarthritis and other pathological disease states in humans. These nanobacteria colonize and secrete a "biofilm" over themselves that causes them to be covered by a calcium "shell". These nanobacteria are implicated to be the cause of all calcification in the human system that you were not born with, that you subsequently develop as you age. These nanobacteria are also implicated in causing some forms of cancer and "apoptosis" or cell death.

We're all a little weary of a new darnfangled disease, aren't we? Does this new research carry any weight? I think that there could be some very exciting ground to be covered in the future regarding nanobacteria. I'm fascinated by the role nanobacteria might play in cataracts.

And here's a thing. I thought I had tonsilitis a few days back. I had found tiny greenish lumps on my tonsils. I had had a funny taste in my mouth, especially when swallowing food, for a good month or so. It was not a pleasant taste - almost rancid. Well, I looked it up on the web and found they were called tonsil stones, and that they are not so much an infection, but are more related to dental plaque. Nanobacteria has been implied in the formation of dental plaque. Am I growing a culture of nanobacteria at the back of my throat? Further still, after describing all these ailments to my wife, I remain unsure to whether she will ever kiss me again.

A role for Melatonin in the regulation of energy production and tissue calcification has been proposed: When Melatonin is plentiful, it is easy to incorporate phosphorus into ATP, and cellular energy is plentiful. When Melatonin is in short supply, ATP production is blunted. The phosphorus will then be incorporated into calcium pyrophosphate, and the mitochondria will begin to calcify. This process occurs first in energy intensive organs, such as the heart, the kidney, and the pineal gland itself. As the pineal begins to calcify, its output of Melatonin falls off further, so pineal and extra-pineal calcification will progress. The Pineal gland appears to be the first organ to calcify in man – the beginning of the end.

Could it be that N. sanguineum puts a brake on human longevity, or that impaired immune function or recurrent Nanobacteremia leads to organ system dysfunction and premature senescence, via the mechanism of Pineal Gland calcification? Could they be everywhere? Rather, why wouldn’t we assume that they are everywhere in our tissues?

Many thanks: