Fasting May Help Those With Diabetes, Heart Disease

BIRMINGHAM, England (UPI) — A British researcher says existing research indicates intermittent fasting may help those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, alongside with weight loss.

A review led by James Brown from Aston University in Birmingham, England, evaluated the various approaches to intermittent fasting — fasting on a given number of consecutive or alternate days — in the scientific literature.

The basic format of intermittent fasting is to alternate days eating “normally” with days when calorie consumption is restricted. This can either be done on alternative days, or where two days each week are classed as “fasting days,” Brown said.

The review, published in the British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease, found evidence from clinical trials showed fasting could limit inflammation, improve levels of sugars and fats in circulation and reduce blood pressure. In addition, the study found fasting bodies change how they select which fuel to burn, improving metabolism and reducing oxidative stress.

Fasting also appeared to aid those with ischemic heart disease. Fasting may even protect the heart by raising levels of adiponectin, a protein that has several important roles in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and vascular biology, Brown said.

Nearly Half Of Americans Don’t Realize Obamacare Is Law

With five months left until health coverage exchanges are due to release their insurer lists for those who’ll be “opting in” to Obamacare in 2014, a poll has come out revealing that a staggering 42 percent of Americans don’t even know that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is — as it has been since 2010 — the law of the land.

Of those surveyed, 12 percent also believed Congress had already repealed the law, and another 7 percent thought the Supreme Court had overturned it.

Ironically, those for whom the law ostensibly was passed, the poor and the uninsured, turned out to be the least informed about what Obamacare is and how it affects them.

At least the number of people who reported having a negative impression of how the law will be implemented outnumbered those who had a positive one — by roughly 3-to-1 — across all income brackets.

Lawmakers Like Schumer, McCain Promise More Gun Control To Come

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have vowed that the assault on Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights will resume soon.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that a plan to expand background checks for gun purchases created by “pro-gun Senators” will receive support from the “broad middle” among lawmakers in coming months.

“My own little prediction: I think we’re going to bring this bill back before the end of the year, and I think you may find some changes,” Schumer said during a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor last week. “We may change the bill a little bit, but I think you may find some changes out there in the public. Lots of Senators who thought it was safe to vote against it because of the intensity are not so sure anymore.”

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was one of the four Republicans to vote in support of the failed initial background check expansion bill, said it was “common sense” to support such legislation.

 

Study: Unexpected Volcano Activity Can Still Be Useful Prediction Tool

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Volcanic eruptions that deviate from normal patterns of pre-event unrest can still help improve forecasts of volcanic activity, U.S. researchers say.

A research team led by the Carnegie Institution analyzed the period immediately preceding the 2009 eruption of the Redoubt volcano in Alaska, characterized by an abnormally long period of pre-eruption seismic activity that’s more usually associated with short-term warnings of eruption, an institution release reported Monday.

Usual warnings can include a gradual increase in the rate of seismic activity, a progressive alteration in the type of seismic activity, or a change in ratios of gas released, they researchers said.

“But there are numerous cases of volcanic activity that in some way violated these common patterns of precursory unrest,” Carnegie scientist Diana Roman said. “That’s why examining the unusual precursor behavior of the Redoubt eruption is so enlightening.”

About six to seven months before the March 2009 eruption, Redoubt began to experience long-period seismic events that intensified into a sustained tremor over the next several months. Then short-period earthquakes were observed at an increased rate below the summit leading up to the eventual eruption.

This was unexpected because precursor observations usually involve a transition from short-period to long-period seismic activity, not the other way around, the researchers said.

The unusual seismic pattern could suggest some unique aspect of the volcano’s magma system, knowledge of which could improve predictions of future eruptions, they said.

“Our work shows the importance of clarifying the underlying processes driving anomalous volcanic activity,” Roman said. “This will allow us to respond to subtle signals and increase confidence in making our forecasts.”

Study Finds Unexpected Plant Diversity In North America Vital For Crops

MADISON, Wis. (UPI) — North America, while not known as a plant diversity hot spot, in fact has nearly 4,600 wild relatives of crop plants grown in the United States, scientists say.

Those wild varieties include close relatives of globally important food crops such as sunflowers, beans, sweet potatoes and strawberries, they said.

The findings are good news for plant breeders who’ve relied increasingly in recent years on the wild kin of domesticated crops as new sources of disease resistance, drought tolerance and other traits, a release from the Crop Science Society of America said Monday.

Unfortunately, many of these “crop wild relatives” are threatened by habitat loss, pollution and climate change, said lead study author Colin Khoury of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Cali, Colombia.

An estimated 30 percent of U.S. plant species are now of “conservation concern,” he said, and are possibly even more vulnerable because they’ve tended to be overlooked both by agricultural scientists and the conservation community.

“We always say that crop wild relatives are important and that they’re threatened,” he said. “I think what this study does is takes those general statements and puts some good evidence and documentation behind them.”

“The window for securing these plants so that they’re safe and can be used, it’s narrowing for sure,” Khoury said. “So it’s really time to move forward and get these resources protected.”

European Commission To Ban Pesticides Linked To Bee Deaths

BRUSSELS (UPI) — The European Commission says it will ban the use of a class of pesticides linked to bee deaths by scientists despite a split among member states on the issue.

Pesticides containing chemicals known as neonicotinoids are believed to be contributing to collapses of bee populations and the European Commission says they should be restricted to crops not attractive to bees and other pollinators, the BBC reported Monday.

Fifteen EU countries voted in favor of the ban, eight voted against it while four countries abstained from the vote.

Under EU rules the Commission will now have the option to impose a two-year restriction on neonicotinoids; officials said they want the moratorium to begin no later than Dec. 1.

There has been considerable argument over what has caused reported declines in bee populations thought to be responsible for pollinating around one-third of the world’s crop production.

Some farmers and crop experts argue there is insufficient data to link neonicotinoid pesticides to those declines.

But environmentalists have applauded the EU decision on a ban.

Monday’s vote “makes it crystal clear that there is overwhelming scientific, political and public support for a ban,” Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said.

Alabama Senate: We Won’t Enforce Federal Gun Laws

By a 24-6 margin, the Alabama State Senate just passed a bill that, if approved by the State’s lower chamber, would nullify all Federal gun control measures that are in “violation of the Second Amendment.”

Alabama Senate Bill 93 declares: “All federal acts, laws, orders, rules, or regulations regarding firearms are a violation of the Second Amendment” and “are invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.”

If the Alabama House passes the bill and it is signed into law, no local official, employee of the State or State asset could be co-opted in in the enforcement (or assistance in the enforcement) of Federal gun-control measures.

The bill also puts measures in place for the State to work out any problems posed by not enforcing Federal laws, stating: “The Legislature shall adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of any federal acts, laws, orders, rules, or regulations in violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Pick Your Sport, Locker Room And Public Restroom Under Proposed California Law

The California Legislature is considering a bill that would give kids in the State’s public schools the option of choosing which public bathroom they use, based on the “gender” with which a student most readily identifies.

The bill also would force schools to allow boys and girls to choose whether to participate on boys’ or girls’ teams in all sex-segregated sports activities — again, with their gender identity forming the basis for their choice.

Opponents haven’t had trouble envisioning scenarios, ranging from grave to ridiculous to comical, that would inevitably arise in California schools if the bill is approved. The Pacific Justice Institute has set up a “Gender Insanity” website arguing, in common-sense language, against the bill:

Under this legislation, there are absolutely no safeguards against abuse. Any teenage boy who “identifies” with teenage girls must be given full access to girls’ teams and facilities—including showers, bathrooms and locker rooms. Coaches and parents would have no say in the matter. This is not equality; it is insanity. We cannot stand by and allow politicians controlled by radical special interest groups to sacrifice the privacy of the 99% of our students who are not confused about their biological gender for the 1% (or less) who are. It is incredibly naïve for the Legislature to believe that such a law would never be abused or exploited by a predator.

No mention of how many times adventurous, locker-room-hopping students would get to “re-identify” their gender affinity under the proposal.

Lawsuit: Rolex Irked By Roll-X Deli Name

NEW YORK, (UPI) —  The New York deli formerly known as Rolex Deli is being sued by luxury watchmaker Rolex for the second time due to its sound-alike new name, Roll-x Deli.

Shawqu Ali was forced to change the name of the deli last month after Rolex Watch U.S.A. won a lawsuit alleging customers would be confused into thinking the eatery’s wares match up to the “quality and prestige” of diamond-studded Rolex watches, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

Ali is facing $20,000 in civil contempt fines for taking too long to change his sign — it was changed in March instead of by October as ordered by the court — and Rolex has filed a fresh suit alleging the new name, Roll-x Deli, is still too similar to the watch brand name.

Ehab Moustafa, a lawyer for the deli, said the owner was unaware of the $500 per day fines for the late change to the new name, which the lawyer said is legally distinct from Rolex.

“[It] is sufficient,” Moustafa said. “Roll-x is totally different.”

Police: Man Tried To Flee Arrest To Attend Prom

O’FALLON, Mo., (UPI) —  A 19-year-old accused of leading Missouri police on a high-speed highway chase allegedly said he was trying to dodge arrest so he wouldn’t miss prom.

Police said an officer patrolling Highway 61 Friday night spotted a sport utility vehicle bearing license plates registered to a different vehicle, and a computer check found the owner of the vehicle, Daniel Buck of O’Fallon, had his license revoked and had several active warrants for his arrest, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported Monday.

The driver of the truck, who matched Buck’s description, sped up when he spotted police following him and drove onto another road while traveling at a top speed of 80 mph, police said.

Police said Buck drove through a front yard and nearly struck a utility pole before his truck was disabled with stop strips. He attempted to flee on foot but was caught by officers.

The suspect allegedly told police he fled because he knew he had nine warrants for failure to appear in court on various charges, and he did not want to go to jail because he was supposed to take his girlfriend to prom Saturday night.

It was unclear whether Buck was able to post $15,000 cash bond in time to attend the prom.