Radiotolerance Lessons from the Tardigrades


Image: female tardigrade containing eggs.

Hashimoto and colleagues (2016) published an article in Nature recently:

Extremotolerant tardigrade genome and improved radiotolerance of human cultured cells by tardigrade-unique protein

Tardigrades, a.k.a. water bears, are some of the most extreme organisms, capable of surviving in the most un-habitable environments and being exposed to insults that would kill other living beings. Examples include: very high and very low temperatures, high doses of radiation, high pressure, outer space, and others.

Here are some of the particularities (in terms of gene expression) of tardigrades:

The Hallmarks of Cancers #1 – Deregulating Cellular Energetics


I wrote a moderate-length review of Hanahan and Weinberg’s papers a few months ago.

In their papers, they discuss the most common similarities among cancers and they base their writing on ~5 decades of research in this field.

While each cancer is unique, especially if we view it from a genetics standpoint, Hanahan and Weinberg discuss 8 hallmarks they found to be common in cancers.

How Steemit Social Platform Rewards its Users – My Quick Intro

How Steemit Social Platform Rewards its Users - My Quick Intro - 1


A few weeks ago I decided to join Steemit. This is a social platform where users are rewarded for posting content, for commenting, for voting and for curating the content made by other users.

The first time I heard about the platform was in early July, when two online friends (Leah – stellabelle – and Razvan – razvanelulmarin) kept mentioning it on one of our groups.

Blood Work #5 – August 2016 – [Consistency]

Blood Work #5 - August 2016 - [Consistency]


The last time I posted about my blood work was in March 2016. Here is my August 2016 update:

What I’ve Been Reading Recently – My Bookshelf #10

Reading a book at the beach


I read more than 70 books this year (as of August 2016). I don’t speed read. I allocate sufficient time every day to ‘parse’ books. I mostly read non-fiction. Some of the books are in audio format. Obviously I do not listen to textbooks and programming books. I choose the audio format for the non-technical and more practical ones.

My current interests: genomics, bioinformatics, machine learning, and human irrationality.

Additionally, for knowledge acquisition, I also:

– read research studies
– listen to interviews
– watch lectures and seminars
– take online courses

You can find all past book/reading related posts: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 and #9

Current philosophy:

The more I read, the more I realize the little I know.
Reading is not a hobby; it is part of my daily routine.
I avoid being superficial. I don’t want to skim through the books I read.
I read 7-10 books at a time.
I think that with practice I’ve been able to develop the skill of reading faster (!=speed reading).

Data from David Blaine’s 44-day Fast – [Metabolic and Physiologic]

David Blaine - Macro and micronutrient looses Study - 1


David Blaine has subjected himself to a prolonged fasting experiment lasting between Sept. 5 and Oct. 19, 2003.

“A 30-year-old male, weight 96 kg, height 1.84 m, entered a transparent Perspex box on the banks of the river Thames in London and was suspended in the air from a crane for 44 days. During this period, he took only water to drink.” [2]

At the end of the fast, Blaine had lost 24.5 kg and ~8 BMI points (29 => 21.6). Though his BMI was not life-threatening, he was admitted to the hospital for intensive and careful refeeding, as some of his biomarkers were out of normal limits. [1]

Several research studies have been published based on Blaine’s self experiment. Let’s see some data…

10-Lecture Course on Science Based Medicine – And Alternative Practices

10-Lecture Course on Science Based Medicine - And Alternative Practices


I started watching these lectures on Youtube about two months ago, a bit every day, slowing digesting the information and doing additional searches on the web whenever I found that a topic sparked my interest.

These lectures are presented by Dr. Harriet Hall, a retired family physician and Air Force Colonel. According to Skeptic:

“She writes about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, quackery, and critical thinking. She is a contributing editor to both Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer, an advisor to the Quackwatch website, and an editor of, where she writes an article every Tuesday.”

You can find more about Dr. Hall at

I appreciate the work Dr. Hall and others are doing in informing the public about the perils of quackery. And from what I perceive from her work, she doesn’t only try to bring awareness about bad science in alternative and non-scientific practices, but also in conventional medicine.

Thus, I consider her a good example of impartiality. She takes on conventional medicine and its numerous inconsistencies in lecture 9. No matter the pitfalls of conventional medicine, I’d say that it’s better regulated and more science based (given that you can filter through poorly conducted studies – see lecture 9) than bogus medical practices and claims.

I recommend this course to people who want to become more educated in critical thinking and to those who want be less prone to being phished for phools. Here are the titles of the lectures and a few notes on each.

Top 5 Scientific Publications and their Most Cited Papers – [2016 Update]

Top 5 Scientific Publications and their Most Cited Papers - [2016 Update] - 1


Google Scholar recently released their 2016 Metrics update.

“Scholar Metrics provide an easy way for authors to quickly gauge the visibility and influence of recent articles in scholarly publications…This release covers articles published in 2011–2015 and includes citations from all articles that were indexed in Google Scholar as of June 2016.” [*]

As per their own motto, Google Scholar’s aim is to rank documents the way researchers do, taking into consideration the following:

– the full text of the article
– its authors
– the journal in which it was published
– the number and frequency of citations

Their ranking system purposes to weigh articles not only by the amount of citations they get, but also by their quality.

For a list of Google Scholar’s 2016 top 100 scientific publications, go here.

Fasting and AMPk Signaling – Lean vs. Obese

Fasting and AMPk Signaling - Lean vs. Obese - 4


AMPk is a cellular energy sensor, activated mostly at low energy states. Its activation often depends on ratios such as AMP/ATP and NAD+/NADH. The main purpose of AMPk activation is to restore cellular energy.

“Thus, any change in cellular energy status activates AMPK, leading to concomitant inhibition of energy-consuming processes and stimulation of ATP-generating pathways to restore energy balance” [1]

Stressors that can reduce cellular energy include nutrient deprivation (i.e. caloric restriction), hypoxia (low oxygen conditions), exercise, ischemia, cold exposure, heat shock, fasting, metformin [3] and several others.

High levels of AMP/ATP (low energy status) lead to the activation of AMPk, which triggers processes such as:

– increased oxidation of fatty acids,
– increased glucose uptake inside the muscles,
– increased mitochondrial biogenesis [2],
– ketogenesis,
– reduced cholesterol synthesis,
– etc.

In my current view, higher activity of AMPk is a good thing. However, I assume that most people lack the exposure to such stressors – that I mentioned above. Chances are, then, that AMPk activity inside their cells is reduced or inexistent. Here, I want to briefly discuss the findings of a study relevant to the topic. [1]

Alpha Version – My Voice Triggered Search Bot [Python]

This is the first workable version of my voice triggered search bot. I coded it in Python 3.4. If I keep working on it, it can become much more than a search bot. I could add unlimited functions  and features and make it respond to numerous commands. Some may include:

– doing backups
– running searches on Google Scholar and Pubmed and speaking the results
– doing video search
– sending reminders to my phone
– checking my email and speaking notifications
– sending notes to cloud accounts
– searching for files on my computer
– reading from Wikipedia
– and so on.

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