Thursday, July 30, 2015

A syndrome of general biological fitness appears again

I have been pointing out for many years that there seems to be a syndrome of general biological fitness -- such that high IQ people are healthier, live longer and have better emotional balance. High IQ, in other words, is just one part of general bodily good functioning. The recent study below is another indicator of such an association and goes on to show that the link is genetic.  Some people are just born healthier and fitter. If so, all your bits work well -- including your brain, which is just another bodily organ.   A wise man from long ago knew that.  He said: "For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath." (Mark 4: 25).  "All men are equal" exists neither in the Bible nor in life

The association between intelligence and lifespan is mostly genetic

By Rosalind Arden et al.


Background: Several studies in the new field of cognitive epidemiology have shown that higher intelligence predicts longer lifespan. This positive correlation might arise from socioeconomic status influencing both intelligence and health; intelligence leading to better health behaviours; and/or some shared genetic factors influencing both intelligence and health. Distinguishing among these hypotheses is crucial for medicine and public health, but can only be accomplished by studying a genetically informative sample.

Methods: We analysed data from three genetically informative samples containing information on intelligence and mortality: Sample 1, 377 pairs of male veterans from the NAS-NRC US World War II Twin Registry; Sample 2, 246 pairs of twins from the Swedish Twin Registry; and Sample 3, 784 pairs of twins from the Danish Twin Registry. The age at which intelligence was measured differed between the samples. We used three methods of genetic analysis to examine the relationship between intelligence and lifespan: we calculated the proportion of the more intelligent twins who outlived their co-twin; we regressed within-twin-pair lifespan differences on within-twin-pair intelligence differences; and we used the resulting regression coefficients to model the additive genetic covariance. We conducted a meta-analysis of the regression coefficients across the three samples.

Results: The combined (and all three individual samples) showed a small positive phenotypic correlation between intelligence and lifespan. In the combined sample observed r = .12 (95% confidence interval .06 to .18). The additive genetic covariance model supported a genetic relationship between intelligence and lifespan. In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%; in the US study, 84%; in the Swedish study, 86%, and in the Danish study, 85%.

Conclusions: The finding of common genetic effects between lifespan and intelligence has important implications for public health, and for those interested in the genetics of intelligence, lifespan or inequalities in health outcomes including lifespan.



British government hospitals are still letting the elderly die of thirst

Behold America's future if Obamacare is not repealed

Doctors and nurses are having to be reminded to give water to dying patients.  It is being spelled out to them in basic guidelines following concerns that patients are being denied fluids before their deaths.

Experts fear the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway – under which food and drink was withdrawn from the dying – has left a ‘hangover’ in the NHS a year after it was abolished.

Staff are routinely waiting up to three days before putting the terminally ill on drips or feeding tubes while they debate whether it is in their ‘best interests’.

Now guidance from NHS watchdog NICE – the first of its kind – expressly tells staff to ‘support’ dying patients to drink, or get them to suck sponges soaked in water if they are very frail.

It specifically points out that dehydration is ‘unlikely to hasten death’ and fluids will not ‘prolong’ the dying process, but in fact ease their suffering.

The guidance also tells medical professionals to carry out a thorough check of patients’ symptoms to make sure they really are dying and to seek advice from colleagues if there is any doubt.

Although the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway was phased out last summer, nurses, charities and academics say it is still used in some hospitals under a different name.

The practice – introduced in the 1990s – involved the withdrawal of fluids and food from patients deemed to be at the end of their lives with the intention of hastening death and easing their suffering.

But in many instances patients were placed on the pathway for days, starving and dehydrated, with relatives resorting to giving them wet sponges in secret.

Tory MP Andrew Percy, who sits on the Commons health select committee, said the fact that NICE had issued the guidance was ‘concerning’.

‘It’s been made very clear that the Liverpool Care Pathway is not acceptable and is not an appropriate pathway for people at the end of their life.’ he said.

‘We heard some terrible examples of people being denied fluids at the end of life and it’s concerning that NICE have felt the need to issue this guidance.’



And here's ANOTHER charming British precedent Americans will be looking forward to

"Minor" procedures such as cataract operations are discouraged.  Pity if you can't see, though

GPs are being offered cash incentives worth up to £200,000 if they do not send patients to hospital for routine operations.

They have been told to slash the numbers referred for procedures of ‘low clinical value’ including hip and knee surgery and cataract treatment.

Doctors are also urged to avoid sending patients in for outpatients appointments before or after operations as these are deemed to be a waste of time.

The controversial scheme has been introduced by managers in the North West to save money on the basis that this will improve care and free-up more appointment time.

But it has concerned a number of GPs, who say it may ‘colour the judgement’ of some of their colleagues.

They are worried that doctors will be inclined not to refer patients for important appointments or procedures just because they will earn more money.

A spokesman for the British Medical Association, the professional body which represents doctors said: ‘Clinical Commissioning Groups should not be setting up incentive schemes that force doctors to make clinical decisions based on finances rather than a patient’s health needs.  ‘GPs will be appalled by this measure, not least as it will undermine the public’s confidence in the NHS.

The scheme has been rolled out in Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, a local NHS trust covering 50 surgeries and 270,000 patients.

It was inspired by very similar initiatives already in place in CCGs in Liverpool and Manchester, where doctors are also offered money to reduce ‘unnecessary’ referrals.

But one unnamed GP who practices in Bolton said the policy was ‘unhealthy’ and breached the doctors’ code of conduct, which states that patient care must come first.  ‘Giving doctors financial incentives not to refer is not in the interests of patients or services,’ he said.



Levin: `Unbridled Immigration, Legal and Illegal, Is Taking the Country Down'

"Immigration, legal and illegal, is taking the country down," nationally syndicated radio show host Mark Levin stated in his broadcast on Thursday.

"Unbridled immigration, wave after wave after wave, which is what has taken place for the last 50 years, is killing this country," Levin said. "Fundamentally altering this country, creating more poor American citizens in this country - and to what end?"

Here is the transcript of what Levin said:

    "Now I can go on and on; the case is overwhelming that unbridled immigration, wave after wave after wave, which is what has taken place for the last 50 years, is killing this country.

    "Fundamentally altering this country, creating more poor American citizens in this country - and to what end?

    "That information, all that information is in Plunder and Deceit on my chapter on immigration, but there's a lot more because immigration is even more than that.

    "It's about foreigners coming into the country, not assimilating, and it's about a federal government basically controlled by the Left, almost in a monopolistic way, which does not want assimilation, does not want Americanization because, as [President] Obama has said repeatedly, he and the Left despise America.

    "So we have people escaping failed cultures, escaping failed economic systems, escaping failed governments, coming into this country and bringing all three of those with them -and our country encouraging it.

    "So this does affect jobs. This does affect the economy. It sure as hell affects your children and grandchildren. It affects our school systems, it affects law enforcement - yes. It affects our health care system, it affects our entire country.

    "Unbridled - wave after wave - immigration, legal and illegal, is taking the country down."



Trump means business

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably noticed that Donald Trump is running for president as a Republican on an aggressive platform against illegal immigration.

After his announcement - in which he said Mexico was sending criminals, rapists, and drug dealers to the U.S. - being declared a "disaster" by mainstream media outlets, something unexpected happened.

Just a month later, Trump has rocketed to a lead in national GOP polls. The most recent USA Today, Fox News, Washington Post/ABC, and PPP polls all have him garnering about one-fifth of Republican voters, more than any other candidate.  Guess it wasn't so disastrous after all.

So how has Trump done it? Besides already having built-in name recognition, Trump has tapped into a growing frustration of the Republican Party base with leadership in Washington, D.C., which is perceived to be acquiescent to President Barack Obama's agenda and against their economic interests.

Unbridled illegal immigration and trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership - which Trump has come out squarely against - are seen as a threat to Americans still struggling to find work after the Great Recession.

It's not hard to understand. It's about the economy. And it's about jobs.

Consider Trump's appeal in his announcement to disaffected voters and general lashing out at politicians in Washington, D.C.: "How stupid are our leaders? How stupid are these politicians to allow this to happen? How stupid are they?"

It is this frankness and toughness that has captured voters' attention. The message is simple.

Trump is running as an outsider, and his stance against illegal immigration and against the trade deal - and the lack of action by the federal government to do anything to create jobs for Americans - provides a ready-made outlet for Republican voters who feel underrepresented.

In an interview with Breitbart News' Robert Wilde, pollster Pat Caddell reported that "the alienation among Republican voters is so high" and that conservatively "a quarter to one-third of the Republican party are hanging by a thread from bolting."

In a recent poll Caddell conducted, 84 percent of GOP voters and leaners said they were less likely to support a member of Congress who voted to use taxpayer money to implement Obama's amnesty.

Meaning, the disaffection is real. And Trump has tapped into exactly the right issue to distinguish himself from the rest of the Republican field.

And now, with Trump leading the GOP field, and with frustration over the illegal immigration issue reaching a boil, he must be contended with.

Trump has tapped into something real. Something visceral.  Which to an entrenched GOP establishment that cannot control him, poses a very real danger to their power.

Initially, the response to Trump was to dismiss, mock, and ignore his populist message on trade and immigration. But that won't work anymore. It even seemed to help him. Love him or hate him, Trump means business.



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