Friday, June 24, 2016

Black hearts have better rhythm too -- and it's genetic

Atrial fibrillation is when the heart loses it's rhythm.  Whites are more prone to it

Genetic Investigation Into the Differential Risk of Atrial Fibrillation Among Black and White Individuals

Jason D. Roberts et al.


Importance:  White persons have a higher risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) compared with black individuals despite a lower prevalence of risk factors. This difference may be due, at least in part, to genetic factors.

Objectives:  To determine whether 9 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with AF account for this paradoxical differential racial risk for AF and to use admixture mapping to search genome-wide for loci that may account for this phenomenon.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Genome-wide admixture analysis and candidate SNP study involving 3 population-based cohort studies that were initiated between 1987 and 1997, including the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) (n = 4173), the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) (n = 12 341) study, and the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) (n = 1015) study. In all 3 studies, race was self-identified. Cox proportional hazards regression models and the proportion of treatment effect method were used to determine the impact of 9 AF-risk SNPs among participants from CHS and the ARIC study. The present study began July 1, 2012, and was completed in 2015.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Incident AF systematically ascertained using clinic visit electrocardiograms, hospital discharge diagnosis codes, death certificates, and Medicare claims data.

Results:  A single SNP, rs10824026 (chromosome 10: position 73661450), was found to significantly mediate the higher risk for AF in white participants compared with black participants in CHS (11.4%; 95% CI, 2.9%-29.9%) and ARIC (31.7%; 95% CI, 16.0%-53.0%). Admixture mapping was performed in a meta-analysis of black participants within CHS (n = 811), ARIC (n = 3112), and Health ABC (n = 1015). No loci that reached the prespecified statistical threshold for genome-wide significance were identified.

Conclusions and Relevance:  The rs10824026 SNP on chromosome 10q22 mediates a modest proportion of the increased risk of AF among white individuals compared with black individuals, potentially through an effect on gene expression levels of MYOZ1. No additional genetic variants accounting for a significant portion of the differential racial risk of AF were identified with genome-wide admixture mapping, suggesting that additional genetic or environmental influences beyond single SNPs in isolation may account for the paradoxical racial risk of AF among white individuals and black individuals.

JAMA Cardiol. Published online June 22, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2016.1185


Trump nails it

Trump: 'I Only Want to Admit People Who Share Our Values and Love Our People'

Republican Donald Trump drew a sharp contrast between his own policies and those of Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, saying he would restrict immigration to people who "share our values," while she wants to "bring in people who believe women should be enslaved and gays should be put to death."

"Perhaps the most terrifying thing about Hillary Clinton's foreign policy is that she refuses to acknowledge the threat posed by radical Islam. In fact, Hillary Clinton supports a radical 550 percent increase in Syrian refugees coming into the United States, and that's an increase over President Obama's already high number.

"Under her plan, we would admit hundred of thousands of refugees from the most dangerous countries on earth with no way to screen who they are, what they are, what they believe, where they come from. Already, hundreds of recent inmmigrants and their children have been convicted of terrorist activity inside the United States."

Trump noted that the father of the Orlando shooter was a Taliban supporter from Afghanistan, "one of the most repressive anti-gay and anti-women regimes on earth."

"I only want to admit people who share our values and love our people," Trump said. "Hillary clinton wants to bring in people who believe women should be enslaved and gays should put to death."

Trump suggested that Clinton's motivation lies with the donations she's accepted from various foreign countries on behalf of the Clinton Foundation.



Gay Lover Reveals the Roots of Orlando Terrorist's Rage

A man who claimed to be the lover of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen said the June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub was motivated by revenge, not terrorism.

In an interview with Univision, the man said Mateen was “100 percent gay” and that the two had carried on a “friends with benefits” relationship after meeting last year through a gay dating app. He said he had reported his relationship with Mateen to the FBI and had been interviewed multiple times. The FBI also confirmed to Univision that it has met with him.

The man, who wore a disguise in his interview with Univision and was identified only as “Miguel,” said Mateen’s attack at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub was the result of a sexual encounter with two Latino men, one of which Mateen later discovered was HIV positive. The attack, carried out at the nightclub’s Latino night, was Mateen’s attempt at taking revenge against a specific community of gay men who he felt had used and rejected him, the man said.



Hillary Can't Best Trump's Economic Platform

Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump's plan to improve the economy, with a Tuesday speech high on rhetorical zingers and low on examples of her own economic prowess. Trump didn't have enough detail in his job creation plan, Clinton complained, "But maybe we shouldn't expect better from someone whose famous words are: 'You're fired.'"

Hilarious coming from a woman who made her fortune penning books, giving speeches and peddling influence — pastimes of the liberal elite. At least Trump created jobs.

Clinton's speech tried to paint Trump as "dangerous," a bull in the China shop of the American economy. "Just like he shouldn't have his finger on the button, he shouldn't have his hands on our economy," Clinton declared. But as commentator Ashe Schow points out, Clinton has a long record of using public money and her status to make herself and her family rich. Is she really the best advocate for the American middle class? It was just a few weeks ago where she admitted her policies would make coal miners lose their jobs.

As for Clinton's plan to get this Obama economy roaring back to life, Clinton suggested — what else? — massive government spending on the nation's infrastructure. But as Jim Geraghty points out, it's not like Obama didn't try that same trick in 2012 with $102 billion in roadway funding ("the largest new investment in our nation's infrastructure since Eisenhower") — and look where that got us. Clinton proposes nothing new. If she were to become president, expect four more years of dismal economic growth in a continuation of the Obama-Clinton stagnation.



Ideologues Make for Dangerous Politicians

Victor Davis Hanson

Hillary Clinton is a seasoned liberal politician, but one with few core beliefs. Her positions on subjects such as gay marriage, free-trade agreements, the Keystone XL pipeline, the Iraq War, the Assad regime in Syria and the use of the term “radical Islam” all seem to hinge on what she perceives 51 percent of the public to believe on any given day.

Such politicians believe truth is a relative construct. Things are deemed false by politicians only if they cannot convince the public that they are true — and vice versa. When the majority of Americans no longer believe Clinton’s yarns about her private email server to the point of not wanting to vote for her, then she will change her narrative and create new, convenient truths to reflect the new consensus.

Donald Trump is an amateur politician but a politician nevertheless. He is ostensibly conservative, but he likewise seems to change his positions on a number of issues — from abortion to the Iraq War — depending on what he feels has become the majority position. And as with Clinton, Trump’s idea of truth is defined as what works, while falsity is simply any narrative that proved unusable.

Politicians glad-hand, pander and kiss babies as they seek to become megaphones for majority opinions. But ideologues are different. They often brood and lecture that their utopian dreams are not shared by the supposedly less informed public.

To gain power, of course, ideologues can temporarily become political animals. Barack Obama ran in 2008 on popular positions such as reducing the national debt and opposing gay marriage and immigration amnesties, only to flip after he was re-elected and no longer needed to pander to perceived majority opinions.

But otherwise, Obama the ideologue seems to believe that big redistributive government is always necessary to achieve a mandated equality of result — regardless of whether it ever works or should work in reality. He opposes a reduction in capital gains tax rates even though he concedes that such cuts might bring in more revenue.

The administration has deemed the Affordable Care Act successful even though Obama’s assurances that it would lower deductibles and premiums, give patients greater choices, and ensure continuity in medical providers and plans have all proven to be untrue.

No matter: Obamacare fulfills the president’s preconceived notion that state-mandated health care is superior to what the private sector can provide.

Abroad, Obama starts from the premise that an overweening U.S. is not to be congratulated for saving the world in World War II, winning the Cold War and ushering in globalization. Instead, its inherent unfairness to indigenous peoples, its opposition to revolutionary regimes and its supposed interventionist bullying disqualify it from being a moral and muscular leader of the world.

As a consequence of all this, facts often must be created to match pre-existing ideology.

A homophobic, radical Islamic terrorist in Orlando shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he mowed down the innocent in a gay nightclub. He called 911 to make sure the world knew that his killing spree was in service to the Islamic State. And in the midst of his murdering, he even called a local TV news station to brag on his jihadist martyrdom in progress. No matter. To Obama, who asserts that radical Islamic terrorism, which he refuses to identify in such terms, poses little threat (far less of a threat, he has said, than the dangers posed by accidental falls in bathtubs), the Orlando shooting was instead a symptom of a lack of gun control or endemic homophobia — anything other than what the killer himself said it was.

Guns, of course, had nothing to do with the 3,000 people killed on 9/11, with the Boston Marathon bombing, or with recent terrorist attacks in Oklahoma and at the University of California at Merced perpetrated by blade-wielding assailants. Tight restrictions on semi-automatic weapons could no more stop shootings in Europe than stop an epidemic of inner-city shootings in Chicago. No matter: The Orlando shooting must be ascribed to the availability of guns rather than to radical Islamic terrorism.

In both word and deed, Iran, Cuba and Turkey are revolutionary societies in turmoil that have often voiced anti-Americanism. But to Obama, who at times has warmed up to all three, those regimes fit his deductive notion that America’s past behavior has earned it understandable antipathy from countries with legitimate grievances.

Bipartisan analyses agree that the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq in December 2011 threw away the victory obtained by the American surge of 2007, eroded the foundation of the nascent Iraqi democracy, and helped to birth and empower the Islamic State.

But to an ideologue like Obama, the withdrawal simply reflected a universal truth that the U.S. must get out and leave the Middle East to its rightful owners — even if the president has been forced to send nearly 5,000 troops back into Iraq.

In general, politicians are rank opportunists, but at least most of them are malleable and attuned to public opinion.

But ideologues are far more anti-empirical — and thus dangerous.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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