Pellucida – research material

Ignore this page, it is information gathered for research purposes relating to a nvel I’m working on. I have posted the texts here for ease of access while I’m travelling and as such will be removed in a short time. It should not really be in the public domain anywhere other than the original publishers websites, so I’m taking a liberty posting it, but this page is not promoted anywhere and only gets a handful of hits per month.

Changing DNA

Viruses and DNA

Can Your DNA Change During Your Life?

Viruses and Other Gene Transfer Mechanisms

When can a virus modify DNA in every cell of a living organism?

Can viruses change DNA? If so, How?

Confirmed by science: You really can change your DNA – and here’s how


How do viruses affect the structure of your DNA?

Scientists Without Foresight Are Using Viruses To Alter Human DNA

New Technology Lets Scientists Easily Rewrite Living Organisms’ Genetic Code

Part 2 – Media Manipulation Of Attitudes And Opinion

The Art And Science Of Mass Manipulation

Manufactured ‘Reality’ TV

Censorship and the Decline of Civilization

Crowd manipulation

Media Manipulation of the Masses: How the Media Psychologically Manipulates


10 Strategies for Manipulation of People Through Media


Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

Examining the Mob Mentality

Herd mentality

Part 3 – The Newsroom

Newsroom terms




Extra! Extra! Stories of Journalism Jargon

Part 4 – Ageing

Telomere Theory Of Ageing Rejected

AGINGSCIENCES™ – Anti-Aging Firewalls™

Epigenetics – DNA methylation

Epigenetics – acetylation

Living To 150

Chapter 1
Can Your DNA Change During Your Life?Many people are used to thinking of DNA as unchanging programming that governs all the body’s responses for the rest of a person’s life. In essence, certain things about our DNA are unlikely to change, ever. There are a number of outside things that could result in minor DNA change, however.As you age, for instance, you may note DNA expression changes in a variety of ways. Hair gets gray, skin gets wrinkly, and diseases are more common. The effect of environmental influence on DNA is still being studied intensely, but there are some certain known features. For one thing, changes in DNA may really be better called mutations. The programs in certain cells don’t work as well, and this is reflected in aging. Exactly why certain codes, such as to produce tight skin, don’t work as well isn’t fully known. There is strong supposition, though, that things like sun exposure may change how well DNA operates.Similarly, DNA builds cancerous cells and this is accepted as mutation of DNA’s original intent, since people aren’t supposed to have cancer. There are several factors at work here too. For some reason, the program of DNA misfires, resulting in abnormal cells. DNA may already influence how likely individuals are to have cancer, and the environment may have effect on DNA, resulting in production of cancerous cells.

Mutations in the DNA have also been noted with the introduction of certain viruses into the body. In fact, this is a method by which “gene therapy” is being studied in depth. Scientists and medical researchers are using small virus cells, usually of common illnesses like colds, to change small parts of gene expression, since it is known that viruses may rewrite some of the DNA code.

By some of the code, it should be understood that DNA change is incredibly tiny, governing very few expressions of certain genes. Most of your building block DNA does not undergo change, and it is not likely to. There has been an upsurge of theory in alternative health and self help fields about how changing thinking might result in changing DNA. This is unproven work, though there are some interesting changes that science has noted. One is a noted ability for people who have undergone trauma to evolve new neural pathways in the brain when undergoing therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy, but this may simply be an expression of what your brain cells are already coded to do.

Another interesting field that relates to this subject is that of epigenetics, which evaluates how environmental influence may affect the DNA of your children. Previously, DNA code in reproductive cells was thought to be unchanged, except by mutation. Now scientists are evaluating how it may be changed by slight differences in the way people behave before they have children.

Your DNA may not just be a matter of inheriting family traits like hair or eye color or risk for certain diseases, but might also be influenced by how your parents behaved, such as being overweight or smoking prior to conceiving children. This has led some to conclude that people who wait until they are older to have children may have significantly changed the DNA of their future children though life choices and environmental exposure.

Viruses and Other Gene Transfer Mechanisms today spread genes among bacteria and humans and other cells, as they always have… We are our viruses — Lynn Margulis, 1998 (1)

May we not feel that in the virus, in their merging with the cellular genome and their re-emerging from them, we observe processes which, in the course of evolution, have created the succesful genetic patterns that underlie all living things? — Salvador Luria, 1959 (2)


poliovirus: Science

The Darwinian paradigm holds that copying mistakes and the shuffling of existing genes are sufficient to write the new genes needed for evolutionary advances. Cosmic Ancestry holds that these processes cannot write useful new genes. Instead, for a species to make evolutionary progress, new genes must first be installed into its genome from outside. We will discuss well-known processes which can install new genes into the genome of a given species. Then we will look at viruses.

Mutation is the mechanism of genetic change that we hear the most about. Every known example of a single-nucleotide mutation, however, is either adaptive within a narrow range, neutral, or deleterious in its effect. The rare exception is the back-mutation, which merely undoes the damage of a previous mutation and restores the affected strand of DNA to its original condition.

Recombination is a much more powerful mutation way for DNA to change. If an organism’s genome were written out as text, single-nucleotide mutations would be single-letter mistakes, whereas recombination takes whole words, sentences, paragraphs, pages or groups of pages and moves them to different locations. These new locations could be elsewhere in the same paragraph, page, bookshelf, or library. Obviously a powerful mechanism like recombination should be incorporated into anyone’s understanding of the theory of evolution. There are three kinds of recombination:

When two strings of similar DNA line up with each other and swap sections, it’s called homologous recombination.

When shorter pieces of similar DNA line up to initiate a swap of longer, dissimilar pieces (of which the shorter pieces can be part), that’s called site-specific recombination.

Transposition enables a piece of DNA to move within the same chromosome, or to a different chromosome, to a location with which it has no similarity.

The Transfer of DNA Across Species Boundaries

Bacteria trade genes more frantically than a pit full of traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange — Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan (3)

While recombination moves whole blocks of genetic instructions within a cell, other processes move whole blocks of genetic information from one bacterium to another bacterium of a different kind. In the analogy between genes and written text, this move is a transfer of paragraphs or pages from one library to another.

One such process is transformation. Here pieces of genetic instructions are released by a bacterium into its environment. Another bacterium, not necessarily of the same strain, picks up the DNA and incorporates it into its own genome. For example, Streptococcus pneumoniae that are not pathogenic can become so by transformation (4). As an illustration of transformation, think of a passenger who jumps overboard from one ship and is later picked up by another one.

Conjugation is the bacterial version of sex. In conjugation, bacterial cells actually connect, and the “male” donates a piece of DNA to the “female.” The piece of DNA in this case was excised earlier from the bacterial chromosome. Such excised pieces of DNA are called plasmids. (Plasmids, being able to pass out of one cell and into another, are similar to viruses. But they have no protein coat and no “life cycle” different from that of their host cell; in this respect they resemble small chromosomes.) If the transferred genetic material is a passenger on a ship, in the transfer of plasmids by conjugation, the ships come alongside each other and the passenger walks across a gangplank to the new ship.

Transduction is yet another way for bacteria to exchange genetic material. In transduction, a virus takes up a piece of DNA from its bacterial host and incorporates it into its own viral genome. After the virus has multiplied, many copies of the virus erupt from the infected cell. Depending on the kind of transduction, some or all of the daughter viruses take copies of parts of the bacterial DNA with them. When one of them infects a new cell, it inserts the stolen DNA into the new cell, where the stolen piece becomes integrated into the new cell’s DNA. (The stolen piece may be a whole gene with which the cell acquires a new function, as was reported in June, 1996, by two scientists at Harvard Medical School (5).) In transduction, the passenger resorts to hiding inside some freight, hoping to get aboard a different ship that way.

Transduction by viruses works in eukaryotic organisms as well. The discovery that large blocks of genetic instructions can be swapped and transferred among creatures is a clue that the insertion of new genes could be the mechanism behind evolutionary advances. If viruses can transfer eukaryotic genes across species boundaries, and can install their own genes into their hosts, the case for the new mechanism is even stronger. As we will see, viruses do just that.

Viruses are mobile genetic elements (6)

It was an absolutely stunning surprise to us that something as strange as viruses carrying genes from one cell to another can happen — Joshua Lederberg (7)

If your computer suddenly begins to greet you with a vulgar message, you will recognize that the computer has contracted a virus. It might have arrived via the modem, it might have come with a new program on a disk, or someone might have stealthily keyed it in. It might even have been there when you originally acquired the computer. However it got there, it is definitely a computer virus, and your computer did not spontaneously generate it.

Computer viruses are called viruses because they are analogous to biological viruses that infect living cells. Because viruses are simpler than cells, biologists used to think that maybe viruses were the precellular life forms that Darwinism requires. Today however, even Darwinists don’t think that viruses are this link. Viruses are not independently capable of metabolism or reproduction. Darwinists now think that viruses evolved after cells. What is a virus?

T4 virusA virus is a piece of genetic instructions, usually in a protective coat. Virus particles are tiny; a cell can manufacture and contain as many as a thousand of them before breaking open. They were first discovered when biologists observed that some disease-causing agents were able to pass through a filter too fine for bacteria. They can be small because they contain almost none of the machinery of a cell, only a smallish quantity of DNA or RNA.

Viruses are not living things. When they are outside of their host cell, they are just very complex molecular particles that have no metabolism and no way to reproduce. In our computer metaphor, they’re like software with no hardware, floppy disks or diskettes without a computer. Having no independent metabolism they can remain viable indefinitely, under the right circumstances. “Some of them can even be crystallized, like minerals. In this state they can survive for years unchanged — until they are wetted and placed into contact with their particular hosts” (8).

The viruses that infect bacteria are more specifically called bacteriophages, or simply phages. The kind and amount of genetic instructions in phages vary from 3,600 RNA nucleotides to 166,000 DNA nucleotide pairs (9). To restate these dimensions in terms of our computer analogy, the computer viruses that infect handheld calculators range in size from 900 bytes to over 40 kilobytes. For comparison, the simplest handheld calculator (a bacterium) has about 200 kilobytes of stored programs.


Herpesvirus by Linda Stannard: All the Virology on the WWW

The viruses that infect eukaryotic cells vary in size also. The poliovirus has 7,600 RNA nucleotides; the vaccinia (cowpox) virus has 240,000 DNA nucleotide pairs (10). To use computer terms again, the computer viruses that infect personal computers range in size from 1.9 kilobytes to 60 kilobytes. For comparison, a very simple personal computer (a yeast cell) has genetic instructions equivalent to about 8 megabytes. An advanced personal computer (a human cell) contains about 1.5 gigabytes of stored information, counting the backup copy and the “silent” DNA.

When a virus attaches to its host cell, the host may take the whole virus into its cytoplasm where the virus’s protective coat is removed. However, some bacteriophages use a different invasion method. They remain outside the cell and a chemical trigger causes them to inject their genome into the host’s cytoplasm. Either way, the virus’s genome enters the cytoplasm of the host cell.

Once inside, the virus causes the machinery of the host cell to enter one of two cycles, the lytic cycle or the lysogenic cycle. In the lytic cycle, which leads to cell degradation, the host begins to carry out the reproductive instructions in the invading virus’s genome. Those instructions are, in summary, “make more of me.” The host becomes a slave to the invader; it drops everything and begins to manufacture copies of the virus. After many copies have been made, the cell breaks open and dies, and many viruses are released. This is the normal way in which a virus causes symptoms of disease in its host.

In the lysogenic cycle the host cell does not make more viruses, but simply harbors the entire viral genome in the cell, usually by incorporating it into the cell’s genome. If the virus is an RNA virus, as many are, the RNA must first undergo “reverse transcription” into DNA. While harboring the viral genes, the cell may grow and multiply normally, carrying the new instructions harmlessly along with it. A virus carried in this manner is said to be latent. Recently scientists have learned that even during latency, some of the virus’s genes can be expressed (11).


Sometimes after lysogenic integration of the viral genome into the host’s DNA, an “induction event” can cause the viral infection to revert to the lytic cycle, in which the cell makes many copies of the virus and dies. After this happens, the numerous new virus particles can then infect many other cells. If the new infections are lysogenic, the virus’s genes may again become integrated into the DNA of the new cells without harm to them. Lytic infection of one host followed by lysogenic infection in another is also called transduction. When we discussed transduction earlier, we said viruses could tranduct a cell’s genes to another cell. Here we see that the virus’s own genes can also be transducted into cells.

This method of acquiring genes is not in doubt. Among bacteria, for example, “There are some well-documented cases of homologies between viral genes and their host counterparts. …Some past exchanges have occurred between distantly related phages and between phage and host” (12). Eukaryotes are also known to acquire viral genes, and the phenomenon is not rare. “Endogenous retroviruses and retroviral elements have been found in all vertebrates investigated…. As a general rule, the number of groups of viral sequences found within a given vertebrate species is proportional to the effort spent searching that species” (13).

And it has now been shown that some of the genes that viruses install have a beneficial function for the host. In fact, doctors now use viruses to install genes in the new field of “gene therapy.” Even the virus that causes AIDS, if properly disabled, may become useful this way (14, 15).

When the genome of Bacillus subtilis was completely sequenced and published in July, 1997, the sequencers noticed another interesting example of gene transfer. “…Some of the bacteriophages in B. subtilis also appear to contribute genes that aid the host bacterium by helping it resist harmful substances such as heavy metals” (16). This evidence confirms that genes installed by a virus into the genome of the host can be beneficial, even essential, for the evolution of the host.

One example of a benefit conferred by viral genes comes from humans. A sequence installed by a retrovirus regulates the amylase gene cluster, allowing us to produce amylase in our saliva. This sequence that we share with a few other primates enables us to eat starchy foods we otherwise couldn’t (17).

In August, 1997, another whole-genome sequencing, of Helicobacter pylori, found that many genes in it are more similar to those of eukaryotes or archaea than other bacteria (18). “Such observations… are often interpreted as evidence of lateral gene transfer in the evolutionary history of an organism,” say the sequencers.

Additional evidence that genes can move across species boundaries even in eukaryotes comes in the June 13, 1997, issue of Science. A report there by Frederico J. Gueiros-Filho and Stephen M. Beverley of Harvard describes the “Trans-kingdom Transposition” of a gene-size piece of DNA known as a transposable element (19). The particular transposable element they studied, called mariner, has already been found in planaria, nematodes, centipedes, many insects, and humans (20). Until recently, transposable elements were considered to be functionless, or “junk DNA.” But John McDonald, a professor in the department of genetics at the University of Georgia, concludes, “It now appears that at least some transposable elements may be essential to the organisms in which they reside. Even more interesting is the growing likelihood that transposable elements have played an essential role in the evolution of higher organisms, including humans” (21). Another team of biologists has demonstrated that by transformation (discussed above in bacteria) a mariner element can become installed into the inherited genome of zebrafish (22). So viruses are not the only mobile genetic elements.

In conclusion, viruses could easily provide a way for new genes never before encountered by a species to become part of its genome. That viruses install new genes into their hosts is not speculative — it is a well known fact. That transferred genes are important in evolution is becoming well established. According to Cosmic Ancestry, the horizontal transfer of genes by viruses and other means is essential for evolutionary progress.


It is almost certainly the case that some modern-day retrotransposons… are derived from retroviruses that lost their infectivity and are more properly considered as ancient endogenous retroviruses. — J.D. Boeke and J.P. Stoye, 1997 (23)

1. Lynn Margulis, Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution, Basic Books, 1998. p 64.

2. Salvador E. Luria, Virus Growth and Variation, A. Isaacs and B.W. Lacey, eds., Cambridge University Press, 1959. p 1-10.

3. Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, What Is Life? Simon and Schuster, 1995. p 73.

4. Neil A. Campbell, Biology, 3rd edition. The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc., 1993. p 301.

5. Matthew K. Waldor and John J. Mekalanos, “Lysogenic Conversion by a Filamentous Phage Encoding Cholera Toxin” p 1910-1914 v 272, Science, June 28, 1996. Also see comments by Nigel Williams, p 1869-1870; and see “Harvard researchers find cholera bacterium may take instruction from a virus,” by Misia Landau and Keren McGinity at EurekAlert!, 27 June 27 1996.

6. Bruce Alberts, Dennis Bray, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts and James D. Watson, The Molecular Biology of the Cell, 3rd edition. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1994. p 274.

7. Joshua Lederberg, “Interview with Prof. Lederberg, Winner of the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine” [transcript], conducted by Lev Pevzner, 20 March 1996.

8. Lynn Margulis and Karlene V. Schwartz, Five Kingdoms, 2nd edition. W. H. Freeman and Company, 1988. p 16.

9. T.A. Brown, Genetics: A Molecular Approach, 2nd edition, Chapman and Hall, 1992. p 221.

10. T.A. Brown, Genetics: A Molecular Approach, 2nd edition, Chapman and Hall, 1992. p 234.

11. Susan J. Baserga and Joan A. Steitz, “The Diverse World of Small Ribonucleoproteins,” p 359-381, The RNA World, R.F. Gesteland and J.F. Atkins, eds., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1993. p 374.

12. Allan M. Campbell, “Bacteriophage Ecology, Evolution and Speciation,” p 81-83, Encyclopedia of Virology, Robert G. Webster and Allan Granoff, eds., Academic Press, 1994.

13. John M. Coffin, Stephen H. Hughes and Harold E. Varmus, eds., Retroviruses, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1997. p 346.

14. Jon Cohen, “A New Role for HIV: A Vehicle For Moving Genes Into Cells” p 195 v 272, Science, 12 April 1996.

15. Andrew Pollack, “Scientists Enlist H.I.V. to Fight Other Ills,” The New York Times, 19 January 1999.

16. Nigel Williams, “Gram-Positive Bacterium Sequenced,” p 478 v 277, Science, 25 July 1997.

17. John M. Coffin, Stephen H. Hughes and Harold E. Varmus, eds., Retroviruses, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1997. p 403.

18. Jean-F. Tomb et al. (41 others), “The complete genome sequence of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori” p 539-547 v 388, Nature, 7 August 1997.

19. Frederico J. Gueiros-Filho and Stephen M. Beverley, “Trans-kingdom Transposition of the Drosophila Element mariner Within the Protozoan Leishmania,” p 1716-1719 v 276, Science, 13 June 1997.

20. Daniel L. Hartl, “Mariner Sails into Leishmania,” p 1659-1660 v 276, Science, 13 June 1997.

21. Phil Williams, “Transposable Elements May Have Had A Major Role In The Evolution Of Higher Organisms,” EurekAlert!, 9 February 1998.

22. James M. Fadool, Daniel L. Hartl and John E. Dowling. “Transposition of the mariner element from Drosophila mauritiana in zebrafish,” p 5182-5186 v 95 n 9, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., USA, 28 April 1998.

23. John M. Coffin, Stephen H. Hughes and Harold E. Varmus, eds., Retroviruses, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1997. p 414.

When can a virus modify DNA in every cell of a living organism?

I’ve recently heard about experiments with brain tissue, where a virus is introduced in a rats brain, causing a “glow when electric charge is present” protein to be created. This protein then helps to study the brain using optical techniques to detect this glow. As far as I understand, not all cells in the brain were affected by this virus.
It seems like this kind of “virus operation” on DNA is pretty powerful, so my question is : at which point in an organism’s life can a virus operation be done in such a way as to affect the entire organism for the rest of its life?
In other words, will a virus is introduced into a young embryo(or sperm), affect all cells and stay with an organism until death? Can it be introduced later and still have “complete effect”?

The answer depends on two factors:

The type of vector (virus) you are using

How well your vector can be integrated.

The bottom-line is that there is no guarantee the vector will work even if you start from the embyro.

As far as I know, the problem of using vectors in general is that the vector you are using might not be integrated into the genome of the host. (Not necessarily get into the DNA, but just keep replicating during each S phase.) Therefore doing it earlier gives you a better chance to actually get them in the organism.

For example, there is a linear vector used in C. elegans that was injected into the oocyte even before fertilization. The cell later treats the vectors as broken DNAs and linages them so they could be pull to one side of the cell during mitosis. However, the huge chunk of vector DNA is mosaic. (i.e. only some of the cells in that worm have the vectors.) Other vectors like engineered HIV have better chance to integrate themselves.

Can viruses change DNA? If so, How?
Michael Clark, Molecular Biologist and Neuroscientist

It depends on whether you mean changes in viral DNA or changes in the DNA of host cells. Actually it doesn’t…. kind of. Because the answer is yes either way, just via different mechanisms.

Like all nucleic acids, the DNA of viruses (that have DNA as a genetic material, many viruses use RNA) is subject to mutation. There may be errors in during replication that slip through the proof-reading activity of the enzymes that make copies of DNA. DNA may also be damaged, either by reactive chemicals naturally present or produced by normal metabolism, by ionizing radiation from cosmic rays or from decay of naturally present radioactive isotopes, or other sources of damage to DNA such as UV light. It is important to realize that DNA is constantly being damaged via natural processes. Which is why cells possess multiple mechanisms to identify and correct damage to DNA resulting in sequence changes. The DNA of viruses is equally effected. Viruses that use RNA are even more effected and experience more mutations. This is because the enzymes that copy RNA molecules lack proofreading activity (they can’t detect mistakes in the copies they make), RNA molecules are subject to some types of chemical damage that DNA is not, and RNA uses uracil to pair with adenine, not thymine. Uracil spontaneously decomposes to cytosine… which changes that base pair from an AT pair to a GC pair. And yet RNA repair mechanisms are lacking,

As for the host, some viruses, especially a type of RNA virus called a retrovirus, actually integrates itself into DNA of the host cell, becoming a new addition of the host cell genome. Some of these viruses, called oncornaviruses, cause cancer in animals. Studying the biology of these viruses during the 1980s has led directly to the revolution in targeted cancer therapies that have just recently started to change the clinical course of many cancers (the drug imatinib, brand name Gleevec, is an example). Another class of retroviruses, the lentiviruses, hide in the host DNA. The best known lentivirus is HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Integration into cells of the host immune system is the reason that antiretroviral cocktails that render HIV undetectable cannot permanently clear the body of HIV. Fortunately over long periods of time, such integrated viruses experience a strong selection pressure to not make their host sick, and tend to cease to be a virus and becomes just another bit of host DNA.

As a result of this process, about 8% of our genome is from viruses that we aquired less than a million years ago. An even larger amount, a significant part of so called ‘junk’ DNA, looks like far more ancient viral DNA. As one friend of mine working in the computer industry said after learning this fact: “Are you telling me that our genome hasn’t had a virus scan in 3.8 billion years?”

Nope, not one. And a good thing too. The ability of some of these sequences to move around in the genome, duplicating and moving other DNA with them, is a major driver of evolution. Duplicated genes are free to mutate and develop new activities.

For example, the enzymes that make production of the neurochemicals serotonin and norepinephrine possible arose from virally duplicated copies of the enzyme that makes the amino acid tyrosine from phenylalanine. And the gene that makes production of the mammalian placenta possible via fusion of maternal and fetal cells came from a virus hundreds of millions of years ago. If you have a belly button, thank a long gone virus.

Vern Paetkau

Vern Paetkau, Ph, D. Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin – Madison (1967)

Answered Feb 14

There’s a family of viruses, called retroviruses, that can change DNA. Retroviruses are equipped to insert their genetic information into cellular DNA. The genetic material of retroviruses is RNA: the ‘retro’ part of their name reflects that their RNA is copied into a DNA replica, which is backwards compared to what happens to normal cellular DNA (which gets copied into RNA). The infecting retrovirus already contains the enzyme required to make such a copy. It also contains the enzymes needed to insert that DNA copy into the chromosomal DNA of the cell, thereby changing it. This is called ‘integration’.

There are a number of known animal retroviruses. Some of them cause cancer because they contain oncogenes, genes that transform a normal cell into a cancer cell. But there aren’t many horizontally-transmitted human retroviruses. The most famous is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, which causes AIDS. (There are a couple of other, rare, human retroviruses.) Some of the drugs that help control AIDS block the enzymes that integrate the DNA copy of the virus into the genome, others inhibit the enzyme that copies the viral RNA into DNA form.

But here’s a remarkable thing about human retroviruses: our genome contains the record of hundreds of ancient retrovirus-like structures, some of which are genetically active. How those got there isn’t well understood, but there they are, faithfully transmitted down through the generations. Some are probably the result of viral infection, but some may be the product of millenia of evolution.

Kasia Wan, studies Medical Lab Science at Saint Louis Community College (2019)

Answered Apr 30

The answer is that the DNA can be altered by series of different events, and some genes expressed or inhibited based on how the protein functions have been affected.

Fir example, they can mutate if you design experiments to coinfect same host between distant viral strains of their, already infected, hosts. For example, if phage A infects bacterium A, the prophages produced will contain the DNA integrated into bacterium A (prophages A) and if a phage B is capable of infecting the prophages A (it must be genetically different from phage A), the phage B will be able to mutate as some of the DNA from prophages A can affect the morphology and genetic variation of phages B, causing the new phages B having some genetic differences from a wildtype phage B before the confection of prophages A occurred. Sometimes the mechanisms involved in these situations consist of expression of different proteins that are activated to produce different enzymes to successfully infect the host, alternating its own DNA.

There are other mechanisms of how the diversity among viruses change, and how the DNA can be altered but we don’t know yet all possible outcomes in genetics of viruses. There is a lot of literature on how the morphology of plaques (when isolating host-specific viruses) can change and how it’s affected by development of different mechanisms of infection that can alter the expression of some genes (and therefore the morphology of plaques/physical features under TEM can be studied to make these initial findings, followed by series of detailed experiments on functional proteins and mutations that occur among same strains of viruses or among different strains).

Confirmed by science: You really can change your DNA – and here’s how

If you believe that you are at the mercy of your genetic code, great news, you’re not. According to the science of epigenetics (the study of how environmental factors outside of DNA influence changes in gene expression), stem cells and even DNA can be altered through magnetic fields, heart coherence, positive mental states and intention. Top scientists around the world agree: genetic determinism is a flawed theory.

Curbing the genetic victim mentality
The DNA we are born with is not the sole determinant for our health and well-being. Stem cell biologist Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., discusses the important difference between genetic determinism and epigenetics in an interview with SuperConsciousness magazine:

“The difference between these two is significant because this fundamental belief called genetic determinism literally means that our lives, which are defined as our physical, physiological and emotional behavioral traits, are controlled by the genetic code. This kind of belief system provides a visual picture of people being victims: If the genes control our life function, then our lives are being controlled by things outside of our ability to change them. This leads to victimization that the illnesses and diseases that run in families are propagated through the passing of genes associated with those attributes. Laboratory evidence shows this is not true.”

Lipton’s theory is confirmed by Carlo Ventura, M.D., Ph.D., professor and researcher at the University of Bologna in Italy. Dr. Ventura has shown through lab testing that the DNA of stem cells can be altered using magnetic field frequencies.

“It’s like a time machine. You’re reprogramming somehow backward with these cells to an uncertain state in which any kind of decision is somehow possible; even the decision to become virtually any kind of cell of the organism. And just think about the tremendous potential of this discovery.”

He adds that two Nobel Prize-winning scientists discovered even “nonstem adult cells can be epigenetically reprogrammed backward to a state where they can eventually give rise to neural cells, cardiac cells, skeletal muscle cells or insulin-producing cells.”

Changing DNA through intention

According to the Institute of HeartMath in Boulder Creek, California, epigenetics encompasses far more than just DNA, our environment and life experience. After two decades of study, the researchers discovered factors like love and appreciation or anxiety and anger also influence a person’s blueprint. In one experiment, select participants were able to change DNA with positive mental states.

“An individual holding three DNA samples was directed to generate heart coherence – a beneficial state of mental, emotional and physical balance and harmony – with the aid of a HeartMath technique that utilizes heart breathing and intentional positive emotions. The individual succeeded, as instructed, to intentionally and simultaneously unwind two of the DNA samples to different extents and leave the third unchanged.”

Control group volunteers who had low heart coherence were unable to alter the DNA.

Healthy cell expression and a quantum nutrient diet
If we want to nourish our bodies at a cellular level (and not promote disease), the institute recommends an abundant diet of quantum nutrients. When we are stressed or negative, our biological energy reserves are diverted from the important task of regenerating and repairing the body. We can counteract this cellular starvation by focusing on genuine states of care, appreciation and love. These positive emotions enhance our energy system and feed the body, even down to the level of DNA. HeartMath calls such positive feelings “quantum nutrients.”

The institute offers several free tools that assist in creating a coherent state quickly and easily. Two examples can be found here and here.

How do viruses affect the structure of your DNA?

David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: Some viruses can integrate into your DNA and this changes the sequencein that area by adding the virus genes. HIV is an example of this kind of a virus. They introduce a “nick” into the DNA and then use a protein called integrase to insert themselves into the genome. Sometimes they can interrupt a gene, which would cause it to be defective, or it can make a gene that would be silent “turn on” which can cause problems. However, most of the genome does not contain genes so most of the insertions do not cause problems. Other viruses like the ones that cause colds or skin rashes do not integrate into DNA, but they live in cells and make proteins that cause you trouble.

Scientists Without Foresight Are Using Viruses To Alter Human DNAMost people consider viruses as living things the can reproduce on their own to spread and infect their hosts. The fact is, viruses are neither alive nor can they reproduce like other living organisms. Many have even theorized that viruses are some of the most deadly man-made biological machines. So, if viruses are so deadly and infectious can they seriously be used to cure disease? Surprisingly, scientists are now committed to this deranged reality. The use of viruses to deliver new DNA to human cells is being investigated as part of what researchers claim are novel gene therapy techniques.Several popular blockbusters, including I Am Legend and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, have envisioned the use of viruses, rigged to deliver therapeutic DNA to patients as a way of curing disease. In these films the scientists using these techniques are ecstatic when they discover that they’ve been successful, but their joy quickly turns to horror as the virus mutates out of control and begins to destroy the human population. This is undoubtedly a nightmare scenario, but how close do these films come to the truth? Can viruses, commonly known to cause disease, actually be used as a cure? How likely is it that they will mutate out of control and destroy the world? If this is the case, then why are they being used at all?Viruses are responsible for a range of diseases, including the common cold, influenza, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and Ebola. The sole selfish function of a virus is to infect a host (e.g. a human) then use this host to make more copies of its own DNA. It does this by entering a host cell and hijacking its DNA-making machinery, forcing it to make more viral DNA. However, it doesn’t stop there. Once the host cell has made sufficient viral DNA the virus then commandeers the host cell’s other machinery to create more intact viruses which “bud off” from the infected cell ready to infect its neighbours.Viruses Cannot Use Their Genetic Material By Themselves

Viruses do have DNA or RNA, and DNA is the code for life. Having genetic material is an important step towards being classified as alive. DNA controls the evolution of the cell and the organism. Like living things, viruses evolve through time and thus can adapt to their environment. But unlike cells, viruses cannot use their genetic material by themselves. Living matter reproduces and passes on genetic material as a blueprint for growth and subsequent reproduction. However, viruses need a living cell in order to function and reproduce; otherwise they are playing dead.

Viruses Cannot Divide or Reproduce Themselves Without a Host Cell

#Because viruses are not cells, they can’t divide by binary fission like bacteria. Yet they do reproduce themselves in an extraordinary way. Their structure enables viruses to attack a plant or animal cell called a host cell. The protein shell protecting the virus’ DNA is covered with spikelike protrusions. These spikes allow the virus to latch onto the cells they infect. Once hooked on, the virus injects its genetic material into the host cell.

The virus’ DNA takes control of the cell once it’s within the cytoplasm and begins to make the cell produce virus DNA and other parts of viruses. The host cell is forced to expend all of its energy and resources to help the virus replicate and make hundreds more viruses. The poor, weak cell usually bursts like an overinflated balloon from all the viruses and is destroyed in the process. Then, the replicated virus attaches itself to a new, unaffected host cell, and the viral infection continues.

Viruses Do Not Produce or Utilize Their Own Energy

Living things do more than just reproduce. They also must obtain food to fuel the cell’s metabolic activity. Some organisms, such as animals, eat other living things for energy. Other organisms, such as plants, harness the Sun’s energy to make their own food. Because viruses aren’t cells and have no activity within it, it has no need for food. However, the virus-controlled host cell needs material and energy to reproduce the viruses.

Viruses Do Not Grow

All other living things also grow or get bigger. A virus does nothing inside its protein coat; therefore it does not grow.

Viruses Cannot Move Themselves

Plants and animals react to the environment. All living things have ways of sensing the world around them and can respond to changes in their environment. Homeostasis is the property of an open system, especially living organisms, to regulate its internal environment so as to maintain a stable condition. Do viruses react? Viruses cannot move themselves, viruses can react to some changes in their environment but they have a very minimalistic internal environment.

Remember, the virus’ DNA or RNA can evolve over time, thereby increasing its chances for survival and adapting to the environment. Like bacteria, they adapt through genetic mutations caused by rapid reproduction. That is why it is so hard to cure viral diseases. Viruses keep changing their DNA and protein coat to further their “life form” and keep ahead of the game.

Therefore, since a virus does not meet most of the requirements considered to be a living thing, a virus is not alive.

Vaccines are also causing an unprecedented number of mutations creating superbugs and potent viruses and bacteria that may eventually threaten future generations and humanity itself. Evidence continues to mount from the scientific community who now admit that certain vaccines are in-fact causing both viral and bacterial mutations. Ironically, the same researchers assert that “better” vaccines are needed to offset the rise in persistent mutations.

Viruses are being investigated as carriers or ‘vectors’ for delivery of new undamaged DNA to swap for what scientists claim is damaged DNA caused by genetic mutations. The problem is, there are only a small number of recognised genetic mutations that this type of therapy could even theoretically help. Therefore, the idea of a single gene therapy functioning as a cure for Alzheimer’s or all known cancers, as seen in the movies, is purely fictitious!

Viruses which are currently being investigated for use in gene therapy include;adenovirus (responsible for the common cold), retrovirus (HIV is a retrovirus) and Herpes Simplex virus (as the name suggests, is responsible for herpes infections and also cold sores). Part of the appeal of using viruses in gene therapy is that they may be used to target DNA to specific cell types. This can be achieved by manufacturing viruses which can recognise and infect only certain types of cell. This means that “innocent” cells can be targeted in theory.

In the films, the therapeutic virus mutates back to its virulent form, or an even more virulent one. It then spreads a fatal disease throughout the population, causing a global catastrophe. One of the concerns about using viruses for gene therapy is that this nightmare scenario might come true. This possibility is currently under intensive study within controlled research environments. Although current research has found that recombination and a return to virulence may be possible for certain viruses, this may not be the case for all viral vectors used in gene therapy. However, if this technology is proven to pose a real risk then such research will likely be discontinued.

There are also other problems with using viruses as DNA carriers. The introduction of any foreign material into the body is likely to produce an immune response. The surface of the viral-coat is not smooth, it actually expresses a number of extruding proteins which may be recognised by a patient’s immune system. This means that the host’s immune system may recognise the foreign body and attempt to dispose of it. Strong immune responses can be fatal, especially in someone already weakened by a genetic disease. This problem could, in theory, be circumvented by removing proteins and other foreign bodies from the outside of the virus to lessen the chances of it being recognised as a foreign object.

Currently, gene therapy using viral vectors is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since concerns have arisen surrounding the deaths of two patients participating in gene therapy trials. One died of a severe immune response to the viral carrier. The other appeared to develop leukaemia, leading to fears that viral vectors may cause cancer.

Man-made viruses

Many of the viruses circulating the earth are now man-made.


The international nonprofit scientific organization Rethinking AIDS gave its full support early last year to 37 senior researchers, medical doctors and legal professionals who requested that the medical journal Science withdraw four seminal papers on HIV authored by Dr. Robert Gallo–papers widely touted as proof that HIV is the “probable cause of AIDS.” Read HIV Does Not Cause Aids

“With new findings that undermine the scientific integrity and veracity of Gallo’s four papers, the entire basis of the theory that HIV causes AIDS may now be questioned,” says Rethinking AIDS president David Crowe.

The most highly respected scientists and academicians debated the possibility that HIV-1, the most widespread and deadly human AIDS virus, evolved from accidental vaccine contaminations and subsequent transmissions to mostly African villagers.

Documented science virtually proves, through the process of elimination and a review of the most updated evidence, the origin of HIV/AIDS as an iatrogenic (i.e. man-made) outcome of specific vaccination experiments. Read Early Hepatitis B Vaccines and the “Man-Made” Origin of HIV/AIDS.


Investigative journalist Ida Honorof wrote, “the most brazen, obscene electioneering ploy” ever and added that it was proposed by the President “and his coterie of scientific hacks, fabricated to cause pure unadulterated panic and guarantee political capital, rammed through without consideration of people’s health and lives and approved by a band-wagon Congress” eager to make the nation’s “health” a bipartisan concern.

The above quote was not written about the avian flu epidemic but the 5 million swine-flu vaccine program of 30 years ago. The hastily contrived program for swine flu resulted in hundreds of Guillain Barre Syndrome paralysis victims as well as countless deaths for a flu pandemic that never materialized. Read Tired Of The Bird or Avian Flu Yet? Some Experts Claim It’s A Hoax For Profit.

Just as there was no evidence of the avian flu virus mutating to cause a pandemic, there is also no evidence of any mutagenic process involved in the H1N1 swine flu virus. Talmage Holmes, a relationship manager for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Columbus, Ohio, states that pregnant women should not have any special worries. “Pregnant women are at no greater risk than others.” says Dr. Holmes. “Until there has been mutation or re-assortment of the avian flu virus’ genetic material, the risk to all humans is very low.” Read Junk Science and Contradictions Dominate WHO Pandemic Statements and Policies

Despite any consequences, there’s always a tremendous push by government and medical establishments to blindly vaccinate the public in the face of any outbreak of flu or disease. There is also the admission (from these same establishments) that every vaccine carries its own element of health risks. So if the intention is to protect public health by vaccinating, why is there never any intervention or policy on how to protect people from the vaccines themselves? Read The H1N1 Vaccine Is A Much Greater Risk To Your Health Than The Flu Itself and also 15 Important Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Vaccinate Your Children Against The Flu.

In a move that can only be described as incredibly reckless, scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have been conducting experiments in which they infect ferrets with both the H1N1 swine virus and the H5N1 bird flu virus to see if they will “reassort” and create a new hybrid flu virus. Read CDC Playing With Fire: Mixing H1N1 Swine Flu and H5N1 Bird Flu To Create For Super Flu

So how many more scientists are we going to allow play God, taking the lives of millions of people, into the hands of a few psychotic scientists with misplaced dreams of supposed cures?

Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.


New Technology Lets Scientists Easily Rewrite Living Organisms’ Genetic Code

With a few easy tweaks, scientists can cut-and-paste DNA inside living cells, thanks to a promising new technique that could make possible everything from testing new drugs or curing genetic diseases.

And researchers just discovered a way to make the process a whole lot cheaper and easier, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Developmental Cell.

For less than US$100, the new process allows scientists to make some of the key materials needed to modify an organism’s entire genome, or its complete set of DNA, the researchers said.

The advance is based on a technique that allows scientists to narrow in on a specific gene and cut-and-paste bits of DNA to change its function, known as CRISPR-Cas9. Jennifer Doudna at UC Berkeley and her colleagues first discovered this natural process that bacteria use to protect themselves against invading viruses.

But the technique is much more powerful than that — it basically gives scientists the ability to rewrite specific chunks of an organism’s genetic code, including that of humans.

Tweaking our genes

Here’s how it works: When a bacterium encounters DNA from a virus, it makes a strand of RNA, a molecular cousin to DNA, that matches the sequence of the viral DNA, known as a guide RNA. The guide RNA latches onto a protein (the Cas9 part of the CRISPR-Cas9 name), and together they search for the matching virus. When they find a match, the protein, which acts like a pair of scissors, cuts up the viral DNA, destroying it.

The same process can be used to cut-and-paste DNA into virtually any type of living cell. For example, instead of using the protein scissors to cut a virus, they can be used to cut out DNA in a human cell and replace it with DNA of the scientist’s choosing.

In this way, it would be possible to swap out a defective version of a gene for a healthy one.

Humans have roughly 20,000 to 25,000 genes, which encode proteins that perform vital jobs in our cells. But our genetic blueprint has a lot of other DNA whose purpose is less obvious. The successor to the human genome project, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), has identified what 80 percent of our complete set of DNA does, but the rest remains a mystery.

In the new study, the researchers developed a method that makes it easier to create the guide molecules that home in on the DNA someone wants to tweak. The researchers hilariously named the process “CRISPR-EATING”, which stands for “Everything Available Turned Into New Guides”.

To demonstrate the technique, the researchers converted nearly 90 percent of the DNA of the common stomach bacterium E. coli (the harmless variety, not the kind that can make you sick) into 40,000 different guide molecules. Each of these molecules can be used to target any bit of DNA a researcher might want to modify.

For example, if a scientist wants to figure out what a particular gene does, all he or she has to do is cut it out and see what happens. Thousands of these guides can be injected into different cells at once, a process known as genetic screening. These screens can reveal which forms of a gene are present, and whether any of them could lead to disease.

Monitoring a growing embryo

But the researchers who developed this technology have a different use in mind. They plan to track chromosomes, the tightly coiled packages of DNA that contain the genes, in living cells as the cells are dividing. They’re hoping to find out what controls the size of the nucleus, the central compartment of a cell that contains the DNA, and other components of the cell as it develops into a many-celled organism.

“This technology will allow us to paint a whole chromosome and look at it live and really follow it … as it goes through developmental transitions, for example in an embryo,” study co-author Rebecca Heald, a molecular and cell biologist at UC Berkeley, said in a statement.

This is important because it means researchers can track changes in the size and structure of chromosomes as the cells divide – and potentially detect changes that could lead to disease.

Earlier this year, Chinese scientists caused a controversy when they announced they’d used the gene editing technique to tweak the genomes of human embryos. The embryos were chosen because they weren’t able to survive, but some scientists have warned about the ethics and safety of using this nascent technology in people.

One concern is the fact that the technique is still fairly innacurate, and results in a lot of accidental mutations in other parts of the genome. Of the 86 embryos the Chinese researchers attempted to modify, only 28 of them were successfully changed, and only a fraction of those contained the desired DNA. For the technique to be safe, the accuracy would have to be closer to 100%, the researchers said.

Recently, scientists developed a way to cut down on unwanted mutations by 40%, which could make the technique a lot safer for human use. But the ethical hurdles remain.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

Media Manipulation Of Attitudes And Opinion

The Art And Science Of Mass Manipulation

6 Examples of Media Manipulation

Is Everything in the Mainstream Media Fake?

The world of television and modern media has become a tool of de-evolution, propaganda and social control. Since the reign of Edward Bernays and the rise of the Tavistock Institute in the early 20th century, nearly unlimited resources have been applied to understanding how to manipulate the human psyche through television and other forms of mass media.

What we have today is an increasingly sophisticated full-spectrum assault on free will and psychological well-being, and we have come to a point where it is no longer even necessary for media institutions to attempt to hide their blatant work of manipulating public opinion, manufacturing consent, and creating winners and losers in the minds of the already brain-washed public.

Here are 6 examples where truth reveals that the impression the media is conveying to a dumbed-down, unsuspecting public differs greatly from what is actually happening behind the scenes. By looking at these examples in a single location, it is easy to see how the mainstream media pushes ulterior motives on the public, and how important it is to be vigilant when consuming their info.

News Media Lies, Scripting, Omissions and Obfuscations

1. Time Magazine sanitizes their covers for American consumption

Time Magazine is considered a leader in national news, yet they consistently portray a dumbed-down, frivolous image of life in America while presenting an entirely different message to the rest of the world. In the two examples below, their magazine covers feature a different cover story for Americans while sending different messages to the rest of the world.

2. CNN is the leader in fake war new coverage

Here are just 2 examples of how CNN has scripted and staged live war coverage to create a sense of drama and danger around people who were not in harm’s way.

Anderson Cooper fakes Syria war footage by dubbing in sound effects and playing chaotic video next to a Syrian correspondent. In the video you can see how in one tape the correspondent is in a safe environment, then you see the footage aired by CNN with dubbed in theatrical effects:

In this CNN clip of coverage of the first Gulf War in the 1990s, anchorman Charles Jaco makes a joke of war coverage in Saudia Arabia and demonstrates how the news is overly sensationalized for American audiences, and how hosts pretend to be in danger when they are not.

Manufactured ‘Reality’ TV

3. The Biggest Loser

Americans should by now already know that ‘reality shows’ are staged. The popular TV show, Biggest Loser, where overweight people compete to lose the most weight for the entertainment benefit of the rest of the world, lies about the circumstances of the training and weighing regimen of their contestants while using underhanded methods to generate phony emotional responses from their contestants.

They want the drama, the tears, the fights, the tears, the triumphs and the tears. Producers would push you to cry because that’s what makes good TV. They continually asked questions like “Do you miss your kids?” Needless to say, I broke down more than once…

Have you ever wondered how the contestants manage to lose a staggering 12 kilos in a single week? We don’t. In my series a weekly weigh-in was NEVER filmed after just one week of working out. In fact the longest gap from one weigh-in to the next was three and a half weeks. That’s 25 days between weigh-ins, not seven. -Andrew ’Cosi’ Costello, former contestant

It turns out that many of the so-called ‘reality’ shows are actually scripted theatrical presentations that count on the viewer’s suspension of disbelief to garner ratings. More info on the many fake ‘reality’ shows can be found here, and here.

Digital Image Manipulation is Ubiquitous in the Media

5. Manipulating Images as War Propaganda

There are many examples of how newspapers around the world photoshop images of war in order to influence public opinion. All sides in a conflict will do this as propaganda, so it is important to remember this when consuming news on international conflicts and to be alert for phonies. The images below of the recent conflict in Syria show how easily images are manipulated for the purposes of propaganda:

Syria Photoshop

6. Advertising Industry ‘Touches Up’ Images of People

The practice of digitally ‘touching up’ actors and models in images and videos is an overt industry standard. Yet most people, whether they’re aware of image manipulation or not, still process television and print images on the sub-conscious level as if they were, primarily because everyone is doing it, and our bias for ‘normal’ has been socially reconstructed to adopt advertising lies as normal.

This process is demonstrated in the following video where an ordinary looking woman is transformed into a lusty beauty queen for the purposes of selling more products to consumers.


Whether for marketing or for manufacturing consent, the media industry is guilty of using subtle and not-so-subtle tactics to influence our conscious and subconscious minds to influence our opinions and behavior. There are countless other examples of these practices; and discerning, awake people would be well served to be vigilant of this when consuming modern media in any form.

You don’t have to be paranoid these days to acknowledge that you’re being lied to and that the institutions we should be able to depend on for bringing us an objective view of world are anything but objective.

Sigmund Fraud is a survivor of modern psychiatry and a dedicated mental activist. He is a staff writer for, where this first appeared. Sigmund indulges in the possibility of a massive shift towards a more psychologically aware future for mankind.

Free ebook How To Survive the Job Automation Apocalypse


Censorship and the Decline of Civilization can understand why leaders and rulers want to censor certain ideas and views. But why do large chunks of the citizenry want to go along with it? How do you comprehend their ignorance?

Censorship is made possible when the majority of people live by what they like and don’t like—“I like this, I don’t like him, I like her, I don’t like them…”

When those preferences become the paramount elements of life, then censorship is a minor concern. Grasping the essence of the 1st Amendment and free speech requires a different level of mind. It requires defending free speech for those one doesn’t like. Such an idea is entirely foreign to the person who asserts: “WHY WOULD I POSSIBLY CARE ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF SOMEONE I DON’T LIKE?”

Exactly. That’s what separates a political moron from an aware citizen.

There are now large numbers of people who think they’re making a political advance, even a breakthrough, by demanding the censorship of those individuals they don’t like, when in fact, they’re moving backwards into a more primitive political climate.

There is another vital factor which permits people to register no objection to censorship. The factor is: vast frustration with their own lives. This is usually concealed, as if it were a secret not to be shared. The frustration, at the core, has to do with a perceived lack of freedom.

In which case, the actions of life take on a mechanical character, which becomes the heavy cover, the lid over the flame of frustration—and in that state of being, a person actually wants others who speak out and go against the grain to be silenced and censored.

Stop him! Keep him from speaking and writing!

Yes, keep the free individual from reminding the mechanical liver of life that he is not free.

The Mechanical Person wants to bury all signals that carry a flavor of originality. He wants the constant hum that tells him routine and repetition are firmly in place as the guidance system of existence.

The Mechanical Person often goes to work for a Destroyer—as I described in a poem I wrote in 1962, published in The Massachusetts Review (1966):

Burned flowers of the field

My noon is over, growing old,

Everything I love is finally sold;

Sewed designs for men with money

Thinking it was duty,

To watch them lead the world to war

From my little field of beauty.

Interesting that, 20 years later, one of the first pieces I wrote as a journalist involved PR man Bill Perry, who quit his plum job at Lawrence Livermore Labs, where they design nuclear weapons. One day, Perry told me, a researcher was complaining to him about the need for more budget money, and Bill said, “We already have enough weapons to blow up the whole world four times, why do you need more money?” To which the scientist replied: “You don’t understand. This is a PHYSICS PROBLEM.”

Yes it is, in the frozen rigid river of anti-life…

Where rebels are just machines that need to be turned off.

Crowd manipulation manipulation is the intentional use of techniques based on the principles of crowd psychology to engage, control, or influence the desires of a crowd in order to direct its behavior toward a specific action.[1] This practice is common to politics and business and can facilitate the approval or disapproval or indifference to a person, policy, or product. The ethicality of crowd manipulation is commonly questioned.

Crowd manipulation differs from propaganda although they may reinforce one another to produce a desired result. If propaganda is “the consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group”,[2] crowd manipulation is the relatively brief call to action once the seeds of propaganda (i.e. more specifically “pre-propaganda”[3]) are sown and the public is organized into a crowd. The propagandist appeals to the masses, even if compartmentalized, whereas the crowd manipulator appeals to a segment of the masses assembled into a crowd in real time. In situations such as a national emergency, however, a crowd manipulator may leverage mass media to address the masses in real time as if speaking to a crowd.[4]

Crowd manipulation also differs from crowd control, which serves a security function. Local authorities use crowd-control methods to contain and disperse crowds and to prevent and respond to unruly and unlawful acts such as rioting and looting.[5]

Function and morality

A sensationalized portrayal of the Boston Massacre (March 5, 1770): Such images were used to breed discontent and foster unity among the American colonists against the British crown prior to the American War of Independence.

The crowd manipulator engages, controls, or influences crowds without the use of physical force, although his goal may be to instigate the use of force by the crowd or by local authorities. Prior to the American War of Independence, Samuel Adams provided Bostonians with “elaborate costumes, props, and musical instruments to lead protest songs in harborside demonstrations and parades through Boston’s streets.” If such crowds provoked British authorities to violence, as they did during the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, Adams would write, produce, and disperse sensationalized accounts of the incidents to stir discontent and create unity among the American colonies.[6] The American way of manipulation may be classified as a tool of soft power, which is “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments”.[7] Harvard professor Joseph Nye coined the term in the 1980s, although he did not create the concept. The techniques used to win the minds of crowds were examined and developed notably by Quintilian in his training book, Institutio oratoria and by Aristotle in Rhetoric. Known origins of crowd manipulation go as far back as the 5th century BC, where litigants in Syracuse sought to improve their persuasiveness in court.[8][9]

The verb “manipulate” can convey negativity, but it does not have to do so. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, for example, to “manipulate” means “to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.”[10] This definition allows, then, for the artful and honest use of control for one’s advantage. Moreover, the actions of a crowd need not be criminal in nature. Nineteenth-century social scientist Gustave Le Bon wrote:

It is crowds rather than isolated individuals that may be induced to run the risk of death to secure the triumph of a creed or an idea, that may be fired with enthusiasm for glory and honour, that are led on–almost without bread and without arms, as in the age of the Crusades—to deliver the tomb of Christ from the infidel, or, as in [1793], to defend the fatherland. Such heroism is without doubt somewhat unconscious, but it is of such heroism that history is made. Were peoples only to be credited with the great actions performed in cold blood, the annals of the world would register but few of them.[11]

Edward Bernays, the so-called “Father of Public Relations”, believed that public manipulation was not only moral, but a necessity. He argued that “a small, invisible government who understands the mental processes and social patterns of the masses, rules public opinion by consent.” This is necessary for the division of labor and to prevent chaos and confusion. “The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion”, wrote Bernays.[12] He also wrote, “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized.”

Others argue that some techniques are not inherently evil, but instead are philosophically neutral vehicles. Lifelong political activist and former Ronald Reagan White House staffer Morton C. Blackwell explained in a speech titled, “People, Parties, and Power”:

Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win. Political technology determines political success. Learn how to organize and how to communicate. Most political technology is philosophically neutral. You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win.[13]

In brief, manipulators with different ideologies can employ successfully the same techniques to achieve ends that may be good or bad. Crowd manipulation techniques offers individuals and groups a philosophically neutral means to maximize the effect of their messages.

In order to manipulate a crowd, one should first understand what is meant by a crowd, as well as the principles that govern its behavior.

Crowds and their behavior

The word “crowd”, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, refers to both “a large number of persons especially when collected together” (as in a crowded shopping mall) and “a group of people having something in common [as in a habit, interest, or occupation].”[14] Philosopher G.A. Tawny defined a crowd as “a numerous collection of people who face a concrete situation together and are more or less aware of their bodily existence as a group. Their facing the situation together is due to common interests and the existence of common circumstances which give a single direction to their thoughts and actions.” Tawney discussed in his work “The Nature of Crowds” two main types of crowds:

Crowds may be classified according to the degree of definiteness and constancy of this consciousness. When it is very definite and constant the crowd may be called homogeneous, and when not so definite and constant, heterogeneous. All mobs belong to the homogeneous class, but not all homogeneous crowds are mobs. … Whether a given crowd belong to the one group or the other may be a debatable question, and the same crowd may imperceptibly pass from one to the other.[15]

In a 2001 study, the Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Studies at Pennsylvania State University defined a crowd more specifically as “a gathering of a multitude of individuals and small groups that have temporarily assembled. These small groups are usually comprised of friends, family members, or acquaintances.”

A crowd may display behavior that differs from the individuals who compose it. Several theories have emerged in the 19th century and early 20th century to explain this phenomenon. These collective works contribute to the “classic theory” of crowd psychology. In 1968, however, social scientist Dr. Carl Couch of the University of Liverpool refuted many of the stereotypes associated with crowd behavior as described by classic theory. His criticisms are supported widely in the psychology community but are still being incorporated as a “modern theory” into psychological texts.[16] A modern model, based on the “individualistic” concept of crowd behavior developed by Floyd Allport in 1924, is the Elaborated Social Identity Model (ESIM).[17]

The Riots Organized by the Paris Commune (French Revolution) on May 31 and June 2, 1793.

Classic theory

French philosopher and historian Hippolyte Taine provided in the wake of the Franco Prussian War of 1871 the first modern account of crowd psychology. Gustave Le Bon developed this framework in his 1895 book, Psychologie des Foules. He proposed that French crowds during the 19th century were essentially excitable, irrational mobs easily influenced by wrongdoers.[18] He postulated that the heterogeneous elements which make up this type of crowd essentially form a new being, a chemical reaction of sorts in which the crowd’s properties change. He wrote:

Under certain given circumstances, and only under those circumstances, an agglomeration of men presents new characteristics very different from those of the individuals composing it. The sentiments and ideas of all the persons in the gathering take one and the same direction, and their conscious personality vanishes. A collective mind is formed, doubtless transitory, but presenting very clearly defined characteristics.

Le Bon observed several characteristics of what he called the “organized” or “psychological” crowd, including:

  1. submergence or the disappearance of a conscious personality and the appearance of an unconscious personality (aka “mental unity”). This process is aided by sentiments of invincible power and anonymity which allow one to yield to instincts which he would have kept under restraint (i.e. Individuality is weakened and the unconscious “gains the upper hand”);
  2. contagion (“In a crowd every sentiment and act is contagious, and contagious to such a degree that an individual readily sacrifices his personal interest to the collective interest.”); and
  3. suggestibility as the result of a hypnotic state. “All feelings and thoughts are bent in the direction determined by the hypnotizer” and the crowd tends to turn these thoughts into acts.[11]

In sum, the classic theory contends that:

  • “[Crowds] are unified masses whose behaviors can be categorized as active, expressive, acquisitive or hostile.”
  • “[Crowd] participants [are] given to spontaneity, irrationality, loss of self-control, and a sense of anonymity.”[19]

Part of the crowd at the G20 Meltdown protest in London on 1 April 2009.

Modern theory

Critics of the classic theory contend that it is seriously flawed in that it decontextualises crowd behavior, lacks sustainable empirical support, is biased, and ignores the influence of policing measures on the behavior of the crowd.[20]

In 1968, Dr. Carl J. Couch examined and refuted many classic-theory stereotypes in his article, “Collective Behavior: An Examination of Some Stereotypes.” Since then, other social scientists have validated much of his critique. Knowledge from these studies of crowd psychology indicate that:

  • “Crowds are not homogeneous entities” but are composed “of a minority of individuals and a majority of small groups of people who are acquainted with one another.”
  • “Crowd participants are [neither] unanimous in their motivation” nor to one another. Participants “seldom act in unison, and if they do, that action does not last long.”
  • “Crowds do not cripple individual cognition” and “are not uniquely distinguished by violence or disorderly actions.”
  • “Individual attitudes and personality characteristics”, as well as “socioeconomic, demographic and political variables are poor predictors of riot intensity and individual participation.”

According to the aforementioned 2001 study conducted by Penn State University’s Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies, crowds undergo a process that has a “beginning, middle, and ending phase.”


  • The assembling process
    • This phase includes the temporary assembly of individuals for a specific amount of time. Evidence suggests that assembly occurs most frequently by means of an “organized mobilization method” but can also occur by “impromptu process” such as word of mouth by non-official organizers.
  • The temporary gathering
    • In this phase, individuals are assembled and participate in both individual and “collective actions.” Rarely do all individuals in a crowd participate, and those who do participate do so by choice. Participation furthermore appears to vary based on the type and purpose of the gathering, with religious services experiencing “greater participation” (i.e. 80-90%).
  • The dispersing process
    • In the final phase, the crowd’s participants disperse from a “common location” to “one or more alternate locations.”

A “riot” occurs when “one or more individuals within a gathering engage in violence against person or property.” According to U.S. and European research data from 1830 to 1930 and from the 1960 to the present, “less than 10 percent of protest demonstrations have involved violence against person or property”, with the “celebration riot” as the most frequent type of riot in the United States.[21]

Elaborated social identity model (ESIM)

A modern model has also been developed by Steve Reicher, John Drury, and Clifford Stott[22] which contrasts significantly from the “classic theory” of crowd behavior. According to Clifford Stott of the University of Leeds:

The ESIM has at its basis the proposition that a component part of the self concept determining human social behaviour derives from psychological membership of particular social categories (i.e., an identity of a unique individual), crowd participants also have a range of social identities which can become salient within the psychological system referred to as the ‘self.’ Collective action becomes possible when a particular social identity is simultaneously salient and therefore shared among crowd participants.

Stott’s final point differs from the “submergence” quality of crowds proposed by Le Bon, in which the individual’s consciousness gives way to the unconsciousness of the crowd. ESIM also considers the effect of policing on the behavior of the crowd. It warns that “the indiscriminate use of force would create a redefined sense of unity in the crowd in terms of the illegitimacy of and opposition to the actions of the police.” This could essentially draw the crowd into conflict despite the initial hesitancy of the individuals in the crowd.[23]

Planning and technique

Crowd manipulation involves several elements, including: context analysis, site selection, propaganda, authority, and delivery.

Context analysis

Soldiers of the California National Guard patrol the streets of Los Angeles in response to street rioting.

History suggests that the socioeconomic and political context and location influence dramatically the potential for crowd manipulation. Such time periods in America included:

  • Prelude to the American Revolution (1763–1775), when Britain imposed heavy taxes and various restrictions upon its thirteen North American colonies;[24]
  • Roaring Twenties (1920–1929), when the advent of mass production made it possible for everyday citizens to purchase previously considered luxury items at affordable prices. Businesses that utilized assembly-line manufacturing were challenged to sell large numbers of identical products;[25]
  • The Great Depression (1929–1939), when a devastating stock market crash disrupted the American economy, caused widespread unemployment; and
  • The Cold War (1945–1989), when Americans faced the threat of nuclear war and participated in the Korean War, the greatly unpopular Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Internationally, time periods conducive to crowd manipulation included the Interwar Period (i.e. following the collapse of the Austria-Hungarian, Russian, Ottoman, and German empires) and Post-World War II (i.e. decolonization and collapse of the British, German, French, and Japanese empires).[26] The prelude to the collapse of the Soviet Union provided ample opportunity for messages of encouragement. The Solidarity Movement began in the 1970s thanks in part to courageous leaders like Lech Walesa and U.S. Information Agency programming.[27] In 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan capitalized on the sentiments of the West Berliners as well as the freedom-starved East Berliners to demand that Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev “tear down” the Berlin Wall.[28] During the 2008 presidential elections, candidate Barack Obama capitalized on the sentiments of many American voters frustrated predominantly by the recent economic downturn and the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His simple messages of “Hope”, “Change”, and “Yes We Can” were adopted quickly and chanted by his supporters during his political rallies.[29]

Historical context and events may also encourage unruly behavior. Such examples include the:

In order to capitalize fully upon historical context, it is essential to conduct a thorough audience analysis to understand the desires, fears, concerns, and biases of the target crowd. This may be done through scientific studies, focus groups, and polls.[25]

Media Manipulation of the Masses: How the Media Psychologically Manipulates

By Samuel López De Victoria, Ph.D.

Even though I have worked in academia for years and have enjoyed the benefits of helping learning minds to expand their horizons, I have had one gnawing concern. Learning institutions typically help students, at best, to make a living but they fail miserably at teaching how to live life. These areas pertain to the realm of accumulated wisdom. Of course, wisdom presupposes knowledge, that is, the correct and consistent application of knowledge as truth. As a behavioral professional and an academic, I wish institutions would teach practical things such as how media, government, religion, and even academia itself, can indoctrinate the masses. For the purpose of this article I will focus on the media (and a little on academia).

I can very much remember talking to journalism students and perusing their text books. I noticed the emphasis on “objective and balanced reporting.” I always laugh. Having been a student who used “qualitative methods of research” I knew very well how every bit of research made by any human being is always tainted at some level with some bias. I know some will have a cow at this but even quantum physicists tell us the same. In the media, even a well-intentioned journalist is affecting his message in some form.

I would like to focus on how the media can manipulate the masses through their message. You still see journalists reacting, “How dare you question me!” as if they belonged to some privileged priesthood directly connected to a Divine stream of ultimate truth.

I have endeavored to share just some of the tactics of psychological manipulation of mass thinking. Most reading this will easily recognize these. I don’t claim to provide an exhaustive list.

Guilt by Association

All that is necessary to destroy a person’s character publicly is to take that person and overtly or covertly associate them to something the masses will reject. Never mind if it is true or not, simply to question it or make the association is sufficient.

One example that comes to mind is a very clever twist I saw used by a famous newspaper. At the time, a political leader, greatly disliked by the editors of a newspaper, was portrayed in a very interesting way. They put an article and his photo strategically in very close proximity to a picture of a circus clown that was part of some other story. I thought to myself, “Now that tactic wins the prize!” It was very subtle and very subconscious in approach. The ultimate message was, “This person is a clown, therefore laugh at him and consider him non-credible like you would with a clown.”

Another very typical way of using this same tactic is to connect, even if it is through intricate stratagem, the person to some law-breaking, shady, person, organization, or action. Even if it is not true, it will leave a dark cloud of doubt in the mind of the person receiving the information. That is why slander is so effective in destroying enemies. The media will never come out and admit that they do this. They are accountable to no one, much like some sort of immaculate and narcissistic god.

Just a Little Poison

The next way the media tries to manipulate minds is through, what is called, the verisimilitude. Now that is a real mouthful. It means that something is “very similar” to something else. In this case, it is mixing a little poison or a lie with the truth. It is possible to ingest into your body gallons of healthy food. If you simply mix a small amount of extremely powerful poison with it, you would be dead soon. If we graduate the amount of poison into smaller dosages we can do the same over time, at a much slower rate but getting the same results… your demise.

All the media has to do, in order to destroy a person, is to slowly administer lies (poison) about a person mixed in with good things. Eventually, they destroy their enemy and they come out looking like choir boys; clean and glistening.

Make it Funny

I’ve already mentioned how a political leader was made to look like a clown. I remember an influential leader characterized by the media as a bafoon, idiot, and dumb person. I can still see the political cartoons drawn of him making him look like some human monkey creature. Typically, monkeys are funny and into mischief. That message stuck.

Along these lines, photos that show the bad side of a person, and everyone has them, are used to portray enemies as stupid and/or psychotic fools. You can sometimes see this approach when a publication deliberately uses a photo of a person looking cross-eyed or bizarre. The editors choose photos that make the person look their worst. In contrast, when their favorite persons are put on the same page, they are shown in a hero’s stance, making them look their best. Coincidental? Absolutely not!

Making Sandwiches

A great technique to help build self-esteem in people, while correcting them, is called the “sandwich technique.” This approach is amazing because it uses positive reinforcement of the individual before and after you have shared a difficult area they need to change in. This assures to them that you still like them and that you respect them. It makes your message easy to accept with them.

When you take the same technique and switch it around, placing something positive in-between two negative pieces of information, it becomes quite destructive. In the media, you can come out looking objective and with a “pass” if you use this technique while still destroying your enemy. It is one of the most commonly used approaches by the media, in article after article pertaining to persons they dislike. Notice this… All you really need to hurt your opponent is to do a news piece on them. You start and close the report with negativity and doubt. This leaves a black cloud over their character. You get a free pass and you still got to be very nasty. This is like a school bully brat that gets away with murder and yet looks good.

Stacking the Experts

Have you ever noticed on TV a panel of intellectuals, journalists, etc. are chosen carefully where it is in disproportion but still looks balanced? Sometimes it is outrageously blatant and sometimes it is covert. Let’s say we dislike a position but we cannot say so for fear of looking bigoted. We can handpick the majority of our experts that will agree with us. Then we bring only one person that represents the side we dislike. We unload the pit-bull dogs on that person, all the while we look “balanced.”
Ridicule and labeling

I am often amused at the interesting adjectives used by a proponent of one side against the other. We hear words like “racist,” “Nazi,” “?-phobe,” “pin-head,” “antiquated,” “irrelevant,” “killer,” and more. By applying these labels on that person, what happens is that you freeze, isolate, and polarize that person. You make them out to look like they are part of a dangerous, scary, and insane fringe. This process is otherwise known in history as “character assassination.” In this case, it happens in the public forum on full display. Have you ever noticed that if the same is applied to the media, it is considered blasphemy? Who makes the media accountable? No one. They are free to destroy anyone they choose. That is why they secretly fear the internet. The tables can be turned on them by some little guy behind a screen.

Repetition Makes True

Incessant repetition of a lie registers as truth in the mind of the masses. Mass hysteria can be created by repeatedly reporting the dangers of some microbe infesting humans and taking over the world in tones of panic. Some of the most successful tyrants in history used great emotion and repetition to their advantage. Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister said that if “You repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” This brings us to my next point.

Make the Devil Look Like God and God Like the Devil

Hitler himself said, “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.” In this technique, the attacker makes himself look like a benefactor and savior. He twists the sides. Have you ever wondered why the media narcissistically loves to see themselves as the protectors and keepers of truth? It almost has religious indoctrination undertones, doesn’t it? In classical religious literature we are told that the Devil deceives and disguises himself as an angel of light. I call this, characteristically, the reversing of the poles by making black look like white and vice-versa.


I don’t claim to have covered all aspects of the art of deceit as used in the media. These are as old as man himself. I simply attempted to provide some of the more obvious typical forms of deceit used to psychologically manipulate the masses. What can we learn from this? Perhaps the biggest lesson could be that we must not be naïve.

We must discriminately keep awake and aware. We must be hungry for truth wherever we find it. We must protect it and defend it. We need to be careful to avoid coming to hasty conclusions just because the “experts” say it. It is, very much, an individual journey. It is a great quest but filled with minefields. Be careful and beware.

10 Strategies for Manipulation of People Through Media

People are often not aware of the influence of the media to their way of thinking. What are the basic mass media manipulation techniques used for brainwashing and mind programming of the masses?

Despite the commonly accepted ideas of the modern age that claims that people are supposed to be equal, with the right for freedom and access to true information, it is the fact that the smaller part of the people is manipulating with the majority, by using a different approaches.

This manipulation gives to the minority the position of power that provides them different kinds of benefits. The most common groups on power are government, but also multinational corporations, medias, and other groups or individuals. Writer Naom Chomsky conducted a research and brought up the 10 strategies that are used for manipulation of people through media.

Diverting the Attention

It is necessary to divert the attention of the public from important things to those unimportant. All it takes is to overload the minds of people with flood of irrelevant information, in order to prevent people from thinking. Without thinking people cannot acquire basic understanding of the world that they are living in.

Creation of Problems

This method is also called the “problem-react-solution”. It is necessary to create the problem in order to make public react on it. Example: trigger the violence and broadcast it with intention that public accepts the freedom limitation, economical crisis, and destruction of socially rights.

Gradual Changes

In order to make public ready to adopt the changes it is necessary to serve it gradually, through months and years. Most of the changes can cause the resistance, in case that they are deployed suddenly. Instead, it is necessary to introduce them through the series of small steps. Therefore, the world is gradually changing, without awaking the consciousness about changes happening.


One of the methods of preparation of public to unpopular changes is to announce them a lot earlier, in advance. Therefore, people will not take the change as so drastic, since they had some time to adopt the idea about change, prior it happens.

Use of Children Language

If you talk to mature people as if you are speaking to the kids, you are achieving two effects. The public is pushing back the criticism and message is taking deeper impact to the people. This approach is massively used during advertising.

Awaking the Emotion

Misuse of emotions is the classic technique that is used for causing of short circuit, during conscious thinking. Critic’s though is replaced by emotional impulses ( fear, anger, etc. ). The use of emotional techniques is enabling the access to unconsciousness. This state of mind is enabling embedding of ideas, wishes, worries, fear or extortion. It is also possible to induce a certain behavioral types.
Naom Chomsky


The poor social classes should be disabled from accessing the knowledge about understanding of manipulation with their will and consent. The quality of the education should be as lower as possible, in order to keep the gap between education from upper and lower classes.

Magnification of Stupidity

People are often not aware of the influence of the media to their way of thinking. What are the basic mass media manipulation techniques used for brainwashing and mind programming of the masses?
The public should be encouraged to accept the mediocrity. It is necessary to persuade the public that it is desirable to be stupid, vulgar and untaught. At same time it is necessary to develop the resistance toward culture and science.

Creation of Guilt Feeling

It is necessary to persuade every individual that he is the only responsible to the own misfortune, caused by lack of knowledge, limited capabilities or lack of diligence. If the individual is uncertain, under valuated and burdened with the feeling of guilt, he/she will give up seeking for the real cause of own position and will take no rebellion against the system.

Abuse of Knowledge

The accelerated progress of science during the past decades is creating a growing gap between knowledge of common public and the ruling minority. This gap can continue providing the advantage and help maintain the position of power for the minority.

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

Mass media is the most powerful tool used by the ruling class to manipulate the masses. It shapes and molds opinions and attitudes and defines what is normal and acceptable. This article looks at the workings of mass media through the theories of its major thinkers, its power structure and the techniques it uses, in order to understand its true role in society.

Most of the articles on this site discuss occult symbolism found in objects of popular culture. From these articles arise many legitimate questions relating to the purpose of those symbols and the motivations of those who place them there, but it is impossible for me to provide satisfactory answers to these questions without mentioning many other concepts and facts. This article explores the theoretical and methodological background of the analyses presented on this site as well as introducing the main scholars of the field of mass communications. Some people read my articles and think I’m saying “Lady Gaga wants to control our minds”. That is not the case. She is simply a small part of the huge system that is the mass media.
Programming Through Mass Media

Mass media are media forms designed to reach the largest audience possible. They include television, movies, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, records, video games and the internet. Many studies have been conducted in the past century to measure the effects of mass media on the population in order to discover the best techniques to influence it. From those studies emerged the science of Communications, which is used in marketing, public relations and politics. Mass communication is a necessary tool to ensure the functionality of a large democracy; it is also a necessary tool for a dictatorship. It all depends on its usage.

In the 1958 preface to A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley paints a rather grim portrait of society. He believes it is controlled by an “impersonal force”, a ruling elite, which manipulates the population using various methods.
Sponsored: The Elites Want This Video Destroyed

“Impersonal forces over which we have almost no control seem to be pushing us all in the direction of the Brave New Worldian nightmare; and this impersonal pushing is being consciously accelerated by representatives of commercial and political organizations who have developed a number of new techniques for manipulating, in the interest of some minority, the thoughts and feelings of the masses.”
– Aldous Huxley, Preface to A Brave New World

His bleak outlook is not a simple hypothesis or a paranoid delusion. It is a documented fact, present in the world’s most important studies on mass media. Here are some of them:

Elite Thinkers – Walter Lippmann

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

Walter Lippmann, an American intellectual, writer and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner brought forth one of the first works concerning the usage of mass media in America. In Public Opinion (1922), Lippmann compared the masses to a “great beast” and a “bewildered herd” that needed to be guided by a governing class. He described the ruling elite as “a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality.” This class is composed of experts, specialists, and bureaucrats. According to Lippmann, the experts, who often are referred to as “elites,” are to be a machinery of knowledge that circumvents the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the “omnicompetent citizen.” The trampling and roaring “bewildered herd” has its function: to be “the interested spectators of action,” i.e. not participants. Participation is the duty of “the responsible man”, which is not the regular citizen.

Mass media and propaganda are therefore tools that must be used by the elite to rule the public without physical coercion. One important concept presented by Lippmann is the “manufacture of consent”, which is, in short, the manipulation of public opinion to accept the elite’s agenda. It is Lippmann’s opinion that the general public is not qualified to reason and to decide on important issues. It is therefore important for the elite to decide “for its own good” and then sell those decisions to the masses.

“That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. . . . as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power. . . . Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.”
–Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion

It might be interesting to note that Lippmann is one of the founding fathers of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the most influential foreign policy think tank in the world. This fact should give you a small hint of the mind state of the elite concerning the usage of media.

“Political and economic power in the United States is concentrated in the hands of a “ruling elite” that controls most of U.S.-based multinational corporations, major communication media, the most influential foundations, major private universities and most public utilities. Founded in 1921, the Council of Foreign Relations is the key link between the large corporations and the federal government. It has been called a “school for statesmen” and “comes close to being an organ of what C. Wright Mills has called the Power Elite – a group of men, similar in interest and outlook shaping events from invulnerable positions behind the scenes. The creation of the United Nations was a Council project, as well as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.”
– Steve Jacobson, Mind Control in the United States

Some current members of the CFR include David Rockefeller, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, mega-church pastor Rick Warren and the CEOs of major corporations such as CBS, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Visa.
Carl Jung

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

Carl Jung is the founder of analytical psychology (also known as Jungian psychology), which emphasizes understanding the psyche by exploring dreams, art, mythology, religion, symbols, and philosophy. The Swiss therapist is at the origin of many psychological concepts used today such as the Archetype, the Complex, the Persona, the Introvert/Extrovert, and Synchronicity. He was highly influenced by the occult background of his family. Carl Gustav, his grandfather, was an avid Freemason (he was Grand Master) and Jung himself discovered that some of his ancestors were Rosicrucians. This might explain his great interest in Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology and symbolism. One of his most important (and misunderstood) concepts was the Collective Unconscious.

“My thesis, then, is as follows: In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.”
– Carl Jung, The Concept of the Collective Unconscious

The collective unconscious transpires through the existence of similar symbols and mythological figures in different civilizations. Archetypal symbols seem to be embedded in our collective subconscious, and, when exposed to them, we demonstrate natural attraction and fascination. Occult symbols can, therefore, exert a great impact on people, even if many individuals were never personally introduced to the symbol’s esoteric meaning. Mass media thinkers, such as Edward D. Bernays, found in this concept a great way to manipulate the public’s personal and collective unconscious.
Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

1955 Time Magazine cover featuring Carl Jung. Looks a little like Avatar, doesn’t it?

Edward Bernays

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

Edward Bernays is considered to be the “father of public relations” and used concepts discovered by his uncle Sigmund Freud to manipulate the public using the subconscious. He shared Walter Lippmann’s view of the general population by considering it irrational and subject to the “herd instinct”. In his opinion, the masses need to be manipulated by an invisible government to ensure the survival of democracy.

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.”
– Edward Bernays, Propaganda

Bernay’s trailblazing marketing campaigns profoundly changed the functioning of American society. He basically created “consumerism” by creating a culture wherein Americans bought for pleasure instead of buying for survival. For this reason, he was considered by Life Magazine to be in the Top 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century.

Harold Lasswell

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

In 1939-1940, the University of Chicago was the host of a series of secret seminars on communications. These think tanks were funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and involved the most prominent researchers in the fields of communications and sociological studies. One of these scholars was Harold Lasswell, a leading American political scientist, and communications theorist, specializing in the analysis of propaganda. He was also of the opinion that a democracy, a government ruled by the people, could not sustain itself without a specialized elite shaping and molding public opinion through propaganda.

In his Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, Lasswell explained that when elites lack the requisite force to compel obedience, social managers must turn to “a whole new technique of control, largely through propaganda.” He added the conventional justification: we must recognize the “ignorance and stupidity [of] … the masses and not succumb to democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests.”

Lasswell extensively studied the field of content analysis in order to understand the effectiveness of different types of propaganda. In his essay Contents of Communication, Lasswell explained that, in order to understand the meaning of a message (i.e. a movie, a speech, a book, etc.), one should take into account the frequency with which certain symbols appear in the message, the direction in which the symbols try to persuade the audience’s opinion, and the intensity of the symbols used.

Lasswell was famous for his media analysis model based on:

Who (says) What (to) Whom (in) What Channel (with) What Effect

By this model, Lasswell indicates that in order to properly analyze a media product, one must look at who produced the product (the people who ordered its creation), who was it aimed at (the target audience) and what were the desired effects of this product (to inform, to convince, to sell, etc.) on the audience.

Using a Rihanna video as an example, the analysis would be as follows: WHO PRODUCED: Vivendi Universal; WHAT: pop artist Rihanna; TO WHOM: consumers between the ages of 9 and 25; WHAT CHANNEL: music video; and WHAT EFFECT: selling the artist, her song, her image and her message.

The analyzes of videos and movies on The Vigilant Citizen place a great importance on the “who is behind” the messages communicated to the public. The term “Illuminati” is often used to describe this small elite group covertly ruling the masses. Although the term sounds quite caricatured and conspiratorial, it aptly describes the elite’s affinities with secret societies and occult knowledge. However, I personally detest using the term “conspiracy theory” to describe what is happening in the mass media. If all the facts concerning the elitist nature of the industry are readily available to the public, can it still be considered a “conspiracy theory”?

There used to be a variety of viewpoints, ideas, and opinions in popular culture. The consolidation of media corporations has, however, produced a standardization of the cultural industry. Ever wondered why all recent music sounds the same and all recent movies look the same? The following is part of the answer:
Media Ownership

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

As depicted in the graph above, the number of corporations owning the majority of U.S. media outlets went from 50 to 5 in less than 20 years. Here are the top corporations evolving around the world and the assets they own.

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

“A list of the properties controlled by AOL Time Warner takes ten typed pages listing 292 separate companies and subsidiaries. Of these, twenty-two are joint ventures with other major corporations involved in varying degrees with media operations. These partners include 3Com, eBay, Hewlett-Packard, Citigroup, Ticketmaster, American Express, Homestore, Sony, Viva, Bertelsmann, Polygram, and Some of the more familiar fully owned properties of Time Warner include Book-of-the-Month Club; Little, Brown publishers; HBO, with its seven channels; CNN; seven specialized and foreign-language channels; Road Runner; Warner Brothers Studios; Weight Watchers; Popular Science; and fifty-two different record labels.”

– Ben Bagdikan, The New Media Monopoly

AOL Time Warner owns:

64 magazines, including Time, Life, People, MAD Magazine and DC Comics

Warner Bros, New Line and Fine Line Features in cinema

More than 40 music labels including Warner Bros, Atlantic and Elektra

Many television networks such as WB Networks, HBO, Cinemax, TNT, Cartoon Network and CNN

Madonna, Sean Paul, The White Stripes

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass MediaViacom owns:

CBS, MTV, MTV2, UPN, VH1, Showtime, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, TNN, CMT and BET

Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, MTV Films

Blockbuster Videos

1800 screens in theaters through Famous Players

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

“Disney ownership of a hockey team called The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim does not begin to describe the vastness of the kingdom. Hollywood is still its symbolic heart, with eight movie production studios and distributors: Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Miramax, Buena Vista Home Video, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Buena Vista International, Hollywood Pictures, and Caravan Pictures.

The Walt Disney Company controls eight book house imprints under Walt Disney Company Book Publishing and ABC Publishing Group; seventeen magazines; the ABC Television Network, with ten owned and operated stations of its own including in the five top markets; thirty radio stations, including all the major markets; eleven cable channels, including Disney, ESPN (jointly), A&E, and the History Channel; thirteen international broadcast channels stretching from Australia to Brazil; seven production and sports units around the world; and seventeen Internet sites, including the ABC group, ESPN.sportszone,,, and Its five music groups include the Buena Vista, Lyric Street, and Walt Disney labels, and live theater productions growing out of the movies The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and King David.”
– Ibid

The Walt Disney Company owns:

ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, A&E, History Channel
Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax Film Corp., Dimension and Buena Vista International
Miley Cyrus/ Hannah Montana, Selena Gomez, Jonas Brothers

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

Vivendi Universal owns:

27% of US music sales, labels include: Interscope, Geffen, A&M, Island, Def Jam, MCA, Mercury, Motown and Universal

Universal Studios, Studio Canal, Polygram Films, Canal +

Numerous internet and cell phone companies

Lady Gaga, The Black Eyed Peas, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

Sony owns:

Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics

15% of US Music sales, labels include Columbia, Epic, Sony, Arista, Jive and RCA Records

Beyonce, Shakira, Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera

A limited number of actors in the cultural industry means a limited amount of viewpoints and ideas making their way to the general public. It also means that a single message can easily saturate all forms of media to generate consent (i.e. “there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq”).
The Standardization of Human Thought

The merger of media companies in the last decades generated a small oligarchy of media conglomerates. The TV shows we follow, the music we listen to, the movies we watch and the newspapers we read are all produced by FIVE corporations. The owners of those conglomerates have close ties with the world’s elite and, in many ways, they ARE the elite. By owning all of the possible outlets having the potential to reach the masses, these conglomerates have the power to create in the minds of the people a single and cohesive worldview, engendering a “standardization of human thought”.

Even movements or styles that are considered marginal are, in fact, extensions of mainstream thinking. Mass medias produce their own rebels who definitely look the part but are still part of the establishment and do not question any of it. Artists, creations, and ideas that do not fit the mainstream way of thinking are mercilessly rejected and forgotten by the conglomerates, which in turn makes them virtually disappear from society itself. However, ideas that are deemed to be valid and desirable to be accepted by society are skillfully marketed to the masses in order to make them become a self-evident norm.

In 1928, Edward Bernays already saw the immense potential of motion pictures to standardize thought:

“The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions. The motion picture can standardize the ideas and habits of a nation. Because pictures are made to meet market demands, they reflect, emphasize and even exaggerate broad popular tendencies, rather than stimulate new ideas and opinions. The motion picture avails itself only of ideas and facts which are in vogue. As the newspaper seeks to purvey news, it seeks to purvey entertainment.”
– Edward Bernays, Propaganda

These facts were flagged as dangers to human freedom in the 1930’s by thinkers of the school of Frankfurt such as Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse. They identified three main problems with the cultural industry. The industry can:

reduce human beings to the state of mass by hindering the development of emancipated individuals, who are capable of making rational decisions;
replace the legitimate drive for autonomy and self-awareness by the safe laziness of conformism and passivity; and
validate the idea that men actually seek to escape the absurd and cruel world in which they live by losing themselves in a hypnotic state self-satisfaction.

The notion of escapism is even more relevant today with the advent of online video games, 3D movies, and home theaters. The masses, constantly seeking state-of-the-art entertainment, will resort to high-budget products that can only be produced by the biggest media corporations of the world. These products contain carefully calculated messages and symbols which are nothing more and nothing less than entertaining propaganda. The public has been trained to LOVE its propaganda to the extent that it spends its hard-earned money to be exposed to it. Propaganda (used in both political, cultural and commercial sense) is no longer the coercive or authoritative communication form found in dictatorships: it has become the synonym of entertainment and pleasure.

“In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or it might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies — the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”
– Aldous Huxley, Preface to A Brave New World

A single piece of media often does not have a lasting effect on the human psyche. Mass media, however, by its omnipresent nature, creates a living environment we evolve in on a daily basis. It defines the norm and excludes the undesirable. The same way carriage horses wear blinders so they can only see what is right in front of them, the masses can only see where they are supposed to go.

“It is the emergence of mass media which makes possible the use of propaganda techniques on a societal scale. The orchestration of press, radio and television to create a continuous, lasting and total environment renders the influence of propaganda virtually unnoticed precisely because it creates a constant environment. Mass media provides the essential link between the individual and the demands of the technological society.”
– Jacques Ellul

One of the reasons mass media successfully influences society is due to the extensive amount of research on cognitive sciences and human nature that has been applied to it.
Manipulation Techniques

“Publicity is the deliberate attempt to manage the public’s perception of a subject. The subjects of publicity include people (for example, politicians and performing artists), goods and services, organizations of all kinds, and works of art or entertainment.”

The drive to sell products and ideas to the masses has to lead to an unprecedented amount of research on human behavior and on the human psyche. Cognitive sciences, psychology, sociology, semiotics, linguistics and other related fields were and still are extensively researched through well-funded studies.

“No group of sociologists can approximate the ad teams in the gathering and processing of exploitable social data. The ad teams have billions to spend annually on research and testing of reactions, and their products are magnificent accumulations of material about the shared experience and feelings of the entire community.”
– Marshal McLuhan, The Extensions of Man

The results of those studies are applied to advertisements, movies, music videos and other media in order to make them as influential as possible. The art of marketing is highly calculated and scientific because it must reach both the individual and the collective consciousness. In high-budget cultural products, a video is never “just a video,” Images, symbols, and meanings are strategically placed in order to generate a desired effect.

“It is with knowledge of the human being, his tendencies, his desires, his needs, his psychic mechanisms, his automatisms as well as knowledge of social psychology and analytical psychology that propaganda refines its techniques.”
– Propagandes, Jacques Ellul (free translation)

Today’s propaganda almost never uses rational or logical arguments. It directly taps into a human’s most primal needs and instincts in order to generate an emotional and irrational response. If we always thought rationally, we probably wouldn’t buy 50% of what we own. Babies and children are constantly found in advertisements targeting women for a specific reason: studies have shown that images of children trigger in women an instinctual need to nurture, to care and to protect, ultimately leading to a sympathetic bias towards the advertisement.


Strange old 7up ad using the cuteness of babies

Sex is ubiquitous in mass media, as it draws and keeps the viewer’s attention. It directly connects to our animal need to breed and to reproduce, and, when triggered, this instinct can instantly overshadow any other rational thoughts in our brain.
Subliminal Perception

What if the messages described above were able to reach directly the viewers’ subconscious mind, without the viewers even realizing what is happening? That is the goal of subliminal perception. The phrase subliminal advertising was coined in 1957 by the US market researcher James Vicary, who said he could get moviegoers to “drink Coca-Cola” and “eat popcorn” by flashing those messages onscreen for such a short time that viewers were unaware.

“Subliminal perception is a deliberate process created by communications technicians, by which you receive and respond to information and instructions without being consciously aware of the instructions”

– Steve Jacobson, Mind Control in the United States

This technique is often used in marketing and we all know that sex sells.

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

Although some sources claim that subliminal advertising is ineffective or even an urban myth, the documented usage of this technique in mass media proves that creators believe in its powers. Recent studies have also proven its effectiveness, especially when the message is negative.

” A team from University College London, funded by the Wellcome Trust, found that it [subliminal perception] was particularly good at instilling negative thoughts. There has been much speculation about whether people can process emotional information unconsciously, for example pictures, faces and words,” said Professor Nilli Lavie, who led the research. We have shown that people can perceive the emotional value of subliminal messages and have demonstrated conclusively that people are much more attuned to negative words.”
– Source
A famous example of subliminal messaging in political communications is in George Bush’s advertisement against Al Gore in 2000.
Right after the name of Gore is mentioned, the ending of the word “bureaucrats” – “rats” – flashes on the screen for a split second.

Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

The discovery of this trickery caused quite a stir and, even if there are no laws against subliminal messaging in the U.S., the advertisement was taken off the air.

As seen in many articles on The Vigilant Citizen, subliminal and semi-subliminal messages are often used in movies and music videos to communicate messages and ideas to the viewers.

In the past, when changes were imposed on populations, they would take to the streets, protest and even riot. The main reason for this clash was due to the fact that the change was clearly announced by the rulers and understood by the population. It was sudden and its effects could clearly be analyzed and evaluated. Today, when the elite needs a part of its agenda to be accepted by the public, it is done through desensitization. The agenda, which might go against the public best interests, is slowly, gradually and repetitively introduced to the world through movies (by involving it within the plot), music videos (who make it cool and sexy) or the news (who present it as a solution to today’s problems). After several years of exposing the masses to a particular agenda, the elite openly presents the concept the world and, due to mental programming, it is greeted with general indifference and is passively accepted. This technique originates from psychotherapy.

“The techniques of psychotherapy, widely practiced and accepted as a means of curing psychological disorders, are also methods of controlling people. They can be used systematically to influence attitudes and behavior. Systematic desensitization is a method used to dissolve anxiety so the the patient (public) is no longer troubled by a specific fear, a fear of violence for example. […] People adapt to frightening situations if they are exposed to them enough”.
– Steven Jacobson, Mind Control in the United States

Predictive programming is often found in the science fiction genre. It presents a specific image of the future – the one that is desired by the elite – and ultimately becomes in the minds of men an inevitability. A decade ago, the public was being desensitized to war against the Arab world. Today, the population is gradually being exposed to the existence of mind control, of transhumanism and of an Illuminati elite. Emerging from the shadows, those concepts are now everywhere in popular culture. This is what Alice Bailey describes as the “externalization of the hierarchy”: the hidden rulers slowly revealing themselves.
Occult Symbolism in Pop Culture

Metropolis – a movie by the elite, for the elite?

Contrarily to the information presented above, documentation on occult symbolism is rather hard to find. This should not come as a surprise as the term “occult”, literally means “hidden”. It also means “reserved to those in the know” as it is only communicated to those who are deemed worthy of the knowledge. It is not taught in schools nor is it discussed in the media. It is thus considered marginal or even ridiculous by the general population.

Occult knowledge is NOT, however, considered ridiculous in occult circles. It is considered timeless and sacred. There is a long tradition of hermetic and occult knowledge being taught through secret societies originating from ancient Egyptians to Eastern Mystics, to the Knights Templar to modern day Freemasons. Even if the depth of this knowledge was most probably lost throughout the centuries, mystery schools kept their main features, which are highly symbolic, ritualistic and metaphysical. Those characteristics, which were an intricate part of ancient civilizations, have totally been evacuated from modern society to be replaced by pragmatic materialism. For this reason, there lies an important gap of understanding between the pragmatic average person and the ritualistic establishment.

“If this inner doctrine were always concealed from the masses, for whom a simpler code had been devised, is it not highly probable that the exponents of every aspect of modern civilization – philosophic, ethical, religious, and scientific-are ignorant of the true meaning of the very theories and tenets on which their beliefs are founded? Do the arts and sciences that the race has inherited from older nations conceal beneath their fair exterior a mystery so great that only the most illumined intellect can grasp its import? Such is undoubtedly the case.”

– Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of All Ages

The “simpler code” devised for the masses used to be organized religions. It is now becoming the Temple of the Mass Media and it preaches on a daily basis extreme materialism, spiritual vacuosity and a self-centered, individualistic existence. This is exactly the opposite of the attributes required to become a truly free individual, as taught by all great philosophical schools of thought. Is a dumbed-down population easier to deceive and to manipulate?

“These blind slaves are told they are “free” and “highly educated” even as they march behind signs that would cause any medieval peasant to run screaming away from them in panic-stricken terror. The symbols that modern man embraces with the naive trust of an infant would be tantamount to billboards reading, ‘This way to your death and enslavement,’ to the understanding of the traditional peasant of antiquity”

– Michael A. Hoffman II, Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare

In Conclusion

This article examined the major thinkers in the field of mass media, the media power structure and the techniques used to manipulate the masses. I believe this information is vital to the understanding of the “why” in the topics discussed on The Vigilant Citizen. The “mass population” versus “ruling class” dichotomy described in many articles is not a “conspiracy theory” (again, I hate that term), but a reality that has been clearly stated in the works of some of the 20th century’s most influential men.

Lippmann, Bernays, and Lasswell have all declared that the public is not fit to decide their own fate, which is the inherent goal of democracy. Instead, they called for a cryptocracy, a hidden government, a ruling class in charge of the “bewildered herd.” As their ideas continue to be applied to society, it is increasingly apparent that an ignorant population is not an obstacle that the rulers must deal with: It is something that is DESIRABLE and, indeed, necessary, to ensure total leadership. An ignorant population does not know its rights, does not seek a greater understanding of issues and does not question authorities. It simply follows trends. Popular culture caters to and nurtures ignorance by continually serving up brain-numbing entertainment and spotlighting degenerate celebrities to be idolized.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Examining the Mob Mentality makes people succumb to mob mentality – especially when it turns violent? South Source talked with Tamara Avant, Psychology program director at South University — Savannah, to learn more about the psychology involved with mob behaviors.

South Source: What is the psychology behind mob mentality?

Tamara Avant: Social psychology does offer relevant explanations for group or mob mentality and violence. When people are part of a group, they often experience deindividuation, or a loss of self-awareness. When people deindividuate, they are less likely to follow normal restraints and inhibitions and more likely to lose their sense of individual identity. Groups can generate a sense of emotional excitement, which can lead to the provocation of behaviors that a person would not typically engage in if alone. Think about the last sporting event or concert you attended. It’s unlikely that you would have been yelling or singing the way you were if you were the only person doing it! The group seems to make some behaviors acceptable that would not be acceptable otherwise.

Deindividuation obviously does not occur every time people get together in a group, and there are some group characteristics that increase the likelihood of violence, such as group size and physical anonymity. First, many people believe they cannot be held responsible for violent behavior when part of a mob because they perceive the violent action as the group’s (e.g., “everyone was doing it”) rather than their own behavior. When in a large group, people tend to experience a diffusion of responsibility. Typically, the bigger a mob, the more its members lose self-awareness and become willing to engage in dangerous behavior. Second, physical anonymity also leads to a person experiencing fewer social inhibitions. When people feel that their behavior cannot be traced back to them, they are more likely to break social norms and engage in violence.

SS: Are certain people more susceptible?

TA:In general, we are all susceptible to participating in some group behavior, but researchers have found that certain situations and personality characteristics play a role. For example, people are more likely to engage in looting in dire situations, such as when resources were scarce after Hurricane Katrina. Adolescents who share antisocial tendencies and lack close family bonds are more likely to search for social identity in gangs. The greater individuals feel like they identify with a group, the greater the pressures for them to conform and deindividuate become.

SS: What types of situations lend themselves to mobs?

TA: Group violence is most likely to occur when the group is large, people are able to remain anonymous, and people experience a diffusion of responsibility. Certain situations also play a role, such as when resources are scarce, we are surrounded by like-minded people, and/or when emotions are aroused.

Author: Megan Donley

Herd mentality


Herd mentality and herd behavior, also lesser known as Gang Mentality have been prevalent descriptors for human behavior since people began to form tribes, migrate in groups, and perform cooperative marketing and agricultural functions. The idea of a “group mind” or “mob behavior” was first put forward by 19th-century French social psychologists Gabriel Tarde and Gustave Le Bon. Herd behavior in human societies has also been studied by Sigmund Freud and Wilfred Trotter, whose book Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War is a classic in the field of social psychology. Sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen‘s The Theory of the Leisure Class illustrates how individuals imitate other group members of higher social status in their consumer behavior. More recently, Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, examines how cultural, social, and economic factors converge to create trends in consumer behavior. In 2004, the New Yorker‘s financial columnist James Suroweicki published The Wisdom of Crowds.

Twenty-first-century academic fields such as marketing and behavioral finance attempt to identify and predict the rational and irrational behavior of investors. (See the work of Daniel Kahneman, Robert Shiller, Vernon L. Smith, and Amos Tversky.) Driven by emotional reactions such as greed and fear, investors can be seen to join in frantic purchasing and sales of stocks, creating bubbles and crashes. As a result, herd behavior is closely studied by behavioral finance experts in order to help predict future economic crises.[1]

Evidence-based examples

Researchers at Leeds University performed a group experiment where volunteers were told to randomly walk around a large hall without talking to each other. A select few were then given more detailed instructions on where to walk. The scientists discovered that people end up blindly following one or two instructed people who appear to know where they’re going. The results of this experiments showed that it only takes 5% of confident looking and instructed people to influence the direction of the 95% of people in the crowd and the 200 volunteers did this without even realizing it.[2]

The Newsroom

Newsroom terms

Glossary of Broadcasting/Broadcast News Terms


Affiliate – A local station that subscribes to the services and programs of a network.

Anchor – The newscaster who hosts the studio portion of the newscast. The anchor is the dominant voice in the presentation of the news to the audience. S/he must be proficient in writing, producing, and editing the news.

AP Wire – Associated Press news service that supplies international, national and regional information and stories. These are almost always rewritten before airing.

Back timing – A convenient way of counting down the length of a newscast. This tells you when each story must run in order for your newscast to end on time.

Beats – specific public institutions or areas of concern for which specific reporters in a newsroom are responsible watching. (e.g.: county reporter, health reporter, education reporter, courts reporter)

Beat Checks – Using a telephone to search for and tape news stories from a list of agencies. A good beat check would be comprised of the sheriff’s offices, fire department, local police, state highway patrol, DNR, local hospitals, and other government agencies that routinely handle breaking stories.

Break – place designated within broadcast programming during which commercials run.

Bumpers – small teases (with or without audio/video) that come at the end of one newscast segment often previewing what is coming up in the rest of the newscast.

Call Letters – A station’s legal ID (for example, WBIZ-EAU CLAIRE) is a legal ID, Z-104 is not a legal ID).

Cold Copy – aka; Rip-n-Read – A script not seen by an announcer until the moment s/he reads it.

Consultants ­– firms, groups, individuals hired by broadcast organizations to give advice on presentation, content, trends, viewer habits and preferences

Control Room – Where the technical equipment for putting a newscast on the air is kept and operated.

Cue – usually a physical signal by engineer or other technical person indicting to anchor to perform a task (start reading, wrap up, go to break).

Cue Up – Putting a sound bite, package, wrap, voicer, or other recorded material at its beginning.

Dub – to make a recording of a recording.

Edit – To condense or revise material. For example:

n physical – to cut tape with a razor.

— electronic – putting segments of a story together in a sequential manner

n content – to demand a re-focus or rewrite of a story.

n Non-linear – edit done on computer where segments can be put together out of sequence.

Engineer – Technical personnel who can both operate, maintain and repair equipment.

Feed – A live or recorded report, or a set of recorded reports sent to a station/newsroom via satellite, phone, or other device for inclusion in a news program.

Feedback – An ear-splitting squeal or howl caused when sound from a loudspeaker is picked up by a microphone and reamplified. Feedback can also happen when the output for a given tape deck or other device is fed back into its own input.

“Happy Talk” – the casual banter that goes on between news anchors and other “on-air” people. Mostly considered light hearted.

Headlines – A kind of “tease” read at the beginning of a newscast.

Kicker – An offbeat or humorous story that typically is used to mark the end of the news segment and the beginning of the sports/weather segment. The kicker can also be used to end a newscast.

News feeds – feeds of stories/actualities sent to affiliates by networks for air on the individual stations.

Lead – first line/paragraph of body of story that summarizes/indicates most important information.

Lead-in – broadcast term for beginning part of story news anchor reads introducing the story and/or person reporting story.

Lead story (aka Lead) – first story in a newscast or segment (in broadcasting) or a story that is above the fold in print-this considered the most important news story of the day.

Outcue – usually the last thing a reporter says in either a live or recorded news story (i.e. PKG) indicating the piece is ending. (Example: “FOR UPDATE NEWS, I’M BILL SMITH.”)

Outro – usually the “Goodbye” or end segment of a newscast often during which news/wx/sports anchors engage in “happy talk.”

Producer/Editor – Plans and supervises newscast. Can also work with reporters in the field planning and gathering information for stories.

Pronouncer – Phonetic spelling of a difficult word or name (i.e. Greg Louganis = Greg loo-GAY-nuss).

P-S-A – aka Public Service Announcement – An advertisement for a not- for-profit organization such as the American Heart Association, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, etc..).

Reader – A story read by anchor without any audio/video.

Ratings – measuring units used to tell broadcasters how many households and/or viewers have their stations/programs on at a particular time. This information is used in determining how much station will charge advertising for commercial time.

Rundown -aka; Lineup – A chronological outline or order of stories or segments to be used in a newscast. This is the producer’s blueprint for the newscast.

Running Time – Refers either to the estimated time or the actual time of a newscast. Producers/editors should always estimate the running time of the newscast based on the actual time of each recorded report and her or his best guess as to the time of each intro and each story to be read by the anchor.

Satellite feed – can be either news or programming feed that is generated from a distant remote location and transmitted via a satellite. Very often live interviews with news makers or other news people are conducted this way.

Sound Bed – aka: natural sound (natsot) A type of background audio that complements the news report. For instance, the sound of protesters is played underneath the reporter’s in-studio story concerning the opening of a nuclear plant.

Spots (aka Commercials) – individual commercials that run during breaks.

Spot News – An unexpected event that can be covered in various ways

Story Tag – Closing to a story package, live shot, or on-set piece usually read by the story report but can also be read by an anchor.

Upcut – Turning on the microphone after the anchor has begun speaking or before and anchor/reporter has stopped speaking.


B-Roll – video that is shot for a TV news story and used to visualize the script the reporter/anchor has written.

EZ News – the newsroom computer software. It allows you to create news rundowns, write stories for newscasts, print scripts, have teleprompter all from the same location/server.

Natural Sound – aka Nat Sound, Nat S-O-T, or Ambient Sound – Background voices, music, machinery, waterfalls, and other environmental sounds that are recorded on-scene and used to create a sound bed for a recorded or live report. Primarily used for setting a mood or providing atmosphere for a report. This technique is frequently overused, but when used properly it adds immeasurably to a story.

Nielsen – service primarily used in determining television ratings.

Live shot/Live Report – A TV news story during which a news anchor or reporter is live at a remote location. Within this report can be included a SOT, VO/SOT or PKG.

On-Set Appearance – Reporter appears on set and is introduced by a news anchor. The reporter can than introduce his/her news package or report his/her story from there.

Package (PKG) – A report from a correspondent that contains a sound bite inserted between the introduction and the epilogue (usually inserted after the reporter’s second or third sentence). These need an in-studio lead for the anchor.

Sound bite (SOT) – edited slice of a newsmaker speaking. Similar to actuality in radio except the person can be seen. Often several SOT can be spliced together with the edits cover with video. These can be included in PKGs and VO/SOTs or can stand alone.

Stand-up – part of package with reporter on screen reading/presenting information.

Voiceover (VO) – A TV news story during which a news anchor or reporter reads a script live as video is played.

Voiceover-to-sound(VO/SOT) – A TV news story during which a news anchor or reporter reads a script live as video is played up to a place when a news maker video/audio sound bite is played. At the end of the SOT, the reporter or anchor resumes reading with or without additional video.


Actuality – aka Sound Bite, Sound-on-tape (SOT), Cut – edited slice of a newsmaker speaking. When used effectively, the use of an actuality adds to the effectiveness of a report. It also distinguishes a wrap from a voicer.

Arbitron – service primarily used in determining radio ratings.

R-O-S-R – aka Radio On Scene Report – Usually broadcast from the scene as an event happens, or at least recorded at the scene of an event for later broadcast. An example would be coverage of a demonstration at City Hall where people are loudly protesting. The outcue for this is always “At (i.e. City Hall) , I’M LENA SMITH FOR THE NEWS AT FIVE-FIFTY,” in that order.

Voicer – A recorded in-studio report that contains no sound bites. A good example is coverage of an on going trial during which you were unable to get audio of the trial or an actuality but can provide details of the days events. These need an in-studio lead for the anchor.

Wrap – aka Wraparound (or in television lingo, a Package) – A report from a correspondent that contains an actuality(s) inserted between the introduction and the epilogue (usually inserted after the reporter’s second or third sentence). These need an in-studio lead for the anchor.

Wrap/live – basically the same as the wrap in that the information is collected and written the same. However, if the reporter is also working as an anchor that week in the lab, only the sound-bites are recorded and replayed during the newscast while the anchor/reporter reads his/her script live.

Extra! Extra! Stories of Journalism Jargon


In journalism, a slug is a short phrase summarizing the subject of an article, used to identify the story as it moves through the editorial process. This definition can be traced to the printing process; in typesetting terminology, slug refers to a metal bar used as a line divider or as a full line of type as with a Linotype machine. The use of slug to refer to a piece of metal goes back to the mid-1600s, when it was used to refer to a crude bullet, likely named for its resemblance to–you guessed it–the humble shell-less land snail.


A slew of looming deadlines can have the best of scribes shaking in his or her boots, but the current sense of this word, “a time by which something must be finished,” is comforting compared to how it was formerly used. Deadline was once used to refer to a boundary around a military prison beyond which a prisoner could not venture without risk of being shot by the guards. The meaning of deadline as we now know it emerged 60 years later in American newsrooms and is thought to have been influenced by the aforementioned Civil War-era sense.

Yellow journalism

Yellow journalism is a type of reporting characterized by sensationalism, but what does it have to do with the color itself? The story goes back to the era of fierce competition between newspaper magnates Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, marked by an “any means necessary” approach to boosting circulation. In 1896 Hearst lured Pulitzer’s cartoonist, Richard Outcault, to his paper to draw his already popular comic strip. The strip featured a boy in an oversized yellow shirt known as The Yellow Kid, and was one of the first to be printed in color.


In the newsroom, boilerplate refers to syndicated or ready-to-print copy that can be used repeatedly without alteration. Prior to this sense of the word, boilerplate primarily referred to a large sheet of steel or iron used in making steam boilers. The connection between the two–drawing on the theme of reusability–can be traced back to the 1890s when news agencies, such as the Western Newspaper Union, began sending publicity and advertising materials on printer-ready metal plates to smaller newspapers to be distributed in the papers as fillers.


Though most of us use of the word tabloid to refer to those over-the-top paparazzi-driven weekly publications peddling celebrity gossip in the checkout aisle, the word was trademarked in 1884 with a capital T as a name for a type of tablet, a compressed piece of a medicinal or chemical substance. The leap from this scientific meaning to the current one wasn’t far: the pages of tabloid newspapers are about half the size of a standard newspaper page with short, condensed articles, drawing on the motif of compactness.


In journalism, a squib is a short news story, often used as a filler. Out of the newsroom, squib refers to both a witty, satirical saying and a small firework that burns with a hissing noise. Which of these non-journalism senses came first is unclear, but if the firework definition was the original, the word might be an instance of everyone’s favorite poetic device: onomatopoeia.


This term is widely used in printing to refer to a specific formatting problem: a word or line of text that is carried over to the top of the following page or column, left dangling and separate from the rest of the paragraph. Similarly, orphan is used to refer to the first line of a paragraph when it appears alone at the bottom of a page.

Bulldog edition

An Americanism meaning “the earliest daily edition of a newspaper,” bulldog edition is commonly associated with William Randolph Hearst and the newspaper wars of the 1890s, which had publishers competing aggressively to increase circulation. In 1905, Hearst allegedly told his editors to write headlines that would “bite the public like a bulldog.”

Part 4 – Ageing

Telomere Theory Of Ageing Rejected

Watched an interview where Ray Kurzweil talked with Aubrey de Grey. For me, the most interesting part was where de Grey discussed the telomere theory of aging. In his view, the theory has been “pretty much rejected.” On the other hand, Michael Fossel, another prominent scientists who focuses on the science of aging, believes, “The telomere theory of aging has become the dominant one.” What’s going on here?

I already knew that Aubrey de Grey was not a friend of the telomere theory of aging. In his latest book, Advancing Conversations: Aubrey De Grey—Advocate For An Indefinite Human Lifespan, the theory is not even mentioned and the word “telomere” appears only once and in a negative context, where “the removal of telomere-lengthening machinery” is cited as one of the remedies to remove age-related damage. It appears that de Grey believes telomere lengthening is a major problem, whereas Fossel thinks it is the solution. (Of course, both scientists agree that active telomerase (the enzyme that stabilizes telomere length) is linked to cancer.)

I am certainly not in the position to decide which of these experts is right. It is, of course, quite common for scientists to have different views in relatively new fields of science. However, I find it interesting that those two leading figures of the gerontology scene don’t even agree on where the rest of the community stands.

In the video with Kurzweil (highly recommended for every transhumanist), de Grey has to say this about telomere shortening (at about 10:20):

A lot of people think that telomere shortening is a really important part of aging, but that’s actually pretty much rejected by the gerontology field now, and I think that the rejection is correct. I think, in fact, that telomere shortening only plays a minor role if any in aging and only very few specific tissues. The immune system may be one example.

Admittedly, in the beginning he said, “A lot of people think that telomere shortening is a really important part of aging.” However, it seems the people he refers to here are not gerontologists.

Michael Fossel, on the other hand, says this in in his recent book, The Telomerase Revolution (page 19):

However, as I write these words in early 2015, the telomere theory of aging has become the dominant one, although it is far from fully accepted by all scientists. I’d estimate that roughly half of the experts in the field accept it. Most promisingly, younger scientists are far more likely to consider the theory uncontroversial.

I think interview with Aubrey de Grey was first published in September 2015. So what’s going on here? What do the majority of gerontologists really think about the telomere theory aging?

In two other books I recently read (The Abolition of Aging by David Wood and Cracking the Aging Code by Josh Mitteldorf and Dorion Segan), I got the impression that the telomere theory is getting more and more supporters lately.

However, I am also far from being able to determine whether de Grey or Fossel would win an opinion poll in the gerontology community in 2017. One thing is clear, though. The fact that two prominent scientists can publicly make such contradicting claims about the beliefs of their colleagues shows that the entire field is moving forward at an increasing speed, so that no one even knows what the majority of experts think of a prominent theory in their field.

What do you think? Pretty much rejected or dominant?


Michael Pietroforte

I am currently reading Molecular biology of the cell (recommended), a standard text book for college students. The 6th edition was released at the end of 2014 shortly before Kurzweil interviewed de Grey. This is what the authors had to say about the telomere theory of aging:

When telomerase is provided to the fibroblasts by inserting an active telomerase gene, telomere length is maintained and many of the cells now continue to proliferate indefinitely. It has been proposed that this type of control on cell proliferation may contribute to the aging of animals like ourselves. These ideas have been tested by producing transgenic mice that lack telomerase entirely.

The authors usually use the phrase “has been proposed” if a theory is controversial. However, nowhere do they say that the theory is “pretty much rejected.” It is very unlikely that a theory where the majority of scientists believe that it is wrong makes it into a standard text book. Needless to say that they also discuss the damage theory of aging.

All the books and articles I read about aging since I wrote the blog post (and I read many) confirmed Fossel’s claim, that is, that more and more young scientists adopt the theory.

I just saw a new and a really great BBC documentary about the science of aging which was aired a couple of weeks ago. I think it is fair to say that the telomere theory dominated this report. None of the scientists claimed that the theory is wrong although it became clear that telomerase probably is not the “silver bullet” that Fossel wants it to be.

Things are probably a bit more complex. However, I think it is now undisputed that telomere shortening significantly contributes to aging. Research in the years to come will show how much and how it exactly it works. I find studies about the telomere position effect most interesting

I can only tell you what Fossel and other supporters of the telomere theory of aging probably would respond. The thing is that young cells are very capable of repairing damage and getting rid of debris. However, when cells get older they more and more lose this capability. Thus, damage is an effect of aging and not the cause. If you really want to cure aging, you have to control what causes aging. If you reverse aging, the cells regain their damage repair capabilities and probably will remove all the residues of past aging.

I am afraid that it might turn out that Aubrey de Grey will have a similar role as Marvin Minsky had in AI research. Minsky’s critique of neural networks, prevented serious advances in AI research for decades. It is now clear that symbolic AI was the absolutely wrong approach and didn’t produce any noteworthy results. Symbolic AI failed because researches totally underestimated the complexity of intelligence. Researches tried to master the effects of intelligence (intelligent behavior) instead of trying to figure out what “causes” intelligence in the brain.

The damage repair approach of SENS might fail for the same reason. They underestimate the complexity of damage causing processes and the damage repair pathways in the cell. Instead of getting to the root of the problem they try to deal with the effects.

In AI, only after the paradigm shift do we see serious progress. AI research is now all about neural networks. Imagine where AI would be now if all those AI researches didn’t waste so much time and money with symbolic AI. This can happen if influential scientists support the wrong theories and research money goes into the wrong direction. The good thing is that the paradigm shift in aging research is now on the way.

But then I am only a layman who is shocked by the complexity of cell biology. I only extensively studied the philosophy and the history of science in college. All I can say is from that perspective is that we are now seeing the typical signs of a paradigm shift which happens all the time in science. By the way, I also predicted the paradigm shift in AI in my master thesis more than 25 years ago. I just hope it won’t take so long this time

AGINGSCIENCES™ – Anti-Aging Firewalls™

Nuclear Aging: The View from the Telomere end of the Chromosome Part 1 – context, history, and about telomere lengths

Posted on 3. February 2014 by James Watson

By James P Watson with Preface and editorial assistance by Vince Giuliano

Preface by Vince Giuliano

According to the latest theories of cosmology, the universe has no center. However, anyplace in the universe, including where we are on Earth, can be a center from which systematic exploration can be launched to determine the nature of the universe. And different physical phenomena might be revealed departing on where you are looking out from. Similarly, according to the GUT concept of biology we are developing, biology has no center. There is no unique point of departure or view that can hope to explain the incredible complexity of biology or aging. And also similarly, different biological insights can be revealed depending on where you start to look out from. There are very many such places to look out from, anchor points of intellectual departure that can provide valuable insights: cell components like mitochondria, the nucleus, the nucleolus, chromatin in general, histones, lysosomes, cell membranes, hormones, key kinases, gene activating factors and cofactors, exosomes, microtubules, membrane transport proteins, etc. Also it is possible to look out from biological processes as centers, processes such as gene transcription, post-transcriptional modifications, inter and intra cell signaling, endocytosis, ribosylation, phosphorylation, methylation, acetylation, circadian rhythms, inter-species signaling and hormesis – just to name some of very many. It is possible to start with a class of substances such as sirtuins, hormones, acetylating or methylating substances, and expand out from there to examine what they say about biology and aging. You can even start with a single molecule such as NAD+ and even a very simple one like carbon monoxide. Or you can start with a substance like bitter melon that contains multiple plant polyphenols and other chemicals, each with complex biological actions. So, a corollary to the fact that biology has no center is that most anyplace can serve as a center to look out from.

The followers of this blog will recognize that to a large extent, representing such multiple viewpoints and examining biology and aging from different ones of them is what we have been attempting to do all along in this blog. Of course, we still have an incredibly long way to go. An important aspect of this multiple viewpoint approach is coming back again and again to the same topic, looking at it from different viewpoints to gain additional insights. For example take histone acetylation/de-acetylation. We have looked at these to a greater or lesser extent from the viewpoints of cancer, aging, multiple specific genes, sirtuins, chromatin structure, DNA Methylation, plant polyphenols, stem cell differentiation, metabolic processes, mitochondrial communications, biological stresses, and dementias. We believe that each time we cross such a subject again from a different perspective we can usually gain a little more insight, and that is our objective.

Telomere biology is a very familiar topic in the earlier history of this blog (2009-2012), and previously we have covered it from many viewpoints in over a dozen blog entries, often addressing central questions such as “Are telomere lengths the central clocks measuring aging?” No; “Do short telomere lengths drive cell senescence, or is it the other way around? Yes and Yes; “Is telomere shortening a fundamental upstream driver of aging?” No; “Can I extend my health and effective lifespans by taking a substance that purportedly extends my telomeres?” Probably not; If I extend my telomeres will I probably live longer?” Yes, but probably by other molecular alterations you make upstream of telomere lengthening not because of the longer telomeres themselves. “Are there practical interventions that can keep my telomeres long? Yes, many.

However, many questions remained open and telomere biology continues to represent an important point of view for examining aging. In that spirit, This three-part blog entry series offers The View from the Telomere end of the Chromsome. A lot of the material here is new and wanders into adjacent areas of histone biology. DNA adjacent to telomeres, telomere-mitochondria signaling, gene activation factors and cofactors and roles of key genes like P53. This is Part 1 of 3 in the series . Because of the length of the extended telomere story, we subdivided the discussion into three parts. this Part 1 relates to a number of more-practical and less-technical topics: the history of telomere biology, telomere length testing, telomerase Inhibitors for cancer, and supplements that activate telomerase and their possible roles for inhibiting or preventing cancers. Part 2 deals in finer detail with new discoveries related to the molecular biology of telomeres, Sections 1-9. Part 3 relates to additional newer discoveries, Sections 10-17. It also includes a concluding discussion of some of the implications for a Grand Unified Theory of biology of Aging and Biology, as viewed from the ends of a chromosome. And Jim tells me he is now drafting another blog entry which offers The View from the Centromere middle of the Chromsome.
Introduction and History of Telomere Biology – The Tale of Chromosome Tails

Chromosomes have “tails” called telomeres. The tails have “caps” called “Shelterin proteins”. The discovery of these tails, the caps, and how the tails shorten is a fascinating story that I have titled “The Tale of Chromosome Tails”. It is an exciting story that started out with erroneous conclusions, but ended with an explanation of important triggers of aging and cancer. Most recently, this same “tale” has been linked to the reason why mitochondria don’t work in aging and cancer, to the DNA damage response, to the P53 gene, and to other important matters. . To properly tell this “tale”, I start the story as a “once upon a time, 102 years ago, when people thought that cells were immortal”. I will start here with Alexis Carrel, a surgeon from New Orleans.

The Origin and Death of the Concept of Somatic Cell Immortality

In 1912, Alexis Carrel published the now infamous paper titled “On the permanent life of tissues outside the organism”. In this paper, he described how he was able to keep chick heart cells alive indefinitely, provided that the culture medium was frequently changed with fresh nutrients (Witkowski, 1980). What Alexis Carrel did not know was that the chick embryo extract which he was using as nutrition for the chick heart cells actually had chick cells in the embryo extract. This oversight let to the erroneous dogma that cells were immortal. For this reason, it was a shock to the scientific community when Leonard Hayflick cultured human diploid fibroblasts and noted that they consistently stopped dividing after 40-60 cell divisions (Hayflick and Moorhead, 1961). This gave rise to the term Hayflick limit (Shay, 2000), which referred to the maximal number of times cells could divide. Not all cells stop dividing after 40-60 divisions, however. In 2009, Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider, and Jack Szostak were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the enzyme telomerase, which allows cells to divide much more than 40-60 times. (Press Release, 2009). For instance, testicular spermatogonia robustly express telomerase which allows them to continuously divide throughout life. By age 50, males produce sperm that have undergone approximately 840 cell divisions (Goriely, 2013). Cancer cells also express telomerase in 85% of cases, which explains their immortality. In the remaining 15%, an alternative method for telomere lengthening is activated (called the ALT pathway). However, in cells not expressing either telomerase or ALT pathway genes, telomere shortening was thought to be an “aging clock” that could measure physiologic age and predict death or disease.

About telomere lengths

The Life and Death of the Telomere Clock Theory of Aging

Unfortunately, the “telomere clock” did not keep time very well….it often ran too fast or could run in reverse with intervention or without intervention) (Hovatta, 2012). Part of this could be explained in terms of telomerase activation consequential to lifestyle modifications such as exercise, diet, or meditation. (Ornish, 2008) (Hoge, 2013). On an experimental level, major flaws in the “telomere clock theory” were found. A major one was the discovery that mice had long telomeres (50-150 kb) relative to human telomeres (15 kb), yet humans live as much as 50 times longer than mice (2 years vs 90-100 years) (Greider, 1996). If the “telomere clock theory” was correct, mice should outlive humans. The second flaw in the “telomere clock concept” was the discovery that mice expressed the enzyme telomerase, which should lengthen lifespan in mice to more than humans (Prowse, 1995). Instead, telomerase activation in mice appeared to contribute to their short lifespan since this increased the tendency of mice to form tumors (Due in part to the expression of telomerase, 90% of mice develop tumors during their lifespan). This lead to the theory that telomere shortening actually functioned as a tumor-suppressor mechanism which promoted organismal survival, but at the expense of getting old (Campisi, 2001).

The 3rd major flaw in the “telomere clock concept” was the discovery that telomere shortening occurred with other cellular phenomena besides mitosis (i.e. cell division). For instance, radiation was found to shorten telomeres (Fritz, 2000). In addition, it was found that radiation could induce cell cycle arrest even if telomeres did not shorten (Suzuki, 2001). Ultraviolet light was found to shorten telomeres, with or without cell division (Oikawa, 2001). The same was found with chemotherapy and toxins (Engelhardt,1998) (Muller, 2006). The 4th major flow in the “telomere clock concept” occurred when it was discovered that oxidative stress accelerated telomere shortening and that telomere shortening could occur even in cells that were not dividing (Zglinicki, 2002). Since oxidative stress is a universal feature of aging, this meant that telomere shortening was an “effect” of aging, rather than the “upstream cause” of aging. As a result of these 4 major flaws in the telomere clock theory, as well as the incongruous evidence from the telomere lengths in mice and men, the theory that telomeres are accurate measures of biological age has largely been put to rest. You can see the 2010 blog entries Telomere lengths, Part 3: Selected current research on telomere-related signaling, telomere lengths, cancers and disease processes, Part2: lifestyle, dietary, and other factors associated with telomere shortening and lengthening, and Part1: telomere lengths, cancers and disease processes.

Today, telomere length is merely considered to be a good biomarker of oxidative stress and should be measured at two time points (before and after) in a prospective clinical trial to really make meaningful conclusions. Measuring telomere length in at a single point in time and extrapolating “biological age” from this one measurement is suspect and subject to fundamental statistical errors based on standard deviations from the mean.

Telomere Length Testing and How to Avoid the Pitfalls of “Reverse Extrapolation”

Measuring peripheral blood mononuclear cell telomere length has become a standardized, validated way of measuring oxidative stress. However, this is an “empiric science” and has many potential pitfalls. The following graph shows how telomere lengths normally decline with aging but that standard deviations from the norm exist (1% vs 99%).


As you can see from the graph above, the standard deviation bars for telomere length for a given age can tempt a clinician to make a statistical error called “reverse extrapolation”. Here an individual with longer telomeres may fall within the normal standard deviations for his age, but in many telomere length test marketing brochures, a telomere test result is extrapolated back to the 50% mean for age. This results in a nice report for the paying customer, who gets a report like the one below:


In the advertisement above, no standard deviation error bars are depicted (unlike the first graph show above). As a result, the customer is told that “they are 29 years old based on their telomere length”. (in reality, the customer’s telomeres may be within one standard deviation from the mean for a 45 year-old, but the report will state that his “biological age” is 29). In this case, telomere length testing can be mis-used to make people “feel younger”. Here is another graph that hides the age-related scatter in lengths.


Measured telomere length is a very poor predictor of biological age. In a scientific study, there is an easy way to eliminate this problem – always compare the subjects telomere length tests to his own baseline. This is why any study should measure telomere length before and after the study is completed and compare an individual’s telomere length with their own telomere length prior to the intervention or treatment.

Telomere Length and the Risk of Cardiovascular disease, Infectious Disease, and Cancer

Unfortunately telomeres in general gradually shorten with aging, with a mean telomere length decline of 9% per decade (Brouilette, Lancet, 2007). This telomere shortening phenomena is highly reproducible and was originally thought to occur at a constant rate, due to cell division, and could thereby serve as an “aging clock”. (Vaziri, 1994). Hundreds of studies were done showing excellent correlation between peripheral blood leukocyte telomere length and objective physical measurements of health, such as pulse pressure (Jeancois, 2000), pulse wave velocity (Benetos, 2001), etc. As more and more studies were completed, however, it was clear that telomeres did not shorten at a constant rate. Instead, the rate of telomere shortening varied with disease. For instance, patients with shorter leukocyte telomeres had a 3-fold higher mortality rate from heart disease and a 8.5-fold higher mortality rate from infectious diseases (Cawthorne, Lancet, 2003).

Another study showed that younger individuals with shorter telomeres had a 2.8-3.2 fold higher risk of premature myocardial infaction (Brouilette, 2003). Other studies showed the same cardiovascular risk effect in older individuals (Starr, 2007). Finally, a study showed that peripheral blood leukocyte telomere length was shown to have predictive value as a test for advanced cardiovascular disease (Willeit, 2010). More recently, telomere length was shown to be an independent risk factor for cancer (Willeit, 2010). In a 10-year Italian study, those with the longest telomeres had the lowest risk of cancer (5.1 cases per 1,000 person-years) and those with the shortest telomeres had the highest risk of cancer (22.5 cases pre 1,000 person-years). In Poland, a study was done which showed that short peripheral blood leukocyte telomeres doubled the risk of gastic cancer (Hou, 2009). In summary, there is a clear link between short telomeres and disease risk. The question is what is the mechanism for this link? The answer is cellular senescence.

Telomerase Inhibitors for Cancer and Supplements that Activate Telomerase

Since 85% of cancers constitutively express telomerase, several institutions started developing telomerase inhibitor drugs for treating cancer. (Mergny,1999) (Norton,1996). Unfortunately, the telomerase inhibitor drugs failed in clinical trials for brain cancer and breast cancer (Geron, 2012). However, this same drug appears to be working for myelofibrosis, a rare type of bone marrow myeloproliferative disease. (Carrol, 2013). For aging, several supplement manufacturers have created supplements made of natural products such as the Chinese herb, astralagus (TA-65, Product B, etc.). Although these supplements have been shown to lengthen telomeres in mice, where the enzyme telomerase is expressed (de Jesus, 2013), they have failed to lengthen telomeres in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (Harley, 2011). On the other hand, lifestyle modification with exercise, diet, and mediation have been proven to lengthen telomeres in humans. (Ornish, 2008) (Hoge, 2013) (Lin, 2012). Folic acid, Fish oil, Vitamin C, D, and E have been associated with longer telomeres, when measured at time points in large population studies, but no prospective, randomized clinical trial has been done to show that multivitamin supplementation will actually lengthen human telomeres. (Paul,2009) (Xu, 2009), (Farazaneh-Far, 2010) (Paul, 2010). Zinc has also been shown to activate telomerase in cancer cells in vitro, but no human clinical trials have shown that Zinc supplementation will lengthen telomeres (Nemoto, 2000).

This raises the question about whether folate, fish oil, Vitamins C, D, E, and Zinc are harmful, if a person has cancer and is being treated for cancer. There is evidence that in the setting of chemotherapy for cancer, exogenous anti-oxidants actually decrease the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy. The mechanism of telomerase activation could possibly explain part of this phenomena. (The phenomenon is also explainable by the impacts of such substances on reduction of chemotherapy-induced ROS which induces apoptosis in cancer cells.) In summary, activating telomerease is probably good for non-cancer cells but possibly harmful if one has cancer. On the other hand, telomerase inhibitor drugs failed to treat brain and breast cancer.

Many natural products known to have health benefits and anti-cancer properties. For this reason, several of these natural polyphenols with chemopreventative effects have been tested for their effects on the enzyme telomerase. To date, most of these have been shown to have inhibitory effects on telomerase, such as ECGC, hydroxytyrosol, resveratrol, curcumin, cinnamic acid, Bosweillic acid, (Yokoyama, 2004), (Naasani, 2003), (Rafehi,2012), (Fuggetta, 2006), (Cui, 2006) (Chakraborty, 2006), (Mishra, 2008), (Zang Ting,2001), (Zhenhua, 2000), (Khan, 2011). The mechanism by which curcumin inhibits telomere lengthening appears to be due to the prevention of the nuclear localization of telomerase (Lee, 2010). In summary, several plant polyphenols appear to inhibit the enzyme telomerase. This may be a major reason why they are unique and different than multivitamins in their anti-cancer value. The following diagram from Ligi Paul’s article does not adequately distinguish this effect of polyphenols on telomerase inhibition. However, it also shows how polyphenols can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, thereby reducing the shortening of telomeres due to these factors which are independent from telomerase expression.


Image source “Potential mechanisms behind the influence of nutrients on telomere length. Nutrients influence telomere length by various mechanisms that reflect their role in cellular functions. Dashed line indicates effect of deficiency of a nutrient.”
Shift of focus to cellular senescence

As a result of all these discoveries, the focus has shifted from the concept of telomere shortening to the concept of cellular senescence. Specifically, cellular senescence means “cell cycle arrest” and can be the consequence of telomere shortening. But since cellular senescence can be induced WITHOUT telomere shortening, telomeres no longer are viewed as the focal point for interventions and instead, are now considered to be a GOOD BIOMARKER for oxidative and other stress, rather than a true “biological clock.” Studies showed that even psychological stress could shorten telomeres. Both perceived stress and true chronic stress could prematurely shorten telomeres (Epel, 2004). “Women with the highest levels of perceived stress have telomeres shorter on average by the equivalent of at least one decade of additional aging compared to low stress women.”

Partial picture of the telomere-aging-cancer elephant

A partial picture of the “telomere aging elephant” is given in the following graph. Here is the sequence of events.

Image and legend source “Telomere length is central to the process of aging and tumorigenesis in human cells. As result of the “end of replication problem”, telomeres shorten after each cell division. When telomeres reach a critical length, the recruitment of telomere binding proteins and telomere capping are insufficient. Uncapped chromosome end resembles a double stranded DNA break that is highly unstable and can give rise to chromosome rearrangements. Since telomere erosion limits the proliferative capacity of cells, premalignant transformed clones cease to expend when their telomeres shorten. Critically shortened telomeres elicit a potent DNA damage response and accumulate several DNA damage markers such as phosphorylated gH2AX, 53 BP1, CHK2 for instance (d’Adda di Fagagna et al., 2003; Takai et al., 2003). Many of these proteins localize directly to dysfunctional telomeres to form dysfunctional telomere-induced foci (TIFs). However, entry into senescence or apoptosis can be bypassed by dysfunctional cell cycle controls and lead to the accumulation of chromosomal rearrangement and a global instability of the genome. Telomeres are tightly linked to tumorigenesis and the reactivation of telomerase circumvents telomere shortening and enhances the proliferative capacity of a subset of cells.”

The image and explanation are over-simplified and do not convey that many causes besides cell replication can lead to telomere shortening, particularly stresses of various kinds, that telomere lengths can actually be lengthened, and the obvious points that genomic instability. cancer and cell deaths can lead to shorter lives (although apoptosis can be a good thing for longevity).

Summary of the Tale of Chromosome Tails

Today telomere shortening is considered a reversible event. In humans, telomeres generally shorten by 9% per decade, but this rate can be increased by oxidative stress, psychological stress, radiation, UV, genotoxic drugs, oncogenic stress, and many other factors. The beneficial effects of telomere shortening appears to be related to its tumor suppressor function. The harmful effects of telomere shortening is cell cycle arrest, which is called cellular senescence. Cellular senescence can occur even without telomere shortening, however, and appears to be reversible in some instances prior to the formation of senescence-associated heterochromatin formation (SAHF) in the nucleus of the cell. Today telomere length measurements are considered useful biomarkers of oxidative stress, rather than a “mitotic clock” for measuring biological age or life span. Lifestyle modification can increase telomere length by as much as 10%, but this does not reverse the physiological appearance (phenotype) of aging.
Stand by for Part 2 – Telomere Molecular Biology


I am a physician with a keen interest in the molecular biology of aging. I have specific interests in the theories of antagonistic pleiotropy and hormesis as frameworks to understand cellular senescence and mechanisms for coping with cellular stress. The hormetic “stressors” that I am interested in exploiting at low doses include exercise, hypoxia, intermittent caloric restriction, radiation, etc. I also have a very strong interest in the epigenetic theory of aging and pharmacologic/dietary maintenance of histone acetylation and DNA methylation with age. I also am working on pharmacologic methods to destroy senescent cells and to reactivate quiescent endogenous stem cells. In cases where there is a “stem cell exhaustion” in the specific niche, I am very interested in stem cell therapy (Ex: OA)
View all posts by James Watson ?

A More Subtle Demonstration that Telomere Length is Not a Good Measure of Aging

Researchers here find a disconnect between DNA methylation patterns shown to correlate well with age and processes associated with longer telomere length. Telomeres are caps of repeated DNA at the ends of chromosomes that shorten with each cell division, a part of the mechanism limiting the life span of somatic cells. Their average length tends to shorten with age when considered across large populations in a statistical analysis, but this is a tenuous relationship that has also failed to appear in some smaller studies. Here, it seems that older ages as assessed by DNA methylation can correlate with differences in telomerase, the enzyme responsible for lengthening telomeres, that are associated with longer telomeres.

In any given individual, average telomere length as currently measured in leukocytes from a blood sample is dynamic in response to circumstances; it reflects pace of cell division and the rate at which new cells with long telomeres are generated by stem cells. Unfortunately the large degree of individual and circumstantial variation means that there is little to be meaningfully said about the present value – the information is not actionable in all but rare cases of exceptionally short average length due to disease. The epigenetic clocks derived from DNA methylation measurements are much more solid, repeatable, useful metrics, judging from the evidence to date.

In that broader context, it is interesting to find signs that these two approaches to measuring an aspect of aging are not on the same page, though I think the researchers here overstate the significance of their work and/or engage with a strawman to some degree in their comments. What they have found does fit in with the evidence to date supporting the idea that telomere length is only very loosely associated with aging, with considerable variation between individuals. That is somewhat distinct from the question of whether or not telomerase gene therapies are a useful approach to the treatment of aging or other conditions.

Epigenetics – DNA methylation

Depiction of cytosine’s methylation and demethylation processes. The different modified forms of cytosine along with the corresponding enzymes responsible for each modification are shown.

DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that occurs by the addition of a methyl (CH3) group to DNA, thereby often modifying the function of the genes and affecting gene expression. The most widely characterized DNA methylation process is the covalent addition of the methyl group at the 5-carbon of the cytosine ring resulting in 5-methylcytosine (5-mC), also informally known as the “fifth base” of DNA. These methyl groups project into the major groove of DNA and inhibit transcription.

In human DNA, 5-methylcytosine is found in approximately 1.5% of genomic DNA.1 In somatic cells, 5-mC occurs almost exclusively in the context of paired symmetrical methylation of a CpG site, in which a cytosine nucleotide is located next to a guanidine nucleotide. An exception to this is seen in embryonic stem (ES) cells, where a substantial amount of 5-mC is also observed in non-CpG contexts. In the bulk of genomic DNA, most CpG sites are heavily methylated while CpG islands (sites of CpG clusters) in germ-line tissues and located near promoters of normal somatic cells, remain unmethylated, thus allowing gene expression to occur. When a CpG island in the promoter region of a gene is methylated, expression of the gene is repressed (it is turned off).

The addition of methyl groups is controlled at several different levels in cells and is carried out by a family of enzymes called DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs). Three DNMTs (DNMT1, DNMT3a and DNMT3b) are required for establishment and maintenance of DNA methylation patterns. Two additional enzymes (DNMT2 and DNMT3L) may also have more specialized but related functions. DNMT1 appears to be responsible for the maintenance of established patterns of DNA methylation, while DNMT3a and 3b seem to mediate establishment of new or de novo DNA methylation patterns. Diseased cells such as cancer cells may be different in that DNMT1 alone is not responsible for maintaining normal gene hypermethylation (an increase in global DNA methylation) and both DNMTs 1 and 3b may cooperate for this function.

Percentage of 5-formylcytosine found in different tissue samples measured with a MethylFlash™ 5-Formylcytosine Quantification Kit.
Percentage of 5-formylcytosine found in different tissue samples measured with a MethylFlash™ 5-Formylcytosine Quantification Kit.

DNA demethylation is the removal of a methyl group from DNA. This mechanism is equally as important and coupled with DNA methylation. The demethylation process is necessary for epigenetic reprogramming of genes and is also directly involved in many important disease mechanisms such as tumor progression. Demethylation of DNA can either be passive or active, or a combination of both. Passive DNA demethylation usually takes place on newly synthesized DNA strands via DNMT1 during replication rounds. Active DNA demethylation mainly occurs by the removal of 5-methylcytosine via the sequential modification of cytosine bases that have been converted by TET enzyme-mediated oxidation. The ten-eleven translocation (TET) family of 5-mC hydroxylases includes TET1, TET2 and TET3. These proteins may promote DNA demethylation by binding to CpG rich regions to prevent unwanted DNA methyltransferase activity, and by converting 5-mC to 5-hmC, 5-hmC to 5-fC (5-formylcytosine), and 5-fC to 5-caC (5-carboxylcytosine) through hydroxylase activity. The TET proteins have been shown to function in transcriptional activation and repression (TET1), tumor suppression (TET2), and DNA methylation reprogramming processes (TET3).

Getting Started the Easy Way A quick and simple way is to use an ELISA-like method to investigate enzymatic activity or inhibitory factors associated with DNA methylation and demethylation. Just make sure to first isolate your nuclear extracts from your samples of interest.

The biological importance of 5-mC as a major epigenetic modification in phenotype and gene expression has been widely recognized. For example DNA hypomethylation, the decrease in global DNA methylation, is likely caused by methyl-deficiency due to a variety of environmental influences and has been proposed as a molecular marker in multiple biological processes such as cancer. The quantification of 5-mC content or global methylation in diseased or environmentally impacted cells could provide useful information for detection and analysis of disease. Furthermore, the detection of the DNA demethylation intermediate 5-fC in various tissues and cells may also be used as a marker to indicate active DNA demethylation. 5-fC can also be directly excised by thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) to allow subsequent base excision repair (BER) processing which converts modified cytosine back to its unmodified state.

Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) are areas of DNA that have significantly different methylation status between multiple samples. Researchers will often perform genome-wide methylation profiling to identify DMRs between treated or untreated samples, revealing functional regions that may be involved in gene transcriptional regulation. There can be DMRs specific to tissues, cells, individuals, and so on. Differentially methylated regions may also be used as biomarkers or potential targets of epigenetic therapy.

There are several methods and techniques available for DNA methylation analysis other than using mass spectrometry or HPLC, including: Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). A 5-methylcytosine antibody can also be deployed in an ELISA-based technique to detect global DNA methylation in DNA samples. Wells in a microplate are treated to have high DNA affinity and the methylated fractions of the input DNA are detected using capture and detection antibodies, followed by an absorbance reading with a spectrophotometer.

Getting Started the Easy Way Once you’ve isolated your DNA from your sample of interest, use the simple MethylFlash Methylated DNA Quantification Kit to detect the amounts of DNA methylation contained in the samples.

Bisulfite Conversion DNA bisulfite conversion is a unique tool used to discriminate between unmethylated and methylated cytosine for DNA methylation studies. Only bisulfite modification of DNA followed by PCR amplification, cloning, and sequencing of individual amplimers, yields reliable information on the methylation states of individual cytosines on individual DNA molecules. The bisulfite modification technique uses bisulfite salt to deaminate cytosine residues on single-stranded DNA, converting them to uracil while leaving 5-methylcytosine intact. Bisulfite Conversion To effectively and efficiently prepare converted DNA for use in various downstream analyses, an ideal DNA bisulfite modification method should be: (1) highly accurate to allow for the complete conversion of cytosine to uracil (correct conversion without deamination of methylcytosine to thymine; and (2) rapid enough to enable the bisulfite process to be as short as possible, since DNA methylation analysis is in high demand for basic research and particularly for clinical applications.

Getting Started the Easy Way Isolate your DNA from your sample of interest, then treat your DNA samples with sodium bisulfite using a fast BisulFlash DNA Modification Kit, followed by PCR; or an easy Methylamp DNA Modification Kit, followed by sequencing.

Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation Highly specific isolation and enrichment of methylated DNA provides an advantage for the convenient and comprehensive identification of methylation status of normal and diseased cells, such as cancer cells. The methylated DNA immunoprecipitation procedure uses an antibody specific to methylcytosine in order to capture methylated genomic DNA. An ideal MeDIP assay should have high sensitivity and specificity, minimal background, and fast high-throughput capability. The enriched and captured DNA can be used for several diagnostic downstream procedures including MeDIP PCR, MeDIP-chip, and MeDIP sequencing and next generation sequencing for genome-wide methylation analysis.

Getting Started the Easy Way For gene-specific detection of DNA methylation on a genome-wide scale, isolate your DNA from your sample of interest, then use the EpiQuik MeDIP Ultra Kit or a 5-methylcytosine antibody to enrich and capture methylated DNA fragments, followed by sequencing or PCR.


Percentage of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in different tissues, measured with a MethylFlash Hydroxymethylated DNA Quantification Kit.

Percentage of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in different tissues, measured with a MethylFlash Hydroxymethylated DNA Quantification Kit.

5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) is a hydroxylated and methylated form of cytosine. Until the recent discovery of 5-hmC, it was believed that 5-mC was the only DNA base modification. 5-hmC can be generated by the oxidation of 5-mC, a reaction mediated by the TET family of enzymes and DNMT proteins. Early reports suggested the presence of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in the DNA of bacteriophages and mammalian tissues but these reports could not be confirmed in subsequent studies. 1 It was not until recently (about 2009) that the presence of 5-hmC in mammalian brain cells and mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells was unambiguously proven.2345 These levels were first observed by epigenetics company EpiGentek to vary between different human cell types and tissues and to be significantly decreased in cancer tissues.6
Getting Started the Easy Way Measure total amounts of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in your DNA sample using the ELISA-based MethylFlash Hydroxymethylated DNA Quantification Kit.

The broader functions of 5-hmC in epigenetics are still unclear today. However, a line of evidence does show that 5-hmC is predominately located within gene promoter regions and is associated with transcriptionally activated genes and plays a role in DNA demethylation, chromatin remodeling, and brain-specific gene regulation. Because of the presence of 5-hmC in DNA with unclear functions in gene regulation and the discovery of the enzymes that produce 5-hmC, it is considered rather important to know the distribution of this base in different cell types and in different compartments of the genome of mammals. Furthermore, it would be particularly important to identify the hydroxymethylation status in human cell/tissues with and without disease if 5-hmC can be proven to have a link between the DNA demethylation process and cancer.

Epigenetics – acetylation

Histone Acetylation, DNA Methylation and Epigenetics

Histones are the proteins closely associated with DNA molecules. They are responsible for the structure of chromatin and play important roles in the regulation of gene expression. Five types of histones have been identified: H1 (or H5), H2A, H2B, H3 and H4. H1 and its homologous protein H5 are involved in higher-order structures of chromatin. The other four types of histones associate with DNA to form nucleosomes. H1 (or H5) has about 220 residues. Other types of histones are smaller, each consisting of 100-150 residues.


Figure 3-D-2. Each nucleosome consists of 146 bp DNA and 8 histones: two copies for each of H2A, H2B, H3 and H4. The DNA is wrapped around the histone core, making nearly two turns per nucleosome.


Figure 3-D-3. The sequence of H4 from a cow. Lysine residues (red color) at the N terminus play a major role in the regulation of gene transcription.

An important feature about histones is that they contain a few lysine (K) residues at the N terminus. Under normal cellular conditions, the R group of lysine is positively charged, which can interact with the negatively charged phosphates in DNA. The positive R group of lysine may be neutralized by acetylation, reducing the binding force between histones and DNA. Such mechanism has been demonstrated to play a major role in the regulation of gene transcription (Chapter 4 Section G).

Histone Acetylation

Acetylation of the lysine residues at the N terminus of histone proteins removes positive charges, thereby reducing the affinity between histones and DNA. This makes RNA polymerase and transcription factors easier to access the promoter region. Therefore, in most cases, histone acetylation enhances transcription while histone deacetylation represses transcription.


Figure 4-G-1. Acetylation and deacetylation of the lysine residue.

Histone acetylation is catalyzed by histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacetylation is catalyzed by histone deacetylases (denoted by HDs or HDACs). Several different forms of HATs and HDs have been identified. Among them, CBP/p300 is probably the most important, since it can interact with numerous transcription regulators.

Living To 150

What is Methylation?

Methylation is a process which occurs in every one of our cells. It involves a chemical methyl group (CH3) being passed around a series of molecules in a cycle.

Methylation enables the body to:

  • Detoxify toxins within the cell
  • Repair damaged DNA
  • Create new cells

What Problems Does Defective Methylation Cause?

If the cycle of methylation is not working well a dangerous substance called homocysteine accumulates in the blood. High homocysteine levels cause serious damage to the cells and the DNA. This leads to premature aging – and premature death.

High homocysteine is closely involved in:

  • Heart and artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Various types of cancer
  • Depression
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Low thyroid function
  • IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome)
  • ME (Myalgic encephalitis)

and other serious degenerative diseases.

For example a raised homocysteine level can easily double or even quadruple the chances of atherosclerosis and other artery problems, leading to serious illness or death.

What Causes Poor Methylation?

Poor methylation is due either to an insufficient supply of methyl groups necessary to the process; or a deficiency of the nutrients which facilitate the process. The main nutrients required are; vitamin B12, folic acid, and zinc.

The Heart And Arteries And Homocysteine

It is well known that cholesterol can contribute to heart and artery disease. What is not generally known, is that before cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries damage must already be present. This arterial damage can be caused by a high level of homocysteine in the blood.

In fact, the level of blood homocysteine is a much more accurate indicator of heart and artery disease than cholesterol is. Once this sinks in with the medical establishment measurement of homocysteine will supplement routine measurement of cholesterol.

How Can I Lower Homocysteine?

To improve methylation and thus reduce homocysteine there are two approaches. A combination may be needed. The two approaches are:

To increase the elements in the blood, which supply the necessary methyl groups – primarily TMG (trimethylglycine) and SAM-e (S-adenosyl-methionine), and:

To make sure the nutrients, which enable methylation to take place all present in sufficient quantities – these are primarily vitamin B12, folic acid and zinc.

The amount of these nutrients to be taken is determined by a blood test indicating the level of homocysteine and an assessments of the deficiencies present. Professional help is an advantage, if it can be found.

What Level Should Homocysteine Be?

The target level of homocysteine in the blood is 6.3 µmol per liter of blood or less. If as high as 15 µmol per liter – and this level is not rare – the risk of coronary artery disease is quadrupled. A simple blood test will show the level of homocysteine present.

Your doctor will have heard of homocysteine, and can have it measured. However, he or she will probably not to know why you want to test it and not know the implications of a level above 6.3 µmol per liter. So be prepared to explain your concerns to the doctor and to take in some printed material to back yourself up.

Homocysteine – A Crucial Test

Measuring homocysteine is very important. If it is high it means you have a much higher chance of serious ill health than otherwise. This measure of the effectiveness of methylation in your body should be checked annually.

The 4 ‘-ations’ – Vital Indicators of Health

The 4 ‘-ations’ – methylation, oxidation, glycation and inflammation – are processes which damage and kill our cells. If we act to take control of these processes we will slow the path of aging and reduce greatly our chances of developing 21st century diseases – including cancer, heart and artery disease, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

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