Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mexicans genetically predisposed to obesity, study says

Translated by Brian Schwarz

Originally published Thursday, August 2, 2012 in "La Jornada" ( and "Vanguardia" ( under the heading "Los mexicanos tienen predisposición genética a la obesidad, según estudio" by Emir Olivares Alonso.

Photo: Vanguardia archives
MEXICO CITY – Mexicans have a high predisposition to develop overweight and obesity, conditions which lead to chronic illness and metabolic complications. This is according various joint studies conducted by the Faculty of Chemistry (FQ) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubirán and the National Institute of Genomic Medicine, Mexico.

The most relevant findings include the identification of a genetic variant of metabolic risks – exclusive to Mexicans – which change the function of the cholesterol transporter ABCA1 and provoke a lowering in the levels of good cholesterol, or HDL, which works to clean the arteries.

Samuel Canizales Quinteros, researcher at the FQ and work group coordinator, said that when this transporter functions well it generates normal to high levels of HDL, the particles of which possess anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Also, he said, “people with good cholesterol tend to live longer.”

Researchers found a variant affecting Mexican indigenous and mestizo popopulations that provokes an amino acid (arginine to cysteine at position 230). The scientist added that studies have been done in groups of people from Africa, Asia and Europe and “in none have we seen this change”.

This mutation increases the risk of having obesity and if the pancreas is affected it causes inadequate secretion of insulin, thereby increasing the risk of developing diabetes.

The research team is now looking for other variants exclusive to America in order to explain why certain illnesses, like non-alcoholic fatty liver and type 2 diabetes among others, are more prevalent on the continent.

Canizales is also heading other projects related to the investigation of genes that increase the probability of obesity and overweight, given the rising number of cases and the related risk factors for developing diabetes, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver and certain types of cancer.

One of the lines of investigation reveals that the FTO gene, linked to the amount of fat in the organism, the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) and the convertase 1 protein (PCSK1), increases the risk of morbid or class III obesity nearly four times in Mexicans, but does not seem to cause such an increase for class I and II obesity, the most common types.

Another group is concerned with understanding what happens when fat accumulates in the liver; One of the other co-morbidities associated with obesity is non-alcoholic fatty liver, which can progress into complications like cirrhosis and hepatocarcinoma.

For this, one of the objectives raised in this analysis is determining non-invasive molecular markers, which allows for the identifications of subjects in risk of showing complications. In terms of affliction prevalence, the researcher estimated that it is present in around 70 percent of those who are obese, a rate that increases 90 percentage points if the individual is severely or morbidly obese.

Complex Disease

“Mexico occupies first place in childhood obesity, and in adults also counts among the top places on a global scale. As such, our study group includes more than 4,000 school aged children, which allows us to identify genetic and environmental risk factors.”

Canizales, who has for more than a decade been conducting projects focused on the obesity genome and related co-morbidities, admitted that the problem cannot be considered solely a genomic one; It is a complex disease shaped by many factors, like sedentary lifestyles, poor nutrition and genetic susceptibility.

The idea of collaborating in a multi-disciplinary way with other research institutions multiplies efforts for treating obesity and lowering obesity rates in the country.

“We hope that our results will be useful for the future development of diagnostic tests and preventative programs,” he said.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Curfew lifted as peace restored in Chillán

Translated By Brian Schwarz

Originally published in Friday, March 5, 2010 in "Diario La Discusión" of Chillán, Chile ( under the heading Con una hora menos prosiguió Toque de Queda en la intercomuna

CHILLAN, CHILE – Authorities and community leaders have evaluated the “state of calm” being enforced in the area of Chillán and Chillán Viejo and this morning should decide if the measure will continue to be employed.

Twenty-four people were detained during the first night the curfew was in place in the adjoined towns. The measure, which places restrictions on individual rights, had been implemented due to the mood of unrest experienced in the city following the earthquake.

Local authorities and leaders detailed the positive effects of the measure, which effectively brought an end to the practice of neighbors arming themselves to defend their villages and homes for fear of looting.

Commander Juan Jose Diaz of the 9th Infantry Regiment of Chillan said during the first night of vigilance of the exception measure there was absolute calm in the city.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Earthquake in Chile kills 82; death toll expected to rise

Translated by Brian Schwarz

Originally published Saturday, February 27, 2010 in "La Segunda Online" of Santiago, Chile ( under the heading Terremoto sacude centro sur del país: gobierno confirma 82 muertos

SANTIAGO, CHILE – The Chilean government raised to 82 the number of deaths caused by the earthquake that shook the south central region of Chile this morning.

According to Minister of the Interior, Edmundo Pérez Yoma, 34 of the dead were reported in the region of Maule. He added that the death toll reached 13 in Santiago, 10 in the region of O’Higgons, four in Valparaiso and three in La Araucanía, some 415 miles to the south of Santiago.

In the region of Bío Bío, where the epicenter of the earthquake was reported early Saturday morning, 10 were confirmed dead. But according to sub-secretary of the Interior, Patricio Rosende, that figure is expected to rise.

For now communications problems persist, the official said, confirming too that the government declared a state of emergency for the entire area affected by the quake, including the regions of Valparaíso and La Araucanía, which spans some 500 miles of the country.

No property damage estimates have been given, however, the international airport in Santiago was closed due to some damages to its facilities and it has been reported that several secondary bridges have collapsed.

The quake, which registered a magnitude of 8.8 [on the Richter Scale], had its epicenter in the region of Biobío and was felt as far away as the capital Santiago, where it twisted the balconies of buildings, downed bridges, sparked fires and cut power, telephones and Internet service. These services are just this morning being partially restored.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ti grenn fè gwo pyebwa

Help for Haiti: Learn What You Can Do

A little seed makes a big tree. By texting "QUAKE" to 20222 you can donate $10 directly to the Clinton Bush Haiti Relief Fund. You will be charged on your next cell phone bill. Find out more by clicking the ad above.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Massive flood of Haitians seek to enter Dominican Republic for food, water, candles

Translated by Brian Schwarz

Originally published Wednesday, January 13, 2010, in "El Nacional" of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic ( under the heading Haitianos buscan llegar RD en masiva avalancha

DAJABON, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Hundreds of Haitians congregated today before the gate that divides Haiti and the Dominican Republic in an attempt to cross over to Dominican soil to buy food, water and candles to provide light during the night, this following the crash of the country’s power system and potable water supply.

Meanwhile, others challenged military security as they tried to enter the border city of Dajabón seeking call centers in order to reach their families who live in Port-au-Prince.

Troops in charge of the customs border crossing, located in Dajabón, only allowed passage for Haitians with passports stamped with Dominican visas.

According to Haitian eyewitnesses, the earthquake was felt with great intensity in Ouanaminthe, Cap-Haïtien, Fort Liberté, Trou-du-Nord, Milot and other towns in North Haiti, although damage was minimal.

They reported that road bridges that link Cap-Haïtien and Port-au-Prince suffered serious damage affecting transit between these two key cities.

Still, transit between Cap-Haïtien and the rest of the towns in North and Northeast Haiti, including Dajabón, is normal. But the transport of goods from the Dominican Republic to the neighboring nation was paralyzed by the prevailing confusion on the day of the earthquake.

Trucks filled with food, construction materials and other goods began making their way Wednesday toward Ouanaminthe, Cap-Haïtien, Fort Liberté and other North Haiti towns.

The Border Security Specialized Body (CESFRONT) and the northern border national guard have strengthened strategic points in the zone to prevent a massive flood of undocumented Haitians in Dominican territory.

While the situation in Ouanaminthe and other towns in the North and Northeast Haiti is normal, Haitians who reside in this area recount with great horror the earthquake that has devastated Haiti.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Revolutionary Communist Party of Argentina commemorates 42nd year

Translated by Brian Schwarz

Originally published in "Jujuy al Día" of Jujuy, Argentina ( under the heading 42 º aniversario del Partido Comunista Revolucionario.

[This article was published in a traditional newspaper but it is not a traditional piece of journalism. It is from the Communist Revolutionary Party of Argentina's (PCR) point of view. It does not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or its sponsors.]

SAN SALVADOR DE JUJUY, ARGENTINA – The Communist Revolutionary Party of Argentina (PCR), was founded January 6, 1968. Commemorating its 42nd anniversary with celebratory toasts and activities in San Salvador de Juyjuy and Liberator General San Martín, the PCR took the opportunity to reaffirm its communist principles at a very unique time in the Argentine world.

In 2010, we will commemorate by raising flags the bicentennial and the struggle of Belgrano and San Martín. [Manuel Belgrano participated in the Argentine fight for independence; General José de San Martín led decisive campaigns in the wars for independence in Argentina, Chile and Peru.] Meanwhile, the national government uses the reserves of the “bicentennial fund” to pay debts to imperialist money-lenders, leaving thousands jobless and hungry.

This is why it is necessary to build a revolutionary part that is capable of joining the Democratic Popular Revolution that our country needs in order to end dependence on all imperial powers and large estates and to achieve national greatness and wellbeing of the people. One of the objectives of the political struggle is to protect the working class and other populist sectors from maelstrom of the crisis and its consequences being paid by the working class and other populist sectors, which is something that the government of Cristina Kirchner is incapable of achieving.

On the contrary the “anti-crisis” measures that were announced only benefit a handful of monopolies, large landowners, bankers, speculators and money launderers. The PCR is working to regroup patriotic and populist efforts so that by way of public protest another type of politics and government may be imposed.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Because we love Sandro

This is a bit of a departure from the regular entries here on LatAm News Translations, but today the beloved Argentine singer Sandro de América, born Roberto Sánchez and known as the 'Argentine Elvis', ceased to exist (as the Argentines say). So I was compelled to translate the lyrics to his popular song Porque te amo, or Because I love you. We'll miss you Sandro!

Because I Love You
by Sandro de América (Roberto Sánchez)
Translated by Brian Schwarz

From the intense emotion welling up in your eyes, I can feel you’re suffering, as I am. This situation clouds reason, impedes thought on how this singular drama that exists between the two of us must end. We’re trying to pretend we’re only friends when in reality the passion is intensifying, biting at the heart and forcing me into silence. I love you. I love you.

Your ruby red, crimson lips seem to whisper a thousand things, without speaking. And I am here, seated before you, feeling as if I’m bleeding, unable to speak, trying to say somehow it would be better if I leave here, to see you no more. Why should I care at all? I already know I’ll suffer. But in the end I’ll have a quiet heart, and I’ll finally be able to shout… I love you. I love you. I love you.

Porque te amo
by Sandro de América (Roberto Sánchez)

Por ese palpitar
que tiene tu mirar
yo puedo presentir
que tú debes sufrir
igual que sufro yo
por esta situación
que nubla la razón
sin permitir pensar
En que ha de concluir
el drama singular
que existe entre los dos
tratando simular
tan solo una amistad
mientras en realidad
se agita la pasión
que muerde el corazón
y que obliga a callar
yo te amo......yo te amo

Tus labios de rubí
de rojo carnesí
parecen murmurar
mil cosas sin hablar
y yo que estoy aquí
sentado frente a ti
me siento desangrar
sin poder conversar
tratando de decir
tal vez será mejor
me marché yo de aquí
para no vernos mas
total que mas me da
ya se que sufriré
pero al final tendré
tranquilo el corazón
y al fin podré gritar
yo te amo
yo te amo
yo te a a mo