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A Night Out in The City. Wait, on Thursday?

Groningen boasts a sizable student population, one source says that there are 50.000 students at any time, almost one third of the general population. I really think de Stad is also a metropolis in a sense, so many ethnicity and culture . To support the metropolis claim, Groningen has an exciting night life, maybe a common result of having so much teen hormones at one city. With all the academic stress and peer pressure, a night out in the city is a must.

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A fishy hand for glitazones?

Glitazones or thiazolidinediones is a special class of oral antidiabetics that act not to the b-cells of pancreas but to the peripheral tissue. It is also a PPARg agonist. Sadly, recently both Rosiglitazones and Pioglitazones were suspended from the oral antidiabetics options. It was proven these drugs have dubious side effects.

Aside from that, I recently had an autumn school on vascular medicine. The lectures are very insightful indeed. One of the output is a research design to prove that PPARg is indeed controlled by microRNA and that glitazones are affected in this pathway. I went further and imagine that a natural source of PPARg substrate, omega 3 can assist the PPARg pathway.

Here is my abstract for the research:

A fishy hand for glitazones?

Background Consistent to the domino effect, endothelial dysfunction starts the formation of atherosclerosis plaques which in turn develops into the fatal vascular diseases, including coronary heart diseases and organ ischemia. PPARγ prevents the malfunction in endothelium via anti-inflammatory and other pathway. Pharmaceutical and nutraceutical agents acting as PPARγ agonist are widely available, but the suspension of Rosiglitazone for elevating heart disease and stroke risk is indeed counterintuitive. Recent discoveries in microRNA shows that some small RNA plays a role in gene expression, some may also hinder effective PPARγ transcription whether by inhibit mRNA to protein translation or promote the breakdown of one. Method To discover more on these issues, we inserted plasmids to endothelial cell culture. Those plasmids are designed to overexpress selected miRNA (miR21, miR23, miR24, miR126, miR155) that may interfere with PPARg expression. To complete the overview, we also supplement the system with a novel member of the thiazolidinedione family, Ciglitazone (PIN, pharmaceutical intervention) and Omega-3 micro-emulsion (NIN, nutraceutical intervention) and the combination (NPN, nutraceutical – pharmaceutical intervention). As objective measurement, we determine PPARg gene expression level by qPCR, IL1β level with blotting techniques and phenotypes of the culture. Results After inducing endothelial dysfunction, miR126 cells underwent a drastic fibroblastic change, which was not observed in other cell culture. In PIN, significant escalations of PPARγ expression occur for the miR21, miR23 and miR155 with the diminishing level of IL1B. The same changes are also observed in NIN, but in a somewhat lower degree. In NPN, gene expression on the miR21, miR23 and miR155 culture are higher than the combined effect of PIN and NIN; the synergistic effect can also be observed in IL1β level. Conclusion These findings may suggest that pharmaceutical and nutraceutical agents may have synergistic beneficial consequences to the complex miRNA gene expression of PPARg  and its outcome on atherosclerosis. More detailed in vivo studies are needed to confirm these results, but a dualistic approach in drug and nutrition intervention may hold the key for better management in cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: atherosclerosis, PPARg, microRNA, thiazolidinedione, PPARg agonist.

Please tell me what you think? And maybe we can discuss it together!

Netherlands and Water: To love or to hate.

It’s kinda love and hate relationship. We all know from history the Dutch was once a thriving sailor-merchant, having ruled a far far away colonial kingdom half way across the world did tell us about the Dutch nature of seafaring. It’s also a hate relationship, 25% of its area is under sea level, and the Netherlands (the low countries, the literal translation) is always on a threat of flooding.

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First Days in Groningen


I am here! I am really here!

Yes this is the Netherlands. With all bicycle and the wide road for pedestrians. With its ancient buildings and fair skinned people.

Yes this is the Netherlands.

And yet, the reality sinks in, this is not my country, I know only a handful of people here, and I speak not their first language. I am but a foreigner.

I really hope these experiences, the good and the bad, the nice and the not-so-nice will change me, hardened me to better man.


Well, this is my first post from across the globe where I usually post, but hey, you do need a change every once and a while.

Bali: The Story of Religious Tolerance

I was enticed by Bali. Suffice to say, her charm has again trapped me in her bosom.

Not just the beautiful beaches and high culture. More than the tourists market and bars. It is the story of the island religiosity. Bali must have changed, modernization is happening everywhere, and maybe the custom and religion of Bali are the last stronghold.

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The end is also a beginning: a star cry for help.

You all know black holes right? Black holes have extraordinary (by galactic scale) gravitation pull. It sucks all, I mean all. Scientists even say that even “light photon” the fastest moving particle in the universe can not escape them. Our solar system would only mean an entrée for these bad boys.

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Hurry! The clock is ticking away.

A new study published in the free journal here highlight an important founding. May or may not be helpful for humanity, depends on how you see it.

You must know your (chronological) age right? That is the number of the current date subtracted by your  birthday. Old news.

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