Experience with Dr. Sherri Tenpenny on Facebook

As I have mentioned earlier one in one of my previous posts, pseudosciences websites do not mind to take a legitimate scientific study, cherry pick the story to use as source for their selling point. But what is worse is when the author of these studies did not even realized their studies were used.
Thats why scientists have to keep an eye on their publications and be sure no one use their studies to fuel misinformation or pseudosciences.

The Skeptics' College

Recently, I was perusing some anti-vaccination pages on Facebook. I came across the page of Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, a “doctor” that is quite popular in the anti-vaccine movement. I put doctor in quotes because according to Tenpenny’s biography, she holds a Bachelor of Arts and a specialization in osteopathic medicine. According to the UK’s NHS, osteopathy has little evidence of efficacy for ailments other than lower back pain. (edit: Thanks to Laura for pointing out that osteopaths are licensed to practice medicine in the US.)

Tenpenny posted a link to an article by Sayer Ji of greenmedinfo. The headline proclaims “Study Calls Into Question Primary Justification for Vaccines.” Tenpenny shared the article, saying “Did you know that the basic premise of vaccine effectiveness has been called into question?” The article states:

newly published research has revealed that in some cases no antibodies are required for immunity…

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[Gothic/Symphonic Metal] France National Day – My selection of French gothic/symphonic metal bands

Today is France National Day. We celebrate the breakdown of the Bastille, a famous prison  that incarcerated folks from common misdemeanors to political dissents that dare to question the Royalty decisions. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back and revealed French rebellious nature. Up to today, French are notorious for their demonstrations, strikes and rants on any form of political correctness. Is not what metal is about?
I felt it would a great time to list some of the French metal bands I have encountered and before I introduce you to them, I would like to thanks Geo Theoneandonly (https://geotheoneandonly.wordpress.com) that have doing a great job in promoting small bands from the gothic and symphonic metal genre on his Facebook group.
Some people say that the metal scene is dead and moribund. I would disagree with it and tell that such argument is valid only if you keep on mainstream and do not enters the rabbit’s hole. Because deep underground, you have a plethora of very good bands that don’t have access to promotion tools as big players but have social media and crowdfunding tools to have them thrive and soar.
I have decided to include bands from the French-speaking parts of Belgium and Switzerland inside the list, as part of cultural and linguistical similarities in this list.
This being said, let’s start with my favorite lists, all bands have been sorted by alphabetical name.

Adrana

If I have to say something about Adrana, it is certainly Anne’s voice. Surely the best French female opera voice in the French metal sphere and easilly rivals with other singers more established as Tarja, Simone or Sharon. Litterarly blew my mind the first time I heard.
A French band from Tours, they have a full album “Ancient Realms” released in 2011, a very nice first album that have very nice melodics and symphonic structure, nicely blending  with Anne’s voice. Starting with “Fall of Ancient Dusk” that help us discover Anne’s talent immediately followed by “The Frozen Path”. Another track that I really like is the “Old Guardian” in which Anne is doing a great performance.
Aside from Anne’s voice, you have in some tracks the classic duet “Beauty and the Beast” that nicely blends in. My favorite is “Obsidian Collapse” in which Anne collude with what I call a dwarf growl (clear, acute and primal growl) that nicely contrast with Anne’s voice that have this tragic tone straight from Greek mythology. The band is currently preparing their second release for later this year and I can say I am waiting for it.

Alkemy

Alkemy is a very new band from Romandie (French-speaking Switzerland). The band have been so far touring and singing music cover. The originality of the band is to host two founding female front-singers, Katia and Jess. So if you want to hear them, you will have to see them performing live.
If you want to judge their vocal qualities, look up for their cover of “Ghost Love Score”, my golden standard for comparing singers to Tarja. Very good start for a new band. Lets see now how they can transform into some artistic creativity.

Alwaid

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Alwaid is a gothic/symphonic metal band from Lille, as we call in French “les chti’s”. They have a full album “Lacus Somnirum” released in 2014 and for a first album, it is very good. The female singer is fairly good and overall this gothic metal atmosphere of the band reminds me the first releases of Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation, when the gothic metal scene was just opening for female-fronted bands. A nice group to discover especially if you are living in Northern France and Belgium (as they tour locally).

Azylya

Azylya is a gothic/symphonic metal band from Belgium. Altough they have been founded in 2009, they have only one full-release listed: “Sweet Cerebral Destruction” released in 2013. Its style reminds me something very close from Evanescence, with a darker tone. Jamie-Lee Smit (the front singer) is very active on social media and one of the friendliest singer in Geo’s Facebook group. You should definitively try if you are looking for something in the vein of Evanescence but much darker and more metal.

Darkonelly

Darkonelly is a new doom metal band from Dijon. What I would have a doom metal band listed? For a simple reason. Opera voice! Doom metal is always linked to guttural growls but this is first time I ever heard a soprano voice into a doom metal band. And a damn good soprano, pitching in very high vocal ranges. Marion-Lamita Peubey for a first timer is one of the highest opera soprano vocal I have ever heard in any band. It is just mesmerizing. She is very talented to attract you to their first EP “Stories from Beyond”, especially if you are like me attracted to high pitch soprano voices. Add on top of it melancolic melodies and lyrics and I would recommend it if you want to “broker du noir”
You can listen to their first EP via Bandcamp and give them some retribution if you like it.

Ethernity

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Ethernity is like Azylya another band from Belgium. Ethernity however is playing in another register and more into the progressive metal genre, just to warn you about it as it may sound different. They have one album released in 2015 named “Obscure Illusions”. The instrumental part is sounding awesome and Julie Collin-Spreutels voice is playing in another domain than symphonic voices I are accustomed to listen. A great alternative from lyrical voices and growls.

Midnight Sorrow

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Midnight Sorrow is a symphonic metal band that I particularly follow as they are from Strasbourg, my hometown. So it is always grateful to be able to support local band, especially for such a band showing already some high-caliber. Surely, they don’t have yet a full album, just an EP “At first”, but you can already feel the quality of it. It is taking straight roots from Nightwish, Within Temptation and Epica by crafting the symphonic elements very nicely. Mauween has a very nice voice and we have some very good “Beauty and the Beast” duet here. They currently funding an indiegogo campaign so if you are looking for a band to support, you know what you have to do!

Pyrah

Pyrah is another band from Strasbourg, so again very honored to support a band that has some potential. Very good starter with their first album “Where am I?”. The band is still not defining in a particular genre, but for me sounds more in the progressive metal genre. Give a try and see if you like it. If yes, go and support them through Bandcamp. An interesting feature of the band is the particular variant of “Beauty of the Beast” as Stephany ensures both the clean and growls, that reminds me of both Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Vicky Psarakis (The Agonist) or Floor Jansen (ReVamp era), also note the good performance of Lucie on the drums, it is always nice to see some gender diversity aside from female-front singers.

Whyzdom

Finally, “la piece de resistance” as we call it in France. One of the best symphonic metal album this year “Tears of a Hopeless God”. Whyzdom is certainly a veteran among all other bands listed as it was formed in 2007 and have three full album releases. The band is from Paris and have witnessed three different front singers, one for each album (Clementine Delaunay, Elvyne and Marie Rouyer) but Whyzdom is the French Symphonic Metal to what French wine is: it just getting better as it getting older. “Tears of a Hopeless God” naturally explored the symphonic approach by Vynce Leff earlier in “Blind” and brought this very nice piece of “baroque” that make themselves different from other Symphonic metal. The fluff and the puff that made Versailles so French!
Marie voice is just getting better and better and have less the “French accent” that Elvyne had in “Blind” and I believe Vynce found the winning formula for the band. For 2015, this album remains the highest rated of all the album I have reviewed on my blog, so it tells you something.

[Blood-brain barrier] GLUT1 Deficiency Foundation Conference

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Today was my first day with the GLUT1 deficiency syndrome community, as i attended the professional program. That was a very interesting scientific meeting as GLUT1 is a relative new disease for me and remained fairly cryptic as it is considered as a rare neurological disorder. It also fascinates me as a relative has been diagnosed by it and another may indeed display a form of it.
GLUT1 deficiency syndrome (GLUT1DS) is a particular disease for me, as it is a genetic disease directly affecting the blood-brain barrier (BBB) resulting in an incapacity of glucose to be transported across it, resulting in a deficient energy supply to the central nervous system. It is associated with epileptic-like seizures usually starting early on in children (few months to a couple of years after birth). However, interestingly enough, it is also marked by delayed cognitive development and ataxic features. Such features would easily get unnoticed by a neuropediatrician and may classify it into a type of epilepsy or into a neurodevelopmental disorder.
There are no particular etiology known, there are some genetic background when tracing family history. There are different types of mutations that results in different phenotypes and severity in the clinical settings, making difficult to get a prognostic for the children affected. An interesting thing I have learn is the variety of different types of mutations that have been identified but more importantly the possible prevalence of this disorder. It went from 2 recorded cases in 1991 to over 500 cases in 2015 and there are some estimates that if we look at the whole epileptic patients population (estimated as 50M worldwide) we can estimate number as high as 250’000.
The only treatment known is the ketogenic diet (with a 65% fat and less than 10% sugar) to force the body to rely on ketone bodies as a source of fuel. Thats no fun and often becomes a problem when patients become teenagers. There are been some interesting outcomes using heptanoin and heptanoin derivatives (such as triheptanoin), acting as an anaploretic diet. The interesting thing that remains is to explain the origin of the improvement of certain drug-resistant patients following such diet despite showing no mutations.
Interestingly enough, it seems the disease progresses over time transitioning from a seizure-like type of epilepsy into an exercise-induced dyskinesia marked by a muscle limb painful spasms followed by a transient muscle fatigue.
It was a small conference but it was great as parents of G1DS patients were meeting with professional and the small G1DS community that maybe around 20 PIs investigating the disease at this time. It was a great starter and really let me think how I can use the iPSC platform to bring an additional model that can add the patient-specific aspect to the disease and hopefully better understand the mechanisms underlying such condition. This is the kind of meeting in which you can get to know some of the patients, have these patients directly in touch with the basic sciences and have them see sciences advancing but also opening new questions.
Surely, G1D conference 2017 is my next agenda and looking forward to bring this time something to the community.