[Metal] A retrospective look to 2016 through my music library

2016 is wrapping up, with it a lot of moves in the metal scene. The classic cycle of life applied again to the metal scene: some bands were born, some bands artistically died but also some drama with the departure of front singers through a laconic note. What I can say that in my eyes, 2016 was a good year for music, a fair amount of good albums and  also avoided a couple of bad releases. Instead of going through a Top 10, I have decided to sort them by new artists, releases, anniversary albums and finally the albums that I avoided like plague this year.

1) The new kids in the block of 2016:
Arcadia (FRA): A new French FF symphonic metal band from my home region. I have reviewed their EP back in September.
https://youtu.be/PF3GO3DRaFk

Exalt the Throne (USA): That was the biggest surprise of 2016, as they were opening for Epica during their gig in Dallas last February. A great blend of soprano with engaging melodic death melodics. I reviewed their album “Long Live The King” back in June.
https://youtu.be/inQ1wuS5ZEs

Mercy Isle (USA): Who said that the USA was lacking FF metal bands? Mercy Isle dispel this misconception, offering a diverse and engaging first album “Undying Fire”. I reviewed this album back in November.
https://youtu.be/DSbGIf5kY4M

Midnight Eternal (USA): What would happen if symphonic metal and power metal have a offspring, with a drop of “manga” culture in it? Well it gives you Midnight Eternal and a very nice first album named “Midnight Eternal”. I reviewed this album back in November and you can check their sound here.
https://youtu.be/6zFRSctjyks

Rhenium (UK): Bands made by one person are rare, gothic metal bands made by a single person are even more these kind of rare birds. Yet that did not discovered Christina Rhenium to take the plunge and launch her first EP “Rise Above the Sea”. That gives some promising gothic metal ahead.
https://youtu.be/ZRSoN4F4A-Y

Santa Marta (USA): Technically, it is not a new band. But it is a new band formed by Mary Zimmer (ex-Luna Mortis (Ottoman Empire)/ex-White Empress). Mary brings on the primal rage, the nihilism and the sorrow that was her trademark in the previous band. Eager to see the rest coming.
https://youtu.be/YQbngOsvrHo

Thy Shade (USA): Let’s be honest, Symphonic is slowly and surely becoming a saturated genre, raising the bar higher and higher. Thy Shade is unique in her style, by taking a neoclassical approach to their style giving this majestic opera-style with guitar riffs. It got the album of the month in November and you can check the review.
https://youtu.be/3DMim1NLXUo

2) Bands that performed in town:
I have to be honest leaving in the Midwest means driving a good 2 to 5.5 hours for attending a metal concert. This was the case when I attended Epica, Nightwish and Ghost live performances. But sometimes, some small bands stop here and animate Yellow City with some good metal stuff. Two bands that caught my attention during their stop.

Scarlet Canary (CO): A small but nice rock/metal band fronted by Hannah, singing some covers and some of their songs. Bringing the fun in town, with a good dose of shot!
https://youtu.be/BSdQ97cWqqc

Singularity (AZ): They were part of a summer tour named “Make America Shred Again”, that was certainly the best band of the tour, playing some nice technical death metal and having a rad astrophysic tee 🙂


3) Bands that I discovered this year:
These are bands that have been hanging for a while but get introduced to either through some meta-projects or simply by being exposed to their material.

Ahab (GER): 2016 was certainly the year i digged into doom. But not all doom are equal, I am really in stuff that plays on the melodics. Among the band I have discovered, Ahab is just simply impressive. Melancholic and depressive. One of those albums you want to listen when life threw you lemon in a rainy and cold day, just grab them, slice them and squeeze one in your Jaegermeister to bring on the sufferance.
https://youtu.be/eK3ZlrH2ryY

Evig Natt (NOR): Evig Natt has been hanging for a while and I am still wonder how did I miss them. They are simply awesome gothic/doom metal bands that through Kirstin can percolate emotions. Their last album “Evig Natt” is a remarkable album. Want to bet how awesome they are? Listen to “Wildfire”
https://youtu.be/PfqEmgSCJtw

Gojira (FRA): You could not miss Gojira this year with their latest album “Magma”. A very nice and refined progressive death metal album, very nicely crafted that brings some variety in my library. Check them out.
https://youtu.be/iVvXB-Vwnco

Kalidia (ITA):  When I think Italy and metal, I have two bands that comes in my mind: Lacuna Coil and Rhapsody of Fire. This year, I added another band to my list: Kalidia. Fronted by Nicoletta Rossellini, they are delivering with their first album “Lies Device” delivering some nice melodics. Just check them out, you will not regret it.

My Dying Bride (UK):  My Dying Bride is surely known from any gothic metal enthusiasts, especially if you are familiar with Anathema and Paradise Lost. For some reasons that I am trying to understand, I never got proper introduced to this band until this year, although I have been listening to Anathema in their early years. I liked the early years of Anathema but then I dropped the ball as they went into a more alternative rock. In opposite, My Dying Bride maintained their gothic and doom metal influence, giving this nice melodics.
https://youtu.be/4e_c3XAPoUI

Nawather (TUN): Nawather is a Tunisian metal band that really marked my mind earlier this year with the release of their album “Wasted Years” by nicely blending their MENA  origins through the addition of the Qanun (this horizontal type of guitar played with a metallic finger tip) with metal and also by singing in Arabic.

Vivaldi Metal Project (INT): Vivaldi Metal Project was a neoclassical metal project that involved several metal artists in re-creating the Vivaldi “Four Seasons”albums that nicely blended the classical composition with a good kick of metal in it. I reviewed this album earlier this year
https://youtu.be/MRwRPYWK8XU

3) Albums that filled my disc library 

There are been several good albums that came out this year from established bands this year. I will not talk much about since they have been extensively reviewed in my blog and you go through.

Epica – The Holographic Principle: If I am correct, the best-rated album of the year. That was a damn good album, with Mark Jansen investing heavily in it making another masterpiece of my Epica library. So many good songs that I will be redundant to review them again. “Universal Death Squad” being one my favorite and you can listen to it below to assess by yourself the epic in Epica.
https://youtu.be/P_Ys_W7ySkM

Lacuna Coil – Delirium: It was certainly the best surprise of this year (with Metallica) as it was a long time since Lacuna Coil impressed me with an album (the last one that I found still enjoyable was Karmacode released…..in 2006). “House of Shame” is certainly the best track of the album, with an insane Andrea and a serendipidic Cristina, giving you this rollercoaster between euphoria and complete depression.
https://youtu.be/1o1MoG-cz9Q

Metallica – Hardwired….to Self-Destruct: 2016 was certainly the big return of Metallica after 8 years of hiatus in the production of their new album. A lot of expectations on this one as the band was split between two choices: renewing with the old fan base (thrash) or keeping on exploring new horizons (alternative metal) more accessible to the lay audience? Metallica with this album a compromise to conciliate the two camps. It was a good album, some great songs, some okay songs. The album is originally split on 2CDs, I felt it was a bit too much and could have fit in 1 CDs if the songs were kept below 5 mins each (you had the feeling that some songs were just stretched to fit over 5 mins). You can check my review on that one. One of my favorite? “Spit Out The Bone”, damn good ol’ thrash Metallica.
https://youtu.be/m46Z0-HXySo

The Agonist –  Five: Second album with Vicky Psarakis, replacing Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy). Good, solid album that reinforce Vicky’s credentials to sing cleans and growls,in the direct continuation of Eye of Providence.

4) Albums that celebrated their anniversary

2016 has been a good year to mark milestones on several bands in my disc library.

10th Anniversary: Delain – Lucidity (the best album in my opinion)

20th Anniversary: Arch Enemy – Black Earth (the first album by Michael Amott following his departure from Carcass); Anathema – Eternity (a pivotal album in their discography); Therion – Theli (the album that threw the framework for Symphonic Metal).

30th Anniversary: Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (the first album that set up the basis for Doom Metal); Metallica – Master of Puppets (the Metallica masterpiece by its transition from thrash into the powerful guitar solo of Kirk Hammett); Slayer – Reign In Blood (pushing the limits of speed metal and also one of the release that shook the suburban moms).

5) The good, the bad and the ugly: albums that were insipid and terrible
2016 have also seen some of the most terrible releases, insipid or completely senseless. Sirenia has certainly make the major mistake to dump Ailyn as a broken doll. Karma is a bitch and honestly “Dim Days of Dolor” sounds terribly bad.
Another disappointing album was from Sonata Arctica. It was been a while since the band produced a decent album and “The Ninth Hour” is certainly not the one that will bring back the former glory. Too bad.

[Metal/Symphonic] Dark Sarah – The Puzzle (80%)

2016 is ending, so does my last review for this year. To close this (not so great) year, I decided to give a review on “The Puzzle”, the second album from Heidi Parviainen solo project “Dark Sarah”.
Dark Sarah proved last year her ability to handle a successful solo career with “Behind the black Veil”, a well-designed symphonic metal album that has this strong Tim Burton influence by its dark tale and had also this musical touch remembering some of the best composition by Danny Elfman. How does her second album “The Puzzle” stands?
It stands pretty good, I would say it is more colorful and more like a fairy tale.
It is a 10-track album, totaling about 51 minutes.
It starts with  “Breath”, a 2-minutes introduction that gives this feel of adventure and sailing on new horizons. “Island In the Mist” brings on the heaviness and like its title means, follows on the sailing of “Breath”. Nice track but nothing fancy.
Then came “Little Men” that really scared me when Dark Sarah published it because it is colorful, even a bit psychedelic. But I guess it is part of the storytelling of the album. Yet it remains my least favorite track of the album. See and judge by yourself.

The album continues with “Ash Grove” a bit repetitive but get quickly eclipsed by “For The Birds” and “Deep and Deeper” giving this lightness and fairy-tale feeling to the album. “Dance With The Dragon” brings up the charm that was in Beyond the Black Veil, giving this darker and more melodramatic tone. The best track in my opinion of the album.

“Cliffhanger” is also a favorite, by this minimalism giving us to fully appreciate Heidi’s voice. The album ends up with two very nice songs. “Aquarium” featuring Charlotte Wessels (Delain) has the footprint of Delain infused in it giving this fast-paced and poppy sound giving a good kick in the album.

In contrast, “Rain” is much more calm, a very enjoyable ballad featuring Manuela Kraller (ex-Haggard, ex-Xandria). Overall, it is a good album, proving the ability of Heidi to hold on as a solo project. In my opinion, I preferred “Behind the Black Veil” by its much darker and more orchestral tone.

[Videogames/Xbox360] Mass Effect 2 & 3 (95% and 85%)

The nice thing about the Holidays break is practicing “hygge” (a Danish term referring to cocooning), especially when it is cold outside and nights are long. What a appropriate time to dive into Mass Effect 2 and 3?  I loved the first Mass Effect (https://scientistabe.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/videogames-mass-effect-xbox360-95/) and I recently acquired the whole trilogy at once to keep my collection slick, yet I did not have time to play with Mass Effect 2 and 3. Since they are both connected, I decided to review both of them in the same time.

Plot:
The game starts sometimes after the original ME. Shepard is still onboard the Normandy, carrying on the usual job after taking care of Saren and taming the Reaper menace at the Citadel. If you remember, you saved the Citadel from Saren and brought on the threat of the Reapers and Geths on the table to the Council. Now with several members of the Council dead and the Citadel gravely destroyed, they finally got a taste of their own medicine and decided to increase the awareness on the Reapers.
Suddenly, a giant spacecraft (that will be later identified as the Collector base) coming out of nowhere blast through the Normandy and tearing it apart. In a swift move, Shepard throw Joker into an escape pod and send him into safety. With his space suit only, Shepard is sent into space and quickly suffocate from the lack of air.
A mysterious crew, under the flag of Cerberus, recover Shepard body and resuscitate him using a unknown technology called “The Lazarus Project”, a 2-year and 4 billion credit project that involved Miranda Lawson (a key teammate and romance partner) and medical officer Wilson. Two years elapsed and you wake up as Shepard amid the destruction of the medical station. Shepard get the help of Jacob Taylor (another selectable teammate) and officer Wilson, trying to escape the station. Just before able to escape the station, Miranda comes in and shoot Wilson, labelling him as traitor and escape the base to meet with the Illusive Man, the man behind Cerberus and also what will constitute “the man behind the curtain”. Nobody knows who he is, some people even question if he is a human being or a cyborg (due to his eyes). The Illusive Man acknowledge you of a particular mission: investigate the attack and disappearance of colonists on the Horizon colony from insectoid creatures nicknamed “Collectors” (such creatures are acting as harvesters for the Reapers). As you arrive and repeal the Reapers attack, you get a chance to reunite with Ashley Williams (from ME), only for a time that she appears surprised and skeptical of your affiliation with Cerberus. You learnt from Ashley that Cerberus is considered as a mercenary organization with shadow activities and questions your real intentions.
After this first mission, you get back into friendly waters. You get reunited with the Normandy SR2 spacecraft, a replica of the first Normandy equipped with EDI (an AI interface). It also hold Joker as the main pilot. During different missions, Shepard will recruit different members of his team including old friends as Tali  and Garrus (from ME), but also new characters including Mordin (a Salarian involved in the xenophage responsible of the Krogan genocide), Thane (a Drell Assassin that has some similarities with “The Crying Freeman” main character of the eponym manga), Jack (a human with supra-natural biotic abilities due to Miranda’s father experimentation on her), Samara (a Asari member of the Justicar order), Legion (a reprogrammed Geth that has separated  and Grunt (a Krogan warrior). As the team gets assembled, Shepard got knowledge of an abandoned Collector ship by the Illusive Man, such ship may provide the key to travel into the Omega 4 system. Turns out that this ship was a ambush but also that the Illusive Man was aware of such ambush and kept Shepard out of this critical information. Shepard learned from the Collector expedition that he needs an IFF to safely travel through the Omega 4 system.
While Shepard is looking for a IFF into a derelict Reaper, the Normandy is hijacked by Reapers, with Joker only the last person to escape the harvest. As Shepard heads back and find Joker alive, he decides to head to Omega 4 to rescue the Normandy personnel. After rescuing those that were alive and not turned into husks (Human-reaper hybrids), Shepard faces and destroy a Human-Reaper machine and the Collector base. As Shepard reports back to the Illusive Man, Reapers appears from remote places in the galaxy, bringing the cliffhanger to ME3.
ME3 starts six months after ME2, with Shepard detained in a futuristic Vancouver for his affiliation to Cerberus. As Shepard is informed by Anderson of the loss of communication with colonies of the solar system, a giant Reaper appears in the sky, breaking  havoc into Vancouver and bringing Hell on Earth. Shepard is reinstated in part of the Alliance, joined by Ashley and James. As Shepard heads to leave the solar system, Admiral Hackett ask Shepard to head first to Mars as Liara (another key character of the original ME) has found the blueprint of the “Crucible” an ancient Prothean superweapon that could defeat the Reapers. This expedition results in Ashley severely wounded and by the capture of “Eva Core”, a female Cerberus android with its own AI. EDI decides to integrate itself into this android, giving a physical appearance to EDI and accessory a girlfriend to Joker :).
The plots revolve in many battles on different planets against the Reapers to bring together the different alien races into the alliances. Some of them brings victory to their people (giving Tali and the quarians finally their planet back) but also a loss of several of these planets (Asari, Krogan and Turian). The plot resolve about two major items: fighting off Cerberus and gaining expertise and effort for the Alliance for the final battle.
The game ending follows the same trajectory: final assault on Cerberus HQ (with the killing of the Illusive Man’s henchman Kai Leng),  return on Earth as the Citadel warped over Earth and beamed through a devastated London, the attachment of the Crucible to the Citadel and the final encountering with the Catalyst: a child-like AI that is part of the Citadel and the creator of the Reapers. Your decision will result in slightly different endings: Controlling the Reapers, destroying the Reapers or blending synthetic and organic lives.
The ending sequence also let open for future iterations in the ME franchise.I don’t want to spoil it but after watching the ending sequence (and let the credit sequence scrolls!), it suddenly make more sense on how ME: Andromeda append to the trilogy.

Gameplay: Overall the gameplay is great, although I thought it was better in ME2. The UI is sleek and play as a FPS like ME. ME2 maintains the exploratory feature that was part of ME, with the Mako replaced by a small hovercraft in ME2. As a compensation, you can scan  planets for extracting minerals necessary for different upgrades during the game.
However, ME3 has greatly reduced this interactions, with no more scouting on planets and probing only for recovering artifacts. Another annoying issue I had with ME3 was the lack of trading options. In ME, you could sell your old guns. In ME3, it is no more the case, you have to spend your money on any weapons. ME2 was providing an array of different missions, whereas ME3 are pretty streamline, with very few relevant missions.
Another masterpiece of ME series is the soundtrack composed by Jack Wall (ME and ME2) and Clint Mansell (ME3), purely electronic and synthetic music, nicely matching with the futuristic theme that have this very “Daft Punk” sound. reminiscent of their audio work on “Tron: Legacy” and from the Moog synthesizers that were produced in the late 70s-early 80s. I have played the vanilla version, not much DLCs were added for a reason. First, to my biggest disappointment the Trilogy is not a “GOTY Edition” that includes the DLC, second I found outrageous that you have to pay top price for these DLCs even if they are 5+ years old, with no season pass available. Bad EA, bad! Lets put this aside and discuss the plot (ME2 and ME3 combined), again a very excellent plot although the ending was disappointing but still good.

Summary:
If you like 3rd person action shooter coupled with adventure, love SciFi and have been bathing in Star Trek universe and similar (Babylon 5, Serenity), you are missing something big. You should definitely grab your edition. If you can grab the trilogy, just go ahead and grab it as it will save you some $$$. However, also checkout in Gamestop clearance bins, you may save $$$ by buying them separately (ME3 was the cheapest of all three). For the DLCs, I am reluctant to pay for them. It is just outrageous that after 5 years, EA will charge you $ at top price for them and offer no season pass for getting all of them at decent price.

“This is Commander Shepard and this is my favorite Sci-Fi game trilogy on Xbox360”

[SciFi/StarWars] Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

Damn you 2016! I wished I did not have to write down this eulogy when the news broke on Friday afternoon. I knew the pathophysiology of a massive heart attack! I knew the consequence of a myocardial infarction! I knew the risk of cerebral ischemia following cardiac arrest! Yet, as report of her condition was stabilized and kept into ICU, I had hope that she will be back on track, that she will have suffered no cerebral damage, that she will be back on her feet and continue to animate TV shows and comic-cons with her joy, her sarcasms and her “bring it on!” attitude that percolated through Princess Leia performance.
Carrie epitomized the princess of space-opera: a princess that shoot on target better than any stormtrooper, a princess that kept quiet even under the torture, a princess that did not mind to set back on track space pirates, smugglers and scoundrels, a princess that stood on her mission until the last minute ensuring every single staff under her command was safely escaped, a princess that stood up to her love and went all over the galaxy to find him back, a princess that raised a whole generation of boys (dont look at me like this, I know you also share this snarky look on Leia’s bikini costume) into early puberty and girls into an iconoclasm of the “fairy-tale princesses” to become “kick-ass princesses”. Carrie brought so much that even one my daughter has her name inspired by the name of the Organa princess.
But little knew, and I knew little, about what Carrie has been going through during all these years. In all her majesty and highness, she put words and a friendly face on mental health, reminding everyone the true cost of living with bipolar depression and its toll by seeking addictive behavior. She taught us how mental illness is not some caprices, some imaginary disease to seek attention or some condition that you simply “get over it”.
Carrie also posed as a remarkable script doctor, making sure dialogues were properly in place and without hesitation correcting them (there is a floating script of TESB Star Destroyer scene with her comments all over that made this peculiar sequence unique).
I had hope she will survive her condition, but no one on Earth can tell you if you can survive or not. I can tell you the statistics, the odds of survivals, the risk factors but no one can tell if you will survive and recover.
Farewell, your Highness 😦

[Sci-Fi/Star Wars] Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (85%)

Last week came Rogue One, the first movie inspired by Star Wars that is set aside the series canon, kind of a free electron bridging the gaps between two episodes. Big expectations, risk of big disappointment but also big hopes marked that 12-months waiting period between Episode VII that was fairly good and Episode VIII due to theaters by the end of 2017.
After some conflicting schedules and weather increments that restrained me to watch it upon its release day, I was able to catch it up and watch it although not in the best condition (this is why you should never try to book a seat at the last minute!). Here is my review and feedback.

**********************ENTERING THE SPOILERS ALERT ZONE******************

My first big disappointment was the opening sequence. It starts with the classical sentence “A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far Far Away”. You expect to hear John Williams opening theme and the classical Star Wars followed by the yellow scrolling abstract setting the tone of this part. Nope, you are just into action straight out from the Hyperspace.
It starts with a descent into the planet Lah’mu, filmed in Icelandic location near Myrdalssandur. Thats give a very dense gray and black tones that sets the tone of this movie: it will be dark and gloomy.
It introduces us to Galen (Madds Mikkelsen, the brain behind the Death Star), Lyra (Valene Kane, Galen’s wife), and Jyn (Felicity Jones, daughter of Galen and Lyra and one key element of the Rogue One team). As Jyn plays, Orson Krennic (head of the Imperial Weapons Development program, played by Ben Mendelssohn) arrive with his praetorian black Stormtroopers. You have to admit, the black color makes the stormtroopers look rad! Jyn flees upon her father’s order into a secret hideout, only to be saved by Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whittaker).
I am not very familiar with Saw Gerrera (except his armor looks a lot like a Fallout T-51 power armor) because I kept myself away from the expanded Star Wars Universe and the animated series such as Clone Wars (with the exception of the seasons covering the timelines between Episode II and Episode III) and Star Wars Rebels. However, if you have followed the animated series, you should be familiar with the series.
Then I found things got messed up. We get introduced to the other part of the skeleton crew that will form the Rogue One team without any logical sequence and it will take a good 30 minutes before you can connect the dots together.
First, we are introduced to Bodhi Rook (played by Riz Ahmed), a defected Imperial pilot, that comes into the Jedha planet and taken to Gerrera by one of Gerrera’s henchman. Suddenly we are transported into another story and another location and introduced to Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna) and introduced to adult Jyn (15 years separates the attack on Lah’Mu and the present time), let rotting in an Imperial detention center.
Jyn got freed by Cassian, allowing us to get introduced to K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial robot that have a good sense of sarcasm and humor (something a bit similar to Futurama’s Blender, but with a less explicit mouth). Following her release, Jyn is brought to Yavin IV and bring us back to the original Star Wars lore. This was the first big bluff to see Mon Mothma, a remarkable copycat copy of the original Caroline Blakinston (Return of the Jedi) this time played by Genevieve O’Reilly. Also the surprising presence of Bail Organa gives this little easter egg that helps binding between the prequels (I,II and III) and the original trilogy. It is a nice one but also create one of the many conundrums in Star Wars logic. He is on Yavin IV almost the full period of the movie and almost like a stupid move go to die vaporized on Alderaan. Such little details like this are the same one that undermined this movie.
During this meeting, Mon Mothma instruct Cassian and Jyn to get in contact with Gerrera in Jedha, as Gerrera (leader of a guerrilla fighting off the presence of Imperial troops in Jedha) is hostile to anyone trying to get in touch with him. As a sidetone Cassian is also briefed that his next mission will consist of killing Galen. This is an interesting development in the story arc. The Rebel Alliance was always presented as a faction with a certain sanctity, killing only stormtroopers and Imperial forces by necessity during battles. This mission sounds more like an extrajudicial killing and smears on the white sheet that the Rebel Alliance draped in the original trilogy. This is also emphasized later in the expedition on Jedha with the terrorism act committed on an Imperial convoy in Jedha (from Gerrera’s liberation guerrilla) resulting not only in several civilian casualties but also in the ultimate collective punishment. These two aspects are highly echoing the Syrian conflict in which propaganda from both sides of the conflict are trying to minimize their atrocities in their quest for victory, only resulting in civilians (taken in the middle of the cross-fire) to pay the heaviest price of all: complete destruction. The destruction of Jedha by the Death Star is also highly symbolic of the abusive superpowers forces to bow down their enemies by targeting their civilian populations: American (WW2 German carpet bombing of major cities like Hamburg, Berlin or Dresden; Vietnam), Russian (carpet bombing of Chechnya’s Grozny; Syria’s Aleppo), German (Paris bombing during the 1870 war; WW1’s Somme and Northeastern France bombing; Spain’s Guernica campaign; WW2’s London bombing campaign…..).
As Jyn meets finally her former savior (Gerrera), we finally get the crystallization and reach finally a semblance of narrative after a hodgepodge series of sequences that resulted in a very messy and chaotic introduction to Rogue One team. As this point, we have a skeleton crew of what I would call misfits but completely dedicated members: Jyn, Cassian,  K-2SO, Bodhi, Chirrup Imwe (played by Donnie Wen, a blind monk-warrior strongly believing in the force) and Baze Malbus (played by Jiang Wen,  mercenary harboring a laser Gatling and Imre BFF).
This encounter is only short-lived as Krennic decides to test-fire the Death Star on Jedha.
This was some mind-blowing sequence in the movie: first, it was an impressive moment to see Peter Cushing raised back from the dead thanks to modern CGI (it also shows how we are coming far from The Matrix Reloaded Playstationesque VFX). It was also some “shock and awe” moment to see the Death Star blowing up the planet in a death that was slow and painful: unlike the immediate blow of Alderaan as depicted in Episode IV, it is slow enough (maybe a good 10-15 mins) to have the population assist to their own death without any chance to escape it. Suddenly, the memorable quote from Obi-Wan Kenobi before the arrival in the Alderaan system takes its true meaning. However, this also creates another conundrum as Alderaan explosion does not make sense anymore. This is where an update of this scene can significantly gain in its impact. The silly moment is certainly Gerrera standing in the collapsing Jedha although he could have fled. Facing death in Sci-Fi movies is the hallmark of spaceship captains, not some revolutionaries.
The movie then take us to us to Eadu in which Cassian is appointed to kill Galen but also highlights on the logistical mess that the Rebel Alliance (and often most rebel groups and resistance) is. It is one of the darkest and gloomiest sequence (also marked by the photography) by several aspects: Krennic’s cold-blood execution of engineers following Galen’s leak to rebels, the death of Galen in Jyn’s hand allowing only few second to reunite with Jyn after 15 years before dying in her arms.
The end of the second third of the movie is marked by a sequence full of references: a volcano planet (Mustafar?) that holds a dark Sith castle, a bacta tank (TESB anyone?) with a severely malmed individual in it. It brings Darth Vader in a short sequence, just teasing for the final sequence.
The final third of the movie is made to recover the Death Star plan located on Scarif planet (filmed in the Maldives island), a paradise planet that will become an apocalyptic hell. It is one of the greatest battles that I even see: First it points out the lack of the Rebel Alliance readiness to fight off the Empire. Second it demonstrate that the Rebel Alliance lacks any maturity in the decision-making and leadership, a feature that undermine many failed revolutions. Third, it combines both the Episode’s V battle of Hoth (with a strong feeling of the D-Day Normandy assault as depicted in the “The Longest Day” ) and episode’s VI galactic battle of Endor. Fourth, this battle concluded in a “bad ending” scenario. No Naboo fest, No Endor fest, no ceremony…….None of the Rogue One members survive, with Jyn and Cassian’s seeing their own fate unfolding with the explosion of the planet, displayed by a giant atomic mushroom that vaporize them. Finally, we have a sneak peek of Darth Vader coming in full rage, slashing through rebels in a Tantive-like vessel as never seen before. We are lead to speculate that this is the same vessels than Princess Leia but only figure out that it was a diversion as an escape shuttle jump to hyperspace to give the information to Princess Leia. This is also a side of the movie that was disturbing: a CGI Carrie Fisher rejuvenated by 40 years, making the direct link to Episode IV.
This is also creating a major conundrum in the canon: we have another feeling of incoherency that marked the first third part of the movie. It felt Leia just dropped in as a convenience. It also raises the credibility of the Rebel Alliance to face the Galactic Empire immediately after being smashed on Scarif.
Overall, Rogue One is way better that any prelogy chapters. It has some good vibes of the Empires Strikes Back but still not reach A New Hope. It somehow looks better  than Return of the Jedi but fare below a New Hope. Also if you are fond of the Jedi mythos (I honestly does not give a care about the Jedi/Sith mumbo-jumbo in general), you will be disappointed. But if you want to see great Sci-Fi features (aliens, spaceships and lasers) you will be in heaven.

[TV/Sci-Fi] Star Trek 50th Anniversary: How I learned to stop worrying and love being a Trekkie.

As 2016 closes to end with its many tumultuous and tragic toll over this year, I wanted to also highlights some of the good things that happened on a personal level this year. One of them is discovering “Star Trek” through watching “Star Trek The Original Series” as 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the original series on NBC.
For a long time now since my initial exposure to Star Trek universe when I was a kid, the airing of the original (remastered) episodes on BBC America provided a plato how I learned to stop worrying and love being a new member of the Trekkie family. As I am finished up binging on the original series (I am in the almost done with the first-half of Season 3, watched the original movie and the two JJ Abrams movies), I thought it would be great to put that into a blog and why I think Star Trek surpasses Star Wars in many aspects, at least based on my binge level and current knowledge of the lore.
My first experience of Star Trek was maybe when I was 3-4 years old, when the series was aired on some French public TV channel. I was intrigued but quickly stopped by my Dad skepticism about the seriousness of the series, impersonated by Spock Vulcan trait (in other words his pointed ears). So this eagerness was stopped and stayed latent until now, as I moved into Star Wars and fueled by the misconception that Star Trek was boring. This I feel define the rivalry between team Star Wars and team Star Trek.
Indeed both are different and addressing two distinct philosophies: the former is highly impregnated by religion and beliefs (indeed Buddhism, Zen and other religions have highly influenced Georges Lucas) whereas the later is driven by logic, skepticism and critical thinking (that I guess why Star Trek is highly popular amongst scientists and also a trademark of Gene Roddenberry humanism). It is also driven by their very distinct plot development: the former constitutes a clever blending of sword & buckler (lightsabers) and Western (the famous Han solo cantina duel) whereas the later prone the diplomacy approach before the use of violence (even there, the crew use their phasers on stun mode) to solve a hard-time situation. This lack of action in the latter is probably why folks often chastise Star Trek as a boring series due to its lack of action (the first Star Trek Original Motion Picture was indeed exemplifying this stereotype).
However, “Star Trek – TOS” provide a much richer environment than Star Wars although being 10 years older than then Star Wars. In Star Trek, we are not dealing with the Star Wars skeleton crew. We are dealing with a whole navigating team, each with their own expertise, pros and cons. We have Captain James “Jim” P. Kirk (played by William Shatner), a charismatic and womanizing ship captain, seconded by Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy), a Vulcan science officer and champion of logic. Contrasting with Spock personality, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (played by DeForest Kelley) provides the mercurial and hard-boiled doctor, using any of the situations to verbally joust with Spock.
In addition, we have key elements that made the series very innovative by its cultural inclusiveness and progressive views:

  • Lt. Nyota Uhura (played by Nichelle Nichols), a Afro-American woman in place of the key communication officer.
  • Lt. Hikari Sulu (played by Georges Takkei) as a Japanese helm officer. Sulu is the man behind the “USS Enterprise” maneuver into warp drive, putting the defenses on and firing phasers and torpedoes against hostile encounters.
  • Ensign Pavel Chekov (played by Walter Koenig) a Russian second-in pilot
  • Lt. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (played by James Doohan), easily recognized by its strong Scottish accent, key engineer that have the spaceship “USS Enterprise” run in good hands. He is the man behind the transporter that made Star Trek as it is.\
  • Nurse Christine Chapel (Majet Barett, Roddenberry love affair and second wife), assistant to McCoy and Spock secret lover.Aside from taking (limited) control of the ship during absence of Kirk, none of them are dispensable (unlike Star Wars in which almost everyone knows how to fight and fly the Falcon Millennium). Almost each episodes of Star Trek is centered about the discovery of a novel planet and its inhabitants or around a spaceship encounters. This is what I love about Star Trek: they don’t go blindly into a planet. They scan it, study it, define its composition and identify any presence of living beings. Even after living beings, the crew stands on a strong ethos driven the Prime Directive: do not interfere with the population technology or beliefs. Observe and limit interactions. Sounds sciencey no? It is. Many things that are appearing in Star Trek have crossed the science-fiction into the science: the use of miniature storage device that almost look like flash drives, the health monitoring system in sick bay that is now a common device in every hospitals….There are things that still into the science-fiction realms like the Tricorder, the propulsion system called warp drive…..The Original Series spans on 79 episodes split in three seasons. Overall most of them are interesting but there are also inequalities: some are excellent, some are just kind of a reheated episode, some are completely weird or infamously bad.

    These are some of the greatest episodes that i recommend to watch. Season 1 is certainly one of the best season as there are many episodes that made my favorite list:
    Season 1 (1966-1967):
    – S01E04: “The Naked Time”. In this episode, the crew is investigating the death of a federation outpost, only to be contained by a transmissible parasite that makes the crew hallucinating and schizophrenic.
    – S01E05: “The Enemy Within”. A damn good episode! One of the few written by Richard Matheson (you may heard his name as a screenwriter for many “The Twillight Zone” episodes and “I Legend”). In this episode, a malfunction in the transporter results in having Kirk personality split into two Kirks: the good-hearted Kirk and the evil-minded Kirk. This is the episode in which Kirk appears completely insane!
    http://s294.photobucket.com/user/Pamelia_and_Stormi_SongBird/media/Celebrities/CaptainKirk.gif.html
    –  S01E07 “What Are Little Made Of”. In this episode, the crew investigates a distress call from Dr. Roger Korby, an exobiologist that is also Nurse Chapel long lost finance. He has been working on creating humanoids replicas and try to use the Enterprise as a vehicle for dominating the world.
    – S01E10 “The Corbomite Maneuver”. In this episode, the crew face an encounter with ah alien spaceship, putting the crew into a nerving mouse-and-cat game.
    – S01E11-E12 “The Menagerie”. Based on an unaired pilot repurposed in this 2-part episode. It sees Spock mutiny decision to follow Captain Pike’s order, former USS enterprise commander.
    – S01E14 “Birds Of Prey”. This is the first episode that introduce us to the Romanian faction, one of the faction at war with the Federation. It is also has this classical feeling of chivalry that was noted in WW1 air and sea battles.
    – S01E16 “The Galileo Seven”. This episode is one of the most stressful as Spock and the team are stranded on a transport shuttle crashed into an hostile environment, fighting form their survival and trying to get back into the Enterprise.
    – S01E18 “Arena”. This is probably one of the classical episode that looks weird and outdated but yet fascinating. In this episode, Kirk and the captain of a hostile spacecraft (a paper-mache reptile) are put on a planet with only their intelligence and natural resources to develop lethal weapons, as only one will leave this place alive.
    – S01E22 “Space Seed”. This is an important episode as it introduces us to “Khan”, one of most fearsome foe of the Star Trek Universe.
    – S01E23 “A Taste Of Armageddon”. Thats another great episode by the political meanings. The Enterprise crew arrive in a planetary system that appears thriving and  peaceful, only to see that a 500-year war has been running between two factions. A virtual war but with deadly civilian tolls, as each faction have to disintegrate its own civilians as “collateral damage”.
    – S01E25 “Devil in the Dark”. This is the episode that was used in one video made from someone of my home region, using a vernacular regional German dialect (Alsatian), with a creature (referred in the parody as “la merde de l’espace”) that terrorise a mining company. One of these weirdest episode highlighted by Spock mind-melding with the creature.
    – S01E26 “Errand Of Mercy”. Not a great episode but worth in the list as it is the first episode to introduce the Klingons (their appearance and language will greatly differ in the subsequent iterations).
    – S01E28 “The City on the Edge of Forever”. Certainly one of the best episode due to its dramatic tense. Following an accidental injection, a delusional McCoy beams himself into a planet hosting a time-travel portal transporting him, Kirk and Spock into the 1930s depression-era. Kirk and Spock faces not only the dilemma hold by the Prime directive but also the consequence of saving someones death on the historical timeline.

    Season 2 (1967-1968):
    Season 2 was also very good but some episodes have this feeling of “deja-vu” by using a plot already explored. These are my favorite Season 2 episodes in my list:
    – S02E04 “Mirror, Mirror”: Another great epidote in which a disturbance in the transporter beam leads to a mix-up between two parallel universes, sending Kirk and its teammates in which the Federation is more like a pirate and terrorizing organization.
    – S02E06 “The Doomsday Machine”. Another favorite episode. In this episode, the Enterprise faces a huge doomsday machine that is fueling on planets and galaxies that he swallows. He sees the demise of an another spacecraft and captain that will make the ultimate sacrifice as a ship’s captain.
    – S02E10 ” Journey To Babel”. A unique episode as it brings various races of the Federation into the Enterprise, in particular Spock’s parents. All on a “whodunit” intrigue as well as a unique father-son relationship makes this episode unique and original.
    – S02E15 “The Trouble with Tribbles”. THE episode with the fur balls!
    – S02E16 “The Gamesters of Triskelion”. One of the action-packed episode seeing Spock, McCoy and Kirk becoming gladiators.
    – S02E17 “A Piece of The Action”. What would Star Trek would like if it took place in the 1920’s Chicago prohibition-era? Well this episode!
    – S02E21 “Patterns of Force”one of these episodes using a planet as a mirror to human history, in particular to something looking like the Nazi Germany. Worth the seeing.
    – S02E24 “The Ultimate Computer”. Before computers were even outside, this episode had this visionary feels as it predicts the danger of considering any computer devices as fool-proof, devoid of any “bugs”. Wargames’ WOPR or Terminator’s Skynet anyone?
    – S02E26 “Assignment: Earth”. An odd but fun episode, playing with Star Trek colliding with modern-day (1967-69) Earth, straight in the line of “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” (S01E19) episode.
    Season 3 (1968-1969):
    Season 3 in my opinion started to go into weird direction, brining some of the worst episodes and maybe explaining why the series was plugged off. This seasons feels like a roller-coaster as it feels an a succession of “yeah” and “meh” episodes. Here are some of the best and worst episodes that I was given to see:
    – S03E01 “Spock’s Brain”. The worst episode in my opinion, just look at the plot: A lost civilization sent a woman into the Enterprise, put everyone to sleep to steal Spock’s brain. Not only Spock remains alive without a brain, even better McCoy find a way to make a remote-controlled Spock!
    – S03E02 “The Enterprise Incident”. Maybe of the best of that season, in which Kirk and Spock decide to stealthy steal a Romanian technology. One of the few times Spock kicks away his logic and use his seduction to the female Romulian ship captain  to plot the theft. When James Bond collides with Star Trek, it makes one interesting episode.
    – S03E03 “The Paradise Syndrome”. Another terrible episode in which Kirk becomes amnesic and fall in love with a Native-American like indigenous inhabitant and becomes a God-like symbol.
    – S03E05 “Is There in Truth No Beauty”. Another terrible episode in which Kollos, a Medusean ambassador is locked into a box due to transportation, any human seeing Kollos (in other words the inside content of that box) become insane before dying. I never knew that psychedelic visuals would make someone to die, unless you are on LSD. I guess that was maybe the message behind that episode “Don’t do drugs”.
    – S03E07 “Day Of The Dove”. Thats another great episode in which Kirk and a rival Klingon ship have to work together to fight a common enemy, an energy-made creature feeding on anger and violence.
    -S03E08 “For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”. Not a great episode but worth mentioning as it has the only episode in which McCoy have a love affair with a priestess from a drifting spaceship turned into an asteroid.
    – S03E09 “The Tholian Web”. One of the darkest episode. As Kirk investigates the wreckage of USS Valiant, the crew faces multiple challenges that put them into the most challenging situation: a disease that makes crew members bezerk, Captain Kirk declared dead by Spock only to be found lost into another dimension running low on oxygen, the attack of a Tholian fleet resulting in major casualties and mechanical damage, putting Spock and McCoy into the most tense decisional fight in decision making.
    – S03E10 “Wink of an Eye”. A very boring episode in which Captain Kirk moves at the speed of light following the incursion of some aliens inside his ship. The only noteworthy moment in my opinion is when Captain Kirk went the extra mile, above the call of duty with the female alien :p.
    – S03E11 “Eylaan of Troyius”. An interesting but also weird episode, with Kirk having to discipline a tin-foil clad but spoiled princess and a sabotage by some Klingons. We knew Kirk was a womanizer but making up with a princess-bride was priceless.
    – S03E12 “Whom God Destroys”. An overall okay episode taking place in a space asylum taken by Garth of Izard, a former Starlet captain turned psychopath (and capable to take others apparence). What make this episode very interesting? Two things: seeing the false Captain Kirk getting loco as Scott refuses to beam him inside the Enterprise, the cruauty of Garth that does not hesitate to let suffocate Marta (her love affair from Orion) by exposing her to deadly poisonous gases but also to explode her alive remotely all on the prime-time screen.
    – S03E14 “The Mark of Gideon”. A bizarre episode in which the Enterprise try to establish diplomatic contact with the habitants of the Gideon Planet. The only problem is that such planet is overpopulated by mute folks in spandex moving using Brownian movement. Choosing Kirk for helping to control the population is certainly sarcastic.
    – S03E19 “Requiem For Methuselah”. I liked this episode as it has some Twillight Zone twist to it. The Enterprise is beamed down a planet to harvest and extract some ryetalyn to treat some a Rigelian fever outbreak (I wonder if there is any association  with the Ritalin drug used for ADHD patients). At the surprise of the captain, they found two humanoids on the planet that not what they appear to be.
    – S03E20 “Way to Eden”. Oh my, this is an awful episode. Imagine hippies into space looking for their ashram and raising a mutiny inside the Enterprise. Ugh!
    – S03E21 “The Cloud Minders”. An interesting episode by its inspiration for Lando Carlissian’s cloud city of the Bespin planet. It has also a strong inspiration with Fritz Lang “Metropolis” by the social class divide (the intellectually poor are relegated to terranean surface, whereas the rich ones are living in the clouds).
    – S03E22 “The Savage Curtain”. Another interesting one, as the crew of the USS Enterprise are encountered by a replica of Abraham Lincoln, only to be forced to participate in a gladiators game similar to “Arena”. Kirk, Spock and Lincoln team with Saruk (a legend amongst Vulcan history) into a deathmatch against some of the greatest villain of Earth History including Gengis Khan and Captain Green. The second time that a rock-based alien is the center of attention.
    – S03E23 “All Our Yesterday”. This is a must-watch, one of the best episode by its darkness and probably the first time Spock showed his human emotion. The USS Enterprise is visiting a planet that has 4 hours to live before its destruction by its star that became a nova. Spock, Kirk and McCoy are beamed down into a library and greeted by the last librarian. At their surprise, the librarian tell them everybody else have left into safety (despite their lack of knowledge in rocket science and space exploration). The trio discovers the fate of its population as they are trapped in some holographic portals.
    – S03E24 “Turnabout Intruder”. The last episode before NBC cancelled the production. Also one of the worst episode of TOS franchise. Captain Kirk is visiting Camus II following a distress signal from Dr. Lester, a scientist and former Kirk love affair during its time at the Starfleet Academy. Using an ancient device, Dr. Lester traps Kirk and use it to switch minds. This episode is awfully bad essentially for the mostly misogynistic allure of it. The whole  plot is centered on Dr. Lester venality, as women are barred from becoming Starfleet Captain. Dr. Lester also use many mysogynistic techniques such as “slut-shaming”, physical and verbal violence (she tries to kill Kirk imprisoned in Dr. Lester’s body several times) and “gaslightning”.

[Sciences/BBB] Histamine-induced blood-brain barrier disruption in teething children: a “post hoc ergo” on glucocorticoids.

Recently, I have been aware about some parents concerned about the impact of teething on the blood-brain barrier integrity, such claims was wrapped through one of the most bizarre “ergo post hoc” fallacy following that sequence:
1. Teething induces histamine release
2. Histamine is a vascular hyperpermeable vascular factor
3. Blood-brain barrier in babies is leak
4. Therefore Teething induces a blood-brain barrier breakdown in children.

You have to agree that is one of the most bizarre fallacious association, but it has been repeated and spread enough to have parents concerned about the impact of teething on the blood-brain barrier. To dispel that myth and beat that dead horse once for all, I think it is important to demonstrate why this information is fallacious.

 

  1. Teething and histamine release: understanding the mechanism of inflammation.

First, in order to understand the physiological response of teething, you have to understand the mechanism of inflammation. Everyone can provide a clinical presentation of an inflammation: it is red, it is swollen and it is hot.
Inflammation is triggered by lesion or a wound due to internal or external stimuli, in our case teething. Teething involves a mechanical stress (due to teeth growth) and eventually cells and tissue laceration. Such laceration release intracellular contents into the extracellular space that turns on resident immune cells. These cells in turn release what we refer to “pro-inflammatory factors”, a cocktail of different chemicals that triggers the inflammatory bomb on:

We have amino-acids derivatives and peptides (bradykinin, histamine, inflammatory chemokines and cytokines) and arachidonic acid (AA)-derived molecules. The production of AA-derived molecules (also known as prostanoids) are driven by cyclo-oxygenases (COXs). There are two types of COXs: COX1 that is constantly produced at small level and COX2 that is increased during inflammation.  COX1 produce the “good prostanoids” and COX2 the “bad prostanoids”, the latter being the driving force of the inflammation. COXs are the classical targets of the classical NSAIDs found in OTC products including acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). All these small molecule target COXs and stop prostanoids production. In the case of teething, inflammation is mostly driven by the release of prostanoids (such as prostaglandin PGE2) and interleukins (IL-1beta) (Blakey, White et al. 1996). Aside of two obscure studies published 40 years ago in obscure medical journals (Cotias, de Medeiros et al. 1968, Soliman, Abdel Wahed et al. 1977) there is no evidence of histamine release following teething. This therefore nullify claim 1.

  1. Histamine and the blood-brain barrier

Histamine is not the major mediator of inflammation, but it is indeed the major mediator in allergic reaction. During an allergic reaction, the immune system respond to the allergen by the production of certain types of antibodies called IgE.

IgE are produced by B-cells that positively responded to the allergen, recognizing it as a foreign body. IgE binds to a certain type of immune cells called mast cells. Mast cells are about less than 1% of the total population of immune cells. These cells are super-loaded with histamine, ready to puff it upon signal. Once IgE binds to its appropriate receptor, mast cells puff and release vast amount of histamine. Histamine in turns triggers the anaphylactic response such as “asthma”, “runny nose” and in the worst case an anaphylactic shock. The main treatment for mild allergic reaction is solved by taking anti-histaminic drugs such as Claritin D or Benadryl.
Because the histamine released in teething is much more negligible than the amount of prostanoids produced, the use of anti-histaminic is worthless because you only address a minor component of the inflammation and omit to block the major component. So the histamine relationship with teething is also refuted at this point. But does histamine can cause the BBB disruption and its leakiness? Yes, but only at high doses and only in very specific cases. Studies that have investigated the biological effects of histamine at the BBB are very old (20+ years) and were achieved with high concentrations (10-100 micromol/L) (Gross, Teasdale et al. 1981, Domer, Boertje et al. 1983, Watanabe and Rosenblum 1987, Butt and Jones 1992, Mayhan 1996). If we consider that histamine is produced during teething, we can conservatively assume that such level would not be over plasma levels found during a severe allergic reaction such as an anaphylactic shock. Reported values for an anaphylactic shock are about 6.35 nmol/L (Laroche, Gomis et al. 2014). Even at that high level, that’s put us about 1000X to 16000X less than values reported to have an activity on the BBB. So claim 2 is also refuted.

  1. Is the BBB leaky in newborns and babies?

TL; DR the short answer is NO. If you want to understand why and what is the science behind my statement, please check my previous post about it: https://scientistabe.wordpress.com/2016/05/21/neurosciencesbbb-thiomersal-and-the-blood-brain-barrier-where-does-the-science-stand/)

 

  1. Conclusions

By now, we should agree that the reason of delaying vaccines in children due to histamine-induced barrier disruption does not stand to science. There is no scientific rationale to support the hypothesis of a massive release of histamine during teething, such release being well below reported values for achieving a BBB disruption and leakage. If you have your baby teething right when he/she is due for immunization, consult with your AAP-accredited pediatrician for what is best for baby.

    5. References

Blakey, G. H., R. P. White, Jr., S. Offenbacher, C. Phillips, E. O. Delano and G. Maynor (1996). “Clinical/biological outcomes of treatment for pericoronitis.” J Oral Maxillofac Surg 54(10): 1150-1160.

Butt, A. M. and H. C. Jones (1992). “Effect of histamine and antagonists on electrical resistance across the blood-brain barrier in rat brain-surface microvessels.” Brain Res 569(1): 100-105.

Cotias, C. T., E. C. de Medeiros, U. V. Lima and C. F. de Santana (1968). “[Determination of histamine release in the blood serum of children during deciduous tooth eruption].” Rev Fac Odontol Pernambuco 1(2): 95-100.

Domer, F. R., S. B. Boertje and S. A. Sweeney (1983). “Blockade of the acetylcholine-and histamine-induced changes in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier of normotensive and spontaneously hypertensive rats by atropine and pyrilamine.” Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol 42(1): 157-160.

Gross, P. M., G. M. Teasdale, W. J. Angerson and A. M. Harper (1981). “H2-Receptors mediate increases in permeability of the blood-brain barrier during arterial histamine infusion.” Brain Res 210(1-2): 396-400.

Laroche, D., P. Gomis, E. Gallimidi, J. M. Malinovsky and P. M. Mertes (2014). “Diagnostic value of histamine and tryptase concentrations in severe anaphylaxis with shock or cardiac arrest during anesthesia.” Anesthesiology 121(2): 272-279.

Mayhan, W. G. (1996). “Role of nitric oxide in histamine-induced increases in permeability of the blood-brain barrier.” Brain Res 743(1-2): 70-76.

Soliman, N. A., S. Abdel Wahed, A. M. Abul Hassan, G. el-Asheiry and A. K. Abdallah (1977). “Systemic disturbances accompanying primary teething: a clinical and pharmacological study.” Egypt Dent J 23(1): 1-8.

Watanabe, M. and W. I. Rosenblum (1987). “In vivo studies of pial vascular permeability to sodium fluorescein: absence of alterations by bradykinin, histamine, serotonin, or arachidonic acid.” Stroke 18(6): 1157-1159.