February 23rd, 2011
By: Jim Sciutto, Martha Raddatz and Sarah Netter
Four Americans aboard a hijacked yacht off the coast of Somalia were killed by their pirate captors Tuesday, touching off a firefight with a U.S. warship, military officials said.
The Americans were sailing the world on a Christian mission to distribute bibles when they were ambushed Feb. 18 by pirates in dangerous waters nearly 300 miles off the Somali coast. On board the yacht were Jean and Scot Adam from California and Phyllis MacKay and Bob Riggle from Washington state.
U.S. forces and at least one Navy warship that had been tracking the yacht for three days and negotiating with the captors responded to gunfire at approximately 1 a.m. ET Tuesday morning.
American military forces killed two pirates aboard the vessel when they responded to gunfire that was believed to have killed the American yachters. The American forces captured 13 pirates and found the remains of two additional pirates. It is now believed that 19 pirates were involved in the kidnapping.
Nina Crossland, a niece of Phyllis MacKay, said today at a news conference that she had been told her aunt was wounded but alive when the U.S. military boarded the Quest, but died shortly after. Officials have confirmed that two of the Americans onboard the Quest were still alive when the military found them.
“It’s a shock,” Crossland said. “My family is trying to come together to deal with this tragedy.”
Crossland said her aunt was merely a sailor on the boat and was not involved with passing out Bibles. The Adams were known to carry and distribute Bibles along their journeys, according to reports.
U.S. forces responded to a rapidly deteriorating situation onboard the Quest and thought immediate action was necessary to save the lives of the hostages, authorities said. The pirates fired an RPG at the USS Sterett, the American ship most closely monitoring the yacht. At the time the first shot were heard on board the Quest, the Americans were negotiating with the pirates and had two of them onboard the Sterett.
It was unclear what the negotiations covered, but a military official said the pirates were attempting to make their way back to the Somali coast. According to one official, the killings of the Americans onboard came as a surprise since the pirates’ demeanor had been described as “calm.”
A military official said small arms fire was detected by the US forces on the yacht and that it was not directed at the USS Sterett.
It was only after the gunfire was detected, according to the military official, that U.S. special ops forces boarded the Quest and engaged the pirates. Until weapons were fired at the Quest , U.S. forces did not assault the yacht, according to the official.
A timeline released today noted that one of the two pirates killed by special operations forces below deck was killed by a knife. The other was shot.
“As [U.S. Forces] responded to the gunfire, reaching and boarding the Quest, the forces discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors. Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds,” according to a statement released by U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida.
“We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest,” said Gen James N. Mattis, U.S. Central Command commander.
January 22, 2010
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly blocked by a blood clot or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, driving blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells, or neurons. The result can be brain damage that leaves stroke survivors with disabilities ranging from one-sided paralysis or weakness to problems with thinking, attention, memory and learning. But new research by Ohio State University scientists set for publication in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Neurochemistry concludes a specific type of vitamin E known as tocotrienol (TCT) could prevent brain cells from dying after a stroke.
Tocopherols are the best-known form of vitamin E and the kind usually found in supplements. However, the vitamin occurs naturally in seven other different forms, including TCT. Although not widely found in the typical American diet, it is common in foods that comprise a typical Southeast Asian diet. Food sources of TCT include rice bran oil, barley, wheat germ and oats.
“Our research suggests that the different forms of natural vitamin E have distinct functions. The relatively poorly studied tocotrienol form of natural vitamin E targets specific pathways to protect against neural cell death and rescues the brain after stroke injury,” Chandan Sen, professor and vice chair for research in Ohio State’s Department of Surgery and senior author of the study, said in a statement to the media.
Over the past decade, the Ohio State University research team has studied how this form of vitamin E protects the brain in animal and cell models. But according to Dr. Sen, their new study provides specific details about how that protection works. Bottom line: they’ve identified an enzyme called cystolic calcium-dependent phospholipase A2 (cPLA2, for short) that tocotrienol targets to protect neurons after a stroke.
“We have studied an enzyme that is present all the time, but one that is activated after a stroke in a way that causes neurodegeneration. We found that it can be put in check by very low levels of tocotrienol,” Dr. Sen said. “So what we have here is a naturally derived nutrient, rather than a drug, that provides this beneficial impact.”
The researchers explained that the blocked blood flow to the brain associated with a stroke causes an excess of the neurotransmitter glutamate to be released. In normal amounts, glutamate is beneficial and important for memory and learning. But when produced in large amounts due to the brain trauma of a stroke, it triggers a cascade of reactions that leads to the death of neurons and causes the most serious stroke damage.
For their study, Dr. Sen and colleagues took cells from the hippocampus region of developing mouse brains and added excess glutamate to produce the type of changes seen in the brain after a stroke. In the presence of excess glutamate, the cPLA2 enzyme released a fatty acid called arachidonic acid which normally helps maintain the stability of health cell membranes. Under stroke conditions, however, with high levels of glutamate present, arachidonic acid undergoes an enzymatic chemical reaction that makes it toxic — then brain cells are poisoned and start to die.
But when the researchers added tocotrienol to the cells that had been exposed to excess glutamate, the vitamin E decreased the release of fatty acids by 60 percent when compared to cells exposed to glutamate alone. What’s more, the brain cells treated with the TCT form of vitamin E were about four times more likely to survive than brain cells exposed to glutamate alone.
In the press statement, Dr. Sen noted that the amount of TCT needed to achieve these brain cell protecting effects is quite small — a concentration about 10 times lower than the average amount of tocotrienol circulating in humans who consume this form of vitamin E regularly. The Ohio State University researchers intend to continue their research to see if TCT can successfully prevent and treat strokes in humans.
Editor’s note: NaturalNews is opposed to the use of animals in medical experiments that expose them to harm. We present these findings in protest of the way in which they were acquired.