Could a Gene Help Make You Obese? – WebMD

Could a Gene Help Make You Obese?

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) — Researchers have discovered a potential genetic explanation for why some people overeat and run a greater risk for obesity.

People who carry two copies of a variant form of the “FTO” gene are more likely to feel hungry soon after eating a meal, because they carry higher levels of the hunger-producing hormone ghrelin in their bloodstream, an international team of scientists found.

What’s more, brain scans revealed this double FTO gene variant changes the way in which the brain reacts to food and ghrelin. People with the double variant displayed different neural responses in the brain region known to regulate appetite and the pleasure/reward center that normally responds to alcohol and recreational drug use.

About one in every six people carries two copies of this FTO gene variant. These folks are 70 percent more likely to become obese than people who carry other versions of FTO gene, according to background information in the study published July 15 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

“We’ve known for a while that variations in the FTO gene are strongly linked with obesity, but until now we didn’t know why,” said lead author Dr. Rachel Batterham. “What this study shows us is that individuals with two copies of the obesity-risk FTO variant are biologically programmed to eat more.”

Evolution may be responsible for the existence of this double variant in so many people.

“For the majority of the time that humans have existed food has been scarce. Having this genetic variant would have conferred a survival advantage,” said Batterham, head of obesity and bariatric services and director of Center for Obesity Research at University College London Hospitals.

The researchers first asked a group of 20 men — 10 with the double variant, and 10 with a version of the FTO gene linked to lower obesity risk — to rate their hunger before and after a meal. Blood samples were taken to test their levels of ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach that stimulates appetite.

Ghrelin levels normally increase before meals and fall afterward, but researchers found the men with the double FTO variant had much higher ghrelin levels after a meal and felt hungrier after eating than men who had the variation that carries lower obesity risk.

In the next step, the research team used functional MRI to measure how the brain responds to food images and ghrelin levels before and after a meal, using a different group of 24 men.

MRI scans revealed altered brain activity in the double-variant men, both in the appetite-controlling hypothalamus and the brain’s “reward” regions, which are known to respond to alcohol and recreational drugs. The altered activity occurred in response to food images and to the ghrelin in their bloodstream.

Lindsay Lohan – The Complete Addict

Lindsay Lohan's face has changed somewhat in recent months. Surgery, d'ya think?

Wild child Lindsay Lohan began her career at a very young age and made her acting debut in the American soap opera ‘Another World’ when she was 10. One year later she played the role of both sly identical twins in ‘The Parent Trap’. Her career continued to soar when she landed leading roles in movies like ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Herbie: Fully Loaded’, ‘Freaky Friday’, ‘Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen’ and ‘A Prairie Home Companion’. Then, in 2004, Lohan launched a pop career, releasing two albums that earned praise in the media.

But as with many child stars and with everything going for her, she began to capitulate in epic fashion. One moment he world of glitz and glamour lay at her feet, with movie roles and projects presented to her on a silver platter. She was in a relationship with ‘That 70s Show’ star Wilmer Valderrama, and it seemed as though nothing could ruin the success she had achieved.

Well, almost nothing.

A familiar state to see Lindsay Lohan in; the girl loved her excesses


Lohan discovered the excessive side of the celebrity world and began drinking and consuming drugs to cope with the pressure. The usually well-styled actress was beginning to show up in tabloid magazines with unflattering images of her stumbling out of nightclubs intoxicated, barely able to stand up. She also stumbled from one relationship to the next, her love life becoming one of the main subjects of tabloid journalism.

The paparazzi began to follow her everywhere she went, like so many vultures hoping to get the next drunken photo of the deteriorating star. In 2006 she began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for help with her addiction. Her antics ruined her reputation among Hollywood producers and directors and where she could once do no wrong, Lohan found herself struggling to land a role in anything.

She had her first stint in rehab in January 2007 at the Wonderland Clinic but after completing the 30-day stay she soon fell back into old habits.

In May 2007 she crashed her car and police found her in possession of cocaine. Further blood tests confirmed traces of the drug mixed with alcohol in her system and she was charged accordingly – driving under the influence of alcohol. She then checked into Promises Treatment Center for her second shot at rehabilitation. She left the clinic after a 45-day stay, but was again booked by police for driving under the influence of alcohol.

This led to a prolonged stay at the Cirque Lodge Treatment Center August and October 2007. During her time there she pleaded guilty to cocaine abuse and driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to one day in prison, 10 days of community service, three years of probation, and was also instructed to partake in an alcohol education program. She released a statement through her spokesperson saying: “It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs.”

Lindsay Lohan in Machete. She was no saint in that film either

Despite claims that she’s cleaned herself up, Lohan, has continued to appear in photographs consuming alcohol and many attribute her behaviour to the negative influence of DJane Samantha Ronson with whom she had a year long relationship.

Lindsay’s father Michael, who has himself battled addictions in the past, spoke out about his daughter’s addictions and his fears that she could end up dead. His tumultuous relationship with his daughter was covered heavily in the media but he vowed to help her, saying: ”I’m going to get her off the prescription drugs that she’s on. I hate it when people talk about illegal drug abuse because it’s not just drinking and illegal drugs that kill you. Prescription drugs can destroy and kill a person and are sometimes harder to stop. Look at Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson.”

While Michael did not mention which prescription drugs his daughter is taking, he did make his sentiments towards her health clear. “You know why Lindsay’s not acting in feature films right now? Because she can’t. Because the girl with all the talent is hidden and buried deep inside this fungus that’s grown because of the prescription drugs. She can’t be herself.”

Whitney Houston Died of Excess

whitney houston

For many it came as no surprise when eighties pop queen Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at the Beverly Hills Hilton on the eve of her appearance at the Grammy Awards on February 11, 2012, following years of very public substance abuse.

At the time there was much speculation as to the cause of the 48-year-old’s death and some sources claimed she overdosed on a cocktail of Xanax, variousprescription drugs and alcohol that led to her drowning in the bath.

The official cause of death, as stated by a coroner, was ‘accidental drowning’ but the circumstances leading to that ‘accident’ have never truly been discussed.

Many Whitney Houston fans directed anger and blame at her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, whom they felt was the driving force behind her slow and sad demise. Houston herself admitted to using cannabis long before she met the former New Editionsinger but his arrival in her life coincided with a march down the path of drug dependency, violence and substance abuse which culminated in their divorce.

Whitney Houston in better times

Whitney Houston in better times before she lost her fight against drug and alcohol addiction

On the night of her death, Brown was performing with New Edition, and he told the sell out crowd, “First of all, I want to tell you that I love you all. Second, I would like to say, I love you Whitney. The hardest thing for me to do is to come on this stage.”

Born August 9th, 1963, Whitney Houston emerged as a bright talent in the 80s with her eponymous début album which included long standing classics, “Saving All My Love”, “ How Will I Know” and “Greatest Love of All”.

Her success could have been attributed to her family ties which included major soul stars such as her mother Cissy Houston, aunty Dionne Warwick and her godmother Aretha Franklin – no shortage of stars there – so when she was acknowledged as a rising star at age 15 after her backing vocal performance on Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” it came as no real surprise to see her scale the charts in her own rights.

Whitney was the kind of woman who lived for her music, shone brightly and didn’t crave the same kind of media attention as music industry canvasses such as Madonna and more recently Lady Gaga, until she fell victim to the excesses and trappings that so often come with success.



Amy Winehouse: it was the booze that killed her

It was inevitable that the coroner’s report would eventually site alcohol as the cause of Amy Winehouse’s death back in July this year. Alcohol had played its part in the downfall of the chanteuse ever since I first saw the singer wandering the back streets of Camden Town, London like she was white trash. And then her image as ugly drunk and sad junky transmogrified very quickly to ‘troubled’ just because she ceased breathing. It was all change in the media then.

Troubled is not a hat that most drinkers have the luxury of wearing. That kind of headgear is only used to describe drinkers in the arts – when being an inveterate drunk is not only allowable but considered dreadfully cavalier and fashionably rock & roll.

You don’t go down the local pub and sympathise with the volatile alcoholic slumped against the bar victimizing random strangers with a drunken barrage because they seem troubled. They are considered weak, sickening and pathetic. (Especially when they are members of your own family, believe me.)

Amy Winehouse spent most of her famous adult life being heralded for all the wrong reasons. It was only once she pegged it that everyone became an Amy sympathizer. Prior to that most people sat smugly behind their desks entertaining themselves with the ‘hilarious’ images of the blood soaked, out of control, pisshead junky, which probably made them feel a tiny bit better about their grey office jobs.
Amy Winehouse sober

Anyway, the autopsy results have now been published and revealed that she had an excess of five times the legal driving limit of alcohol in her bloodstream when she ceased to be. Which means 80mg of booze per 100ml of blood. In real terms that equates to about two pints per man. Probably half that for a young woman the size of a matchstick. So, about five pints or so. I imagine most young women who hang around in London’s oh so fashionable Camden Town (so trendy, even people who work for MTV and who present youth programs and their entourage of hangers on are often found drinking there!) and binge drink regularly, much like Amy did, are generally five times the legal limit for alcohol.

Amy’s death, that everyone likes to call ‘untimely’, perhaps because she wasn’t due to die for another six months, was a fitting end to young woman who had been flirting outrageously with death for several years. Her young mind and lack of bloated ego were no match for  the despicable fame machine and unprincipled media. People like Lady Gaga and Madonna are born to be famous. They counter their inadequacies by demanding attention for themselves in other ways. Beseeching us – total strangers – to adore them. Winehouse didn’t crave fame. She wanted to go drinking down her local London pub with her friends and go shopping at Top Shop. She wasn’t cut out for fame. And it was fame and its henchmen that killed her.

Winehouse’s father, seems to be prospering from the passage of his daughter, and has recently signed a book deal. What with his singing career that was launched off Amy’s back, the tax-free Amy Winehouse Foundation and the book deal, he seems to be doing perfectly well without her. And that’s without the rest of her £10million estate.

Amy Winehouse


I wonder how many people have given up drinking after seeing the effect it had one one woman? Sadly, not enough… if any.

There is a comment box below. It’s for comments if you have one. Or abuse if you are mad or angry. Thanks for reading.

Images:, montreal gazette.

Amy Winehouse’s Last Days – Did She or Didn’t She Take Drugs or Drink?

Amy Winehouse bought drugs the night she died. Amy Winehouse hadn’t touched drugs for three years prior to her death. Amy Winehouse’s mother found the star drunk the day before she was found dead. Amy Winehouse hadn’t touched alcohol for three weeks prior to her death.

Will the real dead Amy Winehouse please stand up? Somebody, somewhere, is telling porky pies. And not the little individual ones, the big fat ones designed to feed a large  family of corpulent compulsive eaters.

[adsense]So around the time of Amy’s death it was reported that she had been seen buying drugs the night before by a ‘source’. These sources are always reliable. Not as reliable as ‘insiders’ but reliable all the same. Then her papa, Mitch Winehouse claimed that his daughter hadn’t touched drugs for three years. Now a friend of hers – Tony Azzopardi – has come forward to say that he met Amy at The Old Eagle public house – a favourite haunt of the star’s – the night before she died and together they purchased a cocktail of some pretty serious drugs: half an ounce each of heroin and crack – they’re the really ugly ones for people who are unfamiliar with drug culture. Incidentally, they cost £1200.

Amy Wnehouse

Amy Winehouse's death is the subject of much speculation.

You can almost understand Mitch Winehouse telling an untruth about his daughter’s condition prior to death. You can sympathise with his last desperate attempt to clear her name and paint a prettier picture of her lifestyle other than the hedonistic junkie that was so often portrayed by an unscrupulous and gossip thirsty media. Too little, too late but a valiant effort all the same.

But what of the stories regarding her buying drugs. Would someone stoop so low as to claim that they were with the deceased singer the night before she died, just to have their name associated with the ‘troubled Amy Winehouse’?  The truth will out eventually and someone will be left looking like an unprincipled idiot. It’s a bizarre concept for anybody not insane or utterly desperate and shallow to get their heads around, trying to garner attention from an association with someone who recently died, but nothing is surprising anymore. Yesterday’s daily Winehouse headline featured a ten-year-old St Lucian girl whose family claim the defunct chanteuse was in the throes of adopting.

More slightly conflicting evidence: the guy who claims he was buying drugs with her the day before she died commented that she was looking well, that she appeared ‘clean’ and had added some much needed weight to her emaciated frame. However, a piece on The Daily Mirror’s website today reports that her mother, Janis, had called to see Amy unannounced the day before she died and had told a friend that, “Amy was completely out of it. She was in such a state the guys minding her had to go upstairs to get her and help her down the steps. It looked like she had been out drinking the night before and was still drunk or hungover.”

This ‘friend’ of Amy’s mother sounds like another reliable and trusted source.

I’m getting sick of the number of grotesque people willing to use the deceased chanteuse as an excuse to self promote. Be it nobodies, D list celebrities, friends of the family or her Camden drinking ‘buddies’. If someone was a close friend of Amy Winehouse, surely they wouldn’t be talking to the media, making dubious claims about the friendship or tweeting about her death on social media networks. She seemed to face enough demons when she was alive. Seems she can’t rest for people clawing unremittingly forthe bloody scraps of her tortured soul.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse: drunk or not drunk?

Conjecture about the cause of her death and has been many and varied and there are as many different claims to what she was doing prior to her demise. And that means somebody is lying. And that is not only pathetic, but also grotesque.

The toxicology report is due in three weeks. It’ll be interesting to see who was lying. And then let’s let Amy Winehouse really and finally rest in peace.

If you would like to leave a comment regarding this article, please use the comment box below. You can share or ‘like’ using the buttons below, if you must.


Amy Winehouse cancels tour

After an embarrassing performance in Belgrade on Saturday, Amy Winehouse has cancelled the rest of her European tour, which was due to take her to 12 stops before finishing in Bucharest, Romania, on the 15th August.

The 27-year-old was booed off stage in Belgrade, Serbia, after turning up more than hour late and apparently greeting the 20,000 strong crowd by shouting “Hello, Athens!”. She then proceeded to stumble around on-stage and slur the words to her 2008 song ‘Just Friends’.

Amy Winehouse has cancelled her European tour

We really were beginning to miss the good old Amy. Perhaps it was out with the yoga and back in with the class A drug abuse? We don’t know for sure. What we do know is that she has apologized to her fans and cancelled her scheduled performance in Istanbul yesterday and tomorrow’s in Athens. A statement put out on her behalf read:

“Despite feeling sure that she wanted to fulfill these commitments, she has agreed with management that she cannot perform to the best of her ability and will return home. … She would like to apologize to fans expecting to see her at the shows but feels that this is the right thing to do.”

In fact, Winehouse went into rehab especially before the tour to ensure this sort of thing would NOT happen. Once again dad Mitch decided to step in and take control of his daughter’s self-destructive behaviour. According to one source, he sat her down and said he was worried about her excessive drinking. Given Amy’s alcoholic tendencies, they decided it would be for the best to send her to a clinic before the problem spiraled out of control again.

In better days

Anyone could have told Mitch his daughter was not going to take this treatment seriously as she apparently downed a small bottle of vodka on her way to the Priory Clinic. Nice. And “in typical Amy style,” as her mate described it, the singer has once again let down countless fans and given pop journos all over the world more reason to waste people’s time by filling the news headlines with her antics.

But what’s an alcoholic to do? People just keep wanting more of her – especially when she’s making a tit out of herself in front of thousands of people who have paid through the nose to see her sing a song. But then again perhaps they were all thinking along the right lines. How long will she really be around for? Let’s face it, she’s got a great voice and the songs are alright too, but it seems bad press is the only thing that keeps us interested. No one cared when Amy was holidaying in the Caribbean and flaunting her wholesome existence.

Amy Winehouse won't be singing for the next few weeks

I’m holding out for another collaboration with Pete Doherty, personally. Or maybe Charlie Sheen? That would be dynamite.

Click here to read more about Amy Winehouse and her addictions, how she was hospitalized following a fall and about her Belgrade show on Saturday.

Images: Wikipedia

Jackass star Ryan Dunn is killed in high speed crash

Given the crazy nature by which they lived it was perhaps inevitable that one of the “Jackass” cast would eventually wind up on the ‘died too young’ list. Ryan Dunn, the unofficial 4th member of the Margera family, was killed early this morning after his Porsche left the road at high speed before colliding with a tree and erupting into flames killing Dunn and his passenger.

He and the as yet unnamed passenger had been socialising with friends at Barnaby’s of America in West Chester a few hours prior to the accident and is reported to have consumed three Miller Lites and three ‘girly’ shots over a four hour period, which according to a friend who said he was “not too drunk to drive”.

Ryan Dunn seen on Sunday night. This shot was removed from his tumblr site.

Police at West Goshen reported that Dunn was identified by an eye witness on the scene who recognised his tattoos as he was pulled from the wreckage.

It was at around 2:30 a.m. on Route 322 when the accident happened and police state that the vehicle was travelling significantly fast enough that it hurtled through 40 metres of forest before hitting the tree.

Their statement read, “Preliminary investigation revealed that speed may have been a contributing factor to the accident.”

The manager of Barnaby’s told NBC Philadelphia that “Ryan didn’t appear drunk before he left” at 2 a.m.

The wreckage of Ryan Dunn's Porsche is removed from the scene.

Often seen at the Margera house, Ryan was considered part of the family as highlighted by April Margera who said, “He’s just the sweetest guy you’d ever want to know and he would do anything for you.”

She and husband Phil Margera paid a simple yet tearful tribute to Dunn, whom they considered a son.

“I know the entire ‘Jackass’ family is devastated and all of West Chester is devastated,” she said.

According to April, Dunn was renowned for driving too fast and she was often telling him to slow down a little. He had been involved in a bad accident a little over ten years ago but it seems that didn’t deter him from putting his foot down.

“He drove too fast and I yelled at him all the time about that,” said April.

The Jackass crew have ben largely unreachable but Johnny Knoxville tweeted, “Today I lost my brother Ryan Dunn. My heart goes out to his family and his beloved Angie. RIP Ryan, I love you buddy.”

MTV followed that up with a similar message which simply read, “We’re deeply saddened by the passing of a member of the MTV family, Ryan Dunn. Our hearts and thoughts are with his friends and family.”

Ryan Dunn's Porsche before police moved it from the scene.

Bam Margera, Dunn’s best friend is currently in Arizona and has not yet made a statement because he is too devastated by the tragic accident.

While his candle burned brightly, Dunn gave us laughs at his own expense and it is a sad loss; sad that he lived so dangerously and perished because of it, and that not only his light has been extinguished so suddenly but that the lives of all those affected have grown a little darker in his passing.

Please share your thoughts on Ryan Dunn’s tragic and untimely death by leaving a comment.

Read about other stars who died young including Bill Hicks; River Phoenix; Brittany Murphy; Heath Ledger and Andy Irons.


Is Christina Aguilera the next celebrity headed for rehab?

Christina Aguilera’s latest incident involving an arrest for public intoxication is the latest in a spate of worrying events to suggest that she has gone off the rails and is very much in need of a stint in rehab.

It’s been a difficult few months for the former Disney star: she divorced Jordan Bratman, her studio album bombed, Burlesque was poorly received, racy photos were leaked online and she most recently bungled up the words of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

And then there have been all the stories of Christina’s excessive drinking, which “has some of her friends worries,” an insider told In Touch Weekly. “She seems to be getting out of control, and her friends want her to get PROFESSIONAL help. The past few weeks, her partying has escalated.”

“Maybe when she was married she was able to keep it under wraps, but it’s out in the open now,” a source told TMZ.

On New Year’s Eve, for example, the 30 year old was apparently involved in a nasty argument with her mother. “Christina was so wasted before her guests arrived that her mother told her to lie down and sober up,” an insider told US Weekly. “Christina then yelled ‘Who do you think you are?’ It was crazy!”

In January Christina was reportedly passed out drunk in Jeremy Renner’s bedroom after she turned up uninvited at his his birthday party. “Her drinking is out of control,” an Aguilera source told America’s Us Weekly. ‘She’s a total mess.'”

And now she has her less than flattering mugshot splashed across the internet following her arrest on March 1 when her boyfriend Rutler was pulled over for suspicion of DUI.

Steve Whitmore, the chief public information officer for the Los Angeles Sheriffs department said of her arrest: ‘They [police] witnessed a person driving erratically.”

[adsense]”At 2.45am this morning a gentleman was stopped for allegedly driving under the influence.

“He was subsequently arrested and his passenger, Ms Aguilera, she was arrested.

“It was kind of a unique situation with this law as she was not capable of taking care of herself. She was incapacitated.

“When she got out of the car, she couldn’t stand. We had to help her stand,” he added.

“She didn’t know where she was and she didn’t know her own address.

“We took her into custody for her own protection.

“She was co-operative and she was not belligerent in any way whatsoever. She was just intoxicated.”

Read here about what Christina has to say about being a single mom.

Images: PR Photos and Wikimedia Commons

Celebrity hangover cures for the festive season

The festive season usually goes hand-in-hand with being over-indulgent and hangovers are often an unwelcome consequence of our excesses. Many of us are familiar with the pounding headache, queasy stomach, spinning, weakness and sometimes even vomitting that follow after a night of tucking into the bottle.

With New Year’s Eve fast approaching, so is the dreaded accompanying hangover. The cause is simple: too much alcohol, which poisons several parts of the body and leaves the drinker dehydrated and with a host of nasty symptoms.

Although medically there is no real cure for a hangover, we thought it might be a good idea to take a look at some of the remedies the party-loving celebrity crowd turn to to ease the pains of a boozy night.

Nigella Lawson: “What works for me after excessive drinking is what I call a Brian. A mixture of a Berocca (fizzy supplement) and Spatone (iron supplement). If that doesn’t work I add to the mix some Solpadeine.” Another hangover cure for the domestic goddess is the “Prairie Oyster” which consists of an egg yolk, tabasco, worcester sauce, brandy and vinegar –  to  be swallowed in one gulp!

Kate Winslet: A sausage and bacon sandwich usually does it for me. I also have a big glass of orange juice and a cup of sugary tea. The combination of vitamins and sugar perks me up.

Kylie Minogue: “It has to be egg sandwiches. I love them.”

Dannii Minogue: “My perfect hangover cure is putting a scraping of vegemite and grated cheese on toast and then grilling it.”

Cameron Diaz: Grease is the only cure for a hangover. My hangover remedy is a sandwich packed with bacon, and a beer. The beer acts as a great hair of the dog.

Daniel Craig: “You’re best off sweating it out after a heavy night out. If I really can’t force myself to work out and get my body moving, a stint in the sauna is the way to go to get rid of a hangover.”

Kirsty Gallagher: “If I do get a hangover I drink loads of water and eat every hour. I also take a vitamin B supplement called Berocca.”

What will you be doing to soothe your potentially fragile body on 1 January 2011?

Read here about Michael Douglas and Catherin Zeta Jones, who are planning a wedding vow renewal ceremony on New Year’s Eve.

Images: Wikimedia Commons

Keith Urban credits Nicole Kidman for saving him from drug addiction hell

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman were still freshly married — having lived together for just four months as man and wife — when he sought treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in 2006.

The country music bad boy, 43, admitted that he was worried that checking into rehab for a three-month stint would place too much of a strain on their marriage.
“[I thought], ‘Surely let’s give it a few years so we’ve got some solidity, because this kind of thing could tear us apart,’ he said on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Monday. ‘This could just destroy us.'”

The singer, who is a former crack cocaine addict and underwent treatment for cocaine abuse a few years beofre marrying Nicole, credits “love” and an intervention staged by his wife and some close friends for helping him to get on the straight and narrow.

“It was really a profound moment in so many ways,” Keith said. “The way in which Nic handled that moment was just perfect. Everything was just designed, I believe, for that moment to fuse us together.”

Kidman, who divorced Tom Cruise in 2001 after 11 years of marriage, also took to the couch, opening up about their enduring romance. “I think marriage is about, every day, trying to make it better and working through things and when things are tough, saying, “I’m going to come to you and talk.”

The pair have shunned the Hollywood lifestyle in favor of a “quieter, private” life in Nashville with their nearly two-year-old daughter Sunday Rose, who they sometime also call “Sunny”.

Do you think this relationship has lasting power?

Other celebrities with addictions include Johnny CashDrew BarrymoreLiza MinnelliLindsay Lohan and Mickey Rourke, to name only a few.

Images: PR Photos and Wikimedia Commons