Kubiv Stepan Ivanovych – Newly apponited new central bank chief Ukraine ( Brief Bio )

Kubiv Stepan Ivanovych

Kubiv Stepan Ivanovych

People’s Deputy of Ukraine

Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine

Vice Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance and Banking

Member of the “Batkivshchyna” (“Fatherland”) All-Ukrainian Union faction Continue reading “Kubiv Stepan Ivanovych – Newly apponited new central bank chief Ukraine ( Brief Bio )”

J&J FDA leaders take heat for ‘phantom’ recall ( 2010 )

Public release date: 30-Sep-2010

HRR: Requested Re-Post

– FDA does not have the authority to order when and how companies conduct recalls

– J&J had instructed contractors to pose as regular customers while buying the product and to not alert store employees to their activity.

– lawmakers criticized a “too cozy” relationship between FDA and J&J employees, citing months-long e-mail exchanges between the two before regulators took action

English: Peek-A-Boo
English: Peek-A-Boo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

– Companies are advised to work with the FDA on recalls, although that isn’t a legal requirement

By MATTHEW PERRONE, AP Health Writer Matthew Perrone, Ap Health Writer Thu Sep 30, 5:58 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Johnson & Johnson executives and the Food and Drug Administration both shouldered the blame Thursday for a secret recall in which hired contractors quietly bought up defective painkillers to clear them from store shelves.

J&J Chief Executive William Weldon told House lawmakers the company “made a mistake” in conducting the so-called “phantom recall,” which is one of a string of problems that have drawn congressional scrutiny Continue reading “J&J FDA leaders take heat for ‘phantom’ recall ( 2010 )”

Christie bodyguard arrested for shoplifting gun accessories while he begged police to drop the charge ‘out of professional courtesy…all as he wore a stolen hat’

  • Trooper William Carvounis, 35, is accused of stealing nearly $300 in merchandise from a Tilden Township, Pennsylvania Cabela’s store Jan. 8
  • Police say surveillance footage reveals Carvounis slipped items into his pockets and even tore a price tag from his hat as he tried leaving the store
  • According to Tilden Police Chief William J. McEllroy, the New Jersey state trooper also tried to use his position to get out of the arrest

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:          17:45 EST, 3 February 2014       | UPDATED:          17:52 EST, 3 February 2014


Beleaguered New Jersey Governor Chris Christie just gained a brand new headache Monday when it was revealed a state trooper from his security detail was arrested last month for shoplifting, among other things, gun accessories.

Trooper William Carvounis, 35, of North Brunswick, was at a Cabela’s sporting goods store on January 8 when he put several items in his cargo pants pockets — including some handgun grips, and a pistol magazine among other items — according to Tilden police.

Surveillance footage allegedly reveals Carvounis even tried to walk out of the store wearing a stolen hat, the same one he wore while begging police not to arrest him ‘out of professional courtesy.’

Counting the hidden victims of medicine

–  third leading cause of death in the developed world is “iatrogenic” deaths – those caused by medical errors, adverse drug reactions or hospital-acquired infections.

  • 24 January 2014

Drug side effects and other unintended consequences of medical treatment may be killing and hurting more people than we thought

WHAT is the third leading cause of death in the developed world? Given that cancer and heart disease top the list, you might hazard a guess at diabetes, stroke or car accidents. You’d be wrong. The answer is “iatrogenic” deaths – those caused by medical errors, adverse drug reactions or hospital-acquired infections.

Medicine Drug Pills on Plate
Medicine Drug Pills on Plate (Photo credit: epSos.de)

For all modern medicine’s ability to alleviate suffering and prevent premature deaths, it also causes plenty of both. Many medical interventions turn out to have unintended and negative consequences that often emerge as a result of research into better treatments. While many are obvious, we are now starting to uncover more insidious effects.

Take cancer. Anyone with experience of chemotherapy knows how dangerous its side effects can be: it can weaken a patient’s immune system to the point where they succumb to mundane infections. That is well understood, but recent discoveries about tumour cells’ ability to spread to other tissues suggest another – chemotherapy might sometimes make cancer more aggressive (see “Giant leaps of evolution make cancer cells deadly“).

Or consider the humble painkiller. Millions of people take them to make bouts of flu more bearable. But at a population level they may be turning infected people into more efficient virus spreaders, causing up to 2000 extra flu deaths in the US alone each year (see “Popping pills for flu fever might make things worse“). Continue reading “Counting the hidden victims of medicine”

Snowden speaks: NSA spies create ‘databases of ruin’ on innocent folks

–  Firstly, the fear that everything is being recorded will change our personal behavior for the worse

– secondly that the data amounted to “databases of ruin”, storing embarrassing or harmful details can be plucked out in retroactive investigations.

Cray X-MP/24 (serial no. 115) used by NSA

‘Not all spying is bad’ but bulk collection has to go, says whistleblower in web chat

Ex-NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden used his first public Q&A to call for the US to lead a global initiative to ban mass

surveillance of populations. He also wants governments to ensure that intelligence agencies can protect national security while not invading everyday privacy.

“Not all spying is bad. The biggest problem we face right now is the new technique of indiscriminate mass surveillance, where governments are seizing billions and billions and billions of innocents’ communication every single day,” he said. Continue reading “Snowden speaks: NSA spies create ‘databases of ruin’ on innocent folks”

How GCHQ Monitors Germany, Israel and the EU

– suspicion arising from the documents that their organization engages in large-scale industrial espionage

By Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark

Documents from the archive of whistleblower and former NSA worker Edward Snowden show that Britain’s GCHQ signals intelligence agency has targeted European, German and Israeli politicians for surveillance.

The American spy stayed in northern Cornwall for three weeks. He was delighted with the picturesque setting, with its dramatic cliffs and views of the Atlantic.

In a classified report, the NSA employee also raved about the British signals intelligence agency GCHQ‘s field of antennas, located high above the Atlantic coast, about 300 kilometers (190 miles) west of London. Her Majesty’s agents have been working at the site, where 29 satellite antennas are aimed skyward, for decades. The Cornwall intelligence base, once part of the Echelon global signals intelligence network, was previously known as “Morwenstow.” Today the site is known as “GCHQ Bude.”

In addition to its geographical conditions, which are ideal for monitoring important communications satellites, Bude has another site-specific advantage: Important undersea cables land at nearby Widemouth Bay. One of the cables, called TAT-14, begins at German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom’s undersea cable terminal in the East Frisia region of northern Germany. Continue reading “How GCHQ Monitors Germany, Israel and the EU”

166th Health Research Report Synopsis 19 OCT 2013

         Health Research Report ( LOGO's )


Health Research Report


166th Issue Date 19 OCT 2013

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.vit.bz www.youtube.com/vhfilm www.engineeringevil.com www.healthresearchreport.me


In this issue:

Reversing walking corpse syndrome: Cotard’s Syndrome trigger found – and it’s a household cold sore cream

NAC amino acid offers a potential therapeutic alternative in psychiatric disorders

Imaging Technology Can Eliminate Need for Biopsy in Liver Disease

Multivitamins with minerals may protect older women with invasive breast cancer

Study: Herbal products omit ingredients, contain fillers

Oral nutritional supplement use in pediatric inpatients decrease hospital stay and costs

Compound in Grapes, Red Wine Could Help Treat Multiple Types of Cancer, Study Finds

Compound derived from vegetables shields rodents from lethal radiation doses

Vitamin D does not contribute to kidney stones, study asserts

High serum omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content protects against brain abnormalities


Reversing walking corpse syndrome: Cotard’s Syndrome trigger found – and it’s a household cold sore cream

Drug commonly used to treat herpes virus used by those with renal failure has been linked to syndrome that leads people to believe they are dead

Heather Saul

Friday, 18 October 2013

Pharmacologists have discovered one of the mechanisms that triggers Cotard’s syndrome, a condition causing people to feel as if they have died, or parts of their bodies are dead or no longer exist.

People in the grip of a Cotard’s delusion can also believe they have ‘lost’ their blood and internal organs, such as their brain, and cannot respond to any rational reasoning with them that they are in fact alive.

Acyclovir, also known as Zovirax, is a drug commonly used to treat cold sores and the herpes virus, as well as chicken pox and shingles.

Just one per cent of people who use the drug will experience some psychiatric effects, including Cotard’s.

A link between renal failure, using the drug and Cotard’s has now been highlighted by pharmacologists pooling data from hospital admission records and Swedish drug databases.

In a study published in Journal of the Neurological Sciences, Swedish pharmacologists identified eight people with acyclovir-induced Cotard’s from data collected.

The link was made after a woman suffering from shingles began showing symptoms of Cotard delusions after using acyclovir as a treatment, New Scientist have reported.

The woman ran into a hospital in an extremely anxious state, author of the research Anders Helldén from the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm said. After receiving dialysis, the woman explained that she had felt anxious because she had been overwhelmed by a strong feeling that she was dead.

Within a few hours her symptoms began to ease, until she felt that she was “pretty sure” she wasn’t dead, but remained adamant her left arm did not belong to her. After 24 hours, her symptoms had disappeared.

Blood analysis later revealed that acyclovir, which can normally be broken down in the body before being flushed out by the kidneys, can leave low levels of breakdown product CMMG in the body.

Blood tests of those who had Cotard’s symptoms showed much higher levels of CMMG. All but one of those tested also had renal failure.

Helldén and co-author of the study Thomas Lindén, of the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, found that lowering the dose of the drug or removing it all together appeared to stop the symptoms.

“Several of the patients developed very high blood pressure,” Helldén said, “so we have a feeling that CMMG is causing some kind of constriction of the arteries in the brain.”

Helldén believes that this discovery provides a theory of how to effectively turn Cotard’s on and off, although further research is needed



NAC amino acid offers a potential therapeutic alternative in psychiatric disorders

This press release is in support of a presentation by Professor Michael Berk on Monday Oct. 7 at the 26th ECNP Congress in Barcelona, Spain

BARCELONA, SPAIN (7 October 2013) – Improved understanding of the roles of inflammation and oxidative stress in psychiatric disorders has generated new leads in the search for novel therapies. One such investigative compound currently in clinical trials is an amino acid, N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), which appears to reduce the core symptoms of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, autism and cravings in addictions including cocaine, cannabis abuse and cigarette smoking.

At the start of the decade of the brain, in the early 1990s, there was great hope that a flurry of new treatment discoveries would eventuate. In contrast, today, most pharmaceutical companies have a drying psychiatry and neurology pipeline and many have exited the field entirely. “One of the factors has been an over reliance on typical monoamine pathways as targets for drug discovery,” said Professor Michael Berk, Chair in Psychiatry at Deakin University, Geelong, Australia.

Professor Berk pointed out that the situation regarding new drug development for psychiatric problems was best summarised by former National Institute for Mental Health Director, Steven Hyman: “drug discovery is at a near standstill for treating psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and common forms of autism.”

Beyond the monoamine-based drugs, neuroscience has elucidated an array of other important pathways that are involved in most major psychiatric disorders, for example schizophrenia and both unipolar and bipolar depression. According to Professor Berk, there is now an incontrovertible evidence base that these disorders share inflammation and oxidative stress as part of their disease physiology. In addition, associated pathways including reduction in proteins that stimulate neuronal growth (neurotrophins), and increased cell death (apoptosis), as well as energy generation in organelles called mitochondria are intimately involved. “This understanding provides an entirely new set of treatment targets.”

The amino acid, NAC, seems to have multiple effects on all these pathways: it boosts glutathione, which is the body’s major antioxidant defence; has anti-inflammatory properties; enhances levels of nerve cell growth proteins and the growth of new neurons; and reduces cell death pathways. It also appears to reduce dysfunction of mitochondria.

These molecular effects of NAC have been investigated in a series of clinical trials, which show that NAC reduces the core symptoms of schizophrenia including negative symptoms such as improved apathy, social interaction and motivation. It also appears to reduce depression in people with bipolar disorder and at this meeting, new data on its role in unipolar major depression was presented. Furthermore, there is intriguing evidence that it reduces cravings in a number of addictions including cocaine, cannabis and cigarette smoking. “Apart from nausea, it appears to be relatively free of problematic side effects,” said Professor Berk.

In addition to NAC, a range of other compounds that target similar pathways, particularly inflammation, seem to have therapeutic potential. These include aspirin, cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors, statins, omega-3 fatty acids and even some anti-diabetic agents such as pioglitazone. “Capitalising on our understanding of inflammation and oxidative stress in major psychiatric disorders appears to give us an entirely new range of potential treatments for these common, severe and disabling conditions,” said Professor Berk.

Imaging Technology Can Eliminate Need for Biopsy in Liver Disease

Contributing Author Claire Duplan

Survival in diseases such as cancer has been significantly increased by the use of biopsies and similar diagnostic techniques, but these can often be painful and invasive. Eliminating these difficult procedures, without losing diagnostic accuracy, can greatly improve patient experiences. Techniques that can achieve this are useful in all fields of medicine, but they are particularly important in pediatric medicine, so the development of magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) as a tool for the detection of fibrosis caused by liver disease in children will be particularly important, since this type of disease is likely to become more common in the future.

Non-Invasive Imaging Technology

Researchers from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital have demonstrated that MRE is an effective technique for detecting symptoms of chronic liver disease in pediatric patients. The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, evaluated the technique by comparing the results of MRE and conventional liver biopsies in 35 pediatric patients aged between 4 and 20. The results demonstrated that MRE was providing accurate diagnoses of chronic liver conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). If this work is validated by further trials in larger patient populations, then MRE could join similar non-invasive technologies in providing diagnosis without the need for surgical or needle biopsies. According to Licensed Prescriptions, handheld scanners have already enabled dermatologists to assess melanoma risk, reducing the number of patients who have to undergo biopsy. Further reducing the need for invasive techniques by introducing technologies such as MRE will continue to make the detection of disease cheaper and easier, as well as making the patient’s experience less unpleasant.

Replacing Liver Biopsies with MRE

The standard technique for evaluating liver damage is a needle biopsy. This invasive technique is costly and comes with the risk of certain side effects, which can be eliminated by the use of a cheaper, non-invasive technique. MRE has been used on more than 200 children at Cincinnati Children’s, with no adverse side effects. Undergoing a biopsy can also be traumatic, particularly for young children and teenagers, so finding a means of assessing the liver without using a needle could make treatment easier for both doctors and patients.

The study
authors believe that the use of MRE could help to improve the quality of care and to reduce dependence on biopsies. Co-author Daniel Podberesky, MD, who is the chief of thoracoabdominal imaging at the hospital, suggests that “Having the ability to easily and non-invasively assess the degree of fibrosis in a child’s liver could help us to identify the issue early and begin the right course of treatment in a timely and effective manner.”

Benefits of MRE

MRE combines the use of low frequency sound waves and magnetic resonance to measure the stiffness of liver tissue, which gives an indication of how damaged it is, in a matter of minutes. MRE can also provide additional information about the health of the liver than is possible with a conventional biopsy, by measuring the quantity of fat stored in the liver. This information could help to determine how successful clinical interventions have been. Lead scientist Stavra Xanthakos, MD, suggests that MRE might provide a means of assessing changes in the liver following treatment, or predicting and monitoring the course of disease. Replacing biopsies with MRE could enable closer monitoring by allowing more frequent assessments of the liver, since there would be no need to undergo an invasive procedure every time measurements are taken.

MRE is superior to biopsy because it is non-invasive, but it has also proven to be more accurate than other non-invasive techniques that have been used as alternatives for assessing damage to the liver. The ultrasound-based technologies that have previously been used were often unreliable, particularly in the highest risk patients. One of the main risk factors for liver disease is obesity, and ultrasound is unable to accurately assess the health of the liver in overweight patients. MRE offers a non-invasive alternative that can be relied upon even for these obese individuals, and in children.

Rise of Liver Disease in Children Requires Better Diagnostic Techniques

The ability to detect conditions like NAFLD early is becoming increasingly important as they begin to affect children and teenagers more frequently due to changes in lifestyle that are putting people at risk at a younger age. Obesity is a significant risk factor for liver disease, and with growing numbers of seriously overweight children, doctors are being confronted with more young patients whose livers have already been damaged. It is estimated that about 13 percent of adolescents in the US have been affected by NAFLD, which is a progressive disease that can eventually lead to liver failure. Finding non-invasive techniques that can help us to detect and monitor these types of conditions could ensure that these young people receive treatment that is as early and effective as possible.


Multivitamins with minerals may protect older women with invasive breast cancer

October 9, 2013 — (BRONX, NY) — Findings from a study involving thousands of postmenopausal women suggest that women who develop invasive breast cancer may benefit from taking supplements containing both multivitamins and minerals. The new research, published today in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, found that the risk of dying from invasive breast cancer was 30 percent lower among multivitamin/mineral users compared with nonusers.

“Our study offers tentative but intriguing evidence that multivitamin/mineral supplements may help older women who develop invasive breast cancer survive their disease,” said Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., lead author of the study and distinguished university professor emerita of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

Multivitamin/mineral supplements are the most commonly consumed dietary supplements among U.S. adults. They usually contain 20-30 vitamins and minerals, often at levels of 100 percent of U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances or less, and the usual label recommendation is to take them daily.

The research was conducted as part of the Women’s Health Initiative Clinical Trials and the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study. Combined, the two studies include data from 161,608 postmenopausal women ages 50 to 79 when they first joined the study. These women were enrolled at 40 clinical centers throughout the United States during the years 1993-1998.

The current study focused on 7,728 participants who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during the WHI and were followed for an average of seven years after their diagnosis. Invasive breast cancer is defined as cancer that has spread outside the membrane of the milk glands or ducts and into the breast tissue. Two common types of invasive breast cancer are invasive ductal carcinoma and infiltrating lobular carcinoma.

After enrolling in the WHI and during repeated follow-up visits, all participants provided extensive information about their health including whether or not they had taken a multivitamin/mineral supplement at least once a week during the prior two weeks.

About 38percent of the 7,728 women who developed invasive breast cancer during the WHI were using the supplements. The vast majority were taking the supplements before their breast-cancer diagnosis. A comparison of mortality rates revealed that women with invasive breast cancer who took multivitamin/mineral supplements were 30 percent less likely to die from their cancers than women with invasive breast cancer who hadn’t taken the supplements.

Could differences between the multivitamin/mineral users and nonusers account for this finding? The researchers looked at many possible confounding factors including additional supplements that the women took, their smoking status, education, race/ethnicity, weight, depression, alcohol use, physical activity, age at breast cancer diagnosis, and diabetes. The association between regular use of multivitamin/mineral supplements and reduced risk of death persisted even after these factors were taken into account.

“Controlling for these other factors strengthens our confidence that the association we observed – between taking multivitamin/mineral supplements and lowering breast-cancer mortality risk among postmenopausal women with invasive breast cancer – is a real one,” said Dr. Wassertheil-Smoller, who also holds the Dorothy and William Manealoff Foundation and Molly Rosen Chair in Social Medicine Emerita. “But further studies are needed to confirm whether there truly is a cause-and-effect relationship here. And our findings certainly cannot be generalized to premenopausal women diagnosed with invasive cancer or to other populations of women.”

Study: Herbal products omit ingredients, contain fillers

Consumers of natural health products beware. The majority of herbal products on the market contain ingredients not listed on the label, with most companies substituting cheaper alternatives and using fillers, according to new research from the University of Guelph.

The study, published today in the open access journal BMC Medicine, used DNA barcoding technology to test 44 herbal products sold by 12 companies.

Only two of the companies provided authentic products without substitutions, contaminants or fillers.

Overall, nearly 60 per cent of the herbal products contained plant species not listed on the label.

Researchers detected product substitution in 32 per cent of the samples.

More than 20 per cent of the products included fillers such as rice, soybeans and wheat not listed on the label.

“Contamination and substitution in herbal products present considerable health risks for consumers,” said lead author Steven Newmaster, an integrative biology professor and botanical director of the Guelph-based Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), home of the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding.

“We found contamination in several products with plants that have known toxicity, side effects and/or negatively interact with other herbs, supplements and medications.”

One product labelled as St. John’s wort contained Senna alexandrina, a plant with laxative properties. It’s not intended for prolonged use, as it can cause chronic diarrhea and liver damage and negatively interacts with immune cells in the colon.

Several herbal products contained Parthenium hysterophorus (feverfew), which can cause swelling and numbness in the mouth, oral ulcers, and nausea. It also reacts with medications metabolized by the liver.

One ginkgo product was contaminated with Juglans nigra (black walnut), which could endanger people with nut allergies.

Unlabelled fillers such as wheat, soybeans and rice are also a concern for people with allergies or who are seeking gluten-free products, Newmaster said.

“It’s common practice in natural products to use fillers such as these, which are mixed with the active ingredients. But a consumer has a right to see all of the plant species used in producing a natural product on the list of ingredients.”

Until now, verifying what’s inside capsules or tablets has posed challenges, Newmaster said. His research team developed standard methods and tests using DNA barcoding to identify and authenticate ingredients in herbal products.

“There is a need to protect consumers from the economic and health risks associated with herbal product fraud. Currently there are no standards for authentication of herbal products.”

Medicinal herbs now constitute the fastest-growing segment of the North American alternative medicine market, with more than 29,000 herbal substances sold, he said.

More than 1,000 companies worldwide make medicinal plant products worth more than $60 billion a year.

About 80 per cent of people in developed countries use natural health products, including vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies.

Canada has regulated natural health products since 2004. Regulators face a backlog of licence applications, and thousands of products on the market lack a full product licence. Globally, regulatory problems involving natural health products continue to affect consistency and safety, Newmaster said.

“The industry suffers from unethical activities by some of the manufacturers.”

The study also involved research associate Subramanyam Ragupathy, U of G student Meghan Gruric and Sathishkumar Ramalingam of the Bharathiar University in India.

Oral nutritional supplement use in pediatric inpatients decrease hospital stay and costs

A new study has found that the use of oral nutritional supplements provided to pediatric patients during hospitalization was associated with a decrease in length of stay of 14.8 percent and a decrease in hospital stay costs of $1,768 per patient. The study, conducted by leading researchers at the University of Southern California, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Precision Health Economics, and supported by Abbott, is being presented this weekend at the 2013 North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The 11-year retrospective study (2000-2010) was analyzed using the Premier Research Database, which contains data on more than half a million hospitalized pediatric cases for patients aged 2 to 8 years. This study is the latest in health economics and outcomes research to illustrate the impact of oral nutrition supplement use in hospitalized patients.

“Malnutrition in children is associated with poor health outcomes and this is especially important in the hospitalized child,” said Maria Mascarenhas, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Nutritional support is a critical component of the clinical management for pediatric inpatients, but it is often overlooked due to other medical issues.”

In the study, investigators were able to determine differences in length of stay and cost of care by comparing hospital stays in which oral nutritional supplements were prescribed to hospital stays of similar conditions where oral nutritional supplements weren’t prescribed.

Oral nutritional supplements are dietary food, often in liquid form, that provide protein, nutrients and calories for added nutrition and energy in one’s diet.

“While other studies have examined the use of nutritional supplements in adults, prior to this study there weren’t any that rigorously quantified the impact of oral nutritional supplements on health economic outcomes in the general pediatric population,” said Darius Lakdawalla, Ph.D., University of Southern California. “These results suggest that nutritional solutions can be a cost-effective approach to improving pediatric patients’ hospital care.”

“Through its leadership in nutrition health economics and outcomes research, Abbott is demonstrating the potential that nutritional intervention can have for the health of children and adult patients, and the cost savings for hospitals,” said Robert H. Miller, Ph.D., divisional vice president, Global Research &Development and Scientific Affairs for Abbott Nutrition. “This is important in the midst of the changing healthcare landscape as hospitals seek effective interventions to help improve patient quality of care and reduce overall costs.”

Compound in Grapes, Red Wine Could Help Treat Multiple Types of Cancer, Study Finds


Resveratrol might provide extra punch to cancer cells during treatment

A recent study by a University of Missouri researcher shows that resveratrol, a compound found in grape skins and red wine, can make certain tumor cells more susceptible to radiation treatment. This research, which studied melanoma cells, follows a previous MU study that found similar results in the treatment of prostate cancer. The next step is for researchers to develop a successful method to deliver the compound to tumor sites and potentially treat many types of cancers.

“Our study investigated how resveratrol and radiotherapy inhibit the survival of melanoma cells,” said Michael Nicholl, MD, assistant professor of surgery at the MU School of Medicine and surgical oncologist at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia, Mo. “This work expands upon our previous success with resveratrol and radiation in prostate cancer. Because of difficulties involved in delivery of adequate amounts of resveratrol to melanoma tumors, the compound is probably not an effective treatment for advanced melanoma at this time.”

The study found that melanoma cells become more susceptible to radiation if they were treated first with resveratrol. The MU researcher found that when the cancer was treated with resveratrol alone, 44 percent of the tumor cells were killed. When the cancer cells were treated with a combination of both resveratrol and radiation, 65 percent of the tumor cells died.

Nicholl said his findings could lead to more research into the cancer-fighting benefits of the naturally occurring compound.

“We’ve seen glimmers of possibilities, and it seems that resveratrol could potentially be very important in treating a variety of cancers,” Nicholl said. “It comes down to how to administer the resveratrol. If we can develop a successful way to deliver the compound to tumor sites, resveratrol could potentially be used to treat many types of cancers. Melanoma is very tricky due to the nature of how the cancer cells travel throughout the body, but we envision resveratrol could be combined with radiation to treat symptomatic metastatic tumors, which can develop in the brain or bone.”

Resveratrol supplements are available over the counter in many health food sections at grocery stores. Nicholl does not recommend that patients rely on resveratrol supplements to treat cancer because more research is needed.

Nicholl’s study was published in the Journal of Surgical Research, the journal for the Association for Academic Surgery. If additional studies are successful within the next few years, MU officials will request authority from the federal government to begin human drug development. This is commonly referred to as the “investigative new drug” status. After this status has been granted, researchers may conduct clinical trials with the hope of developing new treatments for cancer.


Compound derived from vegetables shields rodents from lethal radiation doses

WASHINGTON — Georgetown University Medical Center researchers say a compound derived from cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli protected rats and mice from lethal doses of radiation.

Their study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests the compound, already shown to be safe for humans, may protect normal tissues during radiation therapy for cancer treatment and prevent or mitigate sickness caused by radiation exposure.

The compound, known as DIM (3,3′-diindolylmethane), previously has been found to have cancer preventive properties.

“DIM has been studied as a cancer prevention agent for years, but this is the first indication that DIM can also act as a radiation protector,” says the study’s corresponding author, Eliot Rosen, MD, PhD, of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

For the study, the researchers irradiated rats with lethal doses of gamma ray radiation. The animals were then treated with a daily injection of DIM for two weeks, starting 10 minutes after the radiation exposure.

The result was stunning, says Rosen, a professor of oncology, biochemistry and cell & molecular biology, and radiation medicine. “All of the untreated rats died, but well over half of the DIM-treated animals remained alive 30 days after the radiation exposure.”

Rosen adds that DIM also provided protection whether the first injection was administered 24 hours before or up to 24 hours after radiation exposure.

“We also showed that DIM protects the survival of lethally irradiated mice,” Rosen says. In addition, irradiated mice treated with DIM had less reduction in red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets — side effects often seen in patients undergoing radiation treatment for cancer.

Rosen says this study points to two potential uses of the compound. “DIM could protect normal tissues in patients receiving radiation therapy for cancer, but could also protect individuals from the lethal consequences of a nuclear disaster.”

Rosen and study co-authors Saijun Fan, PhD, and Milton Brown, MD, PhD, are co-inventors on a patent application that has been filed by Georgetown University related to the usage of DIM and DIM-related compounds as radioprotectors.

Vitamin D does not contribute to kidney stones, study asserts

Increased vitamin D levels may prevent a wide range of diseases, according to recent studies. However, some previous studies led to a concern that vitamin D supplementation could increase an individual’s risk of developing kidney stones.

However, a study of 2,012 participants – published in the American Journal of Public Health –found no statistically relevant association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 (OH)D) serum level in the range of 20 to 100 ng/mL and the incidence of kidney stones.

This study – led by Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, adjunct professor in the Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine – used data from the nonprofit public health promotion organization GrassrootsHealth to follow more than 2,000 men and women of all ages for 19 months.

Only 13 individuals self-reported a kidney stone diagnosis during the study.

“Mounting evidence indicates that a Vitamin D serum level in the therapeutic range of 40 to 50 ng/mL is needed for substantial reduction in risk of many diseases, including breast and colorectal cancer,” said Garland, adding that this serum level is generally only achieved by taking vitamin supplements. “Our results may lessen concerns by individuals about taking vitamin D supplements, as no link was shown between such supplementation and an increased risk for kidney stones.”

The study did show that older age, male gender and higher body mass index (BMI) were all risk factors for developing kidney stones. According to the researchers, individuals with high BMI need higher vitamin D intake than their leaner counterparts to achieve the same 25 (OH)D serum level

High serum omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content protects against brain abnormalities

According to a new study, high long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content in blood may lower the risk of small brain infarcts and other brain abnormalities in the elderly. The study was published in Journal of the American Heart Association.

In the Cardiovascular Health Study in the USA, 3,660 people aged 65 and older underwent brain scans to detect so called silent brain infarcts, or small lesions in the brain that can cause loss of thinking skills, dementia and stroke. Scans were performed again five years later on 2,313 of the participants.

Research shows that silent brain infarcts, which are only detected by brain scans, are found in about 20% of otherwise healthy elderly people.

The study found that those who had high long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content in blood had about 40% lower risk of having small brain infarcts compared to those with low content of these fatty acids in blood. The study also found that people who had high long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content in blood also had fewer changes in the white matter in their brains.

Previously in this same study population, similar findings were observed when comparing those with high or low intake of fish. High content of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in blood is a marker for high intake of fatty fish, so the results from the current study support the beneficial effects of fish consumption on brain health.


These reports are done with the appreciation of all the Doctors, Scientist, and other Medical Researchers who sacrificed their time and effort. In order to give people the ability to empower themselves. Without base aspirations of fame, or fortune. Just honorable people, doing honorable things.


Blank check: The U.S. government borrowed $328billion on the first day after a debt deal without a debt ceiling was agreed upon

  • The new debt deal has no debt ceiling,  giving the federal government a blank check until February
  • The previous one day borrowing record was  $238billion

By  Ryan Gorman

PUBLISHED: 23:27 EST, 18  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 23:27 EST, 18 October 2013

U.S. government jumped $328billion on  Thursday, setting an all-time record on the first day the government was able to  borrow after a last-minute debt ceiling deal was reached the previous  day.

The shockingly high number came as the  federal government was looking to replacing ‘extraordinary measures’ funds it  had been borrowing from as it approached the borrowing limit and appeared to  take advantage of no debt ceiling being enforced until at least  February.

Total federal debt now adds up to  $17.075trillion, according to the Treasury Department. The previous single day  borrowing high was $238billion, set in 2011, according to the Washington Times.

No limit: The federal government's spending limit has been suspended until at least February 7, 2014No limit: The federal government’s spending limit has  been suspended until at least February 7, 2014

As pointed out by the Times, the first  borrowed funds once a debt limit is lifted go to replenishing the ‘extraordinary  measures’ fund.

Under an unusual arrangement, the federal  government has no spending limit – a hard date of February 7 has been set for a  new agreement to be reached. Debt deals usually include a spending limit known  as a debt ceiling.

The federal debt will now rise as high as the  government sees fit between now and then, which the Times noted might be upwards  of $700billion, based on recent spending trends.

Aside from the fight over the Affordable Care  Act, derisively referred to as Obamacare, Republicans wanted to reign in the  government’s spending by cutting funding to various programs seen as  wasteful.

Backed by President Barack Obama, Democrats  refused, insisting on a blank check, and won. They insist government spending  will not increase, and that the extra wiggle room will only be used to pay for  bills already past due.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2467031/Blank-check-The-U-S-government-borrowed-328billion-day-debt-deal-debt-ceiling-agreed-upon.html#ixzz2i9bYjKFO Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Denver planning to make SMELL of marijuana illegal even though it’s perfectly legal to buy it in Colorado

  • Law would specifically ban marijuana from  parks
  • It also would prohibit smoking on private  property if it is visible to the public
  • No smoking even on your own front porch  or in a car
  • Penalty if the odor of pot can be  detected from a neighboring property

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 11:04 EST, 12  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 15:26 EST, 12 October 2013

The use of recreational marijuana is now  legal in Colorado, but if a proposed ordinance becomes law in the state’s  largest city, pot smokers could face jail time and fines if smoke wafts onto a  neighbor’s property.

A measure under consideration by the Denver  City Council would impose up to $999 in fines and a maximum one-year jail  sentence for anyone caught smoking marijuana in city parks or other public  venues.

But as written, the law would extend the same  criminal sanctions to offenders on private property.

Illegal: Denver is considering making it illegal to smoke marijuana in public places 

Illegal: Denver is considering making it illegal to  smoke marijuana in public places


Smoke-free: The proposal could make it illegal for people to smoke on private property as well 

Smoke-free: The proposal could make it illegal for  people to smoke on private property as well


‘The term ‘openly’ means occurring in a  manner that is unconcealed, undisguised, is obvious, and is observable,  perceptible through sight or smell to the public, or to persons on neighboring  properties,’ the draft ordinance reads.

Last fall, Colorado and Washington became the  first U.S. states to legalize the possession and use of small amounts of pot for  recreational purposes.

Marijuana is classified as an illegal  narcotic under federal law. But the U.S. Justice Department has said federal law  enforcement will not target users in the two states if they are in compliance  with their respective state’s laws.

Colorado lawmakers have crafted statewide  rules governing the retail sales of cannabis, but the open use of marijuana is  missing under the regulations, said Amber Miller, spokeswoman for Denver Mayor  Michael Hancock, who supports the measure.

Penalty: If a neighbor sees or smells the smoke they can call police. The offence would be punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine 

Penalty: If a neighbor sees or smells the smoke they can  call police. The offence would be punishable by up to one year in prison and a  $1,000 fine


Reasonable: The mayor's office says it's not about punishing people for smoking in their backyards. It's for those who smoke excessively and offend people nearby 

Reasonable: The mayor’s office says it’s not about  punishing people for smoking in their backyards. It’s for those who smoke  excessively and offend people nearby


‘The taxing, licensing and regulation have  all been addressed, but this was one aspect that hasn’t been,’ she  said.

The Colorado chapter of the American Civil  Liberties Union was quick to blast the proposal, calling it “ill-advised,  unnecessary and unconstitutional.”

Mark Silverstein, the ACLU’s legal director  in Colorado, said when voters approved legalizing marijuana, it was under the  understanding that it would be regulated like alcohol.

Conflicting intentions: Denver is one of the few cities in the state taking the first steps toward the legal sale of marijuana to anyone older than 21, which was approved by Colorado voters as a part of Amendment 64 last year 

Conflicting intentions: Denver is one of the few cities  in the state taking the first steps toward the legal sale of marijuana to anyone  older than 21, which was approved by Colorado voters as a part of Amendment 64  last year


‘No one risks a year in jail for drinking a  beer in their fenced backyard, yet this ordinance would make criminals once  again of persons who enjoy a legal joint on their back porch, if anyone can see  or smell (it) from a public area or a nearby property,’ he said.

But the mayor said all the measure would do  is clarify where people can consume marijuana.

‘This proposed ordinance clearly communicates  what our residents and visitors are and are not allowed to do in public,’  Hancock said in a statement. ‘It also ensures that our public spaces remain  enjoyable for residents, families and tourists.’

The proposal will be debated next week before  a Denver City Council committee tasked with implementing new pot laws

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2456152/Denver-planning-make-smell-marijuana-illegal.html#ixzz2hcXnBGf9 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Russia warns of catastrophe if Syria reactor hit by U.S. strike


Credit: Reuters/Hamid Khatib

ST PETERSBURG, Russia |          Wed Sep 4, 2013 4:13pm EDT

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – Russia said on Wednesday that a military strike on Syria could have catastrophic effects if a missile hit a small reactor near Damascus that contains radioactive uranium.

The Foreign Ministry called on the U.N. nuclear agency to urgently assess the risk as the United States considers military action to punish Syria’s government for an alleged gas attack.

“If a warhead, by design or by chance, were to hit the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) near Damascus, the consequences could be catastrophic,” a ministry statement said.

It said nearby areas could be contaminated by highly enriched uranium and that it would be impossible to account for the nuclear material after such a strike, suggesting it could fall into the hands of people who might use it as a weapon.

Russia urged the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency secretariat to “react swiftly” and present IAEA members “an analysis of the risks linked to possible American strikes on the MNSR and other facilities in Syria“.

Moscow has been the most powerful ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, shielding him from tougher U.N. resolutions and warning that a Western military attack on Syria would raise tensions and undermine efforts to end the country’s civil war.

“The IAEA is aware of the statement but has not received a formal request from the Russian Federation,” an IAEA spokesperson said. “We will consider the questions raised if we receive such a request.”

The IAEA said in a report to member states last week that Syria had declared there was a “small amount of nuclear material” at the MNSR, a type of research reactor usually fuelled by highly enriched uranium.

Nuclear expert Mark Hibbs, of the Carnegie Endowment think-tank, said the MNSR was a very small reactor and there would not be a lot of nuclear material there.

But he said there could be “a serious local radiation hazard” if there was irradiated nuclear material in the reactor and it was dispersed by a weapon strike.

Olli Heinonen, a former IAEA chief inspector, said the core of such a reactor typically has 1 kg of highly-enriched uranium, much less than the 25 kg that would be sufficient to build an atomic bomb.

“Thus for nuclear explosive purposes it is of a limited value,” he said in an e-mailed comment. Any radioactive contamination, he added, “would be a local problem”.

In 2007, Israel bombed a desert site in Syria that U.S. intelligence reports said was a nascent, North Korean-designed reactor geared to producing plutonium for nuclear weapons. Syria said the site, at Deir al-Zor, was a conventional military facility.

(Additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl in Vienna; writing by Steve Gutterman; editing by Tom Pfeiffer and Ralph Boulton)



Kerry insists Syrian rebels are secular

EEV: Kerry is either very ill informed or he is intentionally attempting to deceive the public. Regardless of motivation to overthrow al-Assad, this is pretty insulting to the military and intelligence communities. We suspect he is still snorting yellow cake. 😉

Posted By Neil Munro On 9:44 AM  09/04/2013 In Politics

Despite evidence to the contrary, Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate hearing Tuesday that Syria’s rebel forces are increasingly dominated by secular groups.

“It’s our judgment that — and the judgment of our good friends who actually know a lot of this in many ways better than we do because it’s their region, their neighborhood — … [that] the secular component of Syria will re-emerge” once the Syrian government is deposed, Kerry claimed in the hearing.

Those “good friends” are officials from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, which are all religious and political enemies of Syria’s embattled dictatorship.

“I’m talking about the Saudis, the Emirates, the Qataris, the Turks, the Jordanians,” he said.

The democratic bonafides of Syria’s rebels are important. That’s because President Barack Obama’s planned intervention in Syria — following the Aug. 21 nerve gas attack on Syrians by the government — may weaken the dictatorship enough to help the rebels possibly impose an Islamic dictatorship.

Kerry dismissed numerous media reports from inside Syria that say the rebels are dominated by groups that are fundamentalist, fanatical, well-funded and increasingly entwined with al-Qaeda-style jihadi veterans.

The rebels “have changed significantly — they have improved, and as I said earlier, the fundamentals of Syria are secular, and I believe, will stay that way,” insisted Kerry, who served as a Massachusetts Senator for 28 years until he became Secretary of State.

Kerry’s claim echoes the much-ridiculed Feb. 2010 claim by then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that the multinational Muslim brotherhood is “largely secular.”

That claim was debunked when the brotherhood’s political candidates took full power in Egypt in 2012, and promptly imposed an Islamic constitution that imposed an apartheid-style legal regime on women, Christians and Jews.

There’s much evidence that the Syrian rebel coalition is dominated by the brotherhood and even more radical al-Qaeda groups.

For example, the director of the Syrian rebels’ political office is Louay Safi, a Syrian-American who worked for brotherhood-affiliated groups in the United States, according to his own resume and the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

The rebels’ political coalition is the Syrian National Council, which is now headed by a Saudi-backed Syrian, Ahmad Asi al-Jarba.

At the hearing, Kerry vouched for al-Jarba. “He is prepared to come here as soon as those meetings are over in order to meet with you, and you can have an opportunity to talk to President Jarba and meet with the opposition, have a much better sense of who they are,” Kerry told Senators during the hearing.

Last February, Syrian National Council members joined the brotherhood’s leading cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, at a pro-rebel public demonstration in Qatar’s capital city. In other speeches and sermons, Qaradawi has urged attacks on U.S. troops, said the Muslim god, Allah, had endorsed the murder of all Jews, and has said he wants to launch a suicide attack against Jews in Israel.

Since a 1963 coup, Syria’s government has been dominated for decades by a religious minority, the Alawites. The sect is a spin-off of the Shia sect of Islam, which is based in Iran.

Iran is the birthplace of Shia-style Islam, and it has sent weapons and soldiers to bolster Syria’s army.

But roughly 60 percent of Syrians are Sunni Muslims.

The five governments cited by Kerry are all dominated by the Sunni style of Islam, and are deeply antagonistic to Shia Islam and to Iran.

All are also autocracies, except for Turkey which is ruled by an increasingly hard-line Islamic government that has jailed journalists and opponents, and has sided with the now-deposed Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

The brotherhood espouses Sunni Islam, and denounces Shia Islam.

Kerry insisted that Syria has a history of secular government.

“Syria historically has been secular, and the vast majority of Syrians, I believe, want to remain secular,” said Kerry.

In fact, Syria was ruled by Islamic governments since 638, when the Byzantine army was defeated, up to 1918. That’s when the British army toppled the Turkish empire in World War 1.

The first partly-secular government was imposed by France after it took control of Syria in 1920.

The current government began as Arab socialist government in 1963 after the British forced the French out in 1946.

Three years after it seized power, a faction of the Arab socialist party led by Hafez al-Assad seized power. Al-Assad ruled Syria until his heath in 2010, when he was replaced by his son, Bashar al-Assad.

The al-Assads have ruled Syria’s Sunnis by combining an alliance of Alawites, semi-secular Sunnis, Christians and other minorities.

In 1982, the alliance survived a brotherhood-led rebellion in the city of Hama. Hafez al-Assad destroyed the rebellion by bombarding the city with heavy artillery, killing roughly 30,000 people.

Kerry said he was confident that a secular government would emerge from the current war, which has killed an estimated 100,000 people.

“The opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership and more defined by its adherence to … an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution, which will be broad-based and secular,” Kerry told Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican.

Follow Neil on Twitter

Article printed from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com

URL to article: http://dailycaller.com/2013/09/04/kerry-insists-syrian-rebels-are-secular/

Is the McDonald’s McDouble the ‘cheapest, most nutritious and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history?

EEV: Hmmm if you disagree with their theory of nutrition. You are a ” Liberal ‘coalition of class snobs, locavore foodies and  militant anti-corporate types “ If its dollars per calories they believe in, why not cut to the chase and just drink High Fructose Corns Syrup straight? I guess they are just putting their macabre spin on poverty being cool. Let them eat “Mcdoubles” yea worked for Marie Antoinette also.





By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 00:04 EST, 29  July 2013 |  UPDATED: 00:05 EST, 29 July 2013

In terms of ‘the cheapest, most nutritious  and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history,’ the golden arches of  McDonald’s probably isn’t the first thing to pop into your mind.

But they should – according to a New York  Post columnist and an economics blogger, anyway.

Post columnist Kyle Smith made a pretty  compelling case for the McDonald’s Mcdouble’s giving diners the most bang for  their nutritional buck.

Behold, the McDouble: 'the cheapest, most nutritious and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history' 

Behold, the McDouble: ‘the cheapest, most nutritious and  bountiful food that has ever existed in human history’


At 390 calories, 23 grams of protein,  7-percent of the daily value of fiber, 20-percent of daily calcium and 19 grams  of fat – with a typical price tag of about a buck – the McDouble, its advocates  argue, is the most price-efficient food ‘that has ever existed in human  history.

‘For the average poor person, it isn’t a  great option to take a trip to  the farmers market to puzzle over esoteric  lefty-foodie codes. (Is  sustainable better than organic? What if I have to  choose between fair  trade and cruelty-free?) Produce may seem cheap to  environmentally aware blond moms who spend $300 on their highlights every month,  but if your  object is to fill your belly, it is hugely expensive per calorie,’  Smith writes.


‘Junk food costs as little as $1.76 per 1,000  calories, whereas fresh veggies and the like cost more than 10 times as much,  found a 2007 University  of Washington survey for the Journal of the American  Dietetic  Association. A 2,000-calorie day of meals would, if you stuck strictly  to the good-for-you stuff, cost $36.32, said the study’s lead author, Adam  Drewnowski.’

Bold: NY Post columnist Kyle Smith (center-right) realizes his theory on the McDouble isn't a popular one 

Bold: NY Post columnist Kyle Smith (center-right)  realizes his theory on the McDouble isn’t a popular one


Smith’s argument initially was made by a  commenter on the Freakonomics blog run by economics writer Stephen Dubner and  professor  Steven Leavitt, who co-wrote the million-selling books on the hidden  side of everything.

Adding fuel to the argument is the fact that  studies show that ‘people who eat out tend to eat less at home that day in  partial compensation; the net gain, according to a 2008 study out of Berkeley  and Northwestern, is only about 24 calories a day.’

Another factor in the argument is the rising  cost of organic foods, which Smith says are now becoming a ‘luxury  item.’

Smith realizes the theory isn’t going to be a  popular one amongst the Liberal ‘coalition of class snobs, locavore foodies and  militant anti-corporate types.’

But facts are facts – and ‘where else but  McDonald’s can poor people obtain so many calories per dollar?’

Lovin' It: Poor people, Smith argues, can get the most bang for their buck by eating at McDonald's  

Lovin’ It: Poor people, Smith argues, can get the most  bang for their buck by eating at McDonald’s

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2380548/Is-McDonalds-McDouble-cheapest-nutritious-bountiful-food-existed-human-history.html#ixzz2aPqL07jm Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

The Syrian conflict is looking like a replay of the Spanish Civil War, which paved the way for World War II.

Italian DM: Will Syria Boil Over Into Regional Conflict?

Jun. 16, 2013 – 11:10AM   |
Italian Defense Minister Mario Mauro

Italian Defense Minister Mario Mauro   (File photo / Agence France-Presse)

ROME — Italy’s new defense minister has a dire warning for Europe: The Syrian conflict is looking like a replay of the Spanish Civil War, which was fought between 1933 and 1939 and paved the way for World War II.

“Syria is coming increasingly to resemble the Spanish Civil War,” Mario Mauro, who was named defense minister in the Italian coalition government, told Defense News.

“Lebanon could find itself in a big crisis within days due to the presence of Hezbollah, while Turkey is undergoing its own problems. There are all the elements for this regional crisis to explode,” he said.

“There is the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites, but there are also the regional players maneuvering. Muslim fundamentalism is involved, but not central,” he added.

Mauro, whose government took office in April, said the war risked reigniting full-scale hostilities between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq.

“Don’t forget that Iraqis are fighting with Al Nusra,” he said, referring to the grouping of Sunni fighters in Syria challenging the government of Bashar Al-Assad.

What started out as a local civil war in Spain in 1936 turned global as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy backed Gen. Francisco Franco’s forces against the Spanish government, which was backed by the Soviet Union, while Europe’s democracies decided against intervention.

Roughly 93,000 people have died in Syria over the past two years after Sunni rebels backed by Gulf states took on Assad, who has been backed by Iran’s Shia government, by Russia and by Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.

After suffering early defeats, Assad has rebounded with a series of victories and appears set to retake the central provinces of Homs and Hama in a conflict characterized by huge flows of refugees and massacres.

“In a moment in which the US does not want to intervene, the responsibility of Europe increases,” said Mauro, who made his comments days before the US announced it would arm Syrian rebels and further reports that the White House was considering a no-fly zone. “Europe must reflect on what it wants to be. Italy is physically immersed in the Mediterranean, which makes it both vulnerable and strategic for the resolution of these conflicts.”

One analyst was doubtful Europe could do much about Syria.

“At this stage, Europe can do nothing without full US agreement,” said Jonathan Eyal, the director of international security studies at The Royal United Services Institute in London.

“However, Europe may squander any goodwill it built up in the Middle East over Libya, given its inaction here.”

Mauro’s analogy with the Spanish Civil War, which has been made before and disputed by analysts on both sides of the Atlantic, was partly accepted by Eyal.

“The analogy is partly correct, given the number of proxies involved, but the difference is that Syria is a sectarian war, not an ideological war,” he said.

“Additionally, all the players involved have a sense of inferiority. The Arab monarchies are on the wrong foot because of the Arab springs, Iran because it fears it could lose its Syrian ally, Hezbollah because it fears being split from Iran and Turkey because it is worried that a break up of Syria would lead to a Kurdish state,” he said.

“This is not a war where the sides are showing off their prowess, in the way the Fascists in Spain showed they were a force for the future. Here you cannot afford not to be involved.”

An Italy-based analyst said the religious element in the Syrian conflict is getting stronger as the sides use religious ties to pull allies into the fray. “As an example, Shiite fighters arrived from Iran and Iraq to defend the Sayyidah Zaynab mosque, which is an important Shiite place of worship,” said Gianmarco Volpe, the head of the Middle East desk at the Centre for International Studies in Rome.

The enmity generated by religious conflicts outstripped the ideological differences of the Spanish Civil War, he said. “After the political wars in Europe, people from both sides managed to coexist, whereas that could prove difficult in Syria, if Iraq is anything to go by. Religious wars appear to generate even more hatred than ethnic wars.”

Russia’s backing of Assad has meanwhile lent a Cold War element to the fray.

“Russia is furious at the West for using international law to do what it wants, as it did in Libya,” Eyal said, “and there is also the sale of Russian weapons to Syria to protect. The West failed to see the extent of Russian entrenchment in Syria.”

Volpe said Russia’s claim it was selling S300 air defense missile systems to Syria was “a diplomatic gesture” aimed at the West.

Eyal concluded that as the Syria war continues, it could come to mirror another conflict more recent than the Spanish Civil War.

“I believe Assad will not be able to restore the authority he had but could remain in power alongside pockets of resistance,” he said. “Syria could become a proxy war that everyone, from Hezbollah to Turkey has an interest in keeping going. As such, Syria could come to resemble Lebanon in the 1980s.”


White House knew extent of IRS scandal in April, says report

Wall Street Journal says counsel learned of targeting of conservative groups on 22 April, 18 days before president

  •   guardian.co.uk,              Monday 20 May 2013 12.33 EDT
President Obama

President Barack Obama has been under pressure in recent weeks. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Barack Obama‘s hopes of moving beyond the scandals that have dogged his administration were dashed on Monday, when it was disclosed that the White House had been informed last month about the details of the IRS affair.

After being forced on the defensive all last week on the apparent targeting of conservative groups by the Inland Revenue Service, the Benghazi consulate attack and the seizure of Associated Press phone records by the Department of Justice, the White House had hoped to move on this week, switching attention to other issues, primarily foreign affairs.

But the Wall Street Journal on Monday picked up an important discrepancies in the official White House versions of how much it knew about the IRS scandal in advance.

Obama has said that he learned about the scandal at the same time as the press, on 10 May. Last Monday Obama’s press spokesman, Jay Carney, said that the White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler had been informed in April that an independent audit of the scandal had been completed, but had not been given the findings. A White House adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, interviewed on CBS on Sunday, echoed Carney’s line, saying the White House had been made aware of the scandal a few weeks ago by the Treasury, although not the full details of what had happened.

But the WSJ reported that Ruemmler learned from Treasury lawyers on 22 April that “a small number of line IRS employees had improperly scrutinised certain … organizations by using words like ‘tea party’ and ‘patriot'”.

Republicans, who have been trying to establish a link between the IRS scandal and the White House, seized on the apparently contradictory statements. “I just don’t know who I can believe anymore,” said Brendan Buck, spokesman for the Republican House Speaker, John Boehner.

The scandal involves an IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio, which selected for extra scrutiny conservative groups with words such as ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their titles. The IRS denies this was for partisan reasons but admitted applications by these groups for tax-exempt status have been delayed.

In another sign that the scandals will not die away quickly, Tea Party groups are to launch a lawsuit against the IRS for discriminating against them. Another came in a letter sent to the IRS on Monday by the Senate finance committee.

The committee chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat, and Orrin Hatch, the ranking Republican, list a series of demands for internal documents relating to the scandal and the names and position of everyone who had been either involved in or informed about it. The deadline for the hand-over of the material is 31 May.
A House hearing began on Friday but the Senate enjoys a lot more power. In their joint letter, Baucus and Hatch wrote: “Targeting applicants for tax-exempt status using political labels threatens to undermine the public’s trust in the IRS. The lack of candor in advising the Senate of this practice is equally troubling.”

In a separate development, the Washington Post on Monday disclosed new details of the Obama administration‘s crackdown on leaks to journalists.

Court documents obtained by the Post showed that the Department of Justice tracked the comings and goings to the State Department of James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent of Fox News.

Officials wanted to track his connections with Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former state department adviser, in relation to alleged leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009. By using Rosen’s security badge access, Justice officials were able to track the timings of his visits to the State Department. They also seized Rosen’s phone records and personal emails. Kim was indicted by a grand jury in August 2010, over an alleged conversation with Rosen about a North Korea nuclear bomb test.

The Department of Justice’s seizure of AP phone records in relation to a leak of a CIA operation to stop a bomb plot hatched in Yemen has not yet had the same traction as the IRS scandal. But the involvement of a Fox News reporter excited rightwing commentators on Monday.

The Obama administration has launched more actions against whistleblowers than any previous presidency, prompting accusations that it has launched a “war on journalism”.



Boston bombers: FBI hunting 12-strong terrorist “sleeper cell” linked to brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

21 Apr 2013 00:01

Police believe the pair were specially  trained to carry out the devastating attack

Covered boat: Fugitive was found in back yard
Covered boat: Fugitive was found in back yard

The FBI was last night hunting a 12-strong terrorist “sleeper cell” linked to  the Boston  marathon bomb brothers.

Police believe Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were specially trained to carry  out the devastating attack.

More than 1,000 FBI operatives were last night working to track down the cell  and arrested a man and two women 60 miles from Boston in the hours before  Dzhokhar’s dramatic capture after a bloody shootout on Friday.

A source close to the investigation said: “We have no doubt the brothers were  not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly  sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.

“They were too advanced. Someone gave the brothers the skills and it is now  our job to find out just who they were. Agents think the sleeper cell has up to  a dozen members and has been waiting several years for their day to come.”

A specialist team of CIA and FBI interrogators was yesterday flown to a  Boston hospital to grill wounded Dzhokhar, 19, about the secret group. The  University of Massachusetts student was caught on Friday after hiding out in a  boat parked in a garden in locked down Watertown the day after a gun battle with  police left his 26-year-old brother and a rookie cop dead.

Dzhokhar is said to have run his brother over as he escaped in a stolen car  while Tamerlan lay handcuffed on the ground. They were carrying six bombs with  them at the time, three of which ­exploded, as well as a handgun and rifle.  The devices were thought to be pipe bombs.

Last night Dzhokhar – badly wounded but alive – lay handcuffed to his  hospital bed under armed guard. The other three arrested in the port of New  Bedford are also believed to be of college age.

Still infrared image from police search of boat where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding
An aerial infrared image shows the outline of Dzhokhar hiding in the  boat



Dzhokhar even went to a college party two days after the bombs wreaked havoc  at the finish line. According to fellow students, he “looked relaxed” as he  joined in a party at the campus on Wednesday night.

Hours later he was involved in the shootout which saw his brother killed.

Investigators have begun piecing together how the “well-mannered” brothers of  Chechen origin were radicalised. Neighbours of the family said older brother  Tamerlan had recently become obsessed with Islam. He mysteriously left the US in  January last year to spend six months in Russia. Yesterday senior FBI  counter-terrorism official Kevin Brock said: “It’s a key thread for  investigators.”

It also emerged the Bureau interviewed Tamerlan two years ago, at the request  of the Russian government, but could not establish that he had ties to terrorist  radicals.

This was despite his worrying Russian-language YouTube page featuring links  to extremist Islamic sites and others since taken down by YouTube.

One link showed an hour-long speech by an Islamic teacher called Shaykh Feiz  Mohammed, while other videos are labled “Terrorists” and “Islam”.

The radical cleric, with links to extremist British Muslims, encouraged his  followers to become martyrs for Islam. He said: “Teach them this: There is  nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid.”

Yesterday the brothers’ mother Zubeidat, speaking from her home in Russia,  added further intrigue to her sons’ murky past when she claimed the boys had  been framed by the FBI over the two bombs last Monday that left three dead and  178 injured.

Chechen bombers: Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev at the  Boston Marathon



She claimed the FBI had been keeping watch on her eldest boy for up to five  years. She said: “They knew what my son was doing. They knew what sites on the  internet he was going to.

“They were telling me that he was really an extremist leader and that they  were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets  from these extremist sites. They were controlling him.”

The bombers’ father Anzor wept at news that his youngest son had been  captured alive. In a phone interview with a US news channel he told his

son: “Tell police everything. Everything. Just be honest.”

US Government officials have said the brothers were not under surveillance as  possible militants. And an FBI statement said the matter was closed because  interviews with Tamerlan and family members “did not find any terrorism  activity, domestic or foreign”. But now they believe the pair, who emigrated to  the United States from Dagestan about a decade ago, were part of a terror  cell.

College dropout Tamerlan’s American wife Katherine Russell, 24, and their  three-year-old daughter Zahara were yesterday thrown into the spotlight. She was  a Christian before they married but converted to Islam. Her parents Warren, a  doctor, and Judith were said to be “stunned” by their son-in-law’s involvement  in the tragedy.

Judith and Warren issued a joint statement saying: “Our daughter has lost her  husband today, the father of her child. In the aftermath of the Patriot’s Day  horror, we know we never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Our hearts are sickened  by the horror he has inflicted.”

Katherine, wearing a black hijab, was picked up by FBI agents at their home  in Cambridge near Boston on Friday. Dope-smoker Dzhokhar was captured after a  Watertown resident called police to say the fugitive was hiding in a boat in his  back garden.

David Henneberry had gone into his garden for a cigarette after police lifted  restrictions on people leaving their homes, believing the bomber had left the  area. He noticed that the cover over his boat had blood on it and a strap had  been cut. He went back into the house to get a stepladder and looked inside.

His stepson Robert said: “He stuck his head under the tarp and noticed a pool  of blood and something crumpled up in a ball. Instead of being a hero of the  moment and yelling at what we now know was the suspect, he did the right thing  and called 911.”

Police immediately evacuated the family and surrounded the house, using a  megaphone to tell Dzhokhar to come out with his hands up.

When he failed to respond they opened fire at the boat’s hull. Robert said:  “They wound up ­shooting a couple of rounds through the boat. He wasn’t  going to like that.”

Dzhokhar was wounded by the volley of gunfire and police were able to move in  and arrest him. They later released infrared pictures taken from a helicopter  showing Dzhokhar hiding in the boat.

Investigators will interrogate the bomber, still seriously ill last night,  without reading him his rights – using special “public safety” powers.

The family of eight-year-old bombing victim Martin Richard welcomed the  arrest of Tsarnaev. “Our community is once again safe from these men,” the  family said in a statement.

Shortly before Dzhokhar’s capture, President Obama spoke by phone to Russian  President Vladimir Putin. The White House said Obama “praised the close  co-operation the US has received from Russia on counter-terrorism, including in  the wake of the Boston attack”.

Check out all the latest News, Sport & Celeb gossip at Mirror.co.uk http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/boston-bombers-fbi-hunting-12-strong-1844844#.UXM54Yqm6hA.twitter#ixzz2R7RPu1J3 Follow us: @DailyMirror on Twitter | DailyMirror on Facebook

Newly approved blood thinner may increase susceptibility to some viral infections

Contact: Les Lang llang@med.unc.edu 919-966-9366 University of North Carolina Health Care

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.  – A study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina indicates that a newly approved blood thinner that blocks a key component of the human blood clotting system may increase the risk and severity of certain viral infections, including flu and myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart and a significant cause of sudden death in children and young adults.

For the past 50 years, people with the heartbeat irregularity, atrial fibrillation, and others at increased risk for forming potentially life-threatening blood clots have been given the anticoagulant drug warfarin. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the blood-thinner Dabigatran etexilate (called Pradaxa™) for atrial fibrillation patients. The drug inhibits thrombin, the body’s central coagulation activator of the blood clotting system.

In blocking thrombin activity, the drug disturbs the protease cascade of molecular events that normally occurs in coagulation. While clot formation is reduced, the new study shows it may also cause an unintended consequence. “Our findings show that blocking thrombin reduces the innate immune response to viral infection,” says study senior author Nigel Mackman, PhD, the John C. Parker Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the division of hematology and director of the UNC McAllister Heart Institute. “The use of the new generation of blood thinners might increase the risk and severity of flu and myocarditis.”

A report of the research appears in the March 2013 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Mackman points out that viral infections such as dengue fever trigger activation of the coagulation system but it was considered a bad thing.  He says studies on bacterial infections have found that the last product of the “clotting cascade” (the process that occurs in blood clot formation) – fibrin – helps activate immune cell macrophages that boosts the immune system.

“But it seems that the antiviral mechanism of the clotting system is not via fibrin but rather via thrombin; namely, its activation of protease activated receptor proteins such as PAR-1,” says Mackman. “The new study was aimed at finding out if PAR-1 plays any role in virus infections, a question of importance to the use of Pradaxa™ and the development of antithrombotic drugs that target PAR-1 on platelets.”

To find the answer, Mackman and colleagues used mice in which the PAR-1 gene is deleted and subjected then to infection with a virus that causes myocarditis. They found that loss of PAR-1 mediated signaling after infection with the cardiotrophic virus resulted in increased viral buildup in the heart, cardiac injury and, later, increased impairment of heart function.

Moreover, the absence of PAR-1 signaling was associated with a slower response to the virus of the innate immune soon after viral infection. The innate immune system provides early defense against disease causing organisms. The defense is almost immediate.

The researchers treated normal mice with Pradaxa™. They showed that thrombin inhibition increased cardiac virus load and cardiac injury after viral infection in a similar manner to a deficiency of PAR-1. In addition, they infected the PAR-1 deficient mice with influenza A and found that PAR-1 signaling was important in controlling the virus load in the lung in the early phase after infection. These results suggest that thrombin and PAR-1 mediate important early antiviral signals after infection.

“Pradaxa™ inhibits clot formation by reducing fibrin deposition and platelet aggregation.” said Mackman. “Importantly, Pradaxa™ might not only facilitate significant lifesaving effects in reducing cardiac death but may also interfere with other processes in the body.

“The results we generated were completely unexpected and in fact our hypothesis was that PAR-1 deficient mice would be protected from viral myocarditis because they would have reduced inflammation,” Mackman added. “We are now determining if the traditional long term anticoagulant warfarin has the same effect on viral infection or is this specific to the new blood thinner.”


The majority of the study was a collaboration between the Mackman group at UNC and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, Germany, and other groups at UNC, including at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, and across the USA.

The first-author is Silvio Antoniak, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in Mackman’s lab. Other co-authors from Mackman’s lab were A. Phillip Owens III, PhD; Martin Baumnacke, MD; and Julie C. Williams, PhD.

The study was supported by the Myocarditis Foundation through a research grant to Silvio Antoniak. Additional funds were provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a component of the National Institutes of Health.

Brain scans might predict future criminal behavior

Contact: Kent Kiehl kkiehl@mrn.org 505-925-4516 Duke University

Low anterior cingulate activity linked to repeat offenses

ALBUQUERQUE, NM and DURHAM, NC–A new study conducted by The Mind Research Network in Albuquerque, N.M., shows that neuroimaging data can predict the likelihood of whether a criminal will reoffend following release from prison.

The paper, which is to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, studied impulsive and antisocial behavior and centered on the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a portion of the brain that deals with regulating behavior and impulsivity.

You can view the paper by clicking here: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1219302110.

The study demonstrated that inmates with relatively low anterior cingulate activity were twice as likely to reoffend than inmates with high-brain activity in this region.

“These findings have incredibly significant ramifications for the future of how our society deals with criminal justice and offenders,” said Dr. Kent A. Kiehl, who was senior author on the study and is director of mobile imaging at MRN and an associate professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico. “Not only does this study give us a tool to predict which criminals may reoffend and which ones will not reoffend, it also provides a path forward for steering offenders into more effective targeted therapies to reduce the risk of future criminal activity.”

The study looked at 96 adult male criminal offenders aged 20-52 who volunteered to participate in research studies. This study population was followed over a period of up to four years after inmates were released from prison.

“These results point the way toward a promising method of neuroprediction with great practical potential in the legal system,” said Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Philosophy Department and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, who collaborated on the study. “Much more work needs to be done, but this line of research could help to make our criminal justice system more effective.”

The study used the Mind Research Network’s Mobile Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) System to collect neuroimaging data as the inmate volunteers completed a series of mental tests.

“People who reoffended were much more likely to have lower activity in the anterior cingulate cortices than those who had higher functioning ACCs,” Kiehl said. “This means we can see on an MRI a part of the brain that might not be working correctly — giving us a look into who is more likely to demonstrate impulsive and anti-social behavior that leads to re-arrest.”

The anterior cingulate cortex of the brain is “associated with error processing, conflict monitoring, response selection, and avoidance learning,” according to the paper. People who have this area of the brain damaged have been “shown to produce changes in disinhibition, apathy, and aggressiveness. Indeed, ACC-damaged patients have been classed in the ‘acquired psychopathic personality’ genre.”

Kiehl says he is working on developing treatments that increase activity within the ACC to attempt to treat the high-risk offenders.


The four-year study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and pilot funds by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project. The study was conducted in collaboration with the New Mexico Corrections Department.


The Mind Research Network (MRN), headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M., is committed to advancing the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and other brain disorders. MRN is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization consisting of an interdisciplinary association of scientists located at universities, national laboratories and research centers around the world and is focused on imaging technology and its emergence as an integral element of neuroscience investigation.

The Mind Research Network is a part of the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute family of companies.

Learn more at http://www.mrn.org

New disorder could classify millions of people as mentally ill

Contact: Stephanie Burns sburns@bmjgroup.com 44-020-738-36920 BMJ-British Medical Journal

New condition that may lead to ‘inappropriate medical decision making,’ warns expert

Personal View: The new somatic symptom disorder in DSM-5 risks mislabeling many people as mentally ill

Millions of people could be mislabeled as mentally ill when psychiatry’s bible of diagnoses is updated in May, warns a senior doctor in this week’s BMJ.

The next edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) – used around the world to classify mental disorders – will include a new category of somatic symptom disorder.

But Allen Frances, Chair of the current (DSM-IV) task force warns that the DSM-5 definition of somatic symptom disorder “may result in inappropriate diagnoses of mental disorder and inappropriate medical decision making.”

The new category will extend the scope of mental disorder classification by eliminating the requirement that somatic symptoms must be “medically unexplained” he explains. In DSM-5, the focus shifts to “excessive” responses to distressing, chronic, somatic symptoms with associated “dysfunctional thoughts, feelings, or behaviours.”

His concern is supported by the results of the DSM-5 field trial study. Somatic symptom disorder captured 15% of patients with cancer or heart disease and 26% with irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia, and had a very high false-positive rate of 7% among health people in the general population.

He points out that, previous DSM criteria “have always included reminders to clinicians to rule out other explanations before concluding that any mental disorder is present. But his suggestions to the DSM-5 work group that similar reminders should be included this time were rejected.

Every diagnostic decision is a delicate balancing act between definitions that will result in too much versus too little diagnosis – the DSM-5 work group “chose a remarkably sensitive definition that is also remarkably non-specific,” warns Frances.

This, he argues “reflected a consistent bias throughout DSM-5 to expand the boundaries of psychiatric diagnosis with what I believe was insufficient attention to the risks of the ensuing false positive mislabeling.”

“The DSM-5 diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder is based on subjective and difficult to measure cognitions that will enable a “bolt-on” diagnosis of mental disorder to be applied to all medical conditions, irrespective of cause,” he adds.

“Clinicians are best advised to ignore this new category. When a psychiatric diagnosis is needed for someone who is overly worried about medical problems the more benign and accurate diagnosis is adjustment disorder.”

Cyprus baulks at painful EU bailout terms: ” I don’t think the banks will open if the bill isn’t passed “

17    Mar  2013

Cyprus postponed an emergency debate in parliament on a controversial EU bailout on Sunday, threatening a prolonged closure of the island’s banks as MPs baulk at an unprecedented tax on savings.

Fellow eurozone countries and international creditors imposed the deeply unpopular levy of up to 9.9 percent on all deposits in the island’s banks as a condition for a desperately needed 10-billion-euro ($13 billion) bailout.

Conservative President Nicos Anastasiades needs to get the legislation ratifying the deal through parliament before banks reopen or face a run on accounts.

But Cyprus media reported that the scale of revolt against the agreement among MPs has thrown into disarray his efforts to do so over a three-day holiday weekend, and he may have to declare an additional bank holiday on Tuesday.

Negotiations are under way with the central bank to keep branches closed for an extra day, despite the potential economic cost, the privately run Sigma TV reported.

Anastasiades is struggling to secure even a simple majority for the terms of the bailout in the 56-member parliament in which his conservative DISY parliament holds just 20 seats, the channel said.

State television said the government had decided to postpone the debate to “ensure MPs were fully aware of the situation and were better informed.”

A cut-out image of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades decorates a DJ stand as part of carnival celebrations in Nicosia on March 16, 2013. Cyprus postponed an emergency debate in parliament on a controversial EU bailout, threatening a prolonged closure of the island’s banks as MPs baulk at an unprecedented tax on savings.

The president also postponed until Monday a planned address to the nation to defend the “painful” sacrifices which he insisted were the only way to save the island’s banking sector from total collapse.

MPs will now convene at 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) on Monday to debate ratification after a briefing by the conservative president at 11:00 am (0900 GMT), the state broadcaster said.

The debt rescue package, agreed with the eurozone and International Monetary Fund early on Saturday after around 10 hours of talks in Brussels, is significantly less than the 17 billion euros Cyprus had initially sought.

Most of the balance is to be made up through the bank deposit levy — the first eurozone bailout in which private depositors are having to help foot the bill.

Savers in Cyprus banks reacted with shock and anger after Anastasiades agreed to the levy in an 11th-hour U-turn on months of promises that such a measure was a red line it would never cross.

“This is like stealing, I feel rage,” a Nicosia artist who gave his name only as Kyriakos told AFP.

Opposition politician George Lillikas called on his supporters to protest on Tuesday, charging that the president, who was elected only last month, had “betrayed the people’s vote.”

Ministers will now meet at 8:30 am on Monday to thrash out the draft legislation to put before parliament, state media said.

A man and a woman withdraw money from a cash-point machine in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on March 16, 2013. Cyprus postponed an emergency debate in parliament on a controversial EU bailout, threatening a prolonged closure of the island’s banks as MPs baulk at an unprecedented tax on savings.

Europhile former president George Vassiliou pleaded with MPs to accept an agreement that he said was the only one acceptable to the parliaments of EU creditor nations like Germany.

“The Germans told us they couldn’t pass a Cyprus bailout through the Bundestag without a haircut on bank deposits,” Vassiliou told state television from Berlin.

“Reducing bank savings is an unjust measure but the economy is saved and we stay in the euro.

“If this bill isn’t approved, there will be a run on the banks and they will collapse. I don’t think the banks will open if the bill isn’t passed.”

But Vassilou’s centre-left United Democrats has no seats in the current parliament, in which most parties have serious misgivings about the deal.

The communist AKEL party, which has 19 seats, had refused to sign an agreement on the terms on offer while it was in power before Anastasiades’s election last month.

Even the president’s coalition partners had strong words against the deal. DIKO leader Marios Garoyian said he had spoken to Anastasiades about seeking “alternative choices” amid opposition from some of his centrist party’s nine MPs.

But German political analyst Hubert Faustmann said that ultimately MPs had little choice but to accept the deal.

“Parliament will have to vote it through because the alternative is bankruptcy. They cannot amend it, as far as I know, it is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote — and a ‘no’ means bankruptcy.”



Syrian rebels say seize UN convoy



EEV: Video Recently Added

Mar 6, 2013 20:51 Moscow Time

сирия оппозиция боевики боевик оружие

Photo: EPA

Syrian rebels say they have seized a convoy of United Nations observers near the Golan Heights, according to a video posted on the Internet site YouTube on Thursday by a violence monitoring group.

A man saying he was from the “Martyrs of Yarmouk” brigade said the convoy would not be released until forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad withdrew from the village of Jamla.

He stood in front of a two white armoured vehicles and a truck with “UN” written on them. At least three people in the video were wearing United Nations light blue helmets while bullet-proof vests were visible in the vehicles.

Voice of RUssia, Reuters


A nasty, brutish, imperial presidency


By World Last updated:  February 28th, 2013



Barack Obama is not amused by growing press criticism

Thomas Hobbes wrote that the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Today’s White House definitely isn’t poor, lavishly feeding off the wealth of the American taxpayer, and the current presidency certainly isn’t short, with nearly four more years to run. But it is undeniably nasty and brutish, as veteran Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward has found after questioning President Obama’s narrative on the sequester issue.

Woodward, one of two reporters who broke the Watergate story that led to Richard Nixon’s downfall (immortalised in the 1976 Oscar winner All The President’s Men), has revealed to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the White House warned him that he would “regret” his recent remarks on the sequester, made in a Washington Post column. (Read the exchange of emails between White House economic adviser Gene Sperling and Woodward posted by Politico here.) Woodward is hardly a conservative, and has been at the heart of the liberal media establishment for decades. He is, however, not afraid of challenging the status quo, as he did with his 2010 book Obama’s Wars. Woodward is not alone. Lanny Davis, another liberal columnist and former special counsel to Bill Clinton, who has penned several pieces critical of Obama’s policies, has also spoken out against similar White House tactics.

The threats being dished out to Woodward, Davis and others are extremely disturbing in a free society, and are a reflection of an imperial presidency that acts with impunity and is highly intolerant of dissent. The heavy-arm tactics that Obama’s team have deployed for years against conservatives are now being increasingly implemented as well against liberals questioning the president’s record.

Leading US political analyst Michael Barone predicted all this in a piece for National Review Online back in October 2008, when he wrote about “The Coming Obama Thugocracy.” It is an article that is strikingly accurate in its predictions. Here’s what Barone had to say before Obama even entered the White House:

“I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors,” Barack Obama told a crowd in Elko, Nev. “I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.” Actually, Obama supporters are doing a lot more than getting into people’s faces. They seem determined to shut people up.

… Once upon a time, liberals prided themselves, with considerable reason, as the staunchest defenders of free speech. Union organizers in the 1930s and 1940s made the case that they should have access to employees to speak freely to them, and union leaders like George Meany and Walter Reuther were ardent defenders of the First Amendment.

Today’s liberals seem to be taking their marching orders from other quarters. Specifically, from the college and university campuses where administrators, armed with speech codes, have for years been disciplining and subjecting to sensitivity training any students who dare to utter thoughts that liberals find offensive. The campuses that used to pride themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society.

Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech that they don’t like and seem utterly oblivious to claims that this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. In this campaign, we have seen the coming of the Obama thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead.

Will American liberals now stand up to the Obama White House and condemn its blatant attempts to suppress criticism and free speech? I doubt it. The Washington Post has provided relatively little coverage of the story, despite the fact that one its own star writers has been targeted. The New York Times is, unsurprisingly, completely silent (with the exception of a small mention in a single blog) on the issue. Ironically, most of the reporting of the White House’s attempts to intimidate liberal critics has come from the conservative press, led by the Drudge Report, which has propelled the story to national prominence. Both conservatives and liberals should be rallying to the defence of free speech and freedom of the press, holding the Obama presidency to account. All Americans should be concerned by government attempts to stifle press criticism in the land of the free, tactics which undermine the very foundations of liberty

Top ten signs that your authoritarian regime is in trouble

Posted By Daniel W. Drezner        Thursday, December 13, 2012 – 2:01 PM


Ellen Barry reports in the New York Times that the Russians see the handwriting on the wall in Syria:

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s top envoy for Syria, said on Thursday that President Bashar al-Assad’s government was losing control of the country and might be defeated by rebel forces.

“Unfortunately, it is impossible to exclude a victory of the Syrian opposition,” he said — the clearest indication to date that Russia believed Mr. Assad, a longtime strategic ally, could lose in a civil war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

“We must look squarely at the facts and the trend now suggests that the regime and the government in Syria are losing more and more control and more and more territory,” said Mr. Bogdanov, in remarks to Russia’s Public Chamber carried by Russian news agencies.

This comes a day after Syria launched Scud missiles at opposition forces — which everyone and their mother seems to think is a desperate move by the Assad regime — and the United States announced it would recognize the new Syrian opposition council.

Now, as someone who has been expecting Assad to go for quite some time now, these appear to be pretty powerful signs that the regime is, if not facing the end, the beginning of the end.  On the other hand, as Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alistair Smith note in Foreign Policy, Assad still seems able to command the necessary resources to fund his coercive apparatus.

So, how can we really tell that Assad — or any other leader facing an insurrection — is actually on his way out?  In the spirit of David Letterman, might I suggest the following:


10)  Your Minister of Transportation decides to cash in all his frequent flyer miles.

9)  Barbara Walters bumps you from her Most Fascinating People of the Year special in favor of a boy band;

8)  Your press agent tells you, “I don’t know what happened, but we can’t find that Vogue profile of you anywhere on the Internet!”

7)  The RSVPs for your year-end holiday party don’t seem to include anyone from the Defense Ministry.

6)  Fox News interrupts its War on Christmas coverage to actually report on your country

5)  Your last name, as a hashtag, is trending higher than a Kardashian.

4)  For no apparent reason, your radio station is playing this song nonstop.

3)  The traffic jam to your international airport is far worse than usual.

2)  All those posters of you in the downtown are now covered by posters of the latest Liam Neeson film.

and the #1 sign that your regime is in trouble…

1)  The U.N. Security Council says so!!



Rebuttal to Dr. Oz’s article in regards to the “Anti-Snob Diet”

Rebuttal to Dr. Oz’s article in regards to the “Anti-Snob Diet”

Remember Dr Oz. needs a chance to clarify. Until then though, these are my humble statements.

And as always, I do 1 run, no editing…As you can plainly tell 😉

Health Research Weekly Video Report 30 NOV 2012

Potentially Toxic Flame Retardants found in Many U.S. Couches
More Facebook Friends means more Stress, says report
4 Common Antipsychotic Drugs found to lack safety and effectiveness in older adults
Bothered by Negative, Unwanted Thoughts? Just throw them away

Israel’s killer robot cars

   Posted By John ReedTuesday, November 20, 2012 – 12:33 PM

As Israeli ground forces literally stand on the brink of invading Gaza, they are likely being aided by the world’s first operational unmanned ground vehicle, the Guardium, which is already prowling the borderbetween Israel and Gaza.

Looking like a Smart Car on steroids, the Guardium is an unmanned armored car that carries more than 660-pounds of cameras, electronic sensors and weapons, according to the Israel Defense Forces’ blog (notice how the blog says it has built-in protection against denial of service attacks, that’s expensive). The killer go-kart can be operated in real time by a driver sitting in distant command center — similar to the way armed drones are flown by far-off pilots — or they can be programmed to “run patrol on predetermined routeswithout human intervention,” according to the blog. (Human Rights Watch will love that last bit.)

The Guardium can even “react to unscheduled events, in line with a set of guidelines specifically programmed for the site characteristics and security routines,” brags its manufacturer, Israel-based G-NIUS Unmanned Ground Systems. (The Guardium is basically an armored version of the U.S.-made Tomcar desert buggies.) That means that if the Guardium sees something it doesn’t like, it can apparently take action all on its own –likely alerting a command center to the presence of something suspicious, not opening fire without notifying a human operator first.

While the U.S. Army is conducting very, very limited trial runs of robo-jeeps in Afghanistan, the Guardium is fully operational, according to the IDF. Unlike the Army’s robot jeeps, which are pretty much serving as pack mules that accompany infantry units, the Guardiums are being used in a similar manner as UAVs, running patrols by themselves and using their sensors, equipped with “auto-target acquisition,” to look for the enemy and their weapons and…well, we’ll see. The IDF says the little robo-cars can “use various forceful methods to eliminate” threats.

“In case of suspicious activity, the Guardium can quickly respond and hold the suspicious elements back until manned troops arrive, or use various forceful methods to eliminate the threat,” reads the blog. “Its many sensors, including video and thermal cameras with auto-target acquisition, sensitive microphones, powerful loudspeakers and a two way radio, combined with a top-speed of up to [50 miles per hour] make the Guardium a very reliable partner on routine patrols in dangerous environments” (emphasis IDF’s).

Click here for more pictures of the Guardium.



80th Health Research Report 22 APR 2010 : Reconstruction

Editors Top Five:

1. Vitamin K May Protect Against Developing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Say Mayo Clinic Researchers

2. First evidence that chitosan could repair spinal damage

3. Over half of women in abusive relationships still saw their male partners as dependable

4. Why are allergies increasing?

5. Health, life insurers hold $1.88 billion in fast-food stocks: AJPH article

In this issue:

1. Stress hormones accelerate tumor growth
2. Study identifies food combination associated with reduced Alzheimer’s disease risk
3. Over half of women in abusive relationships still saw their male partners as dependable
4. U of I study: Lack of omega-6 fatty acid linked to severe dermatitis
5. U of I study: Lack of omega-3 fatty acid linked to male infertility(DHA)
6. Fear of getting fat seen in healthy women’s brain scans
7. Why are allergies increasing?
8. Diet alone will not likely lead to significant weight loss
10. Health, life insurers hold $1.88 billion in fast-food stocks: AJPH article
11. Diet high in B-vitamins lowers heart risks in Japanese study
12. Study shows potential benefit of dark chocolate for liver disease patients
13. Low vitamin D levels associated with more asthma symptoms and medication use
14. First evidence that chitosan could repair spinal damage
15. Vitamin and calcium supplements may reduce breast cancer risk
16. Meat, especially if it’s well done, may increase risk of bladder cancer
17. Substance in breast milk kills cancer cells
18. Are doctors missing depression medication side effects?
19. Vitamin K May Protect Against Developing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Say Mayo Clinic Researchers
20. Obesity gene, carried by more than a third of the U.S. population, leads to brain tissue loss

Public release date: 12-Apr-2010

Stress hormones accelerate tumor growth

Chronic stress has recently been implicated as a factor that may accelerate the growth of tumors. However, the mechanisms underlying this effect have not been determined. But now, Anil Sood and colleagues, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, have generated data using human ovarian cancer cell lines and tumor specimens that indicate that stress hormones, especially norepinephrine and epinephrine, can contribute to tumor progression in patients with ovarian cancer. They therefore suggest that targeting stress hormones and the signaling pathways that they activate might be of benefit to individuals with cancer.

Anoikis is the process by which cells are triggered to die when separated from their surrounding matrix and neighboring cells. Tumor cells that spread to other sites somehow escape anoikis. In the study, exposure of human ovarian cancer cells lines to either of the stress hormones norepinephrine or epinephrine protected them from anoikis. Similarly, in a mouse model of ovarian cancer, restraint stress and the associated increases in norepinephrine and epinephrine protected the tumor cells from anoikis and promoted their growth. This effect was associated with activation of the protein FAK. The clinical significance of these data was highlighted by the observation that in human ovarian cancer patients, behavioral states related to greater stress hormone activity were associated with higher levels of activated FAK, which was in turn linked to substantially accelerated mortality.

Public release date: 12-Apr-2010

Study identifies food combination associated with reduced Alzheimer’s disease risk

Individuals whose diet includes more salad dressing, nuts, fish, poultry and certain fruits and vegetables and fewer high-fat dairy products, red meats, organ meats and butter appear less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the June print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

“Epidemiological evidence linking diet, one of the most important modifiable environmental factors, and risk of Alzheimer’s disease is rapidly increasing,” the authors write as background information in the article. “However, current literature regarding the impact of individual nutrients or food items on Alzheimer’s disease risk is inconsistent, partly because humans eat meals with complex combinations of nutrients or food items that are likely to be synergistic.”

Yian Gu, Ph.D., of Columbia University Medical Center, New York, and colleagues studied 2,148 older adults (age 65 and older) without dementia living in New York. Participants provided information about their diets and were assessed for the development of dementia every 1.5 years for an average of four years. Several dietary patterns were identified with varying levels of seven nutrients previously shown to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease risk: saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folate.

During the follow-up, 253 individuals developed Alzheimer’s disease. One dietary pattern was significantly associated with a reduced risk of the disease. This pattern involved high intakes of salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, fruits and cruciferous and dark and green leafy vegetables and low intakes of high-fat dairy, red meat, organ meat and butter.

The combination of nutrients in the low-risk dietary pattern reflect multiple pathways in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, the authors note. “For example, vitamin B12 and folate are homocysteine-related vitamins that may have an impact on Alzheimer’s disease via their ability of reducing circulating homocysteine levels, vitamin E might prevent Alzheimer’s disease via its strong antioxidant effect and fatty acids may be related to dementia and cognitive function through atherosclerosis, thrombosis or inflammation via an effect on brain development and membrane functioning or via accumulation of beta-amyloid,” they write.

“Our findings provide support for further exploration of food combination–based dietary behavior for the prevention of this important public health problem,” they conclude.

Public release date: 12-Apr-2010

Over half of women in abusive relationships still saw their male partners as dependable

New study based on women’s self-reports suggests a subtype of men — categorized as ‘dependable yet abusive’ — is most common

TORONTO, Ont., April 12, 2010— It’s well known that many women remain in abusive relationships with their male partners. A new study by researchers in Toronto and New York suggests that many who live with chronic psychological abuse still see certain positive traits in their abusers—such as dependability and being affectionate—which may partly explain why they stay.

“We wanted to see whether survey information from women who were not currently seeking treatment or counseling for relationship abuse could be a reliable source for identifying specific types of male abusers,” says Patricia O’Campo, a social epidemiologist and director of the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

She adds that past research has underscored abused women’s personal evaluations of their intimate relationships—specifically, their commitment to the relationships and positive feelings about the abuser and/or the relationship—as critical in their decisions to continue or terminate abusive relationships. “We wanted to learn more,” says Dr. O’Campo, who co-authored the study with researchers from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York.

Using survey data from a project funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, the researchers explored the experiences of 611 urban-dwelling, low-income American women.

•Overall, 42.8% of those surveyed said they had been abused by their intimate male partners in the year preceding the survey.

•Psychological abuse was significantly more of an ongoing problem than physical abuse, while sexual abuse was reported as least common.

•A relatively small number of women (2.3%) perceived their partners as extremely controlling, while 1.2% reported that their partners engaged in extreme generally violent behaviours.

But a considerable number of women felt their abusive male partners still possessed some good qualities: more than half (54%) saw their partners as highly dependable, while one in five (21%) felt the men in their lives possessed significant positive traits (i.e., being affectionate).

Based on the survey findings, the researchers divided the male abusers into three groups: “Dependable, yet abusive” men (44% of the sample) had the lowest scores for controlling and generally violent behaviors, and the highest scores for dependability and positive traits. “Positive and controlling” men (38% of the sample) had moderately high scores for violence and also for dependability and positive traits. However, they were more controlling than men in the first group, displaying significantly higher levels of generally violent behaviours. “Dangerously abusive” men (18% of the sample) had the highest scores for violence, controlling behaviour and legal problems and the lowest scores for dependability and positive traits.

The researchers say their findings suggest there is value in studying the problem of male violence through the perceptions of abused women, including those who are currently “outside” the social services and legal systems designed to help them.

“The importance of listening to women’s voices cannot be highlighted enough and needs further exploration,” says O’Campo. “This is just one step toward potentially increasing our understanding of how to find additional ways to improve women’s safety.”

Ralph’s Note – A society that excepts this behavior as a norm. Is a society that no longer deserves to exit.

Public release date: 12-Apr-2010

U of I study: Lack of omega-6 fatty acid linked to severe dermatitis

URBANA –University of Illinois scientists have learned that a specific omega-6 fatty acid may be critical to maintaining skin health.

“In experiments with mice, we knocked out a gene responsible for an enzyme that helps the body to make arachidonic acid. Without arachidonic acid, the mice developed severe ulcerative dermatitis. The animals were very itchy, they scratched themselves continuously, and they developed a lot of bleeding sores,” said Manabu Nakamura, a U of I associate professor of food science and human nutrition.

When arachidonic acid was added to the animals’ diet, the itching went away, he said.

Nakamura’s team has been focusing on understanding the function of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, and doctoral student Chad Stroud developed a mouse model to help them understand the physiological roles of these fats. By knocking out genes, they can create deficiencies of certain fats and learn about their functions.

“Knocking out a gene that enables the body to make the delta-6-desaturase enzyme has led to some surprising discoveries. In this instance, we learned that arachidonic acid is essential for healthy skin function. This new understanding may have implications for treating the flaky, itchy skin that sometimes develops without an attributable cause in infants,” he said.

Nakamura explained that our bodies make arachidonic acid from linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that we must obtain through our diets. It is found mainly in vegetable oils.

Scientists have long attributed healthy skin function to linoleic acid, which is important because it provides the lipids that coat the outer layer of the skin, keeping the body from losing water and energy, which would retard growth, the scientist said.

But skin function seems to be more complicated than that. These itchy mice had plenty of linoleic acid. They just couldn’t convert it to arachidonic acid because the gene to make the necessary enzyme had been knocked out, he noted.

Arachidonic acid is also essential to the production of prostaglandins, compounds that can lead to inflammatory reactions and are important to immune function. Common painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen work by inhibiting the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins.

“We usually think of inflammation as a bad thing, but in this case, prostaglandins prevented dermatitis, which is an inflammatory reaction. We measured prostaglandin levels in the animals’ skin, and when we fed arachidonic acid to the knockout mice, they resumed making these important chemical compounds,” he said.

Nakamura cautioned that there are still things they don’t understand about the function of this omega-6 fatty acid. “This new knowledge is a starting point in understanding the mechanisms that are involved, and we need to do more research at the cellular level.”

Public release date: 12-Apr-2010

U of I study: Lack of omega-3 fatty acid linked to male infertility(DHA)

URBANA – According to a University of Illinois study, omega-3 fatty acids may be good for more than heart health. A little-known omega-3 may have implications for treating male infertility.

“In our experiment, we used ‘knockout’ mice that lacked the gene responsible for an enzyme important in making docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In the absence of DHA, male mice are basically infertile, producing few if any misshaped sperm that can’t get where they need to go,” said Manabu Nakamura, a U of I associate professor of food science and human nutrition.

“We looked at sperm count, shape, and motility and tested the breeding success rate, and the mice lacking DHA simply were not able to breed,” said Manuel Roqueta-Rivera, a U of I doctoral student who also worked on the study.

In the DHA-deficient knockout mice, sperm counts were extremely low. The sperm that were produced were round instead of elongated and they were unable to move well, he said.

But, when DHA was introduced into the diet, fertility was completely restored. “It was very striking. When we fed the mice DHA, all these abnormalities were prevented,” he said.

This is the first time that the importance of DHA to male fertility has been shown this directly, although some studies have suggested that male fertility patients with low sperm counts and less motile sperm tend to have low levels of this fatty acid.

The DHA study is part of the Nakamura team’s efforts to understand the function of the omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. As part of that work, they have developed a mouse model to help them understand a particular fat’s physiological role. By knocking out genes, they can create deficiencies of the fats they are interested in and learn about their functions.

“Knocking out the gene for the delta-6-desaturase enzyme has led to some surprising discoveries, including this one about the importance of DHA in sperm formation and mobility,” he said.

Nakamura said our body must make DHA from dietary alpha-linolenic acids, the parent compound of the omega-3 fatty acid family. Vegetable oils, including soybean and canola oil, are good sources of alpha-linolenic acid.

Nakamura’s team plans to continue focusing on this omega-3’s effects on fertility. But he cautioned that there are still things they don’t understand.

“We get hints from looking at sperm in the DHA-deficient animals about what type of pathology we may be looking at and why these polyunsaturated fatty acids are important. But we’re still at the starting point in understanding the mechanisms that are involved, and we need to do more research at the cellular level,” he said.

Public release date: 12-Apr-2010

Fear of getting fat seen in healthy women’s brain scans

A group of women in a new study seemed unlikely to have body image issues – at least their responses on a tried-and-true psychological screening presented no red flags.

That assessment changed when Brigham Young University researchers used MRI technology to observe what happened in the brain as these women viewed images of complete strangers.

If the stranger happened to be overweight and female, it surprisingly activated in women’s brains an area that processes identity and self-reflection. Men did not show signs of any self-reflection in similar situations.

“These women have no history of eating disorders and project an attitude that they don’t care about body image,” said Mark Allen, a BYU neuroscientist. “Yet under the surface is an anxiety about getting fat and the centrality of body image to self.”

Allen makes his report with grad student Tyler Owens and BYU psychology professor Diane Spangler in the May issue of the psychological journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Spangler and Allen collaborate on a long-term project to improve treatment of eating disorders by tracking progress with brain imaging. When anorexic and bulimic women view an overweight stranger, the brain’s self-reflection center – known as the medial prefrontal cortex – lights up in ways that suggest extreme unhappiness and in some cases, self-loathing.

The motivation for this new study was to establish a point of reference among a control group of women who scored in the healthy range on eating disorder diagnostic tests. Surprisingly, even this control group exhibited what Allen calls “sub-clinical” issues with body image.

Seeing that, Allen and Owens ran the experiments with a group of men for comparison.

“Although these women’s brain activity doesn’t look like full-blown eating disorders, they are much closer to it than men are,” Allen said.

Spangler says women are bombarded with messages that perpetuate the thin ideal, and the barrage changes how they view themselves.

“Many women learn that bodily appearance and thinness constitute what is important about them, and their brain responding reflects that,” Spangler said. “I think it is an unfortunate and false idea to learn about oneself and does put one at greater risk for eating and mood disorders.”

“It’s like the plant in my office,” she continued.“It has the potential to grow in any direction, but actually only grows in the direction of the window – the direction that receives the most reinforcement.”

Ralph’s Note – What is wrong with not desiring to be unhealthy?

Public release date: 13-Apr-2010

Why are allergies increasing?

Université de Montréal professor studies how probiotics can help

Montreal, April 13, 2010 – Allergies have become a widespread in developed countries: hay fever, eczema, hives and asthma are all increasingly prevalent. The reason? Excessive cleanliness is to blame according to Dr. Guy Delespesse, a professor at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine.

Allergies can be caused by family history, air pollution, processed foods, stress, tobacco use, etc. Yet our limited exposure to bacteria concerns Dr. Delespesse, who is also director of the Laboratory for Allergy Research at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.

“There is an inverse relationship between the level of hygiene and the incidence of allergies and autoimmune diseases,” says Dr. Delespesse. “The more sterile the environment a child lives in, the higher the risk he or she will develop allergies or an immune problem in their lifetime.”

In 1980, 10 percent of the Western population suffered from allergies. Today, it is 30 percent. In 2010, one out of 10 children is said to be asthmatic and the mortality rate resulting from this affliction increased 28 percent between 1980 and 1994.

“It’s not just the prevalence but the gravity of the cases,” says Dr. Delespesse. “Regions in which the sanitary conditions have remained stable have also maintained a constant level of allergies and inflammatory diseases.”

“Allergies and other autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis are the result of our immune system turning against us,” says Dr. Delespesse.

Why does this happen? “The bacteria in our digestive system are essential to digestion and also serve to educate our immune system. They teach it how to react to strange substances. This remains a key in the development of a child’s immune system.”

Although hygiene does reduce our exposure to harmful bacteria it also limits our exposure to beneficial microorganisms. As a result, the bacterial flora of our digestive system isn’t as rich and diversified as it used to be.

Dr. Delespesse recommends probiotics to enrich our intestinal flora. Probiotics are intestinal bacteria that have a beneficial impact on health. They’ve been used for decades to make yogurt. Probiotics have a proven effect on treating diarrhea, and studies are increasingly concluding similar benefits for the immune system and allergies.

“Consuming probiotics during pregnancy could help reduce allergies in the child,” says Dr. Delespesse. “They are not a miracle remedy, yet they are one of many elements that improve our diet and our health.”

Public release date: 13-Apr-2010

Diet alone will not likely lead to significant weight loss

PORTLAND, Ore – Newly-published research by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University demonstrates that simply reducing caloric intake is not enough to promote significant weight loss. This appears to be due to a natural compensatory mechanism that reduces a person’s physical activity in response to a reduction in calories. The research is published in the April edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

“In the midst of America’s obesity epidemic, physicians frequently advise their patients to reduce the number of calories they are consuming on a daily basis. This research shows that simply dieting will not likely cause substantial weight loss. Instead, diet and exercise must be combined to achieve this goal,” explained Judy Cameron Ph.D., a senior scientist at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center, and a professor of behavioral neuroscience and obstetrics & gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine, as well as a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.

To conduct the research, Cameron and OHSU post-doctoral fellow Elinor Sullivan, Ph.D., studied 18 female rhesus macaque monkeys at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. The monkeys were placed on a high-fat diet for several years. They were then returned to a lower-fat diet (standard monkey food) with a 30 percent reduction in calories. For a one-month period, the monkeys’ weight and activity levels were closely tracked. Activity was tracked through the use of an activity monitor worn on a collar.

“Surprisingly, there was no significant weight loss at the end of the month,” explained Sullivan. “However, there was a significant change in the activity levels for these monkeys. Naturally occurring levels of physical activity for the animals began to diminish soon after the reduced-calorie diet began. When caloric intake was further reduced in a second month, physical activity in the monkeys diminished even further.”

A comparison group of three monkeys was fed a normal monkey diet and was trained to exercise for one hour daily on a treadmill. This comparison group did lose weight.

“This study demonstrates that there is a natural body mechanism which conserves energy in response to a reduction in calories. Food is not always plentiful for humans and animals and the body seems to have developed a strategy for responding to these fluctuations,” added Cameron. “These findings will assist medical professionals in advising their patients. It may also impact the development of community interventions to battle the childhood obesity epidemic and lead to programs that emphasize both diet and exercise.”

Public release date: 13-Apr-2010


Increasing in Mexico and Bordering Southwestern States

MAYWOOD, Ill. — Tapeworm infections of the brain, which can cause epileptic seizures, appear to be increasing in Mexico and bordering southwestern states, Loyola University Health System researchers report.

In Mexico, up to 10 percent of the population may have the infection, neurocysticercosis. While many people never develop symptoms, neurocysticercosis nevertheless “remains a serious health concern, especially among the poor,” Loyola researchers wrote in the April issue of the journal Neurological Research.

Their article, “Management of Neurocysticercosis,” is among several articles in the April issue of Neurological Research that describe neurological infections in Latin America. Guest editor is Dr. Jaime Belmares, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Neurocysticercosis is caused by a tapeworm found in pigs called Taenia solium. A person can get infected with the parasite by eating undercooked pork. That person then can excrete tapeworm eggs. The contamination spreads through food, water or surfaces contaminated with feces. A person can become infected, for example, by drinking contaminated water or putting contaminated fingers in the mouth.

Neurocysticercosis is most common in poor rural communities in developing countries with poor sanitation and hygiene and where pigs are allowed to roam freely and eat human feces.

Once inside the stomach, the tapeworm egg hatches, travels through the bloodstream and ends up in the muscles, brain or eyes. The worm, which can grow to more than one-half inch long, becomes enveloped in a fluid-filled cyst. Cysts in the muscles generally don’t cause symptoms. But cysts in the eyes can cause blurry vision, while cysts in the brain can cause headaches, encephalitis and seizures. Less common symptoms include confusion and difficulty with balance.

Seizures occur in up to 70 percent of patients. “They’re pretty dramatic,” Belmares said. “Every seizure needs to be properly evaluated.”

The article on neurocysticercosis was written by Dr. Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora, a former resident at Loyola now at the University of California at San Francisco and Tomas Alarcon, who did a rotation at Loyola during medical school.

Public release date: 15-Apr-2010

Health, life insurers hold $1.88 billion in fast-food stocks: AJPH article

Harvard researchers say insurers put profits over health

Just weeks after the passage of a health bill that will dramatically increase the number of Americans covered by private health insurers, Harvard researchers have detailed the extent to which life and health insurance companies are major investors in the fast-food industry – to the tune of nearly $2 billion.

Although fast food can be consumed responsibly, research has shown that fast-food consumption is linked to obesity and cardiovascular disease, two leading causes of death, and contributes to the poor health of children. The evidence is so compelling that as part of the new health law more than 200,000 fast-food and other chain restaurants will be required to include calorie counts on their menus, including their drive-through menus.

A new article on insurance company holdings, published online in today’s [Thursday, April 15] American Journal of Public Health, shows that U.S., Canadian and European-based insurance firms hold at least $1.88 billion of investments in fast-food companies.

“These data raise questions about the opening of vast new markets for private insurers at public expense, as is poised to happen throughout the United States as a result of the recent health care overhaul,” says lead author Dr. Arun Mohan.

Among the largest owners of fast-food stock are U.S.-based Prudential Financial, Northwestern Mutual and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, and European-based ING.

U.S.-based Northwestern Mutual and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company both offer life insurance as well as disability and long-term care insurance. Northwestern Mutual owns $422.2 million of fast-food stock, with $318.1 million of McDonald’s. Mass Mutual owns $366.5 million of fast-food stock, including $267.2 in McDonald’s.

Holland-based ING, an investment firm that also offers life and disability insurance, has total fast-food holdings of $406.1 million, including $12.3 million in Jack in the Box, $311 million in McDonald’s, and $82.1 million in Yum! Brands (owner of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell) stock.

New Jersey-based Prudential Financial Inc. sells life insurance and long-term disability coverage. With total fast-food holdings of $355.5 million, Prudential Financial owns $197.2 of stock in McDonald’s and also has significant stakes in Burger King, Jack-in-the-Box, and Yum! Brands.

The researchers also itemize the fast-food holdings of London-based Prudential Plc, U.K.-based Standard Life, U.S.-based New York Life, Scotland-based Guardian Life, Canada-based Manulife and Canada-based Sun Life. (Table of data available at http://bit.ly/ds7elr ; all data current as of June 11, 2009.)

“Our data illustrate the extent to which the insurance industry seeks to turn a profit above all else,” says Dr. Wesley Boyd, senior author of the study. “Safeguarding people’s health and well-being take a back seat to making money.”

Mohan, Boyd and their co-authors, Drs. Danny McCormick, Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, all at the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, culled their data from Icarus, a proprietary database of industrial, banking and insurance companies. Icarus draws upon Securities and Exchange Commission filings and news reports from providers like Dow Jones and Reuters. In addition, the authors obtained market capitalization data from Yahoo! Finance.

The authors write, “The health bill just enacted in Washington will likely expand the reach of the insurance industry. Canada and Britain are also considering further privatization of health insurance. Our article highlights the tension between profit maximization and the public good these countries face in expanding the role of private health insurers. If insurers are to play a greater part in the health care delivery system they ought to be held to a higher standard of corporate responsibility.”

Several of these same researchers, all of whom are affiliated with Physicians for a National Health Program, have previously published data about the extent to which the insurance industry is invested in tobacco. They say that because private, for-profit insurers have repeatedly put their own financial gain over the public’s health, readers in the United States, Canada and Europe should be wary about insurance firms’ participation in care.

Public release date: 15-Apr-2010

Diet high in B-vitamins lowers heart risks in Japanese study

In a large study in Japan, women who reported eating more foods containing the B-vitamins folate and B-6 were less likely to die from stroke and heart disease.

Japanese men reporting diets high in these B vitamins were less likely to die of heart failure.

DALLAS, April 15, 2010 — Eating more foods containing the B-vitamins folate and B-6 lowers the risk of death from stroke and heart disease for women and may reduce the risk of heart failure in men, according to Japanese research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“Japanese people need more dietary intake of folate and vitamin B-6, which may lead to the prevention of heart disease,” said Hiroyasu Iso, M.D., professor of public health at Osaka University.

The findings on the value of B vitamins were consistent with studies in Europe and North America, although the dietary consumption of vitamin B-6 is generally lower in Japan than in the United States.

Researchers analyzed data from 23,119 men and 35,611 women (ages 40–79) who completed food frequency questionnaires as part of the large Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study. During a median 14 years of follow-up, 986 died from stroke, 424 from heart disease and 2,087 from all diseases related to the cardiovascular system.

Investigators divided participants into five groups based on their intake of folate, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12. Comparing those with the diets lowest and highest for each nutrient, they found that higher consumption of folate and vitamin B-6 was associated with significantly fewer deaths from heart failure in men, and significantly fewer deaths from stroke, heart disease and total cardiovascular diseases in women. Vitamin B-12 intake was not associated with reduced mortality risk.

The protective effects of folate and vitamin B-6 didn’t change when researchers adjusted for the presence of cardiovascular risk factors, nor when they eliminated supplement users from the analysis.

Folate and vitamin B-6 may help guard against cardiovascular disease by lowering homocysteine levels, the investigators said. Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood that’s affected by diet and heredity. Folic acid and other B vitamins help break down homocysteine in the body.

A direct causal link hasn’t been established, but evidence has shown that too much homocysteine may damage the inner lining of arteries and promote the formation of blood clots.

Sources of folate include vegetables and fruits, whole or enriched grains, fortified cereals, beans and legumes. Sources of vitamin B-6 include vegetables, fish, liver, meats, whole grains and fortified cereals.

Co-authors include: Renzhe Cui, M.D.; Chigusa Date, M.D.; Shogo Kikuchi, M.D.; Akiko Tamakoshi, M.D.; and the JACC study group. Author disclosures and funding sources are on the manuscript.

Public release date: 15-Apr-2010

Study shows potential benefit of dark chocolate for liver disease patients

Vienna, Austria, Thursday 15 April: Doctors could soon be prescribing a dose of dark chocolate to help patients suffering from liver cirrhosis and from dangerously high blood pressure in their abdomen, according to new research presented today at the International Liver CongressTM 2010, the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Liver in Vienna, Austria.

According to the Spanish research, eating dark chocolate reduces damage to the blood vessels of cirrhotic patients and also lowers blood pressure in the liver. Dark chocolate contains potent anti-oxidants which reduce the post-prandial (after-meal) blood pressure in the liver (or portal hypertension) associated with damaged liver blood vessels (endothelial dysfunction). The data also showed that eating dark chocolate may exert additional beneficial effects throughout the whole body. In comparison, white chocolate, which contains no beneficial ‘phytochemicals’, did not result in the same effects.

Professor Mark Thursz, MD FRCP, Vice Secretary of EASL and Professor of Hepatology, at Imperial College London said: “As well as advanced technologies and high science, it is important to explore the potential of alternative sources which can contribute to the overall wellbeing of a patient. This study shows a clear association between eating dark chocolate and portal hypertension and demonstrates the potential importance of improvements in the management of cirrhotic patients, to minimise the onset and impact of end stage liver disease and its associated mortality risks”.

Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver as a result of long-term, continuous damage to the liver . In cirrhosis, circulation in the liver is damaged by oxidative stress and reduced antioxidant systems. After eating, blood pressure in the abdominal veins usually increases due to increased blood flow to the liver.

This is particularly dangerous and damaging to cirrhotic patients as they already have increased blood pressure in the liver (portal hypertension) and elsewhere which, if severe, can cause blood vessel rupture. Thus, eating dark chocolate may ultimately prevent this potential threat to cirrhotic patients.

In this study 21 cirrhotic patients with end stage liver disease (child score 6.9±1.8;MELD 11±4; hepatic venous pressure gradient (HPVG*)16.6±3.8mmHg) were randomised to receive a standard liquid meal. Ten patients received the liquid meal containing dark chocolate (containing 85% cocoa, 0.55g of dark chocolate/Kg of body weight) while 11 patients received the liquid meal containing white chocolate which is devoid of cocoa flavonoids (anti-oxidant properties) according to body weight. HVPG, arterial pressure and portal blood flow (PBF)** were measured at baseline and 30 minutes after meal administration, using a US-Doppler.

Both meals caused a highly significant but similar increase in portal blood flow with a +24% increase in dark chocolate compared to +34% in those patients who received white chocolate. Interestingly, post-prandial hyperaemia*** was accompanied by an increase in HVPG resulting in a statistically significant increase (17.3±3.6mmHg to 19.1±2.6mmHg, p=0.07) for those patients eating dark chocolate and those receiving white chocolate (16.0±4.7mmHg to 19.7±4.1mmHg, p=0.003). Post-prandial increase in HVPG was markedly reduced in patients receiving dark chocolate (+10.3±16.3% Vs +26.3±12.7%, p=0.02).


*HVPG is blood pressure in the liver

**PBF refers to blood flow in the liver

***Hyperaemia refers to increase blood flow to tissues

Public release date: 15-Apr-2010

Low vitamin D levels associated with more asthma symptoms and medication use

Low levels of vitamin D are associated with lower lung function and greater medication use in children with asthma, according to researchers at National Jewish Health. In a paper published online this week in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Daniel Searing, MD, and his colleagues also reported that vitamin D enhances the activity of corticosteroids, the most effective controller medication for asthma.

“Asthmatic children in our study who had low levels of vitamin D were more allergic, had poorer lung function and used more medications,” said Dr. Searing. “Conversely, our findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation may help reverse steroid resistance in asthmatic children and reduce the effective dose of steroids needed for our patients.”

The researchers examined electronic medical records of 100 pediatric asthma patients referred to National Jewish Health. Overall, 47 percent of them had vitamin D levels considered insufficient, below 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL). Seventeen percent of the patients had levels below 20 ng/mL, which is considered deficient. These levels were similar to vitamin D levels found in the general population.

Patients low in vitamin D generally had higher levels of IgE, a marker of allergy, and responded positively to more allergens in a skin prick test. Allergies to the specific indoor allergens, dog and house dust mite, were higher in patients with low vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D also correlated with low FEV1, the amount of air a person can exhale in one second, and lower FEV1/FVC, another measure of lung function. Use of inhaled steroids, oral steroids and long-acting beta agonists were all higher in patients low in vitamin D.

“Our findings suggest two possible explanations,” said senior author Donald Leung, MD, PhD. “It could be that lower vitamin D levels contribute to increasing asthma severity, which requires more corticosteroid therapy. Or, it may be that vitamin D directly affects steroid activity, and that low levels of vitamin D make the steroids less effective, thus requiring more medication for the same effect.”

The researchers performed a series of laboratory experiments that indicated vitamin D enhances the action of corticosteroids. They cultured some immune cells with the corticosteroid dexamethasone alone and others with vitamin D first, then dexamethasone. The vitamin D significantly increased the effectiveness of dexamethasone. In one experiment vitamin D and dexamethasone together were more effective than 10 times as much dexamethasone alone.

The researchers also incubated immune-system cells for 72 hours with a staphylococcal toxin to induce corticosteroid resistance. Vitamin D restored the activity of dexamethasone.

“Our work suggests that vitamin D enhances the anti-inflammatory function of corticosteroids,’ said Dr. Leung. “If future studies confirm these findings vitamin D may help asthma patients achieve better control of their respiratory symptoms with less medication.”

Public release date: 16-Apr-2010

First evidence that chitosan could repair spinal damage

Chitosan offers hope for spinal injury patients


Richard Borgens and his colleagues from the Center for Paralysis Research at the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine have a strong record of inventing therapies for treating nerve damage. From Ampyra, which improves walking in multiple sclerosis patients to a spinal cord simulator for spinal injury victims, Borgens has had a hand in developing therapies that directly impact patients and their quality of life. Another therapy that is currently undergoing testing is the use of polyethylene glycol (PEG) to seal and repair damaged spinal cord nerve cells. By repairing the damaged membranes of nerve cells, Borgens and his team can restore the spinal cord’s ability to transmit signals to the brain. However, there is one possible clinical drawback: PEG’s breakdown products are potentially toxic. Is there a biodegradable non-toxic compound that is equally effective at targeting and repairing damaged nerve membranes? Borgens teamed up with physiologist Riyi Shi and chemist Youngnam Cho, who pointed out that some sugars are capable of targeting damaged membranes. Could they find a sugar that restored spinal cord activity as effectively as PEG? Borgens and his team publish their discovery that chitosan can repair damaged nerve cell membranes in The Journal of Experimental Biology on 16 April 2010 at http://jeb.biologists.org.

Having initially tested mannose and found that it did not repair spinal cord nerve membranes, Cho decided to test a modified form of chitin, one of the most common sugars that is found in crustacean shells. Converting chitin into chitosan, Cho isolated a segment of guinea pig spinal cord, compressed a section, applied the modified chitin and then added a fluorescent dye that could only enter the cells through damaged membranes. If the chitosan repaired the crushed membranes then the spinal cord tissue would be unstained, but if the chitosan had failed, the spinal cord neurons would be flooded with the fluorescent dye. Viewing a section of the spinal cord under the microscope, Cho was amazed to see that the spinal cord was completely dark. None of the dye had entered the nerve cells. Chitosan had repaired the damaged cell membranes.

Next Cho tested whether a dose of chitosan could prevent large molecules from leaking from damaged spinal cord cells. Testing for the presence of the colossal enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), Borgens admits he was amazed to see that levels of LDH leakage from chitosan treated spinal cord were lower than from undamaged spinal cords. Not only had the sugar repaired membranes at the compression site but also at other sites where the cell membranes were broken due to handling. And when the duo tested for the presence of harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS), released when ATP generating mitochondria are damaged, they found that ROS levels also fell after applying chitosan to the damaged tissue: chitosan probably repairs mitochondrial membranes as well as the nerve cell membranes.

But could chitosan restore the spinal cord’s ability to transmit electrical signals to the brain through a damaged region? Measuring the brain’s response to nerve signals generated in a guinea pig’s hind leg, the duo saw that the signals were unable to reach the brain through a damaged spinal cord. However, 30·min after injecting chitosan into the rodents, the signals miraculously returned to the animals’ brains. Chitosan was able to repair the damaged spinal cord so that it could carry signals from the animal’s body to its brain.

Borgens is extremely excited by this discovery that chitosan is able to locate and repair damaged spinal cord tissue and is even more enthusiastic by the prospect that nanoparticles of chitosan could also target delivery of neuroprotective drugs directly to the site of injury ‘giving us a dual bang for our buck,’ says Borgens.

Public release date: 18-Apr-2010

Vitamin and calcium supplements may reduce breast cancer risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Vitamins and calcium supplements appear to reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010.

“It is not an immediate effect. You don’t take a vitamin today and your breast cancer risk is reduced tomorrow,” said Jaime Matta, Ph.D., professor in the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. “However, we did see a long-term effect in terms of breast cancer reduction.”

Matta said the findings suggest that the calcium supplements are acting to enhance DNA repair capacity, a complex biological process involving more than 200 proteins that, if disrupted, can lead to cancer.

“This process involves at least five separate pathways and is critical for maintaining genomic stability,” said Matta. “When the DNA is not repaired, it leads to mutation that leads to cancer.”

The study included 268 women with breast cancer and 457 healthy controls. Women were more likely to have breast cancer if they were older, had a family history of breast cancer, had no history of breastfeeding and had lower DNA repair capacity.

Vitamin supplements appeared to reduce the risk of breast cancer by about 30 percent. Calcium supplements reduced the risk of breast cancer by 40 percent. After controlling for the level of DNA repair capacity, calcium supplements were no longer as protective, but the link between vitamin supplements and breast cancer reduction remained.

“We’re not talking about mega doses of these vitamins and calcium supplements, so this is definitely one way to reduce risk,” said Matta.

Public release date: 19-Apr-2010

Meat, especially if it’s well done, may increase risk of bladder cancer

Genetic variants in metabolism pathway further raise likelihood

WASHINGTON, D.C. – People who eat meat frequently, especially meat that is well done or cooked at high temperatures, may have a higher chance of developing bladder cancer, according to a large study at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010. This risk appears to increase in people with certain genetic variants.

“It’s well known that meat cooked at high temperatures generates heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that can cause cancer,” said study presenter Jie Lin, Ph.D., assistant professor in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Epidemiology. “We wanted to find out if meat consumption increases the risk of developing bladder cancer and how genetic differences may play a part.”

Meat-eating habits examined

According to the American Cancer Society, almost 71,000 new cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in this country last year, and more than 14,000 people died because of the disease. Men are at much higher risk of developing bladder cancer than women.

HCAs form when muscle meats, such as beef, pork, poultry or fish, are cooked at high temperatures. They are products of interaction between amino acids, which are the foundation of proteins, and the chemical creatine, which is stored in muscles. Past research has identified 17 HCAs that may contribute to cancer.

This study, which took place over 12 years, included 884 M. D. Anderson patients with bladder cancer and 878 people who did not have cancer. They were matched by age, gender and ethnicity.

Using a standardized questionnaire designed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), researchers gathered information about each participant’s dietary habits. They then categorized people into four levels, ranging from lowest to highest red meat intake.

Well-done red meat nourishes cancer risk

The group with the highest red-meat consumption had almost one-and-a-half times the risk of developing bladder cancer as those who ate little red meat.

Specifically, consumption of beef steaks, pork chops and bacon raised bladder cancer risk significantly. Even chicken and fish – when fried – significantly raised the odds of cancer.

The level of doneness of the meat also had a marked impact. People whose diets included well-done meats were almost twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as those who preferred meats rare.

Further questioning of a subset of 177 people with bladder cancer and 306 people without bladder cancer showed that people with the highest estimated intake of three specific HCAs were more than two-and-a-half times more likely to develop bladder cancer than those with low estimated HCA intake.

“To quantify intakes of HCAs, we began three or four years ago to gather information on meat-cooking methods and doneness level, and then used a program developed by the NCI to estimate intakes of three major HCAs,” Lin said. “These data gave important information about the relationship between HCAs and bladder cancer.”

Genetic variants increase incidence

To take the investigation a step further, researchers analyzed each participant’s DNA to find if it contained genetic variants in the HCA metabolism pathways that may interact with red meat intake to increase the risk of cancer.

People with seven or more unfavorable genotypes as well as high red-meat intake were at almost five times the risk of bladder cancer.

“This research reinforces the relationship between diet and cancer,” said Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Epidemiology and lead author on the study. “These results strongly support what we suspected: people, who eat a lot of red meat, particularly well-done red meat, such as fried or barbecued, seem to have a higher likelihood of bladder cancer. This effect is compounded if they carry high unfavorable genotypes in the HCA-metabolism pathway.”

Wu said this research is a step toward a future in which a comprehensive cancer-risk prediction model will integrate environmental, diet and genetic risk factors to predict an individual’s chances of developing cancer.

Public release date: 19-Apr-2010

Substance in breast milk kills cancer cells

A substance found in breast milk can kill cancer cells, reveal studies carried out by researchers at Lund University and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Although the special substance, known as HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumour cells), was discovered in breast milk several years ago, it is only now that it has been possible to test it on humans. Patients with cancer of the bladder who were treated with the substance excreted dead cancer cells in their urine after each treatment, which has given rise to hopes that it can be developed into medication for cancer care in the future.

Discovered by chance

HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. Further studies showed that HAMLET comprises a protein and a fatty acid that are both found naturally in breast milk. So far, however, it has not been proven that the HAMLET complex is spontaneously formed in the milk. It is speculated, however, that HAMLET can form in the acidic environment of the babies´ stomachs. Laboratory experiments have shown that HAMLET kills 40 different types of cancer, and the researchers are now going on to study its effect on skin cancer, tumours in the mucous membranes and brain tumours. Importantly, HAMLET kills only cancer cells and does not affect healthy cells.

Public release date: 19-Apr-2010

Are doctors missing depression medication side effects?

Study finds patients report 20 times more side effects than recorded in charts

PROVIDENCE, RI – A study from Rhode Island Hospital shows that patients report side effects from medication for the treatment of depression 20 times more than psychiatrists have recorded in the charts. The researchers recommend the use of a self-administered patient questionnaire in clinical practice to improve the recognition of side effects for patients in treatment. The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Volume 71, No. 4, now available online ahead of print.

One of the most frequent reasons for the discontinuation of medication to treat depression is the side effects that patients may experience. The premature discontinuation of medication is also associated with poorer treatment outcomes. In his recent study, lead researcher Mark Zimmerman, MD, director of outpatient psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital, notes that despite the clinical importance of detecting side effects, few studies have examined the adequacy of the detection and documentation methods currently in use among clinicians.

Zimmerman and his colleagues asked 300 patients in ongoing treatment for depression to complete a self-administered version of the Toronto Side Effects Scale (TSES). The patients rated the frequency of the 31 side effects and the degree of trouble they experienced. Those patients’ charts were then examined to extract side effects information recorded by the treating psychiatrist.

The findings indicate that the mean number of side effects reported by the patients on the TSES was 20 times higher than the number recorded by the psychiatrist. When the self-reported side effects were limited to “frequently occurring” or “very bothersome” the rate was still found to be two to three times higher than recorded in their charts.

Zimmerman, who is also an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, says, “Despite the importance that side effects have on premature medication discontinuation, there is some evidence that clinicians may not do a thorough job of eliciting information regarding their presence. This study finds that clinicians do not record in their progress notes most side effects reported on a side effects questionnaire..”

While there may be several explanations for this, Zimmerman says, “Our research found that the only specific side effect that was regularly inquired about by clinicians was on sexual dysfunction, presumably because of concerns that some patients may be too embarrassed to spontaneously report that without prompting.” The researchers also suggest that patients stop reporting to psychiatrists the side effects that they have grown accustomed to, but patients reported these side effects in the self-report scale because there were specific questions about them. .

The researchers also question whether side effect frequencies reported in industry-sponsored studies may underestimate the prevalence of side effects from medication. As a result, clinicians may not be accurately informing patients of the potential likelihood of such side effects, and that lack of adequate preparation may result in patients prematurely discontinuing their medication.

Zimmerman says, “As a result of this study, we believe that ongoing dialogue about side effects during treatment will help to reduce premature medication discontinuation and would help reduce depression relapse rates. Incorporating a self-report questionnaire like the TSES may be helpful to adopt into clinical practice for the treatment of depression.”

Public release date: 19-Apr-2010

Vitamin K May Protect Against Developing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Say Mayo Clinic Researchers

WASHINGTON — In the first study of vitamin K and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk, researchers at the Mayo Clinic campus in Minnesota have found that people who have higher intakes of vitamin K from their diet have a lower risk of developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system and is the most common hematologic malignancy in the United States.

At the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the researchers report that the risk of developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma was approximately 45 percent lower for participants who had vitamin K intakes in the top quartile of intake in the study (>108 ug/day), compared to participants who had intakes in the bottom quartile (<39 ug/day). This association remained after accounting for other factors such as age, sex, education, obesity, smoking, alcohol use and intake of foods with high amounts of antioxidants.

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin and is derived from either plants (phylloquinone or vitamin K1) or bacterial synthesis. This study estimated intake of the plant form of vitamin K from diet and supplement use. The most common sources of vitamin K1 in the diet include leaf lettuce and spinach, with smaller amounts found in other vegetables, vegetable oils and some fruits.

Researchers at the Mayo Comprehensive Cancer Center are studying the connection between diet and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk, and they became interested in a potential role for vitamin K. While vitamin K is best known for its essential function in several proteins involved in blood clotting (the name of the vitamin is derived from the German word “Koagulations”), it also appears to be important in other biological processes, including inhibition of inflammatory cytokines thought to play a role in Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as pathways involved in cell cycle arrest and cell death.

“These results are provocative, since they are the first work we have done on the connection between vitamin K and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and this is a fairly strong protective effect,” says the study’s lead investigator, James Cerhan, M.D., Ph.D., a cancer epidemiologist. “However, as with all new findings, this will need to be replicated in other studies.”

The Mayo study enrolled 603 patients who were newly diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma as well as 1,007 matched cancer-free “control” participants. Researchers asked the participants to answer a food questionnaire about their usual intake of over 120 food items two years prior to their cancer diagnosis or enrollment into the study (controls). They also asked about use of a variety of supplements. Vitamin K intake was estimated from this data.

While there was a clear trend showing that a greater intake of vitamin K from dietary sources was associated with a lower risk of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the use of vitamin K supplements presented a slightly different picture. Increasing intake of vitamin K from supplements did protect against Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but reached a point where the highest intake offered no reduction in risk. “The significance of this finding is unclear,” notes Dr. Cerhan, “but suggests that taking high doses of supplements is unlikely to be helpful.” Dr. Cerhan also notes that people taking certain oral anticoagulants or seizure medications should closely follow their physician’s dietary recommendations with respect to vitamin K intake, since vitamin K can interfere with these drugs.

“Whether the protective effect we observed is due to vitamin K intake, or some other dietary or lifestyle exposure, cannot be definitely assessed in this study,” notes Dr. Cerhan. “But these findings add to a lot of other data that support a diet that includes plenty of green leafy vegetables in order to prevent many cancers as well as other diseases.”

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Public release date: 19-Apr-2010

Obesity gene, carried by more than a third of the U.S. population, leads to brain tissue loss

Three years ago, geneticists reported the startling discovery that nearly half of all people in the U.S. with European ancestry carry a variant of the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene, which causes them to gain weight — from three to seven pounds, on average — but worse, puts them at risk for obesity.

Now, UCLA researchers have found that the same gene allele, which is also carried by roughly one-quarter of U.S. Hispanics, 15 percent of African Americans and 15 percent of Asian Americans, may have another deleterious effect.

Reporting in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, senior study author Paul Thompson, a UCLA professor of neurology; lead authors April Ho and Jason Stein, graduate students in Thompson’s lab; and colleagues found that the FTO variant is also associated with a loss of brain tissue. This puts more than a third of the U.S. population at risk for a variety of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Using magnetic resonance imaging, the researchers generated three-dimensional “maps” of brain volume differences in 206 healthy elderly subjects drawn from 58 sites in the U.S. as part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a large, five-year study aimed at better understanding factors that help the brain resist disease as it ages.

They found that there was consistently less tissue in the brains of those who carry the FTO allele, compared with non-carriers. Individuals with the “bad” version of the FTO gene had an average of 8 percent less tissue in the frontal lobes, the “command center” of the brain, and 12 percent less in the occipital lobes, areas in the back of the brain responsible for vision and perception. Further, the brain differences could not be directly attributed to other obesity-related factors such as cholesterol levels, diabetes or high blood pressure.

Thompson called the findings worrying and mysterious.

“The results are curious. If you have the bad FTO gene, your weight affects your brain adversely in terms of tissue loss,” he said. “If you don’t carry FTO, higher body weight doesn’t translate into brain deficits; in fact, it has nothing to do with it. This is a very mysterious, widespread gene.”

People who carry this specific DNA sequence are heavier on average, and their waist circumference is half an inch bigger.

This is a large percentage of the population, said Thompson, who is also a member of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute and the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging.

“This is a shocking finding. Any loss of brain tissue puts you at greater risk for functional decline,” he said. “The risk gene divides the world into two camps ― those who have the FTO allele and those who don’t.”

But the news is not necessarily completely negative, Thompson said, because “carriers of the risk gene can exercise and eat healthily to resist both obesity and brain decline.”

Thompson sees both a public health message and a science message in this finding.

“Half of the world carries this dangerous gene. But a healthy lifestyle will counteract the risk of brain loss, whether you carry the gene or not. So it’s vital to boost your brain health by being physically active and eating a balanced diet,” he said.

And from a scientific standpoint, he said, “the gene discovery will help to develop and fine tune the anti-dementia drugs being developed to combat brain aging.”

Funding for the study came from the National Institutes of Health and from private industry. The authors report no conflict of interest.


These reports are done with the appreciation of all the Doctors, Scientist, and other

Medical Researchers who sacrificed their time and effort. In order to give people the

ability to empower themselves. Without the base aspirations for fame, or fortune.

Just honorable people, doing honorable things.

Health Research Report

80th Issue 22 APR 2010

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm www.facebook.com/engineeringevil


Treating Chocolate with Happy Thoughts, Makes the Consumer Happier too.

“Treated” chocolate makes you happier

CHOCOLATE has wonderful powers – witness our report last week on the correlation between per-capita chocolate consumption and a nation’s haul of Nobel prizes (3 November). Now Tony Burton points us to the apparently very serious paper “Effects of Intentionally Enhanced Chocolate on Mood”, published in Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing (vol 3, p 485).

The paper describes an experiment in which subjects were given chocolate which had been “treated” with health-giving “intentions” by, we are told, “(1) a pair of experienced meditators, (2) an electronic device imprinted by six experienced meditators, [or] (3) a ritual performed by a Mongolian shaman”. A fourth group was given untreated chocolate. Neither the subjects nor those delivering the chocolate knew which sample was which.

The authors report a statistically significant effect, in which those consuming sort-of-prayed-over chocolate scored more of a mood improvement than those eating plain old plain chocolate. (A declaration of interest here: Explore is published by Elsevier, part of Reed Elsevier, which owns New Scientist.)

So far, so remarkable. Even more so is the paper’s conclusion, in which the authors insist that in “future efforts to replicate this finding… persons holding explicitly negative expectations should not be allowed to participate for the same reason that dirty test tubes are not allowed in biology experiments”. Tony asks whether this may be “the most comprehensive pre-emptive strike ever” against any attempt to replicate the results.

More intriguing still is the statement that “Given theoretical support and experimental evidence for retrocausal effects, replication of intentional phenomena may be inherently limited because once conducted and published, an experiment might be influenced by a potentially infinite number of future intentions.”

If this is true, it may be worth rechecking the published paper, in case Feedback’s having accidentally spattered chocolate on our computer screen has retrocausally altered the findings.

Brian Grout forwards a promotion from Lab Manager magazine which promises to reveal “How a laboratory execution system will increase your lab’s efficiency”


Papaya extract thwarts growth of cancer cells in lab tests

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Elizabeth Connor
University of Florida

The humble papaya is gaining credibility in Western medicine for anticancer powers that folk cultures have recognized for generations.

University of Florida researcher Nam Dang, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues in Japan have documented papaya’s dramatic anticancer effect against a broad range of lab-grown tumors, including cancers of the cervix, breast, liver, lung and pancreas. The researchers used an extract made from dried papaya leaves, and the anticancer effects were stronger when cells received larger doses of the tea.

In a paper published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Dang and his colleagues also documented for the first time that papaya leaf extract boosts the production of key signaling molecules called Th1-type cytokines. This regulation of the immune system, in addition to papaya’s direct antitumor effect on various cancers, suggests possible therapeutic strategies that use the immune system to fight cancers.

The papaya extract did not have any toxic effects on normal cells, avoiding a common and devastating consequence of many cancer therapy regimens. The success of the papaya extract in acting on cancer without toxicity is consistent with reports from indigenous populations in Australia and his native Vietnam, said Dang, a professor of medicine and medical director of the UF Shands Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office.

“Based on what I have seen and heard in a clinical setting, nobody who takes this extract experiences demonstrable toxicity; it seems like you could take it for a long time — as long as it is effective,” he said.

Researchers exposed 10 different types of cancer cell cultures to four strengths of papaya leaf extract and measured the effect after 24 hours. Papaya slowed the growth of tumors in all the cultures.

To identify the mechanism by which papaya checked the growth of the cultures, the team focused on a cell line for T lymphoma. Their results suggested that at least one of the mechanisms employed by the papaya extract is inducing cell death.

In a similar analysis, the team also looked at the effect of papaya extract on the production of antitumor molecules known as cytokines. Papaya was shown to promote the production of Th1-type cytokines, important in the regulation of the immune system. For that reason, the study findings raise the possibility of future use of papaya extract components in immune-related conditions such as inflammation, autoimmune disease and some cancers.

Bharat B. Aggarwal, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, already is so convinced of papaya’s restorative powers that he has a serving of the fruit every day.

“We have always known that papaya has a lot of interesting things in there,” said Aggarwal, a professor in the center’s department of experimental therapeutics who was not involved in the UF research. Foremost among papaya’s health-promoting agents is papain, papaya’s signature enzyme, which is found in both the fruit and the leaves.

“This paper has not gone too much into identifying the components responsible for the activity, which is just fine. I think that is a good beginning,” Aggarwal said.

Aggarwal also noted that papaya extract’s success in reducing cancer in laboratory cell cultures must next be replicated in animal and human studies.

“I hope Dr. Dang takes it further, because I think we need enthusiastic people like him to move it forward,” Aggarwal said.




Dang and a colleague have applied to patent the process to distill the papaya extract through the University of Tokyo; the next step in the research is to identify the specific compounds in the papaya extract active against the cancer cell lines. For this stage, Dang has partnered with Hendrik Luesch, Ph.D., a fellow UF Shands Cancer Center member and a professor of medicinal chemistry. Luesch is an expert in the identification and synthesis of natural products for medicinal purposes, and recently discovered a coral reef compound that inhibits cancer cell growth in cell lines.


FBI Agent in Petraeus Case Under Scrutiny: Agent in question sent shirtless photos to Ms. Kelley well before the email investigation began

The Wall Street Journal

  • U.S. NEWS
  • Updated November 12, 2012, 10:24 p.m. ET


WASHINGTON—A federal agent who launched the investigation that ultimately led to the resignation of Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus was barred from taking part in the case over the summer due to superiors’ concerns that he was personally involved in the case, according to officials familiar with the probe.

After being blocked from the case, the agent continued to press the matter, relaying his concerns to a member of Congress, the officials said.

New details about how the Federal Bureau of Investigation handled the case suggest that even as the bureau delved into Mr. Petraeus’s personal life, the agency had to address conduct by its own agent—who allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to a woman involved in the case prior to the investigation.


Associated PressJill Kelley leaves her house Monday.

FBI officials declined to identify the agent, so he couldn’t be reached to give his side of the story. The agent is now under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI, according to two officials familiar with the matter.

The revelations address how the investigation first began and ultimately led to Mr. Petraeus’s downfall as director of the CIA. The new developments also raise questions about the role played by the FBI and the adequacy of notification to administration and congressional leaders about the scandal.

The FBI agent who started the case was a friend of Jill Kelley, the Tampa woman who received harassing, anonymous emails that led to the probe, according to officials. Ms. Kelley, a volunteer who organizes social events for military personnel in the Tampa area, complained in May about the emails to a friend who is an FBI agent. That agent referred it to a cyber crimes unit, which opened an investigation.

However, supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter, and prohibited him from any role in the investigation, according to the officials.

One official said the agent in question sent shirtless photos to Ms. Kelley well before the email investigation began, and FBI officials only became aware of them some time later. Eventually, supervisors told the agent he was to have nothing to do with the case, though he never had a formal role in the investigation, the official said.


The Charlotte Observer/Associated PressPaula Broadwell, at the center of the Petraeus case, poses with her biography of the former CIA Chief in January.

The agent, after being barred from the case, contacted a member of Congress, Washington Republican David Reichert, because he was concerned senior FBI officials were going to sweep the matter under the rug, the officials said. That information was relayed to top congressional officials, who notified FBI headquarters in Washington.

By that point, FBI agents had determined the harassing emails had been sent by Paula Broadwell, who had written a biography of Mr. Petraeus’s military command.

Investigators had also determined that Ms. Broadwell had been having an affair with Mr. Petraeus, and that the emails suggested Ms. Broadwell was suspicious of Ms. Kelley’s attention to Mr. Petraeus, officials said.

The accusatory emails, according to officials, were sent anonymously to an account shared by Ms. Kelley and her husband. Ms. Broadwell allegedly used a variety of email addresses to send the harassing messages to Ms. Kelley, officials said.

One asked if Ms. Kelley’s husband was aware of her actions, according to officials. In another, the anonymous writer claimed to have watched Ms. Kelley touching “him” provocatively underneath a table, the officials said.

The message was referring to Mr. Petraeus, but that wasn’t clear at the time, officials said. A lawyer for Ms. Kelley didn’t respond to messages Monday seeking comment on the anonymous emails or on the alleged emails from the FBI agent. A lawyer for Ms. Broadwell also didn’t respond. Neither woman has replied to requests to speak about the matter.

By then, what began as a relatively simple cyberstalking case had ballooned into a national security investigation. Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell, both of them married, had set up private Gmail accounts to contact each other, according to several officials familiar with the investigation. The FBI at one point was concerned the CIA director’s email had been accessed by outsiders.

After agents interviewed Ms. Broadwell, she let them examine her computer, where they found copies of classified documents, according to the officials. Both Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell denied that he had given her the documents, and FBI officials eventually concluded they had no evidence to suggest otherwise.

Even as the probe of the relationship between Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell intensified in late summer and early fall, authorities were able to eventually rule out a security breach, though intelligence officials became concerned Mr. Petraeus had left himself exposed to possible blackmail, according to officials.

On Monday night, reporters watching Ms. Broadwell’s home in Charlotte, N.C., saw federal agents conduct what appeared to be a search. An FBI spokeswoman confirmed agents were at the home but declined to say what they were doing.

A day after the Nov. 6 election, intelligence officials presented their findings to the White House. Mr. Petraeus met with White House officials last Thursday and announced his resignation the following day.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have questioned whether Mr. Petraeus needed to resign over the affair, and some have argued that the FBI should have alerted both the White House and Congress much earlier to the potential security implications surrounding Mr. Petraeus.

In a separate twist in the tangled matter of Mr. Petraeus’s resignation, the CIA disputed a theory advanced by Ms. Broadwell that insurgents may have attacked the U.S. consulate and a CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 in a bid to free militants being held there by the agency. Ms. Broadwell suggested that rationale for the consulate attack in an address at the University of Denver on Oct. 26.

“I don’t know if a lot of you had heard this, but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think the attack on the consulate was an attempt to get these prisoners back,” she said then. “It’s still being vetted.”

A CIA spokesman said there were no militant prisoners there, noting that President Barack Obama ended CIA authority to hold detainees in 2009. “Any suggestion that the agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless,” said the spokesperson.

Some critics pointed to Ms. Broadwell’s remarks in Denver as an indication that she may have been passing on classified information, leading to speculation that Mr. Petraeus may have been the source. Based on descriptions by U.S. officials, the romantic relationship had ended by then.

In addition, the source of her comment may not have been intelligence information, but news reports. Earlier in her address, she cited findings of a report that day by Fox News. Immediately after, she mentioned the possibility that the CIA had held militants at the site, which the Fox report also mentioned.

The Sept. 11 consulate attack resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. One person briefed on U.S. intelligence said that reports focused on two main motives for the attack: inspiration from the violent protest that day at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, and the exhortation of al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri to avenge the death of his second in command. The possibility of attackers trying to free detainees never came up, this person said.

This week, lawmakers are slated to receive a series of closed-door briefings on both Benghazi and the FBI investigation that turned up the affair between Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has one such briefing on Benghazi scheduled Tuesday. On Wednesday, leaders of the House intelligence committee—Rep. Michael Rogers, a Michigan Republican who chairs the panel and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat—will be briefed by FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce and acting CIA director Michael Morell.

Senate intelligence committee staffers are working to schedule similar briefings. On Thursday, both the House and Senate intelligence committees were already slated to receive testimony on Benghazi from top intelligence and law-enforcement officials. The investigation that uncovered the affair is now expected to also be a central issue at those hearings, which won’t be public.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), who chairs the Senate intelligence committee complained Sunday that she and her colleagues should have been told of the Petraeus-Broadwell affair when the FBI discovered it because of national-security concerns.

Write to                 Devlin Barrett at devlin.barrett@wsj.com, Evan Perez at evan.perez@wsj.com and Siobhan Gorman at siobhan.gorman@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared November 12, 2012, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: FBI Agent In Petraeus Case Under Scrutiny.

HSBC and Goldman Sachs held $335m of Libyan state oil money ( Gaddafi’s Billions? )

Reposted at request in regards to the HSBC Jersey offshore account scandal

26th May 2011

Update: Global Witness publishes the Libyan Investment Authority financial position as of September 2010

Read BBC Business Editor Robert Peston’s analysis of this story

Listen to Global Witness discuss this investigation on the BBC World Service

Download – Libyan Investment Authority, as of June 2010

London and Washington  DC: HSBC and Goldman Sachs are among the key western bankers for Colonel Gaddafi’s regime, a 2010 document leaked to Global Witness appears to show. The document details the whereabouts of state oil revenues.  However the Libyan people could not know where it was invested or how much it was, because banks have no obligation to disclose state assets they hold. Global Witness is now calling for new laws requiring banks and investment funds to disclose all state funds that they manage.

Global Witness asked both banks to confirm that they held funds for the state-owned Libyan Investment Authority, and whether they still hold them. They both refused, with HSBC citing client confidentiality. Numerous other banks and financial firms are listed including Societe Generale, UniCredit and the Arab Banking Corporation.

“It is completely absurd that banks like HSBC and Goldman Sachs can hide behind customer confidentiality in a case like this. These are state accounts, so the customer is effectively the Libyan people and these banks are withholding vital information from them,” said Charmian  Gooch, director of Global Witness.

The Gaddafi family has significant personal control over the state funds invested in the Libyan Investment Authority. According to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, “Gaddafi makes no distinction between his personal assets and the resources of the country.”

On this basis, it is essential for banking regulators to investigate whether these banks have done enough to ensure that state funds have not been diverted to the Gaddafi family’s personal benefit.

Global Witness has been leaked a draft presentation that appears to show the investment position for the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) as of 30 June 2010, which stood at $53 billion. The information shows the diversity of Libyan assets held by major financial institutions:

  • HSBC holds      $292.69      million across ten accounts and Goldman Sachs has $43 million in three      accounts. The funds are in U.S. dollars, British pounds, Swiss Francs,      Euros and Canadian dollars.
  • A much      larger portion of the LIA’s deposits – $19 billion – are held in Libyan      and Middle Eastern banks, including the Central Bank of Libya, the      Arab Banking Corporation and the British Arab Commercial Bank.
  • Almost      $4 billion of the LIA’s funds are held in structured products with banks, hedge      funds and private firms such as Societe Generale ($1 billion), JP Morgan ($171      million) and OCH-ZIFF ($329 million).
  • The LIA      owns billions of dollars of shares in household name companies such as      General Electric, BP, Vivendi and Deutsche Telekom.

Global Witness believes there are two actions required from governments, beyond the sanctions that have already been imposed.

The first is that banks and investment houses must be required by law to disclose state funds that they manage. This would cost nothing and would allow citizens to see that state revenue is not being stolen by corrupt leaders. This fits a growing international norm on transparency of national assets.  Oil and mining companies are now required, as a condition of listing on the New York Stock Exchange, to disclose payments they make to governments, allowing people of natural-resource rich states to know what their government is earning.

The second is that banking regulators must do a thorough investigation to ensure that banks holding Libya’s state funds have done appropriate checks – known as due diligence – to prevent transfers from state funds to accounts personally controlled by Gaddafi and his cronies.

“We are calling on others with additional information to go public on Libya’s other assets too or to tell us where to find them. It’s the money of the Libyan people and they deserve to know where it is,” said Ms. Gooch.

HSBC said that it had strong anti-money laundering and anti-corruption procedures in place across all of its businesses.


Notes to editors:

1.HSBC’s U.S. division is currently under investigation for possible violations of anti-money laundering rules. Media reports have suggested that HSBC may be fined up to $1billion for not doing enough to curb the flow of dirty money.

2.In a dictatorship where one individual, or a small cabal, exercises almost complete power over the state, there is a very thin dividing line between state and personal investments. Funds may look like they belong to the state but are actually under the effective personal control of a ruler who has captured the state.

3.In the report Undue Diligence we revealed how $3 billion of Turkmenistan’s gas income was at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt under the effective personal control of then-president Niyazov. Deutsche Bank and the German regulator, BaFin, brushed off our concerns saying these were ‘state accounts’. However we had been told by a former chairman of the Central Bank that this money was treated by Niyazov as his ‘personal pocket money’.

4.Global Witness is also calling for:

  • national registries that list the ultimate owner or controller of companies and trusts. Corrupt politicians hide their identity, and therefore their assets, behind complex webs of front companies and legal structures. This can make it very difficult for banks, or law enforcement, to find out who actually controls assets.
  • if a bank cannot get its senior politician customers to explain their wealth, then it should turn down the money. Senior officials should be able to explain how their assets were earned legitimately, especially if there is a significant difference between their official salary and their actual wealth. If they cannot explain there should be a presumption that that their funds are the proceeds of corruption. This concept of “illicit enrichment” is already recognised in international treaties such as the United Nations and the Inter American conventions against corruption.

5. ICC comment on Gaddafi wealth: http://tinyurl.com/ICCGaddafi.



Robert Palmer on +44 (0)20 7492 5860 or +44 (0)7545 645 406 Andrea Pattison on +44 (0)20 7492 5858 or +44 (0)7970 103 083 Oliver Courtney on +44 (0)20 7492 5848 or +44 (0)7815 731 889

Washington:    Stefanie Ostfeld on +1 202 621 6674 or +1 202 577 5858 Hong Kong:     Gavin Hayman on +44 (0)7843 058756


New York’s emergency management director fired for sending crews to his OWN house during Superstorm Sandy to remove downed tree

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:09:24 EST, 8  November 2012| UPDATED:12:40 EST, 8 November 2012

Fired: Steven Kuhr, New York's emergency management director, was accused of abusing his powerFired: Steven Kuhr, New York’s emergency management  director, was accused of abusing his power

New York’s emergency management director has  been fired by the governor after it was revealed he diverted rescue crews to his  own house in the midst of Superstorm Sandy recovery.

Steven Kuhr, who was working in the state  capital of Albany, reportedly told emergency management crews to go to his house  in Long Island and clear a tree from his driveway.

The order was given a millions of people were  without power and hundreds of other needed recusing in the aftermath of the  devastating storm that ravaged New Jersey and New York.

The New York  Times reports that Mr Kuhr called the Suffolk County Office of  Emergency Management after the storm and demanded county workers go to his home  in East Northport and remove the downed tree.

State Senator Martin Golden, a Republican  from Brooklyn, said that one town in his district still had 2,000 residents  without electricity ten days after the storm.

He said the state official abused the power  of his office.

‘I’ve got people sitting in their homes with  two inches of snow outside, they have no electricity, no hot water, they’re  sitting in their homes and freezing to death,’ he said.

‘This guy’s only worried about his own home?  It’s sad.’

Destruction: Thousands are still without power in New York City and Long Island after Superstorm Sandy's devastation Destruction: Thousands are still without power in New  York City and Long Island after Superstorm Sandy’s devastation

When Gov Andrew Cuomo learned of the order Mr  Kuhr made, he fired him from his $153,000 a year job.

Mr Kuhr ran the State Office of Emergency  Management, New York’s version of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which  has coordinate the state’s response to the storm.

New York was hard hit by the storm last week,  which killed 47 people in the state and left 2.2million without power.

Tens of thousands are still in the dark and  crews are still working to restore service to several train lines in and around  New York City.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2229894/Steven-Kuhr-New-York-Emergency-management-director-ordered-crews-house-Sany.html#ixzz2Bg7NOt9f Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Antioxidant compound reduced incidence of colorectal metachronous adenomas ( selenium )

Contact: Tara Yates tara.yates@aacr.org 267-646-0558 American Association for Cancer Research

HOUSTON – Supplementation with a selenium-based antioxidant compound decreased the risk of developing new polyps of the large bowel — called colorectal metachronous adenomas — in people who previously had colorectal polyps removed.

“Our study is the first intervention trial specifically designed to evaluate the efficacy of the selenium-based antioxidant compound on the risk of developing metachronous adenomas,” said Luigina Bonelli, M.D., head of the unit of secondary prevention and screening at the National Institute for Cancer Research, in Genoa, Italy.

Bonelli presented these findings at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held in Houston, Dec. 6-9, 2009.

Adenomatous polyps (or adenoma) are benign lesions of the large bowel that, in time, could progress to cancer. Even though only a small proportion of adenomas will develop into cancer, almost 70 percent to 80 percent of colorectal cancer stems from an adenoma.

Adenomas are common in people aged 60 years or older; one in four people will have at least one adenoma.

Participants in this study were aged 25 to 75 years and had already had one or more colorectal adenomas removed, but did not have any other diagnosis of colorectal diseases, cancer or life-threatening illnesses and did not use vitamins or calcium supplementations. The researchers randomized 411 participants to the placebo group or to receive an antioxidant compound — specifically selenomethionnine 200 μg, zinc 30 mg, vitamin A 6,000 IU, vitamin C 180 mg and vitamin E 30 mg.

“Our results indicated that individuals who consumed antioxidants had a 40 percent reduction in the incidence of metachronous adenomas of the large bowel,” Bonelli said. “It is noteworthy that the benefit observed after the conclusion of the trial persisted through 13 years of follow up.”

The researchers are currently conducting a study to evaluate the role of genetic alterations as predictors of metachronous adenomas in participants received the antioxidant compound compared with those in a placebo group.


Subscribe to the AACR RSS News Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/aacr

The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 30,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and nearly 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowship and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 16,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

Units of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) have reported Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOS) in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian soldiers spooked after UFOs fly over

Monday, 05 November 2012

Units of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) have reported Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOS) in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

An ITBP unit based in Thakung, close to the Pangong Tso Lake, reported over 100 sightings of luminous objects between August 1 and October 15 this year.

In reports sent to their Delhi headquarters in September, and to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), they described sighting “Unidentified Luminous Objects” at day and by night.

The yellowish spheres appear to lift off from the horizon on the Chinese side and slowly traverse the sky for three to five hours before disappearing.

These were not unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), drones or even low earth-orbiting satellites, say Army officials who have studied the hazy photographs taken by ITBP.

Three of these drones intruded into territory claimed by India along the 365-km-long border with China in Ladakh, manned by ITBP.

Such mysterious lights have been sighted before in Ladakh, a barren, 86,000 sq km heavily militarised zone wedged between Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Chinese-occupied Aksai Chin.

The persistent sightings by the ITBP this year, however, worried the Army’s Leh-based 14 Corps. The ITBP, did not respond to a detailed India Today questionnaire.


70th Health Research Report 24 NOV 2009 – Reconstruction



Editors Top Five

1. Common plastics chemicals linked to ADHD symptoms

2. Women at risk from vitamin A deficiency

3. Reflux esophagitis due to immune reaction, not acute acid burn, UT Southwestern researchers report

4. Faulty body clock may make kids bipolar

5. Some prescription meds can harm fetus

In This Issue:

1. Workplace BPA exposure increases risk of male sexual dysfunction

2. Faulty body clock may make kids bipolar

3. New evidence that dark chocolate helps ease emotional stress

4. Despite some benefit, drug ads can be harmful to your health

5. Consumption of certain fish during pregnancy associated with poorer cognitive performance (Mercury)

6. Heart and bone damage from low vitamin D tied to declines in sex hormones

7. Penn Study Finds that Antioxidant Found in Vegetables has Implications for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

8. US gets a ‘D’ for preterm birth rate

9. Omega-3s from plant sources such as soy may do more to improve women’s heart health than fish sources.

10. Some prescription meds can harm fetus

11. When East meets West: Why consumers turn to alternative medicine

12. Cancer patients and doctors report drug side effects differently

13. Common herbal medicine may prevent acetaminophen-related liver damage, says Stanford researcher

14. Women at risk from vitamin A deficiency

15. Antifibrotic effects of green tea

16. Common plastics chemicals linked to ADHD symptoms

17. Reflux esophagitis due to immune reaction, not acute acid burn, UT Southwestern researchers report

18. Flaxseed oil and osteoporosis

Health Research Report

70th  Issue Date 24 NOV 2009

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm www.facebook.com/engineeringevil



UN accuses Texas, Iowa of violating international agreement over election observers


Thursday, 01 November 2012


The group hosting international election observers said Thursday that state officials in Iowa and Texas are needlessly blocking access to the decades-old process the United States already has agreed to, an official said Thursday.


Thomas Rymer, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said the group will abide by election laws after officials in those states warned about possible criminal prosecution if the observers came within hundreds of feet of polling places.



“We will of course comply,” Rymer told POLITICO. “At the same time, the lack of access to polling stations for international observers in some states is not in line with the United States’s international commitments, and we have noted this in past final reports issued by observation missions.”


On Nov. 6, the OSCE — a 56-country security and conflict resolution organization that includes the United States — will have 44 observers in different states meeting with “stakeholders,” including candidates, local media and other on-the-ground actors, as well as a team of 13 election analysts in Washington , who will focus on specific issues such as demographic turnout nationally.


The 2012 race is the sixth U.S. election the OSCE has observed since 2002, and since then, access to voting precincts across the country has been largely dependent on the reaction of state and local officials.


“In Texas, for example, the attorney general is the chief law enforcement authority, so if the state law as written and as the AG is going to enforce it says the election observers can’t go in, we will report that,” Rymer said.



On Tuesday, Iowa followed Texas’s move and warned of arrests if observers violate state election law by coming within 300 feet of polling places. (In Texas, it’s 100 feet.)


“My office met with two delegation representatives last week to discuss Iowa’s election process, and it was explained to them that they are not permitted at the polls,” Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said in a statement. “Iowa law is very specific about who is permitted at polling places, and there is no exception for members of this group.”



Higher folates, not antioxidants, can reduce hearing loss risk in men

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Matt Daigle
American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

New research released at world’s largest ENT meeting

San Diego, CA – Increased intakes of antioxidant vitamins have no bearing on whether or not a man will develop hearing loss, but higher folate intake can decrease his risk by 20 percent, according to new research presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in San Diego, CA.

The study, which identified 3,559 cases of men with hearing loss, found that there was no beneficial association with increased intakes of antioxidant vitamins such as C, E, and beta carotene. However, the authors found that men over the age of 60 who have a high intake of foods and supplement high in folates have a 20 percent decrease in risk of developing hearing loss.

Hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder in the United States, affecting more than 36 million people. High folate foods include leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, lettuces, dried or fresh beans and peas, fortified cereal products, sunflower seeds and certain other fruits and vegetables are rich sources of folate. Baker’s yeast, liver and liver products also contain high amounts of folate.

The authors believe this is the largest study to delve prospectively into the relation between dietary intake and hearing loss. They used the most recent figures from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study cohort from years 1986 to 2004, a group consisting of 51,529 male health professionals. They were first enrolled into this study in 1986 and filled out detailed health and diet questionnaires every other year. The authors believe their findings can allow greater education, prevention, and screening efforts.




Title: Vitamin Intake and Risk of Hearing Loss in Men
Author: Josef Shargorodsky, MD; Gary Curhan, MD; Sharon Curhan, MD; Ronald Eavey, MD
Date: Monday, October 5, 2009, 10:30-11:50 am

Information for the Media: The AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO Newsroom will be located in the San Diego Convention Center, Mezzanine Level, Room 14A. Hours of operation: Saturday, October 3, 12 pm to 5 pm; Sunday-Tuesday, October 4- 6, 7:30 am to 5 pm; and Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 am to 2 pm (all hours Pacific time). The newsroom serves as a work space for credentialed members of the news media. The newsroom is managed and staffed by the AAO-HNS Communications Unit. Please see the AAO-HNS website for media credentialing requirements for the event.

Onsite Newsroom contact: 1-619-525-6202

About the AAO-HNS

The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (http://www.entnet.org), one of the oldest medical associations in the nation, represents more than 12,000 physicians and allied health professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. The Academy serves its members by facilitating the advancement of the science and art of medicine related to otolaryngology and by representing the specialty in governmental and socioeconomic issues. The organization’s vision: “Empowering otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to deliver the best patient care.”


‘Dung of the devil’ plant roots point to new swine flu drugs: Showed greater potency against influenza A (H1N1) than a prescription antiviral drugs

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Michael Woods m_woods@acs.org 202-872-6293 American Chemical Society

Scientists in China have discovered that roots of a plant used a century ago during the great Spanish influenza pandemic contains substances with powerful effects in laboratory experiments in killing the H1N1 swine flu virus that now threatens the world. The plant has a pleasant onion-like taste when cooked, but when raw it has sap so foul-smelling that some call it the “Dung of the Devil” plant. Their report is scheduled for the Sept. 25 issue of ACS’ Journal of Natural Products, a monthly publication.

In the study, Fang-Rong Chang and Yang-Chang Wu and colleagues note that the plant, Ferula assa-foetida, grows mainly in Iran, Afghanistan and mainland China. People used it as a possible remedy during the1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed between 20 to 100 million people. Until now, however, nobody had determined whether the plant does produce natural antiviral compounds.

Chang and Wu identified a group of chemical compounds in extracts of the plant that showed greater potency against influenza A (H1N1) than a prescription antiviral drug available for the flu. “Overall, the present study has determined that sesquiterpene coumarins from F. assa-foetida may serve as promising lead components for new drug development against influenza A (H1N1) viral infection,” the authors write.



ARTICLE #1 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “Influenza A (H1N1) Antiviral and Cytotoxic Agents from Ferula assa-foetida”

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE: http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/np900158f

CONTACT: Fang-Rong Chang, Ph.D. Yang-Chang Wu, Ph.D. Kaohsiung Medical University. Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan, Republic of China Phone: 886-7-312-1101, ext. 2197 Fax: 886-7-311-4773 E-mail: yachwu@kmu.edu.tw or aaronfrc@kmu.edu.tw

65th Health Resarch Report 15 SEP 2009 – Reconstruction

Editors Top Five:

1. 75 percent would consider letting an unsupervised trainee perform surgery if it could be done quicker

2. Vitamin C deficiency impairs early brain development –

3. Study reveals new role of vitamin C in skin protection

4. ‘Dung of the devil’ plant roots point to new swine flu drugs

5. Popular stomach acid reducer triples risk of developing pneumonia

In this issue:

1. Biotransformed blueberry juice fights fat and diabetes

2. Exercise Minimizes Weight Regain By Reducing Appetite, Burning Fat,

3. And Lowering ‘Defended’ Body Weight

4. Vitamin C deficiency impairs early brain development –

5. UAB Researchers Find Possible Use for Kudzu, the Vine That Ate the South

6. Was the public health response to swine flu alarmist?

7. People with type 2 diabetes not meeting important nutritional recommendations

8. Anticancer compound found in American may apple

9. How manuka honey helps fight infection

10. Houseplants cut indoor ozone

11. High fruit and vegetable intake positively correlated with antioxidant status, cognitive performance

12. 75 percent would consider letting an unsupervised trainee perform surgery if it could be done quicker

13. Study reveals new role of vitamin C in skin protection

14. Regular aerobic exercise reduces health concerns associated with fatty liver

15. ‘Dung of the devil’ plant roots point to new swine flu drugs

16. On-the-job pesticide exposure associated with Parkinson’s disease

17. Antioxidant ingredient proven to relieve stress (S.O.D.)

18. Green tea component may help preserve stored platelets, tissues

19. Popular stomach acid reducer triples risk of developing pneumonia

20. Study Shows Common Pain Cream Could Protect Heart During Attack

21. Supplementing babies’ formula with DHA boosts cognitive development

22. Swine flu vaccination: A test subject speaks out.

Health Research Report

65th  Issue Date 15 SEP 2009

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.healthresearchreport.me www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm www.facebook.com/engineeringevil


‘Video message mocking homeless people screened at Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s lavish $6.5m wedding’

By Mike Larkin

PUBLISHED:18:08 EST, 24  October 2012| UPDATED:18:12 EST, 24 October 2012


They are well known for spending much of  their time championing charitable causes.

But Justin Timberlake and Jessica  Biel’s  reputation for goodwill may take a hit after it emerged a video  was screened at  their wedding which uses homeless people as a comedy  device.

It was seemingly made by the singer’s real  estate agent friend Justin Huchel, and shows what appear to be  real homeless  people on the city streets purporting to be acquaintances  who couldn’t make it  to the ceremony.

Friend of the stars: This man was billed a friend of Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in a video that mocked the homeless that was shown at their post-wedding party

Friend of the stars: This man was billed a friend of  Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in a video that mocked the homeless that was  shown at their post-wedding party

The video, which was first obtained  by Gawker and was seemingly shown at their  post-ceremony bash, starts with the message, ‘greetings from your Hollywood  friends who just couldn’t make it.’

It starts with a man missing several teeth  saying: ‘Jessica and Justin, I ain’t seen y’all in a while. The gift is in the  mail.’

The film then switches to a transvestite, who  says: ‘Good luck and watch your man.’

It closes with a shirtless bearded man, who  said: ‘Justin, Jessica, it’s me, Herbert.’

The full film is actually 8mins and 30secs  long, and at points features Justin’s solo hit SexyBack.

A man’s voice is heard speaking off-camera at  one point, apparently Huchel’s, and he asks a man when he last saw Timberlake  and Biel, adding, ‘Did you and Jessica mess around?’

After the brief messages it fades to black  screen with the titling, ‘Love Huch and Rachel.’

Watch your man: This transvestite had some sage words for Jessica in his portion of the 'joke' video

Watch your man: This transvestite had some sage words  for Jessica in his portion of the ‘joke’ video

Hutchel’s attorney Michael Saltz  confirmed  the video was shown to guests at the wedding in a letter sent  to Gawker after  the estate agent was approached for comment.

The lawyer wrote: ‘Mr. Huchel made [the]  video to be used and exhibited  privately at Justin Timberlake’s wedding as a  private joke without Mr.  Timberlake’s knowledge.’

Mr Saltz also threatened to ‘immediately file  suit’ if the video was publicised as it would be infringing on Hutchel’s  copyright.

The leaking of the video is sure to be an  embarrassment for well known philanthropist Justin, who previously donated an  item to watchmaker Nixon to be made into a  watch, the sale of which benefitted  the MusiCares MAP Fund which helps  address addiction and recovery needs of  members of the music community.

He also teamed up with REM’s Michael Stipe  for a charity single to continue aid for Hurricane Katrina victims; proceeds  benefit Mercy Corps.

Friend of the family: The video also claimed this shirtless man was another of their unknown chums

Friend of the family: The video also claimed this  shirtless man was another of their unknown chums

And last year he was awarded the Big Help  award for his charity work at the 2011 Kids’ Choice Awards held at the USC Galen  Center in Los Angeles.

Jessica meanwhile has appeared in videos  supporting GoodSearch and Much Love,  as well as founding the Make The  Difference Network with her family.

It takes the shine off Justin’s recent  proclamations their wedding as a ‘total fantasy’, adding that the actress in her  stunning gown was ‘the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.’

The 31-year-old singer made the admission as  the couple revealed the first picture of their magical wedding ceremony in the  pages of America’s Peoplemagazine.

In the shot, Justin, wearing a Tom Ford  tuxedo that he helped to design, is seen literally jumping for joy, while his  new wife sits serenely in the foreground in the pictures, which they sold for  $300,000 following the ceremony, which is estimated to have cost around  $6.5million.

Magical: Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel opened up about their romantic wedding ceremony as they revealed the first picture of their happy day to America's People magazine

Magical: Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel opened up  about their romantic wedding ceremony as they revealed the first picture of  their happy day to America’s People magazine

Jessica, 30, looked stunning for her happy  day in a custom-made Giambattista Valli  Haute Couture gown – shunning traditional white or ivory for a beautiful petal  pink colour.

And it seems that Justin was a fan of  Jessica’s brave gown choice, revealing in the magazine that his bride was  ‘the most beautiful thing I have ever  seen.’


Jessica teamed the strapless gown with a  matching ethereal cathedral-length veil, clutching a bouquet of white flowers as  she beamed for the camera.

Speaking about their romantic Italian  ceremony, Jessica said: ‘It was a total fantasy experience’, with Justin  adding, ‘It was a really special evening.’

Newlyweds: Justin and Jessica were seen leaving Italy on Sunday after their nuptials

Newlyweds: Justin and Jessica were seen leaving Italy on  Sunday after their nuptials

Idyllic: The Borgo Egnazia resort, where Justin and Jessica married in Savelletri, southern Italy


Idyllic: The Borgo Egnazia resort, where Justin and  Jessica married in Savelletri, southern Italy

Serenading: Justin accompanied Jessica down the aisle with an original song he composed

Serenading: Justin accompanied Jessica down the aisle  with an original song he composed

In more details from the day, Justin  revealed that he accompanied bride Jessica as she walked down the aisle  with a  romantic ballad he had written just for her.

He said: ‘It was an original piece I wrote  specifically for the evening and for her.’

The pair tied the knot after a week-long  celebration, which saw guests including Jimmy Fallon and Andy Samberg enjoy  horseback riding and various cocktail parties at the exclusive Borgo Egnazia  resort.

And Justin revealed:  ‘It was a lot to ask of them to travel,  so we figured we’d give our guests a good party!’

Despite  the idyllic surroundings all did not go according to plan for the happy couple,  as new reports reveal that Justin ‘wasn’t feeling well’ on his wedding day.

However,  the singer-turned-actor managed to hide his discomfort and was in a ‘good mood’  as he tied the knot.

An  insider told Us Weekly: ‘Justin wasn’t feeling well all week and on his wedding day.

‘They shut the place down! They had a big night at the bar where everyone went crazy – but Justin wasn’t feeling great. [But] Justin was in a good mood. He had fun.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2222759/Video-message-mocking-homeless-people-screened-Justin-Timberlake-Jessica-Biels-lavish-6-5m-wedding.html#ixzz2AHQv7n4d Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Are we what our mothers ate?

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Clare Collins
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Timeframe before conception may be linked to disease later in life

PITTSBURGH, July 21 – Mothers’ health in the days and weeks prior to becoming pregnant may determine the health of offspring much later in life, according to results of studies reported at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, which takes place July 18 to 22 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. These studies demonstrate that maternal nutrition, protein intake and level of fat in the diet may cause epigenetic changes in the developing fetus that can have long-term health consequences.

Summaries of their findings are as follows:

Too Much of a Sweet Thing? Maternal Diabetes and Embryo Development

The time between ovulation and conception may be a critical one for maternal and fetal health, according to Kelle Moley, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine. In mouse studies, she found that subtle differences in maternal metabolism had long-lasting effects. Indeed, when Dr. Moley transferred embryos from a diabetic mouse into a non-diabetic mouse shortly after egg implantation, she noted neural tube defects, heart defects, limb deformities and growth defects in offspring. These findings indicate that we may need to re-direct our ideas about maternal health to the time prior to pregnancy, she says.

Take Your Vitamins Before Becoming Pregnant

Are we encouraging pregnant women to take vitamins when it may be too late to impact the health of a growing fetus? According to Kevin Sinclair, Ph.D., University of Nottingham, maternal nutrition even at the time of conception can alter fetal development. In studies with sheep and rodents, he found that offspring of mothers with vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies were fatter, became insulin resistant and had higher blood pressure by the time they reached middle-age, demonstrating that early molecular changes may not manifest themselves for many years.

Low Protein Diet May Lead to “Jumpy” Offspring

Low protein levels in female mice during the first few moments of conception, when the egg is still dividing, caused abnormal growth, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and jumpy behavior in their offspring. According to Tom Fleming, Ph.D., University of Southampton, mice born to mothers with low protein grew bigger – extracting as much nutrients as they could to compensate for poor nutrition while in the womb.

Beyond Genetics: How Dormant Memories Can Impact Later-Life Events

According to epigenetic theory, changes in the genome can happen at any time through the impact of environmental factors on the expression of genes over time. One of the most critical periods is early life when epigenetic memories are created that may impact a person’s susceptibility to disease later in life, says Shuk-mei Ho, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati Medical Center. According to her research, these “memories” may remain dormant until an environmental trigger brings them to the surface, modifying risk for disease.




The Society for the Study of Reproduction was founded in 1967 to promote the study of reproduction by fostering interdisciplinary communication among scientists through conferences and publications in the organization’s journal, Biology of Reproduction. The SSR president is Asgerally T. Fazleabas, Ph.D., University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. Program committee chair is Patricia Hunt, Ph.D., Washington State University; and chair of the local organizing committee is Tony M. Plant, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

NOTE TO EDITORS: The scientists will discuss their research during a briefing, “The Origins of Adult Disease,” at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 21, which will be moderated by Patricia Hunt, Ph.D., Washington State University and 2009 SSR program chair. All briefings take place in room 312 of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh. Reporters may participate via telephone conference call by dialing 800-937-0301 (from within the U.S. and Canada). From other countries, call +1 303-248-9679. To be connected to the briefing, enter access code 6489725. The press room hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, July 20, through Tuesday, July 21, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, July 22. Press room staff may be reached during this time at (412) 352-2886. Otherwise, please call UPMC Media Relations at (412) 647-3555.

CDC Wants Safety Threat Information on Goose Flu

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention request information and comments to questions on a highly contagious “goose” variant of avian influenza H5N1 viruses.

The viruses contain a hemagglutinin from the Goose/Guangdong/1/96 lineage. The CDC, among other questions, asks about “their potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety.”

The CDC notes on its website that ferrets can transmit this variant, and it has been associated with infections in humans.

Comments will be accepted until Dec. 17.

For more information, click the document icon for this regulation and others.


Chase Bank workers recovering after odd deposit at Modesto branch: (Unknown) BioHazard Event

By Erin Tracy etracy@modbee.com

Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012

By Erin Tracy      The Modesto Bee

MODESTO — An investigation continued Saturday into the intent of a man who deposited money at a Chase Bank that is believed to have sickened six employees there.

A man carried a large amount of money wrapped in a paper towel into the Chase Bank branch at Tully Road and Standiford Avenue on Friday afternoon.

He left after having the money deposited into his account and a short time later the teller who assisted him broke out in hives and felt short of breath. She had contact with two other employees, who soon exhibited similar symptoms.

Modesto police detectives have talked to the 37-year-old Modesto man who brought the money to the bank, said officer Scott Nelson.

He said the man was being cooperative and had not been arrested, so Nelson would not release his name. Nelson would not discuss what the man told detectives about what might have been on the money and why he carried it in a paper towel.

He would not say how much money the man deposited or what the denominations were.

On Friday night, the county’s hazardous materials unit donned what looked like spacesuits to test the money for contaminants. It tested positive for a chemical but determining its composition will require more tests at a lab, which could take two to three weeks, Nelson said.

A total of six employees were taken to hospitals after being hosed down Friday afternoon in a temporary decontamination area set up in a parking lot outside the bank.

Nelson said all have since been released from hospitals and are recovering.

A friend of one employee said she was still itchy Saturday but otherwise doing well. The bank employee declined an interview.

The Chase Bank on Tully remained closed Saturday while a security guard stood out front and a cleaning crew spent about eight hours decontaminating the interior.

The bank’s windows were covered with paper and a note on the door apologized to customers for the inconvenience. It suggested nearby Chase branches that customers could go to, but did not indicate when that branch might reopen.

Attempts on Saturday to reach a Chase Bank representative were unsuccessful

Drones were circling above U.S. consulate during Libya attack but officials decided NOT to mount a rescue mission

  • U.S.  Ambassador Christopher Stevens repeatedly pleaded with the State Department for  additional security personnel
  • Republicans  say the Obama administration denied the request for political reasons
  • The White  House says it had no role in procuring security detail for Stevens

By Hayley Peterson and Jill Reilly

PUBLISHED:10:01 EST, 19  October 2012| UPDATED:12:49 EST, 20 October 2012

American drones were in the skies above the  U.S. consulate in Benghazi as the deadly attack that killed ambassador  Christopher Stevens unfolded, it has been revealed.

Defense department officials considered  sending troops in to rescue the ambassador and staff, according to CBS News, but  ultimately decided not to .

They would haven been able to watch the  attack on-screen as it unfolded.

The revalations came a day after it emerged  that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens repeatedly pleaded with the State  Department to ramp up his security team in Libya — requests that the Pentagon  ultimately denied — in the weeks, days and hours leading up to the terrorist  attack that killed him and three other Americans, newly released cables have  revealed.

Stevens, who was killed in the 11 September  attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, warned the State Department of a  ‘security vacuum’ in Libya ‘that is being exploited by independent actors’ in  one cable that described rapidly deteriorating security  conditions.

‘Islamic extremists are able to attack the  Red Cross with impunity,’ he wrote. ‘What we have seen are not random crimes of  opportunity but rather targeted discriminate attacks.’

Revelations: Washington was told within 24 hours of last month's deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about ridiculing Islam's Prophet MuhammadRevelations: Washington was told within 24 hours of last  month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate that there was evidence it was  carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about ridiculing Islam’s  Prophet Muhammad
Knowledge: It is unclear who, if anyone, saw the cable outside the CIA at that point and how high up in the agency the information wentKnowledge: It is unclear who, if anyone, saw the cable  outside the CIA at that point and how high up in the agency the information  went

Stevens said the attackers would not be  deterred ‘until authorities are at least as capable.’

Just hours before his death, he sent  the  Pentagon a cable describing ‘expanding Islamist influence in Dema,’ a town east  of Benghazi, and said he was seeing a ‘troubling increase in  violence and  Islamist influence.’

Stevens recapped a meeting in which  the  commander of Benghazi’s Supreme Security Council told him there is  ‘growing  frustration with police and security forces.’

The cables were released by  Republican Rep.  Darrell Issa of California, the chairman of the U.S.  House Oversight and  Government Reform Committee, which is investigating  the security matters  surrounding Stevens’ death and questioning whether  the State Department could  have prevented the deadly attack.

Less than three weeks ahead of the  presidential election, Republicans are using the cables to attack  President  Obama on his foreign policy, despite the State Department’s  claim that it was  solely responsible for the decisions to deny Stevens’  requests for more  security in Libya.

‘These critical foreign policy decisions are  not made by low or  mid-level career officials — they are typically made  through a  structured and well-reasoned process that includes the National  Security Council and the White House,’ Issa wrote in a letter to Obama on  Friday.

The letter claims that Obama had a  political  motivation in rejecting Stevens’ security requests, since the  president was  eager to show improving conditions in Libya after the  U.S.-led international  operation that toppled Libya dictator Moamar  Gadhafi.

On Aug. 2, six weeks before Stevens  was  killed, he requested ‘protective detail bodyguard’ positions,  calling the  security situation in Libya ‘unpredictable, volatile and  violent.’

A month earlier, he requested that  the State  Department extend his tour of duty personnel, which is a  16-man temporary  security team trained in combating terrorism. The  request was denied and the  security team left 8 August.

Stevens had asked for the security team to  stay through mid-September.

Colonel Andrew Wood, the leader of  the  security team that left Libya in the weeks before the terror attack, told CBS  News that Stevens fought hard against losing the team.

‘It was quite a degree of frustration on  their part,’ he said. ‘They were — I guess you could say —  clenched-fist over  the whole issue.

At loggerheads: The Obama administration's handling of the aftermath of the Benghazi attack came to the fore during Tuesday's second presidential campaign debateQuestions: In their debate on Tuesday, President Barack  Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney argued over when Obama first said it  was a terror attack

The White House maintained publicly for a  week that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was a spontaneous mob upset about an anti-Islam video, even though it has now been  revealed that they were informed within 24 hours of the attack  that it was  planned and carried out by militants.

‘Your administration has not been  straightforward with the American people in the aftermath of the  attack,’ Issa  wrote in his letter to Obama.

In his Rose Garden address the morning after  the killings, Obama said, ‘No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this  great nation, alter  that character or eclipse the light of the values that we  stand for.’

But Republicans say he was speaking generally  and didn’t specifically call  the Benghazi attack a terror attack until weeks  later, with the  president and other key members of his administration referring  at first to the anti-Muslim movie circulating on the Internet as a precipitating event.

Last week, the State Department said  that it  never believed the 11 September attack on the U.S. consulate was the result of a  protest over an anti-Islam movie, contradicting  previous statements.

Inferno: Armed attackers dumped cans of diesel fuel and set ablaze the consulate's exteriorInferno: Armed attackers dumped cans of diesel fuel and  set ablaze the consulate’s exterior
Siege: The compound came under heavy mortar and gunfire during the attack, which lasted several hours Siege: The compound came under heavy mortar and gunfire  during the attack, which lasted several hours

The White House now says the attack  probably  was carried out by an al Qaida-linked group, with no public  demonstration  beforehand. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton  blamed the ‘fog of war’  for the early conflicting accounts.

Issa’s committee questioned State  Department  officials for hours about what Republican lawmakers said was  lax security at  the consulate, given the growth of extremist Islamic  militants in North  Africa.

Congressional aides are hoping to use Stevens’ cables and information from State Department testimonies to  build a  timeline of what the intelligence community knew, compared to what the White  House was telling the public about the attack. That could give Romney  ammunition to use in his foreign policy debate with Obama on Monday  night.

Reports have revealed that the CIA station  chief in Libya compiled an intelligence briefing from eyewitnesses within 24 hours of the assault on the consulate that indicated militants launched the  violence.

The briefing from the station chief was written late Wednesday, 12 September and reached intelligence agencies in  Washington the next day, intelligence officials said.

Yet on Saturday of that week, briefing points  sent by the CIA to Congress  said ‘demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously  inspired by the  protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct  assault.’

The briefing  points, obtained by the AP,  added: ‘There are indications that  extremists participated in the violent  demonstrations’ but did not  mention eyewitness accounts that blamed militants  alone.

Such raw intelligence reports by the CIA on  the ground would normally be  sent first to analysts at the headquarters in  Langley, Virginia, for  vetting and comparing against other intelligence derived  from  eavesdropping drones and satellite images.

Only then would such intelligence  generally  be shared with the White House and later, Congress, a process  that can take  hours, or days if the intelligence is coming only from one or two sources who  may or may not be trusted.

U.S. intelligence officials say in this case  the delay was due in part to  the time it took to analyze various conflicting  accounts.

One official, speaking on condition  of  anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the incident  publicly,  explained that ‘it was clear a group of people gathered that  evening’ in  Benghazi, but that the early question was ‘whether extremists took over a crowd  or they were the crowd.’

But that explanation has been met with  concern in Congress.

Flames, grenades and gunfire: A burnt-out car in front of the U.S. consulateFlames, grenades and gunfire: A burnt-out car in front  of the U.S. consulate

‘The early sense from the intelligence  community differs from what we are hearing now,’ Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff  said. ‘It ended up being pretty far afield, so we want to figure out why …  though we don’t want to deter the intelligence community from sharing their best  first impressions’ after such events in the future.

‘The intelligence briefings we got a week to  10 days after were consistent with what the administration was saying,’said Rep.  William Thornberry, a member of the House Intelligence and Armed Services  committees.

Thornberry would not confirm the existence  of the early CIA report but voiced skepticism over how sure intelligence  officials, including CIA Director David Petraeus, seemed of their original  account when they briefed lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

‘How could they be so certain immediately  after such events, I just don’t know,’he said. ‘That raises suspicions that  there was political motivation.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2220153/Christopher-Stevens-Ambassador-pleaded-extra-security-Libya-hours-killed.html#ixzz29uy5q3px Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Melatonin may be served as a potential anti-fibrotic drug

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Lai-Fu Li
World Journal of Gastroenterology

In China, the incidence of liver cirrhosis is still high. Liver cirrhosis results from fibrosis. If treated properly at fibrosis stage, cirrhosis can be prevented. However, no effective antifibrosis drugs are available at present. Several lines of evidences suggest that oxidative stress plays an important role in the etiopathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis. Melatonin can protect cells, tissues, and organs against oxidative damage induced by a variety of free-radical-generating agents and processes.

A research team led by Professor Jian-Ming Xu from the First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, China evaluated the possible fibrosuppressant effect of melatonin in rat. Their study will be published on March 28, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

In this study, hepatic fibrosis in rats was successfully induced by subcutaneous injection of sterile CCl4 twice weekly for a total of 12 wk. At the beginning of injection of CCl4, melatonin (2.5, 5, 10 mg/kg body weight) was intraperitoneally administered to the rats daily for 12 wk. Hepatic fibrotic changes were evaluated biochemically by measuring tissue hydroxyproline levels and histopathogical examination. The serum activities of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were used to evaluate the hepatic injury. Hepatic oxidative stress markers were evaluated by changes in the amount of lipid peroxides, measured as malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) in liver homogenates. Serum hyaluronic acid (HA), laminin (LN), and procollagen 3 N-terminal peptide (P3NP) were determined as serum markers of hepatic fibrogenesis.

Their results suggested that treatment with melatonin (10 mg/kg) could decrease the scores of hepatic fibrosis grading, reduced the contents of HA, LN in serum and Hydroxyproline (HYP) in liver, treatment with melatonin (5,10 mg/kg ) could decrease serum levels of ALT, AST and blocked the increase in MDA in rats with hepatic injury caused by CCl4.

Their result indicated melatonin could ameliorate CCl4-induced hepatic fibrosis in rats. The protective effect of melatonin on hepatic fibrosis may be related to its antioxidant activities. This may provide a basis for further studies on the potentially protective effect of melatonin on liver function in cirrhotic patients




Reference: Hong RT, Xu JM, Mei Q. Melatonin ameliorates experimental hepatic fibrosis induced by carbon tetrachloride in rats. World J Gastroenterol 2009; 15(12): 1452-1458

Correspondence to: Jian-Ming Xu, Professor, Department of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230022, Anhui Province, China. xhkay@yahoo.cn

About World Journal of Gastroenterology


World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H pylori infection and provides a forum for both clinicians and scientists. WJG has been indexed and abstracted in Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch) and Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Index Medicus, MEDLINE and PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Abstracts Journals, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CAB Abstracts and Global Health. ISI JCR 2003-2000 IF: 3.318, 2.532, 1.445 and 0.993. WJG is a weekly journal published by WJG Press. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month. WJG is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30224801 and No. 30424812, and was founded with the name of China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJG on January 25, 1998.

About The WJG Press


The WJG Press mainly publishes World Journal of Gastroenterology

Activists leaping to the defense of online ‘trolls’ in the UK

By Agence France-Presse Friday, October 12, 2012 10:48 EDT

A man uses a computer in an internet cafe  (AFP)

For many they are the scourge of the Internet, but rights campaigners in Britain are increasingly leaping to the defence of online “trolls” amid a string of criminal trials over tweets and Facebook posts.

Prosecutors are to revamp their approach to cases involving social media following an outcry over freedom of speech, after “offensive” online comments from bad jokes to homophobic insults resulted in arrests and even jail.

A 19-year-old man was handed three months in prison on Monday after posting crude jokes on Facebook about a missing five-year-old thought to have been murdered in Wales.

Matthew Woods’ comments prompted an angry mob to gather at his home, and he was initially arrested “for his own safety”.

But many contrasted his jail time with a community sentence handed on the same day to a TV comedian, Justin Lee Collins, who was found guilty of a campaign of abuse of his girlfriend, in which social media was not involved.

“People post sick, offensive, horrible and stupid things on social media all of the time… As a society we should try to make people nicer, cleverer and less offensive. But is sending people to prison, along with violent rapists and thugs, the right way to do it?” questioned Adam Wagner, a blogger on legal issues.

Woods’ case follows that of Azhar Ahmed, 19, sentenced to community service for declaring on Facebook that “all soldiers should die and go to hell”.

“I think we have seen some very clearly unjust prosecutions,” Padraig Reidy, news editor at campaign group Index on Censorship, told AFP.

But he added: “We need to find a balance. There’s no doubt people can be harassed or menaced quite horribly on social media.”

Finance worker Paul Chambers, 28, has become a poster boy for the freedom of speech argument since he tweeted in 2010: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”

His tweet — sent in frustration at the airport in Nottingham because he feared he might miss a visit to his girlfriend — led to his arrest and a criminal conviction for sending a menacing message, in one of the first cases of its kind.

Chambers fought a legal battle lasting more than two years to overturn the conviction, winning huge online support in what became known as the “Twitter joke trial”. It was finally quashed in July.

Reidy said of the case: “The important thing with the eventual ruling is that the court found people do have a right to be hyperbolic, insulting and maybe offensive online. That in itself should not constitute a crime.”

But more prosecutions were being brought under communications and public order laws dating from before Twitter existed.

In particular, the Communications Act 2003 — used for many of the cases — has come into question. It prohibits “the sending to another of any article which is indecent or grossly offensive, or which conveys a threat”.

“In 2003, only perhaps (Facebook founder) Mark Zuckerberg knew that within the next few years literally billions of people would become mini-publishers on a public communications network,” wrote Wagner.

Courts have also dealt with concerted campaigns of online harassment, while fresh legal ground was broken in cases of incitement, contempt of court and libel on social media.

But it was the arrests over offensive social media posts that prompted a rethink by prosecutors.

On September 20, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) threw out the case of a man who posted a homophobic tweet about British diver Tom Daley during the Olympics, and said it would hold a consultation before issuing new guidelines.

It hinted some cases might have gone too far.

“If the fundamental right to free speech is to be respected, the threshold for criminal prosecution has to be a high one and a prosecution has to be required in the public interest,” director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer said.

Guidelines are expected next year, but experts stress it is also a case of social media users gaining more understanding of how the networks function.

Twitter has existed since 2006, but was initially a niche medium; now it has 10 million users in Britain alone.

Legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg told AFP that in the Daly case, “the problem was that this guy didn’t really grasp what the nature of a tweet was and is, and a lot of people don’t.

“A tweet is not an email, it’s a broadcast. When people send what they think of as a message to 100 friends, that’s then completely outside of their control — it can be forwarded to and read by millions.”

But for the high court judges in the Twitter joke trial, the crux of the matter was that social networks could have either function.

“‘Tweets’ include expressions of opinion, assertions of fact, gossip, jokes (bad ones as well as good ones)… For some users, at any rate, it represents no more and no less than conversation without speech,” they said

Detroit homeowner and baby daughter forced to share their house with SQUATTER who moved in while they were away during home repairs

  • Squatter  moved in, changed locks, reworked plumbing and replaced appliances
  • Filed a report  with the city stating the house was abandoned
  • Placed a $8,500  lien the house

By John Clarke

PUBLISHED:14:23 EST, 10  October 2012| UPDATED:17:37 EST, 10 October 2012

A Detroit woman and her one-year-old daughter  are being forced to live with a squatter in their own home until a housing court  decides on eviction proceedings.

Homeowner Heidi Peterson claims the  squatter, former tenant Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair, took  over the residence while Peterson was away for a year during extensive home  repairs.

After the necessary repairs were complete,  Peterson returned last week only find out that Blair had changed the locks. She  had also taken the liberty to decorate the house, rework the plumbing and  replace appliances.

According to neighbors, Blair had been living  in the house for months.

Heidi Peterson always dreamed of living in a historical  home. In May of 2010, she bought one in Detroit’s Boston-Edison District for  $23,000. Now a squatter refuses to leave

She also discovered Blair had managed to put a lien on the house, which she had told  the city was abandoned, reports MyFoxDetroit.com.

Blair, who is a  write-in candidate for U.S. President, refuses to leave. And until a housing  court evicts her, Blair, Peterson and Peterson’s baby girl are forced to live  under the same roof.

Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair, an alleged squatter and  write-in candidate for President of the United States refuses to leave a Detroit  home owned by Heidi Peterson

“I thought if the house is not safe, how can  I come here with my child,” Peterson told MyFoxDetroit. “There’s an issue with  that. But should I lose my house to a squatter because I  don’t have rights to  my property or should I fight to get it back.”

Heidi Peterson paid $23,000 for this historic home in  the Boston District of Detroit

Peterson said that she and her baby had to  vacate the house in February 2011 after the boiler was damaged.

“In February 2011, we had to vacate  because  the boiler was damaged,” she said.  “I took all my books and my  writings,  but my (furniture was) still  left in (there).”

When Peterson returned, she discovered Blair  living in the house.

Alleged squatter Missionary-Tracey Elaine Blair refuses  to leave. Now, homeowner Heidi Peterson and her baby daughter (pictured) are  forced to sleep one room away from each other.

According to the report, a squatter does not  have a legal right to the property, but under the law the  homeowner cannot  remove a squatter by force.

In most cases, the homeowner has to  file a  civil action in court, prove it’s their property and evict the squatter.  That  is what Peterson is trying to do.

Squatting is nothing new to Detroit,  which  has been hit hard by foreclosures and has miles and miles of  abandoned homes,  including the childhood home of Republican Presidential  nominee Mitt  Romney.

Peterson said she can’t afford  to go  anywhere else and is  forced to live  under the same roof with the squatter  until she can legally evict the woman, the report said

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2215721/Detroit-homeowner-child-forced-live-roof-squatter.html#ixzz28xDdDpGF Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Herpesvirus: To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate Scientists Weigh Risks and Benefits: Herpesvirus gives resistance to infection with bacterial pathogens

2009 report posted for filing


Saranac Lake, N.Y., -Dr. Marcia Blackman and her research team at the Trudeau Institute have followed up on an intriguing report(1)published in the journal Nature in May 2007 by Dr. Herbert Virgin, et al., showing that mice persistently infected with certain forms of herpesvirus, which can establish lifelong latent infections, are resistant to infection with bacterial pathogens.

Although herpesvirus infections are generally considered undesirable and can be associated with declining immune function in the elderly or the development of a variety of tumors later in life, the Virgin report raised the unexpected possibility that they may also be beneficial.

Dr. Blackman’s research has now confirmed Dr. Virgin’s findings, but with some further refinements about herpes’ roles in preventing other infections: “We discovered that the effect of herpesvirus infection is transient, lasting only a few months. Interestingly, although the effect was shown by the Virgin group to be dependent on establishing a latent infection, it wanes despite lifelong latency.”

Recognizing that her data had implications for the interpretation of Dr. Virgin’s data, Dr. Blackman shared her findings with the Virgin group prior to publication. This led to an interesting exchange between the two labs in the form of letters to the editor regarding the potential benefits of a transient protective effect. The letters will be published concurrently with Blackman’s data in the February issue of Viral Immunology (Vol. 22, No.1). The scientists agree that even short-acting protection, especially during childhood, might have long-lasting implications in terms of survival rates.

A major point of discussion between the two groups concerned the implications of such research for the development of vaccines against herpesvirus infections. Dr. Virgin suggested that “decreased infection may be associated with unintended negative consequences for vaccinated individuals.” In response, Dr. Blackman argues that possible transient protective effects did not outweigh the already recognized pathological consequences of herpesvirus infection. Both groups agreed that the protective effects of herpesvirus infections merit further study.

Importantly, both groups hope their observations will stimulate epidemiological and clinical studies to determine whether herpesvirus infections really protect humans against bacterial diseases.

(1)“Herpesvirus latency confers symbiotic protection from bacterial infection,” NATURE, Vol. 447, pp. 326-29; May 17, 2007.