Unease at Clinton Foundation Over Finances and Ambitions -Repost from Aug 2013

“Huma Abedin, wife of the New York mayoral candidate Anthony D. Weiner — will soon relocate from a cramped Washington office to the foundation’s headquarters. They will work on organizing Mrs. Clinton’s packed schedule of paid speeches to trade groups and awards ceremonies and assist in the research and writing of Mrs. Clinton’s memoir about her time at the State Department, to be published by Simon & Schuster next summer.”

Repost from Aug 2013

By  and

Soon after the 10th anniversary of the foundation bearing his name, Bill Clinton met with a small group of aides and two lawyers from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Two weeks of interviews with Clinton Foundation executives and former employees had led the lawyers to some unsettling conclusions.

The review echoed criticism of Mr. Clinton’s early years in the White House: For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.

And concern was rising inside and outside the organization about Douglas J. Band, a onetime personal assistant to Mr. Clinton who had started a lucrative corporate consulting firm — which Mr. Clinton joined as a paid adviser — while overseeing the Clinton Global Initiative, the foundation’s glitzy annual gathering of chief executives, heads of state, and celebrities.

The review set off more than a year of internal debate, and spurred an evolution in the organization that included Mr. Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, taking on a dominant new role as the family grappled with the question of whether the foundation — and its globe-spanning efforts to combat AIDS, obesity and poverty — would survive its founder.

Now those efforts are taking on new urgency. In the coming weeks, the foundation, long Mr. Clinton’s domain since its formation in 2001, will become the nerve center of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s increasingly busy public life.

This fall, Mrs. Clinton and her staff will move into offices at the foundation’s new headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, occupying two floors of the Time-Life Building. Amid speculation about her 2016 plans, Mrs. Clinton is adding major new initiatives on women, children and jobs to what has been renamed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Worried that the foundation’s operating revenues depend too heavily on Mr. Clinton’s nonstop fund-raising, the three Clintons are embarking on a drive to raise an endowment of as much as $250 million, with events already scheduled in the Hamptons and London. And after years of relying on Bruce R. Lindsey, the former White House counsel whose friendship with Mr. Clinton stretches back decades, to run the organization while living part-time in Arkansas, the family has hired a New York-based chief executive with a background in management consulting.

“We’re trying to institutionalize the foundation so that it will be here long after the lives of any of us,” Mr. Lindsey said. “That’s our challenge and that is what we are trying to address.”

But the changing of the guard has aggravated long-simmering tensions within the former first family’s inner circle as the foundation tries to juggle the political and philanthropic ambitions of a former president, a potential future president, and their increasingly visible daughter.

And efforts to insulate the foundation from potential conflicts have highlighted just how difficult it can be to disentangle the Clintons’ charity work from Mr. Clinton’s moneymaking ventures and Mrs. Clinton’s political future, according to interviews with more than two dozen former and current foundation employees, donors and advisers to the family. Nearly all of them declined to speak for attribution, citing their unwillingness to alienate the Clinton family.

Powered by Celebrity

Last Thursday, Mr. Clinton arrived two hours late to an exuberant welcome at a health clinic about 60 miles north of Johannesburg. Children in zebra-striped loincloths sang as Mr. Clinton and Ms. Clinton made their entrance, and the former president enthusiastically explained how his foundation had helped the South African government negotiate large reductions in the price of drugs that halt the progress of HIV. Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa’s minister of health, heaped praise on the effort. “Because of your help we are able to treat three and a half times more people than we used to,” he told the crowd.

The project is typical of the model pioneered by the Clinton Foundation, built around dozens of partnerships with private companies, governments, or other nonprofit groups. Instead of handing out grants, the foundation recruits donors and advises them on how best to deploy their money or resources, from helping Procter & Gamble donate advanced water-purification packets to developing countries to working with credit card companies to expand the volume of low-cost loans offered to poor inner city residents.

The foundation, which has 350 employees in 180 countries, remains largely powered by Mr. Clinton’s global celebrity and his ability to connect corporate executives, A-listers and government officials. On this month’s Africa trip, Mr. Clinton was accompanied by the actors Dakota Fanning and Jesse Eisenberg and the son of the New York City mayoral candidate John A. Catsimatidis, a longtime donor.

For most of the foundation’s existence, its leadership has been dominated by loyal veterans of the Clintons’ political lives. Ira C. Magaziner, who was a Rhodes scholar with Mr. Clinton and ran Mrs. Clinton’s failed attempt at a health care overhaul in the 1990s, is widely credited as the driving force behind the foundation’s largest project, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which, among other efforts, negotiates bulk purchasing agreements and price discounts on lifesaving medicines.

Mr. Band, who arrived at the White House in 1995 and worked his way up to become Mr. Clinton’s closest personal aide, standing behind the president on golf courses and the global stage, helped build the foundation’s fund-raising structure. He conceived of and for many years helped run the Clinton Global Initiative, the annual conference that draws hundreds of business leaders and heads of state to New York City where attendees are pushed to make specific philanthropic commitments.

Today, big-name companies vie to buy sponsorships at prices of $250,000 and up, money that has helped subsidize the foundation’s annual operating costs. Last year, the foundation and two subsidiaries had revenues of more than $214 million.

Yet the foundation’s expansion has also been accompanied by financial problems. In 2007 and 2008, the foundation also found itself competing against Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign for donors amid a recession. Millions of dollars in contributions intended to seed an endowment were diverted to other programs, creating tension between Mr. Magaziner and Mr. Band. The foundation piled up a $40 million deficit during those two years, according to tax returns. Last year, it ran more than $8 million in the red.

Amid those shortfalls, the foundation has sometimes catered to donors and celebrities who gave money in ways that raised eyebrows in the low-key nonprofit world. In 2009, during a Clinton Global Initiative gathering at the University of Texas at Austin, the foundation purchased a first-class ticket for the actress Natalie Portman, a special guest, who brought her beloved Yorkie, according to two former foundation employees.

In interviews, foundation officials partly blamed the 2008 recession and difficulties in getting donors to provide operating support rather than restricted grants for specific programs for the deficits.

But others criticized Mr. Magaziner, who is widely seen within the foundation as impulsive and lacking organizational skills. On one occasion, Mr. Magaziner dispatched a team of employees to fly around the world for months gathering ideas for a climate change proposal that never got off the ground. Another time, he ignored a report — which was commissioned at significant expense from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company — on how the foundation could get involved in forestry initiatives.

Mr. Magaziner’s management style and difficulty keeping projects within budget were also raised in discussions that surrounded the 2011 Simpson Thacher review. (One person who attended a meeting with Mr. Magaziner recalled his lying on a conference room table in the middle of the meeting because of terrible back spasms, snapping at a staff member.)

Mr. Band repeatedly urged Mr. Clinton to fire Mr. Magaziner, according to people briefed on the matter. Mr. Clinton refused, confiding in aides that despite Mr. Magaziner’s managerial weaknesses, he was a visionary with good intentions. The former president, according to one person who knows them both, “thinks Ira is brilliant — and brilliant people get away with a lot in Clinton world.”

Indeed, by then, Mr. Magaziner had persuaded Mr. Clinton and the foundation to spin the health initiative off into a separate organization, with Mr. Magaziner as its chief executive and the Clinton Foundation appointing a majority of its board members. The financial problems continued. In 2010 and 2011, the first two years when the health initiative operated as a stand-alone organization, it ran annual shortfalls of more than $4 million. A new chief financial officer, hired in 2010, left eight months later.

A foundation official said the health initiative had only three chief financial officers in 10 years and that its financial problem was a common one in the nonprofit world: For all the grant money coming in — more than $160 million in 2011 — Mr. Magaziner had also had difficulty raising money for operating costs. But by the end of 2011, the health initiative had expanded its board, adding two seats. Chelsea Clinton took one.

Growing Ventures

As the foundation grew, so did the outside business ventures pursued by Mr. Clinton and several of his aides.

None have drawn more scrutiny in Clinton circles than Teneo, a firm co-founded in 2009 by Mr. Band, described by some as a kind of surrogate son to Mr. Clinton. Aspiring to merge corporate consulting, public relations and merchant banking in a single business, Mr. Band poached executives from Wall Street, recruited other Clinton aides to join as employees or advisers and set up shop in a Midtown office formerly belonging to one of the country’s top hedge funds.

By 2011, the firm had added a third partner, Declan Kelly, a former State Department envoy for Mrs. Clinton. And Mr. Clinton had signed up as a paid adviser to the firm.

Teneo worked on retainer, charging monthly fees as high as $250,000, according to current and former clients. The firm recruited clients who were also Clinton Foundation donors, while Mr. Band and Mr. Kelly encouraged others to become new foundation donors. Its marketing materials highlighted Mr. Band’s relationship with Mr. Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, where Mr. Band sat on the board of directors through 2011 and remains an adviser. Some Clinton aides and foundation employees began to wonder where the foundation ended and Teneo began.

Those worries intensified after the collapse of MF Global, the international brokerage firm led by Jon S. Corzine, a former governor of New Jersey, in the fall of 2011. The firm had been among Teneo’s earliest clients, and its collapse over bad European investments — while paying $125,000 a month for the firm’s public relations and financial advice — drew Teneo and the Clintons unwanted publicity.

Mr. Clinton ended his advisory role with Teneo in March 2012, after an article appeared in The New York Post suggesting that Mrs. Clinton was angry over the MF Global controversy. A spokesman for Mr. Clinton denied the report. But in a statement released afterward, Mr. Clinton announced that he would no longer be paid by Teneo.

He also praised Mr. Band effusively, crediting him with keeping the foundation afloat and expressing hopes that Mr. Band would continue to advise the Global Initiative.

“I couldn’t have accomplished half of what I have in my post-presidency without Doug Band,” Mr. Clinton said in the statement.

Even that news release was a source of controversy within the foundation, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions. Mr. Band helped edit the statement, which other people around the Clintons felt gave him too much credit for the foundation’s accomplishments. (The quotation now appears as part of Mr. Band’s biography on the Teneo Web site.)

Mr. Band left his paid position with the foundation in late 2010, but has remained involved with C.G.I., as have a number of Teneo clients, like Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical and UBS Americas. Standard Chartered, a British financial services company that paid a $340 million fine to New York regulators last year to settle charges that it had laundered money from Iran, is a Teneo client and a sponsor of the 2012 global initiative.

Last year, Coca-Cola’s chief executive, Muhtar Kent, won a coveted spot on the dais with Mr. Clinton, discussing the company’s partnership with another nonprofit to use its distributors to deliver medical goods to patients in Africa. (A Coca-Cola spokesman said that the company’s sponsorship of foundation initiatives long predated Teneo and that the firm plays no role in Coca-Cola’s foundation work.)

In March 2012, David Crane, the chief executive of NRG, an energy company, led a widely publicized trip with Mr. Clinton to Haiti, where they toured green energy and solar power projects that NRG finances through a $1 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative.

Officials said the foundation has established clear guidelines for the Clinton Global Initiative to help prevent any favoritism or special treatment of particular donors or sponsors.

Teneo was not the only worry: other events thrust the foundation into internal turmoil. In 2011, a wave of midlevel program staff members departed, reflecting the frustration of much of the foundation’s policy personnel with the old political hands running the organization. Around the time of the Simpson Thacher review, Mr. Lindsey suffered a stroke, underscoring concerns about the foundation’s line of succession. John D. Podesta, a chief of staff in Mr. Clinton’s White House, stepped in for several months as temporary chief executive.

While much attention has focused on Mrs. Clinton’s emerging role within the foundation, advisers to the family say her daughter’s growing involvement could prove more critical in the years ahead. After years of pursuing other career paths, including working at McKinsey & Company and a hedge fund, Ms. Clinton, 33, has begun to assert herself as a force within the foundation. Her perspective is shaped far more than her parents’ by her time in the world of business, and she is poised to play a significant role in shaping the foundation’s future, particularly if Mrs. Clinton chooses to run for president.

She formally joined the foundation’s board in 2011, marking her growing role there — and the start of intensifying tensions between her and Mr. Band. Several people close to the Clintons said that she became increasingly concerned with the negative impact Mr. Band’s outside business might have on her father’s work and that she cited concerns raised during the internal review about potential conflicts of interest involving Teneo.

It was Ms. Clinton who suggested that the newly installed chief executive, Eric Braverman, be considered for the job during a nearly two-year search. A friend and a former colleague from McKinsey, Mr. Braverman, 38, had helped the Clintons with philanthropic projects in Haiti after the earthquake there. And his hiring coincided with Ms. Clinton’s appointment as the vice chairwoman of the foundation board, where she will bear significant responsibility for steering her family’s philanthropy, both in the causes it tackles and in the potential political and financial conflicts it must avoid.

Ms. Clinton has also grown worried that the foundation she stood to inherit would collapse without her father, who turns 67 next week. Mr. Clinton, who had quadruple-bypass surgery in 2004 and no longer eats meat or dairy products, talks frequently about his own mortality.

Mr. Catsimatidis said Ms. Clinton “has to learn how to deal with the whole world because she wants to follow in the footsteps of her father and her mother.”

Shifting the Emphasis

Over the years, the foundation has dived into virtually any cause that sparked Mr. Clinton’s interest: childhood obesity in the United States, sustainable farming in South America, mentoring entrepreneurs, saving elephants from poaching, and more. That list will shift soon as Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea build their staffs to focus on issues including economically empowering women and combating infant mortality.

In the coming months, as Mrs. Clinton mulls a 2016 presidential bid, the foundation could also serve as a base for her to home in on issues and to build up a stable of trusted staff members who could form the core of a political campaign.

Mrs. Clinton’s staff at the foundation’s headquarters includes Maura Pally, a veteran aide who advised her 2008 presidential campaign and worked at the State Department, and Madhuri Kommareddi, a former policy aide to President Obama.

Dennis Cheng, Mrs. Clinton’s deputy chief of protocol at the State Department and a finance director of her presidential campaign, will oversee the endowment drive, which some of the Clintons’ donors already describe as a dry run for 2016.

And Mrs. Clinton’s personal staff of roughly seven people — including Huma Abedin, wife of the New York mayoral candidate Anthony D. Weiner — will soon relocate from a cramped Washington office to the foundation’s headquarters. They will work on organizing Mrs. Clinton’s packed schedule of paid speeches to trade groups and awards ceremonies and assist in the research and writing of Mrs. Clinton’s memoir about her time at the State Department, to be published by Simon & Schuster next summer.

Lydia Polgreen contributed reporting, and Kitty Bennett contributed research.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2394258/Will-claims-foundations-financial-problems-hurt-Hillarys-presidential-hopes.html

Many chronically ill Americans unable to afford food, medicine

– It’s also important for people to be honest with their doctor if they are unable to afford enough food, since that may affect which medications and dosages are best

– “The idea of tradeoffs that people might make (between buying medications or food) is something we haven’t seen before,”

 

By Allison Bond

NEW YORK          Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:02am EST

A medicine icon.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – One in three Americans with a chronic disease such as diabetes, arthritis or high blood pressure has difficulty paying for food, medications or both, according to a new study.

People who had trouble affording food were four times more likely to skip some of their medications due to cost than those who got plenty to eat, researchers found.

“This leads to an obvious tension between ‘milk’ or ‘med,'” said Dr. Niteesh Choudhry, who worked on the study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “If you have a fixed income, should you treat or should you eat?” Continue reading “Many chronically ill Americans unable to afford food, medicine”

Brief fever common in kids given influenza, pneumococcal vaccines together

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
6-Jan-2014

– Parents should be made aware that their child might develop a fever following simultaneous influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations

– children who received simultaneous influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, about a third (37.6 percent) had a fever of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher on the day of or day after vaccination, compared with children who received only the pneumococcal (9.5 percent) or only the influenza (7.5 percent) vaccine.

Findings suggest utility of text messaging to monitor safety

NEW YORK, NY (Jan. 6, 2014) – Giving young children the influenza and pneumococcal vaccines together appears to increase their risk of fever, according to a study led by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, the fever was brief, and medical care was sought for few children, supporting the routine immunization schedule for these vaccines, including the recommendation to administer them simultaneously. The study, which looked at children 6-23 months old, was published online on Jan. 6, 2014, in JAMA Pediatrics. Continue reading “Brief fever common in kids given influenza, pneumococcal vaccines together”

Michael Bloomberg ‘spent $650 million of own money’ as New York mayor

– ” The mayor’s free-spending ways are also being felt in London, where he has been cultivating political leaders and the cultural elite and is expected to spend much of his post-mayoral time “

Outgoing mayor spent vast amounts of personal cash on New York City during 12 years in office, research by New York Times finds

Critics of the mayor noted that for his final address, he chose to address a Wall Street audience – the so-called

Critics of the mayor noted that for his final address, he chose to address a Wall Street audience – the so-called “1 per cent” Photo: AP Continue reading “Michael Bloomberg ‘spent $650 million of own money’ as New York mayor”

New study shows that more than half of consumers will choose a health-care plan that costs too much

– more than 80% of consumers may be unable to make a clear–eyed estimate of their needs and will unknowingly choose a higher cost plan than needed.

New research from Columbia Business School warns that consumers will make mistakes totaling $9 billion; offers prescriptions to help improve consumer experience using new state health-care exchanges Continue reading “New study shows that more than half of consumers will choose a health-care plan that costs too much”

Half of psychiatrists reject private and federal insurance, preferring cash

Contact: Jen Gundersen jeg2034@med.cornell.edu 646-317-7402 Weill Cornell Medical College

Researchers warn that just when the need for mental health services is recognized on a national level, access to help is declining at an alarming rate Continue reading “Half of psychiatrists reject private and federal insurance, preferring cash”

NY Schools Plan Called Threat to Privacy / Giving student data to a private company for storage

 

By MARLENE KENNEDY

ShareThis

ALBANY, N.Y. (CN) – New York’s plan to turn over massive amounts of student data to a private company for online storage violates privacy laws and could expose the information to hacking, a dozen parents and guardians claim in court.

The plaintiffs, who have 19 children in public and charter schools in New York City, say they want to halt “the unnecessary and unprecedented mass disclosure of the records and personal information of millions of New York state school children.”

Lead plaintiff Mona Davids claims in Albany County Supreme Court that New York privacy law requires written consent before a government agency can disclose personal information, and that the plaintiffs did not authorize the release of data on their minor children and wards.

Continue reading “NY Schools Plan Called Threat to Privacy / Giving student data to a private company for storage”

De Blasio ‘Needs To Explain Himself’ Over Cuba Honeymoon, Sandinista Support / Which he is proud of

The story of a Cambridge-raised  Sandinista supporter who married a  former lesbian and rose through the political ranks to become mayor of America’s  largest city

  • Bill De Blasio is a political insider who  worked on campaigns of Bill and Hillary Clinton
  • Grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and  is a lifelong Red Sox fan
  • Traveled to Nicaragua as a student in the  1980s and became supporter of the socialist government
  • Married Chirlane McCray in 1994 after  meeting at City Hall
  • McCray wrote a seminal 1979 magazine  article declaring that she was a black lesbian

By  Michael Zennie

PUBLISHED: 14:44 EST, 6  November 2013 |  UPDATED: 19:05 EST, 6 November 2013

Bill De Blasio, the first Democrat elected  mayor of New York City in a generation, is a Massachusetts-raised former  supporter of the communist Sandinistas who married a lesbian poet.

And he’s a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan.

De Blasio’s path to becoming the leader of  America’s largest city was unorthodox – especially compared with his Democratic  predecessors.

He rose up the ranks of Democratic politics.  He worked as a junior aide to the last Democratic mayor, David Dinkins. He  served in the Clinton Administration and ran Hillary Clinton’s 2000 bid for the  U.S. Senate. He served three years as a Democrat on the City Council.

But he is not necessarily a product of the  party political machine like previous Democratic mayors – in part because that  machinery no longer exists in the way it once did.

Partners: Bill De Blasio's marriage to Cirlane McCray, a former lesbian, was a major development in De Blasio's ride to power. The couple are seen today after their landslide victory 

Partners: Bill De Blasio’s marriage to Cirlane McCray, a  former lesbian, was a major development in De Blasio’s ride to power. The couple  are seen today after their landslide victory

Landslide: Bill De Blasio cruised to victory on Tuesday night - becoming the first Democratic mayor in a generationLandslide: Bill De Blasio cruised to victory on Tuesday  night – becoming the first Democratic mayor in a generation

Rising star: De Blasio worked in the Clinton Administration and managed the 2000 senate campaign of Hillary ClintonRising star: De Blasio worked in the Clinton  Administration and managed the 2000 senate campaign of Hillary Clinton

Childhood in Cambridge,  Massachusetts

De Blasio was born Warren Wilhelm, Jr. in  Manhattan in to an  Italian-American mother and a German American father. For  reasons  unknown, he has always gone by Bill.

Both were highly-educated – Warren Wilhelm  Sr. had degrees from both  Harvard and Yale and Maria De Blasio went to Smith  College.

Before De Blasio was born, both his  parents  had worked for the federal government, but had to flee  Washington after being  accused of being communists.

When De Blasio was a few years old, the  family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of Harvard University.

He lived outside Boston until attending  college at New York University.  One result of his Massachusetts upbringing:  He’s as fan of the Boston  Red Sox – the arch-rivals of New York’s hometown  baseball team, the  Yankees.

But life in the Wilhelm house was not happy.  His father was a war hero who lost a leg to a Japanese grenade  while serving in  the Pacific during the Second World War.

When De Blasio was seven, his father suddenly  left the family. Warren Sr.  was battling alcoholism, which De Blasio believes  was a result of the  horrors he saw in war.

In 1979, when De Blasio was still a teenager,  Warren Sr. committed suicide.

After his father’s death, he changed his last  name from Wilhelm to his mother’s maiden name: De Blasio.

He told New York magazine: ‘She was often  very, very sad about thing that  had happened to her, but she had a fierce  resilience – a very sharp and  purposeful resilience. She was very  practical.’

‘IF YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND ME, UNDERSTAND CHIRLANE’: NEW  FIRST LADY IS POET, FORMER LESBIAN AND A SAVVY POLITICAL OPERATIVE

Chirlane McCrayNew York City has been without a First Lady  for nearly all of the 21st Century, so New Yorkers have welcomed  the presence  of Bill De Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray on the campaign  trail.

But, De Blasio himself has promised that  McCray will be unlike any First Lady the city has ever seen.

‘All I can say is buckle your seat belt. Get  ready for Chirlane McCray,’ he told a crowd last month, according to the New York Daily News.

McCray will, indeed, be different the the  other spouses who have lived in Gracie Mansion.

For starters, she’s a black former lesbian.

When her family moved to Longmeadow,  Massacushuetts, where she grew up, they were the second black family in the area  and neighbors started a  petition to get them to move out.

She attended in Wellesley College and moved  to New York to work in publishing.

In 1979, she write a story in Essence  magazine titled ‘I am a Lesbian.’  The piece is still celebrated by gay and  lesbian leaders for working to  dispel the myth that there were not homosexuals  in the black community.

'If you want to understand me, understand Chirlane,' De Blasio saysShe was an aide to Mayor David Dinkins in  1991, when she met De Blasio, who was a deputy mayor’s aide.

‘The way Bill describes it, I walked in with  my African dress and my nose ring, and he heard choirs singing,’ McCray told New Yorker.

‘I did not have that  experience.’

Eventually she showed him the Essen article  she wrote. De Blasio wasn’t deterred. He persisted in courting her and McCray  said she fell in love. They married two years later in 1994.

Daughter Chiara was born six months  later.

De Blasio has promised that his wife would  take an active role.

She was an ever-present face on the campaign  trail – along with the couple two children, 18-year-old Chiara and 16-year-old  Dante.

The Daily News reports that she also helped  vet staffers. She is expected the play a large role in his  administration.

‘If you want to understand me, understand  Chirlane,’ he told the newspaper.

Greetings from Italy

Maria De Blasio was from Southern Italy and  De Blasio still speaks Italian – he even uttered a few words of Italian during  his victory speech Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, in Sant’Agata de’ Goti, Italy, his  maternal grandfather’s hometown, villagers gathered to celebrate De Blasio’s  victory. The mayor of the town of 11,000 said he hopes that one day the Mayor of  New York will visit the small hamlet outside Naples.

International appeal: The mayor of Sant'Agata de' Goti in Italy, De Blasio's grandfather's hometown, celebrated the victory from EuropeInternational appeal: The mayor of Sant’Agata de’ Goti  in Italy, De Blasio’s grandfather’s hometown, celebrated the victory from  Europe

Italians in De Blasio's ancestral hometown gathered to celebrate the victory of the half-Italian-AmericanItalians in De Blasio’s ancestral hometown gathered to  celebrate the victory of the half-Italian-American

Supporting a brutal socialist  regime

When De Blasio was in the college in the  1980s, he made a trip to Nicaragua. The Central American nation was in the midst  of a bloody civil war between the Soviet-backed socialist Sandinista government  and the U.S.-backed rightist Contras.

De Blasio initially said he visited the  capital of Managua on a relief mission to hand out supplies to war refugees.

However, once there, he grew to admire the  socialist regime, which President Ronald Reagan was attempting to help  overthrow.

On his return, he joined the Nicaragua  Solidarity Movement of Greater New York, which had a goal to ‘end capitalism,  replace with democratic socialism.’

Towering: At 6-foot-5, De Blasio is likely the tallest man ever elected to be mayor. He is taller even than Abraham Lincoln, who was just 6-foot-4Towering: At 6-foot-5, De Blasio is likely the tallest  man ever elected to be mayor. He is taller even than Abraham Lincoln, who was  just 6-foot-4

De Blasio and McCray married in 1994. It has been reported that they honeymooned in communist CubaDe Blasio and McCray married in 1994. It has been  reported that they honeymooned in communist Cuba

His support for the Sandinistas, who were  accused of slaughtering hundreds of innocent civilians and ‘disappearing’  political opponents, became an issue on the campaign trail.

Republican Joe Lohda told WCBS-TV: ‘Mr De Blasio’s involvement with the  Sandinistas didn’t happen in 1917; it happened 70 years later when the cruelty  and intrinsic failure of communism had become crystal clear to anyone with a  modicum of reason.

Mr De Blasio’s class warfare strategy in New  York City is directly out of the Marxist playbook. Now we know why.’

But De Blasio didn’t shy away from his past  political views, saying he was ‘very proud’ of his activism on Nicaragua.

‘I think at that time, United States policy  towards Central America was wrong,’ he said in September.

‘I think most Americans came to believe it  was wrong. I was proud to be an activist working against it.’

It was also revealed that in 1994, he and his  wife Chirlane McCray honeymooned in communist Cuba – at a time when it was  illegal for Americans to travel there. It was a fact that De Blasio and McCray  didn’t even tell their two teenage children.

A political fixer goes  public

De Blasio has been interested in politics his  whole life. In high school, he was nicked named ‘Senator Provolone,’ a nod to  both his Italian heritage and his love of student government.

He attended New York University, where he led  student protests to keep the library open longer and oppose tuition hikes. He  went on to earn a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia  University.

In 1989, he joined the campaign for Mayor  David Dinkins as a volunteer. His hard work was rewarded with a posting as an  aide to a deputy mayor in the Dinkins administration.

It was there that he met his wife, who is six  years older and was a speechwriter for Dinkins at the time.

After working on the re-election campaign for  President Bill Clinton, he was appointed as a regional director for federal  Department of Housing and Urban Development. In that director, he was the  highest-ranking HUD official in the New York and New Jersey area.

In 2000, the Clintons tapped him to run  Hillary’s U.S. Senate campaign.

The next year, De Blasio stepped out of the  shadows for the first time and ran for public office himself. He won a crowded  primary for the 39th district in Brooklyn with 32percent of the  vote.

After serving three terms – including one in  which he was the leader of the Brooklyn coalition, he won city-wide office as  Public Advocate.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2488607/The-story-Cambridge-raised-Sandinista-supporter-married-lesbian-rose-political-ranks-mayor-Americas-largest-city.html#ixzz2jv5NVjDa Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Support rallies for soldier who faces disciplinary hearing for sending classified information from his personal email which could have saved three lives

By  Ashley Collman

PUBLISHED: 23:32 EST, 26  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 23:34 EST, 26 October 2013

A well-intentioned honest mistake could cost  Major Jason Brezler his position as a Marine reservist.

Maj Brezler found himself in hot water last  summer when he responded to an email from  troops in Helmand Province,  Afghanistan who were inquiring about a local police chief named Sarwar Jan.

Jan was being given access to the base in  Delhi as part of the U.S. military’s exit strategy from the country.

Maj Jason Brezler, pictured in the middle on the right, will face a Marine hearing as early as next month for accidentally emailing classified information via his personal email accountMaj Jason Brezler, pictured in the middle on the right,  will face a Marine hearing as early as next month for accidentally emailing  classified information via his personal email account

 

Maj Brezler had prior knowledge of Jan, and  immediately replied to warn his fellow marines about the dangerous police chief  with ties to the Taliban. He also  reported that Jan was a noted child abuser and there were allegations he  sexually abused minors on U.S. bases in the past.

Immediately after sending the email, Maj  Brezler realized he had made a mistake and shouldn’t have sent the message from  his personal Yahoo email account. He  reported himself to the Marines and is now facing judgement. He could face a  Board of Inquiry hearing as early as next month where he will need to argue his  case for remaining a Marine.

But punishment for the email is causing an  uproar among politicians and high-ranking military leaders since his email was a  harbinger for a deadly attack carried out at the forward operating base in Delhi  by one of Jan’s boy assistants.

The assistant, who is believed to be one of  Jan’s sexual-abuse victims, opened fire in a base gym on August 10, 2012 and  killed three American soldiers: Staff Sergeant Scott Dickinson, Corporal Richard  Rivera and Lance Corporal George Buckley, Jr.

Warning: Shortly after sending a warning email to soldiers in Helmand Province about Sarwar Jar, one of Sanwar Jar's assistants shot and killed three soldiers on the base. Above, the body of victim Staff Sgt Scott Dickinson is brought back to the U.S. 

Warning: Shortly after sending a warning email to  soldiers in Helmand Province about Sarwar Jar, one of Sanwar Jar’s assistants  shot and killed three soldiers on the base. Above, the body of victim Staff Sgt  Scott Dickinson is brought back to the U.S.

 

Maj Brezler lives in New York and in addition  to being a Marine reservist, is a New York City fireman.

Kevin Carroll, Maj Brezler’s lawyer who is  working pro bono, said it was ‘inconceivable that a combat Marine and New York  City fireman, such as Jason Brezler, would have lied or stayed silent when  marines in Afghanistan sought his advice on an emergency force protection  issue.’

New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand and  Representative Peter King have both written letters backing their fellow New  Yorker. Rep King called it ‘unfair’ that  Maj Brezler would be punished for his ‘good-faith effort to warn his fellow  Marines.

‘The Marines and the (New York City) Fire  Department need more good men such as Maj Brezler, not less,’ Rep King  wrote.

Other military leaders have come to Maj  Brezler’s defense, describing him as a model Marine.

Bing West, the former assistant secretary of  defense for international security affairs and who has written several  non-fiction books about the military, said Major Brezler ‘has brass balls. We’d  like to believe that’s the definition of a marine, but I’ve seen Brezler in  action.’

He also described the time he saw Brezler  ‘brace a punk police chief and drag away a young teen who was being used as a  sex slave’. U.S. military in the area were able to convince the provincial  governor to depose that police chief.

Doing the right thing: Several politicians and high-ranking military officials have written to defend Maj Brezler's actions. Above, another picture of the casks of the three Marine victims from the shooting at FOB Delhi being brought back to the U.S. 

Doing the right thing: Several politicians and  high-ranking military officials have written to defend Maj Brezler’s actions.  Above, another picture of the casks of the three Marine victims from the  shooting at FOB Delhi being brought back to the U.S.

 

Maj Gen Larry Nicholson, the commanding  general of the 1st Marine Division and Brig Gen Richard Simcock have also spoke  up for Maj Brezler.

‘Jason is a selfless, fearless and dedicated  Marine officer. He accomplished much, for so many, with little regard for  himself. I urge board members to take into consideration these aspects of his  character and prior service in deliberations,’ Maj Gen Nicholson wrote.

Brig Gen Simcock called Maj Brezler a  ‘principled man of integrity who is not swayed by peer pressure or personal  gain’.

The Marine Corps Times also published an  editorial in favor of leniency for Maj Brezler.

‘Brezler’s treatment sends the message that  in the Marine Corps there’s no room for honest mistakes. That’s a dangerous  precedent to set in any line of work, but most assuredly in the military where  even four-star generals will acknowledged that an understanding commander showed  them some leniency along the way.’

A spokesman for the Marine Corps Forces  Reserve declined to comment on Maj Brezler’s impending hearing.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477762/Support-rallies-soldier-faces-disciplinary-hearing-sending-classified-information-personal-email-saved-lives.html#ixzz2itYe6PnV Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

5-fold increase in ADHD medication use in children and adolescents

Contact: Vicki Cohn vcohn@liebertpub.com 914-740-2100 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

 

New Rochelle, NY, September 10, 2013—Use of stimulant medications to treat Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents has increased significantly over the past several years. This trend toward increased use of prescription stimulants extends beyond ADHD to other types of neuropsychiatric disorders in children and teens as well, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), according to a study published in Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (JCAP), a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishersThe article is available on the JCAP website.

Søren Dalsgaard, MD, PhD, Helena Skyt Nielsen, PhD, and Marianne Simonsen, PhD, Aarhus University (Denmark), Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research (Denmark), and Hospital of Telemark (Norway), conducted a study of more than 850,000 children born in Denmark between 1990 and 2001. They found that 61% of children with ADHD, 16% of children with ASD, and 3% of those with other psychiatric disorders were treated with one or more medications typically prescribed for ADHD—methylphenidate, dexamphetamine, and atomoxetine. The data indicated significant increases in the prescription rates of these medications during the years 2003 to 2010.

“This study utilizes a population-based national cohort of children and adolescents, and assesses stimulant treatment in children and adolescents with ASD,” says Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, Editor-in-Chief of JCAP, and President, Child Mind Institute, New York, NY. “This is the largest and first prospective study to quantify the change in the use of treatment with ADHD medications over time.”

###

About the Journal

Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (JCAP) is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published 10 times a year online with Open Access options and in print. The Journal is dedicated to child and adolescent psychiatry and behavioral pediatrics, covering clinical and biological aspects of child and adolescent psychopharmacology and developmental neurobiology. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the JCAP website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking and Games for Health Journal. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s over 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

Top one percent took record 19.3percent of US income last year – the LARGEST share of pre-tax income since 1927

  • Last year the top 1 per cent of earners  in the U.S. accounted for 19.3 per cent of pre-tax income
  • That’s the largest per cent since  1927
  • The economic disparity between the 1 per  cent and everyone else in the U.S. has escalated drastically in the past three  decades
  • The Occupy Wall Street movement, which  started two years ago this month, created the slogan ‘We are the 99 per cent’  highlighting this economic disparity

By  Associated Press and Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 12:21 EST, 10  September 2013 |  UPDATED: 16:38 EST, 10 September 2013

Almost two years to the day that the Occupy  Wall Street movement started, a report confirms that the rich are getting even  richer.

The top 1 per cent of earners collected 19.3  per cent of household income in 2012, their largest share in Internal Revenue  Service figures going back a century.

U.S. income inequality has been growing for  almost three decades.

Record breaking: The top 1 per cent of earners took home a record 19.3 per cent of pre-tax income - the largest share since 1927 

Record breaking: The top 1 per cent of earners took home  a record 19.3 per cent of pre-tax income – the largest share since  1927

 

 

Escalating wealth: For the past three decades the only growing economic disparity has been between the top 1 per cent of earners in America, and everybody else 

Escalating wealth: For the past three decades the only  growing economic disparity has been between the top 1 per cent of earners in  America, and everybody else

 

But until last year, the top 1 per cent’s  share of pre-tax income hadn’t surpassed the 18.7 per cent it reached in 1927,  according to an analysis of IRS figures dating to 1913 by economist Emmanuel  Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and three colleagues.

Saez wrote that 2012 incomes of the richest  Americans might have surged in part because they cashed in stock holdings to  avoid higher capital gains taxes that took effect in January.

The nation’s top 1 per cent have been the  targets of resentment in recent years which was manifested in the Occupy Wall  Street movement that started in September 2011.

The movement started in New York’s Zuccotti  Park, and thousands camped out and marched for months calling for wide-reaching  change in the capitalist system.

The adopted chant was ‘We are the 99 per  cent’ and the movement spread to cities throughout the U.S.

Richer: Microsoft founder Bill Gates is definitely a member of the 1 per cent in the U.S. This past May he regained the title of 'World's Richest Man' 

Richer: Microsoft founder Bill Gates is definitely a  member of the 1 per cent in the U.S. This past May he regained the title of  ‘World’s Richest Man’

 

A report by the Congressional Budget Office  found that the income inequality in the U.S. had not risen dramatically over the  past 20 years, except when it came to the top 1 per cent.

Their earnings went up astronomically while  all the other percentiles remained relatively the same.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has largely  fizzled out now, since the group was kicked out of Zuccotti Park. But they  continue to hold marches.

Last September, they marked the one-year  anniversary of the movement by returning to Zuccotti Park and 185 people were  arrested across the city that day

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2416853/Top-1percent-took-record-19-3percent-US-income-year–LARGEST-share-pre-tax-income-1927.html#ixzz2eYDdi4BI Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Mystery of flag from iconic 9/11 photo that went missing the night after the attacks and has never been seen again

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 20:10 EST, 1  September 2013 |  UPDATED: 21:57 EST, 1 September 2013

The flag that three weary New York City  firefighters hoisted above the wreckage of the World Trade Center on September  11, 2001 became an instant icon when a photo capturing the moment was published  around the world and turned it into a symbol of the nation’s resilience after  the shocking attacks.

A new documentary reveals that flag  disappeared the night of September 11 and has never been seen again.

For 12 years, it was thought that the flag  was removed from its makeshift flag pole at Ground Zero and appeared at a New  York Yankees game before being flown atop the aircraft carrier USS Theodore  Roosevelt as it launched airstrikes on the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Missing: The so-called 'Ground Zero Flag' has not been seen since the night of September 11, 2001 

Missing: The so-called ‘Ground Zero Flag’ has not been  seen since the night of September 11, 2001

 

Icon: The picture of New York City firefighters George Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Billy Eisengrein, raising the American flag over Ground Zero has been seared into the national memory 

Icon: The picture of New York City firefighters George  Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Billy Eisengrein, raising the American flag over  Ground Zero has been seared into the national memory

 

However, ‘The Flag,’ a CNN documentary set to  air at 9pm on Wednesday, claims that the real Stars and Stripes from that  memorable 9/11 photo has vanished – and has never been seen again in public  since that tragic day.

Filmmakers Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein  believe a first responder took down the flag and has been keeping it as a  souvenir.

The 3-foot-by-5-foot flag, along with the  mast, was taken from a boat docked near the World Trade Center by firefighters  George Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Billy Eisengrein on that tragic morning.

When the original owners of the flag, Shirley  Dreifus and Spiros Kopelakis, asked for it be temporarily returned, the flag  they were sent – the one that had been publicly autographed by Mayor Rudy  Giuliani and Governor George Pataki at the Yankees game – turned out not to be  their flag. It was much bigger.

‘That’s not the flag that they raised on  9/11.  The flag that went to Yankee Stadium, or was on the ship, could not  have been the flag that was in the photograph,’ Ms Dreifus tells the filmmakers.

 

Fake? It has long been thought that the Ground Zero Flag was taken to the USS Theodore Roosevelt and flown on the aircraft carrier as it commanded missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan 

Fake? It has long been thought that the Ground Zero Flag  was taken to the USS Theodore Roosevelt and flown on the aircraft carrier as it  commanded missions against the Taliban in Afghanistan

 

The couple sent the ‘fake’ flag back to City  Hall, where that one has apparently been lost, as well.

Bergen County Record photographer Thomas  Franklin took the iconic photos of the three FDNY firefighters raising the Stars  and Bars above Ground Zero that afternoon.

Mr Eisengrein, the man pictured on the right  in photo, said he and the other firefighters went straight back to work after  hoisting the flag – there were still people trapped in the rubble.

‘It was literally over in just a few minutes.  We found a spot and raised the flag. The three of us looked at each other, we  looked at the flag, and that was that,’ he told the filmmakers.

‘We just felt that we had other things that  needed to be accomplished right then.’

Video obtained by the CNN camera crew from  the night of September 11 shows that the flagpole was bare even then – meaning  the famous Stars and Stripes flew just a few hours before it was taken down and  spirited away.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2408628/9-11-flag-CNN-documentary-reveals-flag-famous-photograph-missing-12-years.html#ixzz2diYbDD6i Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Quinn campaign tells students: skip school to work for us

  • By SALLY GOLDENBERG
  • Last Updated:  4:18 AM, August 30, 2013
  • Posted: 1:03 AM, August 30, 2013
        

EXCLUSIVE

Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign is encouraging her interns to skip the first days of school so they’ll be available for the critical get-out-the-vote drive before the Democratic primary, The Post has learned.

In an e-mail blast to all the campaign’s summer volunteers, Quinn staffer Ross Adair said he was “pretty sure” that teachers wouldn’t mind if their students miss class on primary day, Tuesday, Sept. 10, “or even Monday and Tuesday” — a reference to the day before the primary.

“Thinking about election day: ALL INTERNS WHO PARTICIPATE IN ELECTION DAY WILL RECEIVE BOTH A LETTER EXCUSING THEM FROM CLASS IN ADDITION TO A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION FROM THE CAMPAIGN AND CHRIS,” Adair wrote, adding the capital letters for emphasis.

IT’S CHRIS-MAS! Christine Quinn stumps yesterday, while her campaign e-mailed (above) her young interns, urging them to cut the first two days of school for the mayoral primary.

R. Umar Abbasi
IT’S CHRIS-MAS! Christine Quinn stumps yesterday, while her campaign e-mailed (above) her young interns, urging them to cut the first two days of school for the mayoral primary.

He told the high school- and college-age workers that the rewards of working for Quinn would be paid back big-time when they move on to careers.

“If you want me to be real for a second, a letter coming from the next mayor of New York City saying that you helped her on election day is something you can definitely put on your resume or application, and I’m pretty sure your teacher will be ok with you missing Tuesday, or even Monday and Tuesday,” he wrote.

The e-mail was sent to all of Quinn’s past and present interns.

Campaign spokesman Mike Morey said the excused-absence offer was par for the course in all political campaigns.

“We have thousands of students who have been working hard all summer long to help elect Chris Quinn mayor of New York. If their professors are willing to give them an excused absence to work on a political campaign on Election Day, we will certainly provide a note to their teachers to prove they did work that day,” he said.

“We can’t think of anything better for a student to do on Election Day than get some hands-on experience in a major political campaign,” he added.

But the e-mail made no mention of the interns asking their instructors for permission in advance.

Additional reporting by Beth DeFalco and Yoav Gonen

 

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/quinn_kid_plan_weird_but_truant_Al9L6oaaqD2qUU04xxDf9L

8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance

EEV: RE-posted at Request

 

Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.

Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it. A 2010 Gallup poll asked Americans “Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?” Among 18- to 34-years-olds, 76 percent of them said no. Yet despite their lack of confidence in the availability of Social Security for them, few have demanded it be shored up by more fairly payroll-taxing the wealthy; most appear resigned to having more money deducted from their paychecks for Social Security, even though they don’t believe it will be around to benefit them.

How exactly has American society subdued young Americans?

1. Student-Loan Debt.

Large debt—and the fear it creates—is a pacifying force. There was no tuition at the City University of New York when I attended one of its colleges in the 1970s, a time when tuition at many U.S. public universities was so affordable that it was easy to get a B.A. and even a graduate degree without accruing any student-loan debt. While those days are gone in the United States, public universities continue to be free in the Arab world and are either free or with very low fees in many countries throughout the world. The millions of young Iranians who risked getting shot to protest their disputed 2009 presidential election, the millions of young Egyptians who risked their lives earlier this year to eliminate Mubarak, and the millions of young Americans who demonstrated against the Vietnam War all had in common the absence of pacifying huge student-loan debt.

Today in the United States, two-thirds of graduating seniors at four-year colleges have student-loan debt, including over 62 percent of public university graduates. While average undergraduate debt is close to $25,000, I increasingly talk to college graduates with closer to $100,000 in student-loan debt. During the time in one’s life when it should be easiest to resist authority because one does not yet have family responsibilities, many young people worry about the cost of bucking authority, losing their job, and being unable to pay an ever-increasing debt. In a vicious cycle, student debt has a subduing effect on activism, and political passivity makes it more likely that students will accept such debt as a natural part of life.

2. Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance. 

In 1955, Erich Fromm, the then widely respected anti-authoritarian leftist psychoanalyst, wrote, “Today the function of psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalysis threatens to become the tool in the manipulation of man.” Fromm died in 1980, the same year that an increasingly authoritarian America elected Ronald Reagan president, and an increasingly authoritarian American Psychiatric Association added to their diagnostic bible (then the DSM-III) disruptive mental disorders for children and teenagers such as the increasingly popular “oppositional defiant disorder” (ODD). The official symptoms of ODD include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules,” “often argues with adults,” and “often deliberately does things to annoy other people.”

Many of America’s greatest activists including Saul Alinsky (1909–1972), the legendary organizer and author of Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals, would today certainly be diagnosed with ODD and other disruptive disorders. Recalling his childhood, Alinsky said, “I never thought of walking on the grass until I saw a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass.’ Then I would stomp all over it.” Heavily tranquilizing antipsychotic drugs (e.g. Zyprexa and Risperdal) are now the highest grossing class of medication in the United States ($16 billion in 2010); a major reason for this, according to theJournal of the American Medical Association in 2010, is that many children receiving antipsychotic drugs have nonpsychotic diagnoses such as ODD or some other disruptive disorder (this especially true of Medicaid-covered pediatric patients).

3. Schools That Educate for Compliance and Not for Democracy.

Upon accepting the New York City Teacher of the Year Award on January 31, 1990, John Taylor Gatto upset many in attendance by stating: “The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions.” A generation ago, the problem of compulsory schooling as a vehicle for an authoritarian society was widely discussed, but as this problem has gotten worse, it is seldom discussed.

The nature of most classrooms, regardless of the subject matter, socializes students to be passive and directed by others, to follow orders, to take seriously the rewards and punishments of authorities, to pretend to care about things they don’t care about, and that they are impotent to affect their situation. A teacher can lecture about democracy, but schools are essentially undemocratic places, and so democracy is not what is instilled in students. Jonathan Kozol in The Night Is Dark and I Am Far from Home focused on how school breaks us from courageous actions. Kozol explains how our schools teach us a kind of “inert concern” in which “caring”—in and of itself and without risking the consequences of actual action—is considered “ethical.” School teaches us that we are “moral and mature” if we politely assert our concerns, but the essence of school—its demand for compliance—teaches us not to act in a friction-causing manner.

4. “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.”

The corporatocracy has figured out a way to make our already authoritarian schools even more authoritarian. Democrat-Republican bipartisanship has resulted in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, NAFTA, the PATRIOT Act, the War on Drugs, the Wall Street bailout, and educational policies such as “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.” These policies are essentially standardized-testing tyranny that creates fear, which is antithetical to education for a democratic society. Fear forces students and teachers to constantly focus on the demands of test creators; it crushes curiosity, critical thinking, questioning authority, and challenging and resisting illegitimate authority. In a more democratic and less authoritarian society, one would evaluate the effectiveness of a teacher not by corporatocracy-sanctioned standardized tests but by asking students, parents, and a community if a teacher is inspiring students to be more curious, to read more, to learn independently, to enjoy thinking critically, to question authorities, and to challenge illegitimate authorities.

5. Shaming Young People Who Take EducationBut Not Their SchoolingSeriously.

 In a 2006 survey in the United States, it was found that 40 percent of children between first and third grade read every day, but by fourth grade, that rate declined to 29 percent. Despite the anti-educational impact of standard schools, children and their parents are increasingly propagandized to believe that disliking school means disliking learning. That was not always the case in the United States. Mark Twain famously said, “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.” Toward the end of Twain’s life in 1900, only 6 percent of Americans graduated high school. Today, approximately 85 percent of Americans graduate high school, but this is good enough for Barack Obama who told us in 2009, “And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country.”

The more schooling Americans get, however, the more politically ignorant they are of America’s ongoing class war, and the more incapable they are of challenging the ruling class. In the 1880s and 1890s, American farmers with little or no schooling created a Populist movement that organized America’s largest-scale working people’s cooperative, formed a People’s Party that received 8 percent of the vote in 1892 presidential election, designed a “subtreasury” plan (that had it been implemented would have allowed easier credit for farmers and broke the power of large banks) and sent 40,000 lecturers across America to articulate it, and evidenced all kinds of sophisticated political ideas, strategies and tactics absent today from America’s well-schooled population. Today, Americans who lack college degrees are increasingly shamed as “losers”; however, Gore Vidal and George Carlin, two of America’s most astute and articulate critics of the corporatocracy, never went to college, and Carlin dropped out of school in the ninth grade.

6. The Normalization of Surveillance.

The fear of being surveilled makes a population easier to control. While the National Security Agency (NSA) has received publicity for monitoring American citizen’s email and phone conversations, and while employer surveillance has become increasingly common in the United States, young Americans have become increasingly acquiescent to corporatocracy surveillance because, beginning at a young age, surveillance is routine in their lives. Parents routinely check Web sites for their kid’s latest test grades and completed assignments, and just like employers, are monitoring their children’s computers and Facebook pages. Some parents use the GPS in their children’s cell phones to track their whereabouts, and other parents have video cameras in their homes. Increasingly, I talk with young people who lack the confidence that they can even pull off a party when their parents are out of town, and so how much confidence are they going to have about pulling off a democratic movement below the radar of authorities?

7. Television.

 

In 2009, the Nielsen Company reported that TV viewing in the United States is at an all-time high if one includes the following “three screens”: a television set, a laptop/personal computer, and a cell phone. American children average eight hours a day on TV, video games, movies, the Internet, cell phones, iPods, and other technologies (not including school-related use). Many progressives are concerned about the concentrated control of content by the corporate media, but the mere act of watching TV—regardless of the programming—is the primary pacifying agent (private-enterprise prisons have recognized that providing inmates with cable television can be a more economical method to keep them quiet and subdued than it would be to hire more guards).

Television is a dream come true for an authoritarian society: those with the most money own most of what people see; fear-based television programming makes people more afraid and distrustful of one another, which is good for the ruling elite who depend on a “divide and conquer” strategy; TV isolates people so they are not joining together to create resistance to authorities; and regardless of the programming, TV viewers’ brainwaves slow down, transforming them closer to a hypnotic state that makes it difficult to think critically. While playing a video games is not as zombifying as passively viewing TV, such games have become for many boys and young men their only experience of potency, and this “virtual potency” is certainly no threat to the ruling elite.

8. Fundamentalist Religion and Fundamentalist Consumerism.

American culture offers young Americans the “choices” of fundamentalist religion and fundamentalist consumerism. All varieties of fundamentalism narrow one’s focus and inhibit critical thinking. While some progressives are fond of calling fundamentalist religion the “opiate of the masses,” they too often neglect the pacifying nature of America’s other major fundamentalism. Fundamentalist consumerism pacifies young Americans in a variety of ways. Fundamentalist consumerism destroys self-reliance, creating people who feel completely dependent on others and who are thus more likely to turn over decision-making power to authorities, the precise mind-set that the ruling elite loves to see. A fundamentalist consumer culture legitimizes advertising, propaganda, and all kinds of manipulations, including lies; and when a society gives legitimacy to lies and manipulativeness, it destroys the capacity of people to trust one another and form democratic movements. Fundamentalist consumerism also promotes self-absorption, which makes it difficult for the solidarity necessary for democratic movements.

These are not the only aspects of our culture that are subduing young Americans and crushing their resistance to domination. The food-industrial complex has helped create an epidemic of childhood obesity, depression, and passivity. The prison-industrial complex keeps young anti-authoritarians “in line” (now by the fear that they may come before judges such as the two Pennsylvania ones who took $2.6 million from private-industry prisons to ensure that juveniles were incarcerated). As Ralph Waldo Emerson observed: “All our things are right and wrong together. The wave of evil washes all our institutions alike.”

Bruce E. Levine is a clinical psychologist and author of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite  (Chelsea Green, 2011). His Web site is www.brucelevine.net

California lawmakers urge pension funds to halt Russia investments / $1.4 Billion is invested in Russia

Source: Reuters – Tue, 13 Aug 2013 02:52 AMAuthor: Reuters

By Sharon Bernstein

Aug 12 (Reuters) – Top Democrats in the California Senate on Monday asked the state’s multibillion-dollar public employee pension funds to refrain from making future investments in Russia, adding their voices to protests against restrictions on gay rights there.

A proposed resolution by Senator Mark Leno, President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and others urges the California Public Employee Retirement System, or CalPERS, and the California State Teachers Retirement System, to halt investments in Russia until the issue is resolved.

CalPERS, the largest employee pension system in the nation, has $266 billion invested around the globe, of which $1.4 billion is invested in Russia.

The nonbinding resolution, which must be passed by the full Senate, protests a ban on same-sex couples from adopting Russian children, and a law prohibiting gay “propaganda.”

The measures are part of the conservative course taken by President Vladimir Putin on social issues since his return to the Kremlin in May 2012.

Critics say the propaganda law effectively disallows all gay rights rallies and could be used to prosecute anyone voicing support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

“The resolution condemns Russia’s official attack on the LGBT community,” Leno said in an interview. “It also calls upon the president and Congress and the State Department to encourage the decriminalization of homosexuality in all countries.”

The resolution additionally asks the International Olympic Committee to demand a written promise that gay athletes will not be affected by the propaganda law when the games are held in the Russian city of Sochi next year.

CalPERS said in a statement on Monday it always strives for responsible investing.

“CalPERS is a strong defender of human and civil rights across the globe,” the statement said. “CalPERS will continue its prudent review of all investments and will consider current developments as it abides by all applicable laws.”

Anger at the Russian laws has been building for months among gay rights activists and others in the United States.

Last month activists and Seattle-based sex advice columnist Dan Savage called for a boycott of Russian vodka in response to anti-gay violence and the restrictive laws.

Soon after, gay rights activists in New York City dumped vodka onto the street to protest the Russian laws, and a growing number of gay bar owners across the United States vowed to stop pouring Russian vodka.

The call to “dump Russian vodka” came after Russian investigators said in May that a 23-year-old man had been tortured and killed after revealing to a friend that he was gay.   (Reporting By Sharon Bernstein: Editing by Tim Gaynor and Xavier Briand)

Cyberspy Network

EEV: I can only specualte why Guccifer’s PDF, as well as other major sources of Intel Compromise are so openly exposed. I am counting on this data being obsolete, or ineffective as the whole world has it by now. Why they would release the names of CIA employee’s as well as others again, is a total mystery to me. I am certain a vast majority of Intel operatives on these public lists are totally unaware, they have been openly compromised.

11 August 2013

This event, co-hosted by the FBI and Fordham University’s International Conference on Cyber Security, on 8 August 2012 in New York City, was closed to the public.

Journalists were allowed entry but could not ask questions; students could.

No full recording of the event has been published.

Fordham University is a top educator and network of spies, the FBI in particular.

Related networks:

3,000+ Members of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance:

Click to access insa-spies-01.pdf

1,400 Council on Foreign Relations Spies:

Click to access guccifer-cfr-spies.pdf

Online Spying Guides:

http://cryptome.org/isp-spy/online-spying.htm

2,619 CIA Sources:

http://cryptome.org/cia-2619.htm

——————————————————————————–

Cyberspy Education

http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2013/aug/08/nsa-director-defends-surveillance-programs-

cybersecurity-conference/

NSA Director Defends Surveillance Programs at Cybersecurity Conference

Thursday, August 08, 2013

By Daniel P. Tucker : Associate Producer, WNYC News

As the privacy debate continues following revelations about the federal government’s surveillance programs, the director of the National Security Agency is defending his organization’s tactics.

Speaking at an annual cybersecurity conference at Fordham University on Thursday, General Keith Alexander said privacy is safeguarded by the constitution and that the methods used by the NSA do not constitute “domestic spying.”

“No one has willingly or knowingly disobeyed the law or tried to invade your civil liberties or privacy,” he told a room of industry insiders at the fourth annual International Conference on Cyber Security. “There were no mistakes like that at all. I think that’s important to understand.”

Alexander added that Congress could help improve cybersecurity by passing legislation that dictates how the private sector can work with agencies like the CIA, FBI and NSA to defend against cyber attacks.

Network of Spies

http://www.iccs.fordham.edu/program/iccs2013/#ICCS

Keynote and Distinguished Speakers

Gen. Keith B. Alexander

Director

National Security Agency Commander, CYBERCOM

Preet Bharara

United States Attorney

Southern District of New York, United States Department of Justice, New York, NY USA

Michael Chertoff

Former Secretary

United States Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC USA

Jared Cohen

Founder and Director

Google Ideas, New York, NY

Joseph M. Demarest

Assistant Director

Cyber Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, DC USA

Ruby B. Lee, Ph.D.

Forrest G. Hamrick Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Princeton University, Princeton, NJ USA

Ian Levy

Technical Director

United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire UK

Kevin Mandia

Chief Executive Officer

Mandiant, Washington, DC USA

Lisa Monaco

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Deputy National Security Advisor

The White House, Washington, DC USA

Robert S. Mueller

Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Washington, DC USA

George O. Strawn

Director, Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program

National Coordination Office, Washington, DC USA

Plenary and Parallel Speakers

Hira Agrawal

Senior Scientist

Applied Communications Systems

Rich Baich

Executive Vice President, Chief Information Security Officer

Wells Fargo, Charlotte, NC USA

Sean Barnum

Security Principal

The MITRE Corporation, McLean, VA USA

Elisa Bertino

Professor of Computer Science

Purdue University

Richard Carback

Principal Researcher and Security Engineer

Charles Stark Draper Laboratories

Robin DeStefano

Co-Lead

Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Five (CNCI-5)

Andre Dornbusch

Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt)

Wiesbaden, Hesse DEU

Stephen R. Flatley

Senior Examiner

Computer Analysis Response Team, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York, NY USA

Gary J. Gagnon

Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer

The MITRE Corporation, McLean, VA USA

Melissa Hathaway

Hathaway Global Strategies, Washington, DC USA

Kristin Heckman, D. Sc.

Lead Scientist

The MITRE Corporation, McLean, VA USA

S.S. Iyengar

Director of Research

NuLogix

Merike Kaeo

Security Evangelist

IID

David Knox

Vice President, National Security Group

Oracle, Redwood City, CA USA

Martin Libicki, Ph.D.

Senior Management Scientist

RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA USA

Bruce Maggs, Ph.D.

Professor of Computer Science, Duke University, Durham, NC USA and

Vice President for Research, Akamai Technologies, Cambridge, MA USA

Matthew McCabe

Senior Vice President

Marsh

Petros Mouchtaris, Ph, D.

Chief Operating Officer

Applied Communications Science, Basking Ridge, NJ USA

Jonathan Perlstein

Special Agent

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Natalie Runyon

Chief Security Officer

Thomson Reuters, New York, NY USA

Marek Rusinkiewicz, Ph.D.

Professor of Computer Science

Florida International University, University Park, FL USA

Kathryn Scott

Special Agent

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Antonio Scurlock

Co-Lead

Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Five (CNCI-5)

Shane Snyder

Computer Engineer

U.S. Army CERDEC

Tony Spinelli

Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer

Equifax, Atlanta, GA USA

Sandra Stanar-Johnson

NSA/CSS Representative

Department of Homeland Security

Frank Stech, Ph. D.

Principal Investigator, Research Projects

The MITRE Corporation, McLean, VA USA

John Stewart

Senior Vice President, Chief Security Officer, Global Government and Corporate Security

Cisco Systems, Inc., San Jose, CA USA

Edward M. Stroz

Co-President

Stroz Friedberg, New York, NY USA

Andras Szakal

Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

IBM, Armonk, NY USA

Emily Vacher

Manager, Trust and Safety

Facebook, Menlo Park, CA USA

Anthony Vigilante

Managing Director and Chief of Technology

MacKay Shields, New York, NY USA

Mauro Vignati

Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance MELANI

Schwarztorstrasse, Bern CHE

Marisa Viveros

Vice President, Cyber Security Innovation

IB

http://cryptome.org/2013-info/08/cyberspy-net/cyberspy-net.htm

Back from the Dead – Resuscitation Expert Says End Is Reversible

Raising the dead may soon become medical reality. According to critical care physician Sam Parnia, modern resuscitation science will soon allow doctors to reanimate people up to 24 hours after their death.

At some point, everyone’s heart will stop. For most, this is when they begin to die. Doctors succeed in very few cases at bringing the clinically dead back to life. However, more patients could be saved if medical professionals put existing knowledge about the treatment of cardiac arrest to better use, argues critical care physician Sam Parnia, 41, who is leading a revival of research in this field at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York.

When Parnia was a student some 20 years ago, a patient he knew well died under his care. It was a key moment for the young doctor, who has since sought to understand and fight the process of death.


 

SPIEGEL: Dr. Parnia, in your new book on resuscitation science, “Erasing Death,” you state: “We may soon be rescuing people from death’s clutches hours, or even longer, after they have actually died.” That sounds a lot like resurrection. Is this a serious claim?

Parnia: In the past decade we have seen tremendous progress. With today’s medicine, we can bring people back to life up to one, maybe two hours, sometimes even longer, after their heart stopped beating and they have thus died by circulatory failure. In the future, we will likely get better at reversing death. We may have injectable drugs that slow the process of cell death in the brain and other organs. It is possible that in 20 years, we may be able to restore people to life 12 hours or maybe even 24 hours after they have died. You could call that resurrection, if you will. But I still call it resuscitation science.

SPIEGEL: With all due respect, this discipline has a dismal record. Survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests continue to be poor and have barely improved from what they were 25 years ago.

Parnia: Sadly, that’s correct. There is no generally enforced standard of care. In some communities in the United States, survival rates after resuscitation are as low as close to 0 percent. In general, we are better at rescuing people who suffer cardiac arrest in hospitals. But even in this group the average now in the US is 18 percent. The United Kingdom has 16 percent and I assume German hospitals have a similar rate.

SPIEGEL: That’s shockingly bad.

Parnia: Here in Stony Brook we had a 21 percent survival rate when I first arrived. Now, two years later, we are at 33 percent. In the first quarter of this year, our latest available data shows that we reached 38 percent, which likely puts us among the top hospitals in the US. Most, but not all of our patients, get discharged with no neurological damage whatsoever.

SPIEGEL: Are you some sort of a magician?

Parnia: Not at all. We work strictly according to the recommendations of ILCOR, the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation. We have taken some things even a bit further. ILCOR publishes their consensus findings every five years, most recently 2010. But the problem is: Most hospitals have not fully implemented all their findings.

SPIEGEL: Why not?

Parnia. That’s exactly why I have written this book. I want to shine a light on the fact that resuscitation science has advanced tremendously over the last 20 years, yet the implementation of this knowledge remains very poor. This is costing us many lives every year.

SPIEGEL: Is this due to a lack of understanding on the part of doctors?

Parnia: Apparently. A recent study found that the optimal length of resuscitation to yield higher survival is at least 40 minutes. Yet most doctors will stop within 20 minutes. They don’t try as hard because they wrongly think the brain will be damaged by then or that it will be pointless to continue.

SPIEGEL: Why are the findings of such studies not put into practice?

Parnia: Resuscitation has gone from something every doctor does every now and then to a highly specialized and complicated field, much like cardiology. Yet that is not generally recognized. As long as hospitals don’t require their resuscitation doctors to implement all the nuances required to save brains and lives after cardiac arrest through fully trained specialists, survival rates in general will not improve. I think we need more regulation by state or medical authorities. That’s the only way to reach higher standards. We can’t go on with a situation where hospital or individual physicians decide for themselves what part of the guidelines they implement or not.

SPIEGEL: Basic first aid teaches us that the brain is very fragile. Three to five minutes after the heart stops, the brain incurs permanent damage due to lack of oxygen.

Parnia: This is a widely-held misconception, even among doctors. It’s mostly based on research done in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. In those days, doctors concluded that brain cell death was inevitable in such a short time. Now we know that if treatment is correct, it really can take hours for brain cells to die. And only if all the treatments that we know today are not implemented, the damage can become apparent after as little as five minutes without blood flow. Part of the problem is that we all live in the past — patients, doctors, nurses and legislatures. We have preconceived ideas about death. For thousands of years, death was a clear, precise moment: The heart stopped beating, and that was it. Nothing could be done from then on. You either were alive or not. But since the arrival of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) more than 50 years ago, we know that this view is no longer correct. Death is not a fixed moment anymore. From a cellular perspective, it is a process that proceeds at various speeds in the different tissues of the body after the heart stops.

SPIEGEL: And that process is, in your words, fully reversible?

Parnia: Of course, it is of paramount importance to protect the brain. CPR as early as possible after cardiac arrest is essential. But the really dangerous period for brain is only after you restart the heart and get the person back to life. It is then that you start getting major brain damage. One of the reasons for this is that when you restart blood flow to the brain, which hasn’t seen any blood for a while, the oxygen itself becomes toxic. The brain can become very swollen and inflamed and at the same time, blood flow to the brain drops to dangerously low levels. The brain also becomes perilously starved of oxygen and nutrients. Consequently, most brain damage after resuscitation occurs not within the first few minutes of death, but in the hours up to the first 72 hours after resuscitation. But with proper post resuscitation care, we can minimize that.

SPIEGEL: What exactly happens once the heart stops?

Parnia: A person immediately loses consciousness, breathing stops as well, and within seconds, the brain ceases working, even at the very basic level of the brain stem. The pupils become fixed and dilated. The EEG shows a flatline. This person is now dead, yet in what we may call the early stages of death. He is a corpse, and in a hospital setting might now be certified dead and sent to the mortuary.

SPIEGEL: Unnecessarily?

Parnia: That depends on what caused the person to die, what caused his cardiac arrest.

SPIEGEL: What can you do to potentially bring him back to life?

Parnia: It is a chain of interventions, and everything we do counts. One error somewhere along the line, and he will stay dead or live with brain damage. We start with chest compressions as early as possible, first by hand, then by a machine, because in general human beings cannot administer this to the required standards for more that just a few minutes. At the same time we provide breaths via an ambu bag — not more than 8 breaths per minute. Even this simple exercise is often done wrong in many cases. Once you pump too much air into the body, it squeezes the heart, and it won’t start again. This itself can kill people — or in this case, keep them dead.

SPIEGEL: What are some of the newer interventions that you’d recommend?

Parnia: We cool the body down, from 37 degrees to somewhere between 32 and 34 degrees. I usually go to 32 degrees. Patients stay at this temperature for 24 hours or so. Cooling has a lot of positive effects. It reduces the amount of oxygen the brain needs, it prevents dangerous chemicals like hydrogen peroxyde from forming and it slows down the process of cell death. Even this really critical part of resuscitation is not done routinely, not even in places where its benefits are known, including Germany. At times it has been reported to be used by less than 50-60 percent of hospitals.

SPIEGEL: How do you cool a body?

Parnia: We use pads that get attached to the thighs and the upper body. In a matter of hours, the cooling machine brings the body temperature down to the desired level. But you could also do this at home, if you found someone there in cardiac arrest. Call an ambulance, administer CPR and place a bag of frozen peas or other frozen vegetables on the patient. It helps to protect the brain.

SPIEGEL: What do you do that is not regularly done?

Parnia: Among other things, we check continuously how much blood and oxygen gets to the brain. If we have at least 80 percent of normal levels, the person tends to do better. If his condition doesn’t improve, we follow steps that includes the use of an automatic machine to give compressions and breathing and eventually put him on ECMO. These are two catheters, one at the groin, one at the neck. It is basically a shortcut for the heart: The blood gets oxygenated outside of the body and pumped back in. It is more widely used in Japan and South Korea, and doctors there have found that their survival rates have increased when ECMO is used with the right patients. But most ICUs in the world still don’t use it.

A New Understanding of Human Consciousness

SPIEGEL: If it’s so easy, why don’t doctors all over the world just follow suit? Are they ill-informed?

 

Parnia: No, it’s not that they are ill-informed. The reality is that preserving the brain requires brain experts with specialization in this field, as it is very complicated. Saving lives also requires experts in ventilator management, together with cardiac experts. No physician can be expected to be a specialist in three different areas of medicine so each does the best they can from their own perspective. With such a complicated condition the solution is to have national and professional responsible bodies to enforce and train specialists to deal with resuscitation based on 21st century standards and not 20th century ones. Rightly used, reanimation could play a major role in the therapy for many life threatening conditions and thousands more will be saved.

SPIEGEL: In what way, exactly?

Parnia: In my view, young, otherwise healthy people shouldn’t die from heart attacks anymore. Remember James Gandolfini, the actor from “The Sopranos” who died last month at age 51 in Rome? I believe if he died here, he could still be alive. We’d cool him down, put him on ECMO, so oxygen gets to the tissues and prevents them from dying. Clinically dead, he could then be cared for by the cardiologist. He would make an angiogram, find the clot, take it out, put in a stent and we would restart the heart.

SPIEGEL: Is this truly a realistic scenario?

Parnia: Of course we can’t rescue everybody, and many people with heart attacks have other major problems. But I will say that if all the latest medical technologies and training had been implemented, which clearly hasn’t been done, then in principle the only people who should die and stay dead are those that have an underlying condition that is untreatable. A heart attack is treatable. Blood loss as well. A terminal cancer isn’t, neither are many infections with multiresistant pathogens. In these cases, even if we’d restart the heart, it would stop again and again.

SPIEGEL: Doesn’t the idea of “bringing people back” imply that they weren’t really dead in the first place?

Parnia: I think the state they are in corresponds to the cultural concept we all have of death. We encounter it in movies and books all the time. That is my basic message: The death we commonly perceive today in 2013 is a death that can be reversed.

SPIEGEL: But not real brain death.

Parnia: No. When brain cells have decayed after a number of hours, no intervention, neither now nor in a 1000 years, will bring them back. That death is final. But up to that point, there is a gray zone. Today, we simply do not know when someone transitions from potentially reversible to irreversible. Tests used today to diagnose brain death are tests of brain stem function — not of actual cell death.

SPIEGEL: What does this finding mean for the diagnosis of brain death as a prerequisite for organ donation?

Parnia: Nobody knows exactly how long we should wait to be absolutely certain the brain has died after it stops functioning. That’s why the criteria for the diagnosis of brain death vary from country to country and, in the US, even from state to state. There are many different recommendations regarding the tests and how long physicians should wait before repeating them. But clearly: The longer the brain doesn’t function, the more likely it is that the brain has truly died. Technically speaking, the brain may then not be really dead yet, as you could take individual cells out of the brain and still grow them in a lab. But it is safe to consider a person at this stage irreversibly dead for the purpose of organ removal.

SPIEGEL: As a researcher, you not only work on resuscitation but also on what people experience during the process. But these people are clinically dead. They don’t experience anything.

Parnia: At least, according to our perception of consciousness. And yet, over the last 50 years since the arrival of CPR, literally millions of people have gone beyond the threshold of death and come back. Many of them tell us incredible stories of their experiences. I myself have studied more than 500 people with NDEs (Near Death Experiences).

SPIEGEL: What exactly do they tell you?

Parnia: Typically, they report being very peaceful. Some see a bright light, others feel the presence of a warm, loving, compassionate being. Many describe having a review of their lives, from childhood up to that point. Others tell of encounters with family members who have died. Others report out-of-body experiences. They feel they witnessed the scene of their resuscitation from a position near the ceiling of the room. Some even correctly describe conversations people had, clothes people wore, events that went on 10 or 20 minutes into resuscitation. One of the most fascinating NDE tales was published in 2001 in medical journal The Lancet. A man asked his nurse for his dentures, which he remembered he had put in a cupboard during his cardiac arrest.

SPIEGEL: There’s no scientific proof for any of these stories. Do you believe them?

Parnia: These experiences feel very real to those who had them. Why should we doubt the reality of their experience? NDEs occur everywhere, in all cultures, in every country, in religious people and atheists, even in children younger than three years old. It would be wrong to see them as mere fabrications.

SPIEGEL: What’s your personal take on them?

Parnia: It looks like people’s consciousness does not get annihilated just because they are in the early stages of death. It’s a medical paradox.

SPIEGEL: To say the least.

Parnia: From what the patients describe, we have to conclude that death is a pleasant experience for most people. I think we have no reason to be afraid of it.

SPIEGEL: Maybe NDEs are just tricks of the brain due to a lack of oxygen, as other scientists have claimed?

Parnia: I checked that and I don’t think that lack of oxygen leads to any of these experiences. I’m the principal investigator in the AWARE study for a number of years now. We have installed shelves with pictures on them near the ceiling in various ER rooms across the US and Europe. We want to find out whether people who claim to be hovering close to the ceiling can really perceive what’s going on in the room. We will publish our first set of data in November. But I won’t reveal any details yet.

SPIEGEL: You are a reputable researcher. But right now you sound more like a mystic.

Parnia: I’m neutral. I’m just a researcher. For many people, death has to do with religion and philosophy, not science. To me, that makes no sense. I deal with death every day in my life. What we study is very scientific, there’s nothing paranormal about it. But of course I get criticized from all sides. Paranormal enthusiasts think we are treading on their territory. Religious people accuse me of blasphemy, skeptical scientists of leaning to the other side. And we also get requests from people who ask us to kill them and get them back for science. This is dangerous territory we’re in.

SPIEGEL: You have experimented with putting pictures face up near the ceiling in hospital emergency rooms to determine if a person having an NDE will, upon regaining consciousness, report seeing the target object. Isn’t that going too far?

Parnia: Any new field of science inevitably meets with criticism and incomprehension. Gene therapy was once seen as pure science fiction. When string theory was first proposed, physicists made fun of it. And everyone including Einstein laughed at quantum theory. This research might well lead to a new understanding of human consciousness. Nobody can yet explain how it works and how it interacts with brain cells.

Interview conducted by Marco Evers

Related SPIEGEL ONLINE links:

 

© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2013 All Rights Reserved Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH

That’s a bit rich: Only 28 per cent of millionaires think they’re wealthy

  • A study by UBS found that only 28 per  cent of investors with $1-$5 million feel rich
  • Only 60 per cent with $5 million or more  think they are wealthy
  • The average annual income in America is  $51,500
  • The rich worry about losing their  fortune, looking after family members and ‘keeping up with the  Joneses’
  • Millionaires would feel rich if they had  ‘no financial constraints on their activities’

By  Alex Greig

PUBLISHED: 12:08 EST, 28  July 2013 |  UPDATED: 12:09 EST, 28 July 2013

How much money would you need to have before  you considered yourself rich? Would it be $100,000? $500,000? According to a new  study, among millionaires, that number should be at least $5  million.

The study, entitled ‘What is Wealthy?’,  conducted by investment firm UBS, found that only 28 per cent of investors with  between $1 million and $5 million in investable assets considered themselves  rich.

Those with $5 million or more felt a little  more comfortable – for that group, 60 per cent felt rich.

Mo' money, mo' problems: People with between $1 million and $5 million don't think they're rich 

Mo’ money, mo’ problems: People with between $1 million  and $5 million don’t think they’re rich

 

The study found that investors defined wealth not  as having a finite amount of money but rather having ‘no financial constraints  on their activities.’

This may seem strange to those of us who  don’t inhabit the rarefied world of millionaires, especially when you consider  that the median household income in the U.S. is $51,500 per annum.

But according to David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer-prize winning author specializing in economics and tax, living as a millionaire among millionaires creates a chronic case of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.

 

‘In New York City, being wealthy enough to  own upright a property worth $5 million doesn’t make you feel rich, because  you’re surrounded by people who can buy and sell you in a two hours income,’ he  told ABC News.

‘There are always some people around you who  have more. Also, having $5 million in Keokuk, Iowa, is a lot different than  having $5 million in New York or Silicon Valley or Seattle.’

Rich hitch: 60 per cent of those with more than $5 million concede they are indeed rich - others believe freedom from financial constraints equates to true wealth 

Rich hitch: 60 per cent of those with more than $5  million concede they are indeed rich – others believe freedom from financial  constraints equates to true wealth

 

The study also found that among the rich,  there’s a lack of confidence about the future. It seems that for millionaires,  the more you have, the more you have to lose.

While the uber-rich fret about losing their  money, more than three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck,  according to a study by Bankrate.com.

The Bankrate.com study found that half of all  Americans have less than three months savings to depend on in straitened times,  while a quarter have none at all.

‘To us, the surprise was that that many  people with $1 million or more did not consider themselves wealthy,’ Emily  Pachuta, head of investor insights at UBS Wealth Management Americas told ABC.

‘We think it shows a very interesting mindset  shift. People have certainly experienced a shock from the volatility of the  market, and they are very aware that it takes a significant amount of money to  have that dual feeling of having enough money and no financial  constraints.’

For many, being wealthy means the burden of  taking care of relatives falls squarely on their shoulders.

It's all relative: While the median household income in the U.S. is just over $50,000, those with millions often financially support adult children and elderly relatives  

It’s all relative: While the median household income in  the U.S. is just over $50,000, those with millions often feel a need to keep up  with the Joneses and don’t feel wealthy compared to richer peers

 

Four out of five of the 4,450 investors who  answered the survey were providing financial support for aging parents and/or  grown-up children.

‘This has a real impact on the definition of  a comprehensive financial plan. The top two personal concerns for investors are  long-term care and the financial situation of children and grandchildren,’  states the study.

‘When a financial plan addresses those two  concerns, confidence in achieving goals skyrockets to 85 per cent [from 62 per  cent].’

For the millionaires surveyed, security comes  in the form of cash.

UBS found that investors maintain peace of  mind by holding onto at least 20 per cent of their money in cash to cover for  any emergencies and ensure they can make large purchases without having to sell  assets.

As for the rest of us, the American Dream is  becoming harder and harder to reach. According to a study by the Equality of Opportunity  Project, one-third  of those who are born into the top one per cent of wealth will earn $100,000 per  annum by the age of 30, while only one in 25 of those at the bottom end of  wealth will reach that income level.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2380376/Thats-bit-rich-Only-28-cent-millionaires-think-theyre-wealthy.html#ixzz2aNWQs57T Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Iconic Ground Zero photo was nearly excluded from museum for being too ‘rah-rah’ American

  • By MELISSA KLEIN
  • Last Updated:  5:47 AM, July 28, 2013
  • Posted: 12:03 AM, July 28, 2013
              This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum — because it was “rah-rah” American, a new book says.

Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, was among staffers who considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and “rah-rah America,” according to “Battle for Ground Zero” (St. Martin’s Press) by Elizabeth Greenspan, out next month.

“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently,” Shulan said.

 

U.S.EH? This iconic Ground Zero image was seen as too “vehemently” American by some 9/11 Museum staffers.

AP / Copyright 2001, The Record / Thomas E. Franklin
U.S.EH? This iconic Ground Zero image was seen as too “vehemently” American by some 9/11 Museum staffers.

Shulan had worked on a popular post-9/11 photography exhibit called “Here is New York” in Soho when he was hired by Alice Greenwald, director of the museum, for his “unique approach.”

Eventually, chief curator Jan Ramirez proposed a compromise, Greenspan writes. The Franklin shot was minimized in favor of three different photos via three different angles of the flag-raising scene.

“Several images undercut the myth of ‘one iconic moment,’ Ramirez said, and suggest instead an event from multiple points of view, like the attacks more broadly,” the book says.

“Shulan didn’t like three photographs more than he liked one, but he went along with it.”

Shulan told The Post he didn’t know that the way Greenspan described the discussion about the photographs “is the way that I would have.”

“My concern, as it always was, is that we not reduce [9/11] down to something that was too simple, and in its simplicity would actually distort the complexity of the event, the meaning of the event,” he said.

Shulan was living in Soho on Sept. 11, 2011. He helped organize the “Here is New York” exhibit shortly after the attack, and it grew to include thousands of photographs taken by professionals and ordinary New Yorkers. The collection was later donated to the New-York Historical Society.

The photograph wasn’t the only item officials and family members argued over. Early on, it was decided that no human remains or photos of body parts be included in the museum. Dust from the collapse of the Towers will be on display, “but only dust which has been tested and determined not to contain remains,” Greenspan writes.

However, it was nearly impossible to determine if one artifact — called “the composite” — followed that rule. Three feet tall and 15 tons, the composite contains about four or five building stories compressed by pressure and heat into one solid block, with bits of paper and the edges of filing cabinets poking out of the surface.

The museum tested the outside of the composite and found it negative for DNA. But they couldn’t test inside it without the risk of destroying it. Eventually, despite the uncertainty and over the objections of some 9/11 family members, the piece was included.

 

melissa.klein@nypost.com

 

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/pic_fire_fight_Bl5WA1MEU7AaQeabPas4uK

CIA Murder Claims Are Credible, but Too Late / Poisoned a a bioweapons scientist with LSD in 1953 ?

By RYAN ABBOTT

WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge dismissed claims that the CIA dosed a bioweapons scientist with LSD in 1953, killed him and made it look like a suicide.

Eric and Nils Olson say their father, Frank Olson, died shortly after expressing his disillusionment with his work as a CIA bioweapons expert during the early years of the Cold War. Olson had allegedly been involved in the highly classified MKUltra program, which sought to develop chemical and biological materials for clandestine operations. The program included testing LSD as a truth serum and a mind-control agent on human subjects.

Numerous works of investigative journalism and requests under the Freedom of Information Act ultimately brought the MKUltra project to light, and U.S. District Judge James Boasberg acknowledged that “the public record supports many of the allegations that follow, farfetched as they may sound.”

“Although mention of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) conjures in the popular imagination the 1960s escapades of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters … government study of its effects predates this by a decade,” Boasberg wrote.

The Olsons said their father “witnessed extreme interrogations in which the CIA committed murder using biological agents that Dr. Olson had developed.”

CIA officials allegedly believed that any misgivings Dr. Olson had about the work might drive him to commit security violations.

The Olsons said the CIA then spiked a bottle of Cointreau with LSD at an agency meeting, dosing their father without his knowledge and making him a “guinea pig for this ‘experiment’ into the effects of LSD on humans.”

The agency then shipped Olson to New York City, telling his family that he required psychiatric treatment and could be dangerous, his sons claimed.

A doctor allegedly met Olson at the New York hotel room he shared with another CIA colleague, Robert Lashbrook, and gave him bourbon and several sedatives.

“The men had two martinis each before bed that evening,” the sons said. “At approximately 2:30 in the morning on Saturday, November 28, Dr. Olson fell thirteen stories to his death from the window of room 1018A – the hotel room he was sharing with Dr. Lashbrook.”

They added: “The circumstances surrounding Dr. Olson’s wrongful death are substantially similar to a ‘secret assassination’ technique described in a manual that, upon information and belief, the CIA published the year of Dr. Olson’s death. The manual suggested ‘[f]or secret assassination … the contrived accident is the most effective technique’ because ‘[w]hen successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated.”

Judge Boasberg again refused to cast doubt on the allegation.

“Indeed, this would be the precise modus operandi the CIA is alleged to have employed here,” he wrote.

Though the Olsons settled with the government in 1976, accepting $187,500 each for waiving their claims, CIA Director William Colby piqued their interest 18 years later, shortly before his own death under suspicious circumstances.

Colby apparently sent Eric Olson a message in 1993 that indicated there was more to tell about his father’s death.

The family exhumed Olson’s body and discovered a bruise on his skull that a forensic scientist attributed to a blow to the head prior to the fall.

After prosecutors reclassified Olson’s cause of death from suicide to “unknown,” the family has pressured the CIA to reveal more and ultimately filed suit in November 2012.

Boasberg concluded Wednesday, however, that the 1976 settlement wipes out the negligent supervision claim against the agency. The rest of the claims then fail under the statute of limitation.

The sons say the CIA cover-up of their father’s death also caused their mother’s descent into alcoholism, and that their “replacement father figure” sexually molested them for years.

“Concluding that most of the allegations are both untimely and waived by a prior settlement agreement, and that any timely or preserved claims fall outside of the United States’ waiver of sovereign immunity, the court will grant the Government’s motion,” Boasberg ruled.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/07/23/59599.htm

TSA to charge passengers $85 for the privilege of keeping their shoes on through airport security checks

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 10:46 EST, 22  July 2013 |  UPDATED: 10:49 EST, 22 July 2013

The TSA has put a price on a security pat  down as they are now allowing more people to bypass parts of the extensive  screening procedures at airports if they sign up for a pre-approval  service.

The Transportation Security Administration  has had an expedited screening program for years but now they are widening the  net of people who will be able to enrol and avoid pat downs at the airport.

U.S. citizens will be able to enrol online  later this year or visit an enrolment site to provide identification,  fingerprints and an $85 fee.

No lines: The expedited screening service will mean that flyers who enroll and pay the fee will face smaller lines and have to disrobe far less than others, theoretically saving time at the airport 

No lines: The expedited screening service will mean that  flyers who enroll and pay the fee will face smaller lines and have to disrobe  far less than others, theoretically saving time at the airport

 

Even if flyers enrol in the program, that  won’t mean that they are free of the security screening process entirely,  however.

By submitting the necessary identification  papers and background checks, the flyers will only be able to leave their shoes,  light outerwear and belts on, and keep their laptops in their bags rather than  removing them and placing them in a plastic bin.

They will still have to walk through the  scanning machines, and may be patted down by security agents should they deem it  specifically necessary.

 

In the past, flyers were able to join the  PreCheck program if they were frequent flyer members on select airlines, but now  it will be open to all American travellers.

‘TSA PreCheck enables us to focus on the  travellers we know the least about, adding efficiency and effectiveness to the  screening process,’ Mr Pistole said in a statement.

About 12 million people are currently  enrolled in the program and organizers expect about another 3 million people to  enrol before the end of the year.

Pros and cons: Flyers who enroll will not have to wait in long lines or take off their shoes (left) but will still have to go through the screening machines (right)Pros and cons: Flyers who enroll will not have to wait in long lines or take off their shoes (left) but will still have to go through the screening machines (right)

Pros and cons: Flyers who enroll will not have to wait  in long lines or take off their shoes (left) but will still have to go through  the screening machines (right)

 

Expanding: A similar version of the program is in place at 40 countries right now but the new expansion will start at Washington's Dulles airport and the Indianapolis, Indiana airport later this year 

Expanding: A similar version of the program is in place  at 40 countries right now but the new expansion will start at Washington’s  Dulles airport and the Indianapolis, Indiana airport later this year

 

No launch date has been specified for the  expanded service, but when it is opened it will only go first to Washington  D.C.’s Dulles International Airport and the Indianapolis International Airport  in Indiana.

Even some of the program’s strongest  supporters have concerns about the move, including Congressman Bennie Thompson  who serves on the House committee which oversees the TSA.

One of his most telling points was the  concern over the fact that PreCheck will be handled by private contractors and  not federally-employed agents.

‘If done right, the program has the potential  to afford a greater number of individuals who pose no threat to aviation  security the type of less-invasive passenger-screening frequent fliers and other  handpicked populations have enjoyed for over a year,’ he said in a statement  released to The Washington Post.

‘As with all screening programs administered  by TSA, the success of the endeavor will be dependent on effective  communications with the public and effective management behind the  scenes.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2373693/TSA-charge-passengers-85-shoes-airport-security-checks.html#ixzz2ZnKp6yyK Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Former co-worker claims New York’s $167,000-a-year medical examiner took plane handle as souvenir from 9/11 site as ‘good coffee table conversation’

  • Barbara  Butcher is now Chief of Staff at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, but  in 2005 she admitted to taking the door handle ‘for a day or two’ before  retuning it
  • ‘I would  have been fired’: Co-worker Kenneth Dotson says he was harassed after reporting  Butcher

 

PUBLISHED: 10:11 EST, 21  July 2013 |  UPDATED: 11:28 EST, 21 July 2013

Repercussions? In 2005, Barbara Butcher was accused of taking a morbid momento from Ground Zero. She has since been promoted to Chief of Staff at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner 

Repercussions? In 2005, Barbara Butcher was accused of  taking a morbid momento from Ground Zero. She has since been promoted to Chief  of Staff at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

 

A high ranking official at New York’s medical  examiner’s office is accused of taking a piece of the September 11th plane  wreckage as a morbid souvenir, but instead of a punishment she’s recently  received a promotion.

A witness claims Barbara Butcher, Director of  Forensic Investigations at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, ‘excitedly’  took home a recovered piece of a plane’s door.

Former co-worker Kenneth Dotson, alleged in  2005 that Butcher was thrilled as someone from Ground Zero passed off the piece  of wreckage to her as she oversaw World Trade Center victim recovery and  identification. Now she’s overseeing the entire department.

‘Her eyes lit up,’ Dotson, who was also a  medical examiner’s investigator, told the New York Post.

‘She said, “This will make for good  conversation on the coffee table,”’ claimed Dotson.

Dotson said he reported the incident in 2005  and was subsequently harassed.

After Dotson’s initial allegations, Butcher  claimed she took the souvenir  home ‘for one or two days before returning it,’  according to an official report obtained by The Post.

Rewarded? Butcher (right) was promoted to Chief of Staff as Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch (left) retired this year 

Rewarded? Butcher (right) was promoted to Chief of Staff  as Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch (left) retired this year

 

 

However, the piece has never been  recovered.

The report claims Butcher ‘could not recall’  to whom she returned the piece, but ‘conceded it was wrong.’

Also accused: Bronx medical examiner Robert Yee was accused of taking wreckage from a Staten Island Ferry crash that killed 11. Co-workers who turned in Yee and Butcher say they were harassed 

Also accused: Bronx medical examiner Robert Yee was  accused of taking wreckage from a Staten Island Ferry crash that killed 11.  Co-workers who turned in Yee and Butcher say they were harassed

 

‘I would have been fired and prosecuted,’  said Dotson.

Despite her admission, Butcher was has since  received a promotion.

As Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch  retired this year, Butcher was  promoted to Chief of Staff, which carries a  $166,879 salary.

 

In 2006, Dotson and co-worker  told the  New York Daily  News that reporting Butcher had won him only harassment. And a fellow investigator at  the  time, Craig Agnard, said he also suffered attacks after reporting that  Bronx medical examiner investigator Robert Yee had taken another dark  momento—a piece of the Andrew Barberi Staten Island ferry, which crashed in  2003 and killed 11.

‘I and the other investigators have paid the  price for doing the right  thing,’ Agnard said at the time, though a  spokesperson denied either he  or Dotson were ever harassed.

Dotson chose to retire in 2007, after 20  years with the department.

A call placed to the Office of the Chief  Medical examiner was not immediately returned.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2372411/Former-staff-claim-New-Yorks-167-000-year-medical-examiner-took-plane-exit-handle-souvenir-9-11-site-theyd-make-good-coffee-table-conversation.html#ixzz2ZharDI2w Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

New book documents Cold War experiments on kids

By JOANN LOVIGLIO / Associated Press / July 7, 2013

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A half century later, Charlie Dyer still vividly remembers the day he was picked to join the ‘‘Fernald Science Club.’’

It was 1954 and at 14, he had already spent nearly half his life in a succession of Massachusetts institutions that unflinchingly labeled kids like him ‘‘morons.’’ But his new place, the Fernald State School in Waltham, seemed like it might be different.

‘‘They picked some of the oldest guys and asked us if we wanted to be in this club,’’ Dyer, 72, said in an interview from his home in Watertown, Mass. ‘‘We all got together and decided, why not? We’ll get time off the grounds.’’

The boys were promised presents, outings to the seashore, trips to Fenway Park and extra helpings of oatmeal.

‘‘It was like Christmas,’’ Dyer recalled. ‘‘Red Sox games, parties. I got a Mickey Mouse watch that I still have.’’

It took decades before Dyer learned that he and the boys he still considers brothers were little more than guinea pigs. A state task force in 1994 found Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists fed the unwitting boys radioactive oatmeal and milk for a Quaker Oats nutrition study.

His story is one of many told in a new book, ‘‘Against Their Will,’’ the result of five years of gathering data from medical and university libraries and archives, medical journals and records from many of the now-shuttered state hospitals and orphanages where experiments were conducted.

‘‘We thought something wasn’t right, but we didn’t know,’’ Dyer said. ‘‘They were using the kids who they were supposed to be helping.’’

The authors interviewed nearly a dozen former test subjects, along with relatives of test subjects, medical researchers and historians.

‘‘These are throwaway, unwanted, damaged people,’’ said Allen Hornblum, one of the book’s authors. ‘‘You had the best and the brightest minds doing this stuff, doing it very cavalierly and doing it exclusively to the most vulnerable.’’

While researching his 1998 book ‘‘Acres of Skin’’ about medical experiments on inmates in Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, Hornblum came across documentation about similar experiments conducted on children and even infants.

Thousands of children warehoused in overcrowded orphanages and facilities for ‘‘feebleminded’’ children underwent spinal taps, lobotomies and electric shock. They were also exposed to viruses, radioactive and hazardous chemicals and were administered psychotropic drugs.

Often lacking legal or family advocates, they were treated in the decades after World War II as cheap and abundant raw material for trials that proved lucrative for scientists who conducted the tests and for the institutions housing the kids.

‘‘I think people are going to be shocked,’’ he said. ‘‘These aren’t inmates … these are children who are having these things done to them.’’

While disenfranchised children were used as human guinea pigs during the American eugenics fervor of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Hornblum said, the practice rose along with Cold War fears of nuclear and biological threats from the Soviet Union and a booming pharmaceutical industry.

In one of the most egregious cases in the book, more than 90 children as young as 6 were given large twice-daily doses of LSD — some for a year or more — as an experimental treatment for schizophrenia and autism at Creedmoor State Hospital in the New York City borough of Queens in the 1960s.

On New York’s Staten Island from the 1950s to the early 1970s, mentally disabled children at the Willowbrook State School — famously called a ‘‘snake pit’’ by Sen. Robert Kennedy after a 1965 visit — were intentionally infected with viral hepatitis by feeding them an extract made from the feces of infected patients.

In dozens of orphanages and sanitariums, children were exposed to hepatitis, meningitis, ringworm, influenza, measles, mumps and polio in the name of medical advancement. Dietary experiments induced severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies to observe the effect on the children’s health.

‘‘All of this information was out there. It was just a matter of someone pulling it together and giving it context,’’ said co-author Judith Newman, a psychologist and Penn State associate professor who teaches a course on medical ethics.

Attitudes about medical research were different then, and many prominent researchers of the era felt it was legitimate to experiment on people who did not have full rights in society — prisoners, mental patients, poor blacks, orphans — in the quest for finding cures of deadly infectious diseases.

Ethical guideposts from the Hippocratic oath to the Nuremberg code were also trumped by misguided patriotism, veneration of doctors, eugenics ideologies and the financial and career benefits for people and places that conducted and published such large clinical studies, Newman said. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that the federal government issued a report outlining principles and guidelines strictly limiting the use of children in medical research.

‘‘The last few years working on this book have been very sad,’’ she said. ‘‘The hope is that it gives voice to those thousands of children — how many thousand we don’t even know.’’

Dyer, a retired truck driver, makes ends meet with yard sales and odd jobs. He and about 30 former ‘‘Fernald Science Club’’ boys filed a class-action lawsuit that settled out of court in 1998; Dyer says they ended up with around $30,000 apiece.

What bothers him most is that the ‘‘feebleminded’’ diagnosis from his childhood remains part of his medical records.

‘‘We went to court to try to get it changed,’’ he said. ‘‘We just didn’t have any schooling; they didn’t teach us to read. I learned a lot of things on my own when I got out of there.’’

© Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

‘YOU WORTHLESS LITTLE S***’: Photographer blasted as ‘poor, miserable social climber’ by wealthy Chilean couple who kept nanny ‘as slave’ after he requested payment for his work

  • Email came from Micky Hurley, 35 – a New  York socialite from a prominent Chilean families who called the photographer  ‘lower class’

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 23:31 EST, 21  June 2013 |  UPDATED: 23:31 EST, 21 June 2013

Now a second former employee is complaining  of mistreatment by a wealthy New York City family who refused to pay a  photographer his fee and dismissed him with an offensive, elitist  note.

Malu Custer Edwards, 28, and Micky Hurley,  35, both from well-known families in Chile, first came under fire when their  Chilean nanny filed a suit against them claiming that they kept her ‘as a  virtual slave’ in their Upper East Side apartment and only paid her $2-per-hour  as she worked 12-hour days.

The latest complaint comes from photographer  Roque Rodriguez who asked for $240 following some photography work that he did  for the family in 2009.

His request for payment was met with a  hate-filled email that read: ‘DON’T COME THREATENING ME YOU WORTHLESS LITTLE  S***. NEVER.’

Accusations: Socialites Malu Custer Edwards, 29, left, and Mickey Hurley, 35, right, are being sued by their former nanny and now a former photographer released emails that he exchanged with the husband 

Accusations: Socialites Malu Custer Edwards, 29, left,  and Mickey Hurley, 35, right, are being sued by their former nanny and now a  former photographer released emails that he exchanged with the husband

‘Remember, you are ALWAYS going to be from a  different class, you were born where you were born,’ Hurley wrote, according to  Gawker.

The aristocrat went on to paint a contrast  between their two families, saying that Rodriguez was ‘a great-grandson of a  seamstress.’

The online drama began after Rodriguez shot  some photos of Hurley’s interior design work.

Photographer: Roque Rodriguez requested $240 payment for his work 

Photographer: Roque Rodriguez requested $240 payment for  his work

The New York  Post reports that when Hurley asked  for copies of the images so that he could use them in a magazine spread,  Rodriguez said only if he was paid his fee first.

‘Listen you poor, miserable low-born social  climber. Delete your grubby photos…This is what I get for working with street  trash like you,’ Hurley wrote.

‘Just remember, because you have angered me  you will NEVER work for ANY magazine or newspaper in Chile.’

This tirade comes after the couple’s behavior  was called into question following the publication of a lawsuit filed by their  former nanny.

Felicitas del Carmen Villanueva Garnica, 50  alleges she was locked in the socialite couple’s Upper East Side apartment,  physically abused by their three children and forced to work 12 hours a day for  just $2 an hour for three months until she finally mustered the courage to  leave.

She says Malu Custer Edwards, 28, and Hurley,  35, brought her to the U.S. with a fake passport and had her lie to customs  officials about her true intentions in the country.

Villanueva claimed the New York Post that the couple often left her  with only small slices of bread and milk to eat, while they were regulars at the  exclusive French restaurant Balthazar – where entrees run $30 to $45.

The couple denies Villaneuva’s allegations  and are fighting the lawsuit.

‘The claims are completely without merit and  will be fully refuted in court,’ attorney Robin Alperstein told the Post.

 

Villanueva finally  fled the home in March 2011 after one of the children slammed her  head with a  refrigerator door so hard that she nearly lost  consciousness, she alleges.

Villanueva says she began working for Edwards  and Hurley in Chile in December 2010.

They decided to move to New York in January 2011 so Edwards could enroll the the New  School. Villanueva says the couple told her they would pay her $10 an hour and  give her health benefits if she came with them and looked after their three  children, ages 6, 8 and 10.

Upscale: The couple were regulars at the posh French restaurant Balthazar, while Felicitas del Carmen Villanueva Garnica claims she often had only milk and bread to eat 

Upscale: The couple were regulars at the posh French  restaurant Balthazar, while Felicitas del Carmen Villanueva Garnica claims she  often had only milk and bread to eat

When she arrived in New York, though, she  alleges the couple began paying her only $800 a month, allegedly claiming no  nanny in New York makes more than $700 a month.

She claims she worked 12 hours a day and had  only one day off in three months.

‘They brought me here to mistreat me,’  Villanueva told the Post. ‘They were telling me I don’t have any rights of any  sort.’

She claims in court documents the job  amounted to ‘forced labor’ and ‘involuntary servitude.’ The Post says  Villanueva was kept as a ‘virtual  slave.’

She alleged in an interview with the Post  that she begged to be sent back to Chile, but the couple refused to let her move  home – saying she signed a two-year contract.

Instead, she claims, she was often locked in  rooms, forced to sleep on the floor.

She says she was promised health care  benefits, but the couple allegedly refused to let her refill her hypertension  medication.

Villaneuva said she was happy working for the  couple when she lived in Chile, but it changed after they brought her to the  U.S. on a fake passport.

Edwards, a graphic designer, is related to  Agustín Edwards McClure, a Chilean diplomat who led the League of Nations in  1922. Hurley, an interior decorator, is a descendant of the country’s founding  settlers and related to opera set designer Pier Luigi Samaritani.

‘All Chile knows them. They come from a  family with lots of resources,’ Villanueva said of Edwards’ family.

Despite the denials from Edwards and Hurley,  the New York Department of Labor ordered the couple to pay Villanueva $6,302 in  back wages in 2011.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2346293/Malu-Custer-Edwards-Micky-Hurley-Photographer-blasted-poor-miserable-social-climber-wealthy-Chilean-couple-kept-nanny-slave-requested-payment-work.html#ixzz2Wxu9m3iK Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Rich are running out of mansions to buy

Robert Frank         CNBC

Image: There are fewer mansions available in the richest areas of the country, but this mansion in Palm Beach, Fla. is available for a cool $34.9 million.

Sotheby’s International Realty – Palm Beach Brokerage
There are fewer mansions available in the richest areas of the country, but this mansion in Palm Beach, Fla. is available for a cool $34.9 million.

While housing inventory is falling throughout the country, it’s falling especially fast in some of the country’s richest ZIP codes. A study from Altos Research, the Mountain View, Calif., real estate research firm, found that inventory in the nation’s 90 wealthiest ZIP codes fell 15 percent over the past year, slightly faster than the broader market.

In those areas, inventory is down more than 50 percent. In a swanky part of Carmel, Calif., inventory fell 76 percent in the last year. There were only four homes left on the market priced at $1 million or more as of the end of May, according to Altos.

In Palm Beach, Fla., the number of $1 million-plus homes has plunged by 70 percent, falling from 89 to 26. And in the Old Greenwich, Conn. ZIP code, there are only 10 homes left priced at $1 million or more, down 58 percent, according to Altos.

(Read More:$1 Million Hamptons Rentals on the Rise)

“I don’t recall seeing the market like this, and it’s come so quickly,” said Cristina Condon of Sotheby’s International Real Estate in Palm Beach. She said buyers have poured into the market in recent months, many from overseas. American buyers are also piling in—some from higher-tax states like California, lured by low taxes and still-low prices in Florida.

Condon said one of her listings that sold in the past year is an $11.3 million property on the Intracoastal Waterway in Florida that had six bedrooms, two baths, and Tuscan-inspired gardens, along with a pool and a boat dock.

Interest in her remaining listings remains strong. She cited strong interest in a $34.9 million lakefront estate in Palm Beach as an example. The 13,278-square-foot mansion has 7 bedrooms, 8 baths, a sprawling pool overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway with outdoor loggias.

(Read More:Biggest US Home to Be Completed in 2015)

In Connecticut, some $1 million-plus homes are selling just days after being listed. David Oglivy of David Oglivy & Associates in Greenwich said he had a listing at $1.38 million that sold in just two days. He said the home was viewed 14 times.

“The Old Greenwich market right now is just super hot,” he said. About half the buyers are people moving within Greenwich and others are moving from New York City and other areas, he said.

While some Realtors worry that shrinking inventories could crimp future sales, Oglivy says he’s not worried.

“The inventory is fine,” he said, adding that luxury inventories in the broader Greenwich area remain higher.

Carmel and Pebble Beach, Calif., have seen a rush of buyers from Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia. But the number of new, high-end listings has been limited.

“We are seeing an influx of luxury second home buyers coming into the market including venture capitalists, tech money, oil and gas, developers and CEO’s,” said Tim Allen, of Tim Allen Properties in Pebble Beach.

(Read More:Wealthy Horse Owners Jump Back Into Equestrian Estates)

Pebble Beach and Carmel have seen a total of 106 sales in the past four months—well above the previous four months. A 3,000 square-foot ocean-front home in Carmel sold for $16.5 million this year, which marked a new record for Carmel.

A home in Pebble Beach sold for $22.5 million, though the new owners plan to remodel. Allen said that an added factor in the high end of the real-estate market is that sellers are under less financial pressure to sell, which leads to less inventory. He said inventories remain healthy, with some high-end neighborhoods still filled with “for sale” signs, but some enclaves are selling out fast.

“These sellers can hold on until they see prices where they want,” Allen said. “In some of these areas, all it takes is five buyers and you can sell out.”

© 2013 CNBC LLC. All Rights Reserved

 

http://www.today.com/money/rich-are-running-out-mansions-buy-6C10312259

Goldman Sachs janitor ‘was fired by drunk boss and had to wade home through flooded streets during Hurricane Sandy’

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 16:43 EST, 7 June  2013 |  UPDATED: 16:43  EST, 7 June 2013

Scene: Mefit Zecevic, a janitor at the Goldman Sachs building, was forced to walk home after Sandy 

Scene: Mefit Zecevic, a janitor at the Goldman Sachs  building, was forced to walk home after Sandy

A former janitor who helped secure the  Goldman Sachs building in Manhattan ahead of Hurricane Sandy has claimed he was  fired and forced to wade home through water in the aftermath of the deadly  storm.

Mefit Zecevic, 42, said he has been left with  post traumatic stress disorder after a drunk boss wrongly fired him for stealing  from a colleague and made him walk 13 hours to get home to Staten  Island.

He is now suing the maintenance firm, ABM  Industries., Inc, for $10 million, accusing them of wrongfully firing him and  ignoring his pleas to stay in the building or get help heading home.

Mr Zecevic, who worked for the company for 12  years, is now fighting to get his job back as he struggles to get his life back  on track after the petrifying ordeal.

‘They destroyed my life, what they  did to  me,’ he told the New  York Daily News. ‘I worked day and  night. They destroyed my life for  nothing. Nothing.’

On October 28, the day before the storm  barreled through New York City,  Zecevic helped stack sandbags at the building  and move equipment to  higher floors, DNAinfo reported.

He and his colleagues slept in the building  for the next two nights as the roads had been shut and it was too dangerous to  venture outside, he  said.

But according to the  lawsuit, on the morning  of October 30, his boss had become  drunk on alcohol he’d found at a restaurant  in the building and told him to collect a co-worker’s shirt.

Danger: A flooded street is seen on October 29, 2012, in the Financial District of New York 

Danger: A flooded street is seen on October 29, 2012, in  the Financial District of New York. Zecevic said he had to wade through  waist-high water for hours to get home to Staten Island

At 9.40pm, Zecevic  was still working when his boss approached him and told him he had been fired,  without providing a reason. When Zecevic  asked to stay at the building, the boss said he could not.

The lawsuit notes that the boss smelled  strongly of alcohol.

‘I said, “I live in Staten Island,  there’s a  state of emergency, there are no cars, no trains, no lights”,’ he said. ‘I was  begging for my life.  But he said, “Leave the building”.’

 

Zecevic began the walk home, but was picked  up by a police officer who returned him to the office and chided the boss for  his dangerous decision. When he left, the boss sent Zecevic  away again.

He began the walk through the waist-high  waters, fearing he could be injured or killed by downed electrical lines,  building work or disease from the sewage.

‘It was dark and cold,’ he told the Daily  News. ‘I could see the red emergency lights on the bridge. There was nobody  around. I was scared.’

Fears: He said he continues to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and nightmares that he will drown 

Fears: He said he continues to suffer from post  traumatic stress disorder and nightmares that he will drown

After eventually crossing the Brooklyn  Bridge, he headed south to the Verrazano  Bridge, where a police car escorted him across. He walked the four  miles to his  home, shivering and in pain.

Following the ordeal, he has suffered with  PTSD and considered suicide, according to the lawsuit.

Zecevic later learned that he had been fired  for stealing $100 from his colleague’s shirt. He denied this and the Department of Labor ruled that Zecevic did not  commit any misconduct.

‘I have been practicing law for over 25  years, and thought I had seen it all in terms of mistreatment from  employers,’  Zecevic’s lawyer, William Perniciaro, wrote to  ABM. ‘However, your company has  the dubious distinction of the worst  abuse of human dignity that I have ever  witnessed.’

ABM did not respond to a request for  comment.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2337677/Goldman-Sachs-cleaner-fired-drunk-boss-wade-home-flooded-streets-Hurricane-Sandy.html#ixzz2VapLe700 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Bloomberg: New Yorkers will ‘never know where our cameras are’

Published time: April 26, 2013 22:49                           

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg visits the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative on April 23, 2013 in New York City. (AFP Photo / John Moore)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg visits the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative on April 23, 2013 in New York City. (AFP Photo / John Moore)

New York City police officials intend to expand the already extensive use of surveillance cameras throughout town. The plan, unveiled Thursday, comes as part of a drive for increased security around the US following the Boston Marathon attack.

New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly announced the plan during a press conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in which the two announced that the suspected Boston Marathon bombers were planning to attack New York next. The pair said they hope to discourage criminals by using so-called “smart cameras” that will aggregate data from 911 alerts, arrest records, mapped crime patterns, surveillance cameras and radiation detectors, among other tools, according to The Verge.

You’re never going to know where all of our cameras are,” Bloomberg told reporters gathered outside City Hall. “And that’s one of the ways you deter people; they just don’t know whether the person sitting next to you is somebody sitting there or a detective watching.”

Kelly said the Domain Awareness System, nicknamed “the dashboard,” would centralize already existing data captured on the between 3,500 and 6,000 cameras already placed throughout the city with new technology developed in conjunction with Microsoft. The project is expected to take three years to complete and cost between $40 and $50 million.

Police and private security personel monitor security cameras at the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative on April 23, 2013 in New York City. (AFP Photo / John Moore)

Police and private security personel monitor security cameras at the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative on April 23, 2013 in New York City. (AFP Photo / John Moore)

 

The commissioner previously said that at least 16 terror plots had been thwarted in New York City since the attack on September 11, 2001, asserting that such  law enforcement success show that the surveillance tools put in place since then have been effective. His boast came in the face of the New York Civil Liberties Union and similar privacy advocates who have asked for more transparency on the issue of police monitoring.

The privacy issue has really been taken off the table,” Kelly said Thursday. “I don’t think people are concerned about it. I think people accept it in a post-9/11 world.”

Mayor Bloomberg agreed, using the press conference to slam the “special interests” who have objected to his policies. The American Civil Liberties Union, for one, has criticized Bloomberg’s administration for installing thousands of cameras in Lower Manhattan in a surveillance initiative that has since expanded north through Midtown.

The role of surveillance cameras played in identifying the suspects was absolutely essential to saving lives, both in Boston, and now we know here in New York City,” the mayor said Thursday. “We’ve made major investments in camera technology – notwithstanding the objections of some special interests.”

People are all worried about privacy,” he continued. “Yes, it is a concern, but given the balance you have between keeping people safe and total privacy, the direction the whole world is going is more cameras and better-quality cameras.”

 

http://rt.com/usa/bloomberg-never-know-where-cameras-477/

They talked about girls, credit limits and whether anyone listens to CDs any more: Boston carjack victim breaks silence over harrowing 90 minutes with bomb suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

EEV: Article quote ” Danny’s refusal at giving his full Chinese name is telling of his humility, wary of attracting too much attention “

Chinese entrepreneur known only as Danny recalls night of terror that sparked 9,000-strong manhunt

Steve Anderson

Friday, 26 April 2013

The man taken hostage by the Boston bombing suspects last week has broken his silence on the harrowing 90 minutes he spent with the brothers in a carjacking that sparked a city-wide manhunt and his miraculous escape from those who were briefly America’s most wanted men.

The 26-year-old Chinese entrepreneur, giving only his American nickname ‘Danny’, described how the ordeal began when he pulled up to a curb just outside of Cambridge in his rented Mercedes to answer a phone call last Thursday night at around 11pm.

Speaking to The Boston Globe newspaper, Danny said that an old saloon screeched to a halt behind his car before a black-clad man appeared beside him and rapped on the window. As Danny opened the window to hear better, the man reached in and unlocked the door, revealing a silver handgun, before climbing into the car.

The man was 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was wanted in connection with the Boston marathon bombings earlier that week.

Tamerlan asked if Danny had been following the news about the bombings. “I did that,” he told Danny. “And I just killed a policeman in Cambridge.”

Tamerlan then ordered Danny to drive, giving him directions to follow through the suburban streets. At first, ‘suspect number 2’ – later identified as Tamerlan’s 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar – was following in a second car, but he later joined in the back of the Mercedes.

Describing his time spent in the car with the men, Danny recalls thinking: “Death is so close to me… I don’t want to die. I have a lot of dreams that haven’t come true yet.”

During the hour-and-a-half circling the suburbs of Boston, Danny says the bomb suspects talked of the most mundane things – girls, credit limits for students, the marvels of the Mercedes-Benz ML 350, the iPhone­ 5, whether anyone still listens to CDs.

The pair openly discussed driving to New York. Danny said at one point they spoke in a foreign language, with “Manhattan” being the only word he could make out.

Tamerlan asked Danny if the car could be driven out of state. Asked what he meant, one brother replied: “Like New York.”

When a friend tried to contact Danny, first texting him in Mandarin and then calling him, Tamerlan ordered him to reply to his questions in English, saying he was ill and spending the night with a friend.

“If you say a single word in Chinese, I will kill you right now,” Tamerlan had said.

Danny had first come to the US in 2009 for his master’s degree and graduated in January last year. After briefly returning to China to wait for a visa he returned to America two months ago.

He had told Tamerlan he was still a student and had barely been there a year.

“Oh, that’s why your English is not very good,” the brother had replied, finally figuring it out. “OK, you’re Chinese . . . I’m a Muslim.”

“Chinese are very friendly to Muslims!” Danny had said. “We are so friendly to Muslims.”

After being threatened with guns by both brothers as Tamerlan zigzagged the car through the outskirts of the city, Danny’s saving grace came in the form of a Shell petrol station.

The car was running low on fuel so Tamerlan pulled over. Having coaxed Danny’s PIN number from him earlier, Dhokhar went inside to pay with his credit card before returning after being told it was a cash only till.

Tamerlan handed him some cash, and as the younger brother disappeared inside to pay the older one put his gun in a door pocket and began to fiddle with a navigation device.

Knowing this split second was his chance, Danny unbuckled his seat belt, opened the door, jumped out and began to sprint away in a direction which would be awkward for Tamerlan to fire in.

“I was thinking I must do two things: unfasten my seat belt and open the door and jump out as quick as I can. If I didn’t make it, he would kill me right out, he would kill me right away,” Danny told the Globe. “I just did it. I did it very fast, using my left hand and right hand simultaneously to open the door, unfasten my seat belt, jump out . . . and go.”

Tamerlan had tried to grab him and failed, shouting as Danny fled.

Danny ran across the forecourt towards the lights of a nearby Mobil petrol station, where he hid in the supply room, shouting at the cashier to call the police.

The brothers took off in the Mercedes. Shortly after they would be involved in a shootout with police that killed Tamerlan and left an officer seriously injured. Dhokhar would escape badly hurt before being found almost 20 hours later hiding in boat in a back garden after a 9,000-strong manhunt across the wider city area.

Police praise Danny’s quick thinking, saying it allowed police to swiftly track the Mercedes via his iPhone, and possibly prevent an attack on New York City.

Danny’s refusal at giving his full Chinese name is telling of his humility, wary of attracting too much attention.

“I don’t want to be a famous person talking on the TV,” Danny told the Globe. “I don’t feel like a hero. . . . I was trying to save myself.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/they-talked-about-girls-credit-limits-and-whether-anyone-listens-to-cds-any-more-boston-carjack-victim-breaks-silence-over-harrowing-90-minutes-with-bomb-suspects-tamerlan-and-dzhokhar-tsarnaev-8589767.html#

The United States charged six politicians with fraud, extortion and conspiracy

 

Six Politicos Charged With Bribes & Extortion

 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) – In a lurid indictment, the United States charged six politicians with fraud, extortion and conspiracy, in the plan to run a Democratic state senator for mayor of New York City as a Republican.

Defendant New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran, accused of taking bribes, was recorded saying: “That’s politics, that’s politics, it’s all about how much. Not about whether or will, it’s about how much, and that’s our politicians in New York, they’re all like that, all like that. And they get like that because of the driver that the money does for everything else. You can’t do anything without the fucking money,” according to the 10-count indictment.

It continues: “During the meeting, the CW [cooperating witness] paid Halloran $7,500 in cash. Near the end of the conversation, Halloran remarked, ‘Money is what greases the wheels – good, bad or indifferent.'”

State Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, needed approval of three Republican Party county chairmen to run for mayor on the Republican ticket.

All the defendants are accused of paying or taking bribes to throw half a million dollars of state money at a construction project they believed was run by men who actually were an undercover FBI agent and a cooperating witness.

All the quotations and allegations that follow are from the 32-page indictment.

Indicted on charges of bribery conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion and mail fraud were state Sen. Malcolm A. Smith, a Queens Democrat who sought to run for mayor as a Republican, in pursuit of bribes;

New York City Councilman Daniel J. Halloran, a Republican from Queens;

Bronx County Republican Party Chairman Joseph J. Savino;

Queens County Republican Party Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone;

Village of Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, and its Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret.

They are accused of “three separate, but related, bribery schemes.”

Halloran is accused of taking “cash payments totaling tens of thousands of dollars” to help Smith bribe Republican Committee leaders.

Tabone and Savino are accused of taking $40,000 in cash bribes to “approve and obtain approval” for Smith to run as a Republican.

Smith, unfortunately for him, “used an undercover FBI agent (the ‘UC’) and a cooperating witness (the ‘CW’) to negotiate and pay the bribes on his behalf,” according to the indictment.

It continues: “In return for the assistance of the UC and the CW, Smith agreed to use his office as a New York state senator to help the UC and the CW obtain $500,000 in New York State transportation money for a road project associated with a real estate development project in the Village that Smith understood the UC and the CW to be developing; …

“Daniel J. Halloran, the defendant, accepted bribes in exchange for his use of his office as a New York City Council member to allocate City funds to a company he understood was controlled by the UC and the CW;

“Noramie Jasmin and Joseph Desmaret, the defendants, accepted money and property in exchange for using their official positions as mayor and deputy mayor and members of the Board of Trustees of the Village to approve the real estate project and to divert state transportation money to a company controlled by the UC and the CW.”

The indictment cites times and places where bribes were allegedly paid and accepted, and transcripts of apparently incriminating conversations.

Midway through the alleged bribery scheme, Smith was recorded telling the FBI agent: “Whatever you gave them, you know, is you know there. And trust me, they don’t, even if they screw, let’s just say they screwed you and me and said, you know, I’m not doing anything. The worst part about that is, when you screw somebody over money like that … you know, that’s the worst … you’re looking over your shoulder all the rest of your life. … You’re looking over your shoulder because, because, not only that, this world is too small. … Yeah, the world is too small. And any time you do that, imagine you came to me and said, Malcolm, they screwed me. … I got them already asking me about judgeships, because you know judgeships now come through here, it comes through the governor.” (Ellipses in indictment.)

Prosecutors seek forfeiture of assets, including proceeds of the scheme

http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/04/19/56862.htm

Research shows the New York City ban on large-sized drinks may have unintended consequences

Contact: Souri Somphanith onepress@plos.org 415-624-121-7199 Public Library of Science

People buy more soda when offered packs of smaller sizes than if buying single large drink

Restricting soda servings may induce people to buy more soda than when offered larger sized drinks

People buy larger amounts of soda when purchasing packs of smaller drinks than when offered single servings of different sized drinks, according to research published April 10 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Brent M. Wilson and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego.

The researchers tested the effects of limiting sugary drink sizes on people’s soda consumption by offering them three kinds of menus. One menu offered 16 , 24 or 32 ounce sized individual drinks, a second gave them the choices of a 16 oz. drink, or bundles of two 12 ounce drinks or two 16 ounce drinks, and a third menu offered only individual 16 oz. drinks for sale. When participants made choices from these menus as they would in a fast food restaurant, people bought more soda from the menu with packs of 12 oz. or 16 oz. drinks than they did when offered individual sodas of different sizes. Based on the choices participants made, total business revenues were also higher when menus included packs of drinks rather than only small sized drinks.

The study concludes that when drink sizes are limited, businesses may have a strong incentive to offer packs of several small drinks rather than only individual servings. The authors suggest that restricting larger servings of sugary drinks in efforts to moderate may thus have the unintended outcome of increasing soda consumption rather than reducing it.

“Our research shows the New York City ban on large-sized drinks may have unintended consequences that policy makers need to consider.  Sugary drinks are a major source of business revenue, and businesses will adjust their menus in order to maximize profits,” says Wilson.

###

Citation: Wilson BM, Stolarz-Fantino S, Fantino E (2013) Regulating the Way to Obesity: Unintended Consequences of Limiting Sugary Drink Sizes. PLOS ONE 8(4): e61081. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061081

Financial Disclosure: These authors have no support or funding to report.

Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends):  http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0061081

Disclaimer: This press release refers to upcoming articles in PLOS ONE. The releases have been provided by the article authors and/or journal staff. Any opinions expressed in these are the personal views of the contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLOS. PLOS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the release and article and your use of such information.

About PLOS ONE: PLOS ONE is the first journal of primary research from all areas of science to employ a combination of peer review and post-publication rating and commenting, to maximize the impact of every report it publishes. PLOS ONE is published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS), the open-access publisher whose goal is to make the world’s scientific and medical literature a public resource.

All works published in PLOS ONE are Open Access. Everything is immediately available—to read, download, redistribute, include in databases and otherwise use—without cost to anyone, anywhere, subject only to the condition that the original authors and source are properly attributed. For more information about PLOS ONE relevant to journalists, bloggers and press officers, including details of our press release process and our embargo policy, see the everyONE blog at http://everyone.plos.org/media.

Vial containing strain of potentially deadly virus missing from Texas laboratory

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 18:20 EST, 24  March 2013 |  UPDATED: 18:20 EST, 24 March 2013

 

A small vial containing a potentially harmful  strain of virus has gone missing from a Texas laboratory, it was revealed  today.

The vial, which contains a strain of the  Guanarito virus, had been locked in a bio-hazard freezer within the University  of Texas’ Medical Branch campus.

The strain of virus is part of a family of  diseases that caused deadly outbreaks in Venezuela and could cause hemorrhagic  fever.

k 

A small vial containing a potentially harmful strain of  virus has gone missing from a Texas laboratory (file photo)

Officials at the UTMB noticed that a single  vial of the substance was missing from the freezer early last week,  the Houston Chronicle reported.

UTMB director Scott Weaver told the paper  that Guanarito has been responsible for causing deadly diseases within the South  American country.

Government officials have made studying the  strain a priority as it can potentially be used by terrorists in a contagion  attack.

Upon discovery that one out of the five vials  at the lab was missing, officials contacted the Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention.

They said that there was no security breach  or break-in at the Texas facility, nor was there any suspicion of foul play.

k 

The vial was housed at the University of Texas Medical  Branch in Galveston; officials believe there was no foul play and that the vial  could have simply broken in the lab’s cleaning process

Officials further added that they believe the  vial could have been accidentally destroyed during the lab’s cleaning  process.

The virus is transmitted through contact with  infected Venezuelan rats, but scientists do not believe it can survive on U.S.  rats.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2298596/Vial-containing-strain-potentially-deadly-virus-missing-Texas-laboratory.html#ixzz2OVxn2OMz Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

CIA recording every Facebook Msg, Tweet…

 

 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

 

 

Just days after the CIA inked a $600-million cloud computing contract with Amazon, chief technology officer Gus Hunt admitted that the agency is trying to amass as much data as it can, hold it indefinitely and use it for analysis in the future.

 

 

 

In a Wednesday speech in New York City to an audience of technology experts assembled for GigaOM’s Structure: Data conference, Hunt admitted the intelligence community has long sought a database to store text messages, tweets, Facebook activity, videos and any other information Americans make available – intentionally or otherwise.

 

 

 

“Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up,” he said. “It’s moving faster, I would argue, than you can keep up. You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data.”

 

Hunt said CIA analysts have been at work on new algorithms that will break down vast amounts of information into easily digestible tools that allow them to closely examine trends in the public. The agency will then be able to base its covert strategies off those results.

 

 

 

“The value of any piece of technology is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time,” he added. “Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have … we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.”

 

Earlier in March Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA agreed on a contract with Amazon that will allow the government to develop a private cloud infrastructure, thereby keeping up with the same technology Hunt alluded to during his speech on Wednesday.

 

 

 

In the past the CIA’s intelligence model has relied on small, more specific cloud servers that didn’t have the capability the future service presumably will.

 

During his speech, Hunt stressed that the CIA will collect information on individuals thought to be America’s enemies, evaluate it quickly, and act on those assertions. Along with the Amazon partnership – which neither side would officially recognize to media outlets – Hunt’s speech alluded to the “underwear bomber,” who was foiled in his attempt to blow up an airliner on Christmas of 2009. A 2010 report from the White House explained how the Al Qaeda plot made it as far as it did.

 

“Though all of the information was available to all-source analysts at the CIA and the [National Counter Terrorism Center] prior to the attempted attack, the dots were never connected, and as a result, the problem appears to be more a component failure to ‘connect the dots,’ rather than a lack of information sharing,” the report read.

 

Based on Hunt’s comments it would appear that the CIA is prepared to fill in those gaps by any methods in its grasp.

 

“You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off,” Hunt said. “You’re already a walking sensor platform – you know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should.”

 

 

New York town bans unrelated roommates from living together after neighbor complains about man shacking up with his fiancee and two friends

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 11:16 EST, 1  March 2013 |  UPDATED: 12:11 EST, 1 March 2013

A town in upstate New York has has banned  unrelated roommates from living together, in a move that has outraged some  residents who claim the town is discriminating against non-traditional families

Deborah Cavallario became upset last year  that her neighbor lived with his fiancee and two friends in a house together.  She asked the city council of Watertown, NY to pass a zoning regulation that  would prevent unrelated roommates from sharing a house together.

The neighbor, 27-year-old Travis Hartman,  said he rented out the room to his friends to help cover the mortgage on his  home.

image002.pngimage001.png

Neighborly feud: Deborah Cavallario (left) complained  that her neighbor Travis Hartman (right) shared a house with his fiancee and two  friends

In a debate before the city council in late  2012, Mrs Cavallario had described Hartman as a good neighbor.

‘This is not a dirt bag kind of thing that  I’m trying to drag my neighbors through,’ she told the governing board of her  town, located 70 miles north of Syracuse.

She said she didn’t like the number of cars  parked in front of the home in her neighborhood and wanted to prevent the  neighborhood from being overrun.

Mr Hartman, a city employee, also appeared  before the council to plead his case.

‘All I’m trying to do is just go out there  and have a normal life, a quiet life,’ he pleaded.

Watertown Local gov’t: The Watertown City Council voted to approve  the ban, 3-2. Now the zoning proposal is under review of the planning committee

He said he was just starting out and needed  multiple roommates to help cover expenses.

A former neighbor of Cavallario testified at  the town hearing that when Cavallario was a young resident and moved to the  wealthy neighborhood near Thompson Blvd., there were residents that complained  that she and her husband weren’t rich enough.

‘She considered them ‘servant class,’  Watertown resident Linda Morrison told the council this unnamed resident had  said about Cavallario.

Morrison warned it was a slippery slope of  neighbors having the right to boot an unwanted resident.

The issue was passed by the city council,  3-2, and was forwarded on to the city’s planning committee.

QuaintQuaint: The quiet town of Watertown has a population of  approximately 30,000

The Mayor of Watertown, Jeffrey Graham, voted  against the measure. He told the MailOnline that it’s a slippery slope when a  town rules who can and cannot live together in a home.

‘From a public relations perspective this is  seen as a tolerance issue, not a land use issue,’ he said.

Many in the town are complaining about the  measure, including young people distraught at the financial cost of housing in a  flagging economy.

‘As a young 20-something, I am livid,’  Marissa J.G. Richardson, a resident who will soon graduate from college, wrote  to the Watertown Daily Times on February 20  about the measure.

‘If I wanted to live independently, I’d have  to get a roommate, no way around it considering how there are very few full-time  jobs (with benefits) in town.’

‘It’s very sad how because one woman feels  the need to get upset about unmarried people living together.’

Watertown has a population of approximately  30,000 residents and is located near Fort Drum.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2286618/New-York-town-bans-unrelated-roommates-living-neighbor-complains-man-shacking-fiancee-friends.html#ixzz2MMctG2E8 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Omega-3 lipid emulsions markedly protect brain after stroke in mouse study – DHA

Contact: Karin Eskenazi ket2116@columbia.edu 212-342-0508 Columbia University Medical Center

New York, NY (February 20, 2013) — Triglyceride lipid emulsions rich in an omega-3 fatty acid injected within a few hours of an ischemic stroke can decrease the amount of damaged brain tissue by 50 percent or more in mice, reports a new study by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center.

The results suggest that the emulsions may be able to reduce some of the long-term neurological and behavioral problems seen in human survivors of neonatal stroke and possibly of adult stroke, as well. The findings were published today in the journal PLoS One.

Currently, clot-busting tPA (recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator) is the only treatment shown to improve recovery from ischemic stroke. If administered soon after stroke onset, the drug can restore blood flow to the brain but may not prevent injured, but potentially salvageable, neurons from dying.

Drugs with neuroprotective qualities that can prevent the death of brain cells damaged by stroke are needed, but even after 30 years of research and more than 1000 agents tested in animals, no neuroprotectant has been found effective in people.

Omega-3 fatty acids may have more potential as neuroprotectants because they affect multiple biochemical processes in the brain that are disturbed by stroke, said the study’s senior author, Richard Deckelbaum, MD, director of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons. “The findings also may be applicable to other causes of ischemic brain injury in newborns and adults,” added co-investigator Vadim S. Ten, MD, PhD,  an associate professor of pediatrics from the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia.

The effects of the omega-3 fatty acids include increasing the production of natural neuroprotectants in the brain, reducing inflammation and cell death, and activating genes that may protect brain cells. Omega-3 fatty acids also markedly reduce the release of harmful oxidants into the brain after stroke. “In most clinical trials in the past, the compounds tested affected only one pathway. Omega-3 fatty acids, in contrast, are very bioactive molecules that target multiple mechanisms involved in brain death after stroke,” Dr. Deckelbaum said.

The study revealed that an emulsion containing only DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), but not EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), in a triglyceride molecule reduced the area of dead brain tissue by about 50 percent or more even when administered up to two hours after the stroke. Dr. Deckelbaum noted, “Since mice have a much faster metabolism than humans, longer windows of time for therapeutic effect after stroke are likely in humans.” Eight weeks after the stroke, much of the “saved” mouse brain tissue was still healthy, and no toxic effects were detected.

Studies are currently under way to test the emulsion in older mice and in mice with different types of stroke. The researchers are also conducting additional studies to identify more precisely how the omega-3 emulsion works and to optimize the emulsion in order to improve functional recovery after stroke.

After animal studies on dosages and timing, and if the emulsions continue to show promising results, Dr. Deckelbaum said, clinical trials could begin quickly, as such emulsions have already been shown to be safe in people. Similar emulsions are used in European ICUs for nutrition support, and in the US they have been found to be safe when tested in babies for their nutritive and anti-inflammatory effects.

###

The title of the paper is “n-3 Fatty Acid Rich Triglyceride Emulsions are Neuroprotective after Cerebral Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury in Neonatal Mice.” The other contributors are Jill J. Williams, Korapat Mayurasakorn, Susan J. Vannucci (Weill Cornell); Christopher Mastropietro (Wayne State); Nicolas G. Bazan (Louisiana State); and Vadim S. Ten CUMC).

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (RO1 HL040404, RO1 NS056146, and RO1 NS046741).

A U.S. patent application filed by Columbia University and naming RD as an inventor, for the therapeutic use of omega-3 diglyceride emulsions, has been allowed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The other authors declare no financial or other conflicts of interest.

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the MD degree and is among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest in the United States. Its physicians treat patients at multiple locations throughout the tri-state area, including the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia campus in Washington Heights, the new ColumbiaDoctors Midtown location at 51 W. 51st St. in Manhattan, and the new ColumbiaDoctors Riverdale practice. For more information, visit www.cumc.columbia.edu or columbiadoctors.org.

Prescription overdose rate reaches epidemic levels in NYC

Contact: Stephanie Berger sb2247@columbia.edu 212-305-4372 Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

Fatality rate for white males is 3 times higher than for blacks; Deaths from prescription opioids like Oxycontin soared to 7 times the rate of 1990

The rate of drug overdose from prescription opioids increased seven-fold in New York City over a 16-year period and was concentrated especially among white residents of the city, according to latest research at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The study is one of the earliest and most comprehensive analyses of how the opioid epidemic has affected an urban area.

The findings are published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

There are two classes of prescription opioids: analgesics, or painkillers like Oxycontin (oxycodone), and methadone, which is used to treat heroin addiction but which carries a risk of overdose. Using data from the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the period 1990-2006, the researchers examined the factors associated with death from prescription opioids versus heroin, which historically has been the most common type of opioid fatality in urban areas.

They found that the increase in the rate of drug overdose was driven entirely by analgesic overdoses, which were 2.7 per 100,000 persons in 2006 or seven times higher than in 1990. Meanwhile, methadone overdoses remained stable, and heroin overdoses declined.

Whites were much more likely to overdose on analgesics than blacks or Hispanics. By 2006, the fatality rate among white males was almost two times higher than the rate among Latinos and three times higher than the rate among blacks.

Deaths were mostly concentrated in neighborhoods with high-income inequality but lower-than-average rates of poverty.

“A possible reason for the concentration of fatalities among whites is that this group is more likely to have access to a doctor who can write prescriptions,” says Magdalena Cerdá, DrPH, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and the lead author on the study. “However, more often than not, those who get addicted have begun using the drug through illicit channels rather than through a prescription.”

Price may also play a role, since heroin costs less than analgesics. Additionally, users of prescription opioids may perceive they are safer than other drugs.

Although methadone overdose rates did not increase overall, fatalities among whites increased almost nine-fold while among blacks decreased by 2%. This shift may reflect a change in the nature of methadone use, from a treatment for heroin addiction to a treatment for chronic non-cancer pain.

The study suggests that the profile of a recreational prescription opioid user is very different from the heroin consumer, with less involvement in street-based forms of drug-trafficking and use of other drugs such as cocaine. Because of the different demographics between heroin and prescription opioid users, a different public health approach is needed to target the latter group, say the authors. “It’s a different type of drug with a different profile, and we need a different type of response to it,” said Dr. Cerdá.

Over the last 20 years, prescription drug overdoses have risen dramatically in the U. S. By 2006, overdose fatalities exceeded the number of suicides, and by 2009, they exceeded the number of motor vehicle deaths.

Most studies on recreational opioid use have focused on rural areas, which have been hit the hardest by the epidemic, but this study suggests that urban areas are contending with a growing health burden from opioid use.

The authors recommend regulating the aggressive marketing of potent drugs like Oxycontin, controlling over-prescribing of analgesics, and taking stricter measures to regulate sales. They also say there should be more law enforcement measures to identify illicit networks of distribution of these drugs and education outreach for physicians and patients.

###

The research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA06534, T32 DA007233, and K01 DA030449-01), and a grant from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control to the Columbia University Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention (1 R49 CE002096-01).

About Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

Founded in 1922, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting New Yorkers, the nation and the world. The Mailman School is the third largest recipient of NIH grants among schools of public health. Its over 450 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as preventing infectious and chronic diseases, environmental health, maternal and child health, health policy, climate change & health, and public health preparedness. It is a leader in public health education with over 1,300 graduate students from more than 40 nations pursuing a variety of master’s and doctoral degree programs. The Mailman School is also home to numerous world-renowned research centers including the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP), the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, and the Center for Infection and Immunity. For more information, please visit www.mailman.columbia.edu

World jobless number seen rising to record high: ILO

22    Jan   2013
GENEVA (AFP)

Five years after the global financial crisis hit, unemployment numbers continue to soar, with a record 202 million people worldwide expected to be officially jobless this year, the International Labour Organization said Tuesday.

Last year saw a clear resurgence of the crisis, the UN’s labour body said in its annual report on global employment trends, pointing out that jobless numbers rose by four million to 197 million in 2012.

“This figure means that today there are 28 million more unemployed people around the world than they were in 2007,” before the crisis, ILO chief Guy Ryder told reporters in Geneva Monday.

Last year’s unemployment number inched up towards the all-time record of 199 million reached at the epicentre of the crisis in 2009, but “we will beat that record in 2013”, an ILO expert told AFP.

In fact, another 5.1 million people are expected to join the jobless ranks this year, bringing the total number to more than 202 million.

That number is expected to rise by another three million in 2014 and should hit 210.6 million by 2017, ILO said, adding that the global unemployment rate was expected to stay steady at 6.0 percent until then.

People stand in a line at a job fair held at the Jewish Community Center in New York City on March 21, 2012. Five years after the global financial crisis hit, unemployment numbers continue to soar, with a record 202 million people worldwide expected to be officially jobless this year, the International Labour Organization said Tuesday.

“The trends are very much (going) in the wrong direction,” Ryder said, lamenting a “noticable worsening of the unemployment situation around the world”.

The impact of the economic crises on the global labour market had in many cases been worsened by incoherence between monetary and fiscal policies and “a piecemeal approach” to the problems, especially in the eurozone, the report said.

“Weakened by faltering aggregate demand, the labour market has been further hit by fiscal austerity programmes in a number of countries, which often involved direct cutbacks in employment and wages,” it said.

At the same time, “labour force participation has fallen dramatically … masking the true extent of the jobs crisis,” ILO said, pointing out that 39 million people dropped out of the labour market altogether last year as job prospects became increasingly gloomy.

Young people have been especially hard-hit by the expanding jobless trend, the UN agency said, pointing out that there are currently some 73.8 million youths, aged 15 to 24, without work worldwide.

“And the slowdown in economic activity is likely to push another half million into unemployment by 2014,” the report cautioned.

Last year, the global youth unemployment rate stood at 12.6 percent, and it was expected to rise to 12.9 percent by 2017, according to ILO.

“The crisis has dramatically diminished the labour market prospects for young people, as many experience long-term unemployment right from the start of their labour market entry,” the UN agency said, adding that it had never seen anything similar during previous downturns.

Today, around 35 percent of all young people on the dole in advanced economies have been out of work for six months or longer, up from just 28.5 percent in 2007, the report showed.

http://www.afp.com/en/news/topstories/world-jobless-number-seen-rising-record-high-ilo

 

Washington police accused of ‘disturbing’ failures to investigate rape : “37% of reports of serious sexual assault and rape were not being followed up on”

Human Rights Watch to publish report that shows some victims experience fresh trauma from police neglect in rape cases

A female rape victim receives counselling

The Women’s Law Project said the situation is ‘a national crisis requiring federal action’. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt/Alamy

Police in Washington DC frequently fail to investigate reports of rape, and treat victims so dismissively at times, that they experience fresh trauma while the chances of the perpetrator being caught are undermined, according to a comprehensive report due out next week.

Campaign group Human Rights Watch is expected to uncover “disturbing evidence of police failure” in a 200-plus page report after a two-year investigation into law enforcement practices in the US capital.

But although shocking, the situation in Washington is far from isolated. There are widespread examples across the US of the police routinely neglecting crimes of sexual violence and refusing to believe victims.

“This is a national crisis requiring federal action. We need a paradigm shift in police culture, because rapes and sexual assaults are being swept under the rug, and too many victims are being bullied,” said Carol Tracy of the Women’s Law Project, a legal advocacy group that specialises in sexual violence cases.

Human Rights Watch began looking into the situation in Washington after discovering evidence that the city’s Metropolitan police department (MPD) were refusing even to document a significant number of reports of sexual assaults coming in from the central hospital where victims are treated.

Full details and statistics will be disclosed by HRW in its final report, due to be published on 24 January.

But in a preliminary letter to the police department, HRW initially estimated that more than 37% of reports of serious sexual assault and rape were not being followed up on by investigators. Sara Darehshori, the senior counsel at HRW and author of the report, told the Guardian: “There are some good detectives. But some victims’ stories are appalling. And a significant number of cases are falling through the cracks entirely.”

The MPD has disputed the report’s initial findings, but declared it is committed to improvements. Human Rights Watch will pledge to work with them. Washington’s problems are serious but “it isn’t unique,” said Darehshori.

The Human Rights Watch report focuses solely on Washington, but in many cities across the US, the police record an alarming proportion of reported rapes as “unfounded” cases, meaning they decide the crime did not happen and the report was false or baseless.

The national average is 6%. But according to the latest internal FBI statistics, Pittsburgh shelves 34% of cases in this way, Atlanta 24% , Dallas 13%, Jersey City 18%, Lincoln, Nebraska, 19%, San Bernadino 34%, Durham, North Carolina, 31%. Chicago does not declare annual “unfounded” statistics but its average from 2000 to 2009 was 17%.

In New York City, the number of recorded rapes declined by 35.7% between 2005 and 2009. But over that period the number of sex crimes labelled as mere misdemeanors rose by 6%. Advocacy groups also expressed concern about high rates of rape cases being dropped as unfounded and reports of victims being treated dismissively. All this prompted police commissioner Ray Kelly in 2010 to form a task force to improve the investigation and victim interview procedures in sexual assault cases. Reforms are ongoing.

The New Orleans police department is under federal review for shelving 50% of sex attack cases as “non-criminal complaints”.

“Any figure over 10% is alarming and should be looked into,” said Joanne Archambault, a retired San Diego police sergeant who runs the international pressure group End Violence Against Women and trains police across the nation in handling sexual assault.

At the other end of the scale, some figures appear too low, in a national picture of confusion and inconsistency. Houston police department only declares 2% of its rape cases to be “unfounded”.

“Women don’t lie any more often in Pittsburgh than they do in Houston,” said Dr Dean Kilpatrick, director of the national crime victims research and treatment centre and a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina. He said many departments’ records were “outrageous”.

Experts agree that an average of 5% of rapes are falsified. “This issue of investigators not believing large numbers of victims, then threatening them or arresting them is a very serious national problem,” said Archambault.

Sara Reedy, 27, last year won a $1.5m settlement from the Cranberry police near Pittsburgh after they did not believe she had been raped at gunpoint and arrested her. She was about to stand trial when her perpetrator was caught elsewhere.

Sara Reedy at home in Butler, Pennsylvania

Sara Reedy, wrongfully arrested and charged with theft, false reporting, has won a $1.5m police settlement. Photograph: Cory MortonMeanwhile many cities report backlogs of thousands of untested forensic evidence, including Houston, Detroit, Los Angeles County, San Antonio, Phoenix and Albuquerque.Former Miss Arizona Hilary Peele is a rape victim-turned advocate after her rape kit – the evidence collected by medical professionals after her ordeal – was neglected following an attack in her apartment in 2004. “It’s hard enough to report these crimes in the first place,” she said. Police didn’t test her kit for DNA until she had called every two weeks for eight months.In Cleveland, Ohio, serial rapist and murderer Anthony Sowell was caught in 2011 after killing 11 women, six of them after a rape kit was disregarded. Milwaukee serial rapist Gregory Below was finally sentenced to 350 years in 2011, but three of his victims said the police dismissed their cases initially.

Across the US, five rapes are committed for every murder. But in concerns about under-recording, in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Newark, New Jersey, there are more murders than rapes, according to annual crime figures, while the numbers are almost the same in Detroit, Baltimore, and Washington DC.

In signs of a turning point in attitudes, however, some cities are taking strong action.

A decade of comprehensive reform in Philadelphia, where the sex crimes department was once nicknamed “the lying bitches unit”, and Austin, Texas, have transformed their police units into models of best practice. Baltimore is undertaking serious reforms and Kansas City is regarded as a good example of policing.

Philadelphia and Austin police make building trusting relationships with victims and working closely with rape crisis centres and the community a top priority.  Philadelphia allows annual scrutiny of its records by external experts. Austin pairs detectives and prosecutors to address grand juries, especially on the most common but most difficult-to-investigate cases involving ‘non-strangers’ or alcohol and drugs.

Carol Tracy of the Women’s Law Project concluded: “We are looking at a chronic and systemic failure to investigate sex crimes properly. But we are also seeing a way forward, a growing acknowledgement of the problems, and no excuse not to undertake serious reform.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/17/washington-police-accused-rape-failures

BPA linked to potential adverse effects on heart and kidneys

Contact: Lorinda Klein lorindaann.klein@nyumc.org 212-404-3533 NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine

NEW YORK (January 9, 2013) – Exposure to a chemical once used widely in plastic bottles and still found in aluminum cans appears to be associated with a biomarker for higher risk of heart and kidney disease in children and adolescents, according to an analysis of national survey data by NYU School of Medicine researchers published in the January 9, 2013, online issue of Kidney International, a Nature publication.

Laboratory studies suggest that even low levels of bisphenol A (BPA) like the ones identified in this national survey of children and adolescents increase oxidative stress and inflammation that promotes protein leakage into the urine, which is a biomarker for early renal impairment and future risk of developing coronary heart disease, according to Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine, and population health, and co-lead author of the study.

The study adds to the growing concerns about BPA, which was recently banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but is still used as an internal coating for aluminum cans. Manufacturers say the chemical provides an antiseptic function, but studies have shown the chemical disrupts multiple mechanisms of human metabolism.

“While our cross-sectional study cannot definitively confirm that BPA contributes to heart disease or kidney dysfunction in children, together with our previous study of BPA and obesity, this new data adds to already existing concerns about BPA as a contributor to cardiovascular risk in children and adolescents,” says Dr. Trasande. “It further supports the call to limit exposure of BPA in this country, especially in children,” he says. “Removing it from aluminum cans is probably one of the best ways we can limit exposure. There are alternatives that manufacturers can use to line aluminum cans.”

Children in the United States are exposed to the chemical early in life and surveys have shown that by age six nearly 92 percent of children have some trace of BPA in their urine. Its use has been banned in the European Union and Canada, and in the United States for use in baby bottles and sippy cups. Last September Dr. Trasande’s group published a study showing a significant association between obesity and children and adolescents with higher concentrations of BPA in their urine in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the new study Dr. Trasande, Teresa Attina, MD, PhD, MPH, and Howard Trachtman, MD, of NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, analyzed data on 710 children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 collected in a national survey to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The data was from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which contained measurements on urinary BPA, and a protein called albumin, which is not normally found in urine because the spaces in the glomerular membrane of the kidney are too small to allow protein molecules to escape. If there is membrane damage as in some kidney diseases like glomerulonephritis, albumin can leak through into the urine.

The researchers controlled for risk factors such as hypertension, insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol, exposure to tobacco smoke, race/ethnicity, caregiver education, poverty to income ratio, age, weight and gender in these children.  Children with the highest amount of BPA in their urine, compared to those with the lowest amount, had a higher albumin to creatinine ratio, a potential early marker of renal impairment and future risk of developing coronary heart disease, according to the study.

“While we excluded children with pre-existing kidney disease from our analysis, I am concerned that BPA exposure may have even greater effects on children with kidney disease,” says Dr. Trachtman, co-lead author of the study. “Because their kidneys are already working harder to compensate and have limited functional reserve, they may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of environmental toxins. We clearly need further study of BPA exposure and its effects on the kidney both in healthy children and in children who have pre-existing kidney disease.”

The researchers concluded their analysis by emphasizing the need for further research on environmental chemicals and cardiovascular disease, noting that further study may well transform our understanding “from one that focuses on dietary risks to an approach that recognizes the role of environmental chemical factors that may independently impart the risk of … future cardiovascular disease.”

###

 

Authors: Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, associate professor, Departments of Pediatrics, Environmental Medicine and Population Health, NYU School of Medicine, associate professor of health policy, NYU Wagner School of Public Service and associate professor of public health, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development; Teresa Attina, MD, PhD, Departments of Pediatrics, and Medicine; and Howard Trachtman, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics.

Funding: Funding was provided by KiDS of NYU.

Disclosure:  All authors have declared no competing interests.

About NYU School of Medicine:

NYU School of Medicine is one of the nation’s preeminent academic institutions dedicated to achieving world class medical educational excellence. For 172 years, NYU School of Medicine has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history and enrich the lives of countless people. An integral part of NYU Langone Medical Center, the School of Medicine at its core is committed to improving the human condition through medical education, scientific research and direct patient care.  The School also maintains academic affiliations with area hospitals, including Bellevue Hospital Center, one of the nation’s finest municipal hospitals where its students, residents and faculty provide the clinical and emergency care to New York City’s diverse population.

NYC mayor pins crime rate spike on iPhone, iPad theft

 

If it weren’t for Apple kit, crime would be down

By Neil McAllister in San Francisco

Posted in Security, 29th December 2012 06:31 GMT

Free whitepaper – Media and Entertainment Goes Digital

Major crime is on the rise in New York City, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the increase is due entirely to thefts of Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices, which he says are inordinately attractive to thieves.

As reported [1] by The New York Times, Bloomberg raised the issue during Friday’s edition of his weekly morning broadcast [2] with John Gambling on WOR radio, during which he discusses current issues in the city.

According to Bloomberg, the New York Police Department’s annual crime index – a composite statistic that tallies such felonies as murder, grand larceny, and robbery – recorded 3,484 more major crimes in 2012 than in the previous year, an increase of 3.3 per cent.

Take thefts of iPhones and iPads out of the mix, however, and you end up with a rather different picture. 3,890 more Apple products were snatched during the year than in 2011, more than enough to account for the entire increase in overall crime.

“If you just took away the jump in Apple, we’d be down for the year,” Marc La Vorgna, the mayor’s press secretary, told the Times.

Most other types of crime in the city are indeed on the decline, and have been since 1991. For example, in 1990 the NYPD recorded 2,245 homicides. The current tally for this year is 414, putting New York on track to record its lowest murder rate since it first began compiling statistics in 1963.

On his radio program, Bloomberg said he had not broken out thefts of devices made by Apple’s competitors, such as Samsung and HTC, but he observed that iPhones and iPads seemed to be particular targets for thieves in New York. The rate of such thefts is increasing ten times faster [3] than that of other types of crime.

Similar trends have been observed in cities across the nation. In San Francisco, home of The Reg‘s West Coast aerie, thefts of Apple products accounted for nearly half [4] of all robberies in 2012. Cell phone robberies were also up in St. Louis, where Mayor Francis Slay observed [5] in September, “It will take a national solution to make this problem go away.”

While federal legislation to prevent cell phone theft does not yet appear to be in the offing, however, Mayor Bloomberg did have some advice for iDevice owners in New York.

“Put it in a pocket in sort of a more body-fitting, tighter clothes, that you can feel if it was – if somebody put their hand in your pocket, not just an outside coat pocket,” he said. ®

88th Health Research Report 21 AUG 2010 – Reconstruction

store logo

Health Research Report

88th Issue 31 AUG 2010

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm 

www.facebook.com/engineeringevil

www.engineeringevil.com  

www.healthresearchreport.me 

120922_0002

 

Editors Top Five:

1. Women who drink beer more likely to develop psoriasis

2. Pharmaceuticals: A market for producing ‘lemons’ and serious harm

3. B vitamins and the aging brain examined

4. THL Recommends Suspension of H1N1 Vaccinations

5. Kudzu Vine Extract May Treat Alcoholism, Cocaine Addiction

In this Issue:

1. Women who drink beer more likely to develop psoriasis

2. Amphetamine use increases risk of aortic tears in young adults, UT Southwestern researchers report

3. Pharmaceuticals: A market for producing ‘lemons’ and serious harm

4. Nearly 1 million children potentially misdiagnosed with ADHD

5. B vitamins and the aging brain examined

6. Prenatal exposure to pesticides linked to attention problems

7. Bottled tea beverages may contain fewer polyphenols than brewed tea

8. Eating berries may activate the brain’s natural housekeeper for healthy aging

9. Vitamin D found to influence over 200 genes, highlighting links to disease

10. Diabetes can cause a sugar coating that smothers body’s immune defences

11. Polyphenol antioxidants inhibit iron absorption

12. A case for exercising

13. Researchers study cinnamon extracts

14. Salmon baby food? Babies need omega-3s and a taste for fish, scientist says

15. Atrazine causes prostate inflammation in male rats and delays puberty

16. Grapefruit’s bitter taste holds a sweet promise for diabetes therapy

17. Exposure to low doses of BPA alters gene expression in the fetal mouse ovary

18. Plantain and broccoli fibers may block key stage in Crohn’s disease development

19. Vitamin D may treat and prevent allergic reaction to mold in cystic fibrosis patients

20. Black rice rivals pricey blueberries as source of healthful antioxidants

21. Supplement produces a ‘striking’ endurance boost

22. Kudzu Vine Extract May Treat Alcoholism, Cocaine Addiction

23. THL Recommends Suspension of H1N1 Vaccinations

Public release date: 16-Aug-2010

Women who drink beer more likely to develop psoriasis

Regular beer—but not light beer or other types of alcohol—appears to be associated with an increased risk of developing psoriasis, according to a report posted online today that will be published in the December print issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

“Psoriasis is a common immune-mediated skin disease,” the authors write as background information in the article. “The association between alcohol consumption and increased risk of psoriasis onset and psoriasis worsening has long been suspected. For example, individuals with psoriasis drink more alcohol than individuals without psoriasis, and alcohol intake may exacerbate psoriasis severity.”

For other diseases, type of alcoholic beverage has been shown to influence risk—for instance, beer confers a larger risk for gout than wine or spirits. To evaluate the association between different types of alcohol and psoriasis risk, Abrar A. Qureshi, M.D., M.P.H., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, assessed data from 82,869 women who were age 27 to 44 years in 1991. The women, participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II, reported the amount and type of alcohol they consumed on biennial questionnaires. They also reported whether they had received a diagnosis of psoriasis.

Through 2005, 1,150 cases of psoriasis developed, 1,069 of which were used for analysis. Compared with women who did not drink alcohol, the risk of psoriasis was 72 percent greater among women who had an average of 2.3 drinks per week or more. When beverages were assessed by type, there was an association between non-light beer drinking and psoriasis, such that women who drank five or more beers per week had a risk for the condition that was 1.8 times higher. Light beer, red wine, white wine and liquor were not associated with psoriasis risk.

When only confirmed psoriasis cases—those in which women provided more details about their condition on a seven-item self-assessment—were considered, the risk for psoriasis was 2.3 times higher for women who drank five or more beers per week than women who did not drink beer.

“Non-light beer was the only alcoholic beverage that increased the risk for psoriasis, suggesting that certain non-alcoholic components of beer, which are not found in wine or liquor, may play an important role in new-onset psoriasis,” the authors write. “One of these components may be the starch source used in making beer. Beer is one of the few non-distilled alcoholic beverages that use a starch source for fermentation, which is commonly barley.” Barley and other starches contain gluten, to which some individuals with psoriasis show a sensitivity. Lower amounts of grain are used to make light beer as compared with non-light beer, potentially explaining why light beer was not associated with psoriasis risk, they note.

“Women with a high risk of psoriasis may consider avoiding higher intake of non-light beer,” the authors conclude. “We suggest conducting further investigations into the potential mechanisms of non-light beer inducing new-onset psoriasis.”

 

Public release date: 16-Aug-2010

Amphetamine use increases risk of aortic tears in young adults, UT Southwestern researchers report

DALLAS – Aug. 17, 2010 – Young adults who abuse amphetamines may be at greater risk of suffering a tear in the main artery leading from the heart, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

In the study, published in the August issue of American Heart Journal, researchers examined medical records from nearly 31 million people between 18 and 49 years old hospitalized from 1995 to 2007 and found that amphetamine abuse was associated with a threefold increase in the odds of aortic dissection.

 

“Aortic dissection in young people is rare, but it frequently can lead to death,” said Dr. Arthur Westover, assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and the study’s lead author. “Doctors should screen young adults with aortic dissection for amphetamine abuse in searching for a potential cause.”

Individual case reports have suggested a link between aortic dissection and amphetamine abuse, but this is believed to be the first epidemiological study of a large group of people on the issue, Dr. Westover said.

The aorta stems from the heart and is the largest artery in the body. Dissection occurs when a tear develops in the inner layer of the aorta, allowing blood to separate, or dissect. The blood can eventually cause a rupture in the aortic wall, often resulting in death.

Amphetamines are stimulants that can be used to treat medical conditions such as attention-deficit disorder. They also are abused illegally as recreational drugs or performance enhancers. Researchers note that the abuse of amphetamines – including methamphetamines, or “meth” – significantly increased among hospitalized young adults from 1995 to 2007.

Amphetamines act on the body in similar ways as cocaine, which also is associated with adverse effects on the heart. Medically, amphetamines are known to increase blood pressure, and hypertension is a known trigger of aortic dissection.

Researchers also analyzed medical data for more than 49 million people 50 years or older from the same time period.

“We found that the frequency of aortic dissection is increasing in young adults but not older adults,” Dr. Westover said. “It is not yet clear why.”

Researchers noted that in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington state, the percentage of aortic dissection cases linked to amphetamine abuse among young adults during the study period was three times greater than the national figure.

“This illustrates that in areas where amphetamine abuse is more common, there are greater public health consequences,” Dr. Westover said.

Dr. Westover’s research previously has linked amphetamine abuse to stroke and heart attack.

“This adds to our growing understanding of the cardiovascular risks associated with abuse of amphetamines,” said Dr. Paul Nakonezny, associate professor of clinical sciences and psychiatry at UT Southwestern and an author on the paper.

Public release date: 17-Aug-2010

Pharmaceuticals: A market for producing ‘lemons’ and serious harm

Incentives and protections for industry encourage development of many drugs with few new benefits over existing pharmaceuticals, but with risk of serious harm to users

ATLANTA — The pharmaceutical industry is a “market for lemons,” a market in which the seller knows much more than the buyer about the product and can profit from selling products less effective and less safe than consumers are led to believe, according to an analysis that will be presented at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

“Sometimes drug companies hide or downplay information about serious side effects of new drugs and overstate the drugs’ benefits,” said Donald Light, the sociologist who authored the study and who is a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. “Then, they spend two to three times more on marketing than on research to persuade doctors to prescribe these new drugs. Doctors may get misleading information and then misinform patients about the risks of a new drug. It’s really a two-tier market for lemons.”

Three reasons why the pharmaceutical market produces “lemons” are: Having companies in charge of testing new drugs, providing firewalls of legal protection behind which information about harms or effectiveness can be hidden, and the relatively low bar set for drug efficacy in order for a new drug to be approved, Light said.

According to his study, independent reviewers found that about 85 percent of new drugs offer few if any new benefits. Yet, toxic side effects or misuse of prescription drugs now make prescription drugs a significant cause of death in the United States.

 

Light’s paper, “Pharmaceuticals: A Two-Tier Market for Producing ‘Lemons’ and Serious Harm,” is an institutional analysis of the pharmaceutical industry and how it works based on a range of independent sources and studies, including the Canadian Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, the Food and Drug Administration, and Prescrire International.

The foundation for the paper is the work Light did for a forthcoming book he edited, titled The Risk of Prescription Drugs, which is scheduled for publication this fall by Columbia University Press.

In both his paper and his book, Light describes the “Risk Proliferation Syndrome” that is maximizing the number of patients exposed to new drugs that have relatively low efficacy and effectiveness but have greater risk of adverse side effects. Building on clinical trials designed to minimize evidence of harm and published literature that emphasizes a drug’s advantages, companies launch massive campaigns to sell it, when a controlled, limited launch would allow evidence to be gathered about the drug’s effects. Companies recruit leading clinicians to try using the drug for conditions other than those for which it is approved and to promote such off-label or unapproved uses. Physicians inadvertently become “double agents” — promoters of the new drug, yet trusted stewards of patients’ well-being, said Light. When patients complain of adverse reactions, studies show their doctors are likely to discount or dismiss them, according to Light.

Despite the extensive requirements for testing the efficacy and safety of each new drug, companies “swamp the regulator” with large numbers of incomplete, partial, substandard clinical trials, Light said. For example, in one study of 111 final applications for approval, 42% lacked adequately randomized trials, 40% had flawed testing of dosages, 39% lacked evidence of clinical efficacy, and 49% raised concerns about serious adverse side effects, said Light.

“Just recently, major reports have come out about biased, poor trials for Avandia and Avastin,” Light said, who noted that orphan drugs are tested even less well.

“The result is that drugs get approved without anyone being able to know how effective they really are or how much serious harm they will cause,” Light said. The companies control the making of scientific knowledge and then control which findings will go to the FDA or be published.

“A few basic changes could improve the quality of trials and evidence about the real risks and benefits of new drugs,” Light said. “We could also increase the percentage of new drugs that are really better for patients.

Public release date: 17-Aug-2010

 

Nearly 1 million children potentially misdiagnosed with ADHD

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Nearly 1 million children in the United States are potentially misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder simply because they are the youngest – and most immature – in their kindergarten class, according to new research by a Michigan State University economist.

These children are significantly more likely than their older classmates to be prescribed behavior-modifying stimulants such as Ritalin, said Todd Elder, whose study will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Health Economics.

Such inappropriate treatment is particularly worrisome because of the unknown impacts of long-term stimulant use on children’s health, Elder said. It also wastes an estimated $320 million-$500 million a year on unnecessary medication – some $80 million-$90 million of it paid by Medicaid, he said.

Elder said the “smoking gun” of the study is that ADHD diagnoses depend on a child’s age relative to classmates and the teacher’s perceptions of whether the child has symptoms.

“If a child is behaving poorly, if he’s inattentive, if he can’t sit still, it may simply be because he’s 5 and the other kids are 6,” said Elder, assistant professor of economics. “There’s a big difference between a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old, and teachers and medical practitioners need to take that into account when evaluating whether children have ADHD.”

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder for kids in the United States, with at least 4.5 million diagnoses among children under age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, there are no neurological markers for ADHD (such as a blood test), and experts disagree on its prevalence, fueling intense public debate about whether ADHD is under-diagnosed or over-diagnosed, Elder said.

Using a sample of nearly 12,000 children, Elder examined the difference in ADHD diagnosis and medication rates between the youngest and oldest children in a grade. The data is from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort, which is funded by the National Center for Education Statistics.

According to Elder’s study, the youngest kindergartners were 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the oldest children in the same grade. Similarly, when that group of classmates reached the fifth and eighth grades, the youngest were more than twice as likely to be prescribed stimulants.

Overall, the study found that about 20 percent – or 900,000 – of the 4.5 million children currently identified as having ADHD likely have been misdiagnosed.

Elder used the students’ birth dates and the states’ kindergarten eligibility cutoff dates to determine the youngest and oldest students in a grade. The most popular cutoff date in the nation is Sept. 1, with 15 states mandating that children must turn 5 on or before that date to attend kindergarten.

The results – both from individual states and when compared across states – were definitive. For instance, in Michigan – where the kindergarten cutoff date is Dec. 1 – students born Dec. 1 had much higher rates of ADHD than children born Dec. 2. (The students born Dec. 1 were the youngest in their grade; the students born Dec. 2 enrolled a year later and were the oldest in their grade.)

Thus, even though the students were a single day apart in age, they were assessed differently simply because they were compared against classmates of a different age set, Elder said.

In another example, August-born kindergartners in Illinois were much more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than Michigan kindergartners born in August of the same year as their Illinois counterparts. That’s because Illinois’ kindergarten cutoff date is Sept. 1, meaning those August-born children were the youngest in their grade, whereas the Michigan students were not.

According to the study, a diagnosis of ADHD requires evidence of multiple symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity, with these symptoms persisting for six or more months – and in at least two settings – before the age of seven. The settings include home and school.

Although teachers cannot diagnose ADHD, their opinions are instrumental in decisions to send a child to be evaluated by a mental health professional, Elder said.

“Many ADHD diagnoses may be driven by teachers’ perceptions of poor behavior among the youngest children in a kindergarten classroom,” he said. “But these ‘symptoms’ may merely reflect emotional or intellectual immaturity among the youngest students.”

The paper will be published in the Journal of Health Economics in conjunction with a related paper by researchers at North Carolina State University, Notre Dame and the University of Minnesota that arrives at similar conclusions as the result of a separate study.

Public release date: 17-Aug-2010

B vitamins and the aging brain examined

B vitamins–B-6, B-12 and folate–all nourish the brain. But much remains to be discovered about the relation between these essential nutrients and our brainpower.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutritionist Lindsay H. Allen has collaborated in ongoing research that has taken a closer look at the role these nutrients may play in preventing decline in brain function. The investigations, led by Mary N. Haan of the University of California-San Francisco, are part of the multiyear Sacramento (Calif.) Area Latino Study on Aging, or “SALSA.” Begun in 1996, the study attracted nearly 1,800 Hispanic seniors, ages 60 to 101, as volunteers.

According to Allen, the research is needed because many studies of B vitamins and brain function have given inconsistent or conflicting results. Allen is director of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, Calif. ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA. Scientists from the University of California-Davis (UCD) and the UCD Medical Center also are collaborating in the research.

An analysis of volunteers’ blood samples showed that lower levels of one B vitamin, folate, were associated with symptoms of dementia and poor brain function, also called “cognitive decline,” as determined by standard tests of memory and other factors. The impairments were detectable even though less than 1 percent of the volunteers were actually deficient in folate.

 

In women, but not men, low levels of folate were associated with symptoms of depression. In fact, female volunteers whose plasma folate levels were in the lowest third were more than twice as likely to have symptoms of depression as volunteers in the highest third. That finding provided new evidence of an association between lower blood folate and depression. Depression is already known to affect brain function.

In research with vitamin B-12, the SALSA team determined that a protein known as holoTC, short for holotranscobalamin, might be key to a new approach for detecting cognitive decline earlier and more accurately.

Public release date: 19-Aug-2010

Prenatal exposure to pesticides linked to attention problems

Berkeley — Children who were exposed to organophosphate pesticides while still in their mother’s womb were more likely to develop attention disorders years later, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

The new findings, to be published Aug. 19 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), are the first to examine the influence of prenatal organophosphate exposure on the later development of attention problems. The researchers found that prenatal levels of organophosphate metabolites were significantly linked to attention problems at age 5, with the effects apparently stronger among boys.

Earlier this year, a different study by researchers at Harvard University associated greater exposure to organophosphate pesticides in school-aged children with higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms.

“These studies provide a growing body of evidence that organophosphate pesticide exposure can impact human neurodevelopment, particularly among children,” said the study’s principal investigator, Brenda Eskenazi, UC Berkeley professor of epidemiology and of maternal and child health. “We were especially interested in prenatal exposure because that is the period when a baby’s nervous system is developing the most.”

The study follows more than 300 children participating in the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS), a longitudinal study led by Eskenazi that examines environmental exposures and reproductive health. Because the mothers and children in the study are Mexican-Americans living in an agricultural community, their exposure to pesticides is likely higher and more chronic, on average, than that of the general U.S. population.

Yet, the researchers pointed out that the pesticides they examined are widely used, and that the results from this study are a red flag that warrants precautionary measures.

“It’s known that food is a significant source of pesticide exposure among the general population,” said Eskenazi. “I would recommend thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before eating them, especially if you’re pregnant.”

 

Organophosphate pesticides act by disrupting neurotransmitters, particularly acetylcholine, which plays an important role in sustaining attention and short-term memory.

“Given that these compounds are designed to attack the nervous system of organisms, there is reason to be cautious, especially in situations where exposure may coincide with critical periods of fetal and child development,” said study lead author Amy Marks, who was an analyst at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health at the time of the study.

Many of these same UC Berkeley researchers are also finding that children with certain genetic traits may be at greater risk, a finding that is being published the same day in a separate EHP paper. That study found that 2-year-olds with lower levels of paraoxonase 1 (PON1), an enzyme that breaks down the toxic metabolites of organophosphate pesticides, had more neurodevelopmental delays than those with higher levels of the enzyme. The authors suggest that people with certain PON1 genotypes could be particularly vulnerable to pesticide exposure.

In the study on attention problems, researchers tested for six metabolites of organophosphate pesticides in mothers twice during pregnancy and in the children several times after birth. Together, the metabolites represent the breakdown products of about 80 percent of all the organophosphate pesticides used in the Salinas Valley.

The researchers then evaluated the children at age 3.5 and 5 years for symptoms of attention disorders and ADHD using maternal reports of child behavior, performance on standardized computer tests, and behavior ratings from examiners. They controlled for potentially confounding factors such as birthweight, lead exposure and breastfeeding.

Each tenfold increase in prenatal pesticide metabolites was linked to having five times the odds of scoring high on the computerized tests at age 5, suggesting a greater likelihood of a child having clinical ADHD. The effect appeared to be stronger for boys than for girls.

While a positive link between prenatal pesticide exposure and attention problems was seen for 3.5-year-olds, it was not statistically significant, a finding that did not surprise the researchers.

“Symptoms of attention disorders are harder to recognize in toddlers, since kids at that age are not expected to sit down for significant lengths of time,” said Marks. “Diagnoses of ADHD often occur after a child enters school.”

The UC Berkeley researchers are continuing to follow the children in the CHAMACOS study as they get older, and expect to present more results in the years to come.

The findings add to the list of chemical assaults that have been linked to ADHD in recent years. In addition to pesticides, studies have found associations with exposure to lead and to phthalates, which are commonly used in toys and plastics.

“High levels of the symptoms of ADHD by age 5 are a major contributor to learning and achievement problems in school, accidental injuries at home and in the neighborhood, and a host of problems in peer relationships and other essential competencies,” said UC Berkeley psychology professor Stephen Hinshaw, one of the country’s leading experts on ADHD, who was not part of this study. “Finding preventable risk factors is therefore a major public health concern.”

 

Public release date: 22-Aug-2010

Bottled tea beverages may contain fewer polyphenols than brewed tea

BOSTON, Aug. 22, 2010 — The first measurements of healthful antioxidant levels in commercial bottled tea beverages has concluded that health-conscious consumers may not be getting what they pay for: healthful doses of those antioxidants, or “poylphenols,” that may ward off a range of diseases.

Scientists reported here today at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) that many of the increasingly popular beverages included in their study, beverages that account for $1 billion in annual sales in the United States alone, contain fewer polyphenols than a single cup of home-brewed green or black tea. Some contain such small amounts that consumers would have to drink 20 bottles to get the polyphenols present in one cup of tea.

“Consumers understand very well the concept of the health benefits from drinking tea or consuming other tea products,” said Shiming Li, Ph.D., who reported on the new study with Professor Chi-Tang Ho and his colleagues. “However, there is a huge gap between the perception that tea consumption is healthy and the actual amount of the healthful nutrients — polyphenols — found in bottled tea beverages. Our analysis of tea beverages found that the polyphenol content is extremely low.”

Li pointed out that in addition to the low polyphenol content, bottled commercial tea contains other substances, including large amounts of sugar and the accompanying calories that health-conscious consumers may be trying to avoid. He is an analytical and natural product chemist at WellGen, Inc., a biotechnology company in North Brunswick, N.J., that discovers and develops medical foods for patients with diseases, including a proprietary black tea product that will be marketed for its anti-inflammatory benefits, which are due in part to a high polyphenol content.

Li and colleagues measured the level of polyphenols — a group of natural antioxidants linked to anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties — of six brands of tea purchased from supermarkets. Half of them contained what Li characterized as “virtually no” antioxidants. The rest had small amounts of polyphenols that Li said probably would carry little health benefit, especially when considering the high sugar intake from tea beverages.

“Someone would have to drink bottle after bottle of these teas in some cases to receive health benefits,” he said. “I was surprised at the low polyphenol content. I didn’t expect it to be at such a low level.”

The six teas Li analyzed contained 81, 43, 40, 13, 4, and 3 milligrams (mg.) of polyphenols per 16-ounce bottle. One average cup of home-brewed green or black tea, which costs only a few cents, contains 50-150 mg. of polyphenols.

After water, tea is the world’s most widely consumed beverage. Tea sales in the United States have quadrupled since 1990 and now total about $7 billion annually. The major reason: Scientific evidence that the polyphenols and other antioxidants in tea may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other afflictions.

Li said that some manufacturers do list polyphenol content on the bottle label. But the amounts may be incorrect because there are no industry or government standards or guidelines for measuring and listing the polyphenolic compounds in a given product. A regular tea bag, for example, weighs about 2.2 grams and could contain as much as 175 mg. of polyphenols, Li said. But polyphenols degrade and disappear as the tea bag is steeped in hot water. The polyphenol content also may vary as manufacturers change their processes, including the quantity and quality of tea used to prepare a batch and the tea brewing time.

“Polyphenols are bitter and astringent, but to target as many consumers as they can, manufacturers want to keep the bitterness and astringency at a minimum,” Li explained. “The simplest way is to add less tea, which makes the tea polyphenol content low but tastes smoother and sweeter.”

Li used a standard laboratory technique, termed high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), to make what he described as the first measurements of polyphenols in bottled tea beverages. He hopes the research will encourage similar use of HPLC by manufacturers and others to provide consumers with better nutritional information.

Public release date: 23-Aug-2010

Eating berries may activate the brain’s natural housekeeper for healthy aging

BOSTON, Aug. 23, 2010 — Scientists today reported the first evidence that eating blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries may help the aging brain stay healthy in a crucial but previously unrecognized way. Their study, presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), concluded that berries, and possibly walnuts, activate the brain’s natural “housekeeper” mechanism, which cleans up and recycles toxic proteins linked to age-related memory loss and other mental decline.

Shibu Poulose, Ph.D., who presented the report, said previous research suggested that one factor involved in aging is a steady decline in the body’s ability to protect itself against inflammation and oxidative damage. This leaves people vulnerable to degenerative brain diseases, heart disease, cancer, and other age-related disorders.

“The good news is that natural compounds called polyphenolics found in fruits, vegetables and nuts have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that may protect against age-associated decline,” said Poulose, who is with the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston. Poulose did the research with James Joseph, Ph.D., who died June 1. Joseph, who headed the laboratory, pioneered research on the role of antioxidants in fruits and nuts in preventing age-related cognitive decline.

Their past studies, for instance, showed that old laboratory rats fed for two months on diets containing 2 percent high-antioxidant strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry extract showed a reversal of age-related deficits in nerve function and behavior that involves learning and remembering.

In the new research, Poulose and Joseph focused on another reason why nerve function declines with aging. It involves a reduction in the brain’s natural house-cleaning process. Cells called microglia are the housekeepers. In a process called autophagy, they remove and recycle biochemical debris that otherwise would interfere with brain function.

“But in aging, microglia fail to do their work, and debris builds up,” Poulose explained. “In addition, the microglia become over-activated and actually begin to damage healthy cells in the brain. Our research suggests that the polyphenolics in berries have a rescuing effect. They seem to restore the normal housekeeping function. These findings are the first to show these effects of berries.”

The findings emerged from research in which Joseph and Poulose have tried to detail factors involved in the aging brain’s loss of normal housekeeping activity. Using cultures of mouse brain cells, they found that extracts of berries inhibited the action of a protein that shuts down the autophagy process.

Poulose said the study provides further evidence to eat foods rich in polyphenolics. Although berries and walnuts are rich sources, many other fruits and vegetables contain these chemicals ― especially those with deep red, orange, or blue colors. Those colors come from pigments termed anthocyanins that are good antioxidants. He emphasized the importance of consuming the whole fruit, which contains the full range of hundreds of healthful chemicals. Frozen berries, which are available year round, also are excellent sources of polyphenolics, he added.

Public release date: 23-Aug-2010

Vitamin D found to influence over 200 genes, highlighting links to disease

The extent to which vitamin D deficiency may increase susceptibility to a wide range of diseases is dramatically highlighted in research published today. Scientists have mapped the points at which vitamin D interacts with our DNA – and identified over two hundred genes that it directly influences. The results are published today in the journal Genome Research.

It is estimated that one billion people worldwide do not have sufficient vitamin D. This deficiency is thought to be largely due to insufficient exposure to the sun and in some cases to poor diet. As well as being a well-known risk factor for rickets, there is a growing body of evidence that vitamin D deficiency also increases an individual’s susceptibility to autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes, as well as certain cancers and even dementia.

Now, in a study whose funders include the Medical Research Council (MRC), the MS Society, the Wellcome Trust and the MS Society of Canada, researchers at the University of Oxford have shown the extent to which vitamin D interacts with our DNA. They used new DNA sequencing technology to create a map of vitamin D receptor binding across the genome. The vitamin D receptor is a protein activated by vitamin D, which attaches itself to DNA and thus influences what proteins are made from our genetic code.

The researchers found 2,776 binding sites for the vitamin D receptor along the length of the genome. These were unusually concentrated near a number of genes associated with susceptibility to autoimmune conditions such as MS, Crohn’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (or ‘lupus’) and rheumatoid arthritis, and to cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and colorectal cancer.

They also showed that vitamin D had a significant effect on the activity of 229 genes including IRF8, previously associated with MS, and PTPN2, associated with Crohn’s disease and type 1 diabetes.

“Our study shows quite dramatically the wide-ranging influence that vitamin D exerts over our health,” says Dr Andreas Heger from the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford, one of the lead authors of the study.

The first author of the paper, Dr Sreeram Ramagopalan from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, adds: “There is now evidence supporting a role for vitamin D in susceptibility to a host of diseases. Vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and the early years could have a beneficial effect on a child’s health in later life. Some countries such as France have instituted this as a routine public health measure.”

The main source of vitamin D in the body comes from exposing the skin to sunlight, although a diet of oily fish can provide some of the vitamin. Research has previously suggested that lighter skin colour and hair colour evolved in populations moving to parts of the globe with less sun to optimise production of vitamin D in the body. A lack of vitamin D can affect bone development, leading to rickets; in pregnant mothers, poor bone health can be fatal to both mother and child at birth, hence there are selective pressures in favour of people who are able to produce adequate vitamin D.

This new study supports this hypothesis, having found a significant number of vitamin D receptor binding sites in regions of the genome with genetic changes more commonly found in people of European and Asian descent. It is probable that skin lightening as we migrated out of Africa resulted from the necessity to be able to make more vitamin D and prevent rickets: vitamin D deficiency led to pelvic contraction resulting in increased risk of fatality of both mother and unborn child, effectively ending maternal lineages unable to find ways of increasing availability of the vitamin.

“Vitamin D status is potentially one of the most powerful selective pressures on the genome in relatively recent times,” says Professor George Ebers, Action Medical Research Professor of Clinical Neurology and one of the senior authors of the paper. “Our study appears to support this interpretation and it may be we have not had enough time to make all the adaptations we have needed to cope with our northern circumstances.”

 

Public release date: 23-Aug-2010

Diabetes can cause a sugar coating that smothers body’s immune defences

 

Research led by the Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick has found that unhealthy glucose levels in patients with diabetes can cause significantly more problems for the body than just the well-known symptoms of the disease such as kidney damage and circulation problems. The raised glucose can also form what can be described as a sugar coating that can effectively smother and block the mechanisms our bodies use to detect and fight bacterial and fungal infections.

In diabetes, patients suffer a higher risk of chronic bacterial and fungal infections but until now little has been known about the mechanisms involved. Now new research led by Dr Daniel Mitchell at the University of Warwick’s Warwick Medical School has found a novel relationship between high glucose and the immune system in humans. The researchers have found that specialized receptors that recognize molecules associated with bacteria and fungi become “blind” when glucose levels rise above healthy levels. The new research may also help explain why diabetic complications can also include increased risk of viral infections such as influenza, and also inflammatory conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

The researchers looked at the similarities in chemical structure between glucose in blood and body fluids, and two other sugar called mannose and fucose. These sugars are found on the surfaces of bacteria and fungi and act as targets for receptors in our body that have evolved to detect and bind to microbial sugars to then combat the infection.

The research found that high levels of glucose outcompetes the binding of mannose and fucose to the specialized immune receptors, potentially blocking these receptors from detecting infectious bacteria and fungi. Glucose also binds in such a way that it inhibits the chemical processes that would normally then follow to combat infections. If this happens it can inhibit a range of key processes including:

•It can inhibit the function of immune system receptors called C-type lectins such as MBL (Mannose-binding lectin) which are known to bind to a sugar known as mannose that is present in the structure of infectious fungal bacterial cell walls. Unlike glucose, mannose does not exist in mammals as a free sugar in the blood.

•The loss of MBL function may also predispose the body to chronic inflammatory diseases, since MBL is involved in the processing and clearance of apoptotic cells (dying cells).

•A number of C-type lectins tat can be affected by raised glucose levels, including MBL, but also including immune cell surface receptors DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR, are found in key parts of our circulation and vascular system such as plasma, monocytes, platelets and endothelial cells that line blood vessels. Inhibiting the function of these key molecules in those settings could contribute to diabetic cardiovascular and renal complications.

Public release date: 23-Aug-2010

Polyphenol antioxidants inhibit iron absorption

University Park, Pa. — Health benefits from polyphenol antioxidants — substances found in many fruits and vegetables — may come at a cost to some people. Penn State nutritional scientists found that eating certain polyphenols decreased the amount of iron the body absorbs, which can increase the risk of developing an iron deficiency.

“Polyphenols have been known to have many beneficial effects for human health, such as preventing or delaying certain types of cancer, enhancing bone metabolism and improving bone mineral density, and decreasing risk of heart disease,” said Okhee Han, assistant professor of nutritional sciences. “But so far, not many people have thought about whether or not polyphenols affect nutrient absorption.”

The researchers, led by Han, studied the effects of eating grape seed extract and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) found in green tea. They used cells from the intestine — where iron absorption takes place — to assess the polyphenols’ effect and found that polyphenols bind to iron in the intestinal cells, forming a non-transportable complex. This iron-polyphenol complex cannot enter the blood stream. Instead, it is excreted in the feces when cells are sloughed off and replaced.

Iron is necessary to carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body and for other cellular functions. People already at risk for iron deficiency increase that risk if they consume high amounts of grape seed extract or EGCG.

“Iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutrient deficiency in the world, especially in developing countries where meats are not plentiful,” said Han. “People at high risk of developing iron deficiency — such as pregnant women and young children — should be aware of what polyphenols they are consuming.”

Han and her colleagues looked at the heme form of iron found in meats, poultry, and fish. Last year, they performed similar research with non-heme iron found in plants. They published the results of their study on grape seed extract and EGCG in the Journal of Nutrition, showing that eating polyphenols decreased iron absorption.

Both grape seed extract and EGCG are sold in extract form. The results of these studies suggest that consumers should be cautious if using these products.

Ralph’s Note – Is should be recommended that they should not take Iron supplements at the same time.

Public release date: 24-Aug-2010

 

A case for exercising

There is now another good reason to exercise. Besides burning calories, exercise restores the sensitivity of neurons involved in the control of satiety (feeling full), which in turn contributes to reduced food intake and consequently weight loss. This is the conclusion of a study led by Brazilian researchers at the University of Campinas, and the findings will be published next week in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology. This disclosure may bring hope to over 40% of the population that suffers from weight problems and obesity around the world.

The increase in obesity has become one of the most important clinical-epidemiological phenomena. Factors such as changing eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle both have a role in the pathogenesis of this disease. It is postulated that excessive consumption of fat creates failures in the signal transmitted by neurons controlling satiety in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus. These failures can lead to uncontrollable food intake and, consequently, obesity.

The group led by José Barreto C. Carvalheira demonstrated that exercising obese rodents showed signals of restored satiety in hypothalamic neurons and decreased food intake. “In obese animals, exercise increased IL-6 and IL-10 protein levels in the hypothalamus, and these molecules were crucial for increasing the sensitivity of the most important hormones, insulin and leptin, which control appetite,” Carvalheira explained. Physical activity contributes to the prevention and treatment of obesity, not only by increasing energy expenditure but also by modulating the signals of satiety and reducing food intake.

Physical activity has always been considered a cornerstone in the treatment of obesity, however, only now have the effects of exercise on the control of body weight been understood. Thus, these findings, besides reinforcing the necessity for regular exercise also change the current paradigm established between physical activity and weight loss.

Ralph’s Note – So more exercise, less hunger.

 

Public release date: 24-Aug-2010

 

Researchers study cinnamon extracts

A study led by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chemist Richard Anderson suggests that a water soluble extract of cinnamon, which contains antioxidative compounds, could help reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease.

The work is part of cooperative agreements between the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC) operated by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at Beltsville, Md.; Integrity Nutraceuticals International of Spring Hill, Tenn., and the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France. Anderson works in the Diet, Genomics and Immunology Laboratory of BHNRC. ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency.

For the study, conducted in Ohio, coauthor Tim N. Ziegenfuss, now with the Center for Applied Health Sciences based in Fairlawn, Ohio, enrolled volunteers and collected samples.

Twenty-two obese participants with impaired blood glucose values–a condition classified as “prediabetes”–volunteered for the 12-week experimental research study. Prediabetes occurs when cells are resistant to the higher-than-normal levels of insulin produced by the pancreas (in an attempt to help remove elevated glucose levels from blood).

The volunteers were divided randomly into two groups and given either a placebo or 250 milligrams (mgs) of a dried water-soluble cinnamon extract twice daily along with their usual diets. Blood was collected after an overnight fast at the beginning of the study, after six weeks, and after 12 weeks to measure the changes in blood glucose and antioxidants.

The study demonstrated that the water-soluble cinnamon extract improved a number of antioxidant variables by as much as 13 to 23 percent, and improvement in antioxidant status was correlated with decreases in fasting glucose, according to Anderson.

Only more research will tell whether the investigational study supports the idea that people who are overweight or obese could reduce oxidative stress and blood glucose by consuming cinnamon extracts that have been proven safe and effective. In the meantime, weight loss remains the primary factor in improving these numbers, according to ARS scientists.

Public release date: 24-Aug-2010

Atrazine causes prostate inflammation in male rats and delays puberty

A new study shows that male rats prenatally exposed to low doses of atrazine, a widely used herbicide, are more likely to develop prostate inflammation and to go through puberty later than non-exposed animals. The research adds to a growing body of literature on atrazine, an herbicide predominantly used to control weeds and grasses in crops such as corn and sugar cane. Atrazine and its byproducts are known to be relatively persistent in the environment, potentially finding their way into water supplies.

The research, which is available online and will be featured on the cover of Reproductive Toxicology (Volume 30, Issue 4), found that the incidence of prostate inflammation went from 48 percent in the control group to 81 percent in the male offspring who were exposed to a mixture of atrazine and its breakdown products prenatally. The severity of the inflammation increased with the strength of the doses. Puberty was also delayed in the animals who received atrazine.

The doses of atrazine mixture given to the rats during the last five days of their pregnancy are close to the regulated levels in drinking water sources. The current maximum contamination level of atrazine allowed in drinking water is 3 parts per billion. The doses given to the animals were 0.09 (or 2.5 parts per million), 0.87, or 8.73 milligrams per kilogram body weight.

The research was led by Suzanne Fenton, Ph.D., and Jason Stanko, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health. Fenton began the work as a researcher at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but completed the research at NIEHS, working closely with NIEHS pathologists. Both NIEHS and EPA provided financial support for the study.

“We didn’t expect to see these kinds of effects at such low levels,” Fenton said. She adds that this is the second paper to show low dose effects of atrazine metabolite mixtures. Fenton was the senior author on a 2007 paper which demonstrated low doses of the atrazine mix delayed mammary development in female siblings from the same litters used in this current study.

“It was noteworthy that the prostate inflammation decreased over time, suggesting the effects may not be permanent,” said David Malarkey, D.V.M., Ph.D., an NIEHS pathologist and co-author on the paper.

Fenton points out that these findings may extend beyond atrazine alone, and may be relevant to other herbicides found in the same chlorotriazine family, including propazine and simazine. All three of the herbicides create the same set of breakdown products.

Fenton says more research is needed to understand the mechanism of action of the chlorotriazines and their metabolites on mammary and prostate tissue. “These tissues seem to be particularly sensitive to the effects of atrazine and its breakdown products,” Fenton added. “The effects may be due to the stage of fetal development at the time the animals were exposed.”

“We hope that this information will be useful to the EPA, as it completes its risk assessment of atrazine,” said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program.

Fenton will be presenting her research findings in September to the EPA, as part of its reassessment of atrazine. EPA announced in 2009 that it had begun a comprehensive new evaluation of atrazine to determine its effects on humans. At the end of this process, the agency will decide whether to revise its current risk assessment of atrazine and whether new restrictions are necessary to better protect public health. For more information about the EPA risk assessment, please visit http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/reregistration/atrazine/atrazine_update.htm.

Public release date: 24-Aug-2010

Salmon baby food? Babies need omega-3s and a taste for fish, scientist says

URBANA – Has your toddler eaten fish today? A University of Illinois food science professor has two important reasons for including seafood in your young child’s diet, reasons that have motivated her work in helping to develop a tasty, nutritious salmon baby food for toddlers.

“First, babies need a lot of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish for brain, nerve, and eye development, and when they switch from breast milk or formula to solid food, most of them don’t get nearly enough,” said Susan Brewer, also a registered dietitian.

“Second, children’s food preferences are largely developed by the time they’re five, so I urge parents to help their kids develop a taste for seafood early,” she said.

Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, have huge health benefits and help to prevent coronary artery disease, but most adults don’t eat fish twice weekly as experts recommend. In predisposing children toward liking fish, parents are doing their kids a big favor, she said.

Brewer knows her recommendations might meet with some resistance. “When we started working on salmon baby food, I thought, Ewwwh! But the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics is solidly behind the idea, and fish-based baby foods, common in Asian markets, have been marketed successfully in the United Kingdom and Italy.”

Brewer collaborated with former U of I professor Peter Bechtel, now of Alaska’s Agricultural Research Service, in the effort to create a viable product, using wild-caught salmon from Alaskan waters.

“When salmon swim upstream to spawn, their flesh begins to get very soft. At that point, the meat is not firm enough for fillets, but it’s perfect for baby food,” she noted.

She has experimented with both pink and red salmon, finding that red salmon survives the baby food production process better.

And, to boost nutrition, in separate experiments she has added bone meal and pureed salmon roe (eggs) to her entrees. The first ingredient (made by grinding the bones in the salmon into a powder) provides calcium in a form that is readily available for bone building in children. The second provides high-quality protein and contains significant quantities of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docohexaenoic acid (DHA).

“A newborn infant’s brain is 50 percent DHA,” she noted. “However, babies and toddlers have immature livers and can’t synthesize enough DHA to ensure an adequate supply to their developing nerve tissues. If small children are going to get DHA, they must ingest it in their food.”

According to Brewer, the results of her experiments have been encouraging. “Salmon is very mild, and the toddler dinners, which are 27 percent meat or fish, don’t taste or smell fishy at all. They remind me of that salmon and cream cheese dip you have during the holidays.”

Besides, could 107 parents of preschoolers be wrong? In a recent sensory panel conducted in the scientist’s lab, parents found little difference in taste between formulations that contained roe or bone meal and those that didn’t. Eighty-one percent of the parent panelists—even those who don’t eat salmon themselves—said they would offer it to their children after taste testing the product.

“It’s not enough for mothers to know that toddlers need fish in their diets. They won’t buy a product unless it also appeals to the eye and the taste buds,” she said.

“Our goal is to deliver maximum nutrition in an entrée that’s aesthetically pleasing, and these studies show that we can do just that,” she added

 

Public release date: 25-Aug-2010

Grapefruit’s bitter taste holds a sweet promise for diabetes therapy

Naringenin, an antioxidant derived from the bitter flavor of grapefruits and other citrus fruits, may cause the liver to break down fat while increasing insulin sensitivity, a process that naturally occurs during long periods of fasting.

A team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) report that naringenin activates a family of small proteins, called nuclear receptors, causing the liver to break down fatty acids. In fact, the compound seems to mimic the actions of other drugs, such as the lipid-lowering Fenofibrate and the anti-diabetic Rosiglitazone, offering the advantages of both. If the results of this study extend to human patients, this dietary supplement could become a staple in the treatment of hyperlipidemia, type-2 diabetes, and perhaps metabolic syndrome. The report appears in this week issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

“It is a fascinating find,” says Yaakov Nahmias, PhD, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem the paper’s senior author. “We show the mechanism by which naringenin increases two important pharmaceutical targets, PPARα and PPARγ, while blocking a third, LXRα. The results are similar to those induced by long periods of fasting”.

The liver is the main organ responsible for the regulation of carbohydrate and lipid levels in the blood. Following a meal, the blood is flushed with sugars, which activate LXRα, causing the liver to create fatty acids for long-term storage. During fasting, the process is reversed; fatty acids are released by fat cells, activate PPARα in the liver, and are broken down to ketones. A similar process, involving PPARγ, increases sensitivity to insulin.

“It is a process which is similar to the Atkins diet, without many of the side effects,” says Martin L. Yarmush, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Center for Engineering in Medicine and one of the paper’s authors.

“The liver behaves as if fasting, breaking down fatty acids instead of carbohydrates.” Yarmush is the Helen Andrus Benedict Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering at Harvard Medical School.

“Dual PPARα and PPARγ agonists, like naringenin, were long sought after by the pharmaceutical industry,” says Nahmias, “but their development was plagued by safety concerns. Remarkably, naringenin is a dietary supplement with a clear safety record. Evidence suggests it might actually protect the liver from damage.”

Grapefruit’s bitter taste is caused the presence of the flavonoid naringin, which is broken down in the gut into naringenin. Earlier evidence has shown the compound has cholesterol lowering properties and may ameliorate some of the symptoms associated with diabetes. The researchers demonstrated that the compound activates PPARα and PPARγ by dramatically increasing the levels of a co-activator peptide of both, called PGC1α. At the same time, naringenin bound directly to LXRα, blocking its activation. These effects culminated with increased fatty acid oxidation and the inhibition of vLDL (‘bad cholesterol’) production.

Public release date: 25-Aug-2010

Exposure to low doses of BPA alters gene expression in the fetal mouse ovary

Significant changes in gene expression in the fetal ovary are evident in female mice whose mothers are exposed to low doses of bisphenol A

A study posted today (Wednesday, August 25) at the online site of the journal Biology of Reproduction reports that exposure of pregnant female mice to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A may produce adverse reproductive consequences on gene expression in fetal ovaries as early as 12 hours after the mother has first been exposed to the chemical.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in plastics for making some baby and water bottles, linings of food and beverage cans, and other human consumer products.

The mice in this study were given BPA at doses thought to be equivalent to levels currently being experienced by humans.

The research, conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Patricia A. Hunt at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, showed that BPA exposure affects the earliest stages of egg production in the ovaries of the developing mouse fetuses, thus suggesting that the next generation (the grandchildren of the females given BPA) may suffer genetic defects in such biological processes as mitosis and DNA replication.

In addition, the WSU research team noted that their study “revealed a striking down-regulation of mitotic/cell cycle genes, raising the possibility that BPA exposure immediately before meiotic entry might act to shorten the reproductive lifespan of the female” by reducing the total pool of fetal oocytes.

Future studies in Dr. Hunt’s laboratory will focus on genetic changes produced over a range of BPA exposure.

Public release date: 25-Aug-2010

Plantain and broccoli fibers may block key stage in Crohn’s disease development

Translocation of Crohn’s disease Escherichia coli across M-cells: Contrasting effects of soluble plant fibers and emulsifiers

Plantain and broccoli fibres may block a key stage in the development of the inflammatory bowel disorder, Crohn’s disease, suggests preliminary research published online in Gut.

The causes of Crohn’s disease are thought to be a mix of genetic and environmental factors, one of which is very likely to be diet.

The disease is significantly less common in developing countries, where fibrous fruit and vegetables are dietary staples, and its incidence has recently risen rapidly in Japan, in tandem with the increasing adoption of a more Westernised diet.

One of the key stages in the development of Crohn’s is invasion of the cells lining the bowel (epithelial cells) by bacteria, particularly a “sticky” type of Escherichia coli, so the researchers looked at dietary agents that might influence this process.

They cultured M (microfold) cells, bowel lining cells that are the common entry point for invading bacteria that cause diarrhoea – a process known as translocation.

The researchers tested whether preparations of plant soluble fibres prepared from leeks, apples, broccoli, and plantains, and the fat emulsifiers polysorbate 60 and 80, commonly used in processed food manufacture, could alter E coli translocation across M cells.

Plantain and broccoli fibres (5 mg/ml) reduced translocation of E. coli by between 45% and 82%, while leek and apple fibres had no noticeable impact. By contrast, the emulsifier polysorbate 80 substantially increased translocation.

These results were then confirmed in tissue samples taken from patients undergoing surgery for other gut disorders.

The findings suggest that supplementing the diet with broccoli/plantain fibres might prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease, say the authors.

They go on to add that the results could have further implications for the treatment of Crohn’s disease as many enteral feeds contain emulsifiers, which may account for the variable response to this type of treatment.

Public release date: 25-Aug-2010

Vitamin D may treat and prevent allergic reaction to mold in cystic fibrosis patients

 

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 25 – Vitamin D may be an effective therapy to treat and even prevent allergy to a common mold that can cause severe complications for patients with cystic fibrosis and asthma, according to researchers from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Louisiana State University School of Medicine.

Results of the study, led by Jay Kolls, M.D., Ph.D., a lung disease researcher at Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, are published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Aspergillus fumigatus, is one of the most common airborne molds and while it does not cause illness in the vast majority of those who inhale it, it can cause life threatening allergic symptoms in patients with cystic fibrosis. As many as 15 percent of patients with cystic fibrosis will develop a severe allergic response, known as Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA). Some patients with asthma also can develop ABPA.

The research team led by Dr. Kolls studied cystic fibrosis patients from the Antonio J. and Janet Palumbo Cystic Fibrosis Center at Children’s Hospital who had A. fumigatus infections. One group had developed ABPA, while the other hadn’t. The researchers found that the ABPA patients had a heightened response by immune cells known as type 2 T helper (Th2) cells, and that a protein known as OX40L was critical to this heightened response. The heightened Th2 response correlated with lower levels of vitamin D as compared with the non-ABPA patients. Adding vitamin D to these cells in the laboratory substantially reduced the expression of OX40L and increased the expression of other proteins critical to the development of allergen tolerance.

“We found that adding vitamin D substantially reduced the production of the protein driving the allergic response and also increased production of the protein that promotes tolerance,” said Dr. Kolls, who also is professor and chair of genetics at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. “Based on our results, we have strong rationale for a clinical trial of vitamin D to determine whether it can prevent or treat ABPA in patients with cystic fibrosis.”

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide), according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

“These important findings by Dr. Kolls’ team add to the growing body of evidence showing that vitamin D may play a critical role on immune responses and allergic diseases,” said Juan Celedón, M.D., Dr.P.H., chief of the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology at Children’s Hospital.

 

Public release date: 26-Aug-2010

Black rice rivals pricey blueberries as source of healthful antioxidants

BOSTON, Aug. 26, 2010 — Health conscious consumers who hesitate at the price of fresh blueberries and blackberries, fruits renowned for high levels of healthful antioxidants, now have an economical alternative, scientists reported here today at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). It is black rice, one variety of which got the moniker “Forbidden Rice” in ancient China because nobles commandeered every grain for themselves and forbade the common people from eating it.

“Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants,” said Zhimin Xu, Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge, La., who reported on the research. “If berries are used to boost health, why not black rice and black rice bran? Especially, black rice bran would be a unique and economical material to increase consumption of health promoting antioxidants.”

Like fruits, “black rice” is rich in anthocyanin antioxidants, substances that show promise for fighting heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Food manufacturers could potentially use black rice bran or the bran extracts to boost the health value of breakfast cereals, beverages, cakes, cookies, and other foods, Xu and colleagues suggested.

Brown rice is the most widely produced rice variety worldwide. Rice millers remove only the outer husks, or “chaff,” from each rice grain to produce brown rice. If they process the rice further, removing the underlying nutrient rich “bran,” it becomes white rice. Xu noted that many consumers have heard that brown rice is more nutritious than white rice. The reason is that the bran of brown rice contains higher levels of gamma-tocotrienol, one of the vitamin E compounds, and gamma-oryzanol antioxidants, which are lipid-soluble antioxidants. Numerous studies showed that these antioxidants can reduce blood levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) — so called “bad” cholesterol — and may help fight heart disease. Xu and colleagues analyzed samples of black rice bran from rice grown in the southern United States. In addition, the lipid soluble antioxidants they found in black rice bran possess higher level of anthocyanins antioxidants, which are water-soluble antioxidants. Thus, black rice bran may be even healthier than brown rice bran, suggested Dr. Xu.

The scientists also showed that pigments in black rice bran extracts can produce a variety of different colors, ranging from pink to black, and may provide a healthier alternative to artificial food colorants that manufacturers now add to some foods and beverages. Several studies have linked some artificial colorants to cancer, behavioral problems in children, and other health problems.

Black rice is used mainly in Asia for food decoration, noodles, sushi, and pudding. Dr. Xu said that farmers are interested in growing black rice in Louisiana and that he would like to see people in the country embrace its use.

Public release date: 26-Aug-2010

Supplement produces a ‘striking’ endurance boost

Research from the University of Exeter has revealed taking a dietary supplement to boost nitric oxide in the body can significantly boost stamina during high-intensity exercise.

The study has important implications for athletes, as results suggest that taking the supplement can allow people to exercise up to 20% longer and could produce a 1-2% improvement in race times.

This comes on the back of previous research from Exeter which showed that the high nitrate content of beetroot juice, which also boosts nitric oxide in the body, has a similar effect on performance.

However, the latest study gets the nitric oxide into the body through a different biological process – and now the researchers are hoping to find out whether combining the two methods could bring an even greater improvement in athletic performance.

Professor Andrew Jones, from the University’s School of Sport and Health Sciences, said: “The research found that when the dietary supplement was used there was a striking increase in performance by altering the use of oxygen during exercise.

“This is important for endurance athletes as we would expect the supplement to bring a 1-2% improvement in race times. While this may seem small, this is a very meaningful improvement – particularly at elite levels where small gains can be the difference between winning and losing.”

For the research, nine healthy males were put through several different physical challenges on a cycling ergometer to measure their performance under different levels of exercise intensity.

Participants were randomly assigned to take either a blackcurrant cordial placebo drink or the genuine supplement, which was Ark 1 from Arkworld International Limited – which contains the L-arginine amino acid which enhances the production of nitric oxide in the body.

The report, published on-line by the Journal of Applied Physiology, found taking the supplement:

•Improves severe-intensity exercise endurance by 20%

•Significantly reduces systolic blood pressure

•Reduces the oxygen cost of exercise

 

Public release date: 26-Aug-2010

 

Kudzu Vine Extract May Treat Alcoholism, Cocaine Addiction

Researchers at Gilead Sciences Inc. said on Sunday that an extract of the kudzu vine being developed to treat alcoholism may also help treat cocaine addiction.

The Gilead team reported in the journal Nature Medicine that tests on rats showed the drug could stop them from giving themselves cocaine.

Gilead inherited the experimental drug a year ago after it acquired CV Therapeutics Inc.  A spokesman for the company said it was working to try to bring the drug to the market.

“There is no effective treatment for cocaine addiction despite extensive knowledge of the neurobiology of drug addiction,” Lina Yao, Ivan Diamond and colleagues wrote in the journal.

Kudzu is an old remedy for alcoholism.  The vine is native to Asia and has spread across much of the U.S. Southeast after being imported to control soil erosion.

CT Therapeutics made a synthetic extract known as selective aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 inhibitor or ALDH2i.

Tests on rats showed it might be able to help stop their cocaine addiction.  The drug can also prevent relapse after rats are weaned off cocaine.

The researchers found that the drug works by raising the levels of a compound called tetrahydropapaveroline or THP.  Cocaine cravings make levels of a brain chemical known as dopamine soar and THP interferes with this.

“We propose that a safe, selective, reversible ALDH-2 inhibitor such as ALDH2i may have the potential to attenuate human cocaine addiction and prevent relapse,” the researchers wrote.

Public release date: 26-Aug-2010

 

THL Recommends Suspension of H1N1 Vaccinations

Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has recommended that vaccination against the H1N1 swine flu virus with the Pandemrix vaccine be suspended. The vaccine is not to be used until it is determined if it is linked to an increase in the number of cases of narcolepsy in the country.

THL says that the recommendation is a precautionary measure. At the moment there is no swine flu epidemic in the country that would require urgent vaccination against the virus, it notes.

“Indications of a time link between vaccinations and narcolepsy cases have been seen, but an actual link has not been established. In light of international information, a connection would even seem unlikely,” Dr Hanna Nohynek, a special researcher at THL, told YLE on Tuesday.

Exceptions can be made to the THL recommendation if needed. For instance, the vaccine can be given to people travelling to any area experiencing a swine flu epidemic.

Experts to gather

If required, a final decision on a nationwide end to the swine flu vaccination programme will be made by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Such a decision will be taken if the reported cases of narcolepsy are proven to have resulted from the vaccine.

The group coordinating the investigation into the cases is scheduled to meet next Tuesday to make an overall evaluation. It is comprised of experts from THL, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the National Agency for Medicines, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira, and representatives of provincial authorities.

According to the THL, the increase in the number of cases of narcolepsy may have been caused by the flu virus, by the vaccine, by the interaction of an infection with the vaccine, or some other factor. It is known that infections can cause narcolepsy.

THL has been notified of 15 cases of narcolepsy, six of which are more clearly associated with the vaccination than are the remainder. Preliminary research into the connection between the vaccine and the cases is expected to take several months. Annually up to 50 cases of narcolepsy are diagnosed in adults in Finland and fewer than 10 in children.

Worldwide, at least 90 million people have received the Pandemrix vaccine in more than 20 countries. However, so far a possible link between the swine flu vaccine and narcolepsy has been reported only in Finland and Sweden.

 

 

________________________________

 

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.

How Michelle Obama is backing fashion queen ‘Ambassador’ Anna Wintour all the way – to Paris, NOT London (despite the fact she speaks little French)

By  Sharon Churcher and Nick Pryer

PUBLISHED: 20:35 EST, 8  December 2012 |  UPDATED: 20:55 EST, 9 December 2012

 

Anyone doubting the veracity of Washington  rumours that Anna Wintour, the famously icy fashion queen of New York City, will  soon become a high-profile American ambassador in Europe should look no further  for substantiation than the archives of Vogue magazine.

In March 2009, the magazine – ruled by  Wintour as her personal fiefdom – devoted its cover and eight glossy pages  inside to an  interview with the new First Lady Michelle Obama alongside a  fabulously glamorous set of photographs shot by legendary portrait photographer  Annie Leibovitz.

The ‘Michelle Obama Edition’ hit the  newsstands with the glowing headline The First Lady The World’s Been Waiting For  – and transformed her public image at a stroke.

Vogue editor Anna Wintour, pictured at the 58th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards in November, is being put forward to become an ambassador to Paris 

Vogue editor Anna Wintour, pictured at the 58th London  Evening Standard Theatre Awards in November, is being put forward to become an  ambassador to Paris

 

Icy fashion queen of New York City: Anna Wintour backstage at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on December 8, 2012 in New York City 

Icy fashion queen of New York City: Anna Wintour  backstage at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on December 8, 2012 in New York  City

When she first appeared on the  political  stage, Michelle was dismissed as a slightly awkward,   intellectual lawyer:  an angrier, African-American  version of the young  Hillary Clinton. But  when Vogue was finished with her, Michelle was  recreated as a softly elegant  global fashion icon and role model: a  perfect Jackie to her husband’s JFK for a  multi-racial age.

The Vogue cover was the culmination of a year  of hard work by the ambitious and hard-working Ms Wintour, a committed  Democratic Party fundraiser  who spotted the White House potential of the Obamas  when Barack was  still regarded as a rank outsider.

As his star began to rise, Michelle appeared  in clothes by fresh, exciting young designers, and political sources say the  influence of Ms Wintour  on her choice of wardrobe is unmistakable. ‘Anna makes  Mrs Obama feel  glamorous,’ an administration insider told The Mail on Sunday.

So successful has Wintour’s guidance been  that Michelle, rather than  Barack, was regarded as the star of this year’s  bitterly fought  Presidential election.

Now highly placed diplomatic sources  in  Washington have revealed Michelle is driving the campaign to reward  Ms Wintour  by making her an ambassador to Paris. The move has been  greeted by astonishment  on this side of the Atlantic, particularly  because of Ms Wintour’s reputation  as a capricious ice maiden. Indeed  her legendary frostiness, which earned her  the soubriquet Nuclear  Wintour, seems at odds with the art of international  diplomacy.

The proposed appointment is backed by First Lady Michelle Obama, pictured at the Democratic National Convention in the U.S., who was featured on the front cover of Vogue in 2009

 

The proposed appointment is backed by First Lady  Michelle Obama, pictured at the Democratic National Convention in the U.S., who  was featured on the front cover of Vogue in 2009

She once described overweight people  in  Minneapolis as looking like ‘little houses’, and she is known for  frequent  angry outbursts. Her chilly demeanour is made all the more  intimidating by her  love of dark glasses – even indoors.

British journalist Toby Young – who  satirised his five-year stint in New York with Conde Nast, the magazine  company that publishes Vogue, in the book and film How To Lose Friends  And  Alienate People – said: ‘She presides over the fashion business with the  imperial hauteur of a Prussian general and expects instant,  unquestioning  obedience.

‘It’s hard to imagine a personality less  suited to the world of international diplomacy. She left school at 16 and has  been working in fashion ever  since. Obama’s chauffeur probably knows more about  international  relations than her. It’s like Caligula making his horse a  senator.’

One fashion editor in London said: ‘It’s  incredible the most powerful  nation on Earth should even consider appointing  the least diplomatic  woman on Earth as an envoy. She is joyless and  intimidating.’

The 'Michelle Obama Edition', pictured, was the culmination of a year of hard work by hard-working Anna 

The ‘Michelle Obama Edition’, pictured, was the  culmination of a year of hard work by hard-working Anna

Tales of Wintour’s capriciousness are legion.  When she hosted the Evening Standard theatre awards in London last month, she  demanded gold chairs, gold cutlery and a 22ft yew hedge be installed inside the  venue. She asked for the temperature to be turned down, that a guest who arrived  with her baby be removed and summarily cancelled dessert. At a New York fashion  ball at the Metropolitan Museum she asked to be informed about the size of the  knots on the ties of the waiters.

She put noses out of joint two years ago by  giving a speech at a London Fashion Week soiree at No 10, rather than leaving it  to a British fashion leader. Samantha Cameron was  said to be so terrified  of her that she acquiesced immediately.

But in America, the idea of Ambassador  Wintour has scarcely raised an eyebrow. Sir Christopher Meyer, former British  envoy to Washington, said last night it would be entirely in keeping with US  tradition.

He said: ‘Americans have always  regarded  their top ambassadorial positions as political appointments, a  reward for  services rendered.’

The current US envoy to London, Louis Susman,  is a banker from  Chicago who was a major Obama fundraiser in 2008. Obama  also appointed Dan Rooney,  owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, as  ambassador to Dublin.

U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes a speech at a dinner held by the U.S embassy in Paris last year 

U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes a speech at  a dinner held by the U.S embassy in Paris last year

In the past 50 years, nine out of ten US  ambassadors to Paris and London have been political appointees rather than  career diplomats. British-born Ms Wintour is an American citizen and Sir  Christopher added: ‘There is no systemic reason why Anna Wintour shouldn’t be an  ambassador.’

Meanwhile a State Department insider told The  Mail on Sunday: ‘Anna Wintour’s friends have expressed an interest in making  sure that she is nominated to become an ambassador to a major Western European  nation. I have had this confirmed from a friend in the political office at the  White House. I am also told there is only a slight chance Wintour will end up in  London.’

Mrs Obama, instead, is said to be pushing  vigorously for her to be sent to France, despite the fact that she is said to  speak little French. The State Department insider told The Mail on Sunday that  Ms Wintour is currently ‘under consideration’, adding: ‘Paris is her number one  choice. I gather Ms Wintour finds the Paris house and grounds particularly  spectacular.’

It is easy to see why the US ambassador’s  official residence should appeal to Ms Wintour. The grand mansion, once the home  of Baron Maurice de Rothschild, is one of the most imposing houses (after the  Elysee Palace) on the Rue du Fauborg St Honore, which is itself regarded as the  most fashionable street in the world.

State Department insiders are at  pains to  say that, if appointed, Ms Wintour would be expected to  concentrate on using  her close relationship with President Obama to  influence French president  Francois Hollande. Her personal style, love  of Parisian haute couture and  elitist views about beauty and femininity  are expected to go down  well.

Anna Wintour would be expected to focus on using her relationship with President Obama to influence French president Francois Hollande if she was sent to Paris, pictured 

Anna Wintour would be expected to focus on using her  relationship with President Obama to influence French president Francois  Hollande if she was sent to Paris, pictured

Ms Wintour’s supporters in the Democratic  Party hierarchy point to her tireless fundraising for Obama as evidence of her  focus, contacts and drive. She helped design a range of election merchandise  that raised £25 million for the party and organised a series of glittering  fundraising dinners where celebrities paid £25,000 each to meet the Obamas over  dinner at Sex And The City star Sarah Jessica Parker’s Manhattan town house, and  at the home of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Ms Wintour is said to have  personally overseen the preparations with the iron hand for which she was  satirised in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada.

If divorcee and mother of two Ms Wintour is  nominated as an ambassador, the appointment must be confirmed by the US  Senate.

One obstacle might be money. Ms Wintour is  well-paid – her salary is believed to be £1.2 million – but not independently  wealthy. It is believed she has calculated she will need £500,000 a year to  fulfil the job in the style she regards as appropriate.

Some in Washington have raised the  possibility that her ambassadorship could be discreetly ‘sponsored’ by American  fashion designers Michael Kors or Ralph Lauren.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said  last week: ‘I have no personnel announcements to make.’

Vogue said: ‘Anna Wintour is very happy with  her current job.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2245298/How-Michelle-Obama-backing-fashion-queen-Ambassador-Anna-Wintour-way–Paris-NOT-London-despite-fact-speaks-little-French.html#ixzz2EdEaDqdh Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Family of Cold War bioweapons expert say he was drugged with LSD and pushed from window by CIA operatives as part of top-secret program

By  Daily Mail Reporter and Associated Press

PUBLISHED: 22:24 EST, 28  November 2012 |  UPDATED: 22:24 EST, 28 November 2012

Murdered? Frank Olson was long through to have jumped to his death, but his sons now say he was pushedMurdered? Frank Olson was long through to have jumped to  his death in 1959, but his sons now say he was pushed

A new lawsuit has dredged up a 60-year-old  Cold War mystery surrounding the death of an Army bioweapons researcher who was  given LSD by the CIA.

The government says Frank Olson jumped to his  death in 1959 after he was given the hallucinatory drug as part of a top-secret  CIA mind control program codenamed MK-ULTRA.

Dr Olson’s sons now claim they have evidence  that he did not commit suicide, but was instead pushed out of a 13th story New  York City highrise window by CIA operatives who feared he was getting cold feet  about the intelligence agency’s tactics.

Eric and Nils Olson, of Frederick, Maryland,  are seeking unspecified compensatory damages in the lawsuit filed in federal  court on Wednesday.

Their lawyer, Scott D Gilbert, said the  brothers also want to see a broad range of documents related to Dr Olson’s death  and other matters that they say the CIA has withheld from them since the  death.

Mr Olson was a bioweapons expert at Fort  Detrick, the Army’s biological weapons research center in Maryland.

The lawsuit claims the CIA killed Dr Olson  when he developed misgivings after witnessing extreme interrogations in which  they allege the CIA committed murder using biological agents Olson had  developed.

The CIA had a program in the 1950s and ’60s  called MK-ULTRA, which involved brainwashing and administering experimental  drugs like LSD to unsuspecting individuals. The project was investigated by  Congress in the 1970s.

Olson consumed a drink laced with LSD by CIA  agents on November 19, 1953, the suit says. Later that month, after being taken  to New York City purportedly for a ‘psychiatric’ consultation, Olson plunged to  his death.

At the time – when Eric and Nils Olson were 9  and 5 years old, respectively – the CIA said he died in an accident and did not  divulge to his family that Olsen had been given LSD.

Top secret: Research into biological, chemical and nuclear weapons soared in the early days of the Cold War, including the CIA's MK-ULTRA program 

Top secret: Research into biological, chemical and  nuclear weapons soared in the early days of the Cold War, including the CIA’s  MK-ULTRA program

But in 1975, a commission headed by Vice  President Nelson Rockefeller released a report on CIA abuses that included a  reference to an Army scientist who had jumped from a New York hotel days after  being slipped LSD in 1953.

Family members threatened to sue, but  President Gerald Ford invited the family to the White House, assuring them they  would be given all the government’s information. CIA Director William Colby  handed over documents and the family accepted a $750,000 settlement to avert a  lawsuit.

In an email, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer  Youngblood said that while the agency doesn’t comment on matters before U.S.  courts, ‘CIA activities related to MK-ULTRA have been thoroughly investigated  over the years, and the agency cooperated with each of those investigations.’

Destructive: The CIA believed it could use LSD as a mind control agent to help interrogate captured operatives 

Destructive: The CIA believed it could use LSD as a mind  control agent to help interrogate captured operatives

She noted that tens of thousands of pages  related to the program have been released to the public.

In a statement, Eric Olson said that the CIA  has not given a complete picture of what happened to his father.

‘The evidence shows that our father was  killed in their custody,’ he said. ‘They have lied to us ever since, withholding  documents and information, and changing their story when convenient.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2240165/Frank-Olson-Lawsuit-says-Cold-War-scientist-working-MK-ULTRA-pushed-window-CIA.html#ixzz2Db4gHoz9 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Vitamin E effective for ‘silent’ liver disease

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Jennifer Homa jeh9057@nyp.org 212-305-5587 New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

NIH-funded, NEJM study is largest ever to look at nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, an obesity-related condition

NEW YORK (April 29, 2010) — Vitamin E has been shown effective in treating nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an obesity-associated chronic liver disease that can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death. NASH also is related to or a part of type 2 diabetes, lipid disorders and cardiovascular disease.

The often asymptomatic condition affects 2 to 5 percent of Americans, although an additional 10 to 20 percent of the population has fat in their liver, but no inflammation or liver damage, a condition called “fatty liver” that is a precursor to NASH. There is no established treatment.

The government-funded multicenter study was organized by the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and is the largest ever placebo-controlled randomized trial of treatment for NASH. Results are published in the April 28 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Beginning in the late 1990s, study of vitamin E for NASH was pioneered in pilot trials by Dr. Joel Lavine, now a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and chief of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Researchers followed patients at nine centers, including the University of California, San Diego, where Dr. Lavine was previously on faculty.

“There is an increasing prevalence of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in this country, something that is directly related to the obesity epidemic,” says Dr. Lavine, co-chair of the Network’s steering committee and a co-author of the study. “The good news is that this study showed that cheap and readily available vitamin E can help many of those with the condition. We also looked at the drug pioglitazone, which showed some benefits, although not as dramatic as with vitamin E.”

Dr. Lavine cautions that there are risks with any therapy, even vitamin E, and all treatment should be done under medical supervision. “Individuals who are overweight or have a family history of liver disease should ask their doctor to be tested for the condition. In addition, physicians should be aware that liver enzyme levels considered normal are actually elevated. Healthy levels are <30 U/L for a man and <20 for a woman.”

In the Pioglitazone or Vitamin E for NASH Study (PIVENS), investigators randomly assigned 247 nondiabetic adults with biopsy-confirmed NASH to receive vitamin E, pioglitazone or placebo. Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant while pioglitazone improves the sensitivity of cells to insulin, a hormone that controls both sugar and fat metabolism.

After 96 weeks of treatment, vitamin E improved all features of NASH with the exception of the amount of scar tissue in the liver; 43 percent of those treated with vitamin E met the primary endpoint of the trial, which was a composite of the scores for several features of NASH indicative of disease activity, compared with only 19 percent of those who received a placebo. Pioglitazone also improved many features of NASH and met the primary endpoint in 34 percent of individuals who received it but fell short of statistical significance. Pioglitazone treatment led to an average weight gain of 10 pounds over the 96-week duration of this study. Liver enzyme tests, which are commonly used to assess liver injury, also improved in those who received either pioglitazone or vitamin E. However, upon stopping the medications, the liver enzymes worsened again suggesting the need for long-term treatment.

The study was conducted in those with NASH who did not have diabetes, and the benefits of either drug for those with NASH who also have diabetes remain unknown. Also, the study lasted for two years only and the potential long-term benefits and risks of taking vitamin E or pioglitazone in these doses are uncertain.

Lead author of the study and the other NASH Clinical Research Network co-chair is Dr. Arun Sanyal, professor of medicine and chairman of the Division of Gastroenterology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Pioglitazone (trade name Actos) was provided by Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, and vitamin E was provided by Pharmavite. Both also supplied placebos.

Dr. Lavine joined NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia from the University of California San Diego in February and brought his NIH grant for the study of fatty liver to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. He is currently preparing a report on a multicenter study he led of vitamin E and the diabetes drug metformin for NASH in children.

###

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation’s largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,353 beds. The Hospital has more than 1 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 220,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation’s leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. For more information, visit www.nyp.org.

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the most comprehensive medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest in the United States. Columbia University Medical Center is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the nation’s largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital provider. For more information, please visit www.cumc.columbia.edu.

Office of Public Affairs NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center 627 West 165th Street New York, NY 10032
tel: 212.305.5587 fax: 212.305.8023 email: pr@nyp.org

Pesticide chlorpyrifos is linked to childhood developmental delays

2010 study posted for filing
Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

March 18, 2010—Exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos—which is banned for use in U.S. households but is still widely used throughout the agricultural industry—is associated with early childhood developmental delays, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Findings of the study, “Chlorpyrifos Exposure and Urban Residential Environment Characteristics as Determinants of Early Childhood Neurodevelopment,” are online in the American Journal of Public Health.

The study examined the association between exposure to the pesticide and mental and physical impairments in children in low-income areas of New York City neighborhoods in the South Bronx and Northern Manhattan. Chlorpyrifos was commonly used in these neighborhoods until it was banned for household use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2001. It is still used as an agricultural pesticide on fruits and vegetables. The EPA registration of chlorpyrifos for agricultural use is currently under review, with a public comment period scheduled for the coming months.

“This study helps to fill in the gaps about what is known about the effect of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on the development of young children by showing that there is a clear-cut association between this chemical and delayed mental and motor skill development in children even when there are other potentially harmful environmental factors present,” said Gina Lovasi, PhD, lead author and Mailman School of Public Health assistant professor of epidemiology. Dr. Lovasi conducted the research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the Mailman School.

As in previous research in the same study population, published in Pediatrics in 2006, this study controlled for gender, gestational age at birth, ethnicity, maternal education, maternal intelligence quotient, and exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy. What this study adds is that building dilapidation and community-level factors such as percentage of residents living in poverty do not explain the association. After controlling for these factors, the research indicates that high chlorpyrifos exposure (greater than 6.17 pg/g in umbilical cord blood at the time of birth) was associated with a 6.5-point decrease in the Psychomotor Development Index score and a 3.3-point decrease in the Mental Development Index score in 3-year-olds. “These associations remained statistically significant and similar in magnitude after accounting for dilapidated housing and neighborhood characteristics,” noted Dr. Lovasi.

Of the 266 children included as study participants, 47 percent were male, 59 percent were Hispanic of Dominican descent and 41 percent were Black. In addition, children living in neighborhoods with the highest levels of poverty also had lower test scores—a finding that was not affected by pesticide exposure.

Young children have greater exposure to pesticides than adults, since they tend to play on the floor or in the grass—areas where pesticides are commonly applied—and to place their hands and objects in their mouths. Pregnant women exposed to pesticides can also expose their unborn children to the chemicals.

Those who advocate for further restrictions on the use of pesticides, including chlorpyrifos, contend that such chemicals drift from treated agricultural fields to nearby yards, homes and schools, placing pregnant women and children at risk.

“Although this pesticide has been banned for residential use in the United States, chlorpyrifos and other organophosphorus insecticides are still commonly used for a variety of agricultural purposes,” said study co-author Virginia Rauh, ScD, professor of clinical population and family health, and co-deputy director for the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health. “We hope that the results of this study, further demonstrating the neurotoxicity of chlorpyrifos under a range of community conditions, may inform public health professionals and policy-makers about the potential hazards of exposure to this chemical for pregnant women and young children.”

###

The research was conducted with the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, a center funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency. Mailman School of Public Health co-authors are Virginia Rauh, ScD, Frederica Perera, DrPH, Howard Andrews, PhD, Robin Garfinkel, PhD, Lori Hoepner, MPH, Robin Whyatt, DrPH, and Andrew Rundle, DrPH, and James Quinn, MA, Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy.

About the Mailman School of Public Health

The only accredited school of public health in New York City and among the first in the nation, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting millions of people locally and globally. The Mailman School is the recipient of some of the largest government and private grants in Columbia University’s history. Its more than 1000 graduate students pursue master’s and doctoral degrees, and the School’s 300 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as infectious and chronic diseases, health promotion and disease prevention, environmental health, maternal and child health, health over the life course, health policy, and public health preparedness. Contact: Stephanie Berger, Mailman School of Public Health, 212-305-4372, sb2247@columbia.edu

The RWJF Health & Society Scholars program is designed to build the nation’s capacity for research, leadership and policy change to address the broad range of factors that affect health. Additional information about the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, including application information, can be found at RWJFLeaders.org.

Russia will send humanitarian aid to New York

Nov 11, 2012 21:58 Moscow Time

Самолет Ил-76 МЧС гуманитарный груз россия гуманитарная помощь турция аэропорт Эрзурум

Photo: RIA Novosti

On Monday, the 12th of November, the Russian Emergency Ministry is planning to send two planes with humanitarian aid to New York which was hit by Hurricane Sandy.

Two Iliushin-76 planes will deliver over 50 tons of humanitarian aid.

The planes are due to take off from the Ramenskoye airfield south-east of Moscow.

 

In New York, 98% of electric power has been restored to homes stripped of power supply by hurricane “Sandy”. This was reported by the energy company servicing the megalopolis.

At the moment, 20 thousand people are still without electricity.

After the hurricane more than a million people in the city had no electricity.

In New Jersey, where the elements left 2.7 million customers without electricity, efforts are still underway to restore power. Currently, 100 thousand are still without power supply.

 

About 900 New Yorkers whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy will be provided with temporary housing on the premises of a closed jail, The New York Times reports.

The Arthur Kill Correctional Facility in Staten Island was shut down in 201.

Meanwhile, about 40,000 residents of New York City have nowhere to live.

The tropical hurricane Sandy struck the US eastern coast at the end of October killing more than 100 people and inflicting billions of dollars in damages.

Voice of Russia, RIA, “Russia 24”, Vesti

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_11/Russia-will-send-humanitarian-aid-to-New-York/

 

Billionaire banned from Nobu after ‘threatening to kill manager because he was denied his favorite table’

  • Stewart  Rahr was upset because another group was seated at ‘his’  table
  • Sent an  angry email to the owner of the restaurant and cc’ed  celebrities
  • He admits  to the argument but denies having threatened the  manager

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:11:01 EST, 11  November 2012| UPDATED:11:34 EST, 11 November 2012

Upset: Stewart Rahr took issue with how he was treated at Nobu57 in Manhattan
Upset: Stewart Rahr took issue with how he was treated  at Nobu57 in Manhattan

One of the world’s richest men has allegedly  been banned from top New York restaurant Nobu after the staff said that he  threatened to kill the manager when he didn’t get his favorite table.

Stewart Rahr, a pharmaceutical billionaire  who boasts of his celebrity friends and his lavish lifestyle, reportedly sent a  email of complaint to Nobu owner Drew Nieporent.

He admits having a disagreement with a female  manager but he denies threatening to kill her after she ignored his phone call,  according to The New York  Post.

The paper reports that after the face-to-face  confrontation with the manager, he also sent a caps-locked tirade to Nieporent,  he cc’ed a group of his famous friends including Mark Wahlberg, Leonardo  DiCaprio, Alicia Keys Andre Agassi and Joaquin Phoenix.

Three additional recipients have some  political pull, including police commissioner Ray Kelly, Rahr’s ‘buddy’ Donald  Trump, and actor Robert DeNiro who co-owns the restaurant chain with Nieporent.

The dispute stems from an incident where the  66-year-old allegedly got into a verbal altercation with the restaurant’s  manager Sharon Hofstetter when Rahr tried to get his favorite table on the night  of his wife’s surprise birthday party.

He reportedly walked up to an occupied table  and asked the group who was dining there to move so that he could have ‘his’  table.

A bartender told the paper that the group  refused and he offered to pay their bill if they would agree.

Powerful pals: Rahr prides himself on his celebrity connections, seen here with Prince Harry at a polo matchPowerful pals: Rahr prides himself on his celebrity  connections, seen here with Prince Harry at a polo match

Close: Rahr (right) sent an email complaint to the owner of Nobu and cc'ed a number of celebrities including Mark Wahlberg (second right). Though in this picture, Cindy Crawford, her husband Rande Gerber, and Jeremy Piven didn't get the emailClose: Rahr (right) sent an email complaint to the owner  of Nobu and cc’ed a number of celebrities including Mark Wahlberg (second  right). Though in this picture, Cindy Crawford, her husband Rande Gerber, and  Jeremy Piven didn’t get the email

Rahr, who calls himself ‘Stewie Rah Rah- the  No. 1 King of Fun’, then left an irate message for Hofstetter, who was not at  the restaurant at the time of the interaction.

She did not call him back immediately so he  went to the restaurant on 57th Street to have it out with her in person.

‘He called me the c-word and said he would  kill me,’ Hofstetter told The Post.

Rahr tells a different version of the story.  He told The Post that Hofstetter was supposed to meet him at his office to plan  the party in question, so he went to the restaurant to give her a piece of his  mind.

‘I told her “I can’t stand you. You’re  despicable.” Did I curse at her or threaten to kill her? No true- please. I  would never say that,’ Rahr told the paper.

Feeling like his message may not be clear,  Rahr decided to send the email to Nieporent and copy his A-list pals.

‘I GUESS THAT U R MUCH TOO BUSY TO  CALL BACK  AN UPSET CUSTOMER. I HAD TOLD U THAT I HAD A MAJOR PROBLEM & A VERY  UNCOMFORTABLE EXPERIENCE CONCERNING A SURPRISE PARTY FOR A  VERY VERY CLOSE  FRIEND THIS PAST WEDS,’ he wrote in the email.

Rahr, who owned drug manufacturer Kinray  until he sold it for $1.3billion in  2010, went on to talk about his wealth in  the email, using it as an  unexpected way to rub his business savvy in  Nieporent’s face.

‘I HAD ONLY 3 employees & revenues of  only $40,000… WHEN I RECENTLY  SOLD MY company last year I EMPLOYED almost  2,000 employees n REVENUES  of $5,000,000,000 (thats what 5 BILLION (W AN ‘B’ AS  IN BOY NOT AN ‘M’  AS IN MAN…’ he wrote in the angry- and typo-laden- email.

Similar skin colors: Rahr, seen here with close friend Donald Trump, also sent the real estate mogul the email complaining about the service he received at NobuSimilar skin colors: Rahr, seen here with close friend  Donald Trump, also sent the real estate mogul the email complaining about the  service he received at Nobu

Banned: Now Rahr is no longer welcome at any of Nobu's 25 locations around the worldBanned: Now Rahr is no longer welcome at any of Nobu’s  25 locations around the world

Now, Rahr is no longer welcome at any of the  25 international Nobu locations. Given his propensity to go heavy on the self  tanner (having had a skin cancer scare several years ago) and trademark uniform  of purple t-shirts and yellow Ray Ban sunglasses, it would be easy to spot him  if he tried to sneak in.

This is far from the first time that Rahr has  used his connections to make a point, as he was described in a New  York Observer profile of showing off his hundreds of posed photos  with various celebrities.

And he has no problem expressing his distaste  for others: he openly bad-mouthed Tiger Woods, calling him ‘the most selfish guy  I know out of

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2231353/Stewart-Rahr-Billionaire-banned-Nobu-threatening-kill-manager-denied-favorite-table.html#ixzz2Bvv6YZMl Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

FEMA centers in New York closed due to… bad weather

Published: 09 November, 2012, 21:19

Instead of staying open to help displaced victims of the hurricane during the nor’easter that blanketed New York City in snow, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was “closed due to weather” as the storm approached.

FEMA, headed by Craig Fugate, exists to “prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards,” the agency states. Its team is employed to fly into disaster areas to provide relief to victims of both of manmade or natural disasters – like storms.

But this week FEMA seemingly added a special condition to its services: The agency will only help as long as it’s not raining, snowy or too windy. As the nor’easter brought snowflakes to an area where thousands are still without electricity or homes in freezing temperatures, FEMA shut down its operations “due to bad weather.”

“We were abandoned yesterday,” Staten Island resident MaryAnne Alessio told Neil Cavuto.

After being questioned on the reasons behind the closed doors, Fugate told reporters that services needed to be postponed during the storm and would resume when the weather improves. FEMA’s response angered some New Yorkers who relied on the relief service after the storm had demolished their homes.

“Really? You’re telling Staten Island people that sorry, we’re closed due to the weather?” said Alessio. “These are people walking the streets that don’t have no homes, no electricity, no life, no place to go. They’re put out of their houses. And then they go to the FEMA center and they’re closed due to the weather. I think it’s a disgrace.”

FEMA buses vanished on Wednesday, taking away some New Yorkers’ only source of warmth and electricity. Trucks were removed from Staten Island and tents were taken down throughout the city.

And while the emergency management agency could not cope with the weather, the Red Cross stepped in and opened warming centers to help displaced hurricane victims survive the snowy weather.

But the Red Cross did not have the resources to provide many shelters. With only one shelter, located on Staten Island, FEMA’s help was much-needed.

“It’s just annoying when many people here need help, and they just didn’t do what they’re supposed to do,” a Queens resident told DNAinfo.com. “It’s emergency, and they should be open by now.”

To make up for the loss in aid that FEMA should have been providing, volunteers across New York tried to provide crucial resources to hurricane victims – including water bottles, food, electricity and places to warm up.

“FEMA packed up and left. We don’t know where they are, so there’s nothing here but us,” said volunteer Louis Giraldi.

The agency reopened its mobile sites after the second storm passed.

 

http://rt.com/usa/news/fema-new-closed-weather-359/

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

Researchers explore new ways to prevent spinal cord damage using a vitamin B3 precursor: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide ( NAD+ )

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Andrew Klein
ank2017@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College team receives $2.5 million New York State research grant to undertake laboratory study

NEW YORK (November 5, 2009) — Substances naturally produced by the human body may one day help prevent paralysis following a spinal cord injury, according to researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College. A recent $2.5 million grant from the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Board will fund their research investigating this possibility.

The Weill Cornell team believes that permanent nerve damage may be avoided by raising levels of a compound that converts to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) — the active form of vitamin B3. The compound would potentially be administered immediately following spinal cord injury.

“Boosting NAD+ after injury may prevent permanent nerve death,” explains Dr. Samie Jaffrey, associate professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Our study is aimed at synthesizing a molecule that, when given soon after injury, may augment the body’s production of NAD+ and rescue these cells before they are stressed beyond recovery.”

The compound, called nicotinamide riboside (NR) — a natural NAD+ precursor found in foods like milk — as well as other NR derivatives have already been proven to protect against cell death and axonal degeneration in cultured cells and in models of spinal cord injury. In 2007, the authors reported results of laboratory experiments finding that NR can increase NAD+ concentrations as high as 270 percent when compared with untreated control cells. No other known agent has been shown to achieve these types of increases in cells.

NAD+ is known to play a key role in human cells by activating proteins called sirtuins that help the cells survive under stress. Sirtuins, which can be activated by compounds like resveratrol (found in large concentrations in the skin of grapes used to make red wine) have been shown to possess anti-aging and healing properties. The researchers believe that quickly increasing the NAD+ levels may help to activate the sirtuin levels in the cells and prevent cell death. This is especially important because when cells and tissues experience extreme trauma, NAD+ levels drop quickly.

In the newly funded research, the Weill Cornell team will conduct a lab study to see how NR compounds can raise NAD+ levels in cells that are stressed to the point that they will die within three to four hours, and instead survive as a consequence of treatment. In a separate study, Dr. Brett Langley from the Burke Rehabilitation Center in Westchester, N.Y. — a hospital affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical College — will test the compounds in mice with spinal injuries, with the hope of observing physical recovery and improvement in behavioral testing.

“We hope to show that a natural compound that can be produced cheaply and efficiently could be the key to preventing permanent injury,” explains Dr. Anthony Sauve, associate professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College. “We also believe that the compound would be perfectly safe to use in humans, since it is a vitamin that has not been shown to have negative effects on the body when artificially elevated.”

Dr. Sauve has patented and pioneered a way to produce compounds that regulate NAD+ and specializes in making an array of NAD derivatives to determine which one best augments NAD+ levels in neurons.

“If this study is successful in animal testing, we hope to study the compound clinically,” says Dr. Jaffrey.

 

###

 

New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Board

The New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Board distributes research grants to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. More than 16,000 New Yorkers suffer with spinal cord injuries. In July 1998, landmark legislation was enacted to create the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Board and allocate funding to the Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust Fund. The purpose of the fund is to assist leading researchers with ongoing and new efforts to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. Since its inception, the Board has recommended more than $54 million in research awards to some of New York State’s finest research teams.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University’s medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Weill Cornell, which is a principal academic affiliate of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the teaching of basic and clinical sciences, problem-based learning, office-based preceptorships, and primary care and doctoring courses. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research in areas such as stem cells, genetics and gene therapy, geriatrics, neuroscience, structural biology, cardiovascular medicine, transplantation medicine, infectious disease, obesity, cancer, psychiatry and public health — and continue to delve ever deeper into the molecular basis of disease and social determinants of health in an effort to unlock the mysteries of the human body in health and sickness. In its commitment to global health and education, the Medical College has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease, the first indication of bone marrow’s critical role in tumor growth, and most recently, the world’s first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. For more information, visit www.med.cornell.edu.

Medical Examiner keeps thousands of brains for ‘tests’ families call needless

  • By SUSAN EDELMAN
  • Last Updated:  12:56 PM, October 28, 2012
  • Posted: 10:30 PM, October 27, 2012

EXCLUSIVE

It’s the great brain robbery.

The city Medical Examiner’s Office has kept the brains of more than 9,200 deceased New Yorkers — from the elderly to newborns — in the past eight years, records obtained by The Post show.

The stunning revelation comes as three families publicly question whether the city is yanking brains so rookie pathologists can “practice,” for scientists’ experiments, or for no good reason at all.

“Vasean’s organs were removed for ‘testing’ without any investigative or medical necessity,” charges a suit by the family of Vasean Alleyne, an 11-year-old Queens boy killed by a drunken driver. Months after his burial, his mom was shocked to read in the autopsy report that her son’s brain and spinal cord had been taken.

Brooklyn mom Cindy Bradshaw was stunned to learn she had buried her stillborn son, Gianni, without his brain. The ME kept it — though an autopsy found his death was caused by an abnormality in her umbilical cord and placenta.

“Do they really want to know what happened to the person, or are they just experimenting?” Bradshaw asked.

“The death had nothing to do with the brain,” said her lawyer, Daniel Flanzig. “It’s unconscionable — and unlawful — for the Medical Examiner not to return it to the family for a complete burial.”

Others suspect organs are used as a training tool.

“I think they collect brains to allow a new neuropathologist to practice on various body parts,” said Anthony Galante, a lawyer for the family of Jesse Shipley, 17, who was killed in a car crash in 2005. Friends gawked at his brain in a labeled jar on a class trip to the Staten Island morgue — two months after his funeral.

“When it comes to investigating deaths, the law gives the Medical Examiner’s Office broad authority, including the retention of tissue at autopsy for further testing,” said a city Law Department spokeswoman, declining further comment. The ME also declined to comment.

In November 2010, a judge ruled the city must notify families of seized organs. The ME began giving kin a form with three options: wait to claim the body pending “further testing” of organs; collect the organs later; or just let the city dispose of the organs.

The disposal method is not mentioned. But an internal ME document spells it out: “Medical waste is incinerated. Please do not tell NOK (next-of-kin) that unclaimed organs are ‘cremated. . .’ ”

Under The Post’s Freedom of Information Law request, the ME gave a list of 9,200 brains and 45 spinal cords removed between Nov. 1, 2004, and July 1, 2012. Some 7,700 brains were taken before the notifications began.

The ages of the decedents range from 99 to fetuses.

Brains harden in formaldehyde several weeks before they can be “cut” by scientists.

In Staten Island, ME staff delayed tests for “months” until a half-dozen brains were ready — to make a pathologist’s trip from Manhattan “worth his while,” according to testimony in the Shipley case.

But Jesse’s death was no mystery: “He was killed in an auto accident. His skull had multiple fractures,” lawyer Galante said.

Two days after Bradshaw’s son was stillborn, April 28, an ME pathologist told her, “The autopsy was complete and I could pick him up any time,” she said. The cause of death was a pregnancy complication, the autopsy confirmed. “He was a healthy baby.”

But the ME called back hours after the May 4 funeral.

“I forgot to tell you, the brain is still here,” the pathologist said.

The only explanation given Bradshaw, she said: “It’s routine.”

susan.edelman@nypost.com

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/city_sitting_on_brains_cTMsOuGmPkRRDxBQm0IvNJ