Study finds 98% of child drug trials lack independent safety checks

· Research highlights adverse effects of tests
· ‘Surprise’ at lack of monitoring committees

Only a tiny minority of drug trials on children have an independent safety monitoring committee to pick up potentially dangerous side-effects, a study has revealed.Researchers from Nottingham University found that under 2% of the 739 international drug trials published between 1996 and 2002 had such committees of independent experts who would scrutinise data and warn, if necessary, that it was not safe to carry on.

Among the 2%, six trials had to be stopped early because of toxic effects on the child patients.

“We were very surprised by the low level of trials that had independent safety monitoring committees and are urging pharmaceutical companies to include these in all future trials involving children,” said Dr Helen Sammons, associate professor of child health at Nottingham and lead author of the paper, published in the child health journal Acta Paediatrica.

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Investment banks are borrowing from Fed

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investment banks Goldman Sachs Group Inc , Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc and Morgan Stanley are testing a new program that allows investment banks to borrow directly from the Federal Reserve, according to people at the banks.In a bid to stabilize jittery markets, the Fed said on Sunday that it would allow investment banks to borrow from its discount window using a wide range of investment-grade securities as collateral.

(Hey, hey lets spend all our money and then just ask Uncle Bernanke for a few more billions.
Come on guys lets do that. Uncle Bernanke can print a few billions for us if we are broke.
Good to have him around. Life is so good. – The Infinite Unknown
)

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Indonesia: Rampant bird flu raises pandemic risks

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Efforts to contain bird flu are failing in Indonesia, increasing the possibility that the virus may mutate into a deadlier form, the leading U.N. veterinary health body warned.The H5N1 bird flu virus is entrenched in 31 of the country’s 33 provinces and will cause more human deaths, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in a statement released late Tuesday.

“I am deeply concerned that the high level of virus circulation in birds in the country could create conditions for the virus to mutate and to finally cause a human influenza pandemic,” FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech said.

Indonesia “has not succeeded in containing the spread of avian influenza,” Domenech said, adding that there must be “major human and financial resources, stronger political commitment and strengthened coordination.”

The H5N1 virus has killed at least 236 people in a dozen countries worldwide since it began ravaging poultry stocks across Asia in 2003. It has been found in birds in more than 60 countries, but Indonesia has recorded 105 deaths, almost half the global tally, according to the World Health Organization.

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Pentagon’s Mind-Reading Computers Replicate

Augmented Cognition,” the Darpa program to build computer interfaces that adapt to their users’ brains, has officially run its course.  But efforts to build mind-reading PCs continue throughout the military establishment.  Augmented Cognition relies on the idea that people have more than one kind of working memory, and more than one kind of attention; there are separate slots in the mind for things written, things heard and things seen. By monitoring how taxed those areas of the brain are, it should be possible to change a computer’s display to compensate. If people are getting too much visual information, send them a text alert. If they reading too much at once, present some of the data visually — in a chart or map.

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The Air Force has tapped Design Interactive, Inc. to build a battlefield command-and-control system that works along these lines.  It’s supposed to use EEG and eye-tracking monitors to “assess the operator’s actual cognitive state.”  That way, the system can play around with its “information display” to “avoid cognitive bottlenecks before they occur.”  And that’s just the start.  Eventually, the company wants the program to “anticipate future mission state and operator functional state ahead of time,” too.

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Pentagon’s Cyborg Insects All Grown Up

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For years, now, Pentagon-backed researchers have been trying to create cyborg insects that could serve as living, remote-controlled spies. The problem is, those modified bugs never survived long enough to be useful. Now, Georgia Tech professor Robert Michelson says he’s managed to get the bug ‘borgs to live into adulthood.

DARPA’s Hi-MEMS program aims to implant place micro-mechanical systems [MEMS] “inside the insects during the early stages of metamorphosis,” the agency explains. That way, as the bugs get older, tissues grow around — and fuse together with — the tiny machines.

Flight International reports that, in his latest work, Michelson truncated a Manduca moth’s thorax “to reduce its mass.” Then he put in “a MEMS component… where abdominal segments would have been, during the larval stage.”

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States Hand Over the DNA of Newborns to DHS

Unknown to most new parents, or those who became parents in the last ten or so years, DNA of newborns has been harvested, tested, stored and experimented with by all 50 states. And all 50 states are now routinely providing these results to the Homeland Security Department.

No doubt we can all see the benefits in testing for genetic disorders or genetic traits and tendencies that could be more adequately dealt with, in some cases actually deterring the onset of life-time illness, but that seems not to be the real thrust of these programs. It may have been initially….but not now.

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House OK’s bill limiting use of radio tracking devices

CONCORD – Privacy advocates overturned a Commerce Committee vote and won House approval of a bill yesterday limiting the use of radio tracking devices in consumer products.HB 686 bans the implantation of RFID (radio frequency identification ) chips in humans and requires a notification label on any product that contains them. It also bars the state from using the devices in drivers licenses, license plates and E-ZPass transponders.

RFID’s are readable from a distance of up to 20 yards, and are currently used mostly for inventory. Those who wanted strict limits on their use said the technology can be used to link consumer products to the individuals who buy them.

“It’s no one’s business where New Hampshire people go or don’t go. Protect your inventory, Mr. Retailer, but don’t follow the customers,” Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, said.

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Your Burger on Biotech

Scientists serve up leaner beef, tastier cheddar and healthier ketchup

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The Annotated Hamburger: Photo by Colin Smale; Schnare & Stief/Getty Images; illustration: Mitch Romanowski Design

If the biotech industry has its way, ordering a hamburger might soon sound something like this: “one charbroiled cloned-beef patty, with genetically modified cheese, lab-grown bacon and vitamin-C-fortified lettuce, on a protein-spiked bun.” The burger of the future is delicious, nutritious and contains more engineering than a stealth bomber.

With the Food and Drug Administration ruling in January that meat and milk from cloned cows, pigs, goats and their offspring is safe to eat, the only thing keeping the superburger off your dinner plate is time. It will be a few years yet before cloned meat hits store shelves. Cloning the perfect (and tastiest) cow can cost upward of $15,000, which makes clones themselves too expensive to eat, so we’ll have to wait until they spawn enough offspring (the old-fashioned way) to feed the masses. Meanwhile, researchers are busy formulating all the fixings. Take a look at what science is doing for the burger, from bun to beef and everything in between.

Recipe for Burger 2.0

Vitamin Bun
After isolating a gene in wild wheat that controls protein, zinc and iron content, scientists at the University of California at Davis spliced the gene into domestic wheat, boosting nutrient content by 12 percent.

Cruelty-Free Bacon
Scientists in the Netherlands have grown minced pork in a dish by adding water, glucose and amino acids to pig stem cells. Expect artificial ground meat by 2012 and bacon within the decade.

Better Cheddar
Food engineers are boosting cheddar flavor by adding a bacterial gene that produces an enzyme that eliminates the bitter taste created during ripening.

Leaner Beef
Several companies are cloning the country’s most prized cows to produce leaner, tastier cuts of meat. Ranchers will start breeding the clones this spring, and in five years, the offspring will be ready to grill.

Healthier Ketchup
The ethanol boom is driving up the price of corn syrup, so Heinz is breeding a tomato that is 10 percent sweeter than those grown today. Look for naturally sweeter ketchup by 2010.

High-C Lettuce
By splicing rat genes into lettuce, Virginia Tech scientists figured out how to turn on the vegetable’s latent vitamin-C-producing abilities (rats are natural C-makers). Since rodent-altered lettuce is somewhat unappetizing, the team used the data to identify plant DNA that can do the same thing.

By Rena Marie Pacella Posted 03.17.2008 at 2:55 pm

Source: popsci.com

Do Americans Care About Big Brother?

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The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) in Virginia. the NCTC has elements of the FBI and CIA where terrorism-related information is
shared on a real-time basis.

Christopher Morris / VII for TIME

 

Pity America’s poor civil libertarians. In recent weeks, the papers have been full of stories about the warehousing of information on Americans by the National Security Agency, the interception of financial information by the CIA, the stripping of authority from a civilian intelligence oversight board by the White House, and the compilation of suspicious activity reports from banks by the Treasury Department. On Thursday, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine released a report documenting continuing misuse of Patriot Act powers by the FBI. And to judge from the reaction in the country, nobody cares.

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Are You Prepared For A Hundred Years War On Terror?

The European Globalist Agenda Of A Middle Eastern Union Requires Sacrifice
Senator and Presidential candidate John McCain said that it would be fine with him if the military stayed in Iraq for a hundred years.
His prediction maybe be proved in the future to be correct. American men and women are being sacrificed on the alter of globalism. Your liberties are being taken from you by those you have never met. This is one of the biggest scams that have ever been run on the American people. Much like the Roman Empire our leaders are destroying our economy by borrowing more and more money to fight simultaneous wars around the world. Have you ever wondered why there are nations like China who continue to allow us to borrow money much like a degenerate gambler who doesn’t know when to quit? We will be the ones to account for the damage that has been done. Every penny of debt that you have will be collected, your social security money has been stolen and the infrastructure that our forefathers fought for has been bought out by multinational corporations and foreign governments.

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The Federal Reserve Is Destroying America

It is incredible to see the rampant devaluation of the U.S. Dollar. The Federal Reserve just hours ago made a rare cut of 25 basis points during the weekend which will cause even more inflation. Gold immediately moved up $20 an ounce and the U.S. Dollar Index plunged under 71 in international trading. If this type of market activity continues the U.S. Dollar will have no value in a few months. While it is probably unlikely that we will see a hyper-inflationary collapse of the U.S. Dollar within the next few months, these policies are entirely unsustainable. If the Federal Reserve does not move to defend the value of the U.S. Dollar we will eventually see a hyper-inflationary collapse and worldwide financial turmoil. This view is also shared by other well respected financial analysts. Peter Schiff recently raised concerns about a hyper-inflationary collapse of the U.S. Dollar, Robert Reich a former Clinton cabinet member believes we are facing a depression and Alan Greenspan the man who caused this whole mess wrote in the Financial Times stating that we are facing the worst financial crisis since World War II. What’s amazing is that the Federal Reserve isn’t even trying to protect the U.S. Dollar because all they care about is saving the power of their private banking cartel. They don’t care about the U.S. Dollar nor do they care about the country itself. They are destroying this country through their actions and there needs to be an investigation into the controllers of this bank.

Alan Greenspan saying that we are facing the worst financial crisis since World War II is like a killer returning to the scene of their crime and explaining the results of their crime. Greenspan recently told nations in the Gulf to drop their currency pegs to the U.S. Dollar which encouraged a further drop in the U.S. Dollar. Greenspan’s Financial Times article will cause an even greater acceleration in the collapse of the currency. As the former head of the Federal Reserve, his comments still hold a great deal of importance with people around the world. This means that his comments can literally move the value of the U.S. Dollar one way or another. It is incredibly sick how Greenspan can get away with creating the current crisis we face with his low interest rate policies earlier this decade and analyze the problems that are occurring today that were a result of his own policies with no criticism from the corporate controlled media.

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Wall Street fears for next Great Depression

Wall Street is bracing itself for another week of roller-coaster trading after more than $300bn (£150bn) was wiped off the US equity markets on Friday following the emergency funding package put together by the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan Chase to rescue Bear Stearns.

One UK economist warned that the world is now close to a 1930s-like Great Depression, while New York traders said they had never experienced such fear. The Fed’s emergency funding procedure was first used in the Depression and has rarely been used since.

A Goldman Sachs trader in New York said: “Everyone is in a total state of shock, aghast at what is happening. No one wants to talk, let alone deal; we’re just standing by waiting. Everyone is nervous about what is going to emerge when trading starts tomorrow.”

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Dollar’s nosedive stirs joint intervention jitters

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar’s sharp slide to 13-year lows against the yen and fresh all-time lows versus the euro on Monday is stoking jitters about the possibility of joint central bank intervention to prop up the dollar.”The speed of the slide in the dollar/yen is so rapid that U.S. action alone can no longer stop the dollar’s downward trend,” said Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investment.

“The time is ripe for coordinated intervention by U.S., European and Japanese authorities.”

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Foreign investors veto Fed rescue

As feared, foreign bond holders have begun to exercise a collective vote of no confidence in the devaluation policies of the US government. The Federal Reserve faces a potential veto of its rescue measures.

Asian, Mid East and European investors stood aside at last week’s auction of 10-year US Treasury notes. “It was a disaster,” said Ray Attrill from 4castweb. “We may be close to the point where the uglier consequences of benign neglect towards the currency are revealed.”

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Put young children on DNA list, urge police

Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to Britain’s most senior police forensics expert.Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five.

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Banks face “new world order,” consolidation: report

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Financial firms face a “new world order” after a weekend fire sale of Bear Stearns and the Federal Reserve’s first emergency weekend meeting since 1979, research firm CreditSights said in a report on Monday.

More industry consolidation and acquisitions may follow after JPMorgan Chase & Co on Sunday said it was buying Bear Stearns for $236 million, or $2 a share, a deep discount from the $30 price on Friday and record share price of about $172 last year.

“Last evening the Bear Stearns situation reached a crescendo, as JPMorgan agreed to acquire the wounded broker for a token amount of $2 per share,” CreditSights said. “The reality check is that there are many challenged major banks, brokers, thrifts, finance/mortgage companies, and only a handful of bona fide strong U.S. banks.”

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Israel to hold massive emergency drill

In the face of a possible escalation with Syria and Iran’s efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon, parts of the country will shut down next month in what security officials say will be the largest emergency exercise in Israel’s history.The drill, which is being organized by the newly-established National Emergency Authority, will take place over five days starting on Sunday, April 6.

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Tibetan prisoners are paraded on trucks as China tightens its grip

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A boy being taken by force along a street in the Tibetan capital Lhasa

China blocks internet access over coverage of protests

Dozens of Tibetan prisoners were paraded on military trucks in Lhasa yesterday, with their heads bent and wrists handcuffed behind their backs, as soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army tightened their grip on the Tibetan capital.

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