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Science

My Brain Bleeds for You

Vaginal birth increases the risk of brain haemorrhage in newborns, a new study suggests. But it is unclear if the early bleeding causes problems with subsequent child development, so natural births should not be eschewed in favour of caesarean sections, experts warn.

Link

I would have preferred if they said caesareans decrease the risk of brain haemorrhaging because stated this way, it makes it sound like vaginal births are the new thing. "This new way of giving birth is actually riskier than the good ol' caesarean."

Also, they're saying how this bleeding of the brain could be leading to developmental problems. Well, considering how many babies were born vaginally since the dawn of time, i'm thinking it can't be new problems that are just now occurring. Not that we shouldn't try to prevent brain haemorrhaging. I'm sure less bleeding of the brain can only be a good thing. Ofc, now that this has been discovered, it explains why so many people are afflicted with stupid.

Who's surprised that squeezing a baby's head thru a tiny canal (no matter how much stretching there is) might actually cause a tiny bit of damage? Duh.

That's all.


By min | January 30, 2007, 12:56 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



Anti-depressant Leads to Suicides

Seems to me that if an anti-depressant can lead to someone committing suicide, it's not a very good anti-depressant, is it?

GlaxoSmithKline is going to get slammed on a British expose for withholding the results of their clinical trials, advertising the drug as safe for children when the test results showed otherwise.

GSK was forced to reveal its confidential internal archives after many families in the US had sued the company over the death of their children due to consuming the drug. Karen Barth Menzies, whose firm represents one of the families, said that GSK continued to say that the drug was safe for children even when results proved the contrary.
...
When Panorama reporter Shelley Jofre searched the confidential archives, she was shocked to find many of the letters that she had sent to Dr Ryan [a child psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh who was the co-author on GSK's study] asking about the safety of the drug among children. Dr Ryan had simply forwarded the mails to GSK officials asking for suggestions for the replies.

Jofre also found an email in which a public relations executive for GSK clearly said that the drug was not effective among children. "Originally we had planned to do extensive media relations surrounding this study until we actually viewed the results. Essentially the study did not really show it was effective in treating adolescent depression, which is not something we want to publicize", the email read.

Meanwhile a spokesman for GSK said that his company denies of any wrongdoing...GSK utterly rejects any suggestion that it has improperly withheld drug trial information", he said.

That's right. They very properly withheld the drug trial information, following the guidelilnes listed in the Pharmaceutical Drug-Pusher's Handbook: A Guide to Successfully Selling Your Merchandise to the Public. It's always worked well for their drugs in the past, and every pharmaceutical corporation swears by it.


By min | January 29, 2007, 12:50 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



Cigarettes Made More Addictive Deliberately?

A Harvard study concluding that cigarette makers have for years deliberately increased nicotine levels in cigarettes to make them more addictive led to renewed calls Thursday for greater federal oversight of the industry.

Link

Gee, i find that so hard to believe. Why would the cigarette companies do such a thing?

Needless to say, Phillip Morris took issue with the study.


By min | January 19, 2007, 9:44 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (4)| Link



Spirit of Cooperation

I suppose i can hold out hope that they just got it wrong in the translation, but i'm not that optimistic. It's so pathetic that our government can make these statements in earnest without the weight of their hypocrisy crushing them into flat pancakes. China shot down one of their old weather satellites about a week ago. Here is the "intelligent" response our nation is so famous for.

AP quoted analysts as saying that China's weather satellites would travel at about the same altitude as U.S. spy satellites, so the test represented an indirect threat to the U.S. defense system.

"The United States believes China's development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area," AP quoted National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe as saying.

"We and other countries have expressed our concern to the Chinese," he said.
[emphasis mine]

Ok. I don't know if i should laugh or cry in shame. We're going to go and give a lecture about civility and cooperation while in the same breath discuss the satellites we have in orbit to spy on other countries? I'm sure this was reported with absolutely no hint of irony. WTF is wrong with you people?

It gets better. Read on.

AP said President Bush signed an order last October asserting the United States' right to deny adversaries access to space for hostile purposes. As part of the first revision of U.S. space policy in nearly 10 years, the policy also said the U.S. would oppose the development of treaties or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space.

There's nothing more effective for making friends and gaining respect than saying "You're my bitch". Gotta love the "do as i say, not as i do" policy this administration adheres to.

AP said that what drove China to act now remains a mystery.

AP should get its head out of its butt. Mebbe what drove China to "act now" is the sad fact that the United States is being run by a bunch of lunatics and fascists whose diplomatic approach entails such well thought out strategies as "Glass 'em" and "You're either with us or against us" so they figured they ought to be prepared. Or mebbe they were tired of being spied on.


By min | January 19, 2007, 8:35 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (0)| Link



Doomsday Approacheth

First off, there's a Doomsday Clock??

Second, the scientists in charge of it have decided that the current situation in the world merits moving the minute hand 2 minutes closer to midnight. Great.

The Nobel laureate scientist Stephen Hawking today warned that the world is on the brink of a second nuclear age and a period of unprecedented climate change.

The University of Cambridge mathematician's comments came as the time on the doomsday clock, which counts down to nuclear Armageddon, was moved two minutes closer to midnight, reflecting concerns among scientists over the rise of new nuclear powers.

Climate change was also increasing the threat of catastrophic damage to the planet, academics at the Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists (BAS) said.

How do they determine how many minutes to move the clock? What is the scale they're using? I'd like to see some of that math.

This is all very nice and symbolic and everything, but is the best this group of scientists, which includes 18 Nobel laureates, can do is move the hand on some clock and put a picture of it on a magazine? That's so sad and totally useless. It makes me think of a group of sad, bent old men working together to push a giant minute hand on a huge clock deep in a pit while the rest of the world ignores or jeers at them.


By min | January 17, 2007, 1:13 PM | Science | Comments (4)| Link



The Canadians Are Spying On Us

Or mebbe it's the French. Or the Russians. Or the Chinese. Actually, it's prolly not the Canadians. Yeah. Prolly not them.

Link c/o nsxt290.

In a U.S. government warning high on the creepiness scale, the Defense Department cautioned its American contractors over what it described as a new espionage threat: Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters hidden inside.

The government said the mysterious coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.

ntelligence and technology experts said such transmitters, if they exist, could be used to surreptitiously track the movements of people carrying the spy coins.

The U.S. report doesn't suggest who might be tracking American defense contractors or why. It also doesn't describe how the Pentagon discovered the ruse, how the transmitters might function or even which Canadian currency contained them.

...

The government insists the incidents happened, and the risk was genuine.
[emphasis mine]

What an odd thing to say.
"I swear. REALLY. It's all true. All of it."
As if the government would ever make something up. Pshaw.

Experts said hiding tracking technology inside coins is fraught with risks because the spy's target might inadvertently give away the coin or spend it buying coffee or a newspaper.
...
"It wouldn't seem to be the best place to put something like that; you'd want to put it in something that wouldn't be left behind or spent," said Jeff Richelson, a researcher and author of books about the CIA and its gadgets. "It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense."

But then again, a coin would be something that wouldn't seem suspicious in the least to find in your stuff.


By min | January 11, 2007, 9:47 AM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (1)| Link



Cancer Research

I don't follow it at all, so mebbe this sort of thing is common. But it just seems odd to me to read about two discoveries related to treating cancer happening so close together. I'm paranoid that way. Get over it. So, earlier this week was the guy who figured out how to filter cancer cells out of the blood. Now this:

Researchers discovered that a large protein, which forms a protective shield around cancer cells and prevents them from causing secondary tumours, is attacked by a small protein that exists in the blood.
...
Dr Lu-Gang Yu, from the University's School of Clinical Sciences, explains: "MUC1 on the cell surface prevents the cancer cells from attaching to the blood vessel wall which causes secondary tumours. We have discovered that a small protein called galectin-3, attacks MUC1 and breaks up its protective shield, forcing large areas of the cancer cell to become exposed. The exposed areas of the cell allow the cancer to attach to the blood vessel wall. The cancer cells then eventually penetrate the blood wall to form tumours at secondary sites.

What the hell's going on? What's with the surge in discoveries of late? Or have i just been missing all the other ones since talk about proteins and vessel walls is hardly an exciting topic? Or mebbe they have to get this problem off the table to make way for the next big bringer of death. I am the Bringer of Good Cheer.

Cancer's been a big problem for a long time. The American Cancer Society prolly gets tons of money donated to them for research and still they haven't been able to come up with a cure. My paranoid side says this is because more money can be made from treating cancer than it can from curing cancer. There hasn't really been a cure for anything discovered since polio in 1955. What the hell are they doing with all that research money? Redecorating?

Mebbe next week i'll read about the discovery of a way to protect MUC1 from galectin-3 and how the filter can be used to capture cancer cells and coat them in MUC1. I can't wait.


By min | January 11, 2007, 8:55 AM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



Cancer Cell Filter

Scientist came up with a way to filter cancer cells and stem cells out of blood. He has figured out what types of proteins attract cancer cells and stem cells. By coating tubes with a particular protein and running blood through the tube, they can get those cells to stick to the walls and either give them a trigger to destroy themselves or harvest them.

This procedure can be done in vivo (in the body) or in vitro (outside). The thinking is that such a device could be implanted in the body prior to surgery to remove a tumor because the surgery usually causes cancer cells to be released into the body. The filter could then capture and destroy the cancer cells instead of allowing them to flow thru the body, causing metastasis - cancer cells spreading from the primary location to a seconary location and forming a new tumor.

So, how much do you want to bet that if this new discovery really works as well as they say, it will be sparingly used and will cost an atrocious amount and your insurance company won't touch it? Wouldn't want to really find a way to keep cancer from getting bad. That would cut into the pharmaceuticals' profit margins.


By min | January 8, 2007, 3:17 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



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