Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bees acquired a contagious disease?

Colony Collapse Disorder has been blamed on numerous causes, though some scientists are looking at a virus called IAPV. See excellent post about this subject by Drew Hasselback....

Foundation Fights against Pfizer's Theft of Trade Secret and WINS!

Most companies and individuals, despite the fact that they have been wronged, cannot go up against monetary giants such as Pfizer due to lack of resources which causes inequities in obtaining a fair legal process. Therefore, companies like Pfizer continue to get away with scientific and business misconduct without any repercussions.

Not this time.

Pharmaceutical company, Pfizer was found guilty of stealing trade secrets from a non-profit medical foundation. Dr. Dennis Mangano, head of Ischemia Research and Education Foundation had to spend $15 million to fight against Pfizer’s unethical practices. Pfizer stole trade secrets, had unauthorized access to the foundation’s database and destroyed evidence pertinent to the trial. The verdict awarded the foundation $38 million.

Will this guilty verdict and a payment of $38 million be sufficient enough to motivate Pfizer to stop engaging in unethical business and scientific practices? Or will Pfizer just consider this their cost of doing business? What do you think?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Submitted by annon (not verified) on Thu, 12/18/2008 - 03:21.
A California biotechnology company that searches the world for the "novel" microorganism to be used in the place of chemical pesticides, insecticides, fungicides... etc. broke NUMEROUS federal and state laws when an employee got sick after only working 5 months and 9 days at the company.
It is Federal and California LAW that "knowing" or even a "suspicion" of a harmful effect to human health or the environment has occurred from a pesticide product (biological included) HAS TO BE REPORTED.
This was never done in this employee's case as it would have had a very negative impact on the company, ie: investors and put a stop (or at least a slowing down) of the company's registrations with the EPA.
This employee has 19 bacteria and fungus in either his blood, nose and/or sputum cultures and/or positive to HIGH POSITIVE IgG levels that are all related to the company. He has had 4 MAJOR sinus surgeries, countless other sinus procedures in physician offices, the loss of an intact immune system resulting in 3 years of IV immunoglobulin infusions every 28 days, and constant ongoing infections.
Still, this company is allowed to conceal what they have done.
And for the record, people don't understand that these biotech companies only have to "report" the "ACTIVE INGREDIENT" in their products.... some are as low as 0.07%, 1.34%. The "other" ingredients do not have to be disclosed to anyone. It would be advantageous for everyone to search the United States Patent Office for biotech companies patents. You will be surprised that the do in fact use "chemicals". It's in black and white.
How can we be assured that the new Secretary of Agriculture isn't going to be in bed with the biotech companies as has the Bush Administration? Is he going to open the EPA libraries? Is he going to suppress scientist's warnings as did Bush?
Only time will tell, but I truly hope and pray this administration has some ethics.
GMO's are not as safe as everyone is led to believe. Further evidence of this can be found in the pharmaceutical arena. Both industries merely plead "trade secrets" and don't have to be accountable or even comply with Federal and state Right-To-Know laws of hazards in the workplace (HAZ COM) (Hazard Communications).
When is this grievous practice going to stop? Don't the rights of the American worker mean anything anymore? Doesn't everyone have the right to "life", or is that up for debate depending on which profession one choses?

Monday, December 8, 2008


See the horrific story of David Bell and the illness he acquired after biological exposures at work at a biotech company.

This story documents unsafe biological practices at a company called Agraquest which develops microoganisms as pesticides. It is a story of the continued cover-up by the biotech industry and the inadequacy of our legal system to handle public health and safety issues from companies working with biological agents. It tells another continued failure of our workers compensation system and the inability of workers to obtain healthcare from exposures at work. It is a story of the unethical biotech industry and how monetary profits supersede human rights and workers rights.

Biotech Lab workers are becoming ill. They are being abused, terminated and abandoned. The public heath and safety dangers from the biotech industry are being silenced by our legal, media and corporate system. Conflicts of interest, greed and power have created a dangerous working environment within the biomedical and biotech communities. It is a public health threat with no remedy in sight.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Homicide in the Workplace...
Corporations Marginalize Injured Workers...
OSHA is Defunct...Politicians and Government Agencies Don't Care.
Ralph Nadar Speaks Out....see short video..

See another video acknowledging under reporting of work related injuries:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Fake anthrax warning mailer [Keyser] indicted in Sacramento [CA]“A federal grand jury indicted Thursday a 66-year-old retired teacher from Sacramento who sent 120 letters with fake anthrax nationwide last month to alert the public on the threat of bioterrorism. Marc M. Keyser faces 10 counts of hoax mailings and three counts of mailing threatening communications. Both crimes are punishable by up to 70 years imprisonment. Keyser, who is out on a $25,000 bail, has said he was not sorry for sending the letters with compact discs and packets of sugar labeled as anthrax to media and government offices as well as restaurants because he was just trying to prompt the government to be vigilant in preventing a repeat of the anthrax mail attack in 2001 that killed five people and sickened 17 others.” (Gant Daily, 13Nov08; Source: AHN)

Gulf War Illness is Real

Gulf war illness is real, new federal report says“An extensive federal report released Monday concludes that roughly one in four of the 697,000 U.S. veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf war suffer from Gulf war illness. That illness is a condition now identified as the likely consequence of exposure to toxic chemicals, including pesticides and a drug administered to protect troops against nerve gas. […] The report, titled ‘Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf war Veterans,’ was officially presented Monday to Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peak. […] The report identifies two Gulf War ‘neurotoxic’ exposures that ‘are causally associated with Gulf war illness.’ The first is the ingestion of pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills, given to protect troops from effects of nerve agents. The second is exposure to dangerous pesticides used during the conflict.” (CNN; 17Nov08; Alan Silverlieb)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Failure of System to Give Appropriate Rights to Injured Workers

See video on workers speaking out against such travesties regarding injured workers being denied medical care and rights.

Below is another link to a site about worker's activism against abuses. It has more videos.

Public Health Threat: Biotech Workers Rights equals NONE.

Biotech Workers Rights Equals NONE.
Dangerous Technologies being developed without oversight or regulations.

Watch this video and hear about David Bell an biotech worker who becomes ill. This is another continuing story of how biotech workers have no rights to safety or healthcare following exposures to dangerous biotech agents. It is about public heath and safety issues posed by dangerus biotech technologies and how OSHA is useless in protecting the public and workers.

Biotech, academic and pharmaceutical industries promote miracle cures for all of us, but to not advocate health and safety for their workers or provide adequate protections for public health and safety while developing these technologies.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Infectious disease vs. chonic illness

Reports stating that "At least 170,000 Americans die each year from infectious diseases, and that number could increase dramatically during a major disease outbreak" may be true. But the number we need to get our minds around is...." how many people are developing idiopathic chronic illness?" My estimation will be much more than 170,000 Americans. Why does it appear that chronic illness is on the rise? What is this from? Why are epidemiologist ignoring this question?

Dangerous Lab Built in Hurricane Alley

Bio Lab in Galveston Raises Concerns

GALVESTON, Tex. — Much of the University of Texas medical school on this island suffered flood damage during Hurricane Ike, except for one gleaming new building, a national biological defense laboratory that will soon house some of the most deadly diseases in the world.
How a laboratory where scientists plan to study viruses like Ebola and Marburg ended up on a barrier island where hurricanes regularly wreak havoc puzzles some environmentalists and community leaders.

“It’s crazy, in my mind,” said Jim Blackburn, an environmental lawyer in Houston. “I just find an amazing willingness among the people on the Texas coast to accept risks that a lot of people in the country would not accept.”

For more on this story......

Saturday, October 25, 2008

U.S. Dedicates New Biodenfense Laboratory

A new $143 million U.S. biological defense laboratory was dedicated yesterday and is scheduled to begin full operations in March, the Washington Post reported (see GSN, Jan. 29).The Homeland Security Department's National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center at Fort Detrick, Md., is set to house nearly 150 scientists working to prevent acts of bioterrorism, limit the effects of such a strike and trace lethal material back to its source.The primary offices in the 160,000-square-foot, ship-shaped facility are a forensics testing center for identification of those who carry out an attack using disease material and the Biothreat Characterization Center, which would model potential bioterrorism scenarios and help produce drugs to counter bioagents. See more......

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mystery Disease in South Africa Kills Humans

Zambia minister confirms mysterious killer disease...
A mysterious illness with flu- like symptoms has broken out in Zambia, leaving three people dead so far. According to Health Minister Brian Chituwo a South African resident in Zambia, the first person to suffer from the strange disease on 4 September, was evacuated to South Africa’s Morningside Clinic in Johannesburg, where she died on 13 September. The second victim was a paramedic who escorted the patient to South Africa, while the third was a nurse based at Morningside Clinic, who attended to the first patient. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the driver of the ambulance that ferried the patient from Lanseria Airport to Morningside in South Africa was critically ill. "All these patients developed a fever, cough and bled from various parts of their bodies," Chituwo said, explaining that laboratory investigations carried out so far did not point to any known disease. Chituwo said the situation was under control and that all travels, either local or international, by air or road should continue as usual. The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the U.S. Centre for Disease Control, is carrying out necessary investigations. (Tuesday 7 October - 13:59)

See also:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dangers in Research Animal Facility

Monkey Bites Pitt Lab Technician
An 18-pound macaque monkey bit and then mauled the hand of a University of Pittsburgh laboratory technician last week, prompting accusations from the victim and her co-worker that the facility lacks sufficient safety measures.Patricia "Trish" Boyle, 51, of Avalon, was released from UPMC Presbyterian yesterday -- eight days after the Sept. 24 attack. She received numerous stitches and suffered bone, tendon and nerve damage, the latter of which, she said, could be irreparable. For more...go to link (Monkeys in the News)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A new global health crisis: emerging infectious diseases

A new global health crisis: emerging infectious diseases

Until quite recently, the global war against infectious diseases appeared to be on the road to victory. However, the advent of new infectious diseases and the re-emergence of old ones in areas of the world avowedly free of such diseases, have precipitated a new health crisis which threatens to overwhelm the gains so far made.


UNTIL a relatively few years ago, there was a sense of opti- mism that the long struggle for control over infectious diseases was almost over. Smallpox was eradicated. Poliomyelitis, guinea-worm disease, leprosy, Chagas disease and neonatal tetanus were targeted for eradication or elimination. Some 8 out of 10 of the world's children were immunised against half a dozen killer diseases. Antimicrobial drugs were effectively suppressing countless infections.

But cautious optimism has turned into a fatal complacency that is costing millions of lives every year. The struggle for control, far from being over, has reached a critical stage. Infectious diseases remain the world's leading cause of death, accounting for at least 17 million (about 33%) of the 52 million people who die each year. Apart from those 17 million - about 9 million of whom are young children - up to half the world's population of 5.72 billion people are at risk of many endemic diseases.

Diseases that used to be restricted geographically, such as cholera, are now striking in regions once thought safe. While some diseases have been almost completely subdued, others such as malaria and tuberculosis that have always been among our greatest enemies are fighting back with renewed ferocity. The role of infectious agents in the development of many types of cancer is becoming more evident.

New diseases, new threats

New and emerging diseases, combined with the rapid spread of pathogens resistant to antibiotics and of disease-carrying insects resistant to insecticides, are daunting challenges to human health. The new diseases range from AIDS to little-known but equally lethal viral infections. In many cases, their source is unknown, as is the reason for their emergence. More often than not, no specific treatment is yet available for them.

Antibiotic resistance in hospitals worldwide threatens to leave medical and public health workers virtually helpless in the prevention or treatment of many infections. Many of the most powerful antibiotics have been rendered impotent. Disastrously, this is happening at a time when too few new drugs are being developed to replace those that have lost their effectiveness. In the contest for supremacy, the microbes are sprinting ahead. The gap between their ability to mutate into drug-resistant strains and man's ability to counter them is widening fast.

These are tragic developments, given the achievements that have been made in global disease control. The discovery of antibiotics, the development of vaccines and, more importantly, the introduction of environmental sanitation measures coupled with better understanding of infectious disease epidemiology, have been invaluable weapons in the fight for human health.

The price of failure

The re-emergence of infectious diseases is a warning that progress achieved so far towards global security in health and prosperity may be wasted unless effective development policies are formulated, and commitments are made to implement them nationally and internationally.

Infectious diseases range from those occurring in tropical areas (such as malaria and dengue haemorrhagic fever, which are most common in developing countries) to diseases found worldwide (such as hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS) and food-borne illnesses that affect large numbers of people in both the richer and the poorer nations.

The struggle for control

A few examples illustrate the impact of infectious diseases on human health and development:

* Malaria - the worst of the insect-borne diseases - still strikes up to 500 million people a year, killing at least 2 million.

* Acute lower respiratory infections kill almost 4 million children every year. Tuberculosis, similarly spread from person to person, kills 3 million people a year and one-third of the global population carries the bacilli that cause it.

* Diarrhoeal diseases, spread chiefly by contaminated water or food, kill nearly 3 million young children every year. Cholera epidemics are occurring in countries ranging from South-East Asia to the Middle East, and as far apart as western Africa and South America.

* HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is predominantly transmitted sexually, and has already infected up to 24 million adults, of whom at least 4 million have died. More than 330 million new cases of other sexually transmitted diseases occurred in 1995.

* Viral hepatitis is another major problem worldwide. The term is used to describe a group of several distinct infections which are similar in many ways, but which nevertheless differ in some of their characteristics, and in their prevention and control. At least 350 million people are chronic carriers of the Hepatitis B virus, and another 100 million are chronic carriers of the Hepatitis C virus. At least a quarter of them will die of related liver disease.

* Some of the 10 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in 1995 were caused by viruses (Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C among them), bacteria and parasites. WHO estimates that 15% of all new cancer cases could be avoided by preventing the infectious diseases associated with them.

Breaking the chains

In all types of infectious disease, prevention and control depend on breaking the chains of transmission. A handful of diseases are within range of elimination or eradication in the next few years and others are under control, thanks largely to effective public health measures (particularly global immunisation programmes) and other interventions. Poliomyelitis and guinea-worm disease, for example, could be eradicated by the end of the century. Other diseases, such leprosy, could be eliminated as public health dangers by reducing their prevalence to a very low level.

Attaining freedom from infectious disease is one of humanity's foremost preoccupations. But breaking the chains that shackle people to these diseases is an immensely difficult task. It has been fully achieved only once, with the last reported case of smallpox in 1977. The fact that such success has not been repeated is due not primarily to lack of knowledge or tools, but more to logistics problems and a series of events and developments, some natural and others man-made, that have occurred in recent years. Some are poverty-related, while others are the consequences of economic prosperity.

Obstacles to success

Poverty is on the increase, so that hundreds of millions of people are bound by their living conditions to the daily hazard of infectious disease. More than one-fifth of the world's population lives in extreme poverty. Almost a third of all children are undernourished. Half the people in the world lack regular access to the most needed essential drugs.

Continuing global population growth, combined with rapid urbanisation, means that many millions of city dwellers are forced to live in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions, where lack of clean water and adequate sanitation provides breeding grounds for infectious disease. High-density populations raise the risk of respiratory disease and those transmitted through contact with pathogens in food and water.

In addition, more than 90% of expected population growth in the coming decades will be in the developing regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America - the regions of richest biological diversity. Human encroachment on tropical forests has brought populations with little or no disease resistance into close proximity with insects that carry malaria and yellow fever and other, sometimes unknown, infectious diseases.

Because of the economic and social crises that still affect many countries, health systems which should offer protection against disease have, in extreme cases, either collapsed or not even been built. The immediate result is a resurgence of diseases that were once under control or should be controllable, given adequate resources. Disabled by these diseases, some societies are unable to get themselves back on their feet and cannot afford the health services that they need.

Migration and the mass movement of millions of refugees or displaced persons from one country to another - as the result of wars, civil turmoil or natural disasters - also provide fertile breeding grounds for infectious diseases and keep them on the move.

Increases in international air travel and the growing traffic in trade and tourism mean that disease-producing organisms, the deadly as well as the commonplace, can be transported rapidly from one continent to another. There are now about 5,000 airports with scheduled worldwide services. Air travel has increased by almost 7% a year in the last 20 years and is predicted to increase by over 5% a year during the next 20 years.

As a result of changes in human sexual behaviour, more people are exposed to sexually transmitted diseases. Worldwide, almost a million people contract such diseases every day, mostly young adults.

Other changes in global food trade create new opportunities for infections to flourish. They include the shipment of livestock; food production, storage and marketing; and altered eating habits.

Social changes place certain age groups at higher risk from infectious diseases - for example the clustering of young children in day-care centres, and the growing numbers of the elderly in nursing homes.

Expanding areas of human habitation put additional millions of people at risk from pathogens previously rare or unknown causes of human disease. The effects of climatic change may give some diseases the opportunity to spread to new geographical areas. Antimicrobials have become ubiquitous. Microbes, meanwhile, continue to evolve and adapt to their environment, as they have always done, adding anti-microbial resistance to their evolutionary pathways.

For all the reasons given above, controlling infectious diseases remains global challenge. In addition, the social and economic costs of infectious diseases are far from negligible for individuals, families and communities.

The call for action is directed not just at those working in the field of health, since the reasons for the present crisis are multiple. They are political, social, environmental and to a significant extent self-inflicted - the by-products of the modern world.

The above is an excerpt from the World Health Report 1996 (pp 1-4) prepared by the World Health Organisation, Geneva.

Bubonic Plague Case in Connecticut

Doctor: Bubonic Plague Victim Fully Recovered
By Associated Press Published on 9/14/2008

Meriden (AP)- Physicians say a Connecticut Boy Scout who is believed to have caught bubonic plague while visiting Wyoming has fully recovered from the rare, potentially deadly illness.
The 18-year-old, whose name and hometown has not been released, recovered after a course of the antibiotic medicine Cipro, according to a doctor who treated him at MidState Medical Center in Meriden.

The young man was among hundreds of Scouts who built trails and did other service work in northwest Wyoming in late July and early August before returning home to Connecticut.
He arrived at MidState Medical Center's emergency room with a swollen gland and high fever, and was placed on antibiotics for a suspected case of the mumps until tests later determined he had bubonic plague.

”We did get the history of him being in Wyoming,” said Dr. Robert Levitz, an infectious diseases specialist. “I didn't think it was plague, but the classic symptoms were there.”
Bubonic plague causes fever, headache and exhaustion and is spread by rodents, rabbits and fleas.

Being on antibiotics for several days helped prevent the teen from developing pneumonic plague, which can spread through coughing and led to millions of deaths in the Middle Ages, Levitz said.
Doctors at Clinical Laboratory Partners in Newington pinpointed the disease-producing pathogen in the teen's blood as Yesina pestis, or bubonic plague.

”I didn't believe it,” said Dr. Jaber Aslanzadeh, director of microbiology at the lab. “I said, 'Oh my God, this can't be.' I have been in business for 20 years, and this is the first time I had seen it.”

The laboratory does bioterrorism testing for the state Department of Health and, following protocol, they notified the department of the rare find.

”They didn't believe us, actually,” Aslanzadeh said. “This is too unusual.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta confirmed the finding.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

E. Coli Outbreak in Oklahoma--Toxins and Death

1 Dead, At Least 41 Hospitalized in Okalahoma E. Coli Outbreak

State health officials are confirming a type of E. coli bacteria has been found in 10 patients who were sickened by a severe illness in northeastern Oklahoma.

The outbreak killed 26-year-old Chad Ingle and at least 41 people have been hospitalized and several children are undergoing dialysis because of kidney failure.

Laboratory specimens will be sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further analysis.

Health officials say many who became sick ate at the Country Cottage restaurant in Locust Grove but the restaurant has not been pinpointed as the site of the outbreak.

The restaurant is normally closed on Mondays and voluntarily closed yesterday and today as the investigation continues.

The illnesses are a very severe and bloody diarrhea with symptoms also including vomiting and severe abdominal cramping.


E. coli confirmed as cause of Oklahoma disease outbreak

August 27, 2008

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has now confirmed that E. coli is to blame for the recent disease outbreak in northeast Oklahoma that has caused one death and 41 hospitalizations.

In today’s news release, state epidemiologist Kristy Bradley said “Our laboratory results indicate that we are dealing with an unusual type of E. coli that produces two different types of toxins. These toxins are responsible for the very severe disease that we are seeing in many persons sickened by this outbreak.”

Local residents have been nervous about food safety in recent days because the state Health Department had released little information about the source of the illnesses. E. coli was suspected to be a cause, but the type of contamination was not confirmed until today.

State officials have referred current laboratory samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further analysis. The state Department of Environmental Quality has received inconclusive results thus far from water quality tests conducted in Locust Grove, home to the County Cottage restaurant where many of the disease victims ate before becoming ill. The Country Cottage continues to remain voluntarily closed while the outbreak investigation continues.

Source: (

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bioterrorism Threat Is Ever Present

"The threat of bioterrorism has not subsided," while the challenge of predicting or preventing a major biological attack remains "daunting," Robert Hooks, the Homeland Security Department's deputy assistant secretary for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense, told a House panel two weeks ago.

"The potential for something to happen is much greater now than it was in 2001, simply because of developments of technology and education," D.A. Henderson, who was principal science adviser for public health preparedness to then-Health and Human Services secretary Tommy G. Thompson, said in an interview.

READ MORE: "Modest Gains Against Ever-Present Bioterrorism Threat"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Forcast of ethical and legal problems in Biotechnology

See this interesting article found in the Washington Times suggesting that we be proactive, not reactive to the dangers and ethical issues that neurotechnologies will bring.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Scientists Infected from Lab Strain Disease

Dr. Adu Bobie became infected with laboratory strain of meningoccal disease while working in biotech industry in 2005 which resulted in the loss of both legs and an arm. "The organism that infected Dr Adu-Bobie was indistinguishable from that under investigation in the laboratory." This is another example of improper use of safety procedures, lack of regulations and oversight in this industry and lack of rights to injured biotech workers. See story.

When will the public "wake up" to the scientific misconduct, cover-up and disregard for public health and safety within the biotech industry?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dangers but no regulations in biotechnology and nanotechnology

The public remains oblivious to the public health and safety dangers in biotechnology. And the scientific community intends to keep it that way to avoid responsibility and regulation.

And now, as with biotechnology, nanotechnology with serious inherent dangers to worker safety and dangers to the public health in contaminating our air and water remains unregulated.

We continue to move forward developing 21st century state of the art technologies at the public’s expense, both in terms of public funding and at serious risks to their health. And at the same time new emerging disease and idiopathic illnesses increase, but are persistently being ignored. The public remains ignorant, abandoned and left in the dark.

Science is out of control regarding public health and safety.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New Emerging Disease---Trouble Inevitable

Flu pandemic may kill 50m worldwide22 Jul 2008, 0000 hrs IST,ANI
WASHINGTON: The world is at the risk of an "inevitable" disease pandemic, which could kill 50 million people and wreak massive disruption around the globe, the British government has warned. In a report, the House of Lords Intergovernmental Organisations Committee said that new infectious diseases are emerging and being given the opportunity to spread because of changes in ways of life. The committee called for urgent improvements to international surveillance so that action can be taken against outbreaks of infectious disease before they develop into pandemics. Describing the World Health Organisation as "dysfunctional", the committee said that it should be organised to cope with the threat. Ministers warned that there was "no agreed vision or clarity over roles" among the international bodies working in the field. The committee heard evidence that while there had not been a pandemic since 1968, another one was inevitable. They were told by ministers: "Estimates are that the next pandemic will kill between two million and 50 million people worldwide and between 50,000 and 75,000 in the UK. Socio-economic disruption will be massive." The committee said that with three quarters of newly emerging human infections originating from animals, more stringent ways of detecting diseases are needed. "The last 100 years have seen great advances in public health and disease control through the world, but globalization and changes in lifestyles are giving rise to new infections and providing opportunities for them to spread rapidly," the Telegraph quoted Clive Soley, the chairman of the committee, as saying. "We are particularly concerned about the link with animal health," he added. Peers joined ministers calling for urgent action to build up early warning systems across the third world that can identify and neutralise outbreaks of potentially deadly new strains of disease before they are swept across the globe by modern travel. They asked the government to consider urgently how it funds aid projects in developing countries so the funds can also help UK's defences against a pandemic. While the last two pandemics in the 1950s and 1960s were triggered by mild strains of influenza, future ones could be far more serious, particularly if linked to the H5N1 strain of bird flu a type that has already jumped species from birds to humans. According to the report, bird flu "at some point in the near future" could become capable of "human to human transmission".

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stem Cells and Executive Order 13435

Recasting the Federal Debate on Stem Cells

Bush Administration Revisits ESC Stance by Encouraging Funding for Pluripotent SCs

GEN JULY 2008 page 8-9
Joseph R. Sollee

Stem cells are one of the most promising areas of R&D in biotechnology today but also one of the most politically divisive. Scientists believe that stem cells offer the potential to cure or mitigate a host of pervasive and debilitating diseases and conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. They also believe that stem cells can be used to repair or replace damaged tissues or cells caused by injuries to organs, limbs, and the spinal cord.

Yet despite these potential benefits, research on stem cells in the U.S. has suffered in recent years. This is due to religious, moral, and political concerns that have in particular affected studies associated with the harvesting and use of embryonic stem cells (ESCs).

In April, federal funding of stem cell research took a major step forward with the announcement that the DOD is “embarking on the next generation of research that is going to redefine the face of Army medicine” with the creation of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM). This federally funded institution will focus on the development of clinical treatments for battlefield trauma and severe injuries utilizing stem cells and other tissue-regeneration technologies.

The stem cell community has applauded the government’s commitment of significant resources through AFIRM and the breakthroughs that it is expected to bring to the clinic in the near term. With initial funding in excess of $250 million, AFIRM will work in consortium with academic centers, led by Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Many scientists and stem cell advocates are skeptical of the AFIRM announcement, however, viewing it as further evidence of President Bush’s policy to steer funding away from human ESC research and toward somatic stem cell technologies. Given AFIRM’s stated focus on technologies that are close to the clinic, it is expected that AFIRM-sponsored investigations will be directed primarily toward therapies and technologies utilizing somatic stem cells, as these are more advanced than human ESC technologies.

Within the stem cell community, the Bush Administration’s seven-year ban on human ESC funding is a controversial issue that has created deep and perhaps permanent divisions, pitting scientists engaged in somatic stem cell research against ESC investigators.

Despite a growing and increasingly broad spectrum of public support to lift this moratorium, the Bush Administration has held firm on its policy. This past summer, when President Bush issued his second veto of a Congressional bill providing expanded federal funding for human ESC (hESC) research, many stem cell advocates decided that the only remaining course was to wait out the Bush presidency in hopes of a more supportive future administration.

Regardless of one’s position on the Bush Administration’s hESC policy, resolution of the issue is not as simple as merely ending the ban on federal funding. Any future administration that intends to lift the funding ban will need to interpret and address the myriad of existing rules and regulations that would apply to ESC research. The basis for federal legislation and policy applicable to current ESC research dates back to the mid-1970s (more than 25 years prior to the first successful isolation of a human ESC), when Congress limited federal funding of research on human fetuses following the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

In addition, since 1995 Congress has appended a rider (known as the Dickey-Wicker Amendment) to each NIH appropriations bill prohibiting the use of federal funds for the creation of human embryos for research or for any research in which human embryos are destroyed, discarded, or subject to a greater than minimal risk of injury or death.

Executive Order 13435

Executive order 13435, issued by President Bush in June 2007, may provide important insight into the future of stem cell policy if the federal funding moratorium is lifted. This order has largely been overlooked since it was issued concurrently with the President’s veto of the ESC Congressional bill. Though many characterized the order as a symbolic measure intended to blunt the inevitable criticism arising from the veto, closer scrutiny yields several potentially important steps taken by the Bush Administration in favor of expanded stem cell research.

The operative provisions of the order represent a shift in focus away from the source of the stem cells toward the key attributes of the stem cells in question, such as pluripotency. Additionally, the order directs the NIH to rename the “Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry” as the “Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry” to appropriately capture human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) that may be created or derived from sources other than embryos. The order contains a broad description of types of PSCs that will be considered as pluripotent for the purposes of the Administration’s policy, including cells that are capable of producing all (pluripotent) or almost all (multipotent) cell types in the developing body.

The order directs HHS and NIH to ensure that all types of ethically produced human PSC lines will be included in the NIH stem cell registry and be eligible for federal funding. In addition to nonembryonic sources of PSCs like amniotic fluid, cord blood, and dedifferentiated somatic stem cells, the order directs HHS to support research on sources of PSCs that “take into account techniques outlined by the President’s Council on Bioethics (PCOB).” The PCOB’s 2005 White Paper considered several potential methods for deriving PSCs from embryos (See Insert).

The order recognizes that “the Nation should move forward vigorously with medical research” and directs the HHS and the NIH to conduct, promote, and intensify research in the derivation of human PSCs (hPSCs) from a variety of alternate sources. Though no specific funding commitment was attached to the order, it directed HHS to issue a funding implementation plan.

In summary, although the Bush Administration hasn’t abandoned its position on the inviolability of nascent human life, the policies enumerated in the executive order are based in part on the same scientific framework employed by advocates of broader stem cell research funding. The Administration may have come to the realization that for certain of the alternate sources of human PSCs supported by President Bush to be acceptable, its stem cell policy must recognize the complexities of early human life. The Administration’s willingness to recast the debate at the scientific level may, in the long run, be the most important aspect of the executive order.

Alternative Sources of PSCs

The President’s Council on Bioethics (May 2005) White Paper identified four

alternate techniques for deriving PSCs:

1. Organismically Dead Embryos: by extracting cells from embryos already dead

2. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: by nonharmful biopsy of living embryos

3. Altered Nuclear Transfer: by extracting cells from artificially created nonembro

nic but embryo-like cellular systems (engineered to lack the essential

elements of embryogenesis but still capable of some cell division and growth)

4. Somatic Stem Cells: by dedifferentiation of somatic cells back to pluripotency

Joseph R. Sollee is an attorney in the life sciences practice at Kennedy Covington. He currently serves as general counsel for Oncomethylome Sciences. Web: www. Email:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Embryonic Stem Cell Debate Remains Polarized


The embryonic stem cell debate still remains polarized. Political agendas have enabled a misinformed public to cling to political ideologies instead of understanding the actual scientific and bioethical issues related to embryonic stem cell technologies.

As a scientist who has worked on embryonic stem cell technologies, I have become surprised and appalled at how the scientific community has used their political machinery to push these technologies forward without educating the public on how these advances can impact our culture and society, both positively and negatively. Not only that, I have actually witnessed some top level scientists using words advocating the application of eugenics with such technologies. Historically speaking, we should all be familiar of how eugenics has led to terrible consequences and human suffering. Yet the scientific community moves forward believing that they alone know how to apply eugenics using scientific tools and measurements.

In the past, I have ignored the religious right because of their seemingly inflexible stand regarding embryonic stem cell science. But now, the scientific community who no longer represents the public as a whole and who also has garnered their political agenda to obtain funding at any expense, has brought me to look upon their opposition as not fanatical, but as a much needed counter-balance.

The public remains ignorant of the cultural, societal and health implications from stem cell research, human cloning and related practices. Public opinion is politically driven by those with special interests instead of scientific and bioethical analysis. Until bioethicists begin proper studies to educate the public regarding these critical issues, unfortunately, it will remain that way.

The consequences of implementing human embryonic stem cell technologies, in the end, may not be what the public expected and not what they were led to believe.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Iran and Biological Warfare

Biological warfare research laboratories are presently being operated throughout the international communities. Pinpointing Iran as a culprit, while ignoring the ever burgeoning biological warfare infrastructure being created worldwide, is not a useful or appropriate perspective. In fact, pointing a finger solely at Iran will only promote and justify more biological warfare research by encouraging fear.

This does not mean, however, that we should ignore the problem.

We currently are in an international biological arms race. It is a threat to everyone and every country. Our ability to create sophisticated and dangerous infectious agents that could debilitate or kill millions is a fact and a realistic danger.

The challenge we face is that infectious genetically engineered agents used for research to help humanity can unfortunately alternatively be used and developed as biological warfare agents as well. "Defense" laboratories, "animal disease" laboratories and "embryonic stem cell" laboratories are presently engaged in dangerous biological research in academic, private and government laboratories all around the world. As of today, no effective regulations or oversight governing these dangerous biological laboratories are in place in the United States. Self-regulation is the practicing model where secrecy and privacy supersede biotech worker’s rights and public health and safety rights. Laboratories can “appear” to be doing legitimate research when in fact they could be also engaging in biological warfare manufacturing and research. This can happen as easily in the United States as it can Iran, as it can in Europe, Australia, Russia, India and China.

We desperately need international laws and international treaties governing this type of research and denouncing biological warfare. For the sake of humanity, we need to stop the biological arms race on all fronts, and not just in Iran. We need leaders and peacemakers to step up to the plate and start addressing this problem now.

Thursday, June 26, 2008



What do I do? Where do I go for help?


Before you go to anyone, the first and foremost issue to remember is to PROTECT YOURSELF by wearing protective gear (gloves, safety glasses & labcoat) while in the laboratory at all times. This unfortunately will not protect you fully in certain instances. For example, if your co-workers use techniques that create aerosolized particles, you will need a respirator. Protection can be impossible also if you are designated to have your office directly in the laboratory where you are not afforded personal protection. If this is the case, ask (nicely demand?) your supervisor for an office outside the lab.


Do not take your observations of unsafe biosafety practices or unauthorized use of biological agents lightly. Recombinant BL2 (biosafety level 2) DNA labs at your local university or pharmaceutical company are now quite dangerous. Many scientists working in molecular biology BL2 labs do not even realize the dangerous work that is occurring around them. It is now common practice for BL2 research laboratories to generate genetically engineered viruses in order to make specific disease-state cellular or animal models. These viruses can be engineered to contain VSV-G coats enabling the virus to become broadly infectious to human’s eyes, mouth, and through inhalation. Not only can they infect humans this way, but also, other mammals and insects.

Despite your best efforts to protect yourself, you may still be at a high risk for exposure. If your co-workers are not trained (which many are not), not technically skilled or a just plain careless regarding safety protocol, you could be in danger. Also someone might actually bring in an infectious agent into your workspace without notifying you. It can happen. Always protect yourself as best as you can.


If you have seen one unsafe lab practice, know many more violations have been performed that you have not seen. It is very dangerous. You must bring these issues forward to your supervisor. If your supervisor does not address and correct the issue(s) immediately (and it should be immediately…not a couple of weeks later), then you have a problem. Make sure that you now start documenting everything from this point forward.


My advice to you at this time would be to quit your job. Getting sick from a biological agent or some “unknown” agent in the lab can cause permanent health problems. You also will have no rights to exposure records to obtain medical care. The research industry will not admit to any wrong doing. You will be abandoned, sick and may even be unable to work. It is not worth it. If your supervisor does not take your biosafety concerns seriously and with immediate action, leave your job if you are able.

If you have a wife, husband or kids to feed and cannot afford to quit your job, then you REALLY have a problem. You are in a sticky situation. The reason being is that there is no effective federal whistleblower’s protection to protect you from retaliation and black-listing. Going “above your boss” regarding addressing biosafety issues, places you in vulnerable situation no matter what. I guarantee, your boss will not be pleased and in fact will be very angry. I do not want to frighten you into doing nothing, to stay in a job and become sick; but before you start shooting fireworks about unaddressed safety issues or public health and safety issues you should be aware of how the system works .

Unfortunately at this point, after your supervisor does not address your safety concerns and you cannot afford to quit your job, it is time to seek council with an attorney to best protect yourself. Unfortunately, hiring an attorney will cost you money (between $300-$1000). But it is a necessary step in order to protect yourself.


Do not go to OSHA without consulting an attorney. There are four very real and negative issues regarding OSHA. 1) OSHA’s personnel are not sophisticated enough nor trained to understand recombinant DNA technologies. 2) OSHA provides little to no effective legal protection for today’s biotech worker, since it was originally legislated in 1975 and intended for chemical exposures. 3) OSHA has a history of negligence in duty 4) Going to OSHA can actually harm you further even when you bring forward legitimate biosafety and public health concerns to them.

Despite the fact that OSHA tells you that you do not need an attorney to file a complaint, it is unwise not to have one. Let your attorney advice you on how you should proceed at each step with them.


Bringing your safety complaints to NIH might be an avenue for those working in academia since academic laboratories are mandated to follow NIH guidelines. But always consult an attorney first. Again, you may very well get black-listed or retaliated against, if your workplace finds that you have contacted NIH. An NIH official might very well be friends with your boss. As you know, it is a small -closely networked world in the scientific community. Have an attorney to council you.

Private industry is not under any jurisdiction to follow NIH guidelines. So, if you work for a biotech company or pharmaceutical company, NIH cannot and will not help you. Seek legal advice immediately.


Your state public health department may have some jurisdiction to help you. But again, be careful. Many of the state public health departments give favorable bias toward industries and research facilities that provide jobs in the state. The economy is in a tight position. And the entities that have the money, also have the power and unfortunately, “have the say” even in instances concerning public health and safety. Always seek legal advice before contacting a state agency regarding safety complaints.


If you suspect bioterrorism or unauthorized use in a recombinant BL2 lab, contact your attorney first. Then, contact the FBI.

Always have an attorney to help guide you. This is a very serious issue. It involves your health and your livelihood. If your place of employment is not taking your biosafety concerns seriously, you basically have three choices: quit your job, seek an attorney’s help or risk a serious illness with very little probability of obtaining adequate medical care. None are great choices. But you have no option but to play the cards you’re dealt. And then hang on.

If you have any further issues or questions or concerns, you may contact me at

Keep safe.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Direct-to Consumer Genetic Testing Challenged

The California Department of Public Health stops private genetic testing companies involved in direct-to-consumer marketing. See link...." the state insists that genetic testing be conducted using specially licensed laboratories, and - more controversially - that all tests be ordered through a clinician (a proposal that stirred up howls of outrage from the human genetics blogosphere)."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Trial for CEOs

Put oil firm chiefs on trial, says leading climate change scientist

· Testimony to US Congress will also criticise lobbyists
· 'Revolutionary' policies needed to tackle crisis

James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech (pdf) to the US Congress - in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming - to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.

Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.

In an interview with the Guardian he said: "When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that's a crime."

He is also considering personally targeting members of Congress who have a poor track record on climate change in the coming November elections. He will campaign to have several of them unseated. Hansen's speech to Congress on June 23 1988 is seen as a seminal moment in bringing the threat of global warming to the public's attention. At a time when most scientists were still hesitant to speak out, he said the evidence of the greenhouse gas effect was 99% certain, adding "it is time to stop waffling".

He will tell the House select committee on energy independence and global warming this afternoon that he is now 99% certain that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has already risen beyond the safe level.

The current concentration is 385 parts per million and is rising by 2ppm a year. Hansen, who heads Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, says 2009 will be a crucial year, with a new US president and talks on how to follow the Kyoto agreement.

He wants to see a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants, coupled with the creation of a huge grid of low-loss electric power lines buried under ground and spread across America, in order to give wind and solar power a chance of competing. "The new US president would have to take the initiative analogous to Kennedy's decision to go to the moon."

His sharpest words
are reserved for the special interests he blames for public confusion about the nature of the global warming threat. "The problem is not political will, it's the alligator shoes - the lobbyists. It's the fact that money talks in Washington, and that democracy is not working the way it's intended to work."

A group seeking to increase pressure on international leaders is launching a campaign today called It is taking out full-page adverts in papers such as the New York Times and the Swedish Falukuriren calling for the target level of CO2 to be lowered to 350ppm. The advert has been backed by 150 signatories, including Hansen.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Global Biosafety at Risk

Embargoed-World fails to monitor biotech trade-UN study
Tue May 27, 2008 1:00pm EDT
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO, May 27 (Reuters) - The world is failing in efforts to control an international biotechnology trade ranging from genetically modified crops to the building blocks of biological weapons, a U.N. University study said on Tuesday.

The study said a lack of controls was "a potentially contributing factor to the spread of bioterrorism" -- the deliberate release of naturally-occurring or human-modified bacteria, viruses, toxins or other biological agents.

It said just $135 million, a fraction of the amount needed, had been spent on helping developing countries to build up skills to monitor a rising use of biotechnologies in the past 15 years.

Lack of training and knowledge is "so pervasive and broad that there is no effective international system of biosafety at the moment," according to the 238-page report by the Japan-based U.N. University Institute of Advanced Studies.

"The use and prevalence of biotechnology seems certain to increase, not least in agriculture," it said.

More than 100 developing nations lack the ability to implement the U.N.'s 2003 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, meant to help regulate trade in genetically modified organisms (GMOs) including crops such as maize, tomatoes, rice or soybeans.


Mosquitoes & The Diseases They Spread

World wide, there are 2500 different species of mosquitoes. In the USA alone there are 150 species. Mosquitoes must have stagnant water to breed. Only the adult female mosquitoes bite men and other animals, like cattle, horses, goats, deer, rabbits, snakes, lizards, frogs and all types of birds. The males feed on plant juices. These buzzing little mosquitoes are disease transmitters, and can cause your cat and dogs to contact heartworms.

WHO (World Health Organizations) estimates there are 50 million cases of dengue and malaria around the world every year and of this, at least 125000 people die yearly. These diseases become more prevalent as the ambient temperature rises. Dengue and malaria are no longer seasonal. Their presence is now continuous. So be ware of disease traps like discarded tyres, or tyres used to weigh down roofs in the shanty areas. Industrial equipment which are left in the yard, without proper covers or shades can collect rain water for mosquitoes to breed.

At cooler climates, mosquitoes mate during autumn. But in the tropics, they mate whenever they become adults. After mating, the males die but the females hide in leaf piles, loose barks, or cracks in buildings. So clean up your bushy areas, but do not destroy the bushes as these bushes attract the small birds which feed on the mosquitoes.

Another smart thing to do is to allow bats and birds to live around your area, possibly putting up bird and bat houses for them to roost. Bats are living bug zappers. One bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes per hour.

Another thing you can do is to request your local health authorities to carry out fogging at your area regularly if it is justified and if you are living in a country which cares. Disease-carrying mosquitoes have spread to cooler climates and are now a global problem.

Other areas to clean up are the possible sources of standing water such as discarded bottles, containers, flower pots etc. If you have a large pond, put fresh water fishes like mosquito-fish or bleeding heart tetra. These fishes feed on mosquito larvae. Most other tropical fresh water fishes also feed on larvae. You can experiment on this yourself.

Mosquitoes remain within a mile or two of their source. But some are found to have traveled 75 miles from their breeding source. Most males live for about a week but he females live up to a month.

Among the Aedes mosquitoes, the species spreading chikunguna are the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Andes albopictus mosquitoes attack during the day. The diseases are transmitted when the andes bites an infested person or animal and then bites someone else. They prefer to bite humans and can fly many miles from their breeding sources.

Chikungunya affected over one million people worldwide since 2005. It is now endemic in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is also found in Mediteranean Europe, Germany and Italy.

In Singapore alone this year (2008) thirteen people contacted this disease locally. Chikungunya and dengue have the same symptoms, and their presence can only be identified by a laboratory test of the patient’s blood. This disease lasts between three and ten days and at he moment, there is no cure. The U.S. Military has developed a vaccine against the virus of chikunguna but it is still on trial basis.

Anopheles mosquitoes are the ones which transmit malaria to man. Larvae of anopheles mosquitoes can live in fresh or salt-water, e.g. mangrove swamps.

Culex mosquitoes attack at dusk and after dark. They prefer domestic and wild birds. They can transmit sleeping sickness to man and horses. The females which emerge in late summer search sheltered areas to hibernate until spring.

Culiseta mosquitoes attack in the evening or in shade during the day. They mainly feed on birds and mammals, and occasionally humans.

Tackling mosquito-borne diseases require the whole world to work together. Do mosquitoes need permit to enter your country?


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Rule Mandates Publically Funded Research to be Accessible to Public within 1 Year

In the past much scientific research (funded by your hard-earned tax payer dollars through NIH) has been published solely in journals that have required a paid subscription. This has limited the public, patients and advocacy groups to access important scientific information. Now a new rule mandates that publications from all public-funded research must be submitted to Pubmed Central within 1 year. Pubmed Central is a free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences publications operated by the NIH.

This new mandate is a great step forward in allowing the public free access to publication and research studies that they have funded. The limitation, however, is that we unfortunately have to wait at least one year to access this information. This limitation is still too long, especially for patients who suffer from orphan diseases or for advocacy groups to adequately inform the public.

The time of free public access to scientific publications should be shortened to 3 months instead of one year. This would allow publishing companies to still make profits on their journals, but also allow the public to access important scientific information in a reasonable time frame. Since we pay for the research, free access to the results of such scientific studies within three months of publication should not be at all unreasonable.

For more information see:

Monday, June 2, 2008

NIH's Role in Undiagnosed Illness

It is due time that the NIH took some interest toward the increasing presence of undiagnosed mystery illnesses, since it may in fact have had a direct role in causing it. The NIH has supported and allowed dangerous BL2 (Biosafety Level 2) research to be performed essentially unregulated here in the United States, a type of research, which in fact, can cause and contribute to the increase prevalence of mystery illness.

Uunregulated BL2 recombinant DNA research is currently being performed in every major academic, biomedical and pharmaceutical research facility in the United States. This dangerous biological research involves creating genetically engineered human infectious agents that can cause a plethora of new uncharacterized genetic and metabolic diseases in humans and animals. If used unsafely and subsequently released, it can leave exposed persons suffering a debilitating illness without adequate medical care or any hope of a diagnosis.

Hazardous BL2 research is now so common that, more than likely, it is being performed “directly in your own back yard” at your local research facility. Biomedical research should be of grave concern to the public since it remains essentially unregulated with no effective oversight to ensure worker or public health and safety.

The NIH has been far from responsible in taking strides to protect the American people against the dangers of recombinant DNA research. They have not supported effective oversight to enforce safety standards using BL2 infectious agents in academic laboratories. More threatening is that there exist no safety laws which govern private research centers working with BL2 infectious agents. Biotech workers have no rights to a safety forum to address safety issues.

Moreover, the NIH does not support the release of identity and exposure records in order for biotech workers to obtain proper medical care from an exposure. Accidents in the labs and biological releases are being hidden from the public. In fact, the culture of the scientific community has become so unprincipled that it supports “trade secret” rights over the rights and safety of the American people and health of biotech workers.

There is no doubt that a population of “undiagnosed” diseases, could have been caused by unsafe practices in BL2 research laboratories. The NIH by their own volition and lack of responsibility for worker’s rights and public health and safety has played a major role in supporting this dangerous unregulated research...all in the name to promote science.

It is about time the NIH pulled their "head out of the sand" and began looking into these mystery- undiagnosed illness which has left millions of people suffering. But that is only part of the solution. The NIH should not only investigate undiagnosed mystery illness, but also attempt to prevent the disease itself. It time to place adequate controls and oversight on BL2 research institutes around the country.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Before you sit down and write your check to the “Stand up to Cancer” initiative, think about this…Cancer research is already supported by BILLIONS of tax dollars every year. The National Cancer Institute alone gets over $5 Billion dollars a year from your and my pockets. Are you saying “WOW”, yet?

And at the same time, when the academic, biomedical industry and pharmaceutical industry continuously push for more expensive high tech solutions to cure disease, they do not advocate the important steps to prevent disease. These industries do not support effective healthcare reforms that can save lives and prevent cancer. They have allowed our environmental laws to slacken which increases the rate of cancer. They promote dangerous high tech biological research in this country without any safety oversight to ensure public health and safety.

The money you give to charities should be directed in a way that will make a difference. Stop giving your hard earned money to these so called “sympathy-driven” large fund raising schemes or to wealthy large non-profit organizations or to biomedical institutions that continuously promote high tech solutions and ignore common sense solutions. If the cancer biomedical community cannot perform adequate research with the BILLIONS of dollars they now receive from public coffers every year, then it is very unlikely another billion out of our generosity will make a difference.

If you want to give money to a good cause toward cancer cures, how about supporting grassroots organizations that want to fix our failed medical system, increase environmental protection and place safe controls on dangerous biological research? Wouldn’t that make more sense in an effort to prevent and stop cancer? Give your money to agencies that will make a difference. Don’t “Stand up to Cancer, and then fall down.

Friday, May 23, 2008


All the accolades posted recently regarding GINA (The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act) can be deceptive to someone who is considering undergoing a genetic test. GINA contains several legal loopholes that severely call into question its ability to protect individuals. The public should be well informed of these loopholes before deciding to take a genetic test.

Here is a link to an article discussing these issues, entitled, “Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), Will It Protect You?”. This article provides helpful information to those who are considering genetic testing. Just because a law has been enacted does not mean that it provides adequate protection.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Do you have a great doctor who you want to sing praises about?
Do you have a physician who has saved your life?
Have you ever encountered an unethical or incompetent doctor?
Have you encountered a physician that has compassion comparable to a dead fish?
Does your physician care more about his salary than your health?

Is your physician trying to make positive changes within the healthcare industry to help society?
Or are the majority of them only trying to limit lawsuit actions to protect themselves?

Want to rate your doctor as good or bad?
Read this article.

“To a doctor, reputation is everything ….doctors shouldn't bear the brunt of dissatisfaction with the faltering healthcare system

Well who should then?
Why are not more physicians participating in changing our broken healthcare system?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Connecticut Legislation Disengaged from Public; Lyme Patients Silenced

A few months ago I attended a Connecticut legislative public meeting at the State Capital at the request of a friend who suffers from chronic Lyme Disease. The topic was on “Prevention of Lyme Disease”. The meeting consisted of a panel of roughly 5 legislators and 15 Lyme Experts. Approximately 150 members of the public were present, the majority being Lyme patients. The experts each gave a short presentation regarding the state’s role in preventing Lyme.

Not only was I amazed at the lack of sophisticated measures that have been undertaken by the State to prevent Lyme Disease, but also, I was appalled at the tight control of making sure the public had no opportunity to engage in any discussions at this so called public-legislative meeting. Neither the public nor any Lyme activist was allowed to speak. I had no idea that our state was so adamantly and purposely disengaged from the public and public opinion.

That leads me to this article entitled, “How To Give A Little More Power To The People”, by John J. Woodcock III published in the Hartford Courant on May 4, 2008. Check it out citizens of Connecticut. He gives some good advice.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Human Hybrid Animals

Exclusive: Half man, half chimp - should we beware the apeman's coming?
April 2008
A LEADING scientist has warned a new species of "humanzee," created from breeding apes with humans, could become a reality unless the government acts to stop scientists experimenting. In an interview with The Scotsman, Dr Calum MacKellar, director of research at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, warned the controversial draft Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill did not prevent human sperm being inseminated into animals.He said if a female chimpanzee was inseminated with human sperm the two species would be closely enough related that a hybrid could be born. He said scientists could possibly try to develop the new species to fill the demand for organ donors. Leading scientists say there is no reason why the two species could not breed, although they question why anyone would want to try such a technique. Other hybrid species already created include crossed tigers and lions and sheep and goats.Dr MacKellar said he feared the consequences if scientists made a concerted effort to cross humans with chimpanzees. He said: "Nobody knows what they would get if they tried hard enough. The insemination of animals with human sperm should be prohibited."The Human Fertilisation and Embryo Bill prohibits the placement of animal sperm into a woman The reverse is not prohibited. It's not even mentioned. This should not be the case."He said if the process was not banned, scientists would be "very likely" to try it, and it would be likely humans and chimps could successfully reproduce."If you put human sperm into a frog it would probably create an embryo, but it probably wouldn't go very far," he said. "But if you do it with a non-human primate it's not beyond the realms of possibility that it could be born alive." Dr MacKellar said the resulting creature could raise ethical dilemmas, such as whether it would be treated as human or animal, and what rights it would have."If it was never able to be self-aware or self-conscious it would probably be considered an animal," he said. "However, if there was a possibility of humanzees developing a conscience, you have a far more difficult dilemma on your hands."He said fascination would be enough of a motive for scientists to try crossing the two species.But he also said there was a small chance of scientists using the method to "humanise" organs for transplant into humans. "There's a desperate need for organs. One of the solutions that has been looked at is using animal organs, but because there's a very serious risk of rejection using animal organs in humans they are already trying to humanise these organs."If they could create these humanzees who are substantially human but are not considered as humans in law , we could have a large provision of organs." He wrote to the Department of Health to ask that the gap in the draft legislation be addressed. The department confirmed that the bill "does not cover the artificial insemination of an animal with human sperm".It said: "Owing to the significant differences between human and animal genomes, they are incompatible and the development of a foetus or progeny is impossible."Therefore such activity would have no rational scientific justification, as there would be no measurable outcome." Dr MacKellar disagrees. He said: "The chromosomal difference between a goat and a sheep is greater than between humans and chimpanzees."Professor Bob Millar, director of the Medical Research Council Human Reproductive Sciences Unit, based in Edinburgh, agreed viable offspring would be possible. He said: "Donkeys can mate with horses and create infertile offspring; maybe that could happen with chimpanzees."But he said he would oppose any such attempt. "It's unnecessary and ridiculous and no serious scientist would consider such a thing. Ethically, it's not appropriate."It's also completely impractical. Chimps would never be a source of organs for humans because of the viruses they carry and the low numbers."Professor Hugh McLachlan, professor of applied philosophy at Glasgow Caledonian University's School of Law and Applied Sciences, said although the idea was "troublesome", he could see no ethical objections to the creation of humanzees."Any species came to be what it is now because of all sorts of interaction in the past," he said."If it turns out in the future there was fertilisation between a human animal and a non-human animal, it's an idea that is troublesome, but in terms of what particular ethical principle is breached it's not clear to me."I share their squeamishness and unease, but I'm not sure that unease can be expressed in terms of an ethical principle."A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "It's just not a problem. If you inseminate an animal with human sperm, scientifically nothing happens. The species barriers are too great."HYBRIDS ARE AT CROSS PURPOSES EVEN though hybrids of humans and animals have never been created, many other creatures have been crossed successfully. Lions and tigers have been bred to create ligers, the world's largest cats. And there are also zorses (zebra and horse), wholphins (whale and dolphin), tigons (tiger and lion), lepjags (leopard and jaguar) and zonkeys (zebra and donkey).As well as these hybrid mammals, there are also hybrid birds, fish, insects and plants.Many hybrids, such as mules, are sterile, which prevents the movement of genes from one species to another, keeping both species distinct. However, some can reproduce and there are scientists who believe that grey wolves and coyotes mated thousands of years ago to create a new species, the red wolf.More commonly, hybrids mate with one of their parent species, which can influence the genetic mix of what gets passed along to subsequent generations. Hybrids can have desirable traits, often being fitter or larger than either parent. Most hybrid animals have been bred in captivity, but there are examples of the process occurring in the wild.This is far more common in plants than animals but in April 2006 a hunter in Canada's North-west Territories shot a polar bear whose fur had an orange tint.Research showed that it had a grizzly bear father, and it became known as a pizzly.In 2003, DNA analysis confirmed that five odd-looking felines found in Maine and Minnesota were bobcat-lynx hybrids, dubbed blynxes.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Another Bat Bites the Dust

New Mystery Illness in Bats Spreads

see story:

There is no doubt that more and more, mystery illnesses will surface. Scientists are ignoring this problem. Evolution accelerates while scientifc exploration using dangerous genetically engineered technologies remains unregulated and realistically can be contributing to this problem.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Genetic Bias Law Does Not Prevent Discrimination

Just as discrimination against race and gender still occur despite enactment of laws to protect us, the new genetic bias law will not protect you from discrimination. If your employer or insurance company discriminates against you due to genetic profiling, it will be YOUR responsibility to provide evidence to prove this. Not only will this be legally difficult to almost impossible to do, but also extremely costly. Furthermore, the legal system does not provide a quick and easy remedy from discrimination. It will take several years if not a decade to get legal remedy from such discrimination. Unfortunately, if you are ill, you will need immediate help, not help 10 years later. This genetic bias law is not a reasonable protective measure to someone who is ill and has been discriminated against from genetic testing.

Therefore, be extremely cautious about providing genetic information to anyone, even to your doctor unless you are absolutely certain it will help you. Do not be fooled. The medical industry’s priorities are about making money and pushing research agendas forward rather than prioritizing the importance of your health and wellbeing. This new genetic bias law will not protect you.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bird Flu Report---Human to Human Transmission

First human-to-human transmissionSource: The Sangai Express / (Agencies)
London, April 05: A report by BBC News has confirmed the first case of human-to-human transmission of bird flu in Pakistan.Pakistan's north-west and southern regions were hit by bird flu last year.Thousands of birds were culled to control the spread of the disease.Tests carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) have now shown that bird flu killed some members of a family in northwest Pakistan late last year.This is the first confirmation of people dying from bird flu in the country, with the samples collected from the family in Peshawar testing positive.According to Dr Mukhtiar Zaman Afridi, head of the isolation ward for avian flu patients at Khyber Teaching Hospital in Peshawar, a poultry worker in Peshawar apparently passed the disease on to members of his family."The worker, whose name is being withheld on the request of the WHO, was brought to the hospital with avian flu symptoms on 29 October 2007," he said.Though this worker has fully recovered since then, on 12 November, his elder brother was brought in with similar symptoms.He died a week later.On 21 November, two more brothers of the same worker came down with bird flu."One of them died on 28 November, while the other has recovered," said Dr Afridi.Apart from the poultry worker, none of the others was found to have had any direct contact with sick or dead poultry.Genetic sequencing tests performed by WHO laboratories in Egypt and the US on samples collected from three of the four brothers established human-to-human transmission.Serum taken from all three was found to have been infected by the H5N1 avian influenza virus.Though a WHO report said that the tests suggest "limited human-to-human transmission," it adds, however, that this "outbreak did not extend into the community, and appropriate steps were taken to reduce future risks of human infections".IN Islamabad, Pakistan's health ministry said it was still investigating whether there was human transmission in the country's first death from bird flu.It said initials tests by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which sent a team here last week, had ruled it out but that Pakistan had sent samples to Geneva � the WHO's headquarters � for further confirmation.Scientists fear that if the virus were passed from one person to another, rather than from infected birds, it might indicate a mutation that could lead to a global pandemic with the potential to kill millions."In their preliminary tests the WHO team excluded suspected human-to-human transmission, but we have sent the samples to Geneva for further confirmation," health ministry spokesman Oriya Maqbool Jan told AFP.The WHO team was sent after the ministry announced the death of a man who was one of six people infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of the avian influenza virus in North West Frontier Province along the Afghanistan border.A brother of the victim also died before being tested for the virus.Both had worked on a cull of infected poultry."We have been very closely monitoring the situation," said Rafiqal Hasan Usmani, the animal husbandry commissioner."There has been no new outbreak".The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 200 people worldwide, mostly in Southeast Asia, since late 2003 .