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The New York Times
By Nicholas Bakalar
February 10, 2008

Researchers have found a correlation between drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome - the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and elevated blood pressure.

The scientists gathered dietary information on more than 9,500 men and women ages 45 to 64 and tracked their health for nine years.

Over all, a Western dietary pattern - high intakes of refined grains, fried foods and red meat - was associated with an 18 percent increased risk for metabolic syndrome, while a "prudent" diet dominated by fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry correlated with neither an increased nor a decreased risk.

But the one-third who ate the most fried food increased their risk by 25 percent compared with the one-third who ate the least, and surprisingly, the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none.

"This is interesting," said Lyn M. Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota and a co-author of the paper, which was posted online in the journal Circulation on Jan. 22. "Why is it happening? Is it some kind of chemical in the diet soda, or something about the behavior of diet soda drinkers?"

Comment: He can't be serious, or his level of ignorance is shocking for an associate professor. Here's a hint for him: The name of the chemical begins with "A". It is a deadly poison and was banned as a food additive for many years before Rumsfeld forced its approval in 1981.

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The FBI Deputizes Business

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CommonDreams.org
Published on Thursday, February 7, 2008 by The Progressive
by Matthew Rothschild

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does-and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.

InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.

“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.

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NORML News
February 6, 2008

NORML Responds To Latest Marijuana And Lung Cancer Fears

Washington, DC: The results of a recent study from New Zealand reporting a nearly six-fold increased risk of lung cancer for individuals who smoke cannabis are based on only 14 cases, and have never been replicated in large-scale population case-control studies, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said today.

The widely reported study, published Friday in the European Respiratory Journal, assessed the relative risk of lung cancer associated with marijuana smoking in 79 cases and 324 controls. Of the 79 cases in the study, 70 reported smoking tobacco and 21 smoked cannabis.

Investigators reported that light-to-moderate lifetime cannabis use "was not associated with a significantly increased risk [of lung cancer]." By contrast, researchers reported that the 14 subjects in the study with the highest exposure to cannabis (more than one joint per day for 10 years) had a 5.7 times higher relative risk of lung cancer compared to controls. Overall, subjects who reported having ever smoked tobacco experienced a nearly seven-fold increase in lung cancer risk. By contrast, subjects who reported having ever used cannabis did not experience a statistically significant increased risk of lung cancer compared to non-using controls.

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DailyMail
By DAVID DERBYSHIRE
January 25, 2008

An experimental helmet which scientists say could reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease within weeks of being used is to be tried out on patients.

The strange-looking headgear - which has to be worn for ten minutes every day - bathes the brain with infra-red light and stimulates the growth of brain cells.

Its creators believe it could reverse the symptoms of dementia - such as memory loss and anxiety - after only four weeks.

Alzheimer's disease charities last night described the treatment as "potentially life- changing" - but stressed that the research was still at the very early stages.

lead researcher at the University of Sunderland Dr Abdel Ennaceur and Durham University s Dr Paul Chazot are pictured with Dr Gordon Dougal and a prototype cognitive helmet

Around 700,000 Britons have dementia, with around 500,000 suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

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Supplements 'reduce malaria toll'

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BBC NEWS:
February 6, 2008

Cheap dietary supplements could protect young children from malaria, research suggests.
The study, published in Nutrition Journal, found giving children vitamin A and zinc cut incidence of illness by a third.

Malaria remains a major killer in many parts of the world - in sub-Saharan Africa it is estimated to account for a million child deaths a year.

Resistance to drug treatments is an increasing problem.

And efforts to kill the infected mosquitoes that spread the disease have been hampered by the use of ineffective insecticides.

Many people living in malaria endemic areas suffer from malnutrition so researchers in Burkina Faso experimented with adding vitamin A and zinc supplements to the diets of children aged from six months to six years.

Half of the children were given a placebo. After six months the scientists observed a 34% decrease in incidence of malaria in those children taking the supplements.

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Yahoo News
February 5, 2008

Lack of folate, also called vitamin B-9, may triple the risk of developing dementia in old age, according to a study published Tuesday.

Researchers in South Korea measured naturally occurring folate levels in 518 elderly persons, none of whom showed any signs of dementia, and then tracked their development over 2.4 years.

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Tainted pills hit U.S. mainland

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Sott.net
February 5, 2008

The first warning sign came when a sharp-eyed worker sorting pills noticed that the odd blue flecks dotting the finished drug capsules matched the paint on the factory doors.

After the flecks were spotted again on the capsules, a blood-pressure medication called diltiazem, the plant began placing covers over drugs in carts in its manufacturing areas.

But the factory owner, Canadian drug maker Biovail Corp., never tried to find out whether past shipments of the drug were contaminated - or prevent future contamination, according to U.S. regulators.

Thirteen of the 20 best-selling drugs in the United States come from plants on this island. But an investigation by The Associated Press has found dozens of examples over four years of lapses in quality control in the Puerto Rican pharmaceutical industry, which churns out $35 billion of drugs each year, most of it for sale as part of the $300 billion market in the U.S.

An AP review of 100 pages of Food and Drug Administration reports shows even modern drug plants here under the watch of U.S. regulators have failed to keep laboratories sterile and have exported tainted pills.

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Health Medicine Center

February 6, 2008

by Len Saputo, MD

Too many pharmaceuticals just aren't safe. The shocking truth is that drug complications are the third leading cause of death in America! Only heart disease and cancer cause more deaths than our pharmaceutical armamentareum! How necessary is it to use drugs that can cause problems serious enough to put you in the hospital, cause permanent disability, or even kill you? The April 15, 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, contains a revealing article authored by Jason Lazarou, et al, that exposes the magnitude and seriousness of "adverse drug reactions" in US hospitals. (1)

These authors evaluated 39 prospective studies between 1966 and 1996 that assessed these issues. They didn't include errors in drug administration, non-compliance, or "possible" adverse reactions. Their goal was to identify those complications that were solely related to the use of drugs as recommended by the manufacturer.

What they discovered was shocking! The overall incidence of hospitalizations related to adverse drug reactions was 6.7%, and the associated death rate, 0.32%. This translates into 2.2 million serious drug reactions, and 106,000 deaths every year in America, at an estimated cost of as much as $4 billion per year.(2, 3)

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CNN
By Kelli Arena and Carol Cratty
February 4, 2008

The FBI wants to use eye scans, combined with other data, to help identify suspects.
CLARKSBURG, West Virginia (CNN) -- The FBI is gearing up to create a massive computer database of people's physical characteristics, all part of an effort the bureau says to better identify criminals and terrorists.

But it's an issue that raises major privacy concerns -- what one civil liberties expert says should concern all Americans.

The bureau is expected to announce in coming days the awarding of a $1 billion, 10-year contract to help create the database that will compile an array of biometric information -- from palm prints to eye scans.

Kimberly Del Greco, the FBI's Biometric Services section chief, said adding to the database is "important to protect the borders to keep the terrorists out, protect our citizens, our neighbors, our children so they can have good jobs, and have a safe country to live in."

But it's unnerving to privacy experts.

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Top-secret Livermore anti-germ lab opens

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San Francisco Chronicle
February 3, 2008
By David Perlman

A high-security laboratory where deadly microbes are being grown by scientists seeking defenses against terrorist attacks began operating in Livermore last week without public announcement, and opponents said Friday that they will go to federal court in an effort to close the facility down.

Built inside the closed campus of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the facility has been controversial ever since it was first proposed by homeland security officials more than five years ago. Tri-Valley CARES, the East Bay watchdog group that has long fought nuclear weapons research there, has led the fight against it with protests and legal actions.

The facility is known as a Biosafety-level 3 laboratory where highly trained workers, high-tech airlocks and extremely rigorous safety measures are required by federal rules in order to contain any of more than 40 potentially lethal disease-causing bacteria, viruses and fungi stored inside.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, an agency of the Energy Department, which oversees the Livermore site, announced Monday only that it had "granted approval" for Livermore to begin operating its new biosafety laboratory.

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