Big Pharma criminal: Bribery, fraud, price fixing now public record

Big Pharma criminality no longer a conspiracy:

Big Pharma criminality no longer a conspiracy theory: Bribery, fraud, price fixing now a matter of public record

Big Pharma criminality no longer a conspiracy theory: Bribery, fraud, price fixing now a matter of public record

Those of us who have long been describing the pharmaceutical industry as a “criminal racket” over the last few years have been wholly vindicated by recent news. Drug and vaccine manufacturer Merck was caught red-handed by two of its own scientists faking vaccine efficacy data by spiking blood samples with animal antibodies. GlaxoSmithKline has just been fined a whopping $3 billion for bribing doctors, lying to the FDA, hiding clinical trial data and fraudulent marketing. Pfizer, meanwhile has been sued by the nation’s pharmacy retailers for what is alleged as an “overarching anticompetitive scheme” to keep generic cholesterol drugs off the market and thereby boost its own profits. The picture that’s emerging is one of a criminal drug industry that has turned to mafia tactics in the absence of any real science that would prove their products to be safe or effective. The emergence of this extraordinary evidence of bribery, scientific fraud, lying to regulators and monopolistic practices that harm consumers is also making all those doctors and “skeptics” who defended Big Pharma and vaccines eat their words. To defend Big Pharma today is to defend a cabal of criminal corporations that have proven they will do anything — absolutely anything — to keep their profits rolling in. It makes no difference who they have to bribe, what studies they have to falsify, or who has to be threatened into silence. They will stop at nothing to expand their profit base, even if it means harming (or killing) countless innocents. Let’s take a look at recent revelations. GlaxoSmithKline pleads guilty to bribery, fraud and other crimes. It what is now the largest criminal fraud settlement ever to come out of the pharmaceutical industry, GlaxoSmithKline has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1 billion in criminal fines and $2 billion in civil fines following a nine-year federal investigation into its activities. According to U.S. federal investigators, GlaxoSmithKline:

• Routinely bribed doctors with luxury vacations and paid speaking gigs
• Fabricated drug safety data and lied to the FDA
• Defrauded Medicare and Medicaid out of billions
• Deceived regulators about the effectiveness of its drugs
• Relied on its deceptive practices to earn billions of dollars selling potentially dangerous drugs to unsuspecting consumers and medical patients.

And this is just the part they got caught doing. GSK doesn’t even deny any of this. The company simply paid the $3 billion fine, apologized to its customers, and continued conducting business as usual. By the way, in addition to bribing physicians, GSK has plenty of money to spread around bribing celebrities and others who pimps its products. The company reportedly paid $275,000 to the celebrity doctor known as “Dr. Drew,” who promoted Glaxo’s mind-altering antidepressant drug Wellbutrin. As the Wall Street Journal reports: In June 1999, popular radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky used the airwaves to extol the virtues of GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s antidepressant Wellbutrin, telling listeners he prescribes it and other medications to depressed patients because it “may enhance or at least not suppress sexual arousal” as much as other antidepressants do. But one thing listeners didn’t know was that, two months before the program aired, Dr. Pinsky — who gained fame as “Dr. Drew” during years co-hosting a popular radio sex-advice show “Loveline” — received the second of two payments from Glaxo totaling $275,000 for “services for Wellbutrin.” Merck falsified vaccine data, spiked blood samples and more, say former employees. According to former Merck virologists Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, the company:

• “Falsified test data to fabricate a vaccine efficacy rate of 95 percent or higher.”

• Spiked the blood test with animal antibodies in order to artificially inflate the appearance of immune system antibodies.

• Pressured the two virologists to “participate in the fraud and subsequent cover-up.”

• Used the falsified trial results to swindle the U.S. government out of “hundreds of millions of dollars for a vaccine that does not provide adequate immunization.”

• Intimidated the scientists, threatening them with going to jail unless they stayed silent.

Millions of children put at risk by Merck. In that document the two virologists say they, “witnessed firsthand the improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged to artificially inflate the vaccine’s efficacy findings.” They also claim that because of the faked vaccine results, “the United States has over the last decade paid Merck hundreds of millions of dollars for a vaccine that does not provide adequate immunization… The United States is by far the largest financial victim of Merck’s fraud.” They go on to point out that children are the real victims, however: “But the ultimate victims here are the millions of children who every year are being injected with a mumps vaccine that is not providing them with an adequate level of protection. …The failure in Merck’s vaccine has allowed this disease to linger with significant outbreaks continuing to occur.” Merck’s mumps viral strain is 45 years old! According to the complaint, Merck has been using the same mumps strain — weakened from generations of being “passaged” — for the last 45 years! The complaint reads:

“For more than thirty years, Merck has had an exclusive license from the FDA to manufacture and sell a mumps vaccine in the U.S. The FDA first approved the vaccine in 1967. It was developed by Dr. Maurice Hilleman, at Merck’s West Point research facility, from the mumps virus that infected his five year-old daughter Jeryl Lynn. Merck continues to use this ‘Jeryl Lynn’ strain of the virus for its vaccine today.”

A complete medical farce. This information appears to show Merck’s mumps vaccine to be a complete medical farce. Those who blindly backed Merck’s vaccines — the science bloggers, “skeptics,” doctors, CDC and even the FDA — have been shown to be utter fools who have now destroyed their reputations by siding with an industry now known to be dominated by scientific fraud and unbounded criminality. That’s the really hilarious part in all this: After decades of doctors, scientists and government authorities blindly and brainlessly repeating the mantra of “95% effectiveness,” it all turns out to be total quackery hogwash. Utterly fabricated. Quackety-quack quack. And all those hundreds of millions of Americans who lined up to be injected with MMR vaccines were all repeatedly and utterly conned into potentially harming themselves while receiving no medical benefit. Intelligent, informed NaturalNews readers, home school parents, and “awakened” people who said “No!” to vaccines are now emerging as the victors in all this. By refusing to be injected with Merck’s vaccines, they avoided being assaulted with a fraudulent cocktail of adjuvant chemicals and all-but-useless mumps strains over four decades old. They protected their time, money and health. Those who refuse to be physically violated by vaccines are, once again, turning out to be the smartest people in society. No wonder they also tend to be healthier than the clueless fools who line up to get vaccinated every year. Merck fraudulently misrepresented the efficacy of its vaccine and contributed to the spread of infectious disease, says lawsuit. The faked vaccine efficacy numbers aren’t the only troubles Merck is now facing. Shortly after the above False Claims Act was made public, Chatom Primary Care filed suit against Merck. It alleges that: [Merck engaged in] …a decade-long scheme to falsify and misrepresent the true efficacy of its vaccine. Merck fraudulently represented and continues to falsely represent in its labeling and elsewhere that its Mumps Vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95 percent of higher. Merck knows and has taken affirmative steps to conceal — by using improper testing techniques and falsifying test data — that its Mumps Vaccine is, and has been since at least 1999, far less than 95 percent effective.  Merck designed a testing methodology that evaluated its vaccine against a less virulent strain of the mumps virus. After the results failed to yield Merck’s desired efficacy, Merck abandoned the methodology and concealed the study’s findings.  Merck also engaged in “incorporating the use of animal antibodies to artificially inflate the results… destroying evidence of the falsified data and then lying to an FDA investigator… threatened a virologist in Merck’s vaccine division with jail if he reported the fraud to the FDA.”  “Merck designed a testing methodology that evaluated its vaccine against a less virulent strain of the mumps virus. After the results failed to yield Merck’s desired efficacy, Merck abandoned the methodology and concealed the study’s findings. [Then] Merck designed even more scientifically flawed methodology, this time incorporating the use of animal antibodies to artificially inflate the results, but it too failed to achieve Merck’s fabricated efficacy rate. Confronted with two failed methodologies, Merck then falsified the test data to guarantee the results it desired. Having achieved the desired, albeit falsified, efficacy threshold, Merck submitted these fraudulent results to the FDA and European Medicines Agency.” “Merck took steps to cover up the tracks of its fraudulent testing by destroying evidence of the falsified data and then lying to an FDA investigator… Merck also attempted to buy the silence and cooperation of its staff by offering them financial incentives to follow the direction of Merck personnel overseeing the fraudulent testing process. Merck also threatened… Stephen Krahling, a virologist in Merck’s vaccine division from 1999 to 2001, with jail if he reported fraud to the FDA.”  “Merck continued to conceal what it knew about the diminished efficacy of its Mumps Vaccine even after significant mumps outbreaks in 2006 and 2009.” Obama administration has zero interest in actual justice. Another interesting note in all this is that under President Obama, the U.S. Dept. of Justice showed no interest whatsoever in investigating Merck over the False Claims Act filed by two of its former virologists. Despite the convincing evidence of fraud described in detail by insider whistleblowers, the Obama Department of Justice, led by gun-running Attorney General Eric Holder who is already facing serious questions over Operation Fast and Furious, simply chose to ignore the False Claims Act complaint. When evidence of criminal fraud was brought before the U.S. Department of Justice, in other words, the DoJ looked the other way with a wink and a nod to the medical crimes taking place right under their noses. Who cares if tens of millions of children are being injected year after year with a fraudulent mumps vaccine? There’s money to be made, after all, and exploiting the bodies of little children for profit is just business as usual in a fascist nation dominated by corporate interests. Pfizer sued by retailers over anticompetitive scheme. Adding to all this, Pfizer has now been sued by five U.S. retailers (pharmacies) who accuse the company of monopolistic market practices. According to the lawsuit, Pfizer conspired to prevent generic versions of its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor from entering the market. This was done to protect billions in profits while making sure patients did not have access to more affordable cholesterol drugs. Pfizer sells nearly $10 billion worth of Lipitor each year. According to the Reuters report on this lawsuit, Pfizer is being accused of :

• Obtaining a fraudulent patent
• Engaging in sham litigation
• Entering a price-fixing agreement to delay cheaper generics
• Entering arrangements with pharmacy benefit managers to force retailers to buy more Lipitor (chemical name is atorvastatin calcium)

No arrests or prosecution of Big Pharma executives. One of the most astonishing realizations in all this is that given all the criminal fraud, bribery, misrepresentation, lying to the FDA, price fixing and other crimes that are going on in the pharmaceutical industry, you’d think somebody somewhere might be arrested and charged with a crime, right? Nope. To date, not a single pharmaceutical CEO, marketing employee or drug rep has been charged with anything related to all this fraud. In America, drug company employees are “above the law” just like top mafia bosses of a bygone era. How insane is this, exactly? Imagine if YOU, an individual, went around town bribing doctors, falsifying data, selling a fraudulent product to the government, lying to regulators, engaging in anti-trade price-fixing and threatening your employees into silence. What would happen to you? You’d probably wind up rotting in prison, the subject of an FBI investigation and a DoJ prosecution. So why is it okay for a multi-billion-dollar corporation to carry out these same crimes and get away with it? Why are the CEOs of top drug companies given a free pass to commit felony crimes and endless fraud? I’ll tell you why, and you’re not gonna like the answer: Because America has become a nation run by crooks for the benefit of crooks. It’s one big country club, and as comedian George Carlin used to say, “YOU ain’t in it!” If Big Pharma would falsify data on vaccines, what else would the industry do? I hope you’re getting the bigger picture in all this, friends. If these drug companies routinely bribe doctors, falsify data, defraud the government and commit felony crimes without remorse, what else would they be willing to do for profit? Would they:

• Falsify efficacy data on other prescription drugs?
• Exploit children for deadly vaccine trials?
• Invent fictitious diseases to sell more drugs?
• Unleash bioweapons to cause a profitable pandemic?
• Conspire with the CDC to spread fear to promote vaccinations?
• Silence whistleblowers who try to go public with the truth?
• Give people cancer via stealth viruses in vaccines?
• Destroy the careers of medical scientists who question Big Pharma?
• Force a medical monopoly on the entire U.S. population via socialist health care legislation?

But of course they would. In fact, the industry is doing all those things right now. And if you don’t believe me, just remember that five years ago, no one believed me when I said drug companies were engaged in criminal conspiraciesto defraud the nation — something that has now been proven over a nine-year investigation.

Physicists Quantum Teleport Photons Over 88 Miles

 

Physicists Quantum Teleport Photons Over 88 Miles:

Physicists Quantum Teleport Photons Over 88 Miles

Physicists Quantum Teleport Photons Over 88 Miles

Last May, European researchers reported successfully teleporting photons over a distance of 143 km – a little over 88 miles- between two Canary Islands. The researchers’ findings have been reviewed and published in Nature. The previous record of 97 kilometers by a team of researchers in China was published in Nature earlier this month. Those researchers, who are affiliated with the Austrian Academy of Sciences and other European organizations, used lasers to teleport a photon from one Canary Island to the other. This was a process that required several key innovations, because the most common teleportation solution – using optical fiber – wasn’t an option due to signal degradation. Xiao-song Ma, one of the scientists involved in the experiment, said in a press release that “The realization of quantum teleportation over a distance of 143 km has been a huge technological challenge.” That’s putting it mildly. When researchers quantum teleport a photon, they aren’t making it disappear and reappear like on Star Trek. Instead, the information contained in the photon’s quantum state is transmitted from one photon to another through quantum entanglement – without actually travelling the intervening distance.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that information is travelling instantaneously. That’s because the transfer of information occurs when the sender measures the quantum state of their photon. That causes the receiver’s entangled photon to instantly change. However, in order to understand the information, the receiver has to know what the original measurement was, along with some other instructions. Those instructions are sent via normal communications, which are limited to being no faster than the speed of light. To all of this complexity, now add weather – over a large body of water, no less. You start to see the problem, because even the most focused lasers can experience a loss of signal when it passes through water, water vapor, etc. And right now, quantum teleportation is an extremely delicate process. Which makes both the Chinese and European researchers’ work – which use different methods – all the more impressive. The European experiment took place over the ocean, and the Chinese experiment crossed a lake. While quantum teleportation doesn’t lead to instantaneous communication, what it does lead to is incredibly secure communications. That’s because no matter what instructions the sender sends over normal communications channels, those instructions are completely useless without the receiver’s entangled photon. And the sender doesn’t have to know the location of the receiver’s entangled photon. It could be anywhere – there’s no way to track it. Of course, there’s still a long way to go – decades, perhaps – before this produces any kind of practical communications device. These researchers, however, are eager to move on to the next step – quantum teleportation between the Earth’s surface and a satellite. “Our experiment shows how mature ‘quantum technologies’ are today, and how useful they can be for practical applications,” said physicist Anton Zeilinger in a press release. “The next step is satellite-based quantum teleportation, which should enable quantum communication on a global scale. We have now taken a major step in this direction and will use our know-how in an international cooperation, which involves our colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The goal is to launch a ‘quantum satellite mission’.” If that mission is successful, then we might start seeing the backbone of a satellite-based, secure, quantum Internet. The applications could be quite fascinating.

 

 

Employee Brain on Stress Quash Creativity Competitive Edge

Employee Brain on Stress Can Quash Creativity And Competitive Edge:

Employee Brain on Stress Can Quash Creativity And Competitive Edge

Employee Brain on Stress Can Quash Creativity And Competitive Edge

Right to the point. “Work stress is a major problem,” David Ballard PsyD,  He heads up the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. Work place stress is not news. But how companies are handling the issue is worth a gander. A recent APA study found only 58 percent of employees said they have the resources necessary to manage stress. Furthermore, a 2012 SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) survey found only 11 percent of organizations have specific stress reduction programs in place. “Even those organizations that do have stress management programs generally focus on individual-level training and resources to help stressed-out employees,” says Ballard, “but they neglect preventive and organizational-level approaches that may be more effective in the long run.” With more than forty percent of American workers reporting chronic workplace stress, the long-term impact of stress and its influence on the human creative condition and business can be detrimental, says Rick Hanson PhD,  a California based neuropsychologist and author of Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time. “As ten-thousand studies have shown, when you are chronically stressed, you’re less able to be at your best. Particularly when you’re talking about a knowledge economy which really places a high premium on creativity,”. Chronic stress degrades a long list of capabilities with regard to creativity and innovation, notes Hanson. It’s harder to think outside of the box, nimbleness and dexterity take a hit, and the response to sudden change is more difficult to manage. Hanson has been examining the impact of stress on the brain and well-being, while working in the trenches in corporate America and as the co-founder of The Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. Hanson explains, stress is like fine sand being drizzled into the brain. It might keep working, but if you dump enough sand in there, it’ll freeze up at some point. Beyond heading into the deep freeze, he says neuroscience is now showing us that the cumulative consequences of stress can be a dire thorn in the side of business innovation. “Even a small amount of stress is noisy in the brain,” says leadership consultant, David Rock, the author of Your Brain at Work and the co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute. The organization partnered on a survey of 6000 workers, and found that only ten percent of people do their best thinking at work. Expanded technology, multitasking and a competitively demanding (or threatening) company culture, can add to the noise in the brain which crushes creativity. “Threat makes you productive, but not necessarily effective.  It can make you productive if you don’t have to think broadly, widely or deeply,” says Rock. “A threat response, which we might think of as stress, increases motor function, while it decreases perception, cognition and creativity.” Ultimately, on the surface, stress might seem a good kick starter for productivity. But getting the creative juices flowing has more to do with the engagement of the employee and his or her disposition, notes Rock. “What neuroscience is telling us, is that creativity and engagement are essentially about making people happier,” explains Rock who adds, “It’s what is called, a “toward state” in the brain.” In that “state,” Rock explains, workers feel curious, open minded, happier and interested in what they are doing. A huge component of creating that state is to quiet the mind, and that means reducing stress. Rock discusses the neuroscience behind stress reduction here in my recent post at WorkLifeNation.com, Neuroscience Might Be New “it-strategy” to Boost Employee Creativity. Stress management programs in most companies, if they exist at all, are more of an ancillary stepchild in the wellness agenda. As David Ballard PhD said, workplace flexibility, mental healthcare coverage and on-site fitness offerings certainly help to reduce stress, but it’s not enough. Perhaps a company will do more to help employees better manage stress, if the end-game is a more creative and engaged employee.

Scientists might be overlooking alien communication

Scientists suggest we might be overlooking alien communications:

Scientists suggest we might be overlooking alien communications

Scientists suggest we might be overlooking alien communications

A new theory has been put forward in the astrophysics world suggesting people have assumed too much when looking for alien attempts to communicate with Earth.

The theory, proposed by James Benford, his son, Dominic Benford, and Jame’s twin brother Gregory Benford, published in two papers in June, have generated a great deal of excitement in the science world. The Benfords looked at the issue of communications and concluded that aliens, much like humans, would want to economize their resources where possible, and thus they would not send out communications resembling what scientists have expected would be sent. Instead, the scientists suggest, aliens might be as frugal with expensive resources as humans are. The University of California Irvinesaid extraterrestrials might have been trying to contact Earth all along, but because scientists were looking for something different, the messages were missed. The trio of scientists believe extraterrestrials might send out short messages, or pulses. James explained, saying

“This approach is more like Twitter and less like War and Peace.”

James is a physicist as well as the founder and president of Microwave Sciences Inc. in Lafayette, California. Dominic is a scientist with NASA, and Gregory is an astrophysicist with the University of California Irvine. The new hypothesis is based on an old adage. Gregory explained

“Our grandfather used to say, ‘Talk is cheap, but whiskey costs money.’ Whatever the life form, evolution selects for economy of resources. Broadcasting is expensive, and transmitting signals across light-years would require considerable resources.”

SETI(Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has been searching for extraterrestrials for the past fifty years, trolling for signals from space with arrays of satellite dishes. The Benfords hypothesize

“Assuming that an alien civilization would strive to optimize costs, limit waste and make its signaling technology more efficient, … these signals would not be continuously blasted out in all directions but rather would be pulsed, narrowly directed and broadband in the 1-to-10-gigahertz range.”

James summarized their hypotheses and findings during an interview with New Scientist.

“If ET was building cost-effective beacons, would our searches have detected them? The answer turns out to be no. Societies are always constrained by their resources. Why did cathedrals take centuries to build? Partly because they had only so many artisans, but also their capital was limited.”

James explained the hypothesis to the New Scientist

“Short pulses rather than a continuous signal would also enable frugal aliens to use small and cheap transmitters. Small transmitters can beam out powerful radiation using high voltages – but only if they broadcast brief pulses that don’t give the electric fields time to discharge. They wouldn’t want to target individual stars: there are far too many of them. Instead, they’d build a powerful beacon, then swing that beacon around and repeat it. Astronomers have seen some unexplained signals that lasted for tens of seconds then were never seen again. Some of those could have been extraterrestrial beacons but there wasn’t enough observing time to wait for any repeats.”

The Benfords suggest SETI should point its receiver dishes towards the center of the milky way because the stars are denser there. Gregory said

“The stars there are a billion years older than our sun, which suggests a greater possibility of contact with an advanced civilization than does pointing SETI receivers outward to the newer and less crowded edge of our galaxy.”

The short pulse approach to communications has cottoned on quickly, with science writers calling the theory Benford beacons. The hypothesis has also meant that many are speculating that the WOW signal, found in 1977, might actually be an alien tweet. The signal was dismissed as a ‘cosmic burp.’ Gregory said

“Will searching for distant messages work? Is there intelligent life out there? The SETI effort is worth continuing, but our common-sense beacons approach seems more likely to answer those questions.”

The real answer, of course, will be revealed as scientists test the hypothesis. The Benford’s theory has been endorsed by other scientists. The trio’s hypotheses were written up in two papers, Searching for Cost-Optimized Interstellar Beaconsand Messaging with Cost-Optimized Interstellar Beacons, both of which were published in Astrobiology in June.

 

80 percent of JUNK DNA code controls Health

DNA ‘Junk’ Now Seen as Complex Switches Controlling Health:

DNA ‘Junk’ Now Seen as Complex Switches Controlling Health

DNA ‘Junk’ Now Seen as Complex Switches Controlling Health

Almost a decade after the U.S. human genome project was completed, scientists say they have mapped the underlying regulatory system that switches DNA on and off, potentially spurring a wave of new research into the molecular basis of complex diseases such as Type 1 diabetes. Many parts of DNA previously termed “junk” by scientists are, instead, levers that control the genetic activity that can lead alternately to health or illness, according to reports published simultaneously today in the journals Science and Nature by the Encode international consortium. Scientists previously thought that only genes, small pieces of DNA that comprise about 1 percent of the genome, have a function. The new findings show that an underlying circuitry exists in which 80 percent of the DNA code within each human cell can contribute to disease. This may be why large studies targeting gene variants haven’t identified treatable causes for many complex maladies, the scientists said. The circuitry can be disrupted at several individual waypoints. “This takes us from a concentration on individual genes to the whole genome,” said Eric Topol, professor of translational genomics at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, in a telephone interview. “This series of articles is amazing, it’s a blitz of information.” The science consortium identified about 4 million genetic switches, though the researchers expect the number will rise as more discoveries are made, said Ewan Birney, the associate director of the Cambridge-based EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute in the U.K. The circuitry identified by the group regulates about 20,000 genes, he said in a conference call. Encode, short for The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements, was started in September 2003, just five months after the U.S. Human Genome Project was declared over. Its broad goal was to identify all elements in the genome that had a function. The $288 million project, funded by a unit of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, eventually gathered 443 scientists from more than 30 institutions worldwide into the consortium that made today’s announcements. More than 1,600 experiments on 147 types of tissue were performed. “It was an extraordinary group response right from the start,” said Tim Hubbard, who leads the Cambridge-based Vertebrate Genome Analysis Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the U.K. “We had a map, but we needed insight into the function of each part of the genome. ‘‘I can’t say there was one person who drove it,’’ he said. ‘‘I think the model provided by the Human Genome Project and the role of the Internet intersected at a certain point to bring many voices together to say this is what we need to do next. It was unusual then, but becoming less so now.’’ Six of the studies published today appeared in Nature and two in the journal Science. Several more appeared in Genome Research and Genome Biology, showing the extraordinary range of the material being presented. The Encode results demonstrate the importance of DNA feedback mechanisms that the genome uses to control itself, said John Stamatoyannopoulos, a study author and associate professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. While the vast majority of human DNA doesn’t make cellular proteins, today’s results suggest they may create the RNA molecules that help regulate when a gene turns off and on, and creates specific types of proteins. Additionally, the non-coding DNA also may boost or muffle a gene’s expression. ‘‘It’s like a brain in every cell,” Stamatoyannopoulos said in a telephone interview. Scientists studying individual genes and proteins will be able to use the Encode data to gain more insight into regulatory mechanisms in their individual areas of research, said Stephen Elledge, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. The data will help researchers better understand how regulatory changes underlying genetic activity might affect people’s risk or severity of disease, he said. Genome-wide association studies are done by scanning the genome for many people to find variations linked to disease. About 93 percent of the variants found in this research hasn’t involved genes that code for proteins, and few explain the bulk of most complex diseases, Stamatoyannopoulos said. His study, published in Science, found that 76 percent of these disease-associated variants existed within or near regulatory DNA, suggesting a more complex cause may exist. His group also determined many complex disease share some genomic switches, including autoimmune diseases such as asthma, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes and lupus. “We knew that hidden out there were instructions for turning things off and on and understanding that process was necessary for understanding disease,” Stamatoyannopoulos said. In a paper in Nature, Job Dekker, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts, and his team demonstrated using three-dimensional models that many regulatory regions work by directly touching genes when folded. The Human Genome Project was a 13-year research effort to identify the approximately 20,000 genes in human DNA, and determine which sequences of the chemical base pairs make up DNA. The research allowed scientists to understand the sets of genetic instructions found in human cells. In people, the genome is 23 pairs of chromosomes. The newest results take that road map further. “This is a story of comprehensiveness,” said Thomas Gingeras, one of the study authors and the head of functional genomics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on New York’s Long Island. “Now we have a large number of these regulatory regions and a sense of when they’re activated.”

GMO Food Deadly Synergistic Toxicity

New Research, GMO Food Far Worse Than We Think:

New Research: GMO Food Far Worse Than We Think

New Research: GMO Food Far Worse Than We Think

Disturbing new research published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology indicates that genetically modified (GM) crops with “stacked traits”  — that is, with multiple traits such as glyphosate-herbicide resistance and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal toxins engineered together into the same plant, are likely far more dangerous to human health than previously believed, due to their synergistic toxicity. Resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, has been engineered into many GM plants, so that fields can be sprayed indiscriminately with herbicide without destroying the crops. While the GM glyphosate-resistant plants survive, they subsequently contain residues of glyphosate and its various metabolites (e.g. aminomethylphosphonic acid) that present a significant health threat to the public. In this latest study the glyphosate-containing herbicide Roundup was tested on human embryonic kidney cells at concentrations between 1 to 20,000 parts per million (ppm). It was found that concentrations as low as 50 ppm per million, which the authors noted were “far below agricultural dilutions,” induced cell death, with the 50% of the cells dying at 57.5 ppm. The researchers also found that the insecticidal toxin produced by GM plants known as Cry1Ab was capable of causing cell death at 100 ppm concentrations. Taken together the authors concluded:

In these results, we argue that modified Bt toxins are not inert on nontarget human cells, and that they can present combined side-effects with other residues of pesticides specific to GM plants.

These disturbing findings follow on the heels of recent revelations that Roundup is several orders of magnitude more toxic than previously believed. Only 5 days ago (Feb. 14) the journal Archives of Toxicology reported that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications. This effect is likely due to the presence of the surfactant polyoxyethyleneamine within the Roundup formulation which may dramatically enhance the absorption of glyphosate into exposed human cells and tissue.

Injecting neural stem cells bring back feeling for the paralysed

Stem cells bring back feeling for paralysed patients:

Stem cells bring back feeling for paralysed patients

Stem cells bring back feeling for paralysed patients

For the first time, people with broken spines have recovered feeling in previously paralysed areas after receiving injections of neural stem cells. Three people with paralysis received injections of 20 million neural stem cells directly into the injured region of their spinal cord. The cells, acquired from donated fetal brain tissue, were injected between four and eight months after the injuries happened. The patients also received a temporary course of immunosuppressive drugs to limit rejection of the cells. None of the three felt any sensation below their nipples before the treatment. Six months after therapy, two of them had sensations of touch and heat between their chest and belly button. The third patient has not seen any change. “The fact we’ve seen responses to light touch, heat and electrical impulses so far down in two of the patients is very unexpected,” says Stephen Huhn of StemCells, the company in Newark, California, developing and testing the treatment. “They’re really close to normal in those areas now in their sensitivity,” he adds. “We are very intrigued to see that patients have gained considerable sensory function,” says Armin Curt of Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, where the patients were treated, and principal investigator in the trial. The data are preliminary, but “these sensory changes suggest that the cells may be positively impacting recovery”, says Curt, who presented the results today in London at the annual meeting of the International Spinal Cord Society. Persistent gains. The patients are the first three of 12 who will eventually receive the therapy. The remaining recipients will have less extensive paralysis. “The sensory gains, first detected at three months post-transplant, have now persisted and evolved at six months after transplantation,” says Huhn. “We clearly need to collect much more data to demonstrate efficacy, but our results so far provide a strong rationale to persevere with the clinical development of our stem cells for spinal injury,” he says. “We need to keep monitoring these patients to see if feeling continues to affect lower segments of their bodies,” says Huhn. “These are results after only six months, and we will follow these patients for many years.” Huhn says that the company has “compelling data” from animal studies that the donated cells can repair nerves within broken spines. There could be several reasons why the stem cells improve sensitivity, says Huhn. They might help to restore myelin insulation to damaged nerves, improving the communication of signals to and from the brain. Or they could be enhancing the function of existing nerves, replacing them entirely or reducing the inflammation that hampers repair. Abandoned trial. The announcement comes almost a year after the world’s only other trial to test stem cells for spinal injury was suspended. Geron of Menlo Park, California, had injected neural stem cells derived from embryonic stem cells into four people with spinal injuries when it announced that it was going to focus on cancer therapies instead. The company also abandoned its other stem-cell programmes combating diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Huhn hopes that the results from the StemCells trial will revive the enthusiasm that evaporated following Geron’s bombshell. “It’s the first time we’ve seen a signal of some beneficial effect, so we’re moving in the right direction, and towards a proof of concept,” he says. The news was welcomed by other pioneers of neural stem-cell research. “It looks encouraging and has some parallels with what we’ve seen in our trial in stroke patients,” says Michael Hunt, CEO of ReNeuron, in Guildford, UK, which in 2010 became the first company in the world to treat strokes with stem cells. They appear to be making progress, and that’s good for the stem-cell field generally, and for neural stem-cell research in particular,” says Hunt. He says that seven people who have had strokes have now been treated, and that some have shown signs of functional improvement without adverse effects. “It’s early days, and we are proceeding cautiously before hopefully moving to more substantive trials,” says Hunt. “These initial data certainly indicate that stem-cell transplantation may help remediate some of the severe functional loss associated with spinal cord injury,” says George Bittner of the University of Texas at Austin, who has developed a polymer-based system for rapid treatment of damaged nerves. But, he says, a single mode of treatment is unlikely to be enough to restore function after spinal cord injuries. We will need “combinations of approaches including stem cells, polymer-based treatments, retraining and physical therapy”. Other researchers were intrigued but cautious. “It’s work in progress,” says Wagih El Masri, a spinal specialist at the Midlands Centre for Spinal Injuries in Oswestry, UK, who attended Curt’s presentation. “We need larger numbers of patients treated to confirm whether this interesting finding has any future.” He says that about 3 per cent of patients show similar improvements spontaneously at about 6 months, but seldom beyond that. Testing the therapy on patients who were injured more than six months before would help to confirm that the stem cells are responsible for the results.

Half-ton lead coffin Found

An archaeological mystery in a half-ton lead coffin:

A full view of the lead coffin after the tile at the foot has been removed.

A full view of the lead coffin after the tile at the foot has been removed.

In the ruins of a city that was once Rome’s neighbor, archaeologists last summer found a 1,000-pound lead coffin. Who or what is inside is still a mystery, said Nicola Terrenato, the University of Michigan professor of classical studies who leads the project—the largest American dig in Italy in the past 50 years. The sarcophagus will soon be transported to the American Academy in Rome, where engineers will use heating techniques and tiny cameras in an effort to gain insights about the contents without breaking the coffin itself. “We’re very excited about this find,” Terrenato said. “Romans as a rule were not buried in coffins to begin with and when they did use coffins, they were mostly wooden. There are only a handful of other examples from Italy of lead coffins from this age—the second, third or fourth century A.D. We know of virtually no others in this region.” This one is especially unusual because of its size. “It’s a sheet of lead folded onto itself an inch thick,” he said. “A thousand pounds of metal is an enormous amount of wealth in this era. To waste so much of it in a burial is pretty unusual.” Was the deceased a soldier? A gladiator? A bishop? All are possibilities, some more remote than others, Terrenato said. Researchers will do their best to examine the bones and any “grave goods” or Christian symbols inside the container in an effort to make a determination. “It’s hard to predict what’s inside, because it’s the only example of its kind in the area,” Terrenato said. “I’m trying to keep my hopes within reason.” Human remains encased in lead coffins tend to be well preserved, if difficult to get to. Researchers want to avoid breaking into the coffin. The amount of force necessary to break through the lead would likely damage the contents. Instead, they will first use thermography and endoscopy. Thermography involves heating the coffin by a few degrees and monitoring the thermal response. Bones and any artifacts buried with them would have different thermal responses, Terrenato said. Endoscopy involves inserting a small camera into the coffin. But how well that works depends on how much dirt has found its way into the container over the centuries. If these approaches fail, the researchers could turn to an MRI scan—an expensive option that would involve hauling the half-ton casket to a hospital. The dig that unearthed this find started in summer 2009 and continues through 2013. Each year, around 75 researchers from around the nation and world, including a dozen U-M undergraduate students, spend two months on the project at the ancient city of Gabii (pronounced “gabby”). The site of Gabii, situated on undeveloped land 11 miles east of Rome in modern-day Lazio, was a major city that pre-dates Rome but seems to have waned as the Roman Empire grew. Studying Gabii gives researchers a glimpse into pre-Roman life and offers clues to how early Italian cities formed. It also allows them broader access to more substantial archaeological layers or strata. In Rome, layers of civilization were built on top of each other, and archaeologists are not able or allowed to disturb them. “In Rome, so often, there’s something in the way, so we have to get lucky,” Terrenato said. “In Gabii, they should all be lucky spots because there’s nothing in the way.” Indeed, Terrenato and others were surprised to find something as significant as this coffin so soon. “The finding of the lead coffin was exhilarating,” said Allison Zarbo, a senior art history major who graduates this spring. Zarbo didn’t mind that after the researchers dug up the coffin once, they had to pile the dirt back on to hide it from looters overnight. “The fact that we had to fill the hole was not so much of a burden as a relief!” Zarbo said. “For academia to lose priceless artifacts that have been found fully in context would be very damaging to our potential knowledge.” Students spent most of their time pick-axing, shoveling, and manning the wheelbarrows, said Bailey Benson, a junior who is double majoring in classical archaeology and art history. “By the end of the day, not even a 20-minute shower can remove all the dirt and grime you get covered in,” Benson said. “It’s hard but satisfying work. How many people can say they uncovered an ancient burial?”

Wiki Weapon Project 3D-Printed Handgun For Everyone

The Wiki Weapon Project Promises A 3D-Printed Handgun For Everyone:

The Wiki Weapon Project Promises A 3D-Printed Handgun For Everyone

The Wiki Weapon Project Promises A 3D-Printed Handgun For Everyone

The 3D-printing gun enthusiasts are at it again coming up with master plans to democratize weapons manufacturing, and this time, they’re doing it in the name of the First Amendment. That’s right. The Second Amendment is important too, but according to the visionaries at the loosely organized advocacy group Defense Distributed, this mission is all about freedom of information. They’re calling it the “Wiki Weapon Project”. The ultimate goal: create a deadly 3D-printed handgun that anybody can assemble in the comfort of their own home. This is really happening. Led by University of Texas law student Cody Wilson, Defense Distributed is well on their way to raising the $20,000 they say they need to come up with a 3D-printable gun design, adapt it to cheap printers and spread it around the web. The gun doesn’t have to be fancy or pretty or anything, he says. It doesn’t even have to be durable. It just has to be deadly. “If a gun’s any good, it’s lethal. It’s not really a gun if it can’t threaten to kill someone,” Wilson told Forbes. “You can print a lethal device. It’s kind of scary, but that’s what we’re aiming to show.” Turns out not everybody is cool with this plan. Defense Distributed had been directing donations to a page on the crowdsourced funding site IndieGoGo, where they had raised $2,000 as of Tuesday. But once the site caught wind of what they were up to, they shut down the page. And who could blame them? With three major shootings in the past month alone, gun control is a topic that’s on everybody’s mind, and inventing a gun that any old yokel can just print out in his garage is sort of pushing that conversation in the wrong direction. Or is it? After all, this is America, and here in America, we love freedom. Wilson and his pals have no reservations about assigning lofty libertarian purpose to their Wiki Weapon Project. In said manifesto, they name check George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as original patriots and advocates of the right to bear arms. Wilson takes it a step further in a slapdash fundraising video posted to the group’s website. “Defense distributed as a project, I think, is about the preservation of human dignity in a world of accelerating humanity,” he says. “It’s about collapsing the distinction between digital information and material goods. And ultimately, it may be about that original salvific promise of the free Internet.” This isn’t the first time the idea of a 3D-printed gun has hit the web, though. An amateur gunsmith who goes by the handle HaveBlue uploaded the CAD file for the lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle a few months ago and blogged about printing, assembling and firing the weapon. That was a different proposition, though. The lower receiver is sort of the central part of the AR-15, but HaveBlue had to order the rest of the guns parts through the normal distribution channels. He also got a license to own the powerful rifle. As such, HaveBlue and Defense Distributed alike insist that their projects are completely legal as long as they don’t try to sell the weapons. Indeed, 3D printing technology is new enough that Congress hasn’t had the chance to regulate it. If and when they do, you can be sure we’ll hear more from Washington and Jefferson. Probably not from that manifesto, though. Manifestos and gun-toting men have a pretty sordid history.

Americans Think the Rich Are Different

Americans Think the Rich Are Different:

 

Americans Think the Rich Are Different

Americans Think the Rich Are Different

Americans tend to think the rich are different from average people, branding them as more hardworking and intelligent, but also greedier and more dishonest, a new survey finds. Most Americans (65 percent) think the income gap between rich and poor has grown in the past ten years and most believe that’s a bad thing for the country, the Pew Research Center survey found. The majority (58 percent) also thinks the rich pay too little in taxes, while 26 percent think they pay their fair share and 8 percent think the wealthy pay too much, according to the poll. But there is a partisan divide behind some of these views. Pew found that 55 percent of Republicans described the rich as hard-working, compared with 33 percent of Democrats. And 65 percent of Democrats think the rich are greedy, compared with 42 percent of Republicans When it comes to taxes, 78 percent of Democrats said the rich pay too little, compared with 33 percent of Republicans. Meanwhile, 44 percent of Republicans said the rich pay their fair share, in contrast with 13 percent of Democrats who said the same thing. The poll found other factors besides income that set the rich apart. Americans who identified as upper-class in the survey were more likely to be satisfied with their family life, health, housing situation and education than their middle-class and lower-class counterparts, according to Pew. With the presidential election coming up in November, politicians might want to take note of how the public perceives their treatment of the rich. About 63 percent of those surveyed said the Republican Party favors the wealthy over the middle class and poor, while 71 percent believe Mitt Romney’s policies, if he became president, would be good for rich people. Fewer said the same about the Democratic Party (20 percent) and President Barack Obama in a second term (37 percent), according to Pew. Conversely, Americans are convinced Obama’s policies would do more to help the poor (60 percent) and the middle class (50 percent) than the policies of Romney (31 percent and 40 percent, respectively).

Hidden Portals located in Earths Magnetic field

Scientist Finds Hidden Portals in Earth’s Magnetic Field:

Portals

Portals

 

According to NASA, Jack Scudder—a researcher at the University of Iowa—has found “hidden portals on Earth’s magnetic field [that] open and close dozens of times each day.” Some of them are open for long periods of time. Scudder says that these portals “create an uninterrupted path leading from our own planet to the sun’s atmosphere 93 million miles away.” Called X-points or electron diffusion regions, they are located “a few tens of thousands of kilometers from Earth. The portals are created through a process of magnetic reconnection in which lines of magnetic force from both celestial bodies mingle and criss-cross through space. The criss-crossing creates these x-points. The portals are “invisible, unstable and elusive,” opening and closing without any warning. When they open, however, they are capable of transporting energetic particles at high speed from the Sun’s atmosphere’s to Earth’s, causing geomagnetic storms. There’s a way to locate them and Scudder has found it. He uses data by NASA’s THEMIS spacecraft and the ESA’s Cluster probes, following crucial clues found in the data from NASA’s Polar spacecraft, which studied Earth’s magnetosphere in the late 1990s:

Using Polar data, we have found five simple combinations of magnetic field and energetic particle measurements that tell us when we’ve come across an X-point or an electron diffusion region. A single spacecraft, properly instrumented, can make these measurements.

NASA is getting ready such a spacecraft in their Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission. A whole squadron of them: four ships that will be deployed around Earth and “surround the portals to observe how they work.” The spacecraft will launch in 2014. [NASA] 

Breathe Underwater Injecting Oxygen Into Your Bloodstream

You May Soon Breathe Underwater By Just Injecting Oxygen Into Your Bloodstream:

You May Soon Breathe Underwater By Just Injecting Oxygen Into Your Bloodstream

You May Soon Breathe Underwater By Just Injecting Oxygen Into Your Bloodstream

Do you ever actually pay attention to your own breathing? Do you realize how important it is to your continued survival? The oxygenation of blood is what keeps you alive every day. Without oxygen or breathing for that matter, your cells and brain begin to die. Thanks to a revolutionary scientific breakthrough, that may no longer be the case. Researchers at the Boston Children’s Hospital have designed an oxygen microparticle that can be injected directly into the bloodstream. From there, it oxygenates the blood without the need for breathing. Obviously, the breakthrough has immense importance in the medical field. The creator of the microparticle, Dr. John Kheir, had to watch a young girl die as her brain was damaged beyond repair due to lack of oxygen. He started the research in hopes of finding a way to keep the blood oxygenated during situations in which the lungs might not be working. The injection can keep oxygen levels at normal for about 20 minutes. That’s enough time to save thousands of lives. Of course, there are other awesome applications beyond saving lives. The new microparticle will enable people to breathe underwater. They wouldn’t literally be breathing underwater, but it would allow people to hold their breath for 20 minutes at a time. It doesn’t even have to apply to being underwater. Any scenario that requires a person to hold their breath would be instantly relieved with an injection of oxygen. This could probably be the biggest advancement in medical technology in years. As it improves, doctors may even be able to get rid of expensive respirators altogether. Saving lives will be much easier when you can just inject the oxygen.