Daily Archives

Swine flu is spreading even in summer

Experts, who expected a seasonal slowdown, think that more than a million Americans have been infected with pandemic H1N1 influenza. They say a rise in cases is likely when school starts.

“Every year, there is an increase in flu when children go back to school” and viruses are being shared in close quarters, Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Friday in a telephone news conference. “This year, it is already circulating in summer camps, military units and so forth, so we are expecting when school opens we will see [a bigger than normal] increase.” [Read more]

Medical marijuana science, through the smoke

Marcy Duda, a former home health aide with four children and two granddaughters, never dreamed she’d be publicly touting the medical benefits of pot.

But marijuana, says the 48-year-old Ware, Mass., resident, is the only thing that even begins to control the migraine headaches that plague her nine days a month, which she describes as feeling like “hot, hot ice picks in the left side of my head.”
[Read more]

If Swine Flu Weren’t Enough, Now There’s Swine Ebola

Scientific American – Don’t worry, it can’t hurt you “” yet.
Scientists have identified Reston ebolavirus “” a member of the deadly Ebola group of hemorrhagic viruses””in domestic swine from the Philippines.
The virus, which looks like a piece of yarn with a slight bend, is the only Ebola pathogen not known to cause disease in humans. Even so, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta considers it a biosafety level 4 pathogen, reserved for the most dangerous and exotic diseases. Read article

Why junk food really is addictive

Daily Telegraph – Ice cream and chocolate bars are addictive because the mix of ingredients in them activates our “bliss point”, according to Professor David Kessler, a leading scientist. Snacks, cereals and ready meals can trigger the brain in the same way as tobacco, according to the former head of America’s food standards watchdog. Professor Kessler, ex-commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claims that manufacturers have created combinations of fat, sugar and salt that are so tasty many people cannot stop eating them even when full. Read Article

One giant leap backward for mankind

WASHINGTON – Michael Crichton once wrote that if you had told a physicist in 1899 that within a hundred years humankind would, among other wonders (nukes, commercial airlines), “travel to the moon, and then lose interest . . . the physicist would almost certainly pronounce you mad.” In 2000, I quoted these lines. It is now 2009 and the moon recedes ever further.

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. We say we will return in 2020. But that promise was made by a previous president, and this president has defined himself as the anti-matter to George Bush. Moreover, for all Obama’s Kennedyesque qualities, he has expressed none of Kennedy’s enthusiasm for human space exploration. [read more]

US to hold emergency meeting on swine flu vaccine

AFP – US immunization experts have called an emergency meeting to map out a plan for vaccinating Americans against swine flu when influenza season returns in the coming months, a health official said Friday.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will hold an “emergency or off-cycle meeting” on swine flu on July 29, said Anne Shuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“They will be deliberating on recommendations for which populations should be targeted for vaccination with the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, and they will also be deliberating on whether prioritization, or tiering, of potentially limited vaccine supply would be appropriate,” Schuchat told reporters. Read article

Rights group halts Chechnya work

Al Jazeera – Russian human rights group Memorial has suspended its work in Chechnya following the murder of Natalia Estemirova, one of the most outspoken activists of the organisation.
Russia’s Ekho Moskvy radio quoted Alexander Cherkasov, a Memorial executive committee member, as saying on Saturday that the decision was taken out of concern for other workers in the Chechnya office.
“We have seen that the work that Natalia [Estemirova] was involved in, the work done by our colleagues in Chechnya – documenting crimes committed by representatives of the authorities – is fatally dangerous. Read article

Psst! Washington’s riddled with secrets

Just when you think you know what’s going on in Washington under President Obama’s new open-government policy, you find out the place is still riddled with secrets.

There’s great excitement over the new health-care package. Actually, there’s a House version and a Senate version. Actually, it turns out there are several Senate versions, all of which keep secret what they will cost and who will pay for them. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the go-to guy on health care, is still keeping his ideas under wraps. [read more]