Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hillary rips climbers who left dying man

There is a book called "Into Thin Air" about climbing Everest. It was once given out as a parting gift from the Project Manager on a particularly challenging project.

I can recommend the book as a gripping account of a human drama gone horribly wrong, a metaphor for a project, not so much...

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Mount Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary said Wednesday he was shocked that dozens of climbers left a British mountaineer to die during their own attempts on the world's tallest peak.

David Sharp, 34, died apparently of oxygen deficiency while descending from the summit during a solo climb last week.

More than 40 climbers are thought to have seen him as he lay dying, and almost all continued to the summit without offering assistance.

"Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain," Hillary was quoted as saying in an interview with New Zealand Press Association.

link to full article

Monday, May 22, 2006

Fake Chinese drug kills nine

this doesn't sound good...I didn't know this was an on-going problem...

BEIJING (Reuters) - Nine people have died after being injected with a fake drug made by a Chinese company and 14 executives have been detained for questioning, state media said on Monday.

The victims died after being injected with fake Armillarisni A, made by the Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., based in northeastern Heilongjiang province, Xinhua news agency quoted hospital sources as saying.

The nine died in the southern city of Guangzhou, Xinhua said.

Police had taken five of the detained executives to Guangzhou for questioning, the China Daily said.

The drug is used to treat gall bladder, liver and gastric disorders.

The consumption of fake and inferior quality products has claimed dozens of lives in China in recent years.

A major health scandal erupted in 2004 after China revealed that at least 13 babies had died of malnutrition in the country's eastern province of Anhui after being fed fake baby milk.

link to full article

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Testing for Bird Flu Begins in Alaska


ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Federal scientists have started testing migratory birds for signs of a dangerous bird flu that could show up on this continent this spring.

The testing of shorebirds began Wednesday on an Anchorage coastal wildlife refuge, said Bruce Woods, spokesman with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It's the first sampling of a summer-long project to swab birds for bird flu throughout the state. Nationwide, the goal is to sample 75,000 to 100,000 wild birds. In Alaska, about $4 million in federal money will be allocated to study about 15,000 birds, Woods said.

link to full article

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

For-Profit Funding May Bias Clinical Trials

TUESDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- In a revealing look at the impact of funding on medical research, a new study found that clinical trials funded by drug companies and other for-profit entities were more likely to report positive findings than similar trials funded by nonprofit groups.

Trials that were jointly funded by for-profit and non-profit organizations had positive findings that fell about midway between the rates observed for either extreme.

"I'm not surprised that that is the case," said Adil Shamoo, a professor of biochemistry and bioethics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and co-founder of Citizens for Responsible Care and Research, which lobbies for the rights of patients and clinical trial participants.

link to full article

Monday, May 15, 2006

Scientists Create the First Synthetic Nanoscale Fractal Molecule

I keep waiting for this nanotech stuff to break wide open...especially the bio-nanotech developments...

ATHENS, Ohio – From snowflakes to the leaves on a tree, objects in nature are made of irregular molecules called fractals. Scientists now have created and captured an image of the largest man-made fractal molecule at the nanoscale.

The molecule, developed by researchers at the University of Akron, Ohio University and Clemson University, eventually could lead to new types of photoelectric cells, molecular batteries and energy storage, according to the scientists, whose study was published online today by the journal Science.

A University of Akron research team led by Vice President for Research George Newkome used molecular self-assembly techniques to synthesize the molecule in the laboratory. The molecule, bound with ions of iron and ruthenium, forms a hexagonal gasket.

Ohio University physicists Saw-Wai Hla and Violeta Iancu, who specialize in imaging objects at the nanoscale, confirmed the creation of the man-made fractal. To capture the image, the physicists sprayed the molecules onto a piece of gold, chilled them to minus 449 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them stable, and then viewed them with a scanning tunneling microscope.

Though invisible to the naked eye – the molecules are about one million times smaller than the colorful hexagons shown in the Science image – the objects are 12 nanometers wide. “That’s big for a nanoscale molecule. It’s huge,” said Hla, an associate professor of physics and astronomy.

“This man-made structure is one of the first nanoscale, non-branched fractal molecules ever produced,” said Newkome, who is lead author on the Science paper and also serves as dean of the Graduate School and the James and Vanita Oelschlager Professor of Science and Technology at the University of Akron. “Blending mathematics, art and science, these nanoscopic hexagonal-shaped materials can be self-assembled and resemble a fine bead necklace. These precise polymers — the first example of a molecule possessing a ‘Star of David’ motif — may provide an entrĂ©e into novel new types of photoelectric cells, molecular batteries and energy storage.”

link to full article

Gabrieli proposes $1B in stem cells, biotech research

Politicians creating soundbites in Boston...

BOSTON --Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Chris Gabrieli proposed Thursday to make Massachusetts more competitive in the biotechnology industry by investing $1 billion in embryonic stem cell research and other life sciences.

Gabrieli said other states are poised to leap ahead of Massachusetts on stem cell research if funding isn't provided, and the state is losing the opportunity to create jobs the longer it waits to expand efforts into the life science field.

"With our hospitals and universities, we have no excuse not to lead the world in stem cell research," said Gabrieli, a venture capitalist.

link to full article

Friday, May 12, 2006

Disgraced stem cell scientist indicted for fraud

a bad situation going worse...

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's disgraced cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk was indicted on fraud, embezzlement and ethical charges relating to his faked stem cell research, a senior prosecutor said.

Five other scientists were also indicted on charges in connection with the bogus research and the disappearance of millions of dollars in donations, prosecutor Lee In-Kyu told a press conference.

"Dr Hwang was indicted on charges of fraud and embezzlement and breach of bioethics. And five others were also indicted" on various charges, said Lee, announcing the conclusions of a five-month probe into Hwang's case.

The indictment means the end of a scientific career for Hwang, who was once referred to as South Korea's 'supreme scientist'. If convicted on all charges, Hwang could face up to five years in prison, legal experts said.

Hwang, 52, became a national hero last year when he claimed that he had created 11 patient-specific stem cells in landmark research on cloning.

link to full article

Friday, May 05, 2006

Chemists Get Electrons To 'Break On Through To The Other Side'

The connections between physics (electrons) and biology (cell processes) amaze me...

In the famous Robert Frost poem, "The Road Not Taken," the persona, forced to travel one of two roads, takes the one less traveled by, and "that has made all the difference."

Chemists at Washington University in St. Louis and Stanford University, in kinship with Frost, have modified a key protein in a bacterium to move electrons along a pathway not normally traveled by. They got this to happen 70 percent of the time. That yield "makes all the difference."

For years, scientists studying photosynthesis have noted that electrons in photosynthetic bacteria always choose one of two identical pathways of electron transport in the reaction center (RC) protein, which is the factory for photosynthesis. The electrons always go to one pigment , sometimes called the "right" side, shunning the left. The molecule-to-molecule movement of electrons stimulated by sunlight is called charge separation. It's the basic modus operandi of photosynthesis, whereby plants and some bacteria use sunlight to produce chemical energy. The reaction center protein is like a forest with two roads. The chemists got the electrons to take the path not traveled.

link to full article

link to ScienceDaily home page

Thursday, May 04, 2006

US awards $1 billion in flu vaccine contracts

Guess who's going to be busy in the flu business...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five companies were awarded more than $1 billion in contracts to develop new and better influenza vaccines, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said on Thursday.

The companies will all work to develop cell based-vaccines to fight influenza, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L) (NYSE:GSK - news) was awarded $274.75 million, MedImmune Inc. (Nasdaq:MEDI - news) was awarded $169.46 million, Novartis AG (NOVN.VX) won $220.51 million, DynPort vaccine, working with Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX - news), won $40.97 million and Solvay (SOLBt.BR) won $298.59 million.

link to full article

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Former FDA commissioner investigated

It appears that the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Dr. Lester Crawford is under federal investigation amid accusations of financial improprieties and making false statements to Congress.
Crawford's attorney Barbara Van Gelder, says a grand jury has begun a criminal investigation into the activities of Lester Crawford when he was head of the FDA, but made no further comment.

Van Gelder has apparently instructed Crawford to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if ordered to answer questions.

Dr. Crawford resigned last September two months after being confirmed for the job.

He had been acting commissioner for more than a year and said then it was time for someone else to take over the job.

It has been disclosed that either Crawford, or his wife, according to documents released by the Dept of Health and Human Services, had sold shares for more than $50,000 in companies which the FDA regulates when he was FDA's Deputy Commissioner and Acting Commissioner.

Following his abrupt resignation Crawford went to work for Policy Directions Inc., a lobbying firm.

The criminal investigation came to light at a court hearing in a lawsuit over the FDA's actions on the emergency contraceptive pills, a subject of heated debate during Crawford's time at the FDA.

link to full article

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mild form of avian flu found in New Jersey

UPDATE 02May06

Bird Flu Strain Found In Camden Market

TRENTON, N.J. -- A form of the avian flu has been found in a live bird market in Camden.

That is according to New Jersey's Agriculture Secretary, Charles Kuperus.

In a statement, Kuperussaid the bird flu strain cannot harm humans and is not pathogenic.

link to full article

This was reported on last nights local news as happening in a live bird market in Camden, NJ...I live 2 towns away...

anywho, who knew they had a live bird market?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Authorities have discovered a mild form of avian influenza at a live bird market in New Jersey, but it is not the deadly H5N1 strain governments around the world are trying to contain, the state's agriculture department said.

"The strain was found in a live bird market in Camden County. None of the birds in the market died from this virus, which is an indicator that the virus was low pathogenic and not harmful to humans," said a statement by New Jersey's Agriculture Secretary Charles Kuperus which was posted on Friday.

Details were not immediately available on precisely when the avian flu in Camden County was discovered.

link to full article